Saturday, December 13, 2014

Bah Hum Bug

I have to confess that I am quite the Grinch this Christmas season. 

We've been living life since October 1 with one foot in our house and the other in my Dads.
This. Is. Exhausting.
I'm so appreciative of my Father for letting us stay with him but I can't tell you how happy I am that this weekend was for sure the last weekend we are staying at his house and that we'll be a fully functioning family in our own home again! 

I put up my Dad's Christmas tree just before Thanksgiving and then decorated it just after Turkey Day. And by decorated it I mean that I put beaded garland and poinsettias on it plus a hand full of ornaments. That's it, and that's all it's getting. It would take a ton of digging in the attic to find the child-proof ornaments and I just don't have it in me to do the digging through countless boxes while performing acrobatics on beams while I can't stand up more than half way. We haven't needed them in over 10 years, there's no telling where they are!

 That's as good as it's getting this year for my Dad's tree!

I really aught to pull my act together and do something, anything more towards decorating his house as he will be hosting Christmas this year. I just can't seem to bring myself to doing it. I'll just settle for having the house clean & ready for guests. I might even manage to cook a nice meal. You know one day before we're cooking for an army for a Rehearsal Dinner.

Our house looks like my bad attitude feels. We're 12 days out from Christmas as I write this and I simply refuse to drag all the Christmas Crap... yes Crap... out of storage to put it up just to take it down after we're exhausted from my brothers wedding just after Christmas. I bought this years Christmas ornaments (we buy one or two to represent each year or the things we did that year) and I proceeded to find the box of ornaments in storage only to put the new ornaments away for next year.
IF I do anything for our house it will be a Nativity set.

Our Christmas shopping was super simplified this year! This was more for the sake of our sanity as a family rather than my Grinch-like demeanor. The adults in my Dad's family haven't exchanged gifts in about 3 years. We just buy for the kids! We just spend Christmas enjoying each others company. This is the first year we're following suite with John's grandparents and parents. I'm so not complaining! 
This is the first year we've simplified shopping for our immediate family too. We usually buy for everyone in my family (Dad and 3 brothers) but this year we drew names. Our Christmas shopping list had 5 people on it. FIVE! This is awesome in my book!!

As far as friends go, I put the word out that we're doing handmade treats for gifts this year. I figured by telling people this is what we're doing I won't feel badly not exchanging store bought gifts. Last year with a new baby I really fell down on the job of shopping for gifts (particularly for friends) so I decided that this is just the way we're going to handle friend gifts from now on.

Normally I'm frenzied at this time of year with insane holiday to-do lists. I honestly don't have a single thing on my holiday to do list! I do however have a mile long list of stuff that has to be completed for my brothers wedding that is in 14 days.

With the final countdown to Christmas here I have a few things, really events, that I am looking forward to despite my bah hum bug attitude.
A Holiday Girls night with my Moms Group friends!
A scarf exchange party hosted by Lauren!
and
My soon-to-be sister-in-love bachelorette party!

I figure this is the last year I'm really going to get away with not putting up a tree or expressing Christmas Spirit with much enthusiasm so I'll take my opportunity & run with it. After this year Cora will start to be old enough to remember, or at least recognize that Mommy is a Grinch. 

I'm not really sure what's wrong with my Christmas Spirit. Maybe it was Josh leaving for Japan? All the wedding frenzy consuming the holiday? Our weird home situation? Regardless of the reason, my heart just isn't in the festive Christmas Spirit this year.

I'll leave you with a peek at the one festive thing I have managed this year - I took Cora to see Santa!
She was even in her Christmas shirt! This counts as a win in my book!
Although I will say my Grinch attitude shined through when I was far too happy with her wails in Santas lap! There's just something so classic about a crying child being held by Santa ;)



Monday, December 1, 2014

Our Weekend & Randoms

We had a great Thanksgiving and have been blessed with a lot of family time this past week!

John went to work Monday, was home sick Tuesday. I was afraid he had the flu, and he might have, but he had the flu shot so if it was the flu it was a lesser strain and he got over it quickly. Wednesday he knew not much would be going on in the office so he took off and we went and did some shopping for Christmas before heading home to start cooking for Thanksgiving. Part of what we were hunting for was a Thanksgiving outfit for Cora. I'd been hunting previously but I put it off too long so all we could find was a bib (that we paid too much for).
We kicked off Wednesday morning with a Thanksgiving Story Time at the library where Cora Mommy made an adorable paper turkey puppet.



