Monday, June 30, 2008

Final Branson thoughts

We returned home Sunday afternoon. Feels so good to be home! Kobe and Gabe were very happy to see us, and are jealous of any attention given the other one.

We kept noticing three groups of people while in Branson:

1. "I'm just here to have fun." Average, ordinary citizens. Bobby and I fell in this group. The average citizens wore regular clothes, rode the rides with their children, and just blended in. No distinguishing features. The majority fell in this group, with the two minorities listed below.

2. "Look at how much money I have" citizens were my least favorite. We noticed these groups of people right away. Maybe it was the Prada sunglasses, diamond hoop earrings, diamond tennis bracelet, manicure and pedicure, and Tiffany necklace that gave it away, but these people were way overdressed for a trip to an amusement park. They did not ride the ride with their children--who, by the way, were as elaborately dressed as they were; who sends their kid to an amusement park in a Ralph Lauren sundress with matching hair bows?--but wandered around trying to bring attention to their Vera Bradley diaper bag or texting on their Blackberry as much as a teenager.

3. "This is our first vacation in 20 years!" citizens is our final group. This group obviously doesn't get out of the house much. They had pasty white faces, arms, and legs--at least the part you could see behind their white socks pulled up to their knees, plaid capri pants, and button up shirt, complete with fanny packs for everyone around. We saw one family where all 4 of them had flip-up sunglasses on their glasses. These are the people who get pickpocketed-they pay no attention to their surroundings, walk around reading a map, oblivious to anyone around them. In contrast to group 2, this group thinks Branson is the greatest thing since sliced bread and wouldn't trade the trip for the world.

I also noticed a difference in the stores in Branson. All along the strip are local stores (with the exception of the outlet malls) that are locally owned, and many have been there since I was a child. They sell crafty type things, or Branson t-shirts and mugs. Group # 3 feels at home here.

In stark contrast is the Branson Landing. Built on the riverfront in the last three or four years, there is nothing locally owned. It's all the same names you'd find in a upper-scale mall. You see a lot of Group #2 down here.

And finally, I played the license plate game. I've done this since I was a kid, when I'm sure my parents wanted to shut me up for a few minutes. Now I feel a compulsion to do it every time I'm in Branson. Keeps me busy. Parking lots are my favorite, becuase you can just walk by and score several states. I hate the states that don't have license plates in the front, becasue you have to turn around and try to catch the state as the car is speeding by.

I got 35 states this time, which is about what I usually get in the summer. All of the midwest states, of course. Some far aways ones: New York, Utah, Maryland, Massachussetts, California, Florida, New Jersey, North and South Dakota, and Alaska. Alaska seems unusual, but I get it every time I play the game. I also got Ontario, and one "US government; for offical use only."

Wow, that was long. No more Branson posts!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Branson Mega Pic Post

Finally got the pictures downloaded from our trip. I didn't take as many as usual and I am not sharing all of them here. Just my favorites!! They are in no particular order!

This may be my favorite of the whole trip!!! On Friday we did the infamous Ride the Ducks, and it was WINDY! Especially when we got out on the dam. The girls LOVED the quackers, and our heads are pounding! They had a fun time on the trip and loved the fact that the car turned into a boat.

In case you don't know what Ride the Ducks are, here's a picture of the vehicle. It's a WWII amphibious vehicle turned tourist attraction. Here's alink to more information about the vehicles. I can remember 20+ years ago riding the same thing and driving in the lake, just as they did.

Ahhh, how sweet. They aren't hitting each other. Actually, they were quite good. Only a few squabbles.

Love this one of Kaylin playing in the fountain at Celebration City. Macy, of course, was riding the big roller coasters.

A couple pictures of the water and fire show at Branson Landing. It's very cool. The show is every half hour, but at night it is spectacular with the lights and fire.

Kaylin's butterfly "real" tattoo...

Macy's rose "real" tattoo...

Kaylin's favorite ride--the mini "Detonator". She rode it 5 times in a row.

We forced Macy to ride one of the "baby" rides with her sister. I have no idea what they are doing in this picture, but it looks funny.

Macy's waterproof sleeve that goes over her cast. She says it hurts, but forgets about it when she gets in the water. It works so well--keeps that cast completely dry. About $40 at a medical supply store.

Kaylin in the water

Macy jumping in the water. Before this trip, she wouldn't jump in. She started jumping in and even going underwater--a huge step for her.

