Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Power of Negative Thinking

I'm sure all of you have been on the edge of your seats waiting to hear about our mini spring break get away:

As you know this has been a very difficult winter for my family. Even though we certainly could not financially afford to do anything magical for break-I felt as if we all deserved a little break and hoped it would lift our spirits.

Thursday am started with a quick trip to the beauty shop to make me a little more presentable. After the Marilyn Manson do was tamed we set off to The Great Wolf Lodge in Sandusky Ohio-about a 2 1/2 hour road trip.

As most of you know traveling with small children can be challenging, infuriating and disappointing. I have found that expecting the worst makes it much more bearable. I am less irritated when Peyton barfs in the car-I knew it was coming. I don't want to plug my ears and scream at the 100th "are we almost there". I accept the fact that they will whine and complain despite the effort and expense we have put forth. Then when they actually enjoy themselves or god forbid behave it's like a little gift. Putting away the unrealistic expectations of the "perfect family vacation" allows the mayhem to be...dare I say...enjoyable?

After the usual fighting, potty stops, snack spills, vomiting and temperature complaints Ava and Cade fell asleep and stayed that way for the last hour on the road. They woke when we pulled into the lodge and they were all oozing with excitement.

Since the whole draw of the lodge is the water park we quickly headed that way. The boys were amazed (as was Mark). However, Her Majesty was less then impressed. In the center of the park is a giant bucket. As the water level in the bucket reaches the top a bell begins to ring. Then gallons of water pour down on to the waiting crowd. This is followed by a heavy mist that blasts the surrounding area. She was totally freaked out. We spent the entire day with her clinging to me like a baby monkey while I downed Pina Coladas. After dinner I did not even attempt to take her back. Mark and the boys went and stayed till close.

Suggestion of entering the water!

The bell is ringing!

The water's dumping!

The mist is blowing!

We spent the whole next day at the water park. After several hours and much pleading I managed to convince Ava to get in the hot tub. That seemed to make her a little more willing to explore. I was then able to get her into the kiddie area to at least splash a bit. She staunchly refused to go down even the tiniest slide. So again I spent most of the day people watching, drinking Pina Coladas and calming her when the bell would start ringing.

The boys were crazy little fish that I hardly saw either day. They went down every slide, had the bucket dumped on them to many times to count and found girlfriends. Huh. Come to think of it I hardly saw Mark either...maybe he had a bikini babe too.

Best Buddies!!!

That evening we went to the clock tower to watch a "bedtime show". The boys were a little bored but Ava really got into it. She put on just as much of a performance as the figurines did. She was dancing and singing up a storm. At bedtime Cade told me it "was the best day ever" and Peyton thanked us for bringing them! SHOCKER!

We headed out early Saturday since Mark had to work. They each picked out something special. Peyton choose a shirt and Cade and Ava grabbed up stuffed wolves. Ava's has been dubbed Willow and it is her constant companion. Too bad the damn thing is-or I should say was-white.

Amonte elected to stay home which I had mixed feelings about. He would not have been able to swim and I think he would have been bored to death. But I missed him and spent the whole time worrying about him. I'm sure I called too often for his liking. I was impressed that when we got home the house was still standing and he had taken care of the dog. I think he really enjoyed having a break from the kids.

We are now suffering the financial consequences of our excursion. But you know what? It was worth it. We all had a good time and my kids exceeded my more realistic expectations. I look forward to our next great adventure.


  1. Sometimes you have to treat yourself or you'll go crazy. We're headed out for a few days that we can't afford tomorrow.

    I love the last pouting picture of Ava - priceless!

  2. Yay for you guys!!

    We have a Great Wolf Lodge down here too we're planning on hitting up sometime this spring before our pool opens. If I can fool my husband into thinking we have the money for it. :)
    It's about 3/4 hours from us and I am not looking forward to that drive with the two horrors in the backseat, but I figure a couple of days of play in a cool place like that will be worth it.
    Did you guys like your room? Which did you stay in?

  3. Glad you enjoyed a mini-excursion :)

    Sounded like alot of fun!

