Monday, January 26, 2009

Weekend Wrapup

What a weekend! As I mentioned in my previous post, we had planned to take a much-needed mini vacation this weekend, and we definitely did that but we also managed to cram some other fun and cool stuff into the weekend. As the weekend was winding down last night and as I was putting Grace to bed, I found myself wishing there was some way I could somehow trick time and squeeze in another day of R&R with the fam...but alas, it's Monday and we're back at it.

The bulk of our weekend was spent at Country Springs Water Park and Hotel, and if anyone is looking for a fun weekend away without spending too much dough, this is the place. Last year we took our winter mini vacation in Wisconsin Dells at Kalahari Water Park Resort, and while Kalahari was awesome and probably twice the size of Country Springs, I'd recommend Country Springs over Kalahari for a couple of reasons. First, Country Springs is MUCH more reasonably priced than some of the water park resorts in the Dells. I did some research, and if we had gone to the Dells this weekend, we would have spent at least twice what we ended up spending at Country Springs, both in gas and in actual room charges and other fees (for instance, Country Springs has a free continental breakfast each morning--many other water park resorts don't offer that).

Also, I feel like Country Springs was more geared toward Grace's age group than some of the bigger resorts. Sure, Kalahari and other larger resorts have tons of huge water slides and other attractions like wave pools and surfing simulators that are fun for adults, but the water park at Country Springs had smaller slides and more kid-friendly stuff to offer (as well as a lazy river and a couple larger slides). So, Grace was comfortable trying just about everything at least once and that made me feel good because we utilized the entire park instead of just part of it. And, even though Aaron didn't get to try surfing this year, I'm pretty sure he had a good time accompanying Grace (and my mom) on some of the bigger slides at the park.

The other thing that impressed me about Country Springs was the staff. The water park itself was stocked with lifeguards who were pretty darn vigilant about making sure everyone stayed safe. I liked the fact that they actually enforced the "no kids in the hot tub without parents" rule so that when I took a minute to dangle my legs in the hot tub, I wasn't getting splashed by a bunch of unsupervised kids. Also, when Grace happened to fall asleep in one of the lounge chairs, one of the lifeguards came up to me to make sure she was feeling ok (yep, just tuckered out). I don't remember that type of surveillance at Kalahari when we were there last year, and it was nice to see.

My parents were able to spend the weekend at Country Springs with us as well and that was great! Grace had a blast going on water slides and the lazy river with my mom (and honestly, it was pretty darn entertaining for me to watch as well), and she got some good snuggle time in with Grandpa as well. Even though we did have a couple of hairy stretches because Grace was still a little tired from her bout of strep throat, our mini vacation was great fun and I wish it could have been just a bit longer.

A couple of other cool things happened after we left Country Springs this weekend. The first thing is that Grace and I (finally) joined a church here in Milwaukee. I have been searching for the "perfect" church for Grace and I to attend ever since I moved down here and I finally found that place a couple of weeks ago. I was doing a search on ELCA Lutheran churches here in the city and came across one that sounded like it might be a good fit for us. I attended services there a couple of weeks ago and fell in love with the church immediately. It is a smaller, liberal congregation but the thing that struck me right away was the number of young people and young families in attendance. Children are not only welcomed at this church, but they are included in the service and they are truly treasured by the congregation and the staff. Also, I found the congregation as a whole and the pastors to be extremely welcoming and accepting. I was a little leery to talk to the pastors about joining because I was sure they would wonder why Grace and I would be joining and Aaron wouldn't be, but I was pleasantly surprised when they didn't seem to even think twice about the fact that my husband and I don't hold identical beliefs about everything. They didn't make me feel as though my family is "broken" because Aaron and I weren't going to be joining together and for that I am extremely thankful--I know many churches would not be quite so open and understanding.

So, Grace and I joined the congregation yesterday and it feels really, really good to have a spiritual home. And as if I needed any more affirmation that I had made the right choice, during yesterday's sermon, the pastor jokingly reminded the congregation that Barack Obama is not Jesus Christ...his words were, "...I've seen the look in some of your eyes (when talking about Barack)..." and I thought to myself, "Yep, these are my homeys." And then, the pastor concluded his sermon with moving, tearful words about how he felt about the closing of Guantanamo Bay and how it is SO good to finally see us do the right thing. Amen.

One big other thing from this weekend...we made our first major baby-related purchase. We bought an infant car seat yesterday. Both Aaron and I were feeling some hesitation about the purchase, but together we mustered up the courage to let ourselves believe that this baby is coming and that he is going to be fine, and we took that leap. And just to kick some dust in fear's face, we picked up a sleeper for the baby, too.


Carrie said...

Hey, thanks for the review! We are going to a teeny place like this next weekend for Pebbles' birthday. But I am going to send your post to my mom because they like to take Nutmeg to places like that.