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Friday, October 14, 2011

Arkansas/Missouri & a WOO PIG SOOIE!

Scott and I usually take a trip home every summer, but because an event that was kind-of a big deal...our WEDDING, we delayed our summer trip until just a few weeks ago.  I say "home," but that really means home for Scott.  I'm a native Floridian and he is from all over both sides of the Arkansas & Missouri state line.  Last trip up, he tried to show me a few of his houses he grew up in and when I say a "few" I really mean there was a house he showed me every 15 minutes of our about a traveler!

I love visiting the mid-west.  We went at the end of September which was just in time to catch a glimpse of the leaves changing colors.  The weather was beautiful and I get so excited to see all of the hills and "hollers."  I quote because I wasn't sure what exactly that was, unless you're trying to "holla" back at me...until recently.  Oh, and I almost forgot...I will always have a special place in my heart for AR/MO because here is where Scott proposed on this exact trip, just one year prior.

This time, we chose September to visit for two reasons: 1) it was somebody's High School Reunion, and 2) it was my Mother-in-law's birthday!  As usual, we basically planned to drive in a huge circle and make our rounds to visit all of our family & friends in the AR/MO area.

Day 1: Branson, MO

We flew into the brand-new, one of a kind airport in Branson.  As soon as we landed in MO we knew exactly where we were by the airport's decor..."Welcome to Branson folks, check out our Water Mill & General Store right HERE!"

Scott's Mom & Step-Dad picked us up from the airport and off we were to spend the day as tourists in Branson.  The city is known to be a "Second Nashville" because there is a huge population of country artists that perform & reside there.  Whenever we are in the city, we make it a point to see a show and eat at a new restaurant.  This trip, we saw the Shanghai Circus - amazing!

After the show, I was so excited to finally eat at the famous Lambert's Cafe, the Only Home of Thrown Rolls.

The restaurant is known for literally throwing fresh, hot rolls right at you...all you have to do is hold your hands out and it's a free-for-all.  Besides the rolls, I loved how this place has staff walking around throughout your entire meal offering endless "pass arounds" including Fried Okra, Macaroni & Tomatoes, Fried Potatoes & Onions, and Black-Eyed Peas.  For my Orlando audience, think Texas de Brazil, Southern style.

The food was fantastic, the only problem was being too full for Andy's Frozen Custard, another AR/MO must-stop place for us.  *NOTE:  In case you haven't picked up on it yet, I don't really stick to my normal diet during vacations...I feel like that time is there to relax and let go & I bust my butt when I get back home!

After a long day of traveling and being on-the-go we finished the day with watching my new all-time favorite movie, Bridesmaids, laughed until we cried and called it a night.

Day 2: Powell, MO

After a fun-filled day in Branson, it was time to head to Powell ( 20) to visit Scott's Dad and Step-Mom.  One of our favorite parts of seeing everyone up there is the drive from one city to another.  Any way we go it turns into a scenic route, and it's beautiful.

We arrived at his Dad's house in the afternoon and spent the remainder of the day catching up, grilling hamburgers and enjoying the stunning view they have from their backyard.

I love it truly feels like a vacation because our cell phones and Internet barely work, which is a good thing when you're trying to catch a breather.  The weather was so nice and we enjoyed taking walks around their property while spending some quality time with his parents.

Day 3: Fayetteville, AR

We didn't get up as early as the chickens you see above, but instead enjoyed their fresh eggs for breakfast with spinach, mushroom & goat cheese omelets.  I really enjoyed cooking with the family and our time at their house.  Before we knew it, it was time to head into Arkansas to spend a day with Scott's college spirit-squad buddy, Amanda.

Oh, look...on the way there I could finally check "being 2 places at the same time" off of my bucket list!

When we got there, right away we headed to Fayetteville Country Club for a great lunch on the patio of their home Golf Course.  Beautiful view, right?

Fayetteville is smack-dab in the heart of Razorback Country, so it felt appropriate to visit Scott and Amanda's alma mater, the University of Arkansas.  We at least drive through, if not walk around the U of A campus every time we visit the city and I enjoy the tour every time just as much as Scott does.  I went to the University of South Florida and loved it there, but the all-over die hard support for the Razorbacks in this town is nothing like I've ever seen.  GO HOGS!

I'm not going to tell you how exactly Scott & Amanda know each other, but I'll give you a few hints...pictured below you will see Scott and his best man from our wedding, Joe - 3rd from left - (Amanda's husband).  Amanda was on the dance team (just like me!) and they were all great friends.

After the campus tour, it was time to get ready for the first night of Scott's High School Reunion.  The first night's event was their high school football game and we had fun catching up with his high school buddies.

Every time we visit AR/MO I get a little more country in my veins, and I choose to embrace it.  When we left the football came, we met up with Amanda to go camping and I had such a good time.  Sure, we were on a Fayetteville Country Club again (our lunch spot) and on the 9th hole for their annual camp-out, but it was camping to me.  We had sleeping bags, a bonfire and a 6-person tent, but anywhere you don't have a bathroom or an outhouse IS camping if you ask me!

We barely got any sleep that night and had SO much fun camping with her neighborhood friends.

Day 4: Rogers High School Reunion

We woke up on the golf course and my first thought was "where the heck am I?!" It's not a normal thing for me to wake up in a tent outdoors, but as soon as I realized why I was there I was glad we stuck it out.  We grabbed breakfast at the club and headed back to Amanda's house to watch the Hog Game (U of A vs. Alabama).  Although we didn't win THAT game we still showed our Razorback pride by gearing up and tailgating at her neighbor's outside trailer-gate.  I wish I had a picture of this thing, because it was pretty impressive...maybe next time.

It was finally time to get ready for the big event for his High School Reunion, so I headed upstairs to get dressed.  I'm so thankful that this day of all days the weather warmed up because I had one nice dress with me, and it was not made for fall weather.

I was excited to wear this dress since my shoes were the exact same color and I never get to wear them...unfortunately that's another thing not pictured.  I have to say, being the spouse at a High School Reunion is not as fun as being the former classmate.  I didn't know anyone besides Scott, but others in my same shoes eventually formed a spouse-only table and bonded throughout the night.

What started out as a slow night of casual conversations turned into some pretty ridiculous dancing.  Needless to say, we thought Scott may or may not have re-torn his labrum when he decided to do a back handspring in a dance party circle at the end.

Aw, bummer on Sherrie's eyes being closed.

Crazy highschoolers.

Day 5: Springfield, MO

We came, we saw & we reunioned.  Now it was time to head back to Scott's Mom's house for her Birthday!  Scott and his siblings had organized a get-together at her house so everyone could spend the afternoon together for her special day.

Very rarely, are all of the brothers and sisters together and here we were still missing Scott's sister Brooke and his step-sister Melissa, so I along with another daugther-in-law Whitney stood in for the sibling family photo.

After all of the "hey, we're a family and we're almost all here" photos we had some fun doing a backyard country photo shoot.

Next up...planking.

Totally normal.  If you thought that was weird...who the heck is this creeper?

Regardless of whether some of them were Awkward Family Photo worthy or not, we had a great afternoon with the family and enjoyed great food, great weather, and great company.

What a great vacation.  Although trips home to AR/MO don't include laying poolside drinking bahama-mama's I love our week up there every year.  I am a homebody and country girl at heart and really enjoy living the easy (non-city) life they do up there.  I joke with Scott, but every now and then I get the bug to pack up everything and move up there....we'll see.

What do you think? Just picture this as our next Christmas Card:


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