Our Christmas was fantastic -- like I said, we spent lots of time with the kids and each other just being. I LOVED IT!!!!
This past weekend was our annual Mystery Trip. Friday after school, I told the kids they had 30 minutes to pack their suitcases and we were leaving for lands unknown!!! All they knew was they needed a swimming suit (truthfully we couldn't do a mystery trip without a hotel with a pool -- it might just be the most important part of the weekend!) They also needed a couple changes of clothes, jammies, and some warm clothes.
So off we went! We left the house by about 4:30 (pretty good considering!) -- to only a few moans of plans that had to be changed. I had arranged to get the girls off of work (with only one minor snafu when Becca unknowingly offered to work for someone Friday night since she was off! -- Crisis was averted -- thank goodness for small town stores who are very understanding!)
Technically, this mystery trip was a repeat -- of last year's. But they really loved it, so we wanted to do it again. We added one more night away -- hoping to squeeze in a movie on Friday night and switch it up a bit.....but we got distracted when my adorable, handsome little great nephew (he's 1 1/2) wanted to come swim in the pool with us). So we ate dinner and checked into the hotel. Made a quick switch into swimming suits (and a quick run to Meijer for the swimming suit that didn't quite make it into the luggage) for a fun night in the pool with my nephew, Greg, and his son. (Sorry, I forgot to take pictures!).
The next morning, we got up, raided the hotel's breakfast bar (free breakfast is a necessity for this family!) and got ready for the day's adventures. Got our winter coats and hats and boots on and headed out. Will chose the lunch place, which was Culver's ..... fun time. We drove about 45 minutes north of Fort Wayne to Pokagon State Park -- and saw this:
If you look through the trees -- at the very end, you see the "top" of the hill -- that's where you start. I'm standing on a bridge almost at the end.
If you want the experience, here are a couple of videos I shot:
We spent several hours there riding on the toboggans. The track is a quarter mile or so long and is refrigerated, so you can toboggan on sunny days! :) Here's information in case you would be interested in trying it out yourself: http://www.in.gov/dnr/parklake/4699.htm It's a pretty reasonable trip, as you only rent the toboggan in two hour blocks -- and four people can fit on one toboggan!
We spent the balance of the weekend eating, playing, swimming, and we did eventually get to see a movie: Parental Guidance. Loved it! It was truly a movie the entire family could see. I still haven't seen Les Miserables, but hope to sneak it in this weekend.
As we sat at breakfast Sunday morning, watching the kids sit around the table and laugh and enjoy each other -- Jim and were discussing the ever-changing dynamics of our family. Here we are with another child ready to graduate from high school in May -- heading to parts unknown at this moment in time.....each time we do a mystery trip I wonder if it will be our last with the "entire" family.....I'm so tickled for our kids to grow up and cannot wait to see who and what they become.....but the mom side of me still likes all of us to be together in our own little world......(*insert Krybaby Kaiser tears here*)........
I guess I never thought of vacations or trips like this as team building, but truly it is -- we take our kids out of their normal environment of work and school and friends and parties and whatnot -- and put them in a bubble for a weekend or a week or whatever.....forced family fun.....but it brings us all closer together (especially when I'm cheap and don't get a big enough hotel room -- it sounded good on the phone though!)......I will never forget the laughter I heard this weekend.....and the good times shared by all.
Hug your kids -- and plan some family fun time for this weekend!