Ok while I catch up - I'm trying to do it in order. So we are almost done with July.
July was BUSY. August was not as busy. So I'm almost caught up.
The second week of July, we were off to Table Rock Lake for our bi-annual Carter family lake trip. We have been thinking/planning this trip for over a year. When I was in the hospital with Maddie right after she was born, I literally said to Jimmy how crazy it is to think that in a year we were going to be heading to the lake with his family with a ONE and THREE year old. I feel like that was yesterday. Crazy how time flies.
This year was a little different than all the past trips. Previously, we rented 2, 3 bedroom condos right next to each other at Stillwaters Resort on Indian Point from Thursday to Monday. It was great and the pool was even better. However, it was hard as the kids got older and bigger (my nieces and nephews) because we were running out of space. Plus you always had to go in and out to go between condos. So two years ago, the search began for a place that could fit all 23 of us. Yes - 23 people in Jimmy's immediate family. And still growing. HA!
An amazing 6 bedroom condo was found and booked, but you have to book for a full week. So that meant more time together and more fun at the lake!!! More days + more people in our family this year meant LOTS of luggage. And luckily, some sleeping in the car for our kiddos.
The first task of every Carter lake trip? Go to Walmart with a HUGE list and spend lots of money for food for all these people for a week. Pretty much my sister in laws are the best people to travel with because they are SO organized and plan the week of meals and make lists. Usually in my little family, I am the one that has to do that, so it's nice to just follow along sometimes and help shop!!!
The condo was great. However, our kiddos DO NOT sleep in. So when you are in one space with everyone, the downside is that when your kids wake up, you are trying to constantly keep them quiet so they don't wake everyone else up. This was an everyday thing and I felt so bad the whole trip!!
The first day though, Charlie was up and couldn't WAIT to see the lake. Our condos were called "treehouse condos" and they sure were. SO high up and a great view, but that made for a long walk down to the actual lake. Charlie and I went exploring to find the lake. But it was MUCH farther than we thought. But we still had fun.
The lake was really high. Like so high it covered the entrance to the dock. It was crazy.
But so stinking peaceful. I love the mornings on the lake.
Right after this on the walk back up, he asked me to carry him on my back all the way up. Needless to say, I was SOOOOO sweaty because the hills were steep and the temperatures were HIGH.
In addition to my wonderful SILs planning the food, we had a daily schedule...which meant full day 1 was to head to Silver Dollar City in the afternoon.
Let me just put this out there as a reminder to myself and all of you looking at these pictures: IT WAS HOT. LIKE SO HOT ALL WEEK. So please keep that in mind as you look at us constantly sweating. Haha.
We went on the train. And these two fought over chips. I love them.
She was POOPED.
But the next day, we headed bright and early back to SDC, hoping to beat some of the heat and check out more of the park (we didn't stay that long the previous evening).
And then they fell asleep again. Get the theme of this vacation?
This was one of the rare mornings that Charlie was not up before the sun. He slept on a twin air mattress next to our bed. Luckily , there was an amazing walk in closet that fit Maddie's pack n play just perfect - so there was a little bit of separation when/if she woke up crying. And lots of white noise.
There were lots of man tank tops.
And LOTS more cousin fun times. They were playing "all hail King Charlie" in this picture. I swear they just spoil him and Maddie.
There was also lots of good memories made. Jimmy's grandma makes up one of the 23 travelers. She will be 90 soon and is pretty much the most amazing and FUN woman that I know. We are so lucky to have her along for the fun. While she avoids the heat of the attractions and stayed inside watching HGTV all day, I had a lot of fun with her when we had to go home because our kiddos were napping. So she and I sat and drank beer and watched Fixer Upper. My kind of vacay!!
Tuesday was lake day. We rented a boat all day at a dock just down the road from where we were staying. Let's just say the good thing about doing this trip every 2 years and having kids every 2 years is that I know almost exactly what to expect from a one year old. And a one year old on a dock? Yeah - I didn't have high expectations. The girls stayed at the swim dock in the morning and all the kids and guys went on the boat. Maddie wanted nothing to do with the lake water - so luckily I had been smart and brought our amazing gate. This gate. I love it.
We hung out together in her "cage" and I didn't have to chase her around scared she was going to fall into the lake. It was perfect! I also had a few beers...which made it fun for mom too.
And because I was shaking it, she started shaking it to Aunt Shellie's music!!!
And then she was POOPED. Sweet sweet girl. I wish I could do this everyday with her.
The next day we headed to the water park that is in Branson. I was hesitant at first because I figured it was for older kids - but NOT the case at all. There was so much stuff for my kids age. They loved it so much. Charlie was SO brave and made it seem like such a big boy too - it was crazy.
He found this slide with his cousin Will and went up there with just Will, stood in line, and went down the slide!! I was so proud. And then...he wouldn't stop. He went up and down and up and down. See his head pop up?
Such a big boy!
Miss Maddie? Well she was having fun running around too. I did buy a really cute white hat for her before the trip that actually fit her. But apparently no one (aka Jimmy) has any idea where it went. So here we are with her 3-6 month strawberry hat. Poor girl!
