Birthday and Mother's Day Great Wolf Lodge Shenanigans

Nope, no menu planning this week - or next week!  It's just too crazy, y'all.  We got back from this year's birthday/Mother's Day trip to the Great Wolf Lodge and are turning around to go to Vegas!  But I had to make some time to recap our little getaway for posterity, complete with photo dump and a couple of new lessons learned at the Lodge.

For a while there, I wasn't sure if I was going to make it along for the festivities - after hot yoga last Wednesday, I couldn't seem to cool down and felt really drained.  I ended up with a massively sore throat on Thursday and a fever that kept ratcheting up to about 102 until it finally broke on Saturday morning.  Ugh!  I was able to rest and rally by the time we left the next day.  But now I am SUPER PARANOID that my husband is going to fall ill on our first vacay together in eight years.  Send healthy thoughts, please and thank you.

This year, our room wasn't ready at check in and we begrudgingly used the locker rooms.  We were very pleasantly surprised!  The lockers were super easy to use.  The changing rooms were clean and it was nice to get the kids showered in there when we were done, so that we could take our time in the room to shower while the kids played around in the bunk beds.  

Also new this year, not only did baby girl sleep in her bed like a champ - she was tall enough to go on all the slides except the Howlin' Tornado which I really don't like anyway!  It was so, so fun to all get into a raft together and go down the River Canyon ride as a family.  I also went as many times as possible in the two person rafts on the smaller tube slides with baby girl.  But, like our last visit, both kids are just drawn to the wave pool.  I remembered to bring our goggles this time, so this was less annoying for me - trying not to get smacked in the face and lose my contacts.  Plus, my oldest is a much more skilled swimmer, so it was also less stressful.  Again, for the littles - no need to bring a life vest, they have PLENTY there for them to use.

As for food, we were excited have another nice dinner at the on site restaurant.  However they changed it up (it's now The Wood Fired Grill) and the steak my husband ordered wasn't as good as last year, and my sandwich was just ok.  The kids enjoyed their dinners and scored free birthday cupcakes.  

I think next visit, we'll drive to McMenamins for dinner and just catch the 9pm clock tower show.  One of the reasons I was hesitant to do so this time was because we might miss the 8pm story hour.  Honestly, my kids only pay attention to the clock tower show and don't care to muscle their way to the front in order to hear the reading that comes after.  Plus, the later show is much less crowded.  

Another good food tip I was given for this trip: buy a breakfast buffet voucher when booking your stay and you save at least $10-15.  It's $40 for a breakfast voucher for two adults and two kids.  Lastly, I ordered a venti icewater at the Starbucks (yes, thankfully, there's one on site), and they charged me .71 cents.  Normally, WHAT?  But, refills were free.  This was a WAY cheaper and faster way to refill my water bottle than the $2.50 Dasani bottles for sale.

One fun thing we learned while letting the kids play with their Kindles while waiting for story hour to start, was that it automatically connected them to the internet (no big deal, we have the Free Time app on them) and they could play Minecraft with other kids at the resort.  My boy struck up a conversation with a kid nearby and within minutes they were playing in each other's worlds.  

Speaking of electronic gaming, we decided to drop the cash on wands and a MagiQuest game for the 8 year old.  In the end, I'm glad we did.  But just know, that getting every 'rune' in the first level will take you at least THREE HOURS.  YES.  Which is okay I guess, because we love the water park, but cannot face it on day two.  Day two is for a leisurely breakfast, magic wands and driving home.  I just expected to be on the road a LOT sooner.  

Thankfully, we got to accomplish the Dragon adventure!  I really wish I had turned on my Garmin to see how many miles I got in running up and down all those stairs.  Alas, I still did my mile run after we got home.

Overall, we always have SUCH a fun time together and I have no problem celebrating Mother's Day at the lodge.  We are even contemplating an extra trip sometime in the fall as a surprise for the kids...


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