Author: Holdin' Holden


Spring into Spring-a-Palooza at Great Wolf lodge!

I don’t know about you, but just because we sprang forward doesn’t mean it feels like spring around here– and the gloomy dreary still-cold weather isn’t doing much to help! Not that I trust what a groundhog says, but it definitely smells of lingers of winter, and I NEED spring in my life!

What to do when outside isn’t an option? Take a trip to Great Wolf Lodge during Spring-a-Palooza!

My family was invited to spend a brisk “spring” (and I use that term lightly) at Great Wolf in Williamsburg Virginia to enjoy their Springtime activities, including an updated version of (my kids’ favorite) MagiQuest!

Those are some kids who look ready to complete missions and battle enemies!

If you’ve ever played MagiQuest before, it’s a hotel-wide experience (because Great Wolf isn’t just about their wonderfully year-round warm indoor water park) where you and your kids can transform into mages with the swipe of your magic wands at stations on all 4 levels of the resort. Collect runes, discover hidden treasures, battle dragons and trolls, and become all-powerful.

My boys have played twice before, and twice before, they needed a lot of help from me and my husband to finish quests because it was rather easy to forget what you needed and where to get it. The updated MagiQuest has even more stations around the resort where you can check which items for the quest you’re currently on you’ve collected, and where to get them. There’s also a free app you can download along with the game so you don’t have to stop and check at the kiosks, you can just continue on about your way. Trust me when I tell you that this makes the game SO much more enjoyable for the little ones who may have gotten a bit overwhelmed and/or frustrated before.

On top of the new updates, kiosks, and quests, they’ve also added the new Rise of the Totem Masters kiosks for extra fun. You can purchase one of three totem characters to fight along side you and venture on brand new quests on special kiosks throughout the resort. One (adorable) totem is virtual, and free- so no need to purchase right away (as the other 3 totems are available for use by purchase), and each come with 20 new quests. We didn’t even GET that far, that’s how much there is to do!

Once our legs couldn’t carry us any more (parents, you will seriously get your steps in by tagging along with your kids on quests, but you can also hang out in the lobby and have a coffee, or even book a spa treatment if your kids are old enough to be on their own for a bit) we headed to the lobby for a spring picnic party with games and a bubble dance party.

 

We honestly had SO much fun, and the kids are already asking when they can go back and play (and of course, wondering when they’ll get to enjoy the waterpark again). If you’re looking for an awesome, quick getaway for the whole family, check out Spring-a-Palooza at Great Wolf Lodge, every day through April 16th!

Posted on March 21, 2017 by Holdin' Holden 0 Comment

Letting the Kids Lose

Raise your hand if you’ve ever won a prize and handed it right over to your kid without thinking. Or you’ve let them pick the prize when you’ve won it.

Are you raising your hand? I am.

My family likes to play games. Games on tablets, video games, card games, board games- but what we really enjoy, when we have the opportunity, is to play games that can win prizes. Who DOESN’T love to win prizes? Even if they’re cheap little trinkets that will fall apart in a week (and they usually are and usually do), give us ALL THE TICKETS AND LET US CASH THEM IN!

Carnivals, theme parks, arcades- we play them all. We usually lose, but we like to play. And when we DO win, it’s a rush of pure unadulterated joy! YES! WE DID IT! WE WON! THE PRIZE IS OURS!

That’s when the workers ask you that fateful question- which one do you want? When you have kids, the natural reaction is to look to them and say “how about you choose?” because, the hell am I gonna do with a stuffed animal? Or a plastic slinky? Or really any of the cheap crap under/behind/hanging above the counter? It makes the kids happy, even though we spent the money, we did the work, we won the prize– but it makes them happy, so why not just let them choose/have the prize? Let them spend the tickets? Let them pick the snake over the weird neon koala looking thing?

Yesterday, the fine folks at Great Wolf Lodge invited us out for the day to have fun (and man, did we- I’ll have a write up on that next week), and on top of all the cool stuff they had us do, they gave us a gift card to spend in their facilities, and I ALMOST followed the same pattern I always do.
We watched a 4d movie, went bowling, and once we were done with that and still had money to spend, naturally, we ended up at the arcade. We had enough Paw Points to let each of us choose games to play. The kids went for Jurassic Park. I went for a game with the potential to win a jackpot of 1,000 tickets. And wouldn’t you know it. I hit the frickin’ jackpot.

I watched as the kids eyes lit up while tickets poured out of the machine for a solid seven minutes, piling up on the floor like glorious mounds of win, and once the tickets were done being dispensed, I saw their eyes move to the lit up counter full of goodies, because they knew they were going to get to spend them.

WELL, NOT TODAY, SUCKAS!

I took the tickets and ran, and with the leftover amount, they got Tootsie Rolls as I laughed maniacally, clutching my Great Wolf Lodge stuffed animal that will probably never be used but IT’S MINE AND I EARNED IT AND IT’S MINE.

