Hot Springs, Arkansas | Part Final


I wanted to share just a few more photos and stories from our trip to Arkansas a few weeks ago. Don't worry. This post doesn't involve anymore slightly horrifying stories about bodily fluids ;)

I plan the majority (okay all) of our trips, and one thing I like to do is make a general list of things to see and places to eat before we get there. I mean, I guess probably everyone who plans a trip does this. It's just good to have an idea of some things you want to be sure and make time for! 

This was mentioned in my previous post, but while on vacation, we like to eat good food, and we had plenty of good options in Hot Springs. Saturday morning we went to Will's Cinnamon Shop and got cinnamon rolls. The kids each had their own portion of mini rolls with a side cup of icing, and they will add sprinkles for free! Jordan and I split a large cinnamon roll because we were trying to be good, but honestly we both wished we'd just gotten our own. They were delicious!
We had planned to head to the Mid-America Science Museum after cinnamon rolls, but we opted to go on a hike/walk before it got too hot in the afternoon. Plus we thought the kids might need to run off some of the sugar.

We started up a trail to the Mountain Overlook, which is where they have a large tower you can pay to go to the top of and get a great scenic view of the national forest. Jordan got ambitious and thought the kids would actually make it all the way up the trail, but I didn't get my hopes up. They enjoyed climbing the rocks and running through the forest, but we ended up stopping after a bit and carrying them all the way back down because they both said their legs got tired. We drove to the top like the adventurers we are ;) But we did get excited about the kids getting old enough to do some real hiking one day!
After everyone got hot and hungry, we went to lunch! I saw great reviews for a place called Bailey's Dairy Treat, which was supposed to have amazing burgers and really good fried rice. I'm usually slightly scared of places that claim to be good at serving both of those things, but if I've learned nothing else from growing up with my dad taking us on road trips, it's that if a place looks like a shack on the outside then the food is most likely amazing.
Bailey's certainly hit the spot! Suuuuper delicious, greasy, cheesy burgers. The kids both got hot dogs, and after having a total meltdown because our food wasn't coming fast enough, J took one bite of his hot dog and claimed he was done eating. So that was weird, but whatever. I don't try to understand toddlers. Well, sometimes I do, but I just end up being more confused haha.
After we had lunch and J took a nap (R hasn't napped in years), we went to the Mid-America Science Museum! We have a year pass to the Oklahoma City Science Museum, and no offense to Arkansas, but our science museum is way better. Just saying! But it was fun to get to see another city's science museum, and it was super hot out by this point so being able to have a space for the kids to play inside was nice.
There was this foam pit thing in the middle, and both kids stayed in there for like 45 minutes building forts, and R found a few little girls to play with. J was cracking me up. He kept throwing the foam blocks at these two boys who were at least 7 or 8 years old even after they tried to shoo him away. I probably should have gone in there and told him to stop, but it was so funny he was messing with boys like three times his age at least!

We ate dinner at a bathhouse on the main street and did a bit of walking before it was back to the Air BnB for bedtime! We were hopeful they would be super tired and pass out instantly, but J stayed awake foreeeeeeever and ended up sitting on my lap in the living room while Jordan and I watched Hitch on the TV. I guess he saw his first movie! ha. I usually would not endorse that, but it's vacation! On vacation you do things you wouldn't normally do.
All in all, this was a great first family vacation. A good drivable distance, lots of yummy food, lots of outside play time, and good memories! So far we haven't been on a vacation we wouldn't be happy to return to. I'm thankful for time off work, health, and some extra cash to able to take a long weekend trip like this.

It was challenging with the kids sometimes, and we definitely had our moments. I don't want to give the impression that everything was easy! It wasn't. There were meltdowns and tantrums and frustrating situations. But l loved having some extra time with my little family, and the good times outweighed the rough ones for sure. I wonder where we will end up going for our next trip!

Oh! And if you're wondering about car activities and how they did on the drive, check out this post I wrote a while back. Short story is that we don't (yet) do iPads or electronics in the car, and they just play and read books and do just fine! That post has some ideas for activities and things. Also, I took our Mimmo Caddy on the trip and it was the perfect thing! So handy, and I'm really glad we had it. I can verify that we did use it in real life and it was quite handy.

(Not in any order, and these are the ones that came to mind. I'm sure there are more.)
Branson, Missouri (with R; pregnant with J)
Charlottesville, Virginia (with R 7 months old)
Keystone, South Dakota (no kids)
Boston, Massachusetts (no kids)
Liverpool, Cambridge, York, London (UK) (no kids)
Nassau, Bahamas (30 weeks pregnant with R)
Chicago (with R 12 months old)
Jen F. said...

Hey - I have a question since it's on my mind with a no kid trip to San Diego coming up. This is a totally legit and NO judgement question (I just love your 'voice' on the blog, I nod my head and laugh at a lot of what you say!): how did you get past missing the kids? Now that our trip is coming up I am so worried about leaving and missing her and feeling guilty that we're going away without her and she's going to miss us, etc. etc. Maybe I just want to hear that you went, had a blast, and your kids still loved you when you got back hahahaha how was your experience?

Jen F. said...

Obviously in relation to your Europe trip, clearly the kids went with you on this trip haha

Amanda said...

Such a great question! I say this with 100% seriousness: our trip to Europe was one of the best trips of my life. We had such an amazing time, Jordan and I had so much fun together, and the kids barely noticed we were gone. We were a little insulted honestly ha! They stayed with grandparents (Jordan's parents half the time and my parents half the time), and we would Facetime them almost every day, and they were kind of like, oh hi, okay bye lol! Of course, it depends on the ages of the kids too, but they were not at all traumatized by us being gone. When we got back they were crazy excited to see us, and they were excited to get the presents we brought back. We missed them a ton of course (we were gone for 11 days!), and we would scroll through photos and videos of them every night, but we also had so much to do and see that we weren't constantly thinking about it. And it helped that we knew they were in really good hands! I totally get the worry and guilt, but you will definitely not be scarring her for life by leaving for a bit. I personally think it's good for them sometimes! Hope you have a great trip! :)

Oh, and one more thing. I found a board book called "All Aboard to London" that had simple pictures of sightseeing things in London (Big Ben, etc). I gave it to R before we left on our trip and told my parents to read it to her while we were gone. I think she liked seeing some of the places we were going, and she loves that book still and calls it "The London Book" and talks about us going to London and seeing the red bus and the big clock :) Maybe there's a book about San Diego you can get!

Rachel said...

Glad you guys had an awesome family vacation! Vacation is definitely a great time to try out fun and different places to eat--eating is some of my best memories of most vacations. I also feel similarly...yeah, vacations take time, effort, and planning, but I have certainly not regretted any trip we've taken! I'm glad we did them! I don't think I feel comfortable traveling while pregnant, though--partially because of where we live, SE Asia in general is not the most comfortable place...and with the complications I've had in my pregnancies, I just feel better staying close to home and close to my hospital and doctor who speaks English and understands my history. Which means I'm definitely planning a vacation for 2020 after staying home all of 2019. ;)

Jen F. said...

Ah! Thanks for your response! That totally makes me feel better. I know what you mean about the facetime, we went to see Hamilton last weekend and so my MIL kept G overnight and when we facetimed her before the show she was like 'Hey Mama... I'm gonna hide you!' and then hid the phone in her blanket so she could continue watching whatever she was watching without us interrupting lol I know she'll have fun with her grandparents and be happy to see us :) love the idea about the book and she's at an age where she'll kind of get that. I'll keep an eye out for one. Thanks again!!

Rach said...

I love that you plan so much around food! I'm the same way when planning a trip. It really sounds like you guys had such a fun (and delicious) time in Hot Springs. :)