As Noah pointed out, if you go on a longer vacation some of the time needs to be downtime; the problem is, with 4 kids and one on the way, there is no vacation downtime. Well, at least no relaxing for the adults of the clan, anyway.
The environments aren't child proof, you are constantly having to be one step ahead of the "I'm starving" cries and apparently just "tough it out" is not as easy for a 4 year old as it is for a 33 year old.
Last year we took a November vacation to Wisconsin Dells. We had a great time, but it was somewhat stressful. This year we decided to take a shorter trip and just head north a couple of hours and stay at a waterpark hotel overnight.
We got a late start on Sunday because of a volunteer commitment, and so we didn't arrive at the hotel until 8:15pm. The waterpark was open until 10, however, so we got some swimming in upon arrival. When you have a family of six, nothing is cheap- but how is this for a deal? Our room was $100 and it included a room with 2 queens and a foldout, microwave and fridge. It also overlooked the waterpark, which is worth more than you think when you have an almost 2 year old. Berean usually tries to destroy hotel rooms, but she was so interested in looking out the window that she left everything else alone. Included in our room rate was a large pizza, a couple of drinks (Pepsi!), continental breakfast and waterpark evening/morning passes for the 6 of us. Definitely a good deal.
The waterpark was less stressful than WI Dells had been because this one was smaller and there were only a couple of very small areas that were over 48 inches in depth. Basically, Deacon and Roman were able to go down all slides and we didn't have to worry about their safety in the pools
as much as we did last year. Of course, one of us had to be with Berean and Lincoln, but the whole park was more at our kids level which made it easier to handle. Berean was content to chillax in her life jacket on a tube with me in the lazy river. If we weren't on the lazy river, she just let me carry her around the pool- as long as she had a ball in her hands. Lincoln was able to go down slides with Noah and to do some of the other activities on his own, as well as just playing in the water.
After we left the hotel the next day we got lunch and then went to the local aquarium. We are discovering more and more places where it is cheaper for us to buy annual memberships than just to pay one time admission fees for our whole family. We had a good time looking at fish and then headed for a huge Christmas light walk-through display.
We headed for home about 24 hours after we arrived.
And now we are home, working on our "70 things to do before baby" list and enjoying Thanksgiving week!
(I am planning to update the list on the blog soon, but I have been having some problems with blogger. I am about 8 miles behind on my walking, as well, so I gotta spend some more time getting caught up on that!)