Tuesday, June 30, 2015

A Mini Vacation in Branson

Back in May, Nathan put in his two weeks notice at Wal-Mart and we are now one of the very few families in Bentonville who don't work for Wal-Mart or a vendor for Wal-Mart! Nate now works at America's Car-Mart home office which is also located in Bentonville. He is doing similar work as a Database Administrator, but he has more freedoms, responsibilities, and opportunities with his new job. During Nate's job search period and the transition out of Wal-Mart, life was pretty stressful for us. We didn't know if we'd be able to find a good position or if it would mean leaving Bentonville. After living here for five years, we've really come to consider it home and felt very blessed to be able to find a new job and be able to stay here.

To celebrate the new position and to relieve some stress we decided to take a mini vacation to Branson, Missouri! Branson is a pretty quirky town, but we love going and finding new things to do. This year we bought season passes to the amusement park Silver Dollar City. We started our vacation off with a bang by meeting our friends Cat and Shaun and their little girl Brizelle at Silver Dollar City. We've found it's definitely easier and more fun to go with friends. The kids can all play together and do things in the kiddie area, and we can also take turns trading off and going on the roller coasters! It was a gorgeous day so we all decided to go on the "wettest ride in the park." It was a raft ride where you can shoot water at other boats or spectators on the side. In return, the people watching the rafts go by can shoot water at you as well. We were literally soaked from head to toe when we got done and all had a great time on the ride including the kids! Cat and Shaun must have loved the day as well, because they ended up buying season passes that day as well so we can all go back together again!

Soaking wet and having a blast!

After a day at the park we were all starving and went to a delicious Italian restaurant. Nate and I have actually been there a couple other times while in town and are never disappointed with the food. We were however, disappointed with the service this time as they forgot to make our ticket and we had to wait a long time for our food! The nice thing was once they realized their mistake, they quickly got our food out to us and comped 50%  of our meal! Our friends headed back home that night and we headed to our hotel.

We bought a pretty sweet deal on Groupon and stayed at the Grand Country Inn. Included in our package was a two night stay, show tickets, large pizza, popcorn, drinks, and admission to their indoor/outdoor waterpark! The next day we didn't even leave our hotel because we had so many fun things to do right there. The girls absolutely loved the water park and we stayed there for hours! I was pretty impressed with it as well. It was great for little kids but Nate and I had a lot of fun playing in the water as well. By the time we all got back to the room we were exhausted and took a nice long nap. 
Lydia braving the slide

Eden blowing kisses

Having fun with Daddy
That night we went to one of the shows. It wasn't really our style of show. (Most people in the audience were at least 65 years old.) But it gave us something fun to do and the girls actually did really well. They each got their own bucket of popcorn, which they loved, and munched away for the first half. We did end up leaving at intermission and walking back to our room where we finished out the night watching one of the Harry Potter movies on T.V. If you know me at all, you know I'm a stickler for early bedtimes for my kids but with us all staying in one hotel room and it being a vacation, I made an exception. The girls were thrilled that they got to stay up with Mommy and Daddy until 10:30 and snuggle in bed while watching T.V. So often, we feel restricted in what we can do because we have such young children, so this trip was a good stretch for us and helped us be more confident in being more adventurous with our girls.
Yummy popcorn!
They devoured their buckets of popcorn! Notice the age of the rest of the audience :)
The next morning, we headed to Silver Dollar City again. This time to meet our Shepherd and Pendleton cousins! They bought season passes as well so we had all been trying to coordinate a trip together so it was fun that it worked out. Even though we had just been to the park two days before, we still found new fun things to do. We rode all our favorite roller coasters and I even convinced Alyssa to go on Outlaw Run with me. I may or may not have been completely honest about what all the ride entailed. (second fastest and second steepest wooden roller coaster in the world at 68 mph and 81 degree angle drop!) but I think she enjoyed it!

Exploring the rope tree house with Daddy

Playing in the sand with the cousins and Auntie Alyssa

Eden really liked riding the "doggies!" with Daddy. Lydia hates all rides so she just watched and waved. 
Staying hydrated on a hot day

Don't you just love a baby in overalls!?!?

We had such a fun weekend. It was a much needed break for us and definitely helped us rejuvenate!