Thanksgiving Day we went and celebrated with my Dad's family about an hour from home. It's always so nice to gather everyone together! We of course forgot the bib at home so once we got back home and had Cora Bug in her PJs I tried to snap a picture of her in the bib but she resisted (just way too tired to cooperate!).

Black Friday we slept in! Then we started the hunt for Cora's trampoline for Christmas, after three stores we finally found it. We headed home for John to do some house work/repairs and I got ready and headed off to Ennis for my soon to be sister-in-love's shower. John kept Cora and they had a Daddy-Daughter shopping trip to buy his Christmas gift for me (I think he may have gotten her ice cream while they were out too!).


The drive to Ennis was a bit of an epic disaster. I was driving Joshua's old standard truck, Jacob needed me to transport 4 huge pillars for wedding decorations to Ennis and it's the only vehicle we have they'd fit in. So it's already difficult enough driving a standard truck through Dallas traffic (I can do it, it just requires way more thought!) but to add to the trouble Robert had been driving the truck a couple of weeks ago and somehow managed to knock the passenger side mirror off the truck! So I had a load in the back giving me only partial use of my rear-view mirror and no right side mirror. Changing lanes was awful! I was already running late because I'd had a major brain fart and I totally forgot that the drive to their house is almost 2 hours, not 1. For some reason I had it in my head that it was a 1 hour 15 minute drive. I just didn't give myself enough drive time, like at all... Then in the middle of a series of exits to get from I35 to 45 my stupid phone decided to screw up and it just shut off! I exited and pulled off to mess with figuring out what the phones problem was because I couldn't drive, shift and mess with the stupid thing. I got it to come back on but couldn't get my GPS to pull back up at all or come up with a signal to make a call for directions. I literally drove around downtown Dallas until I saw a sign for 45, got on praying it was the right direction, took a small detour off onto I20 (no clue how I managed that...), but 2 hours and 30 minutes after I left Sanger I was so pleased to finally pull up at Stephanie's sisters house! I got there by memory after only having been there once! 


Saturday was a day of housework. John and Jacob spent all morning and the better part of the afternoon working at our house while I kept Cora at Dad's and worked on decorating his house for Christmas when I wasn't playing with Coralie.
Trying to decorate a kid proof tree has proven to be difficult. We aren't putting anything glass up this year, so I'm having to dig in the attic for our childhood ornaments and other child appropriate decorations. So far Cora has been very good about leaving the tree alone, probably the only thing she leaves alone at my Dad's house!

I intentionally cut the top of the tree off in the picture because our Angel is currently sideways on the tree and refuses to stand up!
Sunday was a regular Sunday for us. Church, lunch, a little shopping followed by a nap and family time.

What was eventful was that we got our first dirty looks in a store over what Cora was doing. She has recently learned that she can express her displeasure in something by being loud. She'll just say "Ahhhhhhh" loudly - like yelling. It's not shrill like a scream but it's plenty loud and obnoxious. She unfortunately does not understand "shhhh" or "inside voices" though we're actively trying to teach her. So, in the Target Christmas section when she was upset that I wouldn't let her drink from my cup from lunch she looked at us both and yelled at us. We were both working to shush her and deal with the situation (and honestly it could have been so much louder!) and this grumpy man and woman across from us stopped what they were doing to stare at us disapprovingly. I noticed them and continued working to shush her, but when I glanced up again to see that they were still glaring I stopped working with Cora (John continued shushing etc) and proceeded to glare them down. I mean seriously?!? She wasn't screaming and she's a baby! We were obviously trying to deal with the situation (and I refuse to spank for anything that she's learning or isn't willful disobedience) so my thought is if you can't help then back off! Ignore us and move on! It was our first incident of being a public nuisance in a store in 13 months so I consider that to be a win! And as for that couple, I really don't care, I know I was doing my job as a mom - I just get so frustrated with people sticking their noses where they don't belong. :)

How was your Thanksgiving?

How do you handle "incidents" in the store with kiddos?

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Finish This! {Thanksgiving Edition}

Join us in the weekly link up! Also, it's just a few weeks until the Year In Review link up (Dec 31)! I participated last year and am already working on my post this year! You can get more info on this on Nicole's blog! 

