"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Home Sweet Home

I'm back!  Home!  Well, we've officially been back since Sunday afternoon, but as usual life picked right back up where we left it and things have been busy.  I have tons to post about but I think the most logical way to get back into the swing of things is chronologically!  So, without further adieu, on with the vacation post!

Beaver Lake, Arkansas.  That was our destination.  It had been a long time since we had a vacation.  The last time actually was about 6 years ago when we went with Amy's family to Colorado.  The boys have never, nope never, been on a vacation.  Sure we went to San Antonio for my 30th birthday but that was just an over-night trip so nothing too long.  This was a 10-hour car drive followed by a week-long stay at the lake followed by another 10-hour car drive!  Long story (and drive) short they did fantastic!  It is amazing the wonders a DVD player in the car can make!  The drive up was remarkably smooth and they did very well.  In addition to the DVD player snacks are a must!  That is a key to helping tame Jack, he loves to snack and his weakness are fruit snacks!

The vacation was spent mainly relaxing, which we needed a lot of (remember that no vacation in 6 years thing?).  Amy's entire family (sans Adam who is the BEST dog-sitter ever!  THANKS!) went on the vacation and it was an awesome time for us all!  Amy and I got to go hiking, one of our favorite things.  We were ecstatic to find that the boys seem to enjoy it as well.  They successfully completed a 1 1/2 mile hike with nary a complaint!  This only helped Amy and I enjoy the hike even more and it was truly a great family day.  It even resulted in one of the best family photos we have ever taken (see below) thanks to my awesome camera, a timer feature, and a perfectly placed rock!  We have already begun to daydream about future hikes and camping trips with the boys based upon this spectacular day!

Seeing as how we were staying at a lake house we of course spent tons of time in and on the lake.  There was the first day scare when there was a snake in the water with us all but we put aside the willies and continued to have fun.  Braeden is water-loving and will jump (figuratively only as he is not a fan of jumping into water) at any chance to swim.  Having to get out of the water produces the exact opposite (pouting) effect!  Another favorite activity of ours when at a lake is skiing and tubing.  It has been a long time (again think 6 years) since I have skied, but I gave it my best shot, 6 to be exact.  I came super close several times and you could stretch it to say that I got up once before wiping out.  I do love it and wish I had the opportunity to do it more often.  I (Amanda actually for me) got some great pictures of my skiing/attempts.  The tubing was a huge success with all of the cousins, well with the exception of Braeden.  He did his obligatory run on the tube but declined every offer after that, instead choosing to just relax and ride the boat.  Jack on the other hand (not at all surprising) loved the adventure of being pulled along on the tube behind the boat.  His favorite parts - the bumps!  He went several times and only loved it more each ride.  I (again Amanda) have some great pictures of the two of us laughing and riding together.  Sadly though I didn't have my camera on the boat for Braeden's ride, but who knows, maybe he'll venture out again next time (whenever that may be) and become a natural!

Campfires were, of course, the other beloved activity on vacation.  On the drive up we were nervous about burn bans because of the severe drought we have been having.  However, the drought has not reached Northwest Arkansas, quite the opposite in fact since many of their rivers and lakes are well above level.  This meant the nightly chance to gather wood, light a fire, relax by said fire, and of course make s'mores!  Yes, we make these often at home but they are just so much better when done over an open flame at night!  Braeden really enjoyed roasting his marshmallows.  Well, I loosely use the term roasting because his never had the slightest hint of color on them and looked to always be fresh from the package.  But this is true to Braeden's plain/vanilla culinary tastes.  Nonetheless he managed to inhale multiple s'mores each night.  Jack enjoyed making them but never finishes one full s'more, although you would never guess it by the sticky mess he makes of himself!

It really was an awesome (have I said that several times already?) vacation but Amy and I both will agree that it was a blessing/curse that we left 2 days earlier than everyone.  See a good friend of ours from college was getting married on Saturday (great wedding, thanks Tiffany & Justin!) so we drove back Friday.  My Mom & Dad watched the kids Friday and Saturday nights for us while Amy and I briefly relaxed at home for  one short night before heading to Giddings for the wedding.  Anywho, I digress.  Amy's family left Sunday morning but ran into a series of mishaps beginning with a dead car battery and ending in a 3-hour delay due to the wildfires here in Houston shutting the freeway down!  Their 10-hour car trip home ended up being 14 hours!  Amy and I followed it all day Sunday via text and phone calls, grateful that we were not there for this last portion of the vacation!       

On a side note, who knew Northwest Arkansas was so beautiful?  Well, we didn't and it is!  If you are ever in the area stop by!  Some notable places we enjoyed included Durant, Oklahoma: home to the World's Largest Peanut (who knew?),  Eureka Springs, Arkansas: tourist trap and home to the World's Largest Tuned Windchime (again, who knew?), and possibly our favorite excursion Devil's Den State Park in Arkansas: 1 word BEAUTIFUL!

Well, I think that about covers it in a nutshell.  It was an awesome, much-needed, and relaxing vacation.  We have already begun to make plans with Amy's family for next summer's trip to Colorado and the likelihood of a resurrecting their yearly family trip!  1,500 miles and 310 (down from 560 thanks to the weeding out of closed eyes, out of focus, and numerous multi-shot feature captured) pictures later we are back home fondly reminiscing our adventures in Arkansas.  Aside from the relaxing and photos we knew it was a successful trip when both Braeden and Jackson asked if we could go to Arkansas again!  Enjoy some of the pictures below (so hard to choose when there are so many)!

All is well, post-vacation, in Drosche Land.

 The aforementioned favorite family shot!

 Our favorite of Jack, it's his personality exactly!

 My boys on the boat!

 Hey look!  I'm (almost) skiing!

 Turns out Braeden loves fishing!  Who knew?

 I had to put a worm on his hook!  With.  My.  Hands.

 My beautiful wife!

 Jack and I tubing!

  He didn't like the water at first, but warmed up to it throughout the week!

Braeden loving the water!

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