On a Girl’s Road Trip

Weekend before last my girl and I went on a fast and furious trip to Dallas.
She had an audition for an ABT summer dance intensive and we thought we’d just make a “girl’s trip” out of it!  (We had never been on a trip without the boys!)
We stopped by my grandma’s before checking into our hotel and had a fast but nice visit with Grandma, my aunt and uncle and “little” cousin.   I gauge the age of my marriage by how old he is because he learned to walk at our wedding!  Let’s just say he’s mid-way through college and a handsome fellow so I remembered our 20th anniversary is coming up this year…

Emily and my idea of a good time always involves really good food so we went to Zorba’s, our favorite Greek restaurant, and had a truly marvelous meal.  I might have embarrassed Emily a bit when I asked the waiter how to say avgolemono a few times.  Divine soup it is.  We topped it off by getting some baklava to take back to the hotel for breakfast!

Greek Heaven

Before the auditions we walked a mall to work off some nervous energy, and then had to head to Coppell.  It was a great studio.  There were so many trying out (including several of her friends from here) that they ended up starting an hour late so we didn’t get out until five.  On the way home we found another great restaurant called Tiramisu’s in Coppell.  Great food and we had the place to ourselves. Then it was on the road again for home.  (Only a five hour drive home…) 

It was our first “girl’s only” trip and it was so much fun to do what we wanted to.  Hope to take a longer one soon!  NYC maybe? 

On Being Quiet and Thankful

Thanksgiving the kids begged us to go to “the cabin” again.  
Of course, all the (2) cabins where we’d gone before were taken already
the owner said “I do have one new one I don’t rent much you can have.”
The kids were out the entire Thanksgiving week (something to be thankful for!) 
so we took off into the mountains!

Reality Ridge Cabin in Murray Community

Pretty Field on the Drive Up
Road to Cabin

Neat Gulley with Lots of Fossils

Table Set for Thanksgiving

Misty View from Wrap-Around Deck

Thankful for:

  • Seeing lots of deer and hearing elk
  • The kids hiking, hunting for ancient sea fossils, playing games together, making zombie movies…
  • Our dog, Cole was thankful for- No Leash!  
  • Don’t think any of us wanted to come home.  
  • No internet, TV reception, or cell service (which was WONDERFUL. We love these kinds of peaceful trips.  You realize how much you DON’T need and what is important.  The hardest part is learning to be quiet and relax.)
  • Outings to Jasper to eat, buy a puzzle,  and visit Emma’s Junk Museum (a great junk store!)
  • Hiking Lost Valley to the waterfall.  
  • Living in Arkansas-such a beautiful state!
  • Painting together on a rainy day
  • My kids and my wonderful guy

Quick Trip to St. Louis

We went to St. Louis for Fall Break-
The kids really only wanted to go to play in the City Museum
(and we got our money’s worth- we played for about four hours, then went to the hotel for a break and back again until after midnight!)  
City Museum
If you make it to St. Louis you HAVE to visit this museum (no matter how old/young you are.) 
A fantastic
old shoe factory that was converted into an art gallery/playground that is
next to nothing you’ve ever seen before.  They take recycling to a new
extreme.   Our kids were old enough this time for me to not panic when
they disappeared into a tunnel.  I trusted that they would stay together
and they did for the most part.  Since we were there last time they’ve
added so much.  A whole middle section that goes up at least ten stories
with slides that span the entire building and a rooftop garden complete
with ferris wheel!  Where else can you watch a circus, be a human skateboard, see the world’s largest pencil, slide down ten stories, climb in an airplane hanging on a crane, enter the belly of a whale, and more??  Bring your walking shoes! 

Dragon Friend on Patio

 It was a crazy weekend in St. Louis, as many in the summer/early fall are.  Make sure you try and get a room booked ahead of time.  I had one for the first night and we just lucked into one the second night (thank goodness.)  There was a college football game, professional football game, Food Festival (which was so much fun,) and a Cardinals game all that weekend!  Downtown St. Louis has really boomed since we visited a year or two ago.  I was amazed at all the new bars, shops, and restaurants downtown as well as the neat lofts and condos in the old factory district.  Very cool.

Gateway Arch (great free museum underneath!)

View from Arch (Only 3 of the 6 of us were brave enough)  See the Cards game in Busch Stadium?

  The Anheuser-Busch Brewery Tour is another fun (and free) thing to do.  It takes about an hour if you catch it at the right time.  The architecture and artwork is phenomenal and the kids love seeing the Clydesdales and the bottling plant.  (Free drinks and pretzels at the end of the tour!)

Scott the Clydesdale

Hops Chandelier in Mash Room at A.B.

Anheuser-Busch Brewery

 On the way home we stopped at the Mastodon State Park.  Not as grand as I’d imagined, but a nice break with some fun information that the kids enjoyed.  (And we learned the difference between mastodons and woolly mammoths!)

