Tuesday, February 11, 2014


Great Wolf Lodge time again!! We went last February for the first time, and this year, we did it again! Thanks to a significant discount on the rooms, we were able to get a really great deal...most of the rooms were $140 per night. We got a more expensive room, which slept 8. It was 2 bedrooms, 2 full bathrooms, and a small kitchen area and livingroom. We shared the room with a family of 3, and split the cost...making it $125 per family, so even cheaper than the deal online! yay!! (This room is normally close to $400 per night. WHAT?! Who can afford that?!). Super glad for discounts! If you are ever interested to go, make sure you get a "homeschool" discount online (you don't have to be a homeschooler). The only disadvantage to it, is that you can't do it on the weekends.

So this time, we went with friends - 5 separate families. It was really really fun, of course!
Most of the girls. Out of 15 kids, there were only 5 girls (May is missing from pic)
I just thought this was hilarious...one of the families that went we don't know very well yet - new friends from church. Well Claire and Kenna really hit it off this week. Despite a "whooping" 2 year age gap. Funniest thing all weekend, Claire told her mom "I just love Kenna. Who would have thought that a nine year old and a seven year old would get along so well?" haha!! Age is just so ultimately important, now isn't it? It just made laugh
Claire and Kenna

Pink wolf ears on a little boy. Cute! He loved wearing them!
Ok, well to every delightful vacation, there's always a little drama, right? Well - usually not. But this time...{I'll set the stage for you}...

We left church when it ended and drove to Williamsburg, which took about 40 mins. We checked in. We played and played and played at the water park. Around 6:30 or so, it was time to feed the kids! So the men went off to get dinner for the adults from a famous bbq place down the road. We fed the kids food we brought from home. We got them cleaned up, bathed, they played, etc, and at 8pm, all kids in all rooms were in bed. The men went back to the park for fun without kids:-) All our rooms were close together (on the same floor, just down the hall from each other). So the plan was - all kids sleeping, all adults hang out in our room since we had a big livingroom (checking on the kids every few mins to make sure they were ok). The plan was going perfectly, and one other mom was already in our room, and our kids were out cold. It was 9:00pm. Then it happened. Ear piercing alarms started going off and strobing. Amy ran back to her room. We checked the halls - everything seemed fine. But the alarms were sooo loud.

Then an announcement came over the PA system "There has been an alarm emergency. Please find the nearest stairs and evacuate the building". The men were still at the water park, and when the alarm went off, they were not allowed to leave the park (they section off the hotel for safety reasons I guess). So it was up to the moms to get 15 kids OUT. Now. Chae grabbed her baby, I grabbed Grey and made Kenna and Brooks walk. They were totally out of it and definitely asleep. They couldn't seem to wake up and comprehend what was going on. We grabbed the keys and our phones, and left everything else behind. We started our "hasty decent" to the main floor (from the 4th). When a hotel is primarily full of hoards of children, compared to adults - any sort of fire escape plan is not going to be as quick as it should be.

We might describe it as "the trail of blankets being dragged down the stairwell". Parents lugging babies and toddlers, and older sleepy children being dragged along. As we began our decent, we could smell the smoke. That actually accelerated peoples speed a little - there was a real fire, this was not a joke! ...Although I noted that the smoke, while strong and thick/billowy (I didn't see that with my own eyes, but another in our group did) - smelled like burned microwave popcorn. As we approached the main level, staff was turning people back around - everything was under control.

So we started to head back upstairs, and then they changed the PA system report to "The threat has been cleared, please return to your normal activities". This instruction is easier said than done when the alarms are still BLARING. We were back in our rooms, but literally couldn't think straight due to the sound. The smoke reached the 4th floor now, and we could smell the burning popcorn.

We grabbed all our blankets and pillows and camped out on our balcony with the kids, with the patio door shut. The alarm was totally bearable like that. It sounded for probably 15 more minutes. The guys came up while we were on the balcony. Finally released from the "prison" of the water park.

Finally the alarm went silent, and we put the kids back to sleep. Mine conked right out again, but some of the other families, the kids were scared etc, so it really killed the adult fun of the evening, as every one had to snuggle their kids to sleep and assure them that we weren't going to burn up. I told my kids that this was quite an adventure! In all our lives, this had never happened to us before - a REAL fire.

At 2am, the fire alarm went off again, just for a minute. I popped out of bed and stuck my head in the hallway. Same old burned popcorn smell. I went back bed, assuming malfunction and not inclined to do all that over again. Then the alarm went off AGAIN for a bit longer. Grrrrr. Super annoying. Thank goodness my 3 kids were dead to the world. The extremely loud alarms didn't wake them at all. Some of the other families were not so lucky :-( So, kind of a crummy night and sleep for most of us.

Thanks to our experience the night before, Grey noticed this sign on Monday morning as we waited for the elevators. He said "Oh look! If you go down the stairs, you'll see a fire!" - Makes sense - since the first time we ever took stairs at a hotel...we went down and "saw fire". Haha.
At our Church they do a big Christmas Store for Awanas. Kids use their points to buy gifts for their family members, and the leaders wrap them. Brooks bought me a $5 Dunkin Donuts giftcard (Cause someone else already bought the Starbucks one, he said:-). I hadn't spent it yet, and GWL has a DD in the lobby, so we went down and bought a dozen donuts using up the giftcard (and a little of my own money too;-). He was very proud that his gift could buy so much to share with our friends too. That was fun.
Donuts! Thanks Brooks!

On Sunday, when going in the park the first time, Brooks didn't get "tagged" - as being too short for some rides, but Kenna did. He is slightly taller than she is, but they weren't measuring them, just eyeballing it, and they look the same height. Brian took them in initially, and didn't say anything, and I didn't realize this was the case. So Brooks got to go on the Tornado (coolest "adult" ride). But Kenna was too short to be allowed:-/ I told Brian to have them measure her for Monday, so she wouldn't get tagged again. So Monday, she got to do the Tornado for the first time!
She's waving to me, waiting in line with Daddy and her friend. She loooooved the ride!
It was a fun fun time, and thanks to a fire, pretty memorable too! Unfortunately I didn't get many pictures - last year we went with a family that had a waterproof camera and all my footage came from that...this year they didn't come, and my phone and camera were hardly out - its kinda hard to keep things dry in there, and I didn't want them ruined!

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