Our Ozark Mountain Getaway

This weekend my husband and I were able to go on a little getaway with some friends to the beautiful Ozark Mountains. The Ozarks – a wonderful place to visit anytime of the year, especially during the autumn season. It was the perfect place to experience all the amazing things this time of the year has to offer. 

Oh, and did I mention that it was a kid-free getaway??

The last time my husband and I went on a getaway without children was, oh about …6 years ago, right before Lil’ Man was born. So, if you think we were a little lost the first day (or so) without our three little people bounding along beside us, then you would be correct. I think I texted my mother no less than 100 times that first day. Well, that is not entirely true, it was less than 100 times…but there were quite a few texts sent checking on my little crazies. Of course, some of those texts were sent to check on her and to make sure they hadn’t completely overtaken her sanity. 

So the kids? Can you imagine my surprise to find that they not only survived a weekend without me, but also, enjoyed their special weekend getaway as well. This mother’s heart feels exhilaration laced with a hint of dismay at this revelation. 

But really…

   
       

   

There obviously was not any lack of love or fun in our absence. I’m so thankful for my sweet parents (and my awesome brothers and sister-in-law) who willingly and happily not only took care of our kiddos so that we could get away for a little “us” time, but also filled their little lives with lots of love and special memories.

So, us? We had so much fun together and also with our friends. We laughed, we shopped, we ate (and ate and ate) and just enjoyed the gorgeous mountainous surroundings.

Some of my favorite moments were those that were spent with my husband in the early morning when the sun’s rays were just beginning to find their way through the mass of colored leaves. 

  
One morning we sat on the front porch, he sipped coffee and sketched while I tucked myself against his warm body and read the powerful and moving account in Nehemiah 9:1-38 of an indescribable mercy and love so perfectly given to a people so undeserving – a reflection of my own life’s redemptive story. 

 He sketched the getaway house that is safely tucked away in the woods.  

Another morning, with fingers intertwined, we set out for an early morning hike together. The intricate beauty of nature completely captivated us as we softly tread through leaf laden paths. There, as we breathed in freshness of air, we could feel the freshness of life and love that God was breathing into us, into our mingled souls as husband and wife.

     

  

  
   

Our little Ozark Mountain getaway – fun, peaceful and just what we needed. It was truly lovely. I don’t think we will be waiting 6 years to have another one. 

 

South Padre Island: Take Me Away

For the last couple of weeks I have been scouring the internet and Pinterest for ideas/suggestions on places to stay and to see on our next family vacation. When we get to go on a vacation…I find picking a place to vacation is always so hard. I’m always torn between wanting to go see new places and wanting to go to familiar places I know and love.

Do you have that one place that is your favorite? I do. Actually, I have two places. Branson and South Padre Island. I know. I’m weird.

My Facebook newsfeed has been flooded with all kinds of posts and pictures of tropical island getaways that people are going on, have been on, or wanting to go on. It is making me ache to go to South Padre Island.

I love South Padre. It isn’t fancy. It doesn’t have white sandy beaches with sparkling clear blue water as far as the eye can see. But, it is like home to me.

It is a place I have been going since I was a little girl. I grew up just a couple of hours from S.P.I. and we would visit it frequently. I have so many great memories there. Building sandcastles, body surfing on the waves, eating at Blackbeards, walking the jetties, walking from sandbar to sandbar and then getting scared because I’ve ventured out too far into the water. Sigh.

My dad and I…one of our many many visits.

I truly don’t have a bad memory of this place. Well, if I could remember the time when I was a little girl and a Portuguese-man-of-war stung me, then, I would probably have a bad memory.

Of course, maybe I should count the time my sister and I thought it would be a GREAT idea to get our hair braided (and by braided, I mean having cornrows put in) while vacationing as a bad memory. My scalp burned…it burned bad.

Speaking of burns…my sister, cousin, and I have seen our fair share of BAD sunburns…you think one would use sunscreen while at the beach and walking a mile in the hot sun…to the jetties…barefoot.

And my hair…yes, I know. It looks like I poured hydrogen peroxide over the top of it.