Were the kids disappointed? Uh, yeah, of course. But I didn’t do this to teach them a lesson. Maybe it taught them one in the process, like not to waste points on games you suck at that don’t even give you tickets if you really want a prize, or maybe not to feel entitled, but that’s just kind of icing on the cake. The cake being I WON, AND THE PRIZE IS MINE! MIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIINE!

It’s okay not to share, moms and dads. You can have things that are just yours!

Snacks, desserts, drinks, stuffed animals, tickets, prizes, bathroom breaks… TAKE THEM! Bask in your glory and pretend it’s a lesson– it’s what parenthood’s all about!

Posted on March 17, 2017 by Holdin' Holden 1 Comment

Girl Heroes on Netflix

One thing I love the most about my kids is that I’ve never, ever had to explain to them why women are awesome. That women are strong, capable, amazing. I’ve never had to argue, or fight, or describe how and why women are badasses. The most I’ve ever had to do, when it comes to my boys, is try to explain why so many other people don’t think women are as kick-ass as they know them to be.

I wish I could take credit for all of it– stand up and say, I’m raising strong boys who appreciate women for the awesome humans they are– and I guess I kind of can, but I’ve had some help along the way.

It’s the husband, the school, the community, the friends, and, to be honest–because I must give credit where credit is due: it’s having some seriously bad-ass female role-models on TV these days for the kids to watch and look up to. Long gone are the days of damsels in distress.

There’s never EVER a bad time for a strong female character, so I asked my kids for some recommendations. Who, out of all the shows they watch, is their favorite leading lady? Who inspires them, who do THEY think is inspiring?

Without hesitation, Holden named Violet from Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events– and I can see exactly why.

She’s a leader, she’s smart with crazy-quick wit, and a love for her family so strong that she’d do anything to keep them together.

Parker’s pick was Dulcinea from Puss in Boots because she’s funny. A simple answer, but funny women SHOULD be admired. His choice made me pretty happy.

These are just two of so many strong females on TV and in movies right now, and there’s never a bad time to find a new one to admire.

Need some assistance finding the next lady hero for your little dude or dudette? You can find them front in center in some of your soon-to-be-favorite Netflix series! Try Stranger Things, Dragons: Race to the Edge, Trollhunters, One Day at a Time, or pretty much ANY of the other shows streaming right now on Netflix.

It may be cheesy to end this blog by yelling GIRL POWER… but for some reason, it just kind of feels right.

 

Posted on March 14, 2017 by Holdin' Holden 0 Comment

This isn’t what I Meant when I said I Needed a Break

Life seriously has a twisted sense of humor.

I’ve been needing a break lately. A REAL break. Usually I get my hair appointments for that, but even those I’ve been scheduling around my kids’ school hours so I’ll still be able to pick them up per usual. Once they get home, they go bananapants from the moment they step in the door to the point when they go to bed (yes, even when they’re brushing their teeth). If I stay up too late after they’ve gone to bed just to get some quiet time to myself where I don’t really have any responsibilities nagging at me, I end up exhausted the next day, with even LESS patience than I already have to deal with them.

We have plenty of fun days, great conversations, lots of laughs- but everyone needs a break. Time to unwind, relax, regenerate– especially when it comes to raising tiny humans. It may not always be physically taxing, but it is always mentally exhausting.

Taking this time for ourselves, though, comes with a lot of baggage. From flaming hoops, hurdles, and roadblocks, to epic buttloads of guilt. Either we have to pay for a sitter, burden a family member (even if they don’t see it as a burden, we usually do), or rearrange things in pretty inconvenient ways to make it happen. Soooooooooo sometimes we don’t.

I have friends going on girls’ trips, vacations alone with their significant others, date nights out sans kids– and I’ve never been able to do ANY of those things. Am I bitter? Ehhhh, maybe a little, but we’re just not all dealt the same cards when it comes to childcare. Most days, all I can really do is scream into a pillow hope to all hopes to get a break. Even if just an hour. Even if just to run a damn errand. GIMME! I NEEDS IT!

It appears that the powers that be smiled upon me, for they answered my desperate plea and gave me what all moms truly and desperately desire: A day in bed.

Yes, that’s right. Someone else took the kids to school. I got to sleep in until noon. I had food made and delivered to me. I only got up to use the bathroom. I had the entire bed to myself to sprawl out. No one disturbed me. It was everything I could ever dream of, except, of course, there was a catch.

In order to achieve the Holy Grail of motherhood, all I had to do was wake up with a fever of 104 degrees, unable to do anything but writhe and moan that I needed water and medicine, and all we had in the house was kiddie Tylenol. It was exactly what I wished for… only… y’know… not at all.

What I’m trying to tell you, fellow moms, is to BE CAREFUL! Because your dream might just come true, only it might look nothing like your dream at all. Murphy’s Law? Try Parent’s Law.

Posted on March 9, 2017 by Holdin' Holden 1 Comment

Elementary School: Zombie Apocalypse Breeding Ground

Asteroid covered in bacteria hitting the earth? Nuclear meltdowns? CDC explosion? Mutant flu strain? Testing on rats gone wrong? How do YOU think the zombie apocalypse will begin?

People have been spinning theories for longer than I’ve been alive. