Aug 31, 2011

The staycation that I will choose to remember fondly

We chose last weekend as The Weekend we would spend a night at a hotel to have sort of a "last hurrah" as a family of five. With Amelia on her way, we wanted to take the boys to do something really special, and we decided that a night at Ross Bridge would be just the ticket.

Because Grayson has historically traveled a lot on business, he has enough rewards points built up that we were able to stay for free.

On Saturday around noon, Jake and I dropped Grayson, Nathaniel and Nicholas off at the front door with the luggage, and we went to park the van. On the walk back up to the main entrance, we marveled at the beautiful day we were about to enjoy!

As soon as Jake spied the fountain, he wanted to stop and check it out.

Grayson and I have stayed there a couple of times before, and I just love this property.

Jake walked up to the massive front doors and surprised me by being able to swing one open all by himself. He was sweet enough to hold it for the people heading out, as well as for me. What a gentleman!

We entered the beautiful lobby, and I could just feel myself exhale. I was so happy to be there!

Nathaniel was coming down the hall to meet us; he quickly got Jake's attention, and they took off running down the main hall toward our room.

It was at the end of the hall on the right that they stopped in their tracks, because they'd gotten their first glimpse of the pool ... the piece de resistance and the main reason that we chose this hotel for our staycation.

All of a sudden they couldn't WAIT to get outside, so we quickly made our way to our room to get changed into our swimsuits. We had a beautiful view of the putting green from our balcony.

We were in and back out of our room, lickety-split! We took the elevator down a couple of floors to the pool, where on one side you can enjoy a beautiful view of this waterfall:

It only took Jake a few moments to say, "I want to SWIM to you, Daddy!" And he jumped in off the side with no swim vest or floaties and swam straight to Grayson.

I can't tell you how proud of him I am ... just two or three weeks ago we started practicing with him at our regular pool, and he has really come into his own in such a short time.

The big boys, of course, couldn't wait to get to the slide. I'd say in the first hour we were there, they each did the slide at least 30 times!

The pool was plenty busy, but not completely full. The wait for the slide was never too long, maybe a minute or two.

Once Jake saw his brothers enjoying it so much, it didn't take any convincing to get him in line. However, he refused to wear his swim vest! He was convinced that he could do it without his vest, so we let him try.

The first time he went down, he let Nathaniel ride right behind him.

Grayson was waiting for them at the bottom (I could barely touch the bottom without my face going under water, so I had to stay farther back). Jake popped right up on his own and started swimming over to the ladder!

Grayson stayed with him the whole way, but he never had to reach out and help him.

Our little fish made it all the way to the side of the pool all by himself!

Quite frankly, I didn't think he could do it, so I was very impressed.

Nathaniel and Nicholas, who had been cheering him on, were waiting for him to get there, and they all went back up the stairs to the slide together.

We did this from about 12:30 to 5:00.

No one got bored, and no one wanted to stop. Up the ladder and down the slide they went, for hours on end.

Finally at 5:15 we told them we really needed to dry off and get some supper. Grayson had said that we could do supper that night OR brunch the next morning, but not both. And I didn't hesitate: BRUNCH. So the boys suggested that we go to McDonald's for supper, because we "needed" to try the new Rolo McFlurry.

Have you looked up the meaning of the word "sacrilege" lately? No? Well, let me refresh your memory. In short, it means "leaving a five-star resort to drive to McDonald's for supper."

But I will say this: When Grayson brought my Rolo McFlurry to the table after our meal, it looked mighty good.

Plenty of Rolos in there, and aside from the weird, hollow, square spoon, it was a delight.

I believe I may have inadvertently left a teaspoon of vanilla ice cream in the bottom of my cup, though.


When we got back to the hotel, we were all so exhausted that we could barely stand up. The boys had thought they were going to want to get back in the pool, but in the end none of us were capable of the energy that it would have required just to get our wet swimsuits back on. So we rented Gnomeo & Juliet instead. (We thought it was cute.)

