Facebook Says: I Have No Life
Last July, I was scrolling through Facebook, looking at my friends’ vacation photos that were popping up in my news feed. As I ‘liked’ various photos of my friends’ families out and about having fun, I realized that it had been a long while since my family last went on vacation together.
It was time to take a trip!
She’s Got A Ticket To Ride
It’ll make sense in a minute.
Every year, S11’s former elementary school sends home a “reading challenge.” The challenge is to read and log a total of six hours, have a parent sign the form, and hand it in before the due date. Completion of said “challenge” earns the reader a free ticket, good for a year, to any Six Flags theme park. WTF theme parks have to do with literacy I have no clue, but S11 did, in fact earn a ticket every single year of her elementary school career, as she is a voracious, advanced-level reader.
Unfortunately, up until last summer, of the five tickets S11 earned from kindergarten to grade 4, she had only had gotten the opportunity to redeem one, back in the summer of 2013. That summer, Mike and I took then-S7 to Six Flags Great Escape in the Lake George region of NY. Three months after we took that trip, I finally fell pregnant with S3, so I was very glad that we went when we did. With a baby on the way, I knew it wasn’t likely we’d go again for at least a couple of years.
Fast-forward 4 years, and the ticket S11 earned last year (grade 5) would likely be her last, since her elementary school days are now over (sniff, cry again). Therefore, Mike and I decided to book a trip somewhere near a Six Flags for our August trip, so that she could use her free park pass one last time. Also, S3 would finally be old enough to enjoy a theme park experience, and since she is tall for her age, she’d definitely meet the height requirement on enough rides to keep her quite content.
From where we live, there are two Six Flags parks nearby.
Option 1: Six Flags Great Escape in Queensbury, NY, near the Lake George Region (the same one we went to in 2013).
Option 2: Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, NJ. Near…. New Jersey.
Lake George it is! As Rob Reiner said, everybody hates Jersey.
Day 1: Hotel Room-Good, NO SLEEP-BAD
The drive to Queensbury was low-key enough for Mike and I to recover from the stress of packing and leaving our house, which is often the worst part of traveling with kids. I drove the entire 4-hour route to our hotel, The Country Inn and Suites at Queensbury, and Mike promised he’d drive the whole trip home (he did). The Country Inn was located literally next door to Six Flags Great Escape, which was awesome!
There was one low point of the drive up to Lake George, however. It was this short conversation, about two hours into the drive:
Me: “Did you remember to bring your CPAP?”
Mike: “S**T!” (Translation: #NOPE).
I knew right then that the next three nights were going to be awful, sleep-wise (for me). Mike’s CPAP machine allows him and me to share a bed like a regular married couple and still function normally the next day. #Realtalk: my man SNORES. Like a FREIGHT TRAIN. (And yes, he knows and gave me permission to blog about this.) Mike’s CPAP machine is analogous to a night husband-muzzle. Therefore, the next three nights without it….. were going to be LOUD. Veeeery LOUD.
Mike was extremely apologetic for his oversight. I reassured him that it was a simple mistake, we’d deal without the CPAP, and all would live to tell the tale.
#Realtalk: I did make a mental note to check my man’s suitcase thoroughly before any and all future vacations taken for the rest of our GD lives, though, for real.
We had booked a “superior room” at the Country Inn and Suites. A superior room is more expensive than a standard room, but IMO, well worth the extra charge. Superior rooms are located on the upper floors of the hotel, in contrast to the standard rooms’ location on the more high-trafficked first floor. Our ‘superior room’ contained the standard two queen-beds, dressers, TV, microwave and refrigerator that most 3-star hotels provide. What made our room ‘superior,’ however, was a decently-sized ‘sitting room’ that held a couch, chairs, and a desk, loacted between the bathroom and the room with the beds. The extra seating area really made a difference, as the room felt much less crowded then standard rooms usually do, at least to me.
