Thursday, July 31, 2014

Summer in the States - Weekend in Branson

The following weekend, we piled into the car and took the boys to Branson, MO.  We arrived before our cabin was ready, so we killed some time swimming at the pool ... water fights with Tony & Dakota, playing catch, swim races between me and Jaden (I can still beat him in freestyle, but he had me by a mile in breast stroke).  I've never had lessons, what can I say!  Then we headed off to Silver Dollar City for the evening and all the next day.  What is it about Silver Dollar City??  I loved that place as a kid and love it still!!!  Salt water taffy, roller coasters, water rides, train, glass blowing, pottery, candle making, kooky mansion, cave tour, it has it all!

Jaden and Nicholas had to get the marionette puppies and learn to do tricks with them.  I think I had the same souvenir when I was their age.  I'm glad they have re-designed the strings to be de-tangled easier!!! 

In Silver Dollar City Jail

Jaden getting help making a rainbow trout fish candle

Finished rainbow trout.  Nicholas dipped his puppy and kitty in the black wax and was done in 2 seconds.  Jaden took 30 minutes to create his masterpiece fish!  So fitting of their personalities!!
At the end of our day at Silver Dollar City, we decided to go on the cave tour at the last minute.  It was something like 700 stairs down, maybe 1/2mi walk, then some 200 stairs up before jumping on a little mountain train to bring us back to the main gate.  The boys all wanted to go, so Tony and I took them down.  We had the best tour guide - absolutely hilarious - that made the trip very memorable!!  Jaden was a trooper and walked the entire way, but I carried Nicholas through most of it.  It was cold in the cave and he was still wet from some of the water rides at Silver Dollar City, so he was freezing.  To be honest, I was too and so I didn't mind carrying him -- his body heat helped warm me up!!
Tony & Dakota entering the cave
Nicholas and Jaden behind...
Deer in the headlights selfie with a stranger photo bombing us in the background.  :-)

My iPhone doesn't take very good pictures of the cave.  It had some massive openings and was fun to explore.

Jaden thought this part of the cave looked like bacon.  (I think he always has bacon on the brain)
We made it up the steps and on the train

This was the train we took up the mountain.  I was happy to ride instead of climbing up the equivalent of something like 500 more steps!!!  Mom and Dad were waiting for us at the top.
 After our day of Silver Dollar City, we spent a day at one of the family fun parks or whatever you want to call them ... bumper boats, bumper cars, go carts, putt putt golf, ...
Dakota on the bumper boat
Even my mom got in on the bumper boats!  That's her just behind my brother.
So it's hard to take pictures while your 5 year old is driving the boat.  Those are strangers in the center of the shot, but it's my dad to the right of center.  It's the only one of him I got.
Tony being silly on the bumper boats.  Fun times!
Jaden loved being tall enough to drive himself!
My little Nicholas trying to steer us in our boat...
After the bumper boats, we hit the bumper cars.  Tony drove Jaden, I drove Nicholas, and Dakota drove his own.  There was no mercy on the bumper cars.  Nicholas got tired of being rammed and I had to drive around and tell everyone to stop hitting us because Nicholas wasn't liking it so much.  After a few minutes, he was ready to get back in the action, but instead of telling people it was okay to bump us again, we just started ramming Jaden, Dakota, and Tony.  Not exactly fair, but it sure was fun to surprise them like that!  Sneaky sneaky!

Jaden having fun with Uncle Tony driving him on the bumper cars.  Nothing gentle about it!

That's Dakota coming in for the kill!
I drove Nicholas around the rink leisurely until he was ready to get back in the action!
Next stop was the go carts.  Jaden and Nicholas were too little to drive the big carts ... only the kiddie carts.  Dakota was able to drive the juniors, but only me, Tony & my Dad could drive the big ones.

Jaden and Nicholas on the kiddy carts
Jaden seemed unimpressed.  He wanted to drive the big cars!
Nicholas was thrilled to drive, but was always turned to watch his brother...

Getting ready for the bigger cars...Dakota could drive these himself.  Tony drove Jaden (because he is faster) and I drove Nicholas.
Ready, set, go!  I'm not sure they have the height requirement correct on these things - my feet barely reached the pedals!!!
Dakota was off!
Tony and Jaden were WAY ahead!
And Nicholas was very angry with me for coming in the rear!  Sorry kiddo!!  I've never been good at driving!!

 A trip to Branson with my brother and Dakota is never complete without a ride on the ducks. 
The boys with their quakers
After a short drive through town, we drove right out onto the lake.  Loved being on the water!
Jaden took a turn driving the duck.  Nicholas refused to take a turn.
Mom and Dad looking good on the duck

Dad relaxing on the porch of our rented log cabin in Branson.  It was cozy and cute!
The gang before checking out of the little log cabin...
 Before heading back to St. Louis, we stopped at Pirate's Cove for one last round of putt putt...

It was a fun and busy weekend in Branson and when we asked the boys what was their favorite part??  Elephant Rocks and the shut ins!!  Of course!  They most liked the free stuff from the weekend before!  Isn't that just like kids.  Might be our last trip to Branson.  We'll just go hiking and camping from now on (it's what I would prefer anyway).  :-)

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