A Week Away....

Monday, July 25, 2016

My parents have a house in southern Missiouri, in a tiny town called Tecumseh. They live a mile and a half off a paved road and are surrounded by 15 acres of gorgeous landscape. It's tree filled, private, and the escape we all needed for a week away. However, it's so remote for us that we don't have internet, U-Verse cable, and I used all of my roaming data within the first three days. We use bug spray as our daily perfume, watch McKinley play on the rock bed that flanks the river, run into town (a 20 minute drive) to shop Dollar General and get groceries, play scratchers when in need of a little entertainment, and are usually in bed by 9:30. I'm usually itching to head back to civilization by day three, but this week was different. I was definitely ready to head home by Sunday, but it was a nice change of pace after all the running we've done this summer. And, it was just the vacation we needed before the inevitable school year starts. 

I am what you would call a "city girl", so when we talk about heading to river, I start thinking about the things I'll miss while away. You know, things like Target, my television, the ability to get in my car and run to get the things I need. None of this is possible at the river. A week away sounded like fun, but a little daunting at the same time. I knew McKinley would love every minute, but I was a little apprehensive. Like I mentioned above, there is no internet at their house, so you can't just hop online to see what's happening in the world. And when your world is run by things like social media, it makes it a little tricky to try and stay relevant. Even for a week. I lost my roaming data on Thursday and wasn't able to check Facebook, post to Instagram, or check email. I definitely had FOMO! Or so I thought. More on that later.

 I am also a girl who likes fancy vacations. Beach houses, nice hotels in fun cities, and action packed days exploring new places are all things I love to do when on vacation. River life is not what I would call fancy. At least our version of river life. Before you even think of heading outside, you coat yourself in Family Off or Avon's Skin-So-Soft to repel the large amount of bugs that bite. You take a walking stick out in the yard to ensure you could stab a snake if you had to. (I'm not about to, but my dad will.) And you sit on the deck at the end of the day and listen to the confused rooster who crows in the evening, watch humming birds dart around the feeder, and listen to nature buzz around as they go about their business in the woods. And this time around, I found all of incredibly relaxing.

Because the trip was mostly for McKinley, he did everything he wanted to do and more. He found a turtle in the front yard and showed it off it all of us, drove the "tractor" around the yard with the assistance of Granddaddy (the blade was always up when he was on the mower), learned to play badminton and was pretty good at hitting the birdie, drove Dodgy, my dad's Dodge Ram down to the barn, and did all the things five year old boys do when they are outside. He was a dirty, sweaty mess!



I made cold brew for a week's worth of iced coffee because Starbuck's isn't around the corner. McKinley discovered Kool-Aid and loved it. My mom and I made apple pies from scratch. I whipped up blueberry pancakes for breakfast. Sweet tea flowed all week and was made into an adult Arnold Palmer when needed. And we had a feast, as McKinley called them, every night. River life for us is all about cooking, baking, and eating around the clock. 

The heat this last week was pretty intense, so it made heading to the river a little less desirable. We spent Wednesday on the bank watching McKinley throw rocks and he helped my dad reel in three large trout. McKinley would cast when he felt like it, stood for hours in the cool water looking for crawdads and picking out the right rocks for his collection, and watched trucks cross the small bridge that runs over the river. As my dad says, he's a true "river rat". When we weren't at the river, we took a day trip to Mt. Home, AR where we lunched at Chili's, shopped two local antique malls for metal trucks and other finds, played "Punch Buggy" when we spotted vintage Volkswagen Beatles, and stopped to take in the gorgeous site of Lake Norfork, a sprawling lake that feeds into our tiny town in Missiouri. 


Back in May, my mom and I spotted an old bar cart in the window of a shop in town. I had all but forgotten about it until this week. So, on a trip into town on our first day, my mom and I stopped in to see if it was still there. It was! It's a total mess of rust and grime, and I couldn't be more excited to be the proud owner of this little treasure. We bought wire brushes at Dollar General to assist with the rust removal. And when we got home, we tackled the bar. And when I say we, I'm talking about me and McKinley! We threw on plastic gloves and went to town on that rust. And when that didn't work, I applied CLR and let it sit over night. It truly helped. We worked a little each day and I've still got my work cut out for me, but I'm excited. I love a good DIY project!


 Dada joined us on Thursday night and finished out the week with the fam. We all played at the river, took a little trip to Althea Springs which is a short walk away from the river, he played on the floor of the living room with McKinley (who took more than enough toys for his week away), watched McKinley have his second tooth "pulled" by Granddaddy, relaxed, ate, napped, and enjoyed a brief vacation of his own. River life is pretty chill.

And upon our return yesterday afternoon, I parked myself on the couch and soaked up as much TV as I could. I may have enjoyed a week unplugged, but I loved plugging back in and catching up on The Bachelorette, watching ABC's Sunday night game night, and getting back into our nightly routine at home. I would love to try and instill some of the river life aspects into our daily suburb life, but sometimes I'm unsure how to do it. I need to stay plugged in for my "job" with things like Facebook and Instagram. I need the internet to blog. I could definitely cut out the television time, but to be perfectly honest, we are gone so much during the summer that we don't really watch as much TV as I think we do. When modern conveniences are readily available, it's hard continue the river life at home. I guess that's why it's a vacation. You're taking a vacation from normal life.

We are already planning our vacation for next year. It doesn't involve river life. This time, it's the beach life. Definitely a life I can wrap my arms around! As for the river, it will be there for our next escape. We're already talking about taking a look at the school calendar and taking advantage of a long weekend to head down before true falls sets in. My personal takeaways from the trip are that I don't need a daily internet connection, I like spending time in the kitchen, my son is the best sleeping partner when you need a little snuggle from your five year old, scratchers are terribly addicting....especially when you keep winning tickets, taking time to relax is definitely something we don't do enough around here, and my family is pretty awesome!


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