Kaylin with her expert putting abilities at the Dinosaur mini-golf place.

Macy putting one-handed.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Branson Day Three

Same routine as yesterday. Silver Dollar City in morning, swimming in the hotel pool in the afternoon, and Celebration City at night. Girls falling asleep quickly.

Things we've learned on this trip:

1. With children, you have to be flexible. So what if they are not getting a nutrious breakfast. At least they are eating something. So what if they stay up hours past their bedtime. At least they are going to sleep. So what if they play in a water fountain and get soaked right before you head for home. At least they were having fun. So what if they want to do things differently than you thought in your head. At least they are having fun!! So what if everything is not like you would do at home--you have to be flexible!

2. People lose all common sense on vacation. As Bobby says, "they dumb down". They stop right in the middle of a crowd to look at their map, causing you to bump into them. They forget all manners. They forget how to drive in traffic. They forget how waiting in line requires patience and and an orderly system.

3. When you have a child with a cast, people stare and ask questions.

4. When I have to wait in line, I chew off my fingernails.

Funny story before I close: we got the girls airbrush tattoos on their ankles. Bobby was in line with Kaylin for a ride, and the lady behind them asked if it was an airbrush tattoo. Bobby said he wanted to reply, "no, we got our 4 year old a real tattoo." See Lessons Learned #2 above.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Branson Day Two

Silver Dollar City began our day. It was disappointing; very crowded and very hot. We rode a few big roller coasters and left. We'll go back tomorrow and try it again, with a different strategy in movement around the park. Kaylin is finally 42" and could ride the big roller coasters. Par for the course with our kids, she loved them! I'd forgotten how fast Powder Keg shoots you out; it's 0-60 in about 5 seconds. On our turn, some kids in the front seat threw up a pen; it just hung in the air for a few seconds as the rest of the train went by. Could have been really dangerous, but luckily it just fell on the track later.

In the afternoon, we went swimming at our hotel. Bobby's sister had called medical supply stores and found a waterproof cast protector for us. We picked it up on Monday, and it worked like a charm!! Macy was swimming underwater (Yes, Macy, our girl who doesn't like to get her face wet!) Of course, her feet were doing all the work because one arm was useless with the cast and protector, and the other hand was holding her nose closed. But it was so great to see her out there swimming, and knowing that part of our vacation wasn't ruined!

Celebration City was our next stop. Once again, Macy turned in a roller coaster snob, not wanting to ride the "baby" rides. We forced her to ride with her sister. We ran into a teacher I work with, and her twin boys were at preschool with Kaylin last year. They rode some "baby" rides with Kaylin so Macy could go ride the big roller coasters.

While Macy was on the kiddie train, there was another little girl in the same car. I saw Macy talking to her, but didn't think anything about it. As soon as the ride was over, she came shooting over to me: "Can we go ride the Wildcat now?" Little girl did the same thing with her dad. We all 4 headed over there. Come to find out, that dad had been trying to get his daughter to ride roller coasters all day, and she was too chicken. But then Macy, who is 6, started talking to this girl, who will be 8 next week, and talked this girl into riding the roller coaster! Talk about peer pressure!!

Fireworks and some custard ended our night, and the girls went to sleep without a word of complaint. Tomorrow we do it all over again.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Branson Day 1

Went miniature golfing ($26 for the 4 of us; we need to open a mini golf course! They make a killing!) I think it's pretty safe to say Bobby and I shouldn't count on the girls making the LPGA to pay for our retirement. Granted, Macy's arm was in cast, but let's just say we didn't keep score. Many times Kaylin had the putter turned the complete wrong direction. Or she just picked up her ball and moved it.

Tonight we went to the Dixie Stampede. We had front row seats, and it was worth every bit of the extra $15 for priority seating. The girls were absolutely mesmerized from start to finish. The horses were right there in front of us! A meal is served, but it was wasted on the girls because they couldn't take their eyes off the show long enough to eat! Macy did finally eat some chicken, and Kaylin ate part of her roll, but that's it. The older couple from Illinois sitting next to us commented on how well behaved they were. I said thanks, but this behavior wasn't typical. The one other time I've seen Kaylin like that was at the Hannah Montana movie earlier this year.

