First Day of Kindergarten

I'm happy to report that we made it through this morning with minimal tears. We had plenty shed last night and even had a few "I don't wanna go, Mama" on the way to Altamont this morning. She put on her brave face once we got in the building, gave us quick hugs, took her teachers hand, and never looked back. That made this Mama very proud!

 I think Dad was expecting a lot more tears from both parties because shortly after drop-off, these arrived at my office.
Today was only a half day of school and the verdict is: "It was really, really, really, really fun." (Those were a lot of "really's" to sit through before hearing the word fun!) I'm not positive that tomorrow won't bring a whole new set of tears but all we can do is take it one day at a time. And today was a good day.



Here I sit, the night before I send my baby girl to Kindergarten, expecting no emotions at all yet having so many. You've done this. You've been to 5-day a week pre-school at a big school, met friends, a new teacher, ate lunch in the gym - and loved it all. You'd think having been here last year that I would have peace of what is to come in the morning. Somehow, the peace I'm longing for escapes me. I can act tough and say I'm hurting because you are hurting. Sad because you are sad. Nervous because you are nervous. "If she would walk in and wave and say, 'Bye Mom!' I would be fine," I say. But the truth is that if you walked in that door without looking back, I'd be just as sad that you have grown up (right before my eyes, I may add) as I will be tomorrow, when you huddle behind my legs and raise your fists to cover your eyes, fighting back the tears. I'll be fighting back the tears as well, baby girl, but I'll try to be strong, for you.
(photos from back-to-school night)

The thing is, I know you'll be okay. I know you'll love your teacher and come out of this a social little butterfly. I know that you will end this year as whole different kid, for the better. You'll end your year with a plethora of knowledge and budding new friendships. I know that the lunchroom won't hurt you, that I'll always be there at 3:15 to pick you up, take you home, and resume our beautiful life as a family of three. But you don't. You are scared of the unknown and for one of the first times in your life, Mommy and Daddy won't be there to protect you. All I can tell you is that it will be okay, you are going to love it, and you've got this little one. Words wont be enough in the morning but with one last hug, tears in our eyes, and broken hearts, we will send you on your way. Fly away little girl, you've got this. 


Branson 2013

I have to admit, my sister and I were emailing back and forth before this vacation like we were 10 years old and never been to Branson before. We are over 30 years old and have been there over 20 times, yet I think we were still more excited than the kids! Nanny and Poppy joined us this year to celebrate their 60th wedding anniversary. It is crazy that they have been married my entire life, times 2! We used to go to Branson and camp with them when we were kids, so to have them back with us was extra special.  
Headed out!
Tylee and Brynna, finally together again!

Our first stop is always Lamberts, just outside of Springfield, MO. Soo good and so fun!
Apparently I wasn't in vacation mode yet because I didn't take any pictures inside.
We got to Branson late afternoon on Friday and had 6 very excited kids! We stayed in the cabins at Thousand Hills and just loved them. They were very nice and right off the strip. We didn't have anything on our agenda for the night so the adults went to the store while the guys kept the kids. I'm sure they were well watched.
Once everyone was settled, we all the kids went for a swim at the pool and relaxed for our big day on Saturday!
Our plan Saturday morning was to head to White Water bright and early. Unfortunately, it was raining when we woke up, which threw everything up in the air. It finally started to clear off so we took a chance and headed to town.

We pretty much has the whole park to ourselves!  
Although it may look like we had a blast at White Water, Tylee wasn't overly thrilled with it. We took her on the big family ride first thing and that set the tone for the whole day. She was not a fan which pretty much ruined any chance of her riding anything else. We mostly played in the Lazy River while all the other kids went and rode the big slides. Maybe next year...although it seems I say that every year.

After White Water, we went back to the cabin and got ready to go out to dinner for Nanny and Poppy's anniversary.
Sunday was forecasting rain as well, but with it being our last day, we didn't have any other choice than to head to Silver Dollar City. We tried to beat the rain but pretty much as soon as we got our tickets and got through the gates, it started pouring on it.
Thankfully, an umbrella and Goop were on Tylee's agenda, so we killed some time with those activities while we waited for the rain to stop.
We went to the dog show and ate some lunch...waited some more. And waited some more. It finally cleared off enough that we were able to make our way down the hill to Fire in the Hole, where Lowen and Brynna rode their first rollercoaster! (You guess it...Tylee was scared!)
The kids were able to ride American Plunge (including Brynna and Lowen) before it started raining again and they shut everything down.
Needless to say, most of our day was spent waiting.
It finally cleared up around 5pm but our time at SDC was almost over by then. We split up and did the things that were most important to us, in case the rain started to fall again. I ended up in the kiddie area and candle shop with Tylee and Brynna, while the big kids got to go ride all the fun rides. Definitely not the day I was hoping for but we made the best of it.
The good thing is that we know there is always next year, and will hopefully be blessed with sunshine and a not-so-scared 6 year old vs. the scaredy-pants 5-yeard old I had this year.
We went back to the cabin, ordered pizza, played games, cards, and just enjoyed being together with Nanny and Poppy for one last night in Branson. Till next year!