At night, that extra room was where Mike and I relaxed, reading a book (him) or working on my novel (me). Bonus: we were far enough away from our sleeping daughters that the light from my laptop and/or the beam from Mike’s reading lamp didn’t disturb their slumber at all, and he and I weren’t trapped in the dark, either. Win!
Our hotel had a small fitness room, and the lovely concierge gave S11 permission to work out there, as long as she was accompanied by an adult. So that first evening, S11 and I cleared a few miles on two treadmills while poor Mike attempted to get S3 to sleep.
Eventually S3 did fall asleep, but getting to that point was ….kinda rough. S11 fell asleep soon after, and, unfortunately for me, Mike passed out next. And as predicted, he snored so GD loud that I was unable to sleep for most of the night. I didn’t bother waking him up, though. At least one of us parents should be well rested the next day, amirite?
Speaking of the next day, one thing was quite certain: I had a hot date with an epic-length nap at some point after a night of near-zero sleep for myself. Oh yes indeedy, I did.
Day 2: Choice Day: Besides Nap, What To Do?
The second day of our Lake George trip started early.
REAL FRIGGIN’ EARLY.
Mike and I forgot to draw the shades closed before bedtime in front of the huge window in our room that faces, I found out, due east. How did I learn that detail? Well, ‘due east’ is where the sun rises. And at 5:30 am, the morning sun showed up, glaring with a vengeance into the wall-length window.
And waking up S3 in the process.
To my baby girl’s credit, she was absolutely adorable when she woke up. Sitting up in bed, she began quoting Princess Anna from the scene below in Frozen:
Luckily, our ‘Princess Anna’ wasn’t sitting on any of us.
Lazy Morning, Beachy Nappy Afternoon
One positive regarding us all getting up so early (because when a 3 year old is up in the hotel room, EVERYONE is up in the hotel room) was that the hotel’s breakfast buffet was nearly empty at 7 am. I have to say, the Country Inn serves a pretty righteous breakfast buffet from 6-10 am every morning, FREE to all hotel guests! I’m talking eggs, bacon, waffles, pastries, cereal, oatmeal, fruit, juice, and more! Definitely an appreciated perk of the stay.
After breakfast, the four of us headed back to our room to make plans for the day. Monday, day 2 of our trip, was pretty open as far as vacation activities went. Our Great Escape tickets for S3, Mike, and me were specifically for Tuesday only, so the next day’s agenda was pretty much set in stone. But that Monday was wide open, and we could do just about anything our sleep-deprived hearts desired.
All this mama wanted to do, however… was nap. So after a quick, easy lunch, Mike took the girls to a nearby beach for a few hours. While they were gone, I took a glorious nap of epic proportions. I was a little sad to stay behind as I do enjoy the beach, but I could barely see straight, I was so tired.
I woke up when the girls and Mike returned. Of course, now they were all completely exhausted. S3 was already asleep when they arrived!
I WONDER WHY.
Shortly after their return, S3, S11, and Mike ended up napping for about an hour. I took advantage of the quiet time, and worked on my novel some more. And I ain’t even gon’ lie, I relished that rare 60 productive minutes of silence.
Below, more pictures from Monday, day 2:
Mini Golf Time: Pirate Mama, Princess of Putts
After the nappers woke up, we headed across the street for a round of mini golf at Pirate’s Cove Adventure Golf. Pirate’s Cove is a really impressive-looking mini golf course. There are three different courses to choose from: Captain’s Course, Blackbeard’s Challenge, and the 36-Hole Challenge, which I’m guessing is both Captain’s and Blackbeard’s courses played together. We left the choice in S11’s court, and she chose Blackbeard’s Challenge.
And then I kicked everyone’s golfing butt. HA!
One would think that S3 would be the least proficient of all of us in mini golf due to her young age and inexperience. But no. S3 was pretty darn good! She even made a hole in one!
Speaking of holes in one, I had three of those. Just sayin.’
S11 kept score. Competitive by nature (like me), she did NOT appreciate my newfound aptitude for mini golf, or the fact that she came in last. As you can see on our scorecard, S11 even tried to inflate my score towards the end, LOL. And poor Mike, my dear husband, is not, nor has ever been the king of sports-type coordination. Though he can hit a golf ball damn hard, as can S11.
