We had such a fun time. This was really the first real vacation we have taken as a family. We spent a week in Arizona last year but we were visiting family and friends and introducing the boys. We had fun then too but that was a different kind of vacation than this one was. Granted, this was a mini-mini-vacation, but it was nice nonetheless.
We went to Eureka Springs, Arkansas. I had been there a couple of times over the years but it had been a very very long time since my last visit and it had really changed a lot. It had been so long and things had changed so much that I only really recognized a few things. This little town is in such a beautiful area. The views are lovely and the town itself seems like it might have stepped out of another country. Unfortunately, we didn't take any pictures of the town itself:). We really didn't take very many pictures at all but I will include a couple of the few we did take.
On our way to Eureka Springs, we made a couple of stops along the way. We stopped at this little state park that had a small water fall. It actually looked bigger in person:) and was in a very pretty area. The boys enjoyed getting out of the car and walking around too. It was nice to break up the drive a bit for them.
Just before we reached our destination, we saw these signs advertising Pivot Rock and the natural bridge that were on Ripley's Believe It Or Not so we decided to take another side trip and stop to see it. It was another nice little hike for the boys but we were not very impressed with what we saw, especially for the money we had to pay to see it. But, again, it was a very pretty walk and we had beautiful weather for our whole trip.
The hotel we stayed at was very nice and we all enjoyed it. They had an indoor heated swimming pool so we all went swimming a couple of times. Before we went, they were both very excited and could not wait to get to the pool. Once we were in the pool area, they were a bit reluctant to get in to the water at first. They both got in with a bit of coaxing. It did not take Nick very long to feel at ease in the water. He wanted to try everything and he stayed in the water for quite a while. He had a couple of times when he was playing on the steps, with us very close by, and he accidentally slipped off the steps. He caught himself quickly two times and the dad caught him once. He never went under much but it scared him. He whimpered a bit, as a complaint, letting us know it scared him, but he stayed in the pool and within a few seconds he was happily playing again.
When we first got into the pool area, Ben quickly decided he didn't want to go in after all. I worked hard on coaxing him and he got in but wanted back out quickly. We did this for quite a while, he wanted in and then out and then in and then out, over and over again. Eventually, his times in the pool were longer than his times out of the pool and he didn't want out as much. The second day we went to the pool, he pretty much stayed in the whole time, so he did very well.
We had planned to take the boys to see the old locomotive trains they have and to take them for a ride on the trains. We were all very excited to go but we were bummed to find out they were closed on Sunday and Monday. If we had known that, we would have gone first thing when we got there on Saturday. We'll have to catch a real train ride some other time. I think Ben was actually relieved, as he was worried the train would go through a tunnel, which he does not like. They have a small train at our zoo, which we have ridden a few times, and it goes through a small tunnel and is very loud. He does not like the tunnel at all but he likes the train ride.
After the disappointment of the train, we needed something fun for the boys to do so we found the local park. They had a huge, commercial Lil Tikes play system and it was the best one I have ever seen. I didn't know they even made them like this. It had lots of climbing stuff and the boys really enjoyed it a lot. It was such a beautiful day, sunny and cool, and it was so quiet and peaceful. The dad and I enjoyed it a lot too. Just a very relaxing time with no time schedules. We took a tram ride around the historic part of the town and the boys enjoyed that a lot too. We ate lots of good food and some amazing ice cream. This morning, before heading home, we went on a guided tour of two caverns. They were both amazing and we all enjoyed it. I was a little concerned that the boys might get scared but neither of them did. For the most part, they both really enjoyed it and they were very well behaved. Towards the end, Ben started getting antsy when we stopped to look at something specific and listen to the guide but they both did very well over all.
They were so excited to get to the hotel and sleep in their bed together. It was so cute. We took their bed rails with us and the dad laid between them until they fell asleep. That was the only way we were going to get them to go to sleep at a decent time, since they were so excited. They also woke up very early both mornings we were there.
So, over all, we had a wonderful time and I am now very much looking forward to our next trip. I think this was kind of a trial balloon for us...or maybe just for me. I have tended to be a bit of a homebody since the boys came home. But we all did so well together that I think we are ready to really dive in now and start taking more vacations and maybe longer ones....if/when we can afford them of course. I really like being able to drive to where we are going. It's just so nice to be able to take whatever you want with you and to be on your own schedule. There are so many places in the U.S. that I have not been. The dad and I were discussing it on our way to Arkansas and we really want to do a lot of traveling around the U.S. with the boys. Since we will be home schooling, we can choose when to travel to miss the crowds and we can all really enjoy all of the educational aspects of our trips too. I am excited about it. Hopefully we will enjoy many more fun trips over the years.