"When you called me to be a Mama, You didn't ask for perfection. But that with every breath, I'd point them to You."

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Kalahari -- Part II

Here it is. Our play-by-play account of our whirlwind getaway. We are still recovering. It was extra difficult to get our kids out of bed this morning. (Why can't this ever happen on a weekend?)

Day 1:
I was so pleasantly surprised with how well the boys handled a five-hour car ride that should have only been about four hours. As mentioned in my earlier post, we encountered a closed bridge and had to take a 54-mile detour. The detour of all detours. I never realized how woodsy Wisconsin is. We drove on a two-lane for the last two hours -- a road that had more twists and turns than the world's craziest roller coaster. I thought we were crazy to take eight movies with us for the ride -- turns out we needed almost every single one of them.

When we got to the hotel, we immediately got into our swimming suits and headed to the water park.

Brandon was required to wear a life jacket the entire time due to his height. I thought he would throw a fit over this but he accepted it pretty easily, and he looked so darn cute in it!

We quickly got the lay of the land and found a place to plant ourselves. There were three "kiddie" areas throughout the waterpark. One for really little ones - one for kids Brandon and Jaden's ages filled with water slides and climbing ropes - and a pool for somewhat older kids with basketball hoops and a ropes course. Jaden had been most excited about the pool with the basketball hoops so that's where he wanted to start. Brandon loves lazy rivers and remembered the one at The Falls so he and Cody started there. I immediately dragged my dad to the "water coaster." It was nice to have four adults there - so that those of us wanting to do the rides could do that, while the others could keep an eye on the kids.

The water coaster... I eventually got my dad, mom and even Cody on this with me. This is the only thrill ride that Jaden said no to. ;)

Jaden stayed in the basketball area for so long that his arm actually got sore from trying to shoot the ball up out of the water. While he was there, he made friends with a couple of 12-year old boys that could not have been sweeter to him. They shared the balls with him, passed to him, and let him join in on their actual game they got going. At one point, a wet ball hit Jaden square in the nose, and they were sure to stop and ask him if he was okay.

This picture below is of the area where we spent most of our time.

They had some smaller tube slides and some larger taller slides. The first day, Jaden would only try the shorter tube slides. Brandon wouldn't try any of them until he spent some time on the baby slides in another area. Once he got comfortable with those, he came back to this area to do the medium slides. He LOVED them. We couldn't drag him away -- he even started going down them head-first on his tummy!

After spending a few hours in the water, we went back to our room to change for supper.

I wish this family picture wasn't so blurry, but there was a nice younger girl that offered to take it and I couldn't say no!

Brandon refusing to take a picture with his mommy...

And after supper, we were off to the indoor theme park...

First up were the bumper boats. If we hadn't been wanting to see many other things, we probably would have let the kids stay in these longer. Jaden remembered the bumper cars from Adventureland, which were his favorite, so he was pretty excited about these.

After bumper boats, I was able to get everyone on the ferris wheel. I'm still surprised that both Jaden and Brandon (and Cody) agreed to try this. Cody is not a fan of rides, and Jaden and Brandon usually are fearful of tall rides.

And as it turns out, we got stopped right at the very top for a while. They were needing to get an elderly lady off at the bottom, and it took a while because she was using a wheelchair. So there we hung... and my dad took a picture. Jaden enjoyed the ride and kept leaning over to look down. Brandon liked the ride but didn't like the loud motor sound it made at the top, and Cody just kept looking at the bolts that were keeping us from falling to the ground and reminding me that there were only two small bolts keeping us alive. Thanks, husband.

From there, we were off to the merry-go-round. Jaden didn't care for that -- he wanted to look at all the arcade games instead. Brandon was really excited about it, and didn't even want me to hold on to him while his horse went up and down.

What followed was a little traumatic for Brandon. There was a go-kart course elevated over the theme park that Jaden and Brandon were both really excited for. We waited in a long line to get on it, and Brandon and I got to the very front of the line when they informed me that the kids had to be four years old to ride. Poor Brandon dissolved into tears while watching Papa, Jaden and Daddy drive around the track. By this point, it was getting late so we decided to stop for some ice cream in the lobby before heading back to the room.

While we walked from the lobby to our room, Brandon said, "I am happy now!" I asked him why, and he said, "Ice cream!" That's really all that boy ever needs.

The kids really wanted to take a bath in the hotel so we allowed them to get a quick one in before crashing for the night.

They got to sleep together in the same bed for the first time. Brandon said he slept good, but Jaden said he didn't because "Daddy snores too loud!"

You would think that the kids would have slept in the next morning from all the activity, but not at all. They were wide awake at 6:30am. We headed to breakfast before going back to the water park. Breakfast is Jaden's favorite meal of the day.

Day two at the waterpark was a big success.

We started off at the wave pool because there was a kid's slide that emptied at the shallow area of the wave pool. This became one of Jaden's favorite slides there, and it took us a while to get him to go do other things. I didn't get a good picture of that slide but you can see the back of it here with the smaller slides that Brandon liked.

We then went back to our favorite area -- where Brandon wanted to stay for the rest of the day. I wish this picture wasn't blurry - it was so hard to take pictures in the water with a camera that wasn't mine and lighting that wasn't great! This pink slide was one of Brandon's favorites...

...Along with this yellow one. By the end of our two days, both boys had mastered that rope climb. At one point, Brandon was so happy that he stopped halfway up the rope, looked over at me, smiled and blew me a giant kiss. When he got to the bottom of the slide, he ran over to give me a huge hug. They both were just so happy here.

This second day is when I got Jaden to try the bigger and taller rides. He came with me on a family raft ride that was partially in a tube that took you outside the building and then back in. I had to ride down backwards while he faced forwards. I wish I could have had a camera with me on the ride because the look on his face was priceless. His eyes just lit up and he just couldn't stop laughing and squeeling the whole way down. We were only halfway down when he screamed, "I want to do this again right away!"

He also tried this other ride with me, and he ended up going on it five times in a row. We were exhausted from climbing steps by the time we got home!

He spent most of the second day on these taller, twistier kid slides. There's no way I would have been able to keep track of how many times he went down these slides, and he sobbed when it was time to leave. He was obviously tired from climbing steps and was moving slower and slower but just couldn't walk away!

We made some great memories on this trip, and they are already asking when we can go back. Each of them (including Cody!) stepped out of their comfort zones to try things they had previously been fearful of. In doing so, they had so much fun and have been so grateful for the trip. Jaden is still sad that we had to come home.