Branson: June 14, 2015

(click here for today's pictures)

This morning around 5, Keaton came downstairs all by herself and joined us in our bed.  Keaton is the most cuddliest of the kids and being one of the smallest, we didn't mind and were all soon back to sleep.  At 7, another wave of kiddos came down and were anxious to get started on their chores.  I had made a huge long list of chores for them to do today before we left and they were anxious to get started.

I was able to hold them off on doing their chores until I at least climbed out of bed.  Then they started-cleaning the toy room, straightening their bedroom and the bonus room, emptying the dishwasher, putting away the laundry, cleaning the potties and emptying the trash cans.  I know, I know makes them sound like they are doing tons of work but actually, they were finished with everything in time to finish a movie from the other night and then to watch a new cooking show (the current Dennie kid obsession.)

Even though this is a 3 night trip to Branson, Robby and I have put much thought into our packing. This is really just a trial run of our big trip coming up in a few days.  As always, I was concerned if all of our stuff would fit but after loading the car today, we have plenty of room and could take a few friends (any takers?)  You would think that we would be more crammed into our car with a 6 page packing list which continues to grow longer each day of this trip.

We had to drop a box by Nonna and Pops' house this morning for them to mail for us while we are gone (have to fund our travel habit by ebay sales!) and then we stopped for a Sonic drink (filling up on a coke the first 10 minutes of a trip probably wasn't the best of ideas!)  Finally, we drove by Dana's house and did a kid swap.  She got our girls and we got Cash-the boys were incredibly silent during the first leg of the trip.  I am not sure what they were doing, possibly listening for the girls to talk to them on a walkie talkie that is in each car.

Now, I will take that back because one boy was not silent.  My Whitman was not silent!  He had himself a sip of coke and then decided that he wanted another one.  He let us know about it screaming "I want more coke" over and over again.  We decided to ignore him and wait out his little fit.  Soon though out of the corner of my eye, I saw Whitman's cup flying towards me.  My little baby threw his cup over an entire row of seats while still screaming "I want more coke"...needless to say he did NOT get any more coke!

Soon after that, it was lunch time.  We arrived at McDonalds about the time that the church service that we were watching on Robby's phone was getting interesting.  Ms. Georgia and Mr. Milan have been serving in our church nursery for 50 years and I had been asked to be one of the folks speaking on their video.  So while we were standing in McDonalds waiting to order, we huddled around Robby's phone to see if I would make a fool of myself on their video.  My Dad said that I did fine but Robby was concerned that I talked to slowly and might have come off a bit special! (He didn't really say that but sometimes it makes for a better story.)

After our lunch stop, the boys went to Dana's car and the girls came to our car.  All 4 girls piled into the back seat of the car.  So even though they were noisier than the boys, it didn't really matter since they are about 10 feet away from us.  After we had driven for a few miles, Whitman started shouting "Grahammer? Grahammer?"  My baby was making sure that we didn't leave his brother.  He wasn't very happy when I explained that Graham was with Dana.  I think that he wanted to go as well.

We did have to make another bathroom stop before we arrived.  After two Sonic drinks and lots of refills at McDonalds, an additional bathroom stop was pretty mandatory for all of us.  Soon though we were back on the road.  My Keaton really wanted to ride with Dana but I didn't want for everyone to have to switch spots just yet so I promised her that she could ride with Dana the very next time and that we could all get a cookie.  

A cookie helped Whitman buckle back up again and it didn't take too long for us to be in Missouri and show the kids the College of the Ozarks sign as we passed.  I tried to talk it up for them and might just stop on the way home for ice cream there-we need to get that school into their little tuition there!

We avoided the strip in Branson and made a pretty drive to our little place.  The rooms weren't ready yet so we did the next best thing-swimming.  This place has 3 pools and we found the largest and it was huge.  It had a huge shallow area and plenty of room for all of our rowdy big kids.  The place was empty when we arrived but soon the pool filled up.  We were there for about an hour or two before the rooms were ready and we all went to unload.  

We are inside of a huge gated golf course community and we have 2 upper units of an apartment each having 2 master bedrooms and a room upstairs with 2 double beds in it.  Robby had read a few reviews and one of them was absolutely correct: it mentioned the neighbors downstairs being a bit too concerned about the noise.  Dana was outside unloading and neighbor man came to greet her but not too much about his greeting was friendly.  He said that the floor shook when people went up and down the stairs and his pictures rattled.  He continued saying that he would tape the noise if she wanted so she could hear how loud things were.  And finally he mentioned that he would not hesitate to call the sheriff if he needed to!

Seriously, we hadn't even been here for 5 minutes and the kiddos had already been warned about being quiet.  All that to say, I have cupcakes by the door for when the sheriff rings the door bell tonight and I have him saved him back some so I can give him cupcakes when he comes the next two nights as well!  My poor Keaton and Campbell have heard all of this talk and Keaton asked if their was a "cop down under us" and Campbell said that she didn't want for the police to come.  I assured them that if he came, he would like our anniversary party cupcakes and all would be well.  

Poor grumpy neighbor probably just saw our van and wanted to make sure that we were going to be super quiet while staying above him.  I do believe that he lives under Les and Dana's side of the place so we can stomp a bit louder over here.  Though Les' side is where we all ate supper and Whitman fell out of his seat causing my baby who has not had a nap all day long to fall completely apart. Grannymom took him on a walk and he finally calmed down just as he looked up and saw our van driving by filled with 9 kids going swimming.  I guess he wanted to be the 10th kid and cried and cried again.

Grannymom finally rocked him outside until he was happy again.  Then he came inside and played with his trains until the others came back from swimming.  We then put Whitman to bed in the closet, Campbell and Keaton are sleeping with Dana (even though the bed is a king size, she is probably going to wish that she had not offered those two girls to sleep with her), Lilli is in one bed with Reagan upstairs and Anderson and Graham are in the other.  I am sure that most sleeping arrangements will be different tomorrow night!

Tomorrow we hope that the rain holds off tomorrow for some swimming in the morning and some Silver Dollar City in the afternoon.  The kids can not wait to ride the rides and I am excited about them getting to see the Globetrotters perform there.  And I really love smelling the food at Silver Dollar City and one day, I am going to take one of their cooking classes.  

Sheriff update: It is nearly 11 and he never showed up for the cupcakes!  

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