For Christmas this year, Grandma & Papa wanted to do something different than gifts. Instead, they took their sons (and their sons' families) to Great Wolf Lodge in Kansas City. What a great trip we had! The lodge has a rustic theme and is centered around families. It even has an indoor water park! Check it out: http://www.greatwolf.com/kansascity/activities/waterpark Their idea for our gifts to them and each other was for each brother and his wife to plan the entertainment for one evening of the trip.
We arrived Saturday afternoon after a LONG 7 hour car trip. We actually only stopped once and it may have worked to our advantage that Haven was sick and dehydrated since she didn't feel much like moving around! Although we had looked up the lodge on the internet, I was blown away when we got inside of our room. We had two queen sized beds and a fold out couch downstairs and another queen sized bed in the loft room. We also had a kitchenette, bath and a half, and our own fully functional gas fireplace. Here's the floor plan: http://www.greatwolf.com/node/857 Here are a couple of pictures and a description...we had the Loft Fireplace Suite: http://www.greatwolf.com/kansascity/suites/suites
After settling in to the room, we went down to look at the water park. It was amazing! It was so hot in there...felt like a sauna. Haven and I were fully clothed, but she played in the water anyway. There were big slides, swimming pools, hot tubs, jungle gyms, kiddie slides, and a huge toddler area. Jason and the other kids put their suits on and tried everything out right away.
After an hour or so playing at the water park, it was time for our first evening of fun which was hosted by Brooke and Jeremy. They took us to the T-Rex Cafe. http://www.kansastravel.org/trexcafe.htm
I'll be honest. I knew the kids would have fun, but I didn't really expect it to be such a fun time for the adults! First we took the kids in to the dig area where they could dig for dinosaur bones, explore gem mines, play interactive games on the computer, or pan for minerals. We tried it all! After a good hand washing, it was time for supper. The food was really good and the atmosphere was great. There were giant prehistoric insects on the walls that moved, animatronic dinosaurs, and meteor showers. The dinosaurs behind our table came to life and made mooing sounds every so often. Haven loved them. When they came to life, she stopped whatever she was doing and mooed back at them! It was a dining adventure. When we got back to the hotel, it was story time in the lobby and there was a whole Christmas show going on. It even "snowed" foam from the ceiling! Afterward the kids went to a dance party where Marren, Haven, Avery, and Max got down with about 50 other kids, Wiley Wolf, and Rowdy Reindeer. It was hilarious!
One of the really fun things about the lodge is how family friendly it is. There are adults and kids in jammies walking around the lobby and through the halls every morning and every evening. Haven made friends with several kids and their parents. It was so unlike her, but she'd walk right up to people and start jabbering at them or lift her little arms up for them to hold her. I think we all just felt really comfortable in that atmosphere.
The next day we hit the water park bright and early, then it was time to bundle up for the Chiefs game! Rick had gotten tickets for himself, Jeremy, Aaron, Jason, Hannah, Addy, Haddon, and me. So, even though the high on Sunday was 16 degrees, we bundled up and headed to Arrowhead Stadium. Getting inside was the coldest part and I started to have my doubts. Being a bit of a hot-house-flower, I do not manage cold well! Once we got to our seats, the temperature was much better, though. The sun was shining right on us and the wind was totally blocked. The kids and I stayed until just after half-time, then we decided to leave since we were all numb and it was getting colder. Those brave men stayed for the whole game! Miraculously, I found the van without any trouble other than the cutting wind.
I took the kids on a short detour to our old neighborhood and even took them down to our seminary apartment and laundry room. I drove around to the back of the apartment building and pointed out Hannah and Addy's bedroom window to them. It was fun to show the girls the park I took them to nearly every day and where Dad worked. I showed them our favorite shopping and eating places when we left campus. Of course, the kids hit the water park just as soon as we returned to the hotel. I spent quite a bit of time holding Haven. Since I never leave her and she was still feeling bad, it had been a bit of a traumatic day for my little muffin! After a little cuddling, I took her down to the water, too. Even though Haven didn't want ANYTHING to do with the water, she enjoyed the exploring and people watching.
There is so much more to write about our tirp, but I think I'm going to have to save the second half of our trip for another post! That'll give me some time to download some pics, too...