This past weekend, Derek and I traveled down to the Ozarks with my family for a nice weekend getaway. All except my brother, who spent his summer in Africa and is back in Richmond preparing for his second year of med school. He would have thrown off our canoeing numbers anyway.
Saturday morning, we left the hotel around 8am for a fun day of canoeing down the river. Our 12 mile float took us about 6 hours. We would've had a more relaxing pace if we would have gone on a weekday and didn't have to maneuver around
every drunken college student in the state of Missouri the large weekend crowd. We had a great time and every one we came across was pleasant and just as excited as we were to be enjoying the river on a hot July Saturday.
It nearly killed me to set out on a fun adventure without my phone to take pics. But I certainly wasn't going to risk taking it on the river. The adults paired up and the kids sat in little camp chairs in two of the canoes. We packed water shooters from the Dollar Store, which the kids and my dad enjoyed the most. I would have enjoyed it more if I wasn't collateral damage so often. The water was COLD.
We made periodic stops, mostly for snacking, wading, water fights. Like I mentioned, the Niangua River is pretty chilly. Jackson and I were the only ones to get fully in the water-- and I was only doing it because we found a log that was perfect for him to climb and jump. His little body was shivering like crazy, but he was having too much fun to care.
Belle was slow to warm up to being in the canoe, but eventually came around to enjoy it. At one point, she even fell asleep and took a nap on a bed made of life jackets. Both kids loved the opportunity to help paddle and were expert "middle seat drivers." At one point, Belle was pointing out the logs in the river that we DIDN'T hit because the number was smaller than the ones we did. In my defense, it's tricky to paddle with 3 year old on your pregnant lap and to not whack her in the head with every movement.
In a stream of bad luck, Derek's sandals both broke within the first hour or so of our float. They were older than our marriage, so it wasn't all that devastating, aside from him having to maneuver the canoe at times barefoot. I also wish I could've taken a picture of the pink, too-small flip flops my mom leant him on the way back to our vans.
We came home after floating to enjoy some BBQ pork sandwiches. Traveling with my mom at a place where there is even a tiny kitchen is fantastic! So much better than eating out for every meal for mediocre food. Due to a booking miscommunication, we ended up with a large cooking space that was wonderful for the kids to have some indoor, air conditioned space to play. We played games, ventured out for ice cream, and just relaxed the rest of the evening.
We had a lazy Sunday morning packing up and getting ready to head home, but before we journeyed out-- we had to explore the small cave on site. Belle didn't have fun-- my Dad told her there were dinosaurs and so she was scared. Jackson had fun exploring, though!
It was a great weekend to spend together with family! Our family is getting old and spread out enough that we are only all (or mostly) together maybe once to twice a year, so even though canoeing is a rigorous communication activity-- it was great to be together. Most of the time. Well, that's my opinion. You may ask the others and they may or may not agree. :)
It was wonderful to sleep in my own bed last night with my arsenal of pillows to keep me comfy! I'm pretty sure that's our last big adventure before baby girl gets here soon! I think I've begun to push the limits of my 7 month pregnant body. No regrets though! We've had a super fun summer!!!