  4. Hooray for a vacation where nobody kills each other! Too bad Ava didn't enjoy herself more, but pina coladas are a bonus.

  5. Sometimes you just have to "do it." I am glad you guys got away. Those pictures are precious - so cute. We have been talking about going to one of the places one of these days.

    Hope you have a great day!

  6. We have an indoor water park here that has a bucket like that. We spent a lot of time under that bucket the last time we were there!!!
    I'm glad you had a good time. Sounds fabulous!!

  7. WOOHOO for the great time !
    Sometimes ya just gotta have a break.
    The debt will go.. but ... the memories will be forever.

  8. Yay for you guys, Zoe. Sometimes you just have to do stuff like this. Even if it isn't the greatest time financially. Really, When is it ever the best time? Loved the pictures. Have a great Thursday.

  9. Those pictures are priceless! I am so glad you guys went and had fun.

  10. how fun! i LOVE the pouty lip + curls. she looks like shirly temple!!

    it sounds like everything went pretty good. it's hard to please all the kiddos at the same time!

  11. Sounds like fun. Those pictures are too have adorable kids!

  12. You are so right on all of that . . . the benefits of having lower expectations, the importance of treating yourself, and making memories over making a few extra bucks. I am so glad that you were able to get away and that the kids were grateful for the time as well.

  13. I tend to do the same thing: expect the worst, it's a bonus when something good happens.

    Love the pics of Ava...her little pink fingernails and pink aqua socks! So, so cute. I'd have to smooch that little pouty lip.

    Pina coladas! SO worth the trip. Because they're "free of calories" when you're away from home!

  14. I am so glad that you were able to get away! IT sounds like you had a blast and your pics are Adorable! I especially love the ones of Ava in Fear! She is the Cutest little girl ever!!!!!!

  15. sounds like a great getaway, clingy monkey nonwithstanding!

  16. Reminds me of when our 3 were little - we did Amerihost on the way to Columbus to drop of the older two back with their Mom.

    Shortman would NOT get out of the pool for anything.

    Sounds like you had a wonderful time.

  17. glad everyone had a good time!

  18. Ava has such gorgeous curls!! Glad it was a fun trip!

  19. Ava has the right idea. The way you described it (wonderful!), I wouldn't want anything to do with it either! Ha ha ha. Great story!

  20. Cool!! Thanks so much for posting!! My husband wants us to take the kids on a weekend at that lodge OR up to Frankenmuth. We're trying to decide which. This helps!! ;)

  21. Hi Zoe Glad to hear of your family outing (minus the teen, but as you say, may have been good for him, too) which strengthens the Unit. I was "smiling while reading".

    Your hair looks great, btw...

  22. Oh my your mini-vacay sounds divine! You know I would have helped you down Pina Colada's and baby monkey tend if I could have :)
    Wonderful pictures, too!

  23. It sounds like a GREAT mini vacation! And those adorable blond curls...oh heavenly...

  24. Heh - Poor Ava.

    Umm . . . so . . . my kid broke my nose on my flight to my mini-vacation. BROKE MY NOSE. At least he didn't barf on me.

  25. Sounds like you all had a great time :) Love your pictures! Ava's curls are gorgeous!

  26. A wonderful installment in everyone's "memory account." You will all recall (and no doubt embellish) the experience forever. Such a lousy shame that the old "financial demon" has to squeeze the fun from the end of it all. Nonetheless, Well Done!!

    Lovingly ...

  27. To spite the messiness of family vacations with small kids...I am insanely jealous of you. We had grand plans to take the kids to Disney World when Bryan got back from deployment. WHen he came home, and we realized we didn't have enough money to oblige that wish, we scaled it down to a week at the beach in South Carolina. When he came home and we had to buy a new car, a new computer, and several new appliances, we decided vacation in an of itself would be impossible. We have now resigned ourselves to a Mother's Day spent at the Fort Bragg Fair. Sounds like a fucking blast, right?

  28. You guys deserve a fun time. Money is not the most important thing in the world...remember, if we shall die tomorrow...good thing you took some family time to enjoy.


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