Thursday, February 23, 2017

Great Wolf Lodge Getaway

The only time that we have ever been to the Great Wolf Lodge was back in March of 2009 when Lia was barely one year old.  My family went there as part of a family reunion when Brent and Susie came out from Montana for their spring break.  Since Ron's school district was not on spring break at the time, he was unable to join us and I decided not to spend the night in the hotel as Lia was too young to appreciate it anyways.  As a result, Lia and I just drove down for the day and spent a few hours in the amazing water park; however, she was really too young to enjoy anything and spent the entire time in the toddler pool with either my mom or me.  So, I decided that we were long overdue for a family trip to the Great Wolf Lodge as Ron, Logan, and Ella had never been there and everyone is old now enough to appreciate it!  I thought that going over midwinter break would be the perfect time as the weather is still so wet and cold in February and it would be the perfect place to spend Lia's birthday as she loves all things swimming and water!

We left the morning of February 21st and were surprised to arrive at the hotel only an hour later because there was absolutely no traffic on I-5.  The hotel clerk let us check into our room early which meant we were able to hit the pool by 1 o'clock in the afternoon.  Here is the sign that greeted us upon our arrival.

All three of the kids got complimentary wolf ears AND complimentary stuffed animals (because of their birthdays) upon our arrival which they were absolutely thrilled about.  Here are the kiddos posing in the giant chair in the lobby after first walking in.

After checking into our amazing hotel room complete with a wolf den for the kids to sleep in, we quickly got changed into our swim suits and hit the gigantic indoor water park.  Here is the wave pool that we first saw upon entering the water park.

The amazing water slides and tower structure in the middle of the park.

The fabulous toddler pool that Ella LOVED.

The gigantic dump bucket that pours down on the people below every few minutes.

The kiddos and me playing in the splash pad after we first got there.

Papa with the kiddos.

Logan dancing around.

The girls and me getting poured on by a water feature above us.

Logan and Lia riding one of the Sea Doos in the toddler pool.

Ella taking a turn.

The girls and me getting ready to go down one of the toddler slides.

Logan sliding down another one.

And Lia, too.

Baby Ella standing atop the slide.

And getting ready to go down!

After playing in the water park for most of the afternoon, we took a break and headed out for an early dinner at a Mexican restaurant down the street.  After wards, we came back to the hotel to explore a bit.  The kids enjoyed checking out all of the toys in the gift shop as can be seen by the picture of Ella above.  It look like she is either holding or wearing half of the gift shop.

The kids waited in line to get a balloon sword made for each of them.

Showing off their balloon swords in front of the clock tower in the lobby.

Although Ron and I were prepared to head back into the water park for an evening session after dinner, the kids all said that they wanted to just go back to our hotel room and play in their awesome wolf den.  While Lia and Logan played in their bunk bed, Ella opted to take a bath alone.  This is how I found my cute girl just relaxing in the warm water.

Logan and Lia LOVED this bunk bed and both wanted to sleep in the top.  As skeptical as I was of this entire thing working, they both managed to actually sleep in it during our one night there.

Ella got to sleep in a big girl bed for the first time in her life in the lower bunk bed.  Here she is already dressed in her pajamas and climbing around on the ladder.

We left our hotel room a little before 8 o'clock to attend the story time and clock tower show in the main lobby.  Although the lobby was already packed when we got ther, we managed to find a seat for the show from one of the couches!  Here is Logan giving me a smile before the show started.

The animals and people came to life for the clock tower show.  It reminded me of the Disneyland rides of old.

After the show in the lobby was over, we came back upstairs and put the kiddos to bed.  Ron and  I then enjoyed two hours of cable which is luxury that we don't have at home! 

We started off Lia's birthday on February 22nd with a cold cereal and muffin breakfast in our hotel room.  We decided to completely pack up and check out of our room by 9 o'clock so that we didn't have to worry about going back to our room from the pool and packing up by 11 a.m.  After putting all of our stuff in the car, we walked back through the lobby and took our only family picture in front of the impressive fireplace.