South Padre…From family day-trips, to summer family getaways, and spring break rendezvous, to a place I now can bring my own family to and create special memories.

It will always feel like home. I am just itching to go back.

Branson: An Old Fashioned Vacation

Our Branson fun began with a trip to Lambert’s Cafe. Yum!

Lil’ Man was not all that impressed with the whole “throwing rolls” thing they had going on. He found it a bit rude.

After checking into our hotel, we hit the road looking for something fun to do.

We decided on some mini golf.

…and to really make sure we were having fun…donuts for DINNER (we were still pretty full from Lambert’s).

Then, finally, Wednesday came. Silver Dollar City day! One of my most favorite places to be growing up and now sharing it with my own little family, just makes me so happy.

First ride of the day…Fire in the Hole! Lil’ Man received a ribbon for riding his first roller coaster. He informed me, after riding it, that “it was scary, but I was very brave.”

Our second ride of the day…a water ride. In October. On a 50 degree day. No, we were not aware of it being a water ride. We were confused.

I was the grouchy lady complaining the whole time (I was also the one who got the most wet). My husband was the one laughing at the situation (mostly at me). Lil’ Man was not appreciative of being wet (as you can see from the picture below). Miss Priss, well, she was happy and enjoying her first ride.

We found some (dry) fun rides to take Lil’ Man on…

Both kids loved the carousel.

I loved The Great American Shootout. My family and I would ride this over and over when I was younger. My dad and I would always compete for who shot the most targets and got the most points. L and I competed…I couldn’t pull off a win. It was so fun starting these memories/traditions together.

You can’t go to Silver Dollar City without riding the train…

or stopping by Carrie’s Candles and making your own candle.

Our third day, started off at a questionable breakfast buffet. Although, what else could we have expected when eating at a place with a giant rooster named “Mr. Peck” on the outside of their building…for breakfast.

We then did a little shopping at the outlet mall. Lil’ Man was completely oblivious to the fact that we picked out, purchased and walked out of the store (in a clear bag) with his Christmas gifts…all with him next to us the whole time.

Our next stop was to go to Ride The Ducks. Miss Priss and I spent most of the ride trying to keep our hair out of our face. Lil’ Man decided to forgo his opportunity to be captain for a minute or two and “drive” the duck while in the water at Table Rock lake. Silly kid.

After a long exhausting day, what better to do than go for a swim? So, that is what we did. Lil’ Man loved the indoor “Splashatorium” our hotel has. He was especially thrilled when he met a little boy who shared his name…it was an instant friendship for the two boys.

We then moseyed on down to the activity center.

Then it was finally time for s’mores. The place we stayed at…The Welk Resort…has activities planned throughout the day everyday of the week…you know, like on Dirty Dancing. (Well, not quite like on Dirty Dancing, but that is what it reminded me of)

S’mores was the activity we decided we couldn’t miss.

We also enjoyed laying back and counting the stars…

Day four, we stopped by Silver Dollar City again. What should have been a 12 minute drive turned into an hour drive. Traffic was terrible, which in turn meant Silver Dollar City was PACKED. We were very thankful we had gone on Wednesday and did everything we wanted to do. We did get in some photo ops though…

Lil’ Man took our picture. The sign was supposed to be in the middle of our picture, which is why L and I are sitting apart. He, however, was not angled correctly to catch it. It was supposed to be a really cute anniversary picture. Oh well.

Some random pictures…

We almost let the most obvious of photo spots slip by! (I couldn’t get the picture with the whole word “city” to upload, but we do have it)

Later that evening…more mini golf. Lil’ Man has a new obsession. That is all he wanted to do. He especially loved the dinosaur course.

Then after a very long day, it was time to relax. Nothing like watching some old Garfield and Friends cartoons on Netflix while eating Teddy Grahams…or slobbering on a stuffed animal.

Five days (and 10 pounds) later…it was time to head home. We loved our anniversary/family vacation. Being back in the place where we went on our honeymoon with our own little family was so fun and special. We carried on traditions and made new ones. I am looking forward to when we can go back again.