Thursday, July 30, 2009

Family Time in Branson

Before I forget everything I did on my trip, I think it is time to blog about my family reunion in Branson, MO last week.

*As a side note, I've decided to not forward this blog over to livejournal as much of it does not transfer well, and I really don't feel like putting much in the way of personal information over there. From now on, it will mostly be crafting or fan related posts that I put on livejournal. Most of it will still be posted here as well.*

A week ago Saturday (the 18th), my sister, youngest niece, and I flew into Branson MO for our family reunion. My parents were already there with my nephew and older niece, so the flight was relatively easy with only one little one. I must say, I wish I had taken pictures of the Branson airport. I've never seen anything like it. It is, without question, the tiniest and cutest airport I've ever seen. The terminal looks like the inside of Bass Pro or like some kind of frontier amusement park.

I won't go through a daily play by play of the trip, but I'll give you some highlights from it. Sunday we went up to Springfield for the day and I got to see the Evangel campus and eat at Cheddar's, Andy's, and Lambert's. YUM!! The campus at Evangel looks amazing. I can't believe how much improvement has taken place since I left. I saw it last year, and it looked great, but it's even better now. The only sad thing was seeing the last of the barracks gone. It was the old Fine Arts building, and I have to admit, it made me teary that it is no longer there. It's a little piece of Evangel history that will live only in our memories now. However, the campus does look MUCH better without those old, white, falling apart barracks.

Andy's was amazing, as always. Oh how I have missed that wonderful frozen custard! I went three times durring the week. I managed to convince my cousins that they could not come to southwest MO without going to Andy's Frozen Custard. They seemed a bit skeptical that it could be that good at first, but once they tried it, they were hooked. It really is great stuff. If you ever get the chance to go to one, don't pass it up.

On Wednesday we went to Silver Dollar City. I have to say, as much as I love that place, it was a bit of a let down. There were just so many people in our group, and the constant splitting up, looking for each other, waiting for each other, etc kind of took up a lot of the day. However, I still had a lot of fun, and I got to make my traditional rag doll and go on my favorite ride (one of those rides where you all sit in a big tube and get wet). I also discovered a new favorite ride. I had been on it before, but it had been closed for renovation, and it is very different now from what I remember. I remembered it being kind of a log flume ride where you get in your little raft thing and go through a sort of a slide and get a bit wet. There is still a slide you go through, but now (this, in my memory is different from before, but it's been years so I could be mistaken) you get into a blow up raft instead of a solid boat like raft, and you get SOAKED. I am not exaggerating at all when I say that if I had jumped, fully clothed, into a swimming pool, I could not possibly have been wetter. It was the kind of thing you'd expect to find at a water park, but not the sort of thing you usually see at a theme park (at least the ones I've been to). We were all shocked at how wet we were. I'm very glad I had thought to bring along flip flops to wear on the water rides because slogging around all day in wet sneakers would have made me very cranky. As it was, we had a blast.

For me, the real highlight of the week was just spending time with my cousins. We haven't had a big group of us together in a very long time, and this was the first time being together where there wasn't an obvious separation between the "older" and "younger" cousins. We are all adults now, and we just had a wonderful time bonding with each other. There are more of us now too, so it was fun getting to know the significant others of some of my cousins and spending a little time with some new "step"-cousins. One afternoon we got a group of us together for a little shopping trip, and another day several of us drove to the Branson Strip in search of some putt putt golf and our second trip to Andy's (well, 3rd for me.) We all just loved being together and remembering old times and making new memories. We are all determined to get together a little more often now.

There was a time when I had said I wasn't going to take this trip. I thought I'd prefer to take vacation time to go visit friends instead of spending a week at a campground with a bunch of relatives that I hardly know (my grandpa was one of 10 kids, so the family reunions are HUGE and full of my mom's cousins who I barely know. There were 99 people at this one). But I'm so glad I did go. I still don't know or really care all that much about most of those relatives, but the time spent with my own 1st cousins and aunties and grandma is a memory I am very happy that I have made.

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