Thursday, July 31, 2014

The Gunns head to Branson 2014

We went on our summer family vacation to Branson this year. We were originally wanting to go to St. Louis since my dad has family there but my kids (mainly Ryan) does not travel well for long distances yet and my 2 sister-in-laws are very pregnant so it was not an ideal time. But, a weekend getaway to Branson was perfect. We decided to try out a new waterpark hotel this time and stayed at the Castle Rock. The rooms were really cute - they had a little bunk bed room in them which the kids all thought was so cool! There were 15 of us there together and we had a great time!

Nathan and I love Branson - there is a lot to do there and we have been so many times that we know how to get around traffic and where everything is. The first day we checked out the indoor pool for a while and then Nathan and I took the kids to see the lights on the strip and we had dinner in the car while driving around from a new burger place there - we like trying new places to eat :)

Shorty Smalls

Bunk Beds!

The next day we hit up the malls! They have the best shopping there for our tastes. We love Carters, Disney, Nike, Gap, Eddie Bauer, Bass Pro just to name a few of our favorites :) The kids LOVED the Disney store - Noah kept saying "this is Disney World!" while we were there :) They each got to pick out a toy and a shirt and they were thrilled! We also let Noah do his first Build A Bear (I wanted to wait until he was old enough to really enjoy it and not have me do all the enjoying). He chose a horse and we had the best Build A Bear employee! She gave him just the right amount of stuffing and then had Noah pick a heart out and he had to rub it on his cheek so the horse would know what he smelled like, and rub it on his heart so he would know what his heart beat sounded like, and he had to close his eyes and make a wish with the heart before we put it in a sewed him up. His wish was that his horse would be one of his new best friends :) He named his horse Henry and said Henry didn't need clothes because horses fur was their clothes - I was fine with that, saved me some money :) He also had a clown make him a balloon animal t-rex - and he is not a fan of clowns so I was impressed with him walking right up to him and talking to him.

We then went back to the hotel waterpark for more fun before my Dad's birthday dinner :) We wanted to go to Joe's Crab Shack but the wait was two and a half hours so we walked down to a different restaurant and they had a table for 15 not show up - so we took their reservation! Dinner was crazy but that is how vacation dinners go with a party of 15 (over half of which is kids). We then went and rode go carts to end our night of fun :)

Happy 66th birthday Dad!

The next day we checked out of the hotel and went to Silver Dollar City! Noah and Ryan had so much fun - you could just tell they were so excited about everything! There was an overcast sky and even a little rain so it was nice and not too hot at all. Ryan was 2 inches too short for a lot of rides but she loved the rides she was able to ride. We left there and everyone else headed home but Nathan and I took the kids and our niece Savannah to Joe's Crab Shack - it is our favorite place to eat so we really wanted to go there before we headed home. Then we had to take Noah to a putt-putt course that had dinosaurs everywhere to take pictures with them and one more round of go-carts.

We had so much fun and lots of memories were made. Some of my best memories are family vacations (and a lot of them are of Branson) so I am glad to get started making these memories with my kids and family.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Livin' On Tulsa Time...

This last weekend Nathan and I went to Tulsa to race his car. We left our normal 2 hours later than planned on Friday and got to the track about 8:00 p.m. once we got our tire blowout on the trailer out of the way. (This happens ever time we go somewhere with that trailer I swear) Nathan is really good at fixing the blowouts now though - it isn't even a big deal anymore. We take pictures and laugh and change the tire and go on.

 Once at the track Nathan finally got someone to come inspect his car so he could race in the 9:00 qualifying round. Well, apparently there are a few things required at this track that are not at others - the main one being a part of the safety belt that Nathan does not have. So, we and to rush around and borrow one and put it in last minute (which did not seem safe to me) to be able to make the qualifying pass that night. (We had to call and have a friend who was coming up anyway go get a new belt and bring it the next day or they were not going to let him run). He got his race done for the night and was happy with it. Then I finally got him to leave the track at 1:30 a.m. (he is such a talker) to head to the hotel - but first, he insisted on some Waffle House. There are some strange people at 2:00 a.m. at Waffle House, just sayin' :)

We got woke up at 7:24 a.m. (not that I noticed or anything) after that late night to start working on finding a seat belt for his car. Then we had to go to a speed shop for parts, hardware store for parts, gas station and Denny's for breakfast :) Then it was off to the track. They had to switch a converter out on the car when we got there to see if that helped his car any. I was a dang good tool girl if I do say so myself :) He qualified two more times that day and then ran a test pass also to get some kinks worked out. Then it was elimination time.

