Saturday, April 19, 2014

Parties and Birthdays

We have been privileged to be invited to several parties recently.  The first was for Tim's great Aunt who was turning 101.  What an honor to be a part of a party for someone who had reached such an amazing milestone in their life.  Such a great thing for the kids to experience and have these few minutes to talk with her at her party.  Even greater a gift we were given of these last few moments with her, because this week God took her home.  She lived life to the fullest, took pictures of all of it :-), and now is home with her Savior at peace.  Happy 101st Birthday and final home going Aunt Inez!

The next was a birthday party for Andrew's friend Savannah from church.  A pool party at an amazing little indoor pool here locally.  The older two enjoyed the diving board and chunky monkey enjoyed swimming with daddy!!
 Happy 6 Savannah!

Then our foster agency had a community day and the kids enjoyed some big ball soccer, face painting, a magician, egg coloring, and carnival games.
(Andrew asked for painting to be a robber with a mustache)


Thursday, April 3, 2014

Kalahari Resort

So, my parents decided that over the next 6 months, every other month they were going to spend a weekend with one of us and our families.  It was up to each family how they wanted to spend their weekend but it's just our family and them for the weekend.  Let me tell you, we were so excited about this!!  We have the awesome privilege to see my parents on a regular basis.  We go to church with them, we live only 30 minutes away, Andrew goes to school at Grandma's work . . . While this is a wonderful luxury we don't take for granted, it does mean we never travel with just my parents and almost never spend a night with them (even at their house).  We were THRILLED to plan our first vacation for just the 7 of us.

We opted to take the plunge and go to Kalahari Resort, one of the largest indoor waterparks in the US.  The place was HUGE with over 1,000 guest rooms.  It even has an entire outdoor adventure section that wasn't open because of the weather.  I mean the place was huge.  It also was the most "formal" hotel experience we have had in a very long time.  Valets met you at the door and unloaded your luggage into a cart which your personal valet then waited with while you checked in.  While you were checking in there were events for the children (cookie decorating, jewelry making, Bingo . . . ) and characters walking around to visit with the little ones.  Then your valet escorted you to your room but on the way he was a personal tour guide talking you through the African made decorations, the directions to the attractions, best places to eat, best waterslides for the little kids . . . Once in our room he unloaded it all and filled our ice tray with ice.  Not the treatment we are used to at the hotels we usually stay at.  :-)  (we had some bills for tips thank goodness .  . we were not prepared for all this)

We are pretty big fans of waterparks, especially indoor ones!  No sunscreen or sunglasses needed!  This was the first indoor waterpark I have been to with a wave pool!

This area was by far Little Lady's favorite.  The slides were all pretty big for her but she was tall enough to do them and could go on her own.  She is so brave and fearless that it's very difficult to keep track of her.  She will go on any slide, go to any water depth and might just do it without you and that doesn't bother her one bit.  I am convinced she could wander off for an hour and not even know we were not with her.  The park required all children her size to wear a lifejacket at all times so although it took some getting used to . . . . it was just as well that she had it on since she could disappear quickly.

I do believe Andrew enjoyed this slide more than daddy . . . :-)

Andrew has an extreme fear of heights . . . always has . . . so it took some severe convincing to get him up the steps to the rafters for this ride but once he did it he loved it and wanted to go on it over and over .  .  . turned out to be one of his favorites . . . He nicknamed it the "toilet bowl" since this part looked like a giant toilet bowl . . . four people in a raft.  Grandpa, Grandma, Tim and I all got to take turns on this one with Andrew. 
Since we had to take turns doing little kid duty in the toddler area we did some random things in smaller groups.  Andrew and Little Lady enjoyed the indoor/outdoor hot pool, Andrew crossed the lily pads, Mom and I did a water roller coaster around the rafters of the park (the orange one to the left . . . they literally have pads on the rafters in case you go to high . . . .
Grandma and Andrew did the body boarding thing (which was VERY COOL) (videos on facebook) . . . Mom became quite a legend with the body boarding.  A huge group of people sits/stands around that area to watch everyone try it.  They clap and cheer for those that are successful and pat the backs of those who are not.  Its really a fun area to hang around.  Mom was clearly one of the older attempters and it was so cool to see how many people came up to her . . . even the next morning at breakfast to compliment her for her attempt and her inspiration.  My mom is the coolest!!!
We all enjoyed the lazy river a few times. . .
During the little kids naptime the rest of us took advantage of some little kid free time.  The first day, Tim and I went on some bigger slides we couldn't convince Andrew to do and left Grandma and Grandpa in charge back at the suite.  The second day Andrew, Grandma and Grandpa went to the free cookie decorating and they may or may not have snuck Andrew some candy from the candy shop while Grandma got her Chocolate Apple Fix.

They had a dry area with a huge ball playing thing.  (imagine a three story high MCDonalds playland with balls shooting everywhere . . . ) Little Lady, Chunky Monkey and Andrew ALL enjoyed this area.  Poor Andrew (and Grandma, Grandpa and Mommy once each) had to go rescue Little Lady more than once as she found her way to some random level climbing through something and couldn't get out . . . :-)  This is Grandpa and Andrew filling up the huge volcano in the center with balls that would then explode into the air.

As part of our package deal we also got some arcade money which we actually really enjoyed using.  I am learning that my mom is a little bit of an arcade junky . . . but don't tell her I told you.  :-)

The walking . . . we probably walked a mile each day at this place.  It's just huge!!!  It's all inclusive so we packed lunch from home and ate in our room but we had Breakfast and Dinner Buffets there and never got in our car from the first day we got there BUT . . . there is a lot of walking and a lot of elevators which was good because Chunky Monkey FINALLY overcame his fear of them.  Literally screamed anytime we got in one until halfway through the trip. 

View of the waterpark from the lobby.

This was truthfully so much fun.  It cost a lot of money and was one of the more expensive vacations we have ever done but we saved up for it and it was very fun.  So glad we got to experience this with both my parents and the little kiddos!  I'm not sure mom and dad would say it was a "relaxing" weekend but I hope they would say it was a lot of fun and full of memories.