Last week I took two days off from work in the middle of the week to try and spend some time with the kids. After Disney in 2012, we figured this would be a low key summer as far as vacations go. Combine that with a work schedule that has been borderline over the top crazy, and I just haven't been able to find much free time. A local vacation was just the ticket, so off we went.
When people are unfamiliar with Northwest Arkansas, I tend to use the phrase "the foothills of the Ozarks" as a way to efficiently convey not just spot on a map, but topographical features, as well. Boy, did we get our fill of the foothills - Silver Dollar City is in Branson, Missouri, so we had a bit of a drive to get there. Google Maps led me astray with the shortest possible route, and all four of us were car sick from the ups, down, twists and turns by the time we pulled into the parking lot. Probably didn't help that Caroline was reading in the back seat on the way there, but still...
Queasy stomachs aside, it was time for FUN!! Can't you tell how excited John was?
We got pretty lucky - it was an overcast day, middle of the week, and the crowds and the weather were about as good as you could hope for. Silver Dollar City has a great mix of rides, for kids and adults, but in a park just the right size to do it all in one day if you want to. We started off with the carousel - a perennial favorite.
Giant Barn Swing. This thing is a massive swing on a hydraulic arm that, at its height, has you looking up at your toes and then returning down at almost 50mph. As we waited in line, I could almost feel the anxiety rolling off of her; I kept assuring her she didn't have to ride it, but she told me she wanted to be brave and try it. I was so proud of her - facing your fears and doing something even when you're scared is a tough thing, especially when you're not-quite-8-years-old.
When it was our turn, I sat in between the kiddos while Daddy waited for us. Almost as soon as we started swinging, Caroline very calmly looked at me and said she was "just going to close my eyes," and kept them closed the whole time. Her face was so screwed up with fear that I reached over and put my hand on her leg, and I could feel her whole little body just trembling. Nobody ever tells you before you're a parent that you could feel overwhelmingly proud and equally scared for your child at the same time - but that's just how I felt.
After the ride, Caroline looked up at me with her huge brown eyes and told me that she was glad she did it, but that she didn't think she would do it again. I hugged her and told her, you bet, kiddo - but that I was so proud of her for trying it.
On the flip side, John and I rode all the coasters we could, including Thunderation multiple times in a row because THERE'S NO LINE, MOM!!!!! We skipped Outlaw Run, a massive wooden roller coaster that has dips, turns, loops, barrel rolls, who knows what - John saw it and told me he thought we'd just wait to ride that one until next year. Fine with me, kiddo. I don't know that I could've enjoyed it because I would've been so scared for him. Powder Keg was a back and forth decision - pretty long line, which gave John time to almost talk himself out of it. Sure was glad the girl behind us was able to allay his fears, and of course, he LOVED it.
So what happens when it's the end of a long day, the kids are tired, and we have a two hour drive home in front of us? Funnel cakes and the kids' first root beer floats, of course!!