Sunday, February 12, 2012

Castle Rock

Brad has been working a lot since the first of the year so back in January I asked him to take a long weekend this weekend so we could have a Valentine's Getaway with the kids!!!  I'm SO glad he did!!!  This weekend was so much fun and just what we needed!!!
We stayed at the Castle Rock waterpark hotel in Branson!!!  If you've never been, it is a lot of fun!!  These days when we travel high on our priority list is an extra room for the kids!!!  All 5 of us in one room makes it a bit hard for everyone to get some sleep!!!  The Castle Rock has 2 types of rooms, the tower rooms, which is where we stayed, are part of the main hotel so you do NOT have to walk outside to get to and from the waterpark!  A HUGE plus during the colder months!!!  These rooms also have a mini room (no door) with bunk beds for the kids!!!  They loved them!!!
Since we were in the tower we could see the waterpark while waiting for the elevator!!!  They kids were SO excited and could hardly wait to get down there!!!
Once we were there the kids squealed with excitement for about 20 minutes.  It was SO cute and made the whole trip worth it!!!!
It wasn't very crowded so I could pull Ethan's stroller right up to the edge so he could watch everyone and hang out and not feel left out.  We spent most of our time here in the medium sized pool where the kids could touch and they had 2 mini waterslides.  There is also a smaller pool which felt warmer with an even smaller slide and I took Ethan over there for a little bit.  There is also a pool to play basketball and a big pool for swimming, I did a few laps for some exercise after eating all that crab! : )
The kids and I have been here before with friends but that was 2 years ago so they were cautious about the slides.  Brad tried to show them that they were fun... not sure it worked at first!!
There is another waterpark hotel in Branson, Grand Country Inn, that we also like to go to but they are both so different so it depends on what you are looking for.  Grand Country is older and there are NO rooms in the same building as the waterpark so you HAVE to walk outside to get to and from.... a bit of a bummer in the winter months!  One thing Grand Country has that I love it a HUGE treehouse with dumping buckets, sprayers, and bridges to climb on.  It also has a really neat kid area that doesn't have so much water in it so it is perfect for tiny toddlers.  If you are looking for pools, they don't have any.  Also, the rooms are older but that doesn't bother me too much since we don't spend a lot of time in the room... we are there to swim/play! Grand County is also cheaper by about half.
Was the price difference worth it??? I'm not sure!  I did like that we didn't have to go outside and we loved the bunks... not sure if I'd pay almost $80 more for that when they are a bit older......
Both parks have a lazy river!!!  The crazy Brewsters decided to give the lazy a river a try.  Let me tell you, going on a raft with 3 little ones and trying to keep the water from dumping on our heads and trying to keep everyone happy... there is nothing lazy about that!!!  I think Brad actually broke into a sweat!!!  The second time around we had bad timing and water did get dumped on us... thankfully I saw it coming and put the towel over Ethan's head but, that did it!!  Eveyone was crying and there was nothing fun about it!  Now we know that we are not ready for the lazy river just yet.  But, we are always willing to give everything a try before we rule it out.  Are we crazy???
Ethan was ready to get warm and snuggle up in his stroller and play with his toys!!!  It was much more relaxing there than the lazy river!!! ; )
All the excitement wore him out!!!  I'm thankful that my kids can sleep anywhere and in any position!!!  He napped here for about an hour which allowed me to play with the older two!!
So I put Ethan down and pulled out my camera!!!  Trying to capture all of the cute moments and this is what I got... think I take too many pictures????
I promise Addyson did have fun!!!  She was being SO cute!  She also found another little boy to play ball with.  Just when I tried to take a picture did she act like she was hating every moment of the waterpark fun.
The kids were loving having daddy around full time and no computer or phone in front of him!!!  I think daddy also enjoyed the time away from work and being able to put his full focus on his kids!!!
We came up with a "gator" game that the kids loved and gave me a bit of a workout!!!  Addyon would ride on my back and we were the gator that was trying to get Owen.
And Owen had to run from us or try to fight the gator.  After playing gator for a while I realized that fighting the gator might not be the best game to play in the water.  I had to have a talk about water safety so he doesn't try to fight the Addyson gator in the water.  As they are getting older I'm realizing that we are going to have to start having different talks with them.... I don't know why but I dread this.  I guess I'm not sure at what level to talk to them and how much to tell them.  I'm hoping my mommy instinct kicks in and I find the right words to help prepare them for things without making them worry too much or take the fun out of whatever they are doing!
Back to having fun, it was my turn to give the waterslide a try and I wasn't going to try to squeeze down the baby one!!!  Castle Rock has 2 big waterslides and I gave them both a try... more than once!!!  The kids loved waiting at the bottom of the slide and waiting for mommy or daddy to come down!!!
