Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Our Great Wolf Lodge Adventure

This past weekend our family went on a little mini vacation to Great Wolf Lodge in Traverse City.
{photo via}
My sisters and their husbands and kids went too.
The kids were all so excited to have fun with cousins!


And when the cousins are together - there is always some silliness!
The kids all had their favorite parts of the water park. Hugh loved the biggest slides and rode them over and over and over again!

Oliver loved floating in the lazy river with daddy and playing in the sprinklers that shot up from the ground!

Claire loved the medium size slides. There were two right next to each other and she and I would each take a slide. She'd yell over the side of hers "Ready, Steady, Go!" and we'd race. Every single time she'd win. I believe her tiny little body races through the watery slide much faster than mine! She made me do this...oh, probably 47,000 times during the weekend! It was really fun! She is very brave!
The bigger kids all loved spending time with their baby cousin, Addie!

She is so darn cute!

One of the highlights of the trip was watching the bucket fall...

It dumps 1,000 gallons of water every 5 minutes!


The kids had a blast!

I tried to get a picture of all the kids together at the water park...

Not so easy!
Strangers - strange, wet, half-naked strangers - kept walking between the kids and the camera...

 Oliver did not want his picture taken! No way!

Gigi tried to console him...

Addie and Nicky cooperated for a picture!

Our own family of five stayed in a Wolf Den room. It was perfect for us!
The room had a big bed for mommy and daddy and a "wolf den" for the kids. The wolf den had bunk beds, a little bench that looked like a rock, and their own TV.

Hugh slept on the top bunk and Claire and Oliver shared the bottom bunk. All three kids slept all night in their own beds! Woo Hoo! It was a vacation for mom and dad too!

Oliver took some time to check his messages back at the office!

We all enjoyed eating at the restaurant while we were there.
It was quite magical with huge trees, a pretend campfire, huts to eat underneath,
and animated critters throughout.

Oliver spilled his chocolate milk on his pants!

After dinner, late night water park fun, and baths we headed out with our magic swords to explore the hotel (in our PJs!) 

You can wave your ridiculously expensive sword at treasure chests, pictures, animals, little buildings, lights, and magic crystals and they light up, move, and talk. Really cool!

Claire loved the pink ice crystals and sparkling jewels the best!

I look horrible here but it is the only photo of me from the trip so I'm including it.
The CREATIVITY sign was my perfect photo prop!

That evening there was a dance party in the lobby of the hotel. Claire really wanted to take part in it so I took her out there to dance. She was very reserved with her dance moves - not her usual dancin'-girl-self!

During the dance party, the entire lifeguard staff made a grand entrance and danced several dances with the guests. It was really rather entertaining!

My boys didn't want to dance so they just watched!

Aren't they handsome?
We all really enjoyed the hotel - wolves, bears, moose, antlers and a log cabin feel is totally us!


Hugh insisted on having his picture taken with all these animals so he could show Grandpa Bob!

In the morning we visited the sweet shop and got cereal, juice, and enormous sprinkled donuts for breakfast! (Mama and daddy got Starbucks!)

Oliver thoroughly enjoyed his treat!
Sooo....we had a wonderful time. When we left the hotel it was snowing a bit and very cold. We knew the roads would be a little slick and we experienced it first hand. On the way home we lost control and spun through two lanes of traffic sliding off the highway and down a steep hill on the opposite side and into a ditch. It was incredibly scary. We do not really know how many times we spun - it seemed like forever. When we came to a stop Ryan and I both looked in the back seat to see our three precious babes safe and secure in their car seats. Praise God! We do not know how we spun through two lanes of traffic without hitting someone else. We do not know how we missed the tree that was two feet to the side of us when we landed. We do not know how we didn't roll. It was truly a miracle. Claire said God sent his angels to keep us safe. He certainly did. Thank you, God. We had to be towed out and had a shaky, uncertain ride the rest of the way home.
My poor husband is still quite shook up. We all are. It is hard to get the "what ifs" out of your mind.
In addition to the huge amount of relief I am feeling, I am also quite sad. Many friends, family, and colleagues knew we were going on this fun little get-away and have, of course, asked if we had a good weekend. All 3 kids respond with stories of the accident rather than stories about our stay at Great Wolf Lodge. Oliver told his teacher "The truck spinned and spinned. A big truck had to pull us out." And when Claire's teacher asked how her weekend was her response was "Well, let's just say the ride home was NOT good!" That's not how I want them to remember our mid-winter trip.
I have an idea though that may help.
Welcome, Great Wolf Lodge Guests
Great Wolf Lodge provides everyone with a promo code to order a free Great Wolf Lodge photo book from Shutterfly. I plan to create and order our photo book right away. We have other photo books of birthdays and reunions, and all 3 kids flip through those books all the time. I know they will LOVE looking at their Great Wolf Lodge book over and over again too!  Hopefully, with time, they will forget the accident and instead remember the good memories from the trip.

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