My parents have a time share in Branson, MO and in recent years my sister and I would take turns taking our kids and hanging out with my parents...
The past couple of years my parents have decided to just let my sister and I share the week and take our own family. (don't blame them for not wanting to sleep in the same hotel for 7 days with various crazy children in and out). LOL
So last year, I took the kids for a day and then Jason drove up and met us. One day, by myself, with 3 kids... I handled it.
This year was a different story. He had taken way too much off from work and just couldn't take anymore days off... plus his dad had some medical things during the week... so that left me... to take 3 kids (5, 7, and 9) to Branson BY MYSELF for 4 days.
I planned ahead, bought games (pie face game and star wars clue), got coloring books and snacks.
I decided that it was just crazy to wash clothes before we left because there is a washer/dryer in the hotel... so I sorted through clothes and stuffed them into suitcases... packed everything else we might need...
I went to my therapist apt and talked with her for my aloud hour before heading out to finish packing and get my medicine, get the kids, and hit the road.
The trip there went great, kids were excited and I don't remember anyone screaming... so that was a success.
When we got there, we stopped at Fudruckers to eat before checking into the resort. The kids were GREAT! I felt like I could handle this... that this was going to be a BLAST and what angel children I had, sitting at the table, smiling, eating their food...
If anyone deserved a little "5 dollars off for well-behaved children" it would have been me... but they didn't do that.
Bellies were fed, time to go check in. Got to the resort and I let the wild animals escape while I checked in. They were OVERLY excited and ran around like wild caged animals. The guy checking me in told me about this place for monkeys (not really... but it has a climbing wall and ropes... sounds like the perfect place for my monkeys) too expensive though...
anyway, we checked in to the hotel and managed to get everything up to the room.
The rest is kinda a blur... we had our ups and downs... the kids would be good for a few minutes and then they would fuss and fight.
We went swimming, got groceries, cooked, played games, went shopping, etc.
I gave the children $5 a day to spend while we were out. Lauren bought goggles (and she looks so cute wearing them), Rylan got a big bouncy ball, and Conner got a notebook... that he ended up letting Lauren have anyway.
That night, I told the kids that the first child to go to sleep would get an extra $5 for the next day. That worked great, didn't have to get onto anyone when it was time to go to bed. (Conner won, he is usually first to fall asleep anyway)
On Thursday night... I was quite tired of being around children and needed just a few minutes by myself. I told the kids that if they came outside to bother me (on the balcony) that they would get their $5 taken away)... so I enjoyed my quiet time... till Lauren came knocking on the door... she had lost a tooth. So now she has a top tooth and bottom tooth out and she looks so cute.
I took the kids to the outlet mall to spend their money- Rylan got a lego set, Conner got new sunglasses, a basketball and gum, and Lauren got a doll from the Disney store.
Anyway, I have so much more to say about our trip but alas, the kids won't leave me alone long enough to type a complete thought.
One of the best parts of the trip was playing the pie in the face game. My therapist asked me when I saw her before I left... "when was the last time you laughed"... GREAT question... it had been YEARS since I had a good laugh... so my goal for this trip was to have the kids laugh... to laugh with the kids... and that game helped everyone laugh. It was great to just look at the kids and see that spark in their eye and their smile and their laugh.
I don't laugh as often as I should. I don't relax and just enjoy life as much as I should.
A lot of times, life goes on and on day by day and gets quite boring and routine. It was nice to just take a little time off and enjoy the kids and laugh.
Our family is in a little negative rut it seems. Kids are grumpy, I'm grumpy, nothing but an angry fussing mess.
Once you get in a habit of being so dang grumpy all the time, it's hard to get out of it. But by golly I want to try.
One thing I want my kids to look back on when they are older and remember- are all the times we laughed together.... not all the times we were angry or grumpy. I don't want them to look back and see a bunch of unhappy times.
Would I do it again? Would I take 3 kids off on a vacation alone again? Probably... maybe... possibly... we survived... we all made it home alive...
Do they drive me absolutely insane most of the time, yes.... but I just have to remind myself that they won't be little forever and to enjoy the time we have together... try to smile and laugh...
Until next time... off to feed the monkeys and get them clean and in bed.