My favorite Thanksgiving tradition`
My little family doesn't have any Thanksgiving traditions of our own yet, but I'm hoping to start one this year. I'm going to put something in the crock pot to have for breakfast (so it's easy!) and we're going to eat breakfast as a family while watching the Thanksgiving Day Parade! We've started making the effort that for the big holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas) that we are home to start the day, we may travel to visit family later in the day but we begin in our own home. I think this will be a nice family centered way to start a day of Thanksgiving!
As far as existing traditions, really my family doesn't have any "traditions" per say, but I've always loved all the women in the family gathering in the kitchen preparing the meal for that day. One of my favorite pictures is my Mom, Aunt, Me and my Great Aunt all standing in the kitchen on Thanksgiving Day. (It's not handy or I would share it with you all!) I have so many memories of times in the kitchen with these strong women and good cooks dating back to when I had to be as young as 4 or 5 years old!

My most memorable Thanksgiving was
As a child we would (usually) gather at my Grandparents (Dad's parents) house for Thanksgiving. When my Grandparents were living there would be as many as 15 to 20 gathered for dinner. My Grandparents house was a big Turn of the Century house complete with old lead pipes for plumbing. Well, this particular Thanksgiving the sewage pipes under the house decided to break. As in break in half at several joints. Of course no stores were open (closed like they should be!) for us to go buy the necessary parts to repair these pipes. So, we all spent that Thanksgiving with the men under the house repairing pipes with duct tape and what odd pipes and parts my Granda and his friend Gene had around the house while the women prepared the meal. Then, the men went to Gene's house (just around the corner) to clean up and return to eat. We sat down, had a nice meal and then they went back at it, this time with the assistance of my Mom. It wasn't the most glamorous Thanksgiving, but you know what - it sure was memorable!

My favorite Thanksgiving food or dish
I don't just love turkey, infact I just tolerate it. This is the only time of year I eat it. I enjoy ham but don't just love it. I do love making my Granny's dressing, it tastes good, but honestly not any better or different than doctored up boxed stuffing. There's just something traditional and wonderful about preparing her dressing. I also prepare for tradition sake only a cranberry relish jello thing. I honestly despise the thing. The rest of my family likes it but it was my Granny's recipe and my mom took over preparing it years ago so it sticks around.
I’m so thankful
For my little family. For my larger extended family. For a roof over my head, it may be a leaky roof with problems but I really do get that we are very, very blessed compared to so many families. I'm so grateful for my brothers who are helpful and always willing to lend a hand, to family, friends and strangers the same. I'm thankful and so incredibly grateful for the men and women serving our great nation at home and abroad who are unable to be home with their families for this holiday. We will have an empty seat for Joshua, but it's just our first holiday without him. So many have an empty seat for so much longer than we do. 




Join us! LISA (COASTLINED), JEN (The Arizona Russums), BECKY (The Java Mama) and NICOLE (Three 31)

Monday, November 24, 2014

Coralie's Christmas List

Last Christmas I really struggled with what to get Cora for Christmas because she was only 2 months old. I couldn't imagine getting her nothing, because it was her first Christmas but everything that Mommy & Daddy got her were essentials. 

This Christmas I'm so excited to shop for my girl, she's old enough to (sort of) open the gifts herself and participate in the holiday fun! We follow a modified version of Want, Need, Wear, Read. We add in Stocking because of course Santa will bring her wonderful stocking stuffers. Santa, we choose to do Santa with our family so he will bring her something fun! Pajamas, a family tradition from when I was growing up that we want to continue is that on Christmas Eve after Chruch and Dinner you get to open a gift and it will have cute winter/holiday pajamas that you wear that night. Homemade - this one is hit or miss. If during the year I have pulled myself together to make everyone a handmade something then great, they'll get a handmade gift, but I don't put too much pressure on myself for this one.
Without further ado,Coralie's Christmas List - 

Want - 
I have several things on this list so that when family asks for inspiration, I have ideas ready to go.
1/2/3/4

1. Cell Phone! Hopefully Coralie having her own will keep her paws off mine and Johns! :) 
2. Foam Floor Mats - She isn't quite old enough to use these yet, but I thought it would be nice to have them for when she is ready. It would also be a nice soft place for her to play in her play corner.
3. Trampoline - we've gone back and forth on this one. I'm nervous about her getting hurt but she loves jumping! She's about to outgrow her jumparoo so we thought this would be a nice transitional toy. I like that it's small enough it can be inside when it's cold or outdoors for nice weather!
4. Mega Blocks! She enjoys playing with her traditional blocks but also likes putting things together and taking them apart. I like the classic colors so they aren't so girly if she has a brother one day down the road. 

