Tag Archives: Vacation

High. Higher. Highest.

22 May

A continuation of my previous post: Wet. Wild. Water. Sadly, not a post about getting high.

While we were at the Kalahari over Mother’s Day weekend we not only went to the water park, but got to enjoy the theme park as well.

I like to think of myself as an adventurous daring person.  In my mind, I really am. I want to seek out adventure at every turn. I’m a person who rarely says no and is always up for something new and exciting. Until I get there. And freak out. Like a place with lots of people I don’t know that I’m supposed to speak to. Or someplace where everyone is gorgeous and I’m self conscious or simply some place very high.

The first thing that I see when we walk into the theme park is the ropes course. Without even batting an eye I tell tell the H, “lets go.” So we get strapped into these harnesses and hooked up this rope attached to the metal tracks above us and we’re sent on our way. Just like that. So we climb up the stairs and get to the first obstacle. Okay, I think I can do this. It’s a straight wooden bar with a metal railing on the side. I can feel my heart pounding. But I have something to hold on to. I’ll be okay. I make it across and as I stand on this tiny metal platform with nothing to hold onto, in the air, so I start to panic. A lot. I look ahead and there’s no way I can go across there’s nothing to hold on to.

This family of four with two children Bear’s age start coming up behind us. I force the H to continue on without me so he goes across the second obstacle. And I’m still standing there waiting for them all to go ahead and the mom tries to convince me to keep going. Her kids are going across. She’s looking at me probably wondering what is wrong with me that I’m up there with my knees rattling in the first place. So I go across the second obstacle. I hold onto these ropes reaching out from one to the other as the wooden boards below me move as I walk across each one.

And then I stop.

And they keep going.

And I keep shaking waiting for each group to go by so I can just turn around and go back.

And the tears are welling up in my eyes as I’m so embarrassed watching all these people go by me.

But I can’t. I’m terrified.

So I get back down. And I watch the H from below.

And when he gets back I decide we should go on the rock climbing wall. My goal is to make it at least up to the first elephant. Mind you this elephant is probably only 7-8 feet off the ground so not even that much higher than me. And it’s hard. Really really hard. My fingers are going numb. I do however enjoy repelling. I could have bounced up and down all night.

Feeling defeated we go back to the hotel after we go on the go carts. The next morning I seem to have entirely forgotten how the evening went and we take Bear down to the theme park before we start our water activities for the day. First, the ferris wheel. Bear seems very skeptical about this having been on a ferris wheel with me before and recalling mommy gripping the sides for dear life starring at her feet. However, this is a very fast moving ferris wheel. And Bella’s there smiling it up so I have to keep up appearances.

It was not frightening, but it was the longest ferris wheel ride of my life. I think the lady forgot when she loaded us on because we went around for what seemed like at least 10 minutes.

Bear and I ride the go carts together and apparently my attempts to bypass people are labeled by Bear as me “not being in control.”

We go to the rock wall and I make it much higher than last time, but although Bear tries he never makes it higher than the first two steps up. We have to work on not giving up so easily.

Then I convince Bear to go on the ropes course with Daddy. So the two of them get all suited up and start heading up the stairs with me watching for the bottom. I however could not miss this photographic opportunity so I suit up and chase them up. Bear is terrified. I am terrified. I use him for encouragement. He makes me brave. I want him to be brave. And adventurous. I want him to have the same drive I have, but also the courage to fulfill on it. So I go across the first obstacle and wait for him.

And then I go across the second.

And this is where I turned back the last time. But I go across the third.

And then I go across the fourth and I climb up the rope stairs and I’m standing at the top of the second level thinking I could maybe actually finish this. But Bear starts to cry. He wants to get back down. And I know that I instilled this fear in him. That even though I’m pretending to be brave right now, I’ve made him this way. And we head back down and I still wish that I had just gone ahead and completed it myself. Maybe next time I will. Maybe next time he can complete it with me.

Do your kids have an adventurous spirit? Are you secretly afraid of heights but seem to always forget that?


Wet. Wild. Water.

16 May

There was excitement and trepidation as I packed my family’s things for a one night two day trip to the Wisconsin Dells. Excitement because I love waterparks and knew that this trip to the Kalahari would be one that my kids would enjoy immensely. The trepidation was not over how I would be able to go on body slides while watching the children, it was not about how I would manage to stick to the very strict The 17 Day Diet, but it was amount spending the weekend with my mother given all the recent issues. And not just any weekend — mother’s day weekend, but that is a whole other post in itself.

