Monday, March 10, 2008

Water Parks and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Crystal has already posted about our trip, but I thought I might add my two cents.

We had a great time. I always enjoy spending time with my family. I had a medical conference at the Wisconsin Dells, which is the "Water Park Capital of the World". I don't know how you earn that designation, but a can't imagine any place with more water activities. The conference lasted a few hours each day which allowed plenty of time for us to play.

We had to get there first. It was about an eight hour drive, and on the way we stopped for the night just north of Chicago to break up the drive. It was a short drive from there to visit the Jelly Belly Factory Warehouse. We had a great time touring the warehouse in a small train and sampling the various flavors of jelly beans. The kids enjoyed the "magic beans", which I believe have some association with Harry Potter films. These jelly beans have flavors like dirt, earwax, vomit, pencil shavings, black pepper, and the family favorite - booger. I should clarify, the family favorite refers to those in the family under 7 yrs old. For the record, Faith did not think the booger jelly bean tasted like boogers, and she is a connoisseur of such things, much to her parents chagrin.

The kids travelled fantastically. We have a portable DVD player that we put in the car for long trips, and it usually keeps them focused on something other than being tired of driving for several hours.

The water parks were also great. We had several different waterparks to choose from and we went to a different one everyday. It was in the single-digit temperatures outside, but inside it felt like the middle of summer. The best thing for the 5/6th pale part of our family is that we didn't need to put on any sunscreen. This usually takes 30-45 minutes of applying goop prior to any extended sun exposure, but alas, not in an indoor water park. The kids loved the children's areas which consisted of shallow pools and things they can squirt at each other. They also enjoyed the waterslides, the "small ones and the medium ones, but not the big ones".

Physically, it was was a thrill, but exhausting. I actually heard words I've never heard uttered by my children, "I'm tired", "I'm sleepy", and my absolute favorite, "I'm ready for bed". The kids had been sick prior to leaving with a respiratory virus. Experience has taught us that public water parks are the best remedy for illness. The amount of chlorine in these pools will not only cauterize your conjunctiva, but will sterilize every mucous membrane as well. A few dunks in the water and a little aspirated pool water will cure what ails ya, not to mention the waterslide chlorine colonics.

I believe Faith consumed a bit too much chlorine. She had an upset stomach the last night we were there and on the way home. This seems to be a family tradition for us, a child getting sick on long trips. Our kids associate different states we've traveled to by who got sick where. For instance, Texas is not the land of my father's childhood, it is where Faith puked. New Mexico is not where my sister's live, but where Luke upchucked on our visit there. Grace stakes her claim on the floor of my parents old house in Missouri. So, when I reference the house that Grace and Faith spent many happy moments with my parents in Missouri, I have to clarify that it's "where Grace puked in the closet", to which Grace usually replies, "oh yeah, right after I had pudding!" You get the picture.

So, on the way home, we had the distinct scent of "illness" in the air, lofting throughout the van. Let's just say the vomit-flavored jelly beans that were enjoyed on the way to Wisconsin were left untouched on the way home. I bought the 2 1/2 hour edition of "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" with Dick Van Dyke for the trip home, which occupied most of there attention.

We stopped on several occasions to stretch our legs while Crystal nursed Hope. Often we would go into a local store to walk around. The importance of articulation cannot be emphasized enough to Faith and Luke. The movie has a quite catchy tune about a car - Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. However, when walking through the store with Faith and Luke, both of whom have yet to master the hard "CH" sound, and resort to the more French sounding version, the sound of them singing this song is extremely vulgar. I received several strange stares as my children's chorus rang throughout the store's aisles.

We made it home after an eight hour drive and virtually collapsed. We had a great time, but to be honest, a Monday at work never looked so good!