Need - 
Of course all of her needs are fully met, so this is more of a Mommy & Daddy want list right now - the Ergo! We borrowed a friends for the State Fair and loved it! John felt much more comfortable wearing her in it than in a wrap. I love that you can back wear with it (I don't feel comfortable back wrapping yet) and she's about to out-grow the Moby Wrap.
We purchased one from a friend, but it's this style

Source  
Wear - 
I saw this one day when I was buying wipes at Walmart. We usually don't buy any new clothing for Cora, she just can't get enough wear out of it to justify the price difference but this is just so cute and it's Christmas so we made an exception!

Read/Homemade - 
I don't have any pictures here - we have picked up a few fun board books for her recently. I also picked up the pannels of fabric at Hobby Lobby recently to make her a cloth Christmas book. I haven't made it yet, and it's not looking promising so that may get packed away to make next year. 

Santa 
Santa Clause will be bringing little Miss a baby doll this year! We had a playdate at a friends house and she loved playing with the dolly. She picked it up and held it like a baby and patted it on the back. I knew then that she'd be getting a doll for Christmas. 
I like this particular doll because it's designed to go in the bathtub with her. I figure if it's okay for a bath, then it will be more durable and stand up to the gross that it will be exposed to by a toddler!


Stocking
 I want to stay away from sugary foods, so we will keep with my Mom's tradition of fruit and nuts in the stocking along with a few fun toys. This year I want to start collecting some movies for Cora and I couldn't think of a cuter movie than Frozen. She doesn't sit and watch TV yet, but she will before too very long. I thought the bathtub crayons would be a new fun thing for her since she just recently starting "coloring".
1/2

What are you all getting for the children in your family?


Friday, November 21, 2014

Coralie - 13 months old


Weight/Height - Just the other day she was sitting on the bathroom scales while I was in the shower, I peeked out and she was coming in at just over 26 pounds!

Health - She's healthy as a horse! (where did this saying come from!?!)

Nicknames - "Pumpkin", "Cor-Cor", "Cora Bear", "Cora Bora" and most recently "Bulldog" because she scrunches her face and snorts through her nose when she isn't happy with what you're doing (like putting her in the car seat). John has also recently called her "Cora-lizzy" short for Cora Elizabeth.

A last minute Halloween trip to the Deli!


Teething - On the day of her birthday party she cut a 4th tooth (top). She hasn't had any more come in yet but she's certainly teething. She and my Dad have this system worked out, she takes his finger and puts it on the part of her gums that hurt, he rubs the gums and she babbles in appreciation (and doesn't bite him!). I think it's so funny that she goes to different people for different things, she knows who meets what need. She also loves chewing on her little gummy toothbrush to alleviate teething pain. This is great because she doesn't like teething rings/toys other than the occasional cube of ice in a mesh feeder. 




Clothing - She has a few 12 month outfits that fit (as in I can squeeze her in them, but probably aught to pack them away). Everything else is 12-18 months or 18 month clothes. Some of these are even tight! I was just tugging an 18 month shirt down that had ridden up on her belly and was thinking that I might have some 24 month winter shirts packed away we got in hand-me-downs that I need to pull out. I'm pretty sure that if she'll ever start walking for real (opposed to the occasional 3 steps to Mommy or Daddy) she'll loose some of her chunk and these clothes will fit properly again.

Diapers - She's about out of size 3 disposables but I'm making them last because we still have another box of them from a diaper shower! We haven't done cloth since we've been staying with my Dad, but we will absolutely be going back to that as soon as we're settled in. At this rate though, it'll probably be New Years before I break out the cloth diapers again. Her dirty diapers are also getting to be a bit much to handle (#nasty) so I won't lie, I don't look forward to dealing with that in cloth.