Speaking of Hannah Montana,for those of you who don't know, her aunt on the show is Dolly Parton. (Grandmother is Carol Burnett.) And Dolly owns the Dixie Stampede. There was a videotaped message from Dolly herself towards the end, and the girls were so excited to see Aunt Dolly!! Dolly definately has a brand new fan base of little girls and tween girls.

Tomorrow brings Silver Dollar City and Celebration City. Right now, my bed is calling.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Macy's arm Part III

For anyone interested, here's the x-ray on Macy's arm that shows the break. I found a CD with her x-rays in with the actual copies. You can see the displacement and the break in her arm.

We went Friday morning to Children's. Long story short, no waterproof cast, and we go back in July to see if she'll need surgery. Everything is aligned right now, but they need to see if it shifts. It's fairly unstable, so she has a pretty tight cast to keep it stable. The cast goes up to almost her shoulder, as you can see, and she will get a shorter one end of July.

After our appointment Friday morning, we drove to south Missouri for some camping and canoeing with two other couples. We dropped the kids off at Bobby's sister's (thank you Kelly and Carmen for watching the hoodlums for the weekend!) and headed off to the campground.

Nice clean campground. We had a wonderful time camping, and the canoe trip was so much fun! Lots of extremely drunk people, but we avoided them. Met an interesting local character and his dog as he was trying to bum cigs and beer off us; too bad we didn't have any to share!

By our campsite was a bridge with some rapids. The three women decided to jump off the bridge. Well, I started to get a little nervous, and the next thing I knew one of the other women just pushed me off the bridge!! Then the 3rd woman pushed her, and jumped herself. We were laughing so hard that we ended up floating down the rapids, and smacking ourselves on a bunch of rocks. Good times, good times!!

Went back to Kelly and Carmen's Sunday morning, then will head to Branson Monday morning for a couple days. I'm sure I will have good stories from that trip.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Update on Macy's arm

Doctor called this morning, and the break was worse than they thought, according to the radiologist report. So we have an appointment Friday morning with an orthopedic doctor at Children's Mercy to see how it needs to be set. Solved the issue of the waterproof cast, b/c apparently Children's only uses waterproof casts.

We went by the hospital to get the x-rays to take to Children's with us, and it's interesting how the angle makes a difference. In one x-ray, the break doesn't look bad. In another, you can see the definate break and the jagged lines. I'm guessing at first they only looked at the first one, talked with us, then later looked at the second.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Oh, no!

Well, we have our first official broken bone. (In our children, not us.:)We've had our fair share of that. ) Last night at the fire station, a bunch of kids were running down a ramp and climbing on a railing. None of the adults saw her fall, but apparently Macy fell off the railing. She didn't cry much, more whining, but came and sat by me and whined for a while. Her father, the EMT, figured she was faking it. She hit her eye too, and it is swollen and red. She'll end up with a black eye out of the deal. I gave her Motrin and put her to bed. She slept with me, and it was a restless night.

In the morning it was still hurting, so off to the doctor we went. It took a while,and her Papa got to take her to x-rays as a volunteer at the hospital, but we got x-rays and she broke the ulna bone, the one on the pinkie side of her arm. They said it wasn't a bad break, it wasn't dislocated or displaced. It should heal quickly. Right now she's in a splint until the swelling goes down, then Thursday she gets a hard cast.

Right now we have problems. The doctor won't do a waterproof cast. We could go down to Children's to get one, but that might not work. We could also buy a plastic sleeve like the one I had last summer, but I don't know how well that would work. We leave for vacation on Friday, which includes swimming, White Water, etc. And we have season passes to Oceans to Fun, and they have swimming lessons in early July. Not a good time to break a bone.

She doesn't seem to be in much pain. The splint is helping. She's a tough kid.

Here is her in the splint. She says it is heavy. Having had one last summer, I agree.

Here's a close-up.

So we're skipping Jazz class tonight, and she's watching at t-ball.

Anyone know who will put on a waterproof cast??? :)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

How many firemen does it take to change a tire?

Tonight the girls and I headed out for a Father's Day dinner up at the fire station. As I pulled out the driveway, I realized something was wrong. The back tire was completely flat! I called Bobby, and he said he'd be there in a minute to fix it. And 5 minutes later here comes the fire truck, with 4 firemen to change my flat tire!! Mostly the other three stood around and watched Bobby, but it was funny regardless. Everyone driving by was just staring at the fire truck and firemen. And who says firemen don't help out damsels in distress?? :)

Maybe I should learn how to change a tire...

