We have been home from our family reunion/road trip for a little over a week and it is my goal to get it all documented in the next couple of days. So here we go with days one and two.
Thinking (hoping) that the children would sleep for a couple hours if we got an early start, we were on the road by 5:30 a.m. Mason slept about an hour, Kiwi dozed off a couple of times, and Little Man never did go back to sleep (I love his fuzzy face in the corner of the below picture. He was so excited!) By 6:40, everyone was wide awake and ready for the day. So much for our plan....
Thankfully, they were really good in the car. We had about eight hours to drive that first day and we stopped three times. Once, for breakfast at McDonalds, which was probably the worst experience of the vacation. The food was fine, but the creepiest guy ever sat across from our family and stared at us the entire time we were eating. The entire time. The kids didn't notice, but it really creeped Mike and I out and we couldn't finish our food and get back in the car fast enough.
About five hours into the drive, the big kids were in some sort of technology induced coma watching their DVDS, but Mason was absolutely done with his car seat. We had to stop for gas and we asked directions to a nearby park. There just happened to be a great, shaded park with a fun big toy just down the road. Mike put Mason down the big kid slide, which he loved. Leave it to Daddy to introduce the kids to the "scary" things. It's a good thing we balance each other out, however, or my kids might never learn to climb rock walls or slide down the fire poles (at the park) by themselves. Then Mike played monster with the kids while I fed Mason a snack in the shade. I wasn't feeling very good, and was grateful to just sit and watch.
We stopped and let the kids play for about a half an hour and after that everyone was ready to get back in the car. Our last stop was a rest stop where we had lunch and which for some reason the kids were intrigued by. The idea that all the other people stopped there were also on vacations was pretty cool to them. As we walked to the bathroom Kiwi looked around and said, "I guess there are a few people on road trips today." Considering it was the 4th of July weekend, I would venture to say that was a true statement.
We arrived at our first destination about 4:30 and headed straight for the "water park" inside the hotel. It had two tube slides, a little frog slide for preschoolers, and a hot tub. Growing up, I remember that whenever we got to a hotel the first thing we would do is change into our swim suits and then RUN down the hallways to get to the pool. I have this memory of my dad and little brothers running full speed to the elevator and it makes me smile. Keeping with tradition, I told the kids that there was only one way to get to a hotel pool ant that was to run. They were more than happy to oblige and reminded me of this when we stopped at the next hotel also.
All water pics. are taken with my phone and a little fuzzy.
Kiwi loved, loved, loved the little kids area with the froggy water slide. She did try one of the big slides on Mike and I's lap, but was not much of a fan. Little Man, however, loved them. The water at the end of the big slides was only about 3 1/2 feet deep so he could touch and after awhile he was going on the big slides all by himself. We had the whole place to ourselves for about an hour before other people came and it was wonderful. Little Man was also old enough to go into the hot tub, so Mike and I were able to take turns going in that with him.
Our big water slidin' boy.
Mason was not a big fan of the water and spent most of his time cuddled up to Mike or I. He wasn't crying, he just wanted to be held. I can't say that I minded. I don't get enough Mason snuggles as he gets older, so I welcome any chance that I can get them.
He did eventually venture out a little bit and right when it was time to leave decided that he liked the water and gave a couple of smiles.
After dinner, we headed over to the local mall to find someplace to eat. After being up since the early morning and never sleeping in the car, this little girl finally gave in and this is what she looked like when we arrived at Red Robin.
We picked up a magazine at the telling about the town and found that they had an old fashioned carousel with hand painted horses right next to a huge castle park with a dragon guarding it. We decided to check that out before we hit the road again.
The kids loved the park and still talk about it.
Kiwi wore her cowgirl boots most of the trip. We had told her we were going to be in cowgirl country so most mornings she woke up and asked if we were in "cowgirl land" and if she should wear her boots.
The carousel was really neat with beautiful, elaborately painted horses...and it went turbo speed. Thinking this would be a perfect time to introduce Mason to a carousel, I decided to share a horse with him, while the big kids took their own and Mike stood on the side to take pictures. Except for the thing went so fast, he had a hard time capturing us. Mason and and I are in the back of the above picture and the reason I am looking up is because I'm trying to figure out how we are flying around the thing so fast. Seriously. I was clutching Mason and dizzy by the end.
The park was near a river that had a trail running along side of it, so we got in a little walk to burn off our continental breakfast before sitting in the car for another four hours.
Mason enjoying our "new" (garage sale) baby backpack. A great purchase.
We arrived at the cabin about 5:00 ready for the family reunion fun to begin.