I was initially amazed at how somehow my trunk was full of stuff given that we were just going for such a short amount of time and then I realized it was the children. My luggage consisted of a razor, comb, three swimsuits, a pajama and a change of clothes. But for the kids we had diapers, and swim diapers, and toys and a play yard, and blankets, and clothes, and swimsuits, and towels, and movies, and a portable DVD player and snacks and shoot me now.

The drive was good. We spent most of the 3.5 hour car ride listening to The Last 5 Years which I love. The children were either asleep or listening to the Scooby Doo movie on their headphones so they couldn’t hear me “belting as loud as I can”.

I was very pleased to see that the living social deal I had gotten was for quite a fancy suite and there was more than enough room for my parents and the four of us. I actually wish I had bought more than one so we could have stayed for two nights.

I was however all business and wanted everyone straight in their swimsuits and out to the water park so we can get every last moment of pure joy in. I’m all about getting my money’s worth. Other people apparently wanted to do things like “eat lunch.”

After all of that shenanigans we did get down to business and it was SO MUCH FUN. It was great having my parents there because we could all alternate who was going down the slides with the children and give us the opportunity to go on things the children couldn’t. Bella had a great time. There were at least 4 kid areas filled with tons of slides and play areas perfect for her and there were two family raft rides that she went on as well as of course the lazy river/wave pool. It was great that at 19 months she could still participate and really have a fun time. Bear of course had a blast, there were few rides that he wasn’t tall enough/good enough swimmer for.

I absolutely shocked myself on the things that I went on. In fact there was not a single slide that I didn’t go on. When somehow all of my family had disappeared on various different tasks I walked over to take a picture (that doesn’t do it justice) of this ridiculous straight down slide, the screaming hyena.

And then without even letting myself think for a moment or say a word to a single person I started climbing the steps. Going higher and higher until I was at the top staring at these capsules with my heart pounding out of my chest. They place you in a capsule and you must cross your ankles and interlock your hands behind your head. A very unnatural uncomfortable position. Then the door closes and they count down from three until the floor drops from under you and fall. FAST.

I only did the hyena once as my legs instantly uncrossed and lots of water went where water shouldn’t go. I did however go on the Sahara sidewinders I think seven times. It starts the same in the capsule and the drop and then you do some crazy loops and crazy things happen to you and maybe you don’t listen to the rules and try to plug your nose because of all the water and the sheer force causes you to flip on your stomach and you think you may die and it takes all of your strength and willpower to flip back over. But it was so worth it.

I also tried to surf. But what that really meant is that I completely and utterly flashed every single person at the water park.

If only the lady hadn’t been so insistent that I try and stand up I could have just laid on my stomach happily.

Now the theme park… that was a whole other adventure.

Linked with Wordful Wednesday

Photos are mostly from instagram — follow me motus8

Sadly Living Social and Kalahari don’t know that I exist. It would be nice if they did, this post however does contains Amazon Affiliate Links. 

The Happiest Place on Earth

19 Jan

On Saturday I returned from a week long trip to the happiest place on earth and I’m still dreaming about it every night.

Yes, a week with my inlaws had many moments of awkward family drama, passive aggressiveness, and not nearly enough alcohol. However, it was still one of the best vacations I’ve ever had if not for the sheer delight on my children’s faces every day.

All Aboard

The flight and our hotel, the Beach Club.

Epcot: While there I ate by myself for the first time (in public) to which then a duck joined me and tried to steal the food out of my hand.

Magic Kingdom: I love on the left the before, during and after photos of Splash Mountain. That or Bella’s look of terror at meeting Eeoyre.

Animal Kingdom: My favorite park (and the kids). We saw lots of animals, rode lots of dinosaur rides and got very wet.

Hollywood Studios and Universal Studios: It rained while we were at Hollywood Studios so I didn’t get many photos but Bear rode the Tower of Terror TWO TIMES. The best was when we were discussing a third and he said, “”Here’s the thing. Personally I was not brave I was scared. I was pretending.” It was the funniest thing an almost five year old could say.

Other favorite moment was riding Jurassic Park four times and getting so wet it appeared as though we showered in our clothes. The last time The H and I were the only two in the front row.

It was great and I cannot wait to go back…. with my parents this time.


