Friday, December 29, 2017

Christmas In The Tropics

Ramada Tropics, that is... Okay, so we didn't exactly go somewhere warm this year, but we did take a quick trip down to Des Moines for Christmas because the kids asked for a water park. This is something we did even when I was little, and while it isn't a tradition we celebrate every year, it's definitely a great one. Baby Evelyn had her first swim experience (because I was able to buy a swim diaper in the gift shop), the kids enjoyed the slides, and we spent the whole rest of the night playing games and ordering room service. We didn't spend a ton of time in the pool, even though that was the part they asked for, but it does include a huge pirate ship play area, a "regular" pool, hot tub, sports pool (basketball and volleyball), and then the area at the base of the big water slides, as well. The staff to swimmer ratio was also something I noticed - they were definitely ready for the influx of family Christmas parties

If you haven't been to the Ramada Tropics in Des Moines I'd definitely recommend it. The breakfast in the restaurant is really good, the price is reasonable, especially on the off-days, and the facilities are clean. They also have an arcade where we spent about 45 minutes and the princess won two jackpot prizes! While they don't have a ton of games, it was enough to keep the kids happy. It's also conveniently located near several restaurants and just a short drive from Merle Hay mall, which has really stepped up it's game from the slightly sketchy place it was when I was younger. They have some great stores and, if you're without the kids, be sure to check out Flix BrewHouse while you're there!

The other waterpark hotel we love in Iowa that we love is King's Pointe in Storm Lake, but their waterpark wasn't open on Christmas day, so we skipped that one this time. We also can't wait to try out the new Great Wolf Lodge in Minneapolis! What are your favorite places to stay with kids?

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Once Christmas Is Over...

Once Christmas is over and the gifts are unwrapped, boxes broken down, and food put away, what do you do? Well, if you're my kids, you ask to make YouTube videos with your gifts. While the older two are waiting to make their own, Monks was excited to record himself making his own surprise chocolate eggs right away. I'm not exactly sure what's up with this child-YouTube phenomenon. Why would you want to watch another kid sit and play with toys? Why wouldn't you just play with your own toys? But at least now I can say my kid(s) are creators instead of consumers!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Lessons from Pregnancy #4

Photo from Noss Photography & Designs
I had a realization today in a brief break from the mommy fog that has taken over my life - you know the one, where you don't know what day it is and you're not sure of the last time you spoke to an adult about something other than diapers or sleep patterns or feeding time. Anyway, I realized I never formally introduced Evelyn! Shon and I, along with three SUPER excited siblings, welcomed Miss Evelyn to the family exactly two months ago today! We couldn't be more in love.

A few things I learned during this pregnancy that I thought I would share with you.
1. I've only ever been induced with my babies. With #4, I went on my own, and it is so much faster! We got to the hospital at 6:15am and Evelyn was born at 7:43. Which brings me to...
2. If your contractions feel different than normal, and you're not sure if you should go to the hospital because you don't want to wake up the kids and you don't want to be "that girl" who gets sent home because it's not real labor? GO ANYWAY! I was seriously only one "let's just wait and see through one more contraction" away from a) my water breaking in the car, and b) not getting any drugs. Neither of those would have been a happy scenario. If you're questioning it, just go.
3. If you are offered an extra day in the hospital, and you don't medically need it, tell them no thanks. I thought the rest would be nice, but I wanted my own bed, my own TV (hello, no Netflix to binge on?!), and to be able to move from one room to another. Our hospital staff was awesome, but I would definitely do that part differently.
4. Apparently hospital food is no longer terrible. For the record, I had the most amazing grilled cheese sandwich of my life. Twice. I'd have another baby just so I could have some more of that grilled cheese! I have no idea what the secret was, either. Real butter? Somebody else made it and I didn't have to? They didn't burn the first three pieces of bread? The world may never know...
5. It's nearly impossible to find cold weather clothing (think October in Iowa) in baby Florida Gators design. So if you're thinking of being unique with that coming home outfit? Start planning ahead of time! And definitely make it your own. You are totally allowed to go grossly overboard on your baby's first outfits. I give you permission. You'll have those pictures saved forever.
6. Having a baby at 31 vs 21 (or 19 or 25) definitely has its advantages: maturity, stability, other -ty words... but it is a LOT harder on your body. I fully support each person's right to choose the family planning path for them, and I know some rockstar moms having babies at 40+! But holy cow, I'm not as young as I used to be!