Wisconsin Dells, it's where dreams are made (if you are between the ages for 2-6). We've been going to the Dells annually now since Abby was about 1.5 years old. It started with just us and the Stadermann family, but we quickly added the Brackemyer's to the mix and this year, we've hit our stride!!
We took half day's on Friday (and pulled Abby out of school early which hasn't happened before, so she was excited) and we headed up to the Dells early afternoon on Friday. Let me tell you, that is the ticket! We got there around 3pm on Friday afternoon which meant the kids had plenty of time to swim and run and play while the adults sat pool side, eating pizza and having a few adult beverages. The six kids, ranging from Connor who just turned 6 a few weeks ago, to Hazel (2.5) all had the best time. Lucy was there too, but at just 1.5, she wasn't overall impressed by the whole thing. It's loud, a little cool, and the bottom of the pools are scratchy, so, I'm guessing by next year, she'll be all in all day!
My kids get so excited for this trip. I think it has to do with the cold, dark, short days of winter and a glimmer of hope that putting on a swimming suit gives you. Like, someday soon, we'll be back to pool side/lake side living...but for these two days in March, we can pretend its warmer than it is and that summer is closer than it actually is.
We let the kids be wild and stay up a little late on Friday night, knowing we still had all day Saturday to play and explore. Since we've been going there for 4 years now, you'd think we'd have our routine all set and we'd remember which areas were best and for what reasons, but I think it took up until this year to finally get the routine down. We started on Friday night at Wild West (easily the kids favorite area this year). Then Saturday morning we went over to the Wilderness on the Lake and Cubby Cove. The Cove area is much smaller (with no large slides) but the water is much warmer and it's usually less crowded in those early hours when everyone just wants to be at the pool.
We headed back to the condo for lunch and naps (for those who needed them, me included) and then made our way to Klondike Kavern with the lazy river and the biggest of the slides. Unfortunately, that area was the most crowded, the lazy river was more like a CRAZY river (it was packed and moving very quickly) and the slides were all too big for our littles to go on. So, we let the dad's get a few slides in and then hiked back to Wild West where we finished out the day.
All in all, that was the ticket! That and the Friday afternoon arrival. In fact, we were so happy with that that I think next year we may plan to stay on Thursday and Friday night's coming home Saturday so that we can avoid the crazy crowds. It was so much more fun when it wasn't as busy...and I have a feeling the week nights are the ticket to that.
Since I've got more pictures than stories, I suppose I'll share a bad parent moment we had. On Friday when we got there, the kids were so excited to just run and play that we had a hard time keeping them all together. I forced everyone to take a few pictures before they ran in 100 directions but once they got inside the play area they were hard to keep track of. Abby, Stella and Hazel all took off with Ryan following closely behind, so Jamie and I set to getting our tables all set and unpacking our stuff.
I sat down figuring Ryan had the kids and just started chatting and taking it all in. A few minutes later I spotted Hazel walking towards us, tears in her eyes, but walking straight for us. I figured she'd fallen or something and Ryan had sent her over to me. I popped up to give him a wave, that I saw her and would take care of it, but I didn't see him. I figured we was somewhere close and he could see me, so I grabbed her and started talking to her to see what was wrong. A few seconds later a sweet life guard walked over asking "Is she with you? She was just walking around crying so I figured I'd follow her until she found someone she knew". Sheesh...baby Mommy moment for sure! I had no idea where she'd come from, or where Ryan was. I figured he was worried about her too, so we set off to then find him and Abby.
Well, turns out the big kids ditched her inside the maze of tunnels and steps so she figured out how to get down (alone? EKK!) and came to find me. Ryan said that once they got inside it was trying to chase a herd of wild cats, which, I get it! It is! But still, I felt terrible for not keeping a closer eye. But, luckily it turned out ok, thankfully! And, kudos to that life guard who knew enough to watch her until she found us. For her, I'm so thankful! (I promise we did a better job of watching them....and teaching the bigger kids to stay together, after that point).
All in all, another great weekend in the books. I've got tons more pictures to share, so keep reading if you want to see what else we were up to this weekend.