Eating - Nursing - Still nursing in the morning at night. She's hit or miss on nursing to go down for naps. Occasionally she wakes in the night and I nurse her back down but I'm really trying to stop that habit (because that's exactly what that is, a habit that needs to be broken!). She doesn't really nurse during the day and if she asks (and isn't sick, or teething etc to warrant needed additional nursing) I offer her sippy cup to her and really encourage that. Usually she's just misplaced it or I haven't gotten it back out of the refrigerator and she's just using me as a walking, talking beverage dispenser. Sometimes she's just really insistent on nursing and I don't ever turn her down if she repeatedly asks after I've offered alternatives.  

Beverages - she loves drinking from her straw sippy cup! She'll drink milk (cow milk and almond milk), water and occasionally watered down juice. This past month she has really learned how to use sippy cups other than the straw type and has gotten the coordination down to turn the cup up with her hands as she sucks! I'm excited because now she's using the collection of cups we bought and tried before finding that she would only drink from straw cups before! (On the way to Branson I also learned that cups with handles out to the side, she can turn enough to get the lid just enough off that she will spill milk everywhere!)
Solids - She eats everything we do! Meat has been her biggest area of growth this month! She loves chicken and tolerates hotdogs chopped up. She has recently started using a fork! She would grab mine off my plate after eating and was really fascinated with it, we kept finding where she was hiding forks for playing with later! She has figured out how to feed me with a fork and is working on the wrist movement to scoop/stab and get it to her own mouth. I will be picking up toddler forks for her tomorrow (but I doubt she will use it, she prefers what we use).

ZZzzzzZZZ Sleeping - This is the one area in parenting I feel like I'm really struggling. With getting ready to move, then moving and all the craziness there for a solid month (September) she would be at my Dad's house until really late 11 pm - 1 am.  A few nights even up until 2 or 3 am (the nights we were moving). Bedtime fell apart for us and she wasn't consistently going down to sleep for the night (though she'd napped quite a bit through the evening/night) until 1 am. I'm still paying for this... through October we progressively worked on backing up her bedtime but our lives were still pretty chaotic and she wasn't accustomed to sleeping at my dad's house. By the end of October, I got bedtime backed up to 9:30 - 10:00. Daylight Savings was a God-Send! Without much work on my part at all she's consistently going to sleep between 9 and 9:30 and sleeping until 8:30 or 9 in the mornings. I still want to back it up 30 minutes to an hour (bedtime routine starting at 8, in bed asleep by 8:30) but we've made huge progress! I worry that the holidays are going to mess things up, but I'm just going to have to be really strict about routine and consistency.
I also really dread getting sleep established in her own crib again, since October 1 she has been sleeping in bed with us, so we might start with the pack and play in our room, then transition back to the crib in her room. Ugh. I don't know. Where's the parenting manual on this???


Our Little Socialite - Play dates are more fun with Cora now that she is more interactive & alert. We go (almost) weekly to story time in our hometown and the neighboring Denton libraries. Twice a month to MOMs where she plays in nursery & she loves going to "Sunday School" at church.

Likes- Playing peek-a-boo with whatever she can find, has started enjoying being read to (as long as they're short books), playing with the Christmas decorations I have out, particularly the beaded garlands. 

Dislikes -Getting dressed... or undressed for that matter. Blowing her nose (which is still a work in progress) or me wiping her face.

New - She has some new words! "DID IT" she will exclaim after even the smallest acts of whatever she was trying to do; put a sock on her head, roll the ball, stand up on a difficult surface, get the lid off her sippy cup etc. She had been saying it for a while but she says it so quickly and without much ennunciation that we had trouble understanding here. She runs it together and you mostly recognize the 'D' and the 'T' and the middle is pretty smushed. She still says "Momma" and "Daddy", she has several other words and mini phrases like 'Did It' that we just haven't figured out yet what they are. She speaks Cora-ese very well! ;)

Fun things we did - 
~Coralie's First Birthday Party!
~Cora's first Trunk or Treat, ~Fall Festival and Halloween with Trick or Treating!
~Last minute trip to Branson, MO to visit Uncle Josh on special liberty 
~Uncle Joshua being home for a few days before leaving for Japan (he'll be gone for 2 years)
~Uncle Jacob's Senior Recital (trip to Marshall, TX)
Her shirt says "My Uncle is a Big Bad Marine"



