Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Little Ho Ho Ho Vacation

Travis and I decided to do a little family vacation this holiday since we aren't traveling for Christmas (nor did we for Thanksgiving). And we knew it would probably be the last one as a family of 3!! We knew right where we wanted to go! Grapevine, Texas! Well, more specifically, the Great Wolf Lodge and Gaylord Texan! We were actually there the last time I was pregnant too! But just for a quick sight seeing trip. This time we knew what we wanted to do and had an exciting plan! I knew Alex would love it because he has been really enjoying all the Christmas fun so far! We were supposed to go last weekend but since the family came down with "the plague" we had to cancel. We really wanted to go so we just pushed it back a week. I am so glad we still went!

The Great Wolf Lodge is SUPER kid/family friendly! Which was such a nice change from the normal stuffy hotel where I hold my breath that Alex will behave and stay quiet. He loved the hotel from the minute we got there, though he was really well behaved the whole time anyway! The lobby was teaming with kids, it looks like a forest, and they had awesome Christmas decor everywhere! It was so exciting! Everything is forest themed- including the "do not disturb, cubs in hibernation" sign. So cute.

This hotel features an indoor water park that is included in the price of the stay- oh my goodness, it is so cool! Too bad Alex is a chicken and didn't think it was too cool yet, but Dad enjoyed some of the water slides for him. :) And he still enjoys just eating his snack while people watching. And yes, this meant that I had to put on a bikini (since I am not buying a maternity swimsuit in the winter!)....sorry folks, no pictures of this big belly for ya. I kept my tank on the whole time anyway. :)

Every night they have "Story time" where the kids all come to the lobby in their pajamas. Soo cute! And at Christmas time it "snows"! It actually "snows" twice a day. At 10 and 8- we saw it 4 times actually :) They have these characters (which reminded me of Chuck E Cheeses, you know what I am talking about) that sing and move and then it snows. Alex really liked it, in a kinda scared way.

waving to Rudolph up in the treehouse

Finally, we meet the big guy himself! They had Santa visit at night too! I was waiting for this because I figured it would be easier than waiting and all at the mall (with all the crazies, you know!) And it was so great! No wait really and we got to take our own pictures for free- love it! Alex did so great too! I was so proud of him!! No crying. Sat by himself. No smile, but hey, you take what you can get! Yes, I know he looks like he is wearing capris. They aren't. I just should have pulled them down. I was so nervous that I didn't worry about things like that.

The Gaylord Texan is right across the street and so we planned an evening to go over and see their sites. It is gorgeous and they have awesome model train set ups. To say Alex liked it would be a huge understatement. He doesn't "talk" a lot in public but he was pointing out the trains and town set like crazy! He loved the piano music at the bar too. :)
can't take his eyes off the trains

The real site to see there is their ICE exhibit. This is what Travis and I were so looking forward too. We had tried to go the time before but they sell out. So we bought tickets way in advance and thought we were set. Well, we were, but this place has a horrible system (and it was Sat. night before Christmas- stupid choice I know now). We had to wait about an hour in line just to get in. Not fun with a toddler. But, he was a trooper and we made it and gosh darn it we were going to enjoy this! It was just pretty brutal because you think you are almost there and then you turn a corner to find another long line. And then you get excited because you think you are there and people start bundling up for the cold, so you do too, and then you realize there is more waiting. Finally we got in! By this time we were tired and hungry and just wanted to get through the exhibit. But we did find a few spots to really stop and enjoy the beauty and fun of the ice sculptures. Did I mention that it is 9 degrees in there?! So we were a little cold too. They give you these parkas- one size fits all, so I look like a linebacker, nice. Poor Alex couldn't keep his on until I made Travis button it about half way through. Poor guy was freezing. We had to carry Alex through the exhibit because they don't allow strollers- now Travis' arms were dying from carrying the little guy. All in all, it was easy to complain, but we had a good time and it WAS an experience. I love that we normally find a laugh in the end when things like this happen to us. The ice really was amazing! Click here to read more about how they make it! They bring in men from China to work on it for nearly a month of all day shifts!

are you serious?

oh no, I've fallen and I cant get up Mom!
(I was laughing so hard! Alex, not so much)
Alex loves to say Ho Ho Ho whenever he sees a Santa or a snowman

One thing we learned was that Alex has bad seasonal allergies. We spent most of the time wondering why he was having itchy eyes and sneezing. It couldn't be dogs, or milk, so we were racking our brain. The ultimate conclusion is just seasonal allergies, and I think Grapevine must have had a high dose this weekend. :(

Alex had a blast at the hotel. He loves to play on the bed, run around the room, mess with all the things that are at his level unlike home (like the phone and clock radio), and this trip he decided he likes to ride in the stroller. He kept getting in it, on his own, in the room.

I had a bad case of pregnancy brain and forgot several things. No veggies and no toddler forks...equals Alex not eating very well (ie. pretzels and strawberries for lunch one day! yikes!). Good news- he survived! And well, we didn't eat so well either come to think of it...I took advantage of the buffets and sweet shop. A preggo girls dream (I think they were trying to cater to the 10 year old, but whatever).

We had a great trip overall! I just love being with my family and spending time together. We always have so much fun! This was the first time we have ever been on a vacation in the winter and we decided it is a great thing! It really took us away from the hustle and bustle, the daunting to-do list, and lets you really enjoy the holiday! It really is my favorite time of year.


Solomon Clan said...

Love all the pics. It really makes me one to check out that place sometime. Glad you had a great family vacation!
P.S. Alex, I think you should convince your parents to get you one those cool jackets! Too funny!!

Jenny said...

oh wow, my mom and i loved your post! there is so much to respond to! like, i love that first pic of him at the pool, the profile picture is amazing! and that hat that you wore,is so cute! you look so pretty in it! that purple belly of yours is so cute in that one pic too! i am just going to have to call you and hear more and talk more about it, it sounds like y'all had the best time and it made me really happy to hear that you had such great family time!

Brandy said...

wow that sounds like a great place!
I bet you'll have great memories!

Kristen said...

What a fabulous place!!! It is so great to be able to take a family trip like that. The ice sculptures look so cool! I'm tagging along next time ;)

Kristen said...

ditto to everything jenny said! i am glad yall had such a great time!!

rebekah l. louis said...

whoa, vacation! how fun!

Rob and Leah said...

That sounds like so much fun. Maybe we'll check it out next year!

Holly said...

I've been wanting to take Zachary. I think you definitely sold us on it. Now...when? Have a Happy New Year!