Ozark Mountain Fun

We decided to take a day trip to Mountain View on Sunday…
(We really wanted to stay the night but after calling everywhere realized planning a Labor Day trip isn’t possible on Labor day weekend!)
the weather was gorgeous.   It’s been over 100 here for so long, and then
suddenly I think it was about 70 (maybe cooler.)  Lovely and sunny.
Mountain View is about 2 1/2 hours from North Little Rock, and it’s a beautiful scenic drive.
First we went to Blanchard Springs Caverns.  We went on the longer tour, which I haven’t been on since Scott and I were dating.   (They close that trail when it rains a lot or in the fall/winter when the bats are hibernating.)    It was a fantastic tour, I enjoyed it much more than the Dripstone Tour we usually get to take.   My oldest now wants to do the Wild Cave tour!  (She might have to do that one with her grandma, as I am a bit claustrophobic.)
My phone doesn’t take good cave pics!
After the caves we wandered down into the park to the springs.  It was very crowded due to Labor Day weekend and a wedding, so we didn’t stay long.  *Note: with your cave tickets you get access to the picnic area, swimming hole, and springs for the day!
Horseback riding was next on the agenda.  I had a horse that was due for retirement in a day, and I think she knew it.  She was just not into the ride! 🙂  There were wild boar and deer on the trail!
We tried to make it in time to visit the Ozark Folk Center, but would have had only 30 minutes for that.  Next time.  There is a new ropes course on the grounds of the Folk Center called Locoropes.  We did manage to squeeze in time for some of that…
Emily Almost to the Top
All the kids (even my man and mom-in-law) made it up the rock walls and down the zip line.   I was really proud of Max because he is afraid of heights but managed to make it down the zip line!  There was an awesome agility/tree course that scared me to look at.  You go from tree to tree on these swings, bridges, ladders… Very cool.  I know we’ll be back up there. 
Jac- Zipping
Sharon on the Zip Line
Can you find Max?
 After that adventure we were starved and had to go to our favorite pizza joint in all of Arkansas, Tommy’s Famous Pizza.  We have made special drives the 2 1/2 hours just for their pizza.  
Yes, it’s that good.   (Make sure you take cash though, Tommy’s doesn’t take plastic!)  

Kids and Their Gran-Gran
After dinner we strolled over to the town square to listen to music.  Mountain View is famous for it’s music jams on the weekends.  There are little gazebos and stages everywhere with people just setting up and jamming all night.  Bluegrass, gospel, folk, country…  
And, in case you didn’t get enough pizza there are snack places open all night!  
Nighttime Fun in Mt. View

A wonderful Sunday! 

Terra Road Trip

I’m so behind on everything lately…
School started for my kids back in early July. Then, my oldest
decided she wanted to try a private girl’s school so we had another first
day of high school last Monday.  And of course, I took pictures of none.  (Bad, bad, mommy.)
I will have to make pretend ones and pose them this week…
Thought I’d show you some pictures of a road trip my honey and I took to Fayetteville in July.
We met in Fayetteville at the good old U of A many moons ago.  (Where my parents also met.)  
It was a fast and furious business trip but we managed to have fun!
Sculpture Gardens at Terra Studios

There is a place called Terra Studios on the way down the “Pig Trail” that I’d always wanted to go to when I was in college, so we went.  They make those little “Blue Birds of Happiness” out of blown glass?  It was set up as an artist colony long ago and has a ceramic, metal, and glass studios, along with a really fun store and cafe. In the store you can watch them blow the glass bluebirds.  I think it was 115 degrees the day we went and the poor guy was out there blowing glass!
I Think I Want To Live Here
With This Guy
Troll Family We Met

Fat & Happy Dragon
Fancy Fountain

It’s Hard to Take a Picture of Butterflies

Scuba Tanks Into Chimes

Lovely Lady

My Friend the Trash Troll
My kids would love this place! 

Run for the Border

 Missouri border, that is.
We hadn’t taken a vacation this summer and school starts next week so we decided to
take the kids to Branson on a whim.
Leaving at 8:30, we got to see fireworks almost the entire drive up because we follow a country highway from Little Rock to Branson (3 hour drive.)  Sort of cool to see people celebrating the holiday (even if it was premature.)
We checked into the hotel and crashed, got up early and headed to Silver Dollar City.   It was really a fun day.  Silver Dollar City has a lot of wonderful landscaping and lots of trees so we never felt hot, despite the crazy summer temperatures. 

Max getting kissed by a pretty cowgirl before the saloon show

Target Shooting!
 Even though it was busy it didn’t feel like it and we only had to wait in one line for awhile, and that was due to a technical problem.  They have some great roller-coasters which hubby enjoyed!  The boys loved the Dog Show that was part of the Kid’s Fest they have going on now.  

Scott Ready to Ride
Not Even Half of This Ride!

Do you think they’d sell me this?
We left when they closed and went to Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede for dinner. 
I thought the kids would like the rodeo type show and cowboy dinner, which they did. 
Super Cheesy- Branson style.  The 6 year old’s quote when we left. 
“Wow, that was SUPER cheesy and funny.” 
Their favorite part was getting to see the horses up close on the way in and out. 
My favorite part was watching the buffalos roll in the dirt like puppies.
Dixie Stampede
Long day and we made it home by midnight. 
Think the kids might forgive us now for no “real” vacation…