Our kids ended the school year on May 21st. We all get pretty excited about the end of the school year around here. At least for the first couple of days until I start hearing those dreaded words "I'm bored!"
This summer started filling up fast in April, but I really wanted to take a family vacation this year with just the 7 of us - something we rarely do.
Kevin and I decided on heading to The Great Wolf Lodge in Wisconsin. It met several criteria - plenty of water for swimming, plenty of space in our room, plenty of family friendly activities in the area, and it's a location not all had been to.
The first night we did story time at the clock. I always find it interesting how my older kids are quite content hanging out and enjoying the younger kid activities.
We spent a LOT of time in the wave pool and on the slides.
There was an AMC movie theater close by, so we headed over one evening to watch the new Avengers movie. It was great for the older kids, but the younger ones got bored pretty quickly. (I couldn't pass up the opportunity to snap a shot of this display since my husbands name is Kevin and we have a good friend named Stuart.)
We also played a little cosmic bowling at Knuckleheads just around the corner from the lodge. Great fun!
I think our scores are pretty funny. It's a good thing the kids could use the gutter guards, and about half way through I thought about putting them up for me! There were still times when a ball would end up in a lane other than ours, coming back at the ones seated behind the score board, and even along the wall! Good thing no one was bowling next to us. (Scores are youngest to oldest.)
It seems like we picked the perfect week to go. We figured the crowds would be low, but there were days it seemed almost deserted. The kids even had some of the pools to themselves a couple of times!
The wave pool's capacity was listed at 392 and we were no where close to that!
To offset some of the cost we purchased snacks from Costco before leaving St. Louis. This gave us snacks for the drive to Wisconsin and back home (we snack a lot while traveling) and then during the days in the hotel room. I was also able to shop at a Walmart about 8 minutes away from the lodge to grab breakfast foods, sandwich fixin's and some cut veggies so we wouldn't have to eat out all the time.
The times we ate out, we tried to go different places each time. We aren't too adventurous when it comes to food (we do have to make sure everyone can find something to fill their bellies) so we stuck to familiar type places.
The first night we at at the Lodge Wood Fired Grill. It was pretty good. The kiddos didn't love the chicken strips off the kid's menu, but they were able to eat enough to not go hungry. Kevin and I enjoyed the burgers, but overall it was pretty pricey. I guess that's just part of it, right?
One night we headed to Cracker Barrel. Family favorite! 'Nough said.
One of the other nights we tried out Moosejaw Pizza Company. Another pricey place to eat, but the food was good. We even took the leftovers back to our room and had them for lunch one day. So.... two meals for the price of one?
Overall the trip was a success! Kevin and I tried really hard not to work, and we only did a handful of things while the kids were resting in the room. We of course had our family 'moments', but they were few and far between and everyone tried to get along for the week. There were a few moments of crazy in the mix, too.
The trip to and from our destination is never much fun, but fortunately our kids travel well. Naps happen (especially on the way home) and we have movie screens and several movies to keep them entertained. Our kids have big bladders, too, so we can make it about 4 hours before having to make a pit stop most trips.
Friday's weather was a bit stressful coming home, but Kevin did a great job. I said a couple of prayers along the way, too.
The rainbow after we got through the worst of it was beautiful!
Of course the excitement of being 'almost home!' starts when we see the St. Louis Arch while crossing the Mississippi. This is also where I start praying I don't hear those dreaded words 'I have to go POTTY! (40 minutes! That's all that's left in the trip, people!)
It's always good to get home - even if there are loads of laundry to get done and we can tend to be cranky and tired - and in our own space and our own beds.
And then comes the recovery time. It's hard work vacationing!
Do you have plans this summer? Do you travel when you have vacation or do you tend to do more of a stay-cation? I'd love to hear your favorites so I can start making plans for next year!