On Sunday morning we loaded up and headed to Fayetteville where we scooped up the Monster from his first two week stay at his Dad's house. Grabbed some lunch and headed North. In the rain. The pouring rain. Actually I kind of like driving in the rain so it wasn't' so bad, since I drove the entire time. It's approximately a 7 hour trip from our house to GG's in Missouri. 7 hours in a car with three children ages 5 and under. Yippee!
Arriving at GG's was the best part of the day. Chinese takeout and beer made everything better. The kids played in her huge yard. The hubby and I chatted with her and everybody went to bed on time and with no fuss. Leg one of the journey down.
The next morning we took off for our vacation destination, Lake of the Ozarks. It was raining but we managed to squeeze in a Mexican food and margarita lunch, go carts, and a sweltering game of mini-golf. We then checked into our "resort" The Resort at Port Arrowhead, and hit the outdoor pool. Grabbed dinner that evening in the "resort's" restaurant and passed smooth out.
Day two started off with swimming in the indoor pool (ya know cause it was still raining!). Then came one of my favorite parts. The outlet mall. Hello Gap outlet. Hello Crocs outlet. Hello Bath & Body Works outlet. I scored some school clothes for the kids, the tiniest pair of pink Crocs for Sugarbaby, and smell goods for the hubby and me. That evening we decided to eat at a restaurant I had found via the Internetz, Jolly Rogers Grub and Grog. They boasted of a sandpit, treasure hunt, and fenced in play area for the youngins. Or adult drunk pirates! We procured directions and it took us no less than an hour of driving on twisty hilly roads to arrive. If you ever go there, go by boat!!!! The food was fabulous, our waiter was a sweetie, and the whole place was one of the coolest bar and grill's I've been in. We sat down on the deck by the water, fed the fish, and drank cold tap Blue Moon. My only complaint with the place was the owner. Dude was a jerk. You'd think he didn't want business with all the dirty looks he threw all over the place. I asked him the name of the African Grey parrot that was perched on a rail above the bar and lord you would have thought I grew a second head. Remember dude, the next time you're rude to a customer who just dropped $100 in your restaurant, she might just be a blogger that will share your poor attitude with her readers. Hmpf.
Day three we slept in and enjoyed a late buffet breakfast at the "resort's" restaurant. The rain was finally gone, even after a 2am call from the front desk advising us of a tornado warning. After that, the hubs and Sugarbaby went back to the room for a nap while I took the boys to the pool. They swam and then did crafts poolside with the sweetest girl from the "resort". She kept them entertained for quite awhile. Leaving me ample time to float in the pool enjoying frozen Kamikazes. Yum. Later in the afternoon we took a boat tour around the lake and learned that Lake of the Ozarks is the largest man made lake. It has more miles of shoreline than California or Florida. We saw several muli-million dollar homes on the shores, most for sale. The boys got to sit in the captain's chair and steer the boat. I have pics but they didn't turn out so well.
Daddy and Sugarbaby on the boat tour.
The boys enjoying the ride.
That evening we took advantage of the "resort's" in house babysitting. Patty came to our room around 7pm and watched the kids while we went out. I tell you, that place had some of the nicest employees. Hubs and I went to fancy schmancy restaurant called JJ Hooks. It had a 14 mile panoramic view of the lake from their back deck. We set in the shade, devoured $50 in oysters and drank more Blue Moon. A group of people came out and asked me if I would take their picture. No problem, we all know I like to take photos. After that our waiter informed me that the next round was on those nice folks. After our meal we had about a half hour to kill so we stopped at this little dive bar with live music. Two beers there and four songs later we came back to the room. Cashman and Sugarbaby were fast asleep, the Monster was almost there as well. Patty was an angel!
Our final day began with Starbucks and packing. We were out by 10am and stopped at a few tourist stores to stock up on t-shirts and souvenirs. We stopped in Springfield for lunch and then it was on to the Exotic Animal Paradise (now known as Safari Something Or Other). We spent 4 hours with the animals before taking off again.This wildebeest came so close to me. He had the coolest eyes.
These tigers kind of freaked me out. They were all laying down by the water until hubby stuck his head out the sunroof to see better. Then the tiger charged the fence and roared. Scared the crap out of me. I felt bad for them. They seemed like very unhappy tigers.
Truthfully though, I felt worse for this rhino. This guy was a monster. I didn't realize they were so BIG! He was at the very back of his enclosure when we walked up, but slowly ambled up to us after we stood there a few minutes. He looked us over and then turned around and sauntered away. I have never been more glad for an electric fence.
We didn't get home until well after 11pm that night. The kids were asleep, the hubby and I were dead tired. But it was good. We felt great knowing we had survived our first family vacation. Confident we can do it again.