Friday, April 28, 2017

THREE Cheers for Harrison: A Great Wolf Lodge Birthday Bash

I may have mentioned it a time or two ;), but our sweet Harrison turned 3 on April 25th. In lieu of a party, we decided to do the same thing we did to celebrate Raleigh's birthday three years before, when she turned 2: We surprised the kids and headed to Great Wolf Lodge in Concord, North Carolina, for 24 hours of family fun! And you guys: the place, which is typically PACKED with families, was only at 44% capacity!!! Because we opted to go in the middle of the week, (on Harrison's actual birthday), and after all spring breaks from the southeast were over, we hit the jackpot! There were virtually no lines on any slides and it felt so often like we had the place to ourselves!

Before we ventured to the Lodge, though, the birthday boy had a fun morning at home: he awoke to balloons on his door and his gifts waiting nearby. In our house, when you turn 3, you can start chewing gum, and he was PUMPED. :) 

 Smiling with a big ol' wad of gum in his mouth ;)

After a traditional cinnamon-rolls-with-sprinkles breakfast (with a cupcake on the side), complete with a morning viewing of his favorite cartoon ("Peppa Pig"), Harrison was able to open gifts from aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents and play with his new toys while his momma finished packing up a few last minute items. He and I also snapped a photo at 7:47 am, exactly three years to the minute that he was born. <3

Then, it was time to hit the road! We picked up Banks from school early, grabbed Raleigh right when preschool ended at noon, and headed straight there! Great Wolf Lodge has several locations around the U.S., and we are lucky to live a quick 30 minutes from one! If you've never heard of it, Great Wolf Lodge is the largest family water park resort in the U.S., and it is AWESOME. We loved it the first time, and this time definitely did not disappoint! We reserved a "Kid Cabin" suite, which is basically a room wherein half looks like a regular hotel room and the other half is made to look like a precious cabin, complete with bunk beds and a little tv for the kiddos to enjoy. It is so cute! And the kids LOVED it!

 A woodsy, wolfy lobby :)

 Sweet boy, taking it all in :)

 Photo op 

 The "Kids Cabin" portion of our room :)

Anywho. We quickly checked in and hit the water park for hours and hours and hours. The (indoor!) water park is humongous with all different kinds of features: an adorable toddler play area with little jet skis, slides, water features, and more; a massive water fort/tree house/splash pad area; an enormous wave pool; a big pool with basketball hoops and a lily pad ropes course; and lots of super-duper fun water slides scattered throughout the rest of the gigantic water park. (There are also food and bar areas should any kiddos or adults need any...ahem...refreshments). ;) 

 Harrison's favorite: the wave pool! He loved jumping the waves!
 These two LOVED riding all the slides, both individually...

 ...and with their Daddy and me :)

 Harrison hung in the kiddie area for a bit but mostly wanted to play in the big kid areas. I mean, he IS a big boy now

 And Banks LOVED shooting hoops with new friends!

Unsuspectingly getting doused with 1,000 gallons of water from a giant bucket. Makes me laugh every time! (Don't worry--he laughed, too!)

After lots and lots (and lots!) of water park fun, we headed back to our room to shower up and put on our jammies before heading out to the lobby for face-painting! We then ate at a restaurant on-site (hence, being able to wear our jammies), and the food was really tasty. 

Three little wolves!
 I don't know why he looks so pitiful in this pic. He really enjoyed his dinner and the special song the waitstaff sang! But this pitiful lip is too precious not to share :)

We ended our birthday boy's day by going back to our room for momma-made cupcakes (his only birthday request!) before hitting the sack. Whew. What.A.Day.

Love him more than he loves cupcakes :)

So excited to sleep in those Kid Cabin beds!

Day 2 arrived and we were up early (what else is new with the Lu Crew ;) ) and ready for fun! Because there is also a Dunkin Donuts in the resort, we were able to enjoy fresh donuts, breakfast sandwiches, and hot coffee in the comfort of our room! After a little room play and downtime, we got dressed and headed to the lobby for "The Great Clock Tower Show," this adorable, musical show with animated forest characters. Next up was story time, which included lessons about three forest animals and ended with each child making an origami wolf. So cute

Finally, we headed back to the water park for a couple more hours of swimming/sliding/splashing/playing before it was finally time to head home. 

Shooey! I honestly don't think Harrison (nor any of the rest of us!) could have had a better time! Banks has already requested that we return for his 8th birthday; so, unless he changes his mind (highly likely ;) ), we will be back in September. For now, though, we will work to recover from all the adventure and look forward to another year with our precious Harrison. <3

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