Thursday, September 4, 2014

If At First You Don't Succeed...Take Another Trip! Table Rock Lake to the Rescue!

Traveling with children is a trip.
Traveling without children is a vacation.

I never knew how true those statements were until the first time, many years ago, when Steve and I attempted to travel with little ones. As our family continues to grow, the opportunity for traveling becomes more and more difficult.  So, when we're able to get away for a few days, our expectations for relaxation are are slim, and all anticipation lies completely in the hope of just having fun together.

About a month ago, I felt the passage of summer beginning to narrow into fall, and knew that once school began, taking a trip anywhere with the gang would be nearly impossible.  And, I know that so many of you understand when I tell you, I neeeeeeeded a change of scenery. Nothing fancy, just a break from the daily grind, a little something to bolster spirits before the start of the school sprint.

Maybe it was the day I found myself doing a little happy dance, feeling victorious over the number of socks I had matched out of a basket full of strays, that I realized things were getting bad.  Or, it could have been the disordered level of anticipation I had toward the afternoon hour in which I routinely sneak into our walk-in pantry to dig for chocolate while our kids (whose names I fail to remember) do what, I don't know, that signaled a need to shake domestic life up a bit.
{M.I.A.: George, Mom and Joey who were watching with stomach cramps from the hotel room.}
So, on a random Friday morning, I woke to find my husband searching for Royals baseball tickets online, which was my signal to start packing.  We decided to hop up to Kansas City for a couple of days. We've been there a million times, so I wasn't exactly over the moon, but thankful anyway to know that the next couple of days would not involve facing the laundry monster or nursing a baby while trying to assemble supper.

Maybe it was the the Mr. McTricky reservation snake who guaranteed rooms that the hotel didn't have, or the smoky stink room that they gave us instead, or the soggy carpet in the room they moved us to after that or the child who puked in the night or the infant who refused to sleep, or 70 bucks we tossed into the wind for a hot air balloon festival that we spent a whopping 32 minutes at before having to leave because, you know, puke 'n stuff.

Two days later, home was lookin' oh-so-good, especially since George so sweetly shared his virus with me.  Alert! Mama dowm! Pack it up boys. This trip is ovah.

That's what we call vacation trip failure.

A couple {agonizing} days after the slow, pathetic death of our KC trip, a healthy dose of frustration and self-pity motivated me to send this message to my mother and sister-in-law:
Well ladies, if you haven't already heard, our little vaca to KC was pretty much a bomb....
So, that epic failure has me thinking about Labor Day weekend.  
What do you think about going to Table Rock Friday-Monday of that weekend?

And, that was the beginning of our second chance trip, the one I hoped would salvage what was left of my nerves and the summer.

Thankfully, Steve's sister, Jen found us a cozy cabin through VRBO (our favorite way to find lodging when we travel), which happened to be right on the lake where the kiddos could swim, canoe and kayak.

We spent two days boating, tubing and skiing. I LOVE to water ski. But, I confess it's been a while since I've had the opportunity to get out on the water. In fact, it's been so long that the younger boys have no recollection of me EVER of course, I had to prove to them that mamas really can do such things!

While floating in the lake and trying to get my skis on snugly, I prayed to the Lord, and Jesus and Mary and Joseph and the saint of water sports and all of the angels in heaven for protection from injury of body and pride. I couldn't handle the humiliation of drinking half the lake, or face planting after explaining to the boys how easy water skiing really is.
{Here's a pic of me, cuttin' the waves like a pro. Thank you, Princess Cruise for the stunning representation of what I think I look like when I ski! *wink*}
{Then, there's this one of me and my guy dishin' out some rad tricks for our offspring. Ha!}

Anyway, some celestial being heard my prayers, because I got up on the first try and cruised delightfully around the lake for a whopping 7 minutes....because that's about how long it took before my back and traps start cramping and for my grip to give way. The best part of being up on those skis was seeing the boys watch me from the back of the boat, little grins on their disbelieving faces!

Now, for some real footage:
Andrew and George both gave skiing a shot, and they did great! I see a lot of skiing in our family's future, provided someone will let us mooch a boat off of them for a day or two. I'm not too proud to beg.
We did a lot of swimming, too.  There are numerous little coves on the lake where you can throw out an anchor and just enjoy being in the water to cool off or take in the scenery for a while.  Of all of the boys, Charlie had the most fun splashing around.  Grandpa Bob helped him quickly overcome his fear of the water. His smile says it all!

One of the coves we swam in was also a hot spot for cliff jumping.  Man, those cliffs don't appear to be all that intimidating until you're actually standing at the top of one!  There was a lower level rock for the younger ones to leap off of, and the older kids and adults took on the higher cliffs.

George, Andrew and their cousin, Brianna, were absolutely fearless.  They climbed right up to the point of no return and cast themselves and all their cares out into the deep.  Jump after jump, they amazed all of us!
Once everyone else tamed the tummy flutters, jumping from the heights became a family affair.
The grand kids were so excited when Grandpa joined in on the fun.  How many farming grandfathers do you know of who will get out there and do this?? He's definitely passed on his adventurous spirit to the grand kids!
Henry started out on the shortest rock formation, but had no intention of being left behind by the big guys.  Before we knew it, he was up on one of the big cliffs taking a leap! The boys agreed unanimously that Henry was the bravest of them all!
Fueling up for some more action!
I love this shot of Ben.  Standing up on the boat and trying to take pics of all of the kids was a bit tricky, since the boat was rocking with the waves and I was trying to keep one hand on Joey, too. Somehow I must have snapped the pic at just the right moment, because it looks like Ben is standing on the rock!
Boating on such a big lake gave the kids ample opportunities to go tubing, which was fun for them and fun for the adults to watch!
Cruising into the sunset!
I can't help but love this pic.  So much love and sweetness!
Jen and I kept laughing at how we were absolute nervous Nellies with our first couple of babies.  We would never have brought them on a weekend boating trip!  Time and desperation has a way of stretching us a bit, eh? Joseph was awesome.  He fussed very little.  The hum of the boat motor and buzz of the breeze must have been the perfect potion that lulled him to sleep.
Captain Charlie. Completely wiped out. 

At the end of the days, as our trip came to a close our tired was a good tired.  Not the tired of facing unending loads of laundry, picking up the thousandth toy, nursing a fussy baby through the night, cooking for the crew, or making the most of the mundane.  

It was the kind of tired that wakes up the mind, refreshes the soul and leaves the body at rest so that, in the calm, we can pause and savor the memories made in the gift of our time away, and in doing so, once again find our sense of purpose to press on in the days ahead.

Rest is not idleness, and
to lie sometimes on the 
grass under trees on a 
summer's day, listening
to the murmur of the 
water, or watching the
clouds float across 
the sky, is by no means 
a waste of time.
- J. Lubbock


  1. Wow and I thought our trip to DC with a rained out zoo trip and 3 inning Nats game was an epic letdown… Sounds like your KC totally won. Glad you got to really take a nice, fun TRIP : )

  2. This made me tear up a little. These boys are SO so blessed to have one another. It makes me think of, "as iron sharpens iron..." They need each other, and their dad, and their grandfather. What a blessing they have.
    My husband and I had a very intense conversation about just this, this evening. We wonder how God's plan will shake out to form our only son into a true man without this sort of influence! Around here, with all his big sisters, it's more like, "as cotton balls and unicorns sharpen iron..." ;-)
    Thank you for sharing. Goodness what a beautiful family you have!

  3. Hooray - glad you had a "re-do" on your weekend getaway!! I hate when my boys are sick but being sick in a hotel is so much worse!!!
    Sounds like this past weekend was much better!!!


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