Uncle Robert discovering the issues...
Goings on with Mommy & Daddy - We are still working on the house. We have managed to spend one whole night out there (before it got very unseasonably cold and we came back to my Dad's house... more because of water issues than cold). Speaking of those water issues... we needed to re-do one of the exterior walls siding. When we took the siding off we found a whole heap of plumbing problems. Water leaking into sheet rock, insulation etc. What was supposed to be a 3 or 4 hour project turned into gutting the wall, re-plumbing the entire kitchen (including washer/dryer), redoing sheet rock and insulation. It's not something I can do alone and everyone else works (and of course I have Cora and I can't really do that kind of work when I'm watching her...) so the project has been squeezed in where we can in addition to other on-going projects out there. It's literally taken the better part of 3 weeks for this to be completed.

Exciting Future- We're going this weekend to Georgetown to visit John's Grandparents for Thanksgiving. Of course Thanksgiving Day back home, I'm looking forward to starting some new traditions with our family. We'll spend Thanksgiving with my family, immediate and extended at my Aunt & Uncles house. Lots of fun Christmas preparations & events!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Finish This (week 46)

Join us in the weekly link up! Also, it's just a few weeks until the Year In Review link up (Dec 31)! I participated last year and am already working on my post this year! You can get more info on this on Nicole's blog!


If I could fly to any destination tomorrow, I’d go to
Hawaii. That's just off the top of my head, but it sounds nice, warm and inviting right about now! Besides I think that will always be the destination that got away. I don't know if we'll ever go but I'll probably always want to!

My best advice for travelling is
Well, I don't know that I have any generic travel advice, but traveling with kids - that I have advice for. Plan to make plenty of stops! Don't be in a hurry! If you are driving (or even if you're flying and are taking the car seat) get a Piddle Pad! This has saved my life many times and there have been several times I was kicking myself for not having it in the seat! It's a waterproof liner that the kiddo sits on to protect the seat from moisture, be it well... piddle... or milk, lemonade, poop, water, more milk just to name a few that it has saved me from and a few that I didn't have the liner in place to spare me.
Also take lots of toys and change them out. Cora doesn't have a singular favorite toy but loves many different ones. We would always take all the favorites plus a few that didn't get much use so she had a selection and we would rotate them out every little while to prevent boredom.

I (like / dislike) to travel because
I both like and dislike traveling. To a great degree I'm a homebody. Traveling can be a little anxiety inducing for me. I like seeing new places but by that very same token, I don't like being somewhere I haven't been before. An Oxymoron, I know. When we went to Galveston spur of the moment several years ago, it ended up being one of my favorite trips. When we first got there though I was all kinds of anxious and upset because I hadn't packed properly. I just kept dwelling on all the things I had at home that we could be using. When we were in New Orleans, we left right after having moved. We literally hadn't unpacked a thing except the clothes we packed for the trip. I had a big battle with anxiety over what was going on at home and whether or not the house, the dogs, the cat, the goats etc were all okay.

Planning seems to be key for me. I haven't had one of my panics while out of town in a long time (both of those incidents were back in 2011). I've been the one to pick out specific places and things to do while there. When we have down time, it's planned down time. I also do everything to make sure that stuff at home is in order before we go. Overall, I enjoy traveling and exploring new places, as long as my type A personality can control the situation!


Join us! LISA (COASTLINED), JEN (The Arizona Russums), BECKY (The Java Mama) and NICOLE (Three 31)
 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Branson, Vetrans Day Weekend

Last week my brother Joshua called (he's stationed in Missouri for school with the Marines) and he was trying to figure out how to get home for his 10 day leave. They haven't told them what time his graduation is (he's ask, they haven't scheduled it??), so he doesn't know what time he can leave base to be able to catch a flight. Not to mention that the cheapest flight (with military discount) we could come up with for him is over $300 and he wouldn't be able to buy the ticket until that day or maybe the day before with the crazy lack of information. (And he'll have to fly back to Missouri to catch a flight to Japan the week of Thanksgiving and Heaven knows how much that flight will cost!)

We looked at all our options and my Dad and I decided to drive to Missouri and take him a vehicle (that his kind Staff Sergent gave him special permission for) so he can drive home after graduation and give a few of his fellow Texans a lift home. I called Lauren and told her I couldn't make it to craft day :( and we packed our stuff and headed to see bubba!

