July 14, 2013: Dennie Family Reunion Day 4 and the Big City of Branson

(click here for today's pictures)
Welcome to Branson!

Sometime during the middle of the night, Campbell crawled in bed with us.  The raccoons might have woken her up (apparently half of the house woke up the other night to see the raccoons trying to get into our trash)  Whatever woke her up, it didn't matter because she was sleeping soundly in our bed.  She must have been sleeping too soundly in the bed because I woke up and the bed was wet.  Of course, I had that short lived fear that I was the one who had soaked the sheets but it was not me.  I quickly had Campbell go to the bathroom and found her some new underwear.  Then I just covered that spot on the bed with a towel and climbed back in bed.  Robby went to put her clothes in the wash (doesn't everyone do laundry at 2 in the morning?) and then since he wasn't sleeping too well moved on up to the loft.
I am not sure who woke up first this morning but I did hear Anderson coming down the ladder and Campbell who was laying beside me said "Daddy is sleeping up there." (meaning the top bunk) and Anderson said "sweet."  The next thing I knew was the door hit the wall as it was swung open and lots of footsteps went down the stairs.  And when I looked around, Whitman was the only one still in his bed-well, I guess Robby was still in the loft but I couldn't see way up there. 
I had my shower and started loading up.  Soon Keaton and Whitman were dressed and went downstairs and the others came up to get dressed.  It sure is a lot of fun hauling stuff into the cabin to start the trip but it isn't that much fun hauling stuff out of the cabin.  The kids had breakfast-any leftovers that they could find.  Mostly their breakfasts consisted of toast though some had cake and coke along with their toast!  
Everyone left near the same time but a few minutes apart.  But we caught up with everyone else-they were stuck behind someone who couldn't get up the hill.  Once the driver behind her drove her car out and then went back down the hill to his van, we were on our way.  It is a pretty steep gravely hill-though we had no problems either time.  
Personally, I would love to live in those cabins permanently.  Of course, I would need the internet and maybe even satellite tv but it would be a great place to raise your kids.  Robby said that he would also like to live there but he could do without the dirt and gravel roads.  And probably the mountain lions and flies might be a problem.  
It took us around 2 hours to arrive in Branson and we went straight to the Coleman store.  We aren't campers though we like to pretend that we are.  We did buy a few little items and then walked down the strip to a Mexican place to eat.  It was pretty good-it is always hard to enjoy eating out....today I was feeding Whitman, trying to keep Keaton happy, cutting food, serving food and trying to eat but I got it done.  
And speaking of Keaton-we should have sent her home with someone.  I am not sure if that little toot has become spoiled or what but she has received her first few swats today.  I had to carry her out of the the lunch restaurant because she was screaming.  If she acts like this up on our big upcoming trip, we will just have to mail her home!
After lunch, we soon were on the tram to Silver Dollar City.  I really feel like today was one of the busiest days that we have seen here.  It was pretty packed but still very manageable.  And even though it is hot, there is still a pleasant breeze.  The tram ride itself it pretty exciting for the kids. 
But our first ride of the day is what the kids said was one of their favorites-the flooded mine train or something like that.  Everyone could ride on that so that was nice.  Then we moved on to the kiddie roller coaster.  Earlier in the day, Anderson was telling Campbell about the roller coaster and she said "I am scared" and he reassured her saying that he would find her one that didn't go upside down.  She had a blast on that ride and even put her hands in the air briefly.  
When we were walking back to where we had snuck away from Keaton and Robby, Reagan said "I wonder if Daddy has a drink.  He always buys a drink here."  He didn't that time but the next time he sure did.  Next up was a ride on the frogs, butterflies and ladybugs.  Graham and Campbell were the only ones to ride the ladybugs and Graham took care of his little sister on that ride.  First he stayed with her until she was buckled.  Then someone got in a car between them and he turned to tell her "Campbell, I am in car 4 and you are in car 2."  Such a sweet boy-sometimes!
Then we rode on the pirate ship.  A few years ago, Robby fell when getting off of the pirate ship-he just missed a step.  But he landed on his wrist and received a hairline fracture and that still bothers him today some.  So not surprisingly, he was more than willing to stay back with Keaton and Whitman while we went on the pirate ship.
The next stop was up the hill to Fire in the Hole.  The big 4 rode it with Robby and then they rode it again with me.  They continued telling me that it was "really slow" and that
you don't get wet."  I guess that didn't get the reaction they wanted out of me so they changed their story to "it does 108 flips" and "you will get soaking wet."  It is still a pretty good roller coaster-Campbell started whining with fear during it!

