All of us who went are Todd's parentals (Phyllis and Wiley), Todd, Graham, Drew, Jonah, Noah, Rachel (Graham's girlfriend) and me. That's nine total.
It's interstate driving until right outside of Conway, then it's country mountain roads the rest of the way in. We stopped in a little town called Damascas and had the best Mexican food ever. We had dinner there Sunday night and finally arrived in Branson at about nine. We unpacked the cars and got everyone all settled in, and then we started having our fun. Actually, I went to bed soon after we unpacked because I was beat.
The house we were in sounds huge, and while it does sleep a lot, it's not as big as it sounds. It's three floors with two rooms up top (one with a queen bed, and one with a king), one room with a king bed on the ground floor, and one bedroom in the basement with two twin beds. All of us had beds except for Graham, and he slept on a pull out couch on the ground floor. Rachel and I shared the basement room.
Isn't it cute? This was us Saturday as we were about to leave.
On Monday, we stayed at the house and enjoyed the pool. All day, pretty much. I made dinner for us all that night, and then we swam more and enjoyed the hot tub after dinner.
We all loved the patios here this year. I had my quiet time there the first morning and caught up on bible reading and worked on memorizing Romans 12. This lighthouse is by the pool.
On Tuesday they all went to Silver Dollar City, and I stayed at the house. My back was hurting really bad and Todd and I both thought that walking up all those hills at the park would be bad for it, so to my delight, I had a day alone. (I'm not kidding, I am a major introvert.) I did get out once to go buy a new swim suit and then I came back and swam for a couple of hours. That night we ate dinner at Steak and Shake and had custard from Andy's as a treat afterward.
Also, I had a really sweet quiet time that morning, and I loved reading these verses again. They're some of my favorite.
Wednesday was my favorite day. We went to Top of the Rock and rented ATV's and rode down a mountain trail.
I sat up front most of the ride, then we handed it over to Jonah and Noah and they drove us.
We drove through a cave, too, and as soon as I saw this cleft in the rock, I thought of some verses out of Psalm 27.
I have asked one thing from the LORD; it is what I desire: to dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, gazing on the beauty of the LORD and seeking Him in His temple. For He will conceal me in His shelter in the day of adversity; He will hide me under the cover of His tent; He will set me high on a rock.
I had a moment with the Lord and then we went on.
We ate a picnic lunch with no plates (shaking my head at myself still) and then we went on. Shortly after this, we were done. That night for dinner we ate at Cici's.
On Thursday we woke up and had breakfast and kinda just hung out for a while at the house, then we ended up leaving to go to the fast go-karts and then to the outlets. We got a late start and then Phyllis and Wiley met us back at the house later while Graham and Rachel took FOREVER in Rack Room, and the seven of us ended up eating at Subway.
...we went back to the pool. We love night swimming, and it's probably my favorite part of vacation.
On Friday, Todd, Graham, Rachel, Drew, Jonah, and Noah went to ride a roller coaster where they were able to control their own speed, and I stayed back at the house with Phyllis and Wiley. I went to the pool for a little while and tried to read, but I got hot and left again. Oh, and this is what I read while I was there, though I still haven't finished it.
We got dressed and left to go to the Sight and Sound theater for the afternoon show of Samson. It was really good. We met some friends for dinner afterward at the College of the Ozarks and then went for custard at Andy's one more time. Drew, Noah and I went back to the house with Wiley, and the rest of them went back to Sight and Sound for a behind the stages tour. It might have been the highlight of the week. They got to climb on the props and see how everything works and were all amazed at how huge the stage and behind the stage areas were.
We packed Saturday morning and arrived back home by about five that afternoon. It was a great week, and we had a blast. As much fun as vacation is, it is always so sweet to be back at home. We always miss all our animals and I always miss my own bed and shower. (We have THE BEST shower and water pressure.)
To recover, it was nice having a holiday with all of us around to catch up on things like cleaning and laundry. That's pretty much all I did yesterday in between reading a new fiction book and folding clothes, because we were at church on Sunday morning, and that is a whole other blog post, because I just needed to come home and sleep afterward. (I might share more about this later in the week.)
I've already figured out that the next time we go back to Branson, they will be 21, 20, and 17. That makes my stomach drop. I have no idea what life will look like in two years, but I am imagining that it will be really different.
Thanks for reading my memories of our trip...one of the main reasons I write on this blog all the time is so that I will have it to look back on. I'm much faster at typing than writing, so while some of this stuff is inside a journal, I love having the pictures as well.
Love to all.