We took an amazing trip to Big Cedar Lodge in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri at the end of May. It has been a daunting task to figure out how to condense the trip into a blog post, but I am going to do my best. I took hundreds and hundreds of pictures. Madeleine had a lot of "firsts" on this trip, and the destination was just beautiful. My first step was to condense the photos to a manageable amount for a shutterfly book I made for my dad for Father's Day. The blog has been even more condensed. I'll let most of the pictures do the talking, and I'll add a few words here and there. :)
Madeleine's first plane ride! She did great - Granna had lots of neat things in her bag for her to play with - Disney princess bandaids, pipe cleaners, etc. etc. She got passed from lap to lap, and she did wonderfully.
We flew into Little Rock, Arkansas because it was less expensive than flying to Springfield, and the drive wasn't that different. We ate lunch at 42, the restaurant at the Clinton Library. If Madeleine wasn't a factor, we might've moseyed around the museum before driving north, but we ate lunch, explored a bridge over the Arkansas River, then headed out. The drive was gorgeous, and Madeleine napped like a champ. We made a substantial Walmart run in Harrison, Arkansas to get our groceries for the week, and we arrived at Big Cedar Lodge in the late afternoon. Big Cedar is so neat. It's owned by Bass Pro Shops, so it feels very outdoorsy, but the cabins we were in, the pools, the restaurants, staff, spas, etc. were all top-of-the-line - you weren't REALLY roughing it at all! We had our first meal at one of the resort restaurants, and the weather was perfect.
After breakfast, we drove to Dogwood Canyon Nature Park for a biking adventure! We did a six-mile trail with lots of stops along the way to explore and take pictures. Madeleine did great in the little bike trailer behind her dad. She explored her first teepee, and about halfway through the trek, she fell asleep in the little buggy. The weather was so fantastic - dry and cool. We had a picnic by a waterfall before heading back to our cabin at Big Cedar.
We had a lazy afternoon - some of us went to the pool, others napped at the cabin. Dad grilled our dinner, and we even had a little visitor after we'd thrown some scraps off the balcony. :) Madeleine loved the "acoooon!"
Liz and I had our massages in the morning. Ahhhh so nice. In the afternoon, we rented a boat from the marina and explored Table Rock lake. Madeleine wasn't a huge fan of the life jacket, but she did okay. She even got in the lake! After our boat ride, we stopped by the lazy river pool (one of three different swimming areas) at the resort and spent some time there before dinner.
We didn't leave the resort on this day. We all went canoeing in the morning - Cason got to channel his Eagle Scout days, and Madeleine didn't tip the boat over, so it was a success! After canoeing, we pool hopped a bit, played some shuffleboard, and generally just hung out. Madeleine really enjoyed playing with everyone at the pools - she busted out some sweet poolside dance moves to "Mr. Postman" in her daddy's Cowboys hat. She had quite the audience. And P.S. - aren't my parents so stinkin' cute - still in love and affectionate at the pool after 30 years of marriage? Awwww.
We had dinner at the fancy restaurant at Big Cedar that night, but my super-smart parents knew it would be more enjoyable for everyone if we got to truly have an adult dinner. So, we dined in shifts! Cason and I went at 6 while the Deilys hung out with Mads, then we returned home to put her to bed, and they went at 7:30! Those parents of mine are so smart. While it would've been fun to go all together, this was a great solution.
Mom and Jul got their massages on Friday morning, and after lunch, we all headed to Branson. We were only about 20 minutes away, so we figured we better give it a try. While the show we went to was fantastic (Legends - Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Blues Brothers, Michael Jackson and Elvis) we think that one Branson visit was enough for the Deily/White clan. No offense if you or your mama just looooooves you some Branson, it just wasn't really for us. Back to the show - the impersonators were really good, and the music was fun. The guy who played Michael Jackson was creepy good and my mom and I kept saying "Oh my gosh - he is JUST like him!" Elvis paid special attention to my sisters and I in the audience because I think we were the youngest there by about 40 years. ;) Madeleine did great in the show (we didn't quite know what that would look like) and she conked out in the second half.
Time to move on out! We got in the car and drove back to Little Rock so that we could catch our flight. Madeleine was an expert traveler - reading the manual and all. She and her daddy made sure Lambie traveled safely too. :)
We are so grateful for all the planning that my parents did to make this trip so much fun and fit so well for the different stage of life that our little family is in. Everyone was so great to work with a toddler along! What a fun way to kick off the summer, and I have a feeling we'll be back!
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