We then headed up the big, big hill out of the park.  We did quite a few things today but are coming back tomorrow.  We still though have a lot to do but since we plan to come back this fall, we should be able to cover it all at least by then.  This time it wasn't a tram that took us back to our car, it was a bus.  Robby held the stroller while I had the diaper bag, was wearing Whitman and held Keaton's hand.  We all made it and the boys were so excited about being on a bus-probably could have rode that and then turned around and come home.
Our hotel is right near Silver Dollar City and soon Keaton was taking a nap in her pack in play in the bathroom and Whitman was having a bottle.  Robby took Reagan, Anderson, Graham and Campbell out quietly to go swimming while the little ones rested.  They had a really good time swimming in the large pool.  Robby said that at one point he lost Reagan and even stood up to find her.  He didn't see her for a bit but then up she came happily swimming laps in the pool.  He said that we might even swim again tomorrow.
Now, all of this probably would have been enough excitement for the kids-remember just a few hours earlier we were the only people for miles and miles away, unable to get cell service and at a pretty desolate location and now we were living up the big city of Branson.  We ate pizza on the strip near the go-cart place and then we let each kid ride one thing.
Of course this was quite confusing about who wanted to ride what and Robby and I even told Reagan and Anderson that they could ride one set of go-carts but they weren't tell enough.  No worries though because they quickly changed what they wanted to ride and made good decisions.  
Graham chose the little go carts that he could drive by himself.  Campbell would have been tall enough to ride them but would have had to be 4.  Anyway, there were 3 rides and Robby and I had both briefed Graham on going fast and staying on the inside.  He grinned from ear to ear driving that thing.  And the other 7 of us stood along the fence yelling and cheering for him like he was driving in and winning the Indy 500!  Seriously, at one point I worried that we were causing a scene.  He was so proud of himself when he finished and even got a sticker!  
Next up was Campbell riding with Robby on the really fast, crazy hill go carts.  I was secretly hoping that she would pick me to ride but she picked Robby to ride with.  She seemed to enjoy her ride and then we found out that we had told Reagan and Anderson that they could ride something they couldn't.  So Reagan picked riding that same really fast, crazy hill go cart with me!  Whoop whoop!  I told her that we would go as fast as we could and I meant it.  When we shot out of the gate and started climbing up the hill she shouted "mama mia!"  I later heard that Robby slowed down some on the hills-humbug!  I never lifted my foot from the gas pedal and we flew down those hills even catching air each time.  
Next up was Anderson's ride.  He had decided on the bumper boats.  Of course about 6 boats just unloaded when we got there and he was the only one out in the water.  Well, what kind of fun is that.  We did tease him saying that he couldn't get us wet so he sprayed us with his water gun.  They had machines that you could spray the boats with and Robby sprinted back to the car to find 50 cents so we could spray Anderson.  He had a hard time steering the boat though when it was time to park it, he had finally gotten the hang of it and was able to park it successfully.  I think that Anderson was pretty delighted with his choice and now he really wants all of us to do the bumper boats sometime.  
Next up was Andy's Frozen Custard.  We just had a few more steps and we were there.  We all split an oreo custard and a mint custard.  We had taken the kids cups from supper so we could truly divvy out their dessert.  They all pretty much devoured it though Keaton was able to get more custard on her legs than in her mouth.  
By the time we made it back to the hotel, it was 11.  Seriously, I don't know what we were thinking keeping the kids out this late.  They begged us to let them sleep in pajamas and we certainly did.  They also begged us to have some water so we let them do that as well.  They even begged us to go to bed...hmm, asking for pajamas, water and bed-maybe we should stay out late more often.
Keaton and Campbell did have a bath to get the sticky ice cream off of them.  Graham is in bed with Robby, Campbell is in bed with me, Whitman is in his bouncy and Reagan and Anderson are in their sleeping bags.  Tomorrow the park opens at 9 so hopefully we will have a good nights rest!