A Weekend Back Home

This past weekend, Shane and I drove to our hometown to celebrate both our siblings’ high school graduation! It was probably the only three day weekend I’ll get all summer, and it was full of fun adventures with friends and family.

Friday, May 17

Shane and I started our weekend early on Friday morning. We picked up my older brother, Andrew, from Springfield (where he had flown in the night before) and made it to my parents’ house by 9:30am. My great-grandma, great-uncle, and great-aunt were already there from Oregon, so we spent a few hours talking and catching up. My fat cat, Rumpelstiltskin (Rumple for short) provided plenty of entertainment, as well.

Around lunch time, we headed out to Branson to eat. We decided to eat at Mel’s Hardluck Diner, which has been a family favorite ever since my mom served there when she was pregnant with me. Vegan options in Branson are scarce, so I got a chicken wrap, hold everything but the vegetables. It wasn’t too bad, but I am thankful the Diner has some of the best French fries in town.

On our way out of the Grand Village (a cute shopping area where the Diner is), we had to stop for a sibling picture in the giant rocking chair. I’m sure somewhere there’s a picture of all of us sitting in the chair ten years ago.

Next, we headed to a new type of adventure. Last summer, Uncle Kenny promised Briar that they could ride the Ejection Seat, and he held true to his promise. I worked across the street from this attraction for four years but had never done it, so Brenna and I rode together too. I was nervous leading up to it, but the rush in my stomach when we first launched into the air was amazing. The whole experience was recorded as well, and the video of Uncle Kenny and Briar is the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. Uncle Ken’s eyes bulged out of his head the entire ride XD

Brenna ended up riding again with Uncle Kenny, and then we went to Andy’s for some cold treats! I got a strawberry Italian ice, and it was delicious! After Andy’s, we all headed back home to get ready for Brenna and Briar’s graduation ceremony.

We got to the high school early to get good seats, and we managed to all sit near-ish each other! We also sat next to Shane’s family, because his younger brother, Levi was graduating too.

The graduation ceremony was short and sweet (yay for the small class of 2019), and then we shuffled through the crowd to the court yard to take pictures. I was Brenna’s personal photographer and took pictures for her with her friends, but I managed to squeeze in some as well. I’m so proud of both Briar and Brenna, I can’t believe they were freshman when I was a senior and now they’re GRADUATES?? I’m old.

We also got some family pictures together! I’m so glad so many family members were able to be at the same place, at the same time.

After taking more pictures for Brenna, I joined Shane and his family for Levi’s graduation party! After sharing some laughs and memories, we headed to Shane’s mom’s house to get some sleep.

Saturday, May 18

Saturday morning was Briar and Brenna’s graduation party! My family ended up getting there right before the party was starting, meaning we blew up balloons with some of their friends because the party had already started. I captured this beautiful picture of the twins with Briar’s sign (sorry Brenna, it’s too funny not to share).

We chatted and caught up with family friends for a few hours, and even attempted swimming (which was short-lived and very cold).

As soon as we cleaned up the party, a huge storm hit, so we made it out just in time. After a couple hours of relaxing, Shane and I drove back into Branson to meet up with some friends we hadn’t seen in a long time. We ate pizza at Pie Five with Mandi and Ethan, then went to Grand Country with Bailey and Michael for mini golf and laser tag. This was the first time our high school friend group had hung out in three years!

We did black light mini golf, which was a ton of fun! I didn’t lose, and that’s all that matters. We also played laser tag, which was awesome. There were two levels to play on, and while it was frustrating how many times I got hit, I got a lot of great shots. I ended up getting third place!

We’re old people now, so we were too exhausted to stay out super late. We still had a ton of fun, though, and it was great catching up with everyone!

Sunday, May 19

Our last day home started bright and early, but it was totally worth it. Shane and I left his mom’s house and headed towards Silver Dollar City in Branson to meet up with my family. Brenna is in a show at the park, and we were all super excited to watch her perform.

Once we got into the park, we headed to the Saloon to see her. She did amazing, and the show was a lot of fun! I got popcorn, which is always a plus. I’m so proud of my sister- she just graduated high school and already has a paying job performing at an amusement park??

After watching Brenna, we spent some time riding rides. Briar, Andrew, Shane and I got Uncle Kenny to ride Wildfire with us, and that was enough for him. We also rode Outlaw Run and Time Traveler, so we knocked out most of the coasters!

After the rides, we got some food and met Brenna in the saloon for her lunch break. The midwest is not very vegan friendly, so I got a side of fries and ate everyone’s leftover fries as well. Yum.

We said goodbye to Brenna and then headed to our last adventure as a family. Branson has “old time photos” everywhere, yet I have never done it despite growing up there. It looked like a lot of fun, and we decided to do it as a big group of nine!

We got dressed up in old-timey dresses and outfits, then let one of the workers organize us in the best possible way for the pictures. We got hats and fake guns as well, and we looked great.

Then we took some more photos in pairs. Shane and I got some really cute pictures- it’s crazy to believe we’ve almost been married for a whole year!

After we got changed back into our modern clothes, Shane and I had to leave to drive Andrew back to Springfield. We had such a fun weekend, and I’m so grateful for my family and the memories we made together.

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