And then the looooooooong night commenced. Here is how it went down:

  • The boys talk, giggle, gripe and roll around until after 10:30 p.m., at which point we FINALLY all fall asleep.
  • 1:20 a.m. - Jake falls off of his air mattress and starts crying. Grayson gets up to settle him back in.
  • 1:24 a.m. - I get up to pee.
  • 2:12 a.m. - Our neighbor starts cooking something in the microwave. It takes six cycles, meaning six separate sets of programming and then "it's done" beeps.
  • 3:15 a.m. - I get up to pee.
  • 4:02 a.m. - Some sort of strange "whooooooooop" alarm goes off in the hallway, very briefly. 
  • 4:04 a.m. - The "whoooooooop" alarm goes off again, very briefly.
  • 4:31 a.m. - I get up to pee.
  • 5:55 a.m. - The phone in our room rings one and a half times.
  • 6:15 a.m. - Hotel Security knocks on our door. Grayson gets up to answer it. They say we didn't answer our wake-up call. We say we hadn't ordered one, and BY THE WAY, HUSH.
  • 6:16 a.m. - The boys start to stir. SHOCKING.
  • 6:17 a.m. - I get up to pee.
  • 6:30 a.m. - They're all awake and want to know when I'm getting up.
  • 6:31 a.m. - We convince them to watch Disney Channel on mute for the duration of two shows.
  • 7:38 a.m. - Having been awake almost the entire dadgum night, I give up and get up.
  • 7:55 a.m. - I realize that while I am awake, dressed and have brushed my teeth, all of my people are still in PJs and are ready to go NOT AT ALL.
Nonetheless, somehow we had ourselves downstairs at an outdoor table ready to eat brunch about 20 minutes later.  The view from my chair was sweet.

We chose the breakfast buffet, and we all loaded our plates up. I chose oatmeal with brown sugar, French toast croissants with homemade strawberry syrup, an organic blueberry muffin and a pecan-encrusted sticky bun.

And also, my very favorite thing on their menu: their stone-ground grits. They are TO. DIE. FOR.

I chose water to drink, but each of us also tried the complimentary watermelon juice. (You know, "complimentary" with our $60 breakfast.)

I tend to agree with Nathaniel's assessment, though: "Watermelon juice is better when it's actually PAHT OF the watermelon."

The boys were itching to get in the pool, so we finished our meal as quickly as we could, then went back to the room and changed into our swimsuits. We were out at the pool before 9:00. A RECORD FOR OUR FAMILY, I'm quite sure.

We swam until noon, then packed up and headed the 10 minutes home to get ready for the Cub Scout popsicle party on Sunday afternoon.

And by the time we got home from THAT, I think I could have slept for three straight days. (Too bad that wasn't in the cards.) But still, even operating on just an hour or two of sleep Saturday night, it was a trip to remember, and the boys are already asking to do it again. Worth it!


jennhenders said...

My brother-in-law and his family have stayed there a couple of times over the past year or two and we've always gone out to swim with them. Nathan (well, and the two other boys as well) was loving that water slide even last year before he turned two. We just wait at the bottom and pluck him out of the whirlpool each time. I thought he might be scared of it but, oh no. He needed no help and actually would push the bigger kids out of the way to get on it. So much fun. Glad you all had a good time despite no sleep.

Wade's World said...

Sounds like fun, except for the lack of sleep part! And $60 for breakfast? Ross Bridge must be mighty proud of themselves!!

stollison said...

What a great idea! That's what our family trip to JH was--the last nuclear family trip before you got married--and look what became of that! Maybe your boys will move to that hotel in 10 years!

Jami said...

Your family is beautiful! The boys look so happy! I think you may win mother of the year for taking this trip, the whole family in one room, 8.5 months pregnant. After the Walgreen's incident you deserve to take this trip by yourself.

Rachel said...

That pool is fabulous!! I had no idea they were hiding that back there. We've thought about staying there a few times, but never have. Now I totally want to!

Sorry about the bad night's sleep, though. That's the worst - especially when you're pregnant!!

CCB said...

I am exhausted reading that!!! You are wonder woman! I think every single night of my pregnancy I was asleep by 8. I think the thought of doing it again with a preschooler is what keeps me from trying! lol... Can't wait to see that sweet Amelia Gray!

Anonymous said...

So...I wasn't going to comment, cause I didn't want to be "the stalker" but I had to tell you that after reading this post, I picked the kids up from school, and drove to McDonald's and bought us all Rolo flurries. I guess I'm an advertisers dream. :)

Jamie said...

1. Your boys are going to be total heartbreakers one day.

2. I want to spend the night at Ross Bridge. Tomorrow. But with less pool, and more grits.

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