This past week Jack and I took the kids to the Blue Harbor Resort in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. Well, first we detoured to Chicago, Illinois where the girls and I hung out at Navy Pier and spent too much money, but having fun minus Amy hating me for making them walk many bramillion miles from our hotel to The Pier. (I wasn’t lost. I wasn’t. Not at all for those 4 city blocks walked in the opposite direction. I wanted them to see the city and all its diversity. Plus, has anyone ever tried to wrangle a stroller into a taxi or a city bus? In my head it didn’t look like fun at all, so… we walked. And I wasn’t lost. Eventually we did make it to the big ferris wheel that I wouldn’t let them ride because I. Hate. Ferris Wheels.). (Also? Chicago? Let’s work on our traffic, shall we? Frankly, it sucks. Not once, but TWICE during a traffic jam a semi tried to come into our lane and came thisclose to driving over top of us because … the driver was blind? was high on crack? liked to terrorize small children? [“MOM! HE DOESN’T SEE US! OHMYGOSH, MOMMY! HE DOESN’T SEE US. HE’S GOING TO SQUISH ME! CALL 911 OR SOMETHING! MOM!!!!”]) (However, you are forgiven for the traffic because Portillo’s? BEST HOTDOGS EVAH!!)
So for those of you who have not visited Wisconsin, you totally should. It’s a beautiful state and the people are very friendly, and they do say “oh yeah” just like in the movies. Plus, in Kenosha there is a (one of only 2 in the world) Jelly Belly factory that gives tours and FREE SAMPLES! Plus there’s a sample bar where you can taste any of the flavors they offer. For the record, bacon flavored Jelly Bellies are surprisingly good. Vomit flavored Jelly Bellies? Not so much. ( “And the snozzberries taste like snozzberries!” – some kid on the original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory)
Jack had business to conduct in Sheboygan, so he set the rest of us up in this sa-wheeet waterpark/hotel where the girls could waterslide and river float to their spoiled little hearts’ content. Day 1 was exciting and new. Day 2 was fun, but mostly because the hotel has this kids crew program where they host things like water balloon tosses/relay races/sand castle building contest (remember, Sheboygan is on the gorgeous Lake Michigan). Come Day 3 Amy had slept in an awkward position and couldn’t move her neck so anything but lazy river floating was out for her. Amelia was starting to feel the T-vo deprivation, and Olivia – well, let’s just say that the people in the hotel knew her well. We’d walked the beach, dug holes in the sand, realized that Lake Michigan is freakin’ cold, spent money in the hotel shops, ordered pay per view, won the coloring contest, and weren’t even remotely interested in playing bingo in the Kids Klub. That was all by noon. Jack, who had promised me that he’d be home by 1 at the latest did not arrive until 5 p.m., and then he was offended by my response to his posed question, “Are you having fun?”
Magically, by the time her father appeared Amy’s neck felt better and couldn’t we please, please, please go to the rock climbing/laser tag/ video arcade across the street please, please, please, pretty, pretty please?! Even though I’d been suggesting it all day. So we did, and they did a few rounds of lazer tag, and Olivia pretended to drive cars, and I lied to Jack and told him that this was a really fun vacation – me alone with three kids in Chicago, trying to find activities all 3 could enjoy while navigating an unfamiliar city (country mouse, say hello to the biiig city), me alone with 3 kids in a hotel, without transportation – and all was well.
Then he took us to Ponderosa, which promptly gave all 5 of us the squirts so we spent about an hour sitting on our balcony, watching some (admittedly very cool) water spouts form and dance around Lake Michigan, and fighting over the toilet. Then the older girls took Olivia to story hour and returned twenty minutes later without her. Did I mention that our gorgeous hotel was on a very dramatic and beautiful cliffside that led straight down to Lake Michigan? Did I mention that our gorgeous hotel was roughly the same size as the Great Wolf Lodge? So, that was fun, fielding all those looks of condescension as we frantically reclaimed our youngest from a very nice family that she’d been hanging out with the entire time.
So not to sound ungrateful, but Jack? It’s one thing to be home alone with 3 active children. I’m fine with that. It’s AWESOME to spend a week in a hotel/waterpark when you’re with us and sharing the parenting and the fun. But IT. IS. NOT. A. VACATION. when I’m alone with 3 active children in a hotel in a strange city without transportation. It just isn’t. Unless you surprise me with a massage at the world class salon housed in the hotel.
WHICH YOU DIDN’T!