(the Artist caught the sun in the act of frying me alive. I am literally a redneck now.)
Our grand adventure began at the one and only Silver Dollar City.
If you've been there- I don't need to say anything more.
If you haven't- I am not talented enough to describe this place.
It's amusement park meets old West meets barn dance meets historical reenactment meets craft fair. You pull out your inner hillbilly (however small and feeble he may be) and you just run with it.
We got there as the gates opened and didn't drag ourselves home (wet, tired, achy and happy) until it was dark. And then, because children are insane, we went back to the condo and went swimming.
This is a picture of the last ride of the day. Notice the two teenagers either falling asleep or praying for strength. I can't tell which.
Miraculously, we all managed to drag ourselves back out of bed the next morning and we headed over to the butterfly palace to play with some winged creatures.
And although I truly don't know what it has to do with butterflies, we climbed some fake coconut trees outside.
This came after the indoor mirror maze, which was undeniably entertaining.
So entertaining, however, that the Cowgirl took a flying leap into a mirror that she thought was a passageway and chipped her tooth.
A grown up tooth.
So she's got the hillbilly teeth going on. She blends right in with the natives.
Luckily it was a little chip and on we went on with the day. Back to Silver Dollar City and then to the real reason I go to Branson in spite of the hill-billyness of it all:
This year I had four new people to terrorize. It was great.
The Cowgirl showed off her brute strength on the rock wall. The tech holding her rope turned to us when she got to the top in under a minute and said That little girl is strong!
Yeah, we noticed.
Even the baby got some action because she now tips the scales at a whopping thirty pounds and they let her on the trampoline. (Thanks for ignoring the 40 pound limit. Super cool of you!)
But even the bumper boats didn't compare to the boat we took out the next morning.
Can you say FUN?
We spent almost five hours at the lake tubing and knee boarding (Cowgirl got up on her second try and rocked it!) and yes, roasting.
I am now well down and ready for some giant ghoul to eat me extra crispy.
It was the most non-stop vacation of my life. We barely gave ourselves time to breathe, but there was so much to cram into three days.
We walk away with sore bodies and lighter wallets, a few souvenirs, and memories that will light up our minds with laughter and friendship for the rest of our lives.
I am so grateful for friends to share these adventures with.
There is the gift of having a loving family.
And there is an added gift of finding extra family in the friends you collect along life's path.
I am so blessed to have both.
So pass on the moonshine, pass over the sasparilla and ya'll come he'e for a mighty great hug!