Monday, July 28, 2014

Branson Vacation

We spent one week in July with my parents, my 3 siblings, their spouses, their kids, one cousin of my sister-in-law, and one sister's mother-in-law, for a total of 20 PEOPLE!
Yes, we went on a 20-person family vacation to Branson, MO!

There were high points: taking the kids on "Ride the Ducks," and roller coasters at Silver Dollar City.  There were low points: scrubbing barf stains out of the van carpet, passing what we thought was carsickness onto the cousins (guess it wasn't...sorry).
C was a good rider (translation: non-puker)
What was the most fun, though, was hanging out with my siblings (who live in TX and MO) and watching my kids have fun playing with their cousins.  One morning I woke up to hear one niece directing the other niece in what can only be a "Frozen" re-creation : "You are Chris, and I am Elsa (or the other one?) and you skate across the ice, like this..."  My boys didn't really get into Frozen, though: they were too busy building stuff with the landscaping rocks found under the rental house's deck.

One of the hotter than blazes days down there, we rented a pontoon for 4 hours and took a bunch tubing!

S and E, Michigan-turned-TX nephews

relaxing on the bow

Captain Hubs and his first mate, C

My two crazy sisters took the first spin!!
My sister in law, R, was our photographer, so she got most of the good shots after the tubing event, and I didn't take my camera into the amusement park, so most of the rest of my pics are from our two go-carting outings.  Big and small kids had a fun time doing them, and the rest of the week was very comfortable weather - an added bonus.

Oh, we went to Moonshine Beach, too, which was fun!  Here's niece L and C playing together in the sand.
 My 3 nieces, one nephew, and M on a ride at kiddie land at the go-carts.  L (second from L) made scaredy faces on every ride she took that week, but afterward, she wanted to go again!
 A few more pics of the go karts: Sister in law R takes N for a spin, above.  The littles all got to drive their own karts on the kids course.  This was their favorite of all!

 Above, M and I on the "woody" track, and below, Hubs rides the baby teacups with C because he can't go alone!
 There was only ONE ride C could go alone on: the baby ferris wheel.  L is with him in the cage.
 I guess I took a lot of pics of C on his rides because they were slow enough to focus?  Here's my dad feeding quarters into the Jeep ride.
 My sister P organized a pinata for the kids and here's M taking a whack.  I also thought it was a good shot of the landscaping rocks they loved so much.  Below, me and two of my boys on the "Ride the Ducks." DUKW's are retired amphibious military vehicles which were a lot of fun - the took you around town then for a ride in the lake!  It was very windy in the back where we were!
We had so much fun hanging out with everyone!  We love you all!

Monday, July 7, 2014

Summer Snaps

 I read with the kids every day, afternoon or evening.  Here we are getting ready for bed.  Nothing is better than freshly bathed kids reading bedtime stories together!  All my hard work is paying off!  M and N are both reading lots of sight words - M even told Hubs yesterday that he "loves to read!" I am so, so proud!
 Cousin D graduated from high school and we attended his open house/pool party.  The kids swam with Hubs and Uncle A while I snapped photos on the side.  It was their first swim of the season, but they didn't mind the chilly water and insisted Hubs tread in the deep end and catch them as they jumped in!
 Mid-Michigan's Children's Museum in Saginaw is a blast for the kids!  I visited with a friend and her two grandchildren and the 4 who could walk ran around all morning together.  C spent some time at the optometrist's office trying on specs.  "I'm going to need you to come in on Saturday...."
 We've been making our own cool treats this summer, getting creative with non-dairy ingredients.  Frozen bananas are just the best thing ever - I melted chocolate chips and spread them on half bananas stuck on ice pop molds.  What a sweet treat!
 The big boys and I waiting for the Loons game to end last week so they (M) could run the bases.  If you've never been to a minor league baseball game, you ought to go!  It's so much fun, perfect for the kids, and a fraction of the cost and fuss of a MLB game.  And it's just 8 miles away!
 Our Saginaw Children's Zoo pass expired Sunday so we went just one more time.  It's the perfect zoo for little ones - we can see all the animals in less than an hour and spend the rest of the time riding the carousel and train over and over and over!

 C is big enough to ride one all by himself - I was going to say "horse," but M was reading the panels and pointed out that C chose "Girl Bunny."
 I love that M and N put their arms around Hubs for this shot~
Our selfie on the last train car - to avoid the loud TOOT!

We had a lot of fun over the 4th of July weekend - family cookouts, Bay City fireworks, and boat rides!  I was overly focused on packing food, drinks, sunblock, change of clothes, chairs, Twizzlers, clop-clops, and the like for all of the festivities and forgot to pack the camera!  We enjoyed lots of time with both my and Hubs' families, telling ourselves and them repeatedly, this is why we're here!