Friday, June 13, 2008

Awesome day yesterday...

A couple friends and I met for lunch, then had an hour-long massage, and then went to see Sex and the City. It was an incredible day--total girl talk all day long, no kids interrupting us, no husbands interrupting us. The massage was so needed! And we had the entire movie theatre to ourselves, so we talked as loud as we wanted, laughed as loud as we wanted, and even threw popcorn at the screen. And when I got home, the girls didn't fight once the rest of the night. Could I ask for more???

Thanks Mom and Dad for watching the girls so we could have a girls day out!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Secret confessions...

The girls had a dental check-up today with Dr. Jerry and Miss Debbie, who they they just adore. They don't dread going to the dentist like I do, which is good. Both Dr. Jerry and Miss Debbie (husband and wife; kids go to my high school) went on and on about how clean their teeth are, how well they brush, how proud they are that the girls have no cavities, etc. and etc. Macy and Kaylin just grinned.

Here is my secret confession: the girls never brush their teeth. I can count on one hand how many times they have brushed their teeth in the last year. It's pure laziness on my part--in the mornings I'm tired, and don't want to take the extra 3 minutes to have Kaylin brush her teeth. In the evenings, I'm tired too, and don't want to take the extra 3 minutes to have them brush their teeth. I KNOW they should brush their teeth--I have horrible teeth, and I'm sure they are doomed also. But so far, so good... :)

And on another note, poor Kaylin has such a small mouth, she's in for a rough time. Her palette is very small, and on an x-ray, you can see the permanent teeth under the skin. They are huge!! There is simply no room in her mouth. So, just like her mother, she will have an extender in the roof of her mouth as those permanent teeth come in. Dr. Jerry said "we'll be getting to know each other very well."

And one more side note, they also commented that Macy FINALLY has a loose tooth, that will probably come out by the end of the summer. This is a HUGE deal--all of Macy's friends have lost teeth, and she still hasn't. It's been a major issue at our house. So maybe there is hope yet.

And the girls brushed their teeth tonight. :)

Monday, June 9, 2008

Who are these people?

The girls and I ran errands today, and one was to the high school. While I worked on a few things, the girls played with the Photo Booth on our Mac's. I showed them how to do the effects and take their picture, and they had a ball while I worked. They took a ton, and I picked the funniest ones to share here with you.

Kaylin as she might look as a sunbeam...

And Kaylin swirled...

This one cracks me up. Macy kept trying to make her head disappear, and she finally succeeded. She thought it was so funny that she didn't have a head. It looks like another body part, but I swear it is her shoulders.

Macy as she might look as a sunbeam...

Here's the three of us using the "dent" effect...

And the three of us swirled together...

Now I see why my high school kids spend hours upon hours taking their pictures with Photo Booth. It was pretty addictive!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

They do have fear...

and it's called WATER!! Went to Oceans of Fun yesterday and it wasn't quite as enjoyable as Worlds. The girls really don't like getting water in their faces or going underwater. We had fun in the wave pool, the swimming area and the lazy river, where they could keep their faces water free. Kaylin was funny when she realized she could float with her life jacket on!

Hopefully those swim lessons in a couple weeks will help.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Our children have no fear...

We bought our season passes to Worlds and Oceans of Fun today,(thank you Mr. Economic Stimulus Package) and decided to try them out. Bobby works out there as an EMT, so we only needed passes for us girls. We met Bobby there at 6, after he got off work. The park was dead...we basically walked onto all the rides, only had to wait maybe 1 time. A couple of the kiddie rides in Camp Snoopy the girls rode several times without getting off. (We rode the Wacky Worm three times in a row...ooh, the excitement!)

But the main reason for this trip was Macy's first experience with the big roller coasters. She's ridden a couple big ones at Silver Dollar City, but not WOF. Those of you who know Macy well will know she has been measuring herself since last summer to see if she has reached the beloved 48". She definitely has--she's almost 50"! In recent weeks she has almost been talking herself out of the rides she dreamed about all winter. I'm not above bribing my children, so we bribed her with a new Webkinz if she rode all the major rides. That was the ticket.

First major ride up was the Timber Wolf, a wooden roller coaster that is so bouncy my teeth rattle. I rode it with her, and she screamed and yelled. The funniest part was her running as fast as she could to Bobby to tell him all about it, and then dragging him to the line to ride it with him.

