Yesterday, I decided to take the kids for a much needed day out to Silver Dollar City. I really wanted a day with my kids where we didn't have to think about anything but spending some quality time together, and enjoying some family fun. What better place to do it than at a theme park? Even though we went to Silver Dollar City three times over the summer, they were just as excited to go yesterday as they was the first time we went. I think a lot of that had to do with the fact that Peanut was taking her boyfriend with us, and the other two were desperate to get out and have some fun. It's been a while, and they never tire of riding roller coasters.
We made it to SDC around 10AM, and the first thing I noticed was that the parking lot was already PACKED. Not exactly a good sign, because I don't do too well with extremely large crowds. Plus, I'm as bad as the kids with impatience when it comes to waiting forever to get on a ride. But, thankfully, the crowds seemed to be more interested in the fall festival that's currently going on there, and weren't as interested in riding all the rides. Which was great for us. We didn't wait more than 10 minutes to get on a ride all day.
Our first ride of the day was Thunderation. The smallest and mildest of the extreme roller coasters at SDC. We walked the winding trail to the ride and was able to get straight on without waiting at all. The same can be said for the Electro-Spin and the Pirate Ship that we went on right after.
Then we decided it was time to try our first water ride of the day, and hit the Lost River of the Ozarks. Now, the weather yesterday was BEAUTIFUL. The sun was shining, and the temps were in the 70s all morning/early afternoon. However, the water was FREEZING. We had a great time, but it's a lot different going on a water ride in the fall than it is during the summer. It's not as refreshing. We still enjoyed it, though, and the wetness just made us walk a bit faster and stand in the sun more to dry off.
Up to this point, I had been stalling on heading over to one area of the park. That would be where Outlaw Run is located. It's the biggest, craziest roller coaster at the park. It's a new wooden roller coaster that climbs to 160 feet before plummeting down at an 81 degree angle. It then does a variety of corkscrews and crazy dives at 68MPH. I can't ride Outlaw Run, because I'm too big. It's the only ride I've ever faced that problem, yet it's one of my motivations for losing weight. Before this year is over, I WILL get on Outlaw Run. However, it wasn't me that was so excited to ride it, and causing me to try and stall as long as possible. No. It was Jelly wanting to ride it that was causing me so much anxiety.
Ever since our last visit, Jelly has been bugging me about letting her ride it. Now, Jelly is a little dare-devil and has ridden on every other ride at SDC. She loves the Barn Swing, PowderKeg, and Thunderation. The only reason she hasn't been on WildFire (the other giant roller coaster) is because she's not tall enough to ride it. But, I promised her last time that I'd let her ride Outlaw Run the next time we went. So, I had to follow through on my promise, even though I was absolutely TERRIFIED about her getting on such an extreme coaster without me riding with her.
As Peanut, her boyfriend, Butter, and Jelly waited in line to get on Outlaw Run, my stomach was doing flips. As I watched them all climb aboard, it took everything I had not to scream for them to pull Jelly off. Peanut and Butter could both see the worry on my face and kept trying to comfort me with signs and signals from the line. Easier said than done. As I watched them pull out of the station, I said a silent prayer and watched them start the climb up to the 160 foot drop. As the cars dropped on the other side, so did my stomach...and I held my breath for the duration of the ride. Within a few seconds, I saw the train come back in to the station and managed to capture this picture...
I know it's hard to see, but Jelly (as do the other kids) all have a GIANT smile on their faces. Jelly LOVED it! So much so, that she was straight off and back in line before I even had a chance to question her about the ride. While the kids waited for another ride, I went and bought the picture from their first ride. I wanted to document the amazing look on all of their faces, and I was lucky that they had all sat together. I was able to buy a keychain with the four of them making the most amazing faces of glee, excitement, and terror. Jelly was the face full of glee.. HA!
Once they'd ridden a second time, we decided to head on over to something else. We rode Fire in the Hole and then planned on riding PowderKeg. Unfortunately, PowderKeg had been closed to some form of malfunction, and it stayed that way for the rest of the day. It always worries me when coasters close due to "malfunctions" so I wasn't too disappointed that it didn't open again for the rest of the day.
We stopped for some lunch at that point, and then headed on to my favorite coaster: WildFire. I love WildFire because it's the only roller coaster that does full loops. However, due to my fear of heights, I have never ridden with keeping my eyes open. I have always closed my eyes as we are climbing the first hill and only ever opened them while I could focus on something other than how high up we were. Yesterday, however, I made the promise to myself that I was going to overcome my fear of heights and keep my eyes open on ALL rides. And, I did it!! I kept my eyes open, and even enjoyed the amazing view 150 feet up in the air. Of course, I could only enjoy the view for 3 seconds before we were plummeting down to the ground again at 66MPH... but just the fact that I did it is amazing. After the ride, I walked out on to the viewing deck and took a second to take in the view I usually rush past because it used to make me dizzy. I stood there, feeling a little uneasy, but just told myself that I was missing out on too much beauty by being afraid. Once I took a deep breath, and told myself that I was officially over my fear, the dizziness started to fade and I was OK.
Fear of heights officially overcome!!
The rest of the day was just as fantastic. We did A LOT of walking, we rode on more rides, and we just enjoyed each other's company. It was an amazing day. Before we called it quits, we decided to take some photos with the beautiful fall arrangements that have been set up at the park's entrance. It felt good to take some photos with the kids. And, now I have more photos to store in our photo memory book.
Days like yesterday are so important. Spending time with my kids is something I love doing, and I'm always looking for new adventures that we can go on. Buying the season passes to SDC was probably one of the best investments I've ever made. Next year, I think I'm going to up the ante and buy passes for Worlds of Fun in Kansas City, too. Sure, it's a much longer drive, but it's another place I know the kids would love and we'd have such an amazing time.
Today, I have some work that I need to get done. The deal I have with the kids is that we spend one day together, and the other day I spend working. I want to really sit down with my lesson plans for the next week and see how I can add some of the fun back that I spoke about yesterday, and really hash out some longer range goals for changing up how things are done in my classroom. I'm actually excited to get the work done. I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that I'm pumped and recharged after the PD on Friday, and a lot of that also has to do with the fact that I got to spend a great day with my kids and I can now sit back and work knowing we had some quality time together.
Of course, there's plenty more work I have to fit in between lesson plans. I have grading, school work, laundry, grocery shopping and such... but I don't feel in the slightest bit overwhelmed or stressed. Fun is so refreshing for the soul. I can start this week off full of positivity and motivation. What a wonderful way to feel!!
Have an amazing day, everyone!!