It's 7AM, and I'm sitting on my patio. MY patio. Listening to the birds chirp, and taking in the sweet bliss of peace and quiet. Except for the birds, anyway. The kids are all still in bed, and probably will be for a while. I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing up at this time, especially after just getting back from an exhausting vacation, but I have to admit I'm happy to be here. Right here. In my spot. Getting my short amount of "me time" before the day gets started.
We made it home around 8 last night. We checked out of the motel at 9AM, and then spent the day at Silver Dollar City before coming home. I didn't get a chance to blog because the kids were excited to get up and going.
The day before, we spent the day exploring Branson's shopping hot spots. We visited Tanger Outlets and the kids spent some of their money that P-Momma gave them to buy a few things. Jelly managed to talk me in to buying her even MORE stuffed animals at the Disney Store. But, I couldn't resist. That was one store that was sooooo much cheaper than the regular store. She picked out a Sleeping Beauty plush doll, originally $19.99 for $6, and a plush Piglet for the same price. She even got a new Princess tote to carry her stuff around in. Peanut got a new tank shirt, regularly $29.99 for $10. At Rue 21, Butter found a new pair of shorts and a shirt, Peanut found a new pair of jeans and a shirt, and I only spent $36. Not too bad at all. My only purchases at the outlet was a pair of New York & Company aviator sunglasses, regularly $29.99 on sale for $5, and a few lotions and body sprays we picked up at Bath & Body Works and Perfumania. I would NEVER spend $30 on a pair of sunglasses, but I will sure spend $5 on a pair. HA!
After we spent about 3 hours at the Outlet, we decided to go back to the motel for a short break. That ended up turning in to a 2 hour nap for EVERYONE. We woke up around 4PM, got ourselves freshened up, and decided to go grab our free pizzas for dinner. (The package we bought from the motel included two free pizzas.) We took our time eating our pizza and then decided to head over to Branson Landing for some more shopping. The weather was perfect for walking around. We visited Bass Pro Shops, and then explored some of the stores located at the Landing. We spent about 2 hours just walking around and digging through some of the stuff that was on sale.
We were all done around 8PM, but due to our nap earlier, we weren't really ready to call it a night. We decided to drive up the strip and take a look at what was going on. From all the attractions that Branson has to offer, we had a lot to choose from. But, the kids eventually decided that they wanted to go to the Hollywood Wax Museum. Thanks to our Silver Dollar City passes, we got a great discount. We were able to pick three attractions for the price of two, so we opted for the museum, the haunted castle, and the maze of mirrors.
The wax museum was good. The kids had a blast getting their pictures taken with some of their favorite celebrities...
Once we got enough of the museum, we headed on over to the haunted castle. Now this was one attraction I'd never done before, and the kids LOVED it. It was a 5D interactive ride through a short horror movie. We had to shoot at zombies that were hurling stuff at us, watch and feel creepy bugs and bats flying around (thanks to seats that moved and air blowing out on to our necks), and be spun around on a revolving floor that whipped us from one scene to the next. After that experience, I'm wondering why all movies aren't made in 5D. I'd see just about every movie there is in a 5D theater! You could feel, see, and smell what was going on, and I couldn't help but scream several times when it looked as though a dagger or a ball of fire was being thrown straight at me. And there's nothing like the smell of rotting carcasses to add to the effect of zombies coming straight for us.
The kids loved it so much, we just had to do it again. And we did. With Butter being the winner of the zombie shoot out during both rides.
When we had our fill of zombies and ghosts, we headed on up to the maze of mirrors. Now, Peanut, Butter, and I really enjoyed getting lost in the mirrors. Jelly? Not so much. It was royally ticking her off, and giving her a little anxiety that we seemed to be going round in circles. It didn't help when fairy tale characters kept popping up inside a mirror to give us some direction...
The girl can handle crazy thrill rides, zombies, and ghosts, but have her look in to a mirror that suddenly turns in to a wizard reflection.. and THAT freaks her out. Peanut managed to find the exit for us, just in time. I think Jelly would have had a full blown panic attack if we'd been in there more than a few more minutes.
After all that fun, we decided to call it a night. It was back to the motel for our last night.
After checking out and grabbing a quick breakfast at McDonald's the next morning, we went for our last day at Silver Dollar City. And, out of the previous times we went, yesterday was the busiest. There were TONS of people there, so the kids wanted to head straight to the ONLY ride they had yet to get on: PowderKeg.
It's a roller-coaster that starts you off going from 0-60MPH in 2.8 seconds. Jelly and I watched as Peanut and Butter tried it out.
Being that it was so fast and so high, I really didn't think it was something that Jelly should get on. At least without me trying it out, first. But, I didn't get that chance. After standing there and watching the ride for a while, Jelly quickly caught on that there were kids her size riding.. and SHE WANTED ON! So, as soon as Peanut and Butter were finished, we were back in line to let Jelly have a go. My stomach turned the whole time we were waiting, and even more so when we got on. We zipped off at 60MPH, rushed over hills and around sharp turns, and that little girl let out whoops of glee and excitement. She loved it so much that she was begging me to do it again before we even got off the first time. So, it was back in line for ride number 2. And, again, she laughed and cheered all the way through. Crazy girl.
I have to admit, that by day 3, I wasn't near as nervous about getting on the big roller-coasters as I'd been on the first day. I actually really enjoyed it. We spent several hours hopping off of one ride and straight on to the next, but we were ready to call it a day around 4PM.
After stopping for drinks, then again for dinner, it took us a lot longer to get home.. but I was so glad when we finally pulled in to our driveway. We unpacked, and the kids went straight to bed. I made my way to bed around 11PM, and I was so happy to be back in my own bed.
The kids have all made me promise that we do NOTHING today. We're not allowed to go anywhere or do anything more than do some laundry and swim. And that sounds like a great plan to me. Nothing like a short vacation to rest up after a vacation. Right?
I am so happy I got to give my kids a little mini-adventure. It's not very often we get to go away and do stuff like that, and I don't mind that I spent every penny of my summer school money making their few days away the best it could be.
And, we still have plenty of summer left to fill with more fun activities.