This weekend all of my family went for a night to a water park about 4 hours away from us.
There's just too many things to make sense of easily, so i'm going to make it easy for myself and break it down into reasonable segments.
The hotel room:
- We had our own building all to ourselves. This was amazing, in that it was a fantastic building. My brother Jim has declared that he will build his next house with that exact layout. There was enough room that we could fit all 28 of us pretty easily. The rooms were fairly sound-proof too, so when the babies cried, it didn't bother us. And when the kids were trying to go to sleep, we could be as loud as we wanted in the main room, and it wouldn't keep them awake.
- The downside was that we were removed from the main hotel, which meant we had to walk outside and across a field and across a street to get to our room. In the sun it wasn't a problem, but at night or in the rain, it was less than ideal.
- And there was an indoor hot tub, which we squeezed about 10 of us into last night when we got back and were all cold. Lovely.
Hanging out with the family:
- The downside of being at a water park was that everyone kind of went hither and yon, and i kind of felt like i didn't get to see some of the family for hours at a time. We'd go on one ride, and they'd go on another, and once you were separated, the place was big enough that you might not meet up again for ages.
- On the other hand, my kids had fun going all over with their cousins. There are lifeguards everywhere, so i felt pretty at ease letting the kids go where they wanted. (Zane's the only one i might have worried about, with his lack of danger-awareness, but since he's also afraid of going under water, i wasn't overly-concerned about his safety either.) Houston and Katrina found cousins and walked around with them, occasionally coming to go on a ride with us before flitting off with cousins again.
- After the park closed at 10:00, we threw most of the kids in bed and then got to hang out with the adults and older kids for a few hours. We played cards and pool. And when it was down to just a few of us, we sat around talking about ridiculous car accidents we'd had and other random stuff. It's amazing how hilarious car accidents can be. Especially when they weren't serious and they happened to someone else.
The water park itself:
- Kalahari is ridiculously enormous. I'm pretty sure i never did see all of the rides. (Though i think i mostly missed the kiddie rides.) And fun! Juanito and i walked around together almost the entire time, and we had tons of fun on lots of rides. Our kids all had insane amounts of fun. The rides i didn't have fun on? Not Kalahari's fault. I'm just not a fan of those. Other people loved them.
- Every single water slide is a tube. Not a single one has an open top. They're all almost completely in the dark. I feel like, with 6 basic water slides, some that use tubes and some that don't, there could have been at least ONE that allowed you to see where you were going.
- For that very reason, the funnel was totally my favorite. The funnel that used the inner-tubes. The one you could go on with four people. You went through a dark tunnel for a moment, but then you were out in the open and could see what was happening. Plus, it was totally fun. The other funnel? The one where you went down on your back and flung around a few times and then just fell out the bottom (usually head-first) into six and a half feet of water with water pouring all around you? I wasn't so much a fan of that one, though Houston loved it.
- It was, from the moment you walked in, incredibly over-stimulating. It is unspeakably loud. If someone walked away from you, you could not call them back. Not even if you started yelling your loudest when they were only 2 feet away. They couldn't hear you. It's hot and humid and there are a million things to see, and basically, every single sense is just assaulted from the time you walk in until you leave. It makes me incredibly thankful for my quiet house.
My own little family:
- Katrina loved the wave pool and the rides with inner-tubes. I asked her why she liked the wave pool so much, and she was all, "Because it's a pool!" Duh. She loved the "body funnel" at first and went on it a few times, but i think that she went in head-first the last time and got a little bit hurt, and then she didn't want to go on that anymore. She went on rides with cousins and brothers and Juanito and me and my mom. She wanted to experience everything with everyone. And by the time we were ready to leave, she was completely, completely exhausted.
- Houston loved ... almost everything. He went on the body funnel many, many times, so that he knew exactly what to do so that he could go down the hole feet-first every time. He walked around with his slightly older cousin Kelly for the first several hours, then with Katrina and the other two cousins her age, and eventually with us, and somewhere in there, with Zane. He tried the body surfing, but was SO disappointed in himself when he wasn't good at it right away that he didn't want to try it again.
- Zane spent the first day playing it safe. He just kind of kept to himself. He played in the kids area, with the smaller slides and loved them. He played in the water basketball area and loved it. He "accidentally" went into the wave pool. (Me: "Accidentally? How did that happen?" Him: "Well, i thought it was just a pool. And suddenly there was a bell, and then the waves started coming....") By today, though, he let me drag him along with us to the bigger slides. He went down the funnel with Juanito and me, and then another slide with the two of us, and even though he was scared, he really enjoyed them and went on them a couple more times each. He went on the "roller coaster" with Houston, and even dared to do the waterslides where you just go down on your back, all in the dark. He LOVED those waterslides, and he and Houston went on those a bunch of times. By the end, i think he'd managed to go on almost everything that was safe for him to go on. And he enjoyed it!
- Juanito did the body surfing thing several times, and was immediately good at it, of course. He did, however, manage to crash spectacularly a couple of times, which reminded me how happy i was that *I* wasn't doing that.
- I went on everything at least once. Even the rides that terrified me. The ones where you're all in the dark, with water splashing your face so you can't breathe. (I don't understand why people think those are fun. My thought process while going down it: "It's okay. I probably won't die. It's okay. Ouch. OUCH! These seams really hurt my back! Can't breathe! CAN'T BREATHE! AAAAAAAAAAHHHHH! Gotta sit up!!!!! Wait...what? I'm...finished? I'm so confused." I was highly amusing to everyone nearby.) I was brave. And i screamed a lot. So...mostly brave.
So in conclusion: It was really fun. I love my family. We are all exhausted.