During the first round of elimination he took off awesome and then stopped mid-track. Everyone started running down there (which really made me nervous) and Nathan opened his car door and a bunch of smoke came out. Then a few seconds later he closed the door and took off again. Apparently, his nitrous bottle fitting snapped off causing the entire 15 pounds of nitrous to empty in the car with him! He could not see and it froze his driving suit! It even bottle broke out of the brackets! It could have been a lot worse, luckily he didn't wreck or get hurt by anything in the car. But, that meant his racing was over for the weekend. It stinks to drive all that way and do all that preparing only to have a part malfunction like that. That is really part of racing though - you just never know what is going to happen. One of Nathan's friends Ray Parsons ended up winning the race and after the weekend Ray had he really needed it - he wrecked his RV and car hauling trailer (totaling them both) on the way to the races.

I really love watching Nathan race - you can just tell how happy it makes him. There is just something about watching someone do something they are passionate about. Also, we have some awesome racing friends that make the experience that much more enjoyable.

The next morning we went to an early lunch at one of our favorites  - The Cheesecake Factory! Then we headed home to our babies. It was a nice break from the kids and we had some fun adult time. We made it home just in time for a family walk  - perfect end to the weekend :)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A Little Family Outing

This weekend we did something we don't normally do - took the kids to Ft. Smith to the mall and out to eat at a real restaurant. I needed to have my wedding rings looked at so we needed to go and decided to chance it with the kids - they did alright. I am not against taking my kids out places, I just know their limits and try not to push them so that everyone stays happy.

We went to the mall first and Noah's face when we walked in was so funny - he kept saying "wow Momma, I love this place, it is so pretty here" :) I took them to Candy Craze and that was an adventure. The thought of them opening all the bins and reaching in with their hands never crossed my mind! The lady working there was not happy with me - but I say she just needed to lighten up a little :)

We were also looking for my dad a birthday present and a few other things so we went to Lowes, WalMart and Academy too. The kids were screaming and laughing (making everyone around us laugh) when they were chasing each other around or riding in the carts. They were having such a good time!

We ate at Red Lobster. The loved looking at the lobsters in the tank. They didn't like the wait for the food - but they were good considering how long it took. We had to chase Ryan down a few times, but no major meltdowns.

I remember getting to go lots of places with my parents when I was growing up and it was always so fun. I got a glimpse of that this weekend and can't wait for more family outings :)

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Independence Day 2014

We had a very low-key celebration for  Independence Day this year. Nathan had to work part of the day and the kids and I did our weekly grocery shopping. Then I set up the kids pools and made them a little mini water park in the yard - it was awesome! They loved it and played for hours!

We were going to go to the city fireworks show but since we had already been to one and Noah really wanted to shoot some of his own fireworks we decided to just buy some and stay at home and shoot some off. While Nathan was shooting them for us I was constantly paranoid one was going to shoot the wrong way or something. Luckily, all went well and the kids loved it. The good thing about being at home was I was able to get the kids in bed pretty quick since it was 2 hours past bedtime :)

The next day I noticed one of our dogs was not in his usual spots (which are the porch, yard, or following me or the kids around). I looked through my firework pictures and saw him in the background of some of the pictures so I know he was here then but not sure about when the bigger fireworks started going off. I was distracted with the kids and then we went straight inside. Nathan was racing his car so me and my mother-in-law started driving around looking for him and unfortunately checking ditches :/ Neither of us saw anything of him. I checked with all the neighbors and no one had seen him. I really figured he was gone for good at that point. It had been going on 24 hours since I know I saw him and he never leaves our yard except for the occasional trot over to the neighbors yard. I posted him missing on Facebook and had several people sharing the post. I was not very hopeful though - he had just been gone too long.

The next day we all started searching again after church. we drove all around our neighborhood and even through the neighbors fields around our house. Still nothing. About 5 hours later  I got a Facebook notification from a friend that said "I have him, we are on the side of the road" and then she said she was taking him to our house. He was at least 4 miles away from my house standing in the middle of the road with cars dodging him! He is old and cannot hear good and I am sure was scared to death! We went and picked him up from her house and he was perfectly fine! I cannot believe we found him! Thank you Facebook!

So we had a great time celebrating our independence and our dog celebrated his independence a little too much but it had a happy ending :)