For our first little adventure of 2013, we had made plans to join our college friends, Alli and Damon Herren, for a weekend at the Great Wolf Lodge in Mason, Ohio. Unfortunately, Marcus ended up having to stay home and cover call at the hospital, so Nanna extended her visit and stood in for him so the kids wouldn't lose their much-anticipated trip. It took us about six hours to drive up to Mason, and the trip there went smoothly. When we arrived in the huge, three-story lobby of the lodge, Caleb looked all around and said in awe, "Ohio is AWESOME."
I can't speak for all of Ohio, but Great Wolf Lodge is pretty amazing. There is an entire water park inside the lodge, just a short walk from our spacious room. The kids had so much fun enjoying every part of the water park and playing with the magic wand that opened treasure chests all over the lodge. And I had so much fun catching up with my college bestie and her husband, also a good friend from the semester we all three studied abroad in Athens, Greece. Alli has two little ones, Kyla (age 3) and Lana (age 1). Lydia enjoyed the little girls, and Ethan and Kyla really hit it off as well. One night, they got to have a late-night play date from 9:00 to 10:00 while Kyla's parents did the big-kid water slides (all the other kids were asleep). Kyla and Ethan sat on the couch and made up silly stories together about Kyla's favorite stuffed animal, a llama. I'm afraid Ethan may have interjected a little violence into the stories (llama was being very naughty and killing other imaginary animals), but they sure enjoyed each other! Alli's girls are precious and I'm so glad I had a chance to get to know them at these ages.
Caleb was tall enough to ride everything in the park (just barely) and he ended up getting on all but two of the water slides. (The only reason he didn't get to those two was because Nanna and Ethan weren't feeling well the last day, so we didn't spend as much time in the water as we'd planned.) Most of the time, Nanna hung out in the toddler area with Lydia, while I followed the boys around to where they wanted to go, snatching a minute to chat with Alli as often as I could. Lydia enjoyed the smaller water slides and wading in the water with Nanna, though she did get cold much faster than the boys, so we either warmed her up in towels or in the hot tub. She also tired out faster and spent more time in the room with Nanna than the boys did. Though the boys had much more stamina than Lydia, when they got too cold in the lazy river or the wave pool or in one of the long water-slide lines, they took their turn resting in the huge hot tub (more of a hot pool) as well. It couldn't quite be a great vacation without our very own Super Dad, but it was as good as it could be in the circumstances, and I am ever-so-grateful to Nanna for making it possible!