Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Wisconsin Dells was... the best decision EVER.

Before I get into the post, I want to announce the winner of the Sleepless in Manhattan book giveaway that ended yesterday...
Congratulations, Ada!! You'll be getting an email from me soon- I hope you love the book as much as I did!

I have SO many photos for you and so many fun things to talk about so go get a drink and get comfy. So if you remember we didn't tell the kids beforehand where we were going. I gave them vague and ambiguous clues that were in not intended to be helpful at all. I really wanted the first trip to the Dells to be super exciting. It's truly rare for us to do stuff like this and I want these to be fun memories of their childhood.
So we got in the van after taking Twinky to my mom's so he didn't chew our furniture. I had everything loaded the night before so it was basically a no stress morning. We drove and drove. And then drove some more. We decided to not go to the hotel first and make them squirm some more so we went on our Upper Dells Boat Tour.  We truly didn't have money for this trip so the "splurges" were going to be few but I knew I wanted to do one touristy thing outside of the hotel and because we like hikes and boats, I decided this would be fun. And it WAS.
We met a bunch of super nice people and the kids kept giving them the clues to see if they could figure out what we were doing. Of course they couldn't.
We also learned Penelope absolutely hates car rides and boat rides. Crying and wanting to run free.
But the boat ride was gorgeous. It wasn't a full boat and honestly? That's OK because we got to know the folks on the boat with us. All of which kept asking me if I was going to have the baby on the boat. Har, har, har folks.
The kids had a really great time.
Especially on the two stops you get out at for quick walks around the area.
Even Penelope kind of got into it at that point but was pretty irritated to be contained in the carrier.
And I managed to walk with no issues. Sure, my feet were swollen and my back was sore as hell, but there was no way I was not getting off the boat. The tour itself was about two hours, so by the time we were done our room at Great Wolf Lodge was ready.  I wish I could share the video of us revealing the surprise (I made them close their eyes as we got closer) but Matt's phone won't for some reason. But rest assured, they were SO surprised, Olivia said thank you immediately and Jackson says, "I always wanted to go here!". I have never felt more grateful for them, truly.
Our priority for night one was to eat and go to MagiQuest because one of the clues was that they could get a wand. And I have no pictures of MagiQuest because it was STUPID. It was seriously the dumbest, most expensive thing we have ever done. My kids are 8 and almost 11 and even the easiest game was kind of over their heads and they don't do riddles well so I got annoyed and took Penelope to bed and let Matt try to last it out with them but even he gave up.

The second day was going to be our full swimming day. We could only afford to stay for two nights so I knew day two was going to be nothing but swimming and that actually turned out to be smart.
Penelope had a GREAT time. This was her first adventure in water, outside of the bathtub, and she totally enjoyed it.
She missed nap time and meals/snacks were screwed up but she took it in stride. Of course, we paid for this dearly when she screamed for three hours at bedtime, but during the day we thought we were the smartest, luckiest parents ever. HA!
It was also the first time my kids have ever been to a waterpark of any kind. We've done hotel pools and our little yard pool but nothing like this. I was worried they'd be too scared to go in but nope- they took off and it was literally hours before I saw them again. They went on every slide there was and there wasn't an inch of the park they didn't visit.
Oh yes, and Penelope learned how to use a straw. Who knew giving her an ICEE would be the motivating factor. Once she figured it out she was like a total addict. Even now, she sees a straw and she wants it.

After a LONG day of swimming, it was decided Matt would take her to the room to sleep (laughable), and I would take the kids to the arcade, then go back to change into pajamas for the night time party stuff.
Most of my kids' arcade tickets came from my winnings at Skee-ball. You guys should know I play some mean skee-ball.

I went up to the room and hey- baby is NOT tired. At all. I'm assuming it was from the 7 ICEE's she had on her own so I thought I'd bring her down to see part of the party to burn off some energy.
It's hard to see but she was petting Violet, the lodge character.
The kids played games and won some prizes.
We took photos of them being cheesy tourists.
Jackson refused to dance and Olivia was the oldest kid there, but she was a sport and tried to dance with Penelope.
But Penelope didn't last long so her and Matt left while I stayed back so we could see the Clock Tower Show.  Honestly, the best part about Great Wolf Lodge is that if you have kids six and under? They will keep your kids BUSY. Older kids like mine.. meh. The activities aren't really for them anymore but we still hung out because I'm all about seeing the experience. We ended up not staying for the big kid dance party because they were tired but yay us- we got to hear Penelope scream for three hours. She would not sleep in the pack and play, and I don't know if it was because it wasn't her bed, she is teething, who knows. But it was a rough night with very little sleep.

But the next day we had about an hour or so to do something before checkout, so I told the kids to get their swim suits on because we were going to swim until the very last second to get our full money's worth.
So that's what we did.
I even got a GREAT picture of Matt and Penelope being splashed by the big bucket!
And the kids waving to me on their way to the slides.
Penelope loved this little splash things so much I feel like maybe she'd like the sprinkler at home.
Oh yes, and my 32 week pregnant self got into a bathing suit BOTH days! I didn't swim a whole lot, I mostly followed Penelope around, but still. This is a total first for me in all of my days as a pregnant person. And it was alright. I had a lot of people staring at me and I had one guy tell me I was "brave" which was kind of offensive and irritating, but I can see how he maybe thought he was being supportive and kind. But still. It's not brave, I'm in a swimming suit because I'm in a water park. That's kind of what the appropriate attire is. Sigh.
Oh and Matt got a picture of us being splashed because I didn't hear the bells warning you it was going to dump.
To be honest, I think the big kids tricked me on purpose.
So yes. Me and all four of my kids (!!!) had a great time. Matt even had a good time, which is saying something because he hates people. But coming during the week (Monday check in, Wednesday check out) was really nice because it was not crowded at all. Yeah, there were plenty of people there but it wasn't bad at all. The restaurants had great food and a good variety, even for picky eaters. The only thing I wish I had done was buy the souvenir cups on Monday instead of lunch time on Tuesday because they were $12.99 a piece and you got free refills your entire stay. And by god, we drank $26 worth of drinks over three days (we bought two cups). So if you're going, maybe hit up the snack shop and pick one up because you can take it into the restaurant, too.

Our drive back was horrible and long. Penelope cried most of the way. The big kids fell asleep and Matt drove while I tried to entertain a 13 month old in a car seat for five hours. It was pretty brutal. But oh well. The trip overall was absolutely worth it and they already want to go back!


thotlady said...

Lovely photos of the family.

The Flynnigans said...

I'm so glad everything worked out, as I know how much planning you out into it and wanted to have a great time. The smiles say it all. :)

Ada said...

Awesome pictures, Wisconsin Dells looks like a ton of fun :)

And it's kinda awesome seeing my name as the winner, thanks again!!

Mattie @ Northwest Native said...

We were in the Dells a week after you guys! Except we only stopped in last Tuesday to go to the outlets after we went to Devil's Lake. From your pictures, GWL looks huge! The one in Washington is right off the freeway and it just doesn't look very big. It's probably smaller, but maybe it's bigger than I think. Babies playing in the water are too cute to me. If any of my kids don't like water I'll be so disappointed since I grew up in/around it!