Four days, three nights, seven hundred water slides, and five tons of cheese later, we’re back from our mini getaway at the Wisconsin Dells. It was heaven for the girls - water park, theme park, hotel, restaurants, and movie theater in one colossal, never-ending building. In the words of my four-year-old, who couldn’t help but yell, “Oh my goodness, it’s humongous!” when she first spied the resort.
It rained a lot while we were there, but who cares? We didn’t have to leave the building to get anywhere! Well, except for the occasional trips for our meals (because we could only stand to have so much mediocre resort fare) and shopping. (Outlet mall right down the street!)
The first order of business, before we even set foot in our hotel, was to head to the outlet stores to procure appropriate attire. For this family, it usually means proper footwear. Yes, we have a thing for shoes. Even the little one had an opinion - “Puh-ple shoes!” – but that’s not a stretch. She would’ve asked for puh-ple milk if she could.
After that, we spent most of our days in the water. Little Miss wasted no time with Thumper and myself in the tiny tots area. She was off with her daddy, trying every slide she could go on, lucky that she barely made it past the 42-inch height restriction on most of these gigantic, twisty slides.
I was proud of my brave girl, but I was also grateful for the company of the little one who tentatively tried each slide in the section just for tots before she, too, mastered them, sometimes going up and down a particular one so many times that after 20, I stopped counting.
When they’re not growing fins, they’re at the theme park, where we had our first Ferris Wheel ride together as a family, and Little Miss’ and my first go-cart experience. The girls also tried mini-golfing for the first time, although Thumper was more exciting about aiming and throwing the (rather heavy) golf ball at us (ouch!) than actually getting it into the holes.
This trip was planned around Thumper’s second birthday, so on the last day there, we surprised her with a chocolate cupcake for breakfast, complete with two purple candles. Throughout our stay, we’d mention, “Who’s birthday is in X days?” and she’d smile, “Me!” And she would start to sing the Happy Birthday song to herself. "What are we going to have that day?” we’d ask, and she would tremble with excitement as she replied, “Cake!”
On the day of her birthday, we spent the morning in the water after cake and presents, and the rest of the afternoon traveling home. I felt bad that we had to get the birthday girl a Happy Meal for lunch so we could eat on the go, but it’s our special road trip meal that the girls looked forward to, so I suppose, if it did make her happy, I shouldn’t feel so guilty.
This is the same girl who, a few weeks ago pointed at the iconic golden arches as we passed one in the city and cheered, “HotDonald’s! HotDonald’s!” To which we laughed and responded, ”Thumper, it’s MAC-Donald’s!” So perhaps having HotDonald’s on her birthday was actually a good thing. For her, anyway. So, really, (in a tiny voice) go me?
However, we were in Wisconsin, which is famous for their beer and cheese, and everywhere we went had a menu that seemed poised to attack our arteries. If it isn’t cheesy, it’s deep-fried. Or cooked with beer. And by our fifth meal there, we pretty much exhausted the variety of food they had. In the entire town, not just the resort.
You know it’s pretty bad when my two-year-old squealed with delight and exclaimed, “Bwokee!” and “Maaaato!!!” (broccoli/tomato) and set her fries or pizza or chicken tenders aside for those. Granted, she does enjoy her veggies, but that zeal she displayed was especially telling of our poor diet there. Note to self for our next visit: Bring groceries; cook!
That was the one thing I wish I could change about our visit. Our one-bedroom suite came equipped with a nice-sized eat-in kitchen and living area. We should’ve made better use of it. Oh well, at least now I know, and next time (oh yes, there will be a next time) I will be prepared.
When we reached home, Thumper, who left the house a one-year-old and came home a two-year-old, opened more presents, and we ordered sushi and Thai for dinner as a proper celebratory meal for her. She was eager to stuff her face with stir-fried noodles and rice again, and who can blame her? When the spicy banana blossom salad hit my mouth, it was a Hallelujah (think Handel’s “Messiah”) moment for me.
Oh, it’s so good to be back.
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So that was our trip in words. And now, the pictures!
‘Twas the night before she turned two…
It was just Thumper and me in the hotel room while her daddy and sister stayed at the Theme Park on the last night she was one. I kept her up, reluctant to say good night to my baby, knowing that when she awakes the next day, she would be two. Officially, no longer a “baby”.
But who am I kidding? These kids, these girls of ours, they’ll always be our babies.
No matter how fast and far they run from us…