This past weekend was our little mini-vaca as a family, and it was wonderful! With Carl working crazy hours, and not having any vacation at the moment, we have to deal with what we have for a Summer vacation for our family. And this year, that meant a weekend away. Hey---I don't care what it is, how long it is, or where it is....just so we are together. That is exactly what it was this weekend, and it was pure bliss.
We took off early Saturday morning, and were Des Moines bound. Our first stop was the Blank Park Zoo. We got there shortly after the park opened, and were hoping to beat the heat for the day. We were really pleased with the zoo. It had a lot of the major animals that everyone loves to see, including Carl and I. I have always enjoyed going to zoos, and Carl does too. So, it was truly a great stop, as we all enjoyed ourselves. We were there for about 2 hours, and decided we had seen all that we wanted to. We were all sweating, hot, and getting hungry. I packed a picnic for us, and our plan was to stop mid-day to have the picnic, and head back to the zoo for a while. But, once we got our bellies full, and Carson's eye lids were barely opening, we decided to call it a day.
After the zoo, we headed to our hotel. I had made reservations at the Ramada Tropics, that had an indoor waterpark in it. We were thinking about checking in, getting the boys down for a nap, and then checking out the waterpark. Well, that didn't really go as planned. Carson was wired, and was ready to explore this new place.
We got all geared up for the pool, and headed to the waterpark. And, let me tell you.....we all had a complete BLAST. Carson is SO brave. We showed him the steps to the waterslide, and I went down with him the first time. Enough of that.....he can do it himself! He walked over, went up the stairs, and away he went down the fast slide, may I add, all by himself! Carl and I were at the bottom to catch him, and he was laughing and giggling the whole time. We were both on cloud 9. The sound of Carson's giggle is enough to put a smile on your face for days. He was thoroughly enjoying himself, and it was such a joy to watch him have fun.
Carson and I decided to brave the BIG, HUGE slide. I didn't know what he would think of it, but he wasn't opposed to it, so away we went. This slide was big, and very fast. And, the sound of Carson's giggle, the whole way down the slide, is a sound I will never forget. I hear it in my head from time to time, and it makes my day. This big slide was winding, and fast, and I couldn't even slow us down, before it spit us out at the bottom. We splashed into the big pool at the bottom, which was about 4 ft deep. I am about 5 ft tall, so we were both under water in no time. I lifted Carson up above the water, and he had a smile from ear to ear. He coughed a bit, in between his laughing. I handed him to Carl, who was waiting at the bottom, and Carson took off running. He was running to the gate that lead to the big slides. Apparently he had a lot of fun, and wanted to do it again! So, we did....but then headed back over to the little slides that he could do on his own. He didn't care where we were, he just wanted to play in the water.
Carl and I had to laugh while we were watching Carson go up, and down, and up, and back down this little slide. There were 4, we are guessing about 12 years old, little girls who had their eye on our little guy. They finally mustered up enough guts, and came over to say hi to Carson. One of the girls introduced herself, said she was from Chicago, they were there for the softball tournament, and then she was gone. He looked at them, gave them a smirk, and started to show off for them. We couldn't stop laughing. They finally asked what his name was, and took over. They went down the slide with him, caught him at the bottom, and helped him out of the pool. It was so cute to watch. Carson continuously looked at us, waiting for a look of approval, and away he went. Carl looked at me and said..."Honey, this is funny, but I am not ready for our little one to be chasing girls!" I laughed and said..."It looks like the girls are flocking to him!" :) Haha.
After we were all worn out from the waterpark, we made our way back to our room. We relaxed a while, and then got ready for the evening. We went out for pizza, and made a pit stop at an amazing ice cream shoppe. I thought since Carson didn't have a nap, played hard in the water, and had a big day, he would crash after we got back to our hotel room. But, as it turns out, I couldn't have been more wrong. He was up until 11:30 that night! That crazy little monster of ours fought sleep like it was his job that night. He finally fell asleep in Daddy's arms, and that picture was a fabulous way to end our already wonderful day!
Sunday morning we got up, and went back at it. We packed up, and headed to the mall. I just couldn't spend a weekend in Des Moines without making a stop at Jordan Creek. And, our little guy was such a trooper at the mall! He was so good, as we browsed through the different stores. While we were at the mall, we decided to make a stop at the Build-a-Bear Workshop. We had never been there, nor gone through the process to build a bear, so we were all pretty excited. I was most excited to get Carson a little "keep-sake" from our family vacation this year. Carl picked out the cute fuzzy bear, and we went through the process. We filled him, gave him a bath, picked out an outfit for him, named him, received his birth certificate, and were handed "Herk" in his cute cardboard box of a home. Carson enjoys him, and has wrestling matches with him at home. He wins every time! Hehe.
We were at the mall for a few hours, and decided it was time to grab some lunch, and head back home. We got home mid-afternoon, and did the dreaded unpacking, and laundry. That is the true indication that "vacation" is over with, and I wasn't ready for that. But, all good things have to come to an end. And, we will forever have these amazing memories, that we will carry with us always.
Carl and I are still talking about how much fun we had, and how we hope to do it again sometime soon. We don't need a week away, or travel 400 miles from home to have a good time. We did just that in a short memory-making weekend. The smiles on Carson's face, the giggles that came from Carson's mouth, and the look of satisfaction on his face, is what it's all about. I have a feeling we will be talking about this little mini-vaca of ours for a long time.
This weekend was exactly what our family needed. We needed a weekend to "re-fuel" and be rejuvenated. We don't get to spend much time together as a family, as Carl is gone every night, and most weekends. So, a fun weekend away like this, is something we will cherish, and hold onto forever!