Without the gambling, of course.
Seriously. The "strip" is lit up with glowing signs and studded billboards and each theatre beholds a show that is guaranteed to be clean. Between the shows on the strip there are little shops selling wares from the days of old--everything from harmonicas to apple dumplin's to antiques. The majority of the population visiting Branson are precious blue-hairs (with a good chunk of young families), but I'm not gonna lie--I love it. Our favorite stop is Silver Dollar City, an old time-y amusement park filled with glass-blowing, painted wood shops, quaint mercantiles, and a rollercoaster here and there speckled throughout. In November, they decorate the entire park with over FOUR MILLION lights, complete with a massive Christmas tree/light show, Christmas parade, and Christmas train ride that winds you through the Ozark woods and settles to a stop where "Grandpa", sitting in his rocker, tells you the story of Christmas.
I mean, really. I recently told a friend that if you aren't in the mood for Christmas by the time you leave, you'd better check your pulse.
We go almost every year with my husband's family and this year was especially special, thanks to the presence of a little Cub.
Okay. I know. He won't remember this trip. I also used to be in the camp of "Why take them when they won't remember it??" with visions of moms dragging around five strollers full of tiny screaming babies around Disneyland. But, then, I had my own baby and now he's at a really fun age and schmooshy schmooshy schmooshy la la la you kind of forget every "never" you ever said and all you imagine is the way his face will look when he sees "LIGHTS!" and "SNOWFLAKES!" and "GRANDPA READING THE CHRISTMAS STORY IN THE MIDDLE OF THE FOREST!"
And the next thing you know, you're loading up the stroller and dressing your baby in more layers than that one kid in A Christmas Story.
And some really awesome memories are made.
And you realize he doesn't have to be the one who remembers.
Here we go! Some pictures of our trip. And possibly some witty commentary here and there.
(Listening to the Christmas story while sitting on his uncle's lap. I cried and may or may not have had to wipe my nose on that cute little pom-pom hat.)
(If you ask Cub "What does an elephant say?" our little mime will lift his arm in response, impersonating an elephant trunk. Then he will shake his head and say, "Elephants do not talk, silly." Just kidding.)
(One of my favorite shops at Silver Dollar City. Cub's eyes were as huge as saucers as we walked through this store. LIGHTS. LOOK AT ALL THE LIGHTS.)
(Family pic! Mom has fat face already! Sweet! Nah, it's okay. I get plump with the babies. You just have to accept your fate and move on, yes?)
(Cub admiring a fountain show at Branson Landing, an outdoor shopping mall. We were expecting, perhaps, "Jingle Bells" or "We Wish You A Merry Christmas", but instead were greeted with "Dancin' in the Moonlight". It worked.)
(Attempted photo op with Cub. He was more interested in the fountain than cuddling with Mom for a picture. But, I got him back later when he snuggled on my lap during a show. HA! You still love Mama! Also, while on our shopping jaunt, a mid-fifties-ish woman stopped me and asked me where I purchased my "fabulous" boots. I told her Target for $15. She said she had JUST purchased some that looked JUST like them at Nordstrom's for JUST $250. I wanted to tell her she was JUST crazy for shelling out that much dough on a trend, but I instead said something lame like, "Go Target!" and quickly walked away, dancing in my cheap boots.)
(Okay. This is to document how my order of "What Wows Me" has changed. The condo in which we resided was very nice--granite countertops in the kitchen and bathrooms, wood floors, high ceilings, a cool loft ... you get the point. BUT, what was I the most enamored with?? Our room's walk-in closet!! Because that means Cub could sleep in THERE and NOT IN OUR ROOM!!! AAAHHHH!! Um, yeah. Because that meant a guaranteed night's sleep every night. When we share a room, one of us never sleeps. I won't mention who CUB. But this way, everyone slept soundly! So, yeah ... the countertops were fabulous, but LOOK AT THAT CLOSET! THAT CLOSET THAT PERFECTLY FITS A PACK 'N PLAY! WOW.)
It was a great trip. And I'm happy to be home.
P.S. I finally found a lotion that I love! I don't typically use Bath & Body Works (or I'm too lazy to drive there?) so when I happened upon this on our shopping trip, I was thrilled. Yeah, yeah, it's totally marketing off of the "Twilight" series yadda yadda ya, but it's warm, thick scent is deliciously winter-esque. And it works. Love it!