I was in Saint Louis when I was in high school but that was really my only experience with Missouri. I loved Branson! We didn't go to any shows because Little Miss Coralie can't sit still and be quiet to save her life... but we enjoyed our time together and taking in the area! Which, if you haven't ever been - is beautiful!!

On Saturday after picking Joshua up from base, we checked out the Bass Pro Shop in Springfield. This Bass Pro is huge! We quickly discovered we didn't have the time the store deserved to dedicate to the stop that evening and made plans to return the next day.

Sunday we woke up and had breakfast at the hotel. After breakfast we headed off to a resort in Branson that was hosting the Vietnam War Wall Monument that travels all over the country. When I was really young I vaguely remember my mom taking us to see this on a rainy day in a neighboring town. I knew it wouldn't be a long stop, none of us knew any names to look for on the wall but we wanted to see the Monument.

After visiting the Monument we headed back to Springfield to spend the better part of the day at the Bass Pro Shop. We had a good time! We were there for about an hour before Cora and I went inside, she had fallen asleep and I didn't dare wake her up to just go inside, so we both took a nap in the van for a little bit.

After Bass Pro it was dinner time and we were hungry! We'd heard great things about Lamberts in Ozark (between Springfield and Branson) so we braved the line (we waited 40 minutes, a short wait by all accounts) and we're so glad we did! Their food was delicious and it was a fun experience for all of us. Lamberts is the home of the "throwed rolls" they throw rolls across the restraunt to serve them and there are rotating servers who bring around delicous sides to serve on paper towels at the table in addition to your meal and it's sides (fried okra, macaroni and tomatoes, potatoes and onions...). It was all so good! We took more than half our food home and worked on finishing it the next day.

Monday was the last day of warm weather and our last full day in Branson. We kicked off the day with a visit to the Fish Hatchery in Branson. I think Joshua got a bigger kick out of feeding the trout than Cora did! I learned more about spawning trout than I ever cared to know... it doesn't work like you breed catfish if you're wondering. :)
My father also got a lot of giggles out of telling people who were asking about Josh, Cora and I that both Josh and I are his children. They of course assumed we were married. *eye roll*

After the hatchery we went over to College of the Ozarks. This College doesn't charge tuition to it's students, they are dubbed "Hard work U" because they require all their students to earn their education working on campus. We'd heard there was a tour of a working mill and that they had a delicious restaurant that the students served farm to table food produced on campus. We didn't eat on campus, we weren't hungry and knew we had a ton of food back at the hotel. We poked around at the restraunt/gift shop/lodge and then went to see the Mill. The students weren't working it when we were there, but it was still fun to look around.

We enjoyed lunch back at the hotel of our Lamberts leftovers and then Cora and I took another nap while Dad & Josh went to see a Car Museum (that they were disappointed in ): ).

That night we went to dinner at Cantina Loradeo in Branson Landing, a nice outlet mall shopping center in town. We were seated next to a nice couple with a little boy a few weeks older than Cora. We started talking about the kids and then it was revealed that the husband served as a Marine years ago. Well, it just so happened to be the Marine Corps Birthday & it's a big deal for Marines. The guys continued to visit throughout the meal and really hit it off, as they were leaving the kind gentlemen mentioned something about enjoying our dessert. I just figured he was assuming we would have dessert? Nope, he ordered Joshua a delicious Mexican Brownie for the Corps Birthday and picked up our dinner ticket. It was such a nice gesture from one Marine to another, and of course he and Josh exchanged information & I believe they've been in contact since then.

After dinner we were watching the water fountain (in the cold...) and heard that a big water/fire show should be starting shortly. We were so pleased we stayed to see it! Cora loved watching the display and it was a great ending to such a wonderful trip!

Tuesday (Veterans Day) we headed home, via a 4 hour detour taking Josh back on base. It was a loonnnggg drive home, particularly with a one year old in tow. It helped that my Dad and I could take turns driving back since we'd left one car with Joshua on base. It did not help that throughout the whole trip and on the way home too, I had a bad bit of motion sickness.

I'm so glad we made the trip! It was a fun time for all of us and in a year or two while Josh is serving overseas I'm sure we'll look back on this time fondly!

To see reviews of all the places we went in Branson (and our other trips too), check out my Trip Advisor profile! Trip Advisor is my favorite go to travel site for reviews and suggestions!