This vacation was definitely one of the best ones we have taken. The nine days went by so quickly and each day was pretty packed from morning to night. I think we were all exhausted by the time we got home and although we had a blast, it's always nice to get back to your own bed.
The first part of our trip was spent in Indianapolis for the annual National Down Syndrome Congress convention. It's held in a different city each year which is nice for us because it gives us a reason to visit different parts of the country. We decided to take the long 14 hour drive instead of fly. I have always been so terrified of flying and we enjoy road trips so it was an easy decision to load up the car.
Breakfast before we hit the road!
We made it!
This kid loves staying in hotels!
This was our first convention to attend and I was so excited but I had no idea what to expect. The first night we got there I remember Richard asking me how many people came to the conventions. "You think about 200 people?" I laugh at this question now because there were way more than 200 people. I honestly didn't realize how many families came to this. It was pretty awesome. It's like a huge family reunion every year. You all have something in common and share a special bond. I got to see friends that I have met before, I met many online friends in person for the first time, and I made a lot of new friends. Richard frequently commented on how much he enjoyed it and even agreed that we should do it every year. For those that know my husband, that's a big deal! I got to spend quite a bit of time with friends and their littles and it felt like I had been around them for years. I've been watching their kiddos grow up in pictures for the last year and it was so special to be able to hold those sweeties and hug their moms. Well, I didn't get a lot of holding in. They went to Richard but didn't want much to do with me. Lol. I took in a lot of information and learned so many new things, but I think one of the best things for me was just interacting with the people there. We plan on going to the convention as often as we can and I already can't wait until next year.
I was lucky that I got to spend a lot of time with this mama. She is another Rockin Mom that I met in person for the first time in Indy. She is an incredible friend and mother!
These Rockin Moms started DSDN several months ago and have already touched so many lives through this organization. They are doing great work and it's such a blessing to know them!
I started reading Stephanie's and Deborah's blogs shortly after Camden was born and have developed a friendship with these amazing mamas.
Friends for Life!!!
We decided to skip one of the workshops to take the kids to the zoo. It was only about a 10 minute walk from the hotel and the path went through a huge beautiful park. I couldn't get them into a kid's camp on Saturday and I really didn't want to make them sit through the workshops with me. We only got about an hour and a half in before it started to rain, but we had fun!
We spent the second half of vacation in Branson, Missouri. We have never been and really it was the only place on the way home that seemed like a fun place to go. It was a good choice because we LOVED it! It is so pretty in the Ozarks and there is so much to do there. It is a family friendly place and we will go back for sure. We got a cabin/house on Table Rock Lake for a ridiculously good price. Carter asked to go walking and exploring every day. He had the most fun of all and that makes me incredibly happy.
Riding the trolley around Downtown.
Even though we have a BassPro here, we always stop by one when we are out of town for some reason.
One of Carter's favorite things to do there was feed the ducks and turtles. He would laugh every time they would swim up and eat the food. He got a little too close to one at the cabin and it nipped his finger. He didn't laugh at that one, but mommy kind of did.
They had these "dancing" fountains downtown that Camden was mesmerized by.
One of Camden's favorite things to do on this vacation was EAT!
One thing I learned while on vacation is that Camden is terrified of not being secured when moving in a vehicle, boat, etc. This has never been an issue in the past so I don't know when it started. He has been on a boat with us before and has taken many tractor rides with daddy and would always be grinning from ear to ear. So, I'm not sure if it's because we were in a strange place or if it's truly a new fear. They have these boat tours called "Ride the Ducks" that take you through the town and then eventually onto the lake at the end. It's a boat on wheels basically. We thought it would be perfect for both boys and it only lasted about an hour. WRONG!!!! Carter sat with Richard in front of us and Camden sat on my lap. As soon as the boat started moving Camden's eyes got so big and he started screaming. I tried everything to calm him down but you could easily see in his face how scared he was. The poor tour guide is trying to talk to everyone and all you could hear was my child screaming at the top of his lungs. I thought about just asking the guy to drop us off on the side of the street but I don't think he would be allowed to do that for safety reasons I'm sure. I could feel the eyeballs on me from the people sitting around us and it just made me angry. I get that they were annoyed, but did they think it was fun for us?! They just kept glaring at me and I thought I was going to lose it. Finally after about 20 minutes of singing Itsy Bitsy Spider in his ear Cam falls asleep and stays asleep for the duration of the tour. Phew! I felt bad that he was so scared. Carter on the other hand loved it and even got to drive the boat on the lake for a few minutes. Of course my phone died and I didn't get any pictures of it. Oh well. They gave them these duck noise makers and Camden would put it in his mouth but wasn't sure what to do after that.
As soon as Carter spotted this little tiny transformer in front of the Ripley's Believe It or Not Museum he kept asking to go. I hadn't been to one since I was a kid. I'm not sure if they change often but it was actually pretty cool.
We made a stop at the Butterfly Museum.
They have a theme park there called Silver Dollar City that was really fun. It has all the rides and roller coasters, but they also have craftsmen there that do glass blowing, wood carving, baking, candy making, and various other things. You can watch them while they do it and it's all themed around the 1880's time period. It was pretty neat to see all the workers dressed up and you can tell it's a huge attraction because it was busy! Carter got to ride several rides and I knew not to take Cam on anything that moves!
Branson is full of shows. I bet there are almost 100 shows that go on there. They are good quality shows too. We didn't have a lot to chose from since we had kids, but we did go see The Dixie Stampede the last night we were there. It was incredible. You got a huge dinner with the show and it's very kid friendly. Cam sat on our laps and ate off our plates so we didn't have to pay for him. I was a little worried that it may be too loud for him but he was so excited and pretty much watched the whole show. I highly recommend it if you have kids and plan to travel there!
That was our vacation in a nutshell! Now we are just trying to make the most of summer before Carter starts school next month. We are making a couple of changes with Camden and therapy and I hope to write and update soon on that and previous doctor's appts. I always have good intentions and then I get so darn busy.