Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Great Wolf Lodge in Grapevine, TX

My little family of four just returned Tuesday from a fun trip to Great Wolf Lodge in nearby Grapevine, Texas thanks to a generous Christmas gift from my parents. We had a blast! It's only about 40 minutes away, but we don't spend much time over on that side of town, so it was a great get away. I wasn't sure what to expect, but it was perfect for my kids at this age.

With our bags packed before we left for worship Sunday morning, we left straightaway from the church parking lot. A quick stop for lunch and checking into our room by 1:45 had us in the waterpark by 2:30. Our oldest was tall enough to ride all but the biggest ride, and the ride range our little lady fit into was perfect for her abilities and mom's maximum comfort level! We spent hours in the water over the three day time period we were there--there was something for every age and ability.

The waterpark was the main attraction, but we thought we'd check out the MagiQuest adventure too since we'd be there over the course of 3 days. If you've never heard of the game, you purchase magic wands and go on a scavenger hunt throughout the hotel, finding different items, completing different "quests" then graduating on to "adventures." The data is stored somewhere so you can use the same wands on subsequent visits to GWL and pick up your game right where you left off. The kids enjoyed the hunt, and it gave us something to do when we got a little too pruny from the water. In any other hotel, I would've been annoyed with children running up and down the halls, but that is what this hotel is made for! You just go with it.

One evening we joined the pajama jammin' dance party before a bedtime story in the lobby. Wiley the Wolf helped lead the dancing and turned the storybook pages, which was a hit with all the kids. The next night we decided to close down the waterpark. It was awesome--no wait for the slides and hardly anyone in the wave pool. Lots of practicing swimming and hyping swim lessons for summer 2016.

After completing our last quest to become master magi and another morning into afternoon at the waterpark, we let the kids pick out their last treats of the trip. For sister, it included a trip to the little girls' spa, Scoops for a full service pedicure, complete with tiara and a scoop of ice cream. Brother hit up the arcade with Dad during girl time. While our kids were a great age for the experience now, I can see where they would enjoy it even more as they are older, and I can't wait to do it again!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Easter 2016

The first quarter of 2016 passed by in a blink of an eye, and I've been missing this space. I have so much to tell about what I've been up to, but today I'm easing back in with a little family holiday update.

We had somewhat of a crazy Saturday, but it turned into a nice Easter spending time with my family in Corsicana by Sunday morning. My brother received some great news about a new job opportunity that week, and it was good to be out of town and in some sunshine since it had rained so much around here the week prior.

Saturday morning was Pure Barre, soccer pictures, followed by a soccer game, then handing off the kiddos so we could attend a wedding Saturday evening. I think that was our first date night in about 4 months, and we thoroughly enjoyed it!

Sunday was filled with church and family, my favorite things. My parents' church has a living cross each year where everyone adds fresh flowers to the cross. One of my mom's friends sent this pic of the kids as we placed our flowers there.

I wish I had a photo of the finished product, because it truly was a lovely tribute covered in blooms. The message of the cross, of Jesus dying to save us from our sins, is the most beautiful, sacrificing love. What a God we have that He would love us enough to make a way to bring us back to Himself through His Son after all our wandering.

My mom, brother, and I headed over to my grandparents' church to attend with them while my dad and Mr. G entertained my kiddos. After an Easter ham lunch and an Easter egg hunt, we came home that evening with bags and bags of Easter candy to a huge Nothing Bundt Cake in the fridge that I had forgotten to load into the car for Easter lunch at my Grannie's. Three cheers for chocolate cake for breakfast all week long!

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Book Report: A Worthy Heart by Susan Anne Mason

Through the Bethany House Blogger Review program, I received a copy of Susan Anne Mason's newest book, A Worthy Heart, in exchange for a review. This is the first work of Mason's that I've read, and it's the second book in her Courage to Dream series. Review spoiler alert: I've read this 3 times since I received it back in early January!

A quick synopsis: Maggie Montgomery is headed for America from Ireland to visit her older brother, by all appearances. Really though, Maggie is longing for escape from a stifling relationship in her homeland. During her visit, she meets her sister-in-law's brother, a handsome man with a troubling past that landed him in prison whom she is forbidden to have any contact with. But the heart knows what it wants, and can she really be stopped? Will her past come back to drive a wedge between them, or will his past be a deal breaker?

My thoughts: This is a fascinating story about not just asking for forgiveness, but accepting God's forgiveness and walking forward in the life God has for those particular characters in the story. This is a major theme in the book, and what a great challenge for the Believer. If God has forgiven, why can't we? I love love stories, and this definitely fits the bill even if it's a little farfetched. It's fiction though, so there you go! Maggie is definitely the kind of character a woman might wish to be: beautiful, kind, witty, and faithful. Ms. Mason made me empathize with the characters, which kept my eyes on the page late into the night!

As I mentioned, this is the second book in the series. I've decided to go back and check out the first book in the series, but you could definitely read them out of order without confusion. A good add to your summer reading list!
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