THAT was the inspiration they needed to give their waterslides a go!!!
And once they realized everything was safe we couldn't keep them off the slides!!!  I am amazed every time my kids are so cautious!!!  We are always on the go and trying new things... you would think they would be adventurous but that is not the case.  I have to gently force nudge them to try new things, usually with tears, but once they do it and see it is fun and safe they love it!  I know Addyson feeds off of Owen's cautious side... I don't think she'd be like this otherwise.  If Owen will do it, so will she.  If he doesn't, neither does she.  I put her on the slide for the first time and nudged her down.  She was so mad at me that she walked back up the slide to "un-do" what I made her do and that made her feel better.  Silly girl!!!
Day 1 we spent about 4 hours swimming!  I couldn't believe it!!!  It was only after round 3 of snacks that we thought it was best to go eat dinner instead of staying another hour and filling up on snacks!  Day 2 you could tell some of the excitement had worn off.  We swam for an hour and a half and then went to our room to change before check out!  Much easier than trying to dress 3 kids, one of which is a squirmy baby, in the bathroom!
Ethan was excited to get back in day 2!!!  I spent a lot of time with him over at the smaller pool where it was warmer.  He loves bath time so I knew he would love the pool.  I was just surprised he didn't splash as much as I thought he would... I think he was too busy looking around at the bigger kids!!!  Day 2 we knew not to attempt the lazy river.. we just stayed and relaxed at the little pool!
Ethan takes him morning nap early so I let him "swim" right away and then I tucked him in for the morning while I took my turn riding the big water slides!!!  I also went over to the big pool to swim some laps and have some alone time!!!  Us mommas take it where we can get it!! : )
Day 2 the kids knew the waterslides were safe and fun so they didn't waste any time!!!  This morning there were more kids to watch, play with, and get ideas from and Owen saw everyone going down face first and without prompting he gave it a try!!!
He even went under water!!!  I was shocked!!!
He even went under the water tree that sprays you... something he was avoiding yesterday!!!
As I was sitting with Ethan and Addyson (and I use the word sitting lightly) I noticed how Brad was kicked back and relaxing in the pool... oh, how the life of daddys and mommys can be SO different!!  These days I feel like I am rarely sitting and relaxing without something else going on, someone talking to me, someone trying to squeeze their way onto my lap, a dog licking my ear, a baby nursing... the list goes on! : )  While I love all the chaos, I'm jealous of quiet moments that others get to steal while I'm on the other side juggling kids!
I love how kids are creatures of habit!  This summer we laid out towels on the grass to lay on and dry off after swimming.  This morning Addyson needed a break from swimming and I looked over and saw her laying out her towel and then she laid down to dry off!!!
The other habit they form while swimming is snacking!!  Swimming makes me hungry and I'm sure it makes them hungry too but I wonder how much of the snacking is because they are hungry and how much of it is because that's just what you do while swimming and after!  Addyson had the bag of snacks by her and then Owen went and laid out on the chair.  It didn't take Addyson long to jump up for Owen and run the snacks over to him.  She really pays attention to his needs and is SO willing to help him!
Being a sweet big brother, he moved over and made room for his little sister.  Break time!!!
Ethan had also worn himself out from all of the play!!!  So Brad had Ethan and the big kids were resting, I finally had MY moment of quiet!!!  See, I do get them!  I have to remind myself because when I am in the throws of chaos and feel like the kids just want me and not Brad I throw myself a mini pity party in my head and tell myself it isn't fair and I NEVER get time to myself.  While I might not get as much alone time, I still get it!  I just have kids at the stage where mommy can just do things "better" than daddy.  I know what will one day change and then I'll get more than enough alone time!
After 2 days of swimming, a late night, and an early morning the kids were more than willing to go when it was time to leave.... well, Owen would have rather stayed and wasn't too thrilled that I wanted to take his picture as we were leaving but I knew they were getting tired and hungry for lunch so we tried to sell him on that idea.  You know what gets me... when the kids are having a blast and the weekend has been SO much fun and then we have to leave and they are mad to leave so you try to remind them of all of the fun that they had and they say, "No, it wasn't fun!!!"  Seriously... NO fun???  I thought I saw you laughing and smiling!  Just because you are not happy in this moment doesn't mean that the whole weekend was shot!  And thankfully I have ALL of the happy pictures to prove it!!!
We had a great couple of days away together just the 5 of us!!!  Just what we needed to refill our "love cups"!!!  Now, we are on to our next big adventure!!!  Stay tuned!

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