Wednesday, July 09, 2014


This post has sat as a half-finished draft for over a month. I'm just not that into blogging this year. But, given that summer is nearly over (yes, school starts in less than a month!) let me finish telling you about our pseudo-summer vacation. . . . .

We'd thought about going to the beach this year, but after various large expenses this spring, we decided to downsize our plans with a short, close trip strategically timed for max relaxation: the Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday following Memorial Day, so we had a three day weekend before going out of town and after we returned. We made sure to fill those six days at home with fun stuff, making those nine days our "vacation-staycation" of 2014!

We spent most of Memorial Day weekend at the pool. Kate is swimming a little more independently, especially if she has a vest on, so she's moved beyond the "catch me!" game that Claire plays over and over, running a constant cycle of jumping in to Mommy (with an adorable "get ready, get set, JUMP" recitation each time), kicking as I escort her to the steps, then running around to jump again). We went over to Matt's parents' house for dinner on Memorial Day. Opa taught the girls to play golf and Granna showed them her new "secret garden."

Tuesday, we took off for Wilderness at the Smokies, a water park resort in the Smoky Mountains, near Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, Tenn. There are indoor and outdoor water parks there, with slides, wave pools, a lazy river, and other water fun. And kids eat free! So, it was a good place for a mini-vacation with kiddos!
It would be most ideal for families with elementary age kids, since most slides required kids to be at least 42-48 inches tall. Kate went on every slide she was tall enough for a million times. Many required a parent to go with her, so Matt and I spent a lot of our time sitting with Claire while the other parent went with Kate on a slide. Then we'd switch off.
She went on these racing slides at least twenty times. You go down them head-first on a little foam mat, but she was fearless. As she told me when I commented on her bravery:
"I'm not scared of anything. . . Except things that I'm scared of."

Claire was not so into it. There were a couple areas designed for small kids, with small slides she could go on, but she wasn't having any of it. She liked a bouncy-swing thing that let them dip in and out of the water, but refused the slides. It didn't really cramp our style, because she didn't throw a fit about it or refuse to go in the water at all. We took her in the wave pool and on the lazy river, and she just sat there on my lap, stone-faced as we floated around. Our serious little girl.

 FYI, if you go: don't bother packing a pool bag with your own towels, floatation vest, etc. They provide towels and vests and all that, included, so you can go to the water parks without carrying anything (except your room key, which of course fell out of Matt's pocket our first time out).
We'll have to come back when the girls are a little older, so Kate can do more things by herself and Claire might be a little braver! (She's always been more cautious. At bouncy places, Kate was climbing up the huge slides and sliding down at 18 months, but even at 2 1/2, Claire just stands in one place and jumps, if she gets in the inflatable apparatus at all.)

The rooms at Wilderness are fun, with the feel of a mountain lodge. We got a room with a bunk bed separated from a queen bed by a partial wall. The queen bed was on the side near the balcony, so Matt and I could have some privacy from the kids after bedtime, without spending more on a suite with multiple bedrooms. 
We took a little afternoon siesta in our room the first day. Claire wanted to read a magazine, just like Mommy. Fitting that she read an old copy of "Working Mother" with the cover story "Take Back Family Time." :0)
Returning from our mini-vacation meant three more days of staycation in Nashville. We went to a baseball game and spent more time at the pool.  There were fireworks after the ball game, and the kids were invited to run the bases, as I recall doing as a child in Louisville. Kate ran faster than Claire, of course, but after turning third base, Kate stopped and went back to meet Claire, so they would cross home plate hand-in-hand. So sweet!

Hopefully next year we'll make it to the beach, but for this year, our "vacay-staycay" was a great kick-off to the summer.


EMU said...

Looks fun!

Rachel Moss said...

Looks like a very relaxing stay-cation! We would have loved to take an official vacation, too, but we stayed home for the same reasons.


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