Next up was the Detonator, which shoots you straight up a loooonngg way. This is one of my favorite rides, but Bobby rode it with her. I tried to video on my phone, but they went up so fast I couldn't catch her face. Bobby said her facial features were hilarious!!

Next was the Mamba, the one she has talked about since last year. She sauntered up to it without a second thought, and she and Bobby rode in the last car, the one that goes the fastest over the hill. Bobby said the entire way up the hill she kept saying, "are we there yet?" The teenagers in front of them kept turning around and smiling at her every time she asked. She told me afterwards it didn't make her stomach drop, but it did make her face hurt. :) She couldn't stop smiling after riding it!

The final big ride on the bribe list was the Boomerang, a ride that is short but goes upside down and backwards. She started to chicken out and run for the exit, which I found amusing considering that out of the other major rides she'd ridden, this one was the tamest! But come to find out, the car made a loud noise when it came back to load. Macy is terrified of loud noises, so that is what spooked her. Bobby grabbed her by the arm and pulled her back, and she got her first experience of going upside down.

Last stop was Spinning Dragons, her favorite ride from last year. We wanted to try to get Kaylin on it. We measured her at the start of the gate,and she was right there--maybe a smidge too short, but we decided to chance it. Kaylin didn't bat an eye--she's watched Macy ride it and other roller coasters so much, she doesn't realize she should be afraid. One worker said she was fine to ride, another said "well, let's check her again." If that lady had said no, I would have let her deal with Kaylin crying for the next hour. But she said yes, and on we went. For the first hill, Kaylin was sitting backwards, so she didn't know it was coming. Macy and I had the advantage to see it. The look on Kaylin's face when that car dropped into the hill and started to turn was absolutely priceless. What I wouldn't have given to be able to take a picture or a video at that moment. Kaylin loved her first major roller coaster, and we got back in line and rode it again.

We're raising these girls to have no fear; I don't want them to be afraid of anything--I want them to think there is nothing they can't do. Macy is 6 and has ridden the Mamba, the Detonator, the Boomerang, and the Timber Wolf. What teenagers--or adults--can say the same thing?

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Wordless Wednesday...

Another blog I read does Wordless's my contribution...

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Summer Fun II--Royals Game

Another family and us went out to the ballpark today. On Sunday's they have a special deal--4 tickets, 4 hot dogs, 4 Pepsi's, and a bag of popcorn for $44. Not bad!! So another family of 4, plus 4 additional kids, and our 4 sweated it out in 90 degree weather.

The girls--all 6 of them--were so good. None of them were terribly interested in the game, but they watched a little, and clapped at appropriate times. More importantly, they did not fight, argue, or whine. I couldn't have asked for more. One of the reasons we went today was guests under 14 years old got a stuffed animal from Build-a-Bear. It was a river otter from the KC Zoo, and is adorable! Here are all the girls lined up by the fountains in the outfield with their otters.

During the first inning, three of the girls were getting food with the other mom, and I was taking Kaylin to the bathroom. That left Emily and Macy at our seats with the two dad's. A couple Royals' reps came over and asked if they'd like to do the Hat Shuffle in the 4th inning and be on the big gigantic screen. Of course they said yes. So when all the other girls got back, I figured we'd have WWIII. But we didn't.

So the top of the fourth comes, and here comes the cameraman, three official looking people, and the guy who goes on air with them. They get all settled, and we wait for a half inning. Macy was scared to death--she orginally didn't want to do it, and the other girls were quick to say they would. But peer pressure worked in the right direction, and she did a wonderful job.

Here's Macy answering where she is from. It was funny to see her 11 stories tall!!

After the ball is shuffled around, he asks Macy where she thinks it is. The whole outfield is yelling, "1"! Thankfully she said #1. This is Emily agreeing that she thinks the shuffled ball was in Hat #1.

Here's Macy again, in 11 stories of glory. She really held on to that otter! She was so scared, but was proud she did it and was telling anyone and everyone she ran into.

After the game, kids get to run the bases. We had to wait about 45 minutes, but again all 6 girls were wonderful. It was hot, they were sweaty and sticky from cotton candy, and all of them were so good. Here's 5 of the 6 girls running the bases; Gillian ran out ahead of the others.

What a fun way to start the summer! My shoulders and upper arms are pretty sunburned, but that's okay. It'll be tan tomorrow.

And the Royals won 6-1!