Then right after lunch (before melt down city), I went down the BIG slide with Charlie. We went in the double tubes two times and he loved it so much. We had to carry them up tot he top and then he got on top of me and we went FAST. He wanted to do it over and over again. So I got Jimmy to join in the fun. Annnnndddd then this happened. Hahaha,
Apparently Jimmy said he was "saving Charlie's life". But if you watch the video, you know that wasn't the case. Haha. But now his shoulder is all jacked up. Oh Jim.
In addition to all the activities, there was lots of down time aka fun times at the condo. That included pure cousin entertainment. It is just the best to see how lucky our kids are to have such amazing cousins. Cousins that truly love them and each other. No matter the age gap of any of them - they love each other so much. See how 10 year old Ben is playing with Maddie here? There was so much fun all around.
ANNND there was an amazing theater room. That the kids (especially Charlie) were obsessed with. I swear they could stay in there all day...or at least he could. And the mom's liked it a lot after the kids were in bed because we got to watch Real Housewives on the big screen :)
Thursday morning was the TALENT SHOW!!! There were sign ups (per Maren and Kenlie) throughout the week and Thursday AM was the big show.
It kicked off with a cousin intro song/dance from the girls. It was so good! You could tell they put a lot of time and practice into it.
Then Uncle Mike juggled!
Ben and Eli "flopped" and Kenlie played Uncle Bobby's ukulele.
Mike and Tim had a stare off. (apparently that is a talent!)
Charlie showed off his baseball skills and played catch.
Then Will's talent! He played UNO. And it was amazing.
I was supposed to change Maddie's diaper as my talent (that was Kenlie's idea!!!), but luckily for all involved, she was napping during the show.
The best part was the end when all the cousins ended the show by singing the Taylor Swift song, Welcome to New York....but the words were "thank you for our trip" to Grana and Pops. It was amazing!
The rest of Thursday we had originally planned to do another boat day, but then decided it would be fun for everyone just to do their own thing. So all the families did what they wanted to. It was nice!! We went to the Branson Landing. Walked around the shops and Bass Pro shop and were planning to play on the play ground they have but it was closed!! Boo. So instead, we road the cars. Ha.
Then we went to the newer Buffalo Wild Wings in the landing and oh my goodness it was so good. I forget how much I love that place. And better yet? The game thing they have kept Charlie entertained!
Then we promised Charlie something special if he was a good boy during the trip. And for the most part he was. So we went to build a bear and he picked out a ninja turtle (this is the trip that his obsession began because cousin Will had the movie that they watched).
He loved it and got Michelangelo. And then of course he wanted the weapons to go with it and Jimmy couldn't handle that he wanted Leonardo's swords for Michelangelo. I mean he was losing it. I said, just go with it, that's what he wants. So thank goodness he did.
And Miss Maddie? Well she was playing with my phone the whole time and then when we left the store, my phone screen was broken and I couldn't see anything.
So these were a few of the pictures that I got after broken phone with my work phone.
What else happened? We played miniature golf on Thursday evening. And we took our must have all family picture. However, we were missing Granny!! But she was on the trip (as you can see from all the other pictures). Since we weren't at the same resort, we didn't get the same picture we have done in years past in front of the pool entrance, but it was even better with the waterfall in the background.
Here are all the pictures from the years past!
And we also learned that our kids are WAY too young or WAY too distracted at life to play miniature golf. It could be because it was way past their bedtime and they had been completely off schedule for like 5 days....but...it was a disaster. Not a little one. A big one. Hole 2, we quit and took them home and put them to sleep. So maybe next year they will be able to stay up and play with everyone? But for this time, it was better for everyone for them to go to sleep.
After that on Thursday night and just several nights of little sleep for mom and dad (maybe we stayed up too late and drank too much but still!), we decided to leave a day early that we had planned and skip our final day at SDC and just get home. We were trying to finish up the playset too. But it was pretty sad to leave. We had such a great time with everyone. Both kids were going through major cousin hangover by the time we got back.
However, the trip home was not uneventful. Sheesh! Poor Charlie had to poop after we had stopped for lunch and so we made a pit stop at McDonald's and I took him in to poop and Jimmy/Maddie went through the drive through to get ice cream for us. Well, Charlie did so good and peed and pooped just like he said he had to. There was a big bus or vans or kids that had stopped at the same time so the place was insane. When we were walking out of the bathroom, we stopped right outside it so I could get his shoe back on or something and he put his fingers right were the crack in the door was and then they got smashed. I'm not going to lie, it was horrible. He screamed, I realized what was happening and I screamed. Loud. I felt SO so bad. Like I should have been watching out for that and stopped it from happening. Oh man. Just feel terrible thinking about it - but after crying the whole way home, he finally fell asleep. And Michelangelo helped!!
Then for the next 2 days, he cried saying he wanted to play with his cousins. Sweet boy. Maddie missed everyone too and so did we!! It would be fun if we all lived on the same cul-de-sac for sure! (I mean our neighbor's house IS for sale.....)!
But it was another amazing trip in the books. Everything was great and we loved the accommodations so much. So blessed to have great in laws that are willing to take us on a wonderful trip like this for some great family time!!!
And who knows what our family (ours and extended) will look like in 2017! I sure didn't think we would have a one year old tagging along with us in 2015 during the 2013 trip - so we will see right!?!?