Linked with Memories Captured

In a Place with No Reception

15 Aug Devils Lake, August 2011

In a place where no reception was had there was a beauty no words made by man could describe.

In a lake surrounded by nature’s glory I swam in awe. The dark clouds converged and the rain poured its hardest. With difficulty I struggled to keep my eyes open as the rain reflected over the water creating a world I’d never seen before.Taking a mental photo I wished that I would hold this in my memory forever.

As the day drew on and afternoon merged with evening the steam off the water rose and the sun reclaimed its place coating us with its rays.


Orlando: The Parks

23 Jul logoWaltDisney.011910

Last Saturday bright and early at 7 am I had a flight from MSP to Orlando to go to the database conference I’ve attended for the past five years. Typical to how I like to roll I wound up there late and there were giant lines obviously despite the fact that I had prepaid for my luggage and had my boarding pass. I could feel the tears welling as I stood barefoot waiting my turn in the rapescan rapiscan and of course right after me the security guard decided to open up another machine to speed up the lines.

Not a great start, but it was all uphill from there.

I was with my three co-worker/friends and we met up with my best friend at baggage check who flew in from Pittsburgh to be with me. After checking into our amazing hotel, Hilton Bonnet Creek, we went to Animal Kingdom, which was by far my favorite park. I loved the Kali River Rapids ride (which we went on 3 times) and the Safari. The Safari we went on twice and the second time was definitely the best. I recommend sitting on the left side because that’s where all the animals are. And if you go later in the day you tend not to be squished in like sardines so it makes for a much bumpier ride as well as more animals seemed to be closer out as the day cooled off. For some bizarre reason (well the fact that I love to try new things) I went on Everest, even though I’m aware that I hate roller coasters. I figured however that I was in Disney and this wasn’t going to be a REAL rollercoaster. I was wrong. As soon as we started going backwards I never opened my eyes again and spent the whole time hoping that I wouldn’t die. Which I didn’t. I also didn’t go on it again.

I also spent much too much at Animal Kingdom buying gifts for the kids, but at least I got it done on the first day and didn’t have to worry about it anymore. I wound up having a margarita while I was there, which was amazing. It tasted stellar and was filled with alcohol, a win win.

That evening like every evening for the remaining days we went out drinking at the hotel bar.

Some Highlights:

  • On one evening the Box Office Manager fell down
  • On another the Director of Ticketing bought us drinks
  • Various people were drunk at various times
  • Cheese Fries
  • I saw my co-worker make out with someone
  • Wore my Mickey Ears often and occasionally with my sunglasses inside at a dark bar. I was incognito.
  • I danced to “Wild Wild West” during karaoke
  • I embarrassed the crap out of myself with 3 other people in what had to be hands down the worst rendition of Benny and the Jetts known to man considering that except for the chorus we were silent the ENTIRE time.
  • I saw someone I never wanted to see again and he bought me a drink
  • Drive by Chicken Wings
  • I wore a lot of glow in the dark jewelery at the concert
  • I climbed a fence and went into a bush for 4 inner tubes to use on the lazy river
  • I managed to somehow network about a job prospect with a drunk friend of mine
  • I met great new people and spent time with ones I already knew and loved

The conference was as usual amazing. There is no way to describe it unless you experience it.

I got to spend lots of time with my best friend which made it even more amazing. On Monday night we went to Downtown Disney for dinner, which was fun, but not nearly as great as Epcot on Tuesday night. I was a little underwhelmed by Epcot, but we seem to have missed a bunch of the rides and the Test Track closed as we were in line. We also waited two hours for the ride Soarin which while great was not remotely worth a two hour wait in line especially when we had a limited amount of time at the park. I had wanted to go on both versions of the Mission Space rides, but only had time for one.

I wish we would have gotten more time to spend at the countries, but I wanted to wait until dinner time and get on as many rides as possible first which we did sort of. The food was amazing. I ate sushi in Japan, had chocolate crepes in France and a drink in Morocco. The fireworks were spectacular and I started to get all sentimental and misty eyed during the whole thing. It was all and all a great experience even gulping down my Canadian beer (with the help of my FIL) at the turnstyle before we could leave for our shuttle.

It was a great and amazing trip and I loved every single moment of it, so much so that coming home to not being fed gourmet meals three times a day and having your room cleaned was quite the shock. I have to do these things myself? I think the reason the trip was so much fun was less so the amenities and more so the amazing people I got to share it with.


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