Friday, April 29, 2016

catching up: part two (great wolf lodge)

That Thursday through Saturday of spring break, we went on Joseph's 5th birthday trip to Great Wolf Lodge in Charlotte, NC. The four of us and Meme celebrated Hannah's 5th birthday on a Disney cruise and wanted to do something special for Joseph's, too. SO much fun and a vacation spot I'd highly recommend for families with young ones. There is a bunch to do and you never have to leave the hotel. All five of us had a blast.

The indoor water park is GREAT. It's a bonus when you don't have to worry about sunscreen and sand with the kids.

Joseph spent most of his time splashing around in the Cub Paw Pool and playing at Fort Mackenzie, the huge tree-house with lots of fountains, hoses and buckets. Eventually he warmed up to the idea of getting the in the larger/deeper pools. Hannah was all about the pools and the slides...and the slides were awesome. She also conquered the Big Foot Pass and made a new friend, also named Hannah, who was with us most of our time at the water park. Our girl is a water baby through and through.

We hit the Northern Lights Arcade on a few occasions. Joseph kept calling it Chucky Cheese, since that has been his only experience in a place with lots of games, lights, and noise. He loved steering and shooting, while Hannah showed off her skee ball skills. Both racked up on tickets.

The food at the hotel is really good; we were impressed. Both nights we ate at Lodge Wood Fired Grill and, between the five of us, enjoyed a good portion of the menu. There is plenty of entertainment for children, including a nightly story time at the Great Clock Tower.

The characters at Great Wolf Lodge, including Wiley and Violet, come out and pose for pictures. My mom arranged for them to deliver cookies to our room one night, too. Unfortunately they did not give us a proper heads up and we missed them. Probably the only disappointment of the trip.

Day two: Friday

We started a packed-full day with Yoga Tails in the lobby and bowling at Ten Paw Alley (miniature bowling alley and great fun for Hannah and Joseph), with breakfast at The Loose Moose Cottage buffet in between.

We spent most of the day at the water park. Joseph and Meme watched as we got dumped on by the gigantic tipping bucket. Meme captured it all with her phone.

In the afternoon, we headed outside for the kids' first experience with mini golf. Hannah was very focused and determined to get the ball in the hole, while Joseph was more interested in figuring out how all the contraptions worked and moving the pin flags around.

Then, Hannah and I did the Howlers Peak Ropes Course, her first time doing anything like that. She was so brave!

Throughout the hotel there is an interactive game you do with the plush characters you make (similar to Build-A-Bear). You go from kiosk to kiosk following clues until, at the end, you are made part of the Clubhouse Crew. Joseph made a Wiley wolf and Hannah made a Rachel raccoon.

While we did this, Daddy did some work in the room. Then it was back to the water park to play before time to get ready for dinner.

We posed with Violet, played in the arcade and ate dessert from Bear Paw Sweets & Eats.

Day three: Saturday

We spent our last morning getting in a few more trips down the slides and playing in the water. Then, sadly, it was time to go...

It was a memorable trip for sure and one Joseph (or any of us) won't forget. Thanks Meme!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

catching up: part one {easter and spring break}

It's the end of April and I know I haven't blogged in quite a while (again). It's been on the to-do list, but I just haven't had the spare time...or made the time, rather. And we've had a lot going on (more to come on that later...).

Easter was nice. Joe's family was all here, and the rain that threatened held off until the afternoon. Hannah and Joseph got up early enough to check out their baskets before Daddy had to leave. I took the kids with me to the sunrise service, dressed in their new Easter clothes. Hannah went last year but it was special having them both there this year.

We came back home to make Empty Tomb rolls, a tradition we started last year. I love the focus this activity puts on the real meaning of Easter. I really try to make Easter about Jesus, but it is not easy to do with all the parties, egg hunts and baskets of candy and toys. Of course I love putting together baskets for the kids filled with stuff they'll love, and have no plan in stopping that, but I try to keep it under control.

Once Gran Gran and Poppy, Aunt Sarah, Aunt Betsy, Liam and Marshall were all here, we went to the church for the egg hunt and worship service. I got tears in my eyes as we sang "Christ the Lord is Risen Today" as is so easy for me to do.

We came home and had lunch - or feast, actually - prepared by Gran Gran. The kids played outside, getting their nice clothes all dirty but having a great time while we watched.

Meme came in town for the night and brought Easter goodies for all four of us. It was back to school on Monday morning and one more week of school before spring break. Hannah and Joseph had their last soccer game and Joseph missed a couple days of school with strep. I don't like when my babies are sick, but I love the special time I get to spend with them alone.

That Friday we hit the road.

We enjoyed a full, but fun, spring break. Joe performed a wedding for a church member on Amelia Island and we enjoyed the little getaway. The kids had plenty of fun playing with Meme in Savannah, including celebrating Joseph's birthday early at their favorite "cook-on-the-table" Japanese place.

In other news, Hannah lost her two front teeth!!! Not kidding, one that Tuesday night and the other one the next. In between, on the one day they had at home during the break, they played Jesus in the backyard. Completely thought up on their own. I looked up from reading and Hannah was "washing the disciples feet".

There was also plenty of silliness, as there usually is with these two.

Granddaddy and Mrs. Renee went to Hawaii and sent surprises which these cuties were happy to model:

And it's time for school pick-up. Second (and way fun) part of spring break ahead. To be continued...