We then went to the water park for a few hours until lunch time.  We took a break for lunch and then headed back in until early afternoon when we decided that we have had enough.  We left the hotel around 2:30 in the afternoon to drive home.  Ron and I enjoyed going on all of the big water slides with Lia and Logan.  The one catch was that Ella was not tall enough to go on any of them, so Ron and I had to constantly divide and conquer and take turns staying in the toddler pool with her.  Here is a picture I managed to snap of Lia and Ron coming out of the biggest slide (that Logan was actually not tall enough to go on).

A very happy Lia and papa getting out of the tube.

Lia and Logan loved going in the wave pool.  We dragged Ella into it a couple of times, too.  Here she is standing on the "shore" of the pool.

The girls in front of the gigantic, water umbrella.

Lia swimming in the wave pool when the waves were turned off.

Papa with the two older kids in the wave pool.

Ella hanging out under the water umbrella.

A tiny Ella under the water.  I just love how small she looks in this picture.

Logan and Lia both fell in love with climbing over the lily pads in the main swimming pool.  Here are Ella and papa watching them from the side.

Lia going across the lily pads with the help of the ropes.

My strong girl working her way across.

Logan, on the other hand, was too short to reach the ropes and either jumped or climbed across them.  It was quite an impressive site as he did this several times without ever falling in.  

Logan getting papa's help after landing on the second lily pad.

Moving from the third to the fourth pad.

Papa and the girls back in the pool after Lia finished crossing the lily pads.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Lia's 9th Birthday

Although Lia's birthday isn't until the 22nd, we decided to celebrate her family birthday party on the evening of the 20th since we will be staying at the Great Wolf Lodge until the evening of her actual birthday.  This was a win-win for Lia as it meant that she got to open her presents two days earlier than normal AND she got to spend her entire birthday at an indoor water park.
We invited my parents down to Puyallup to join us for a nice, peaceful evening tonight.  This is always such a welcomed change of pace for me after her extremely large and over-the-top friend parties.  Lia requested her favorite breakfast-for-dinner meal that we ate in the dining room on the fine china.  After wards, she opened gifts before blowing out the candles on a homemade strawberry shortcake.  She got some wonderful gifts that she will hopefully enjoy wearing or playing with for many, many months to come!  We ended off the evening with Lia, Logan, and Ella opening up a group gift that I had hiding in the office--a family trip to Mexico for Spring Break!  The kids were so excited and we can't wait to go and have some serious fun in the sun, sand, and water in less than two months!

The family sitting around the dining room table before enjoying a dinner of cinnamon rolls, egg casserole, bacon, and sparkling cider.

Lia opening up her gift from grandma and grandpa--a new outfit and an American Girl Doll backpack set.

Lia showing off her new locket necklace that she got from us complete with tiny pictures of Ron and me inside.

Lia showing her adorable, stuffed sloth from Aunt Austin and Uncle Robbie that goes with her American Girl Lea Clark collection.

Lia has wanted a fairy door to put in her room for quite some time and was super excited to finally get one.

Lia opening up the big gift from mama and papa--a beautiful, American Girl grand piano that actually plays music!

The group gift that I brought out of the office at the very end consisted of three presents--a large, medium, and small one.  Each of the kids got to open one.  Here is Lia opening the large one...

that had two sombreros inside it.  

Logan opened up the medium sized present and found two maracas inside.  Here he is examining them with a semi confused look on his face.

Ella opened the last and smallest present that contained their brand new passports and a sign that said, "Pack your bags!  You are going to Mexico!"  You can see the reaction on Lia's face after reading the sign!

The three kids wearing the sombreros while holding the maracas and passports after the initial screaming and yelling had stopped.  I just love how Logan is holding the sign in his mouth in this picture

One more picture of the kids in the same pose with Logan doing a crazy dance.

After all of the gift opening, we came back to the dining room to sing "Happy Birthday" to Lia.  Here is my big, almost 9-year old girl getting ready to blow out the candles.  I simply cannot believe how fast these nine years have gone.  I seriously start to panic when I think about Lia being half way to 18 years old and high school graduation.  I don't know what I am going to do without her when she goes off to college one day!  Thank heavens I still have nine more years before that happens.

Lia making a wish and blowing out her candles!
Love you tons, Lia!!