Too hard. We had to pluck golf balls from Blackbeard’s creek more than once, due to S11 and Mike’s heavy hands.
After mini golf, we headed back to the hotel and ordered takeout for dinner, which Mike picked up. And yes, night 2 of S3’s bedtime was just as delightfully horrendous as night 1. However snore-wise, night 2 was a huge improvement over night 1. This is because Mike slept on the couch in the extra middle room with a pillow covering his face. He did this for the following night as well. And though yes, snores could still be heard through the plush, fabric pillow barrier, the muffled sound was much softer than the night before, that’s for sure. Actually, all of us had a pretty decent night’s sleep that night. Yay!
Day 3: Six Flags Great Escape Bound!
Day 3 started at a much preferred wake-up time of 8:30 am. After grabbing breakfast at the buffet, the moment had finally arrived: time to walk over to Six Flags Great Escape and Splashwater Kingdom! The girls were psyched! Six Flags was open from 10 am-7 pm that day, and we were there from 11 am-6:30 pm, or almost open-close. It was a long long LONG exhausting yet tremendously fun day for all of us, especially our two lil ladies. In fact S3 cried when we had to leave, poor girl. We’re still in the process of mastering transitioning from one activity to the next, which is currently a big-time work in progress.
I was unable to go on the water rides because my bathing suit, uh, broke the day before, and that’s all I’m gonna say about that. Due to my wardrobe malfunction, Mike had to don a bathing suit in order to accompany close-but-not-quite-fully-swimming-yet S3 at Splashwater Kingdom. In actuality, Mike didn’t really seem to mind. It was a pretty sunny, warm summer day, and I’m sure the water felt great.
I’ll let the pictures tell the rest of the story.
Everyone was exhausted by the time we returned to our room. Well…. almost everyone.
Bedtime that night wasn’t easy once again, which made the fact that it was our last night in Lake George more bittersweet than anything else. While we were having a blast on our trip, returning to our regular home and routine also had its advantages (cough cough shorter bedtime). Due to our exciting-yet-exhausting day, all four of us ended up sleeping quite well that night, indeed. Mike spent one final pillow-faced night on the couch, and I’m sure he was glad it was his last.
Day 4: One Last Stop Before Home
Our final morning in Lake George was full of cleaning up, packing, and checking out. We hit the breakfast buffet one last time, where S3 got to experience the glory that is Fruit Loops. It was my fault; as she headed upstairs with her sister, I thought I was in the clear. Which was exactly when I grabbed a bowl of the unhealthy AF cereal treat for myself, because why not? However when S3 ran back to the table for one last hug, her eyes fell upon thy Loops and that was that. My sugar-filled, 1980s throwback breakfast was now hers.
Oh well, it was just one time, and S3 thought they were Cheerios, anyway.
I chose not to correct her.
After checkout, we loaded up the car, buckled ourselves in, and drove about 100 feet before stopping. Why?
If you spend time in Lake George and don’t make time to stop here, you are legit out yo damn mind.
This ice cream shop is amazing! For the past three days, every time we had thought about going we were either too tired, or the lines were waaay too long. However at noon on a Wednesday, the crowds weren’t too bad!
The portions of soft serve were HUGE and the flavors were atypical in a very good way. S3 and S11 had cotton candy flavored soft serve. And S3 liked it so much, she ended up wearing it! On her clothes and in her hair.
Mike had raspberry creme twist, and I had cheesecake flavor. All soft serve. All SO GOOD.
‘Twas both a sweet and perfect way to end our lovely family mini-vacation.
That wraps up my Summer In Review series. Hope you enjoyed it!
Coming up soon on the blog: I review my amazing 40th birthday tandem biking trip in the Adirondacks taken this past weekend (without talking TOO much about the fact that I just turned, ugh, 40), and also my first children’s book review for the YA fiction adventure novel Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold!
Thanks for reading! Until next time!