Tag Archives: swimming

Grandparents Vaction Hot Spot

My kids are lucky. One set of Grandparents has wide open fields, creeks to splash in, rocks to throw, and 4 wheelers to drive. Their other set of Grandparents have awesome parks right near their house and an indoor pool.

Starred Photos28

Tim and I count our blessings because the kids had just as much fun spending a week at each set of Grandparents as they did at Disney World. This makes vacations on a budget a breeze when all we have to do is gas up the van, drive to the grandparents and then spend a week eating all their food and playing with all their toys!

Today’s photo favorites are from swimming at Grandma and Grandpa Shannons. They are all taken with my little blue camera. Some are okay photos but most are out of focus, but do such a great job capturing the kids’ joy that I don’t care if they are not great photos.


I think my favorite part of the entire trip was spending some one on one time with MIchael in the pool. He has come so far in his swimming that when he asked if I would teach him how to dive, I said yes. Diving is a scary thing if you don’t know how to do it. Kids can snap their neck so easily if they don’t learn how to dive shallow, so teaching how to dive was not taken lightly and Michael knew that. He worked really hard, and I regret not having a photo but I was too busy diving with him. He did so well and was so proud of himself. It was a great day.

The water was really cold. They were in the process of installing a new heater while we were there but the 68 degree water temps didn’t keep us from having fun we just had to take breaks to warm up every once in a while!

Here is Patrick being Patrick. I told him I would do a cannon ball if he got his hair wet…

Everything became infinitely more fun when the cousins arrived.

Something happened in the last 6 months since Christmas time. The age gap between Elise and Zeke shrunk and they became really good friends. It was fun to see and I think Elise was so relieved to have someone closer to her size to play with.

And of course an obligatory shot of Elise and her ruffled bum.


many many more photos here. 

First Swim Meet

I am quite proud of myself for not crying like a complete sap, but I did well-up enough for my vision to be as watery as if I was one of the kids swimming without goggles. What can I say… my Dad was a competitive swimmer, my sister and I swam competitively for many years and now my kids have swam in their first swim meet.

The swim school they go to has a few options for make up swim lessons. One of those options is a “Fun Meet” and that is what the kids did today to make up for the swim lessons they missed while we were on vacation. I didn’t know what to expect and I was more than pleasantly surprised.

They had it all organized into heats with the littlest kids going first. It was well managed and in a little over an hour they were able to let each swim level race in multiple events.

Elise swam the “tiger paddle”, or what we called growing up the doggy paddle. The teacher that swam with her wasn’t her usual teacher so the teacher asked if Elise wanted a noodle to swim with. She doesn’t usually swim with the noodle so I was surprised when Elise opted to swim with it. It was probably a good thing though because she has never swam all the way across the pool.

Tiger Paddle: 46:84 seconds

Elise’s second event was the “bird flap” The swim school focuses on safety so the kids know what to do if they ever fall in or feel overwhelmed. The “bird flap” is what they teach the kids after they are comfortable floating on their back.

Bird Flap: 49:49

Patrick swam the free style. Not a lot to explain here except that I think this meet was a bit of a wake up call for Patrick that maybe he should try a bit harder in lessons!

Free Style: 34:16

Patrick also swam the backstroke. He is much more comfortable with the backstroke.

Backstroke: 32:20

Michael swam freestyle.

Freestyle: 18:27

He also swam backstroke.

Backstroke: 18:19

Michael’s final event was breaststroke. He has only had 2 lessons where they had been working on breaststroke. For now his teachers focus on teaching the arms and they let the kids flutter kick until they get the arms down.

Breaststroke: 20:65

Of course the kids’ favorite part was the ribbons. That used to be my favorite part of swim meets too.  That and running around with my friends in-between events… oh and eating taco in a bag. I don’t know why, but it seemed like every swim meet there was always taco in a bag. Taco in a bag is awesome. Swim meets are awesome. I hope this is the first of many.


I am so proud of my little swimmers.  More pictures here.

Water Park in Winter: Great Wolf Lodge Getaway

Two months ago I scored a great deal on the KidsCabin Suite at Great Wolf Lodge in the Dells. When I saw the price on the room I quick emailed Tim. The email exchange went a little something like this:

Me to Tim 10:00am:

Check out this great room rate a an indoor water park resort in the Dells. We should talk about it tonight!

Tim to me 10:10am:

Looks great. Lets do it.

Me to Tim 10:11am:

I already booked it. I am glad you said yes 😉

Sometimes when you see a good deal you got to go with your gut. It ended up that in the two month span of me booking the room and the date we were scheduled to drive to the Dells, Tim had to go out  of town three different times totalling 18 days. Needless to say,  we were ready for some fun as a family.

We drove the 3.5 hours to the resort and we spent the next 26 hours playing, swimming, eating, swimming, playing, a little bit of sleeping and then swimming some more. We were able to check into our room at 1pm, and soon after we were swimming. We were allowed to swim until the park closed on the day we checked out. We paid a little extra for a late check out which gave us the room until 2pm. We swam 5 hours the first day and 4 the next. By the time it was check out time we were all exhausted and everyone was ready to pack up and head home.

The kids were at the perfect age for the park and all their swim lessons had paid off. Unlike the Noah’s Ark water park, the boys didn’t have to wear life jackets in the wave pool and they did great. They tested their limits a few times, but recovered on their own and went right back to swimming. I am so proud of them. Elise did wear a life jacket but didn’t want to be held. She floated on top of the waves like a pink star fish relaxing and enjoying the ride.

I can’t tell you how happy it makes me that they all love being in the water.

The water park was laid out so there were a few of the bigger water slides, a little kid area and an activity set up (water works tree fort, swimming pool with a floating log, or wave pool) in each of the three big rooms. It was great because when we cycled from room to room, everyone had something fun to do.


The food at the restaurant was great and the “Kids Experience” staff person, that made the kids balloon swords and hats, made the kids’ night (and also passed the time while waiting for our food to arrive).

*I swear. I did not tell her to do this.

The water park was great, but I think the best part was that we all stayed in the same room. Because we scored a great deal on the Kids Cabin Suite, the kids had their own little fort to sleep in. It was perfect for our family because the “cabin” was outfitted with a bunk bed and a single twin bed. They also had a TV in their cabin which they thought was the coolest thing ever!

There was a fridge, sink, fireplace, table, pull out couch (we could have totally brought Beth with!) and fireplace in the room. Because of the fridge, we were able to bring a cooler of food so we had snacks and drinks on hand, and also I was able to refill their lunch boxes with food to snack on for the ride home.

We only stayed one night but it was a perfect night. It was the perfect little mini vacation after a long two months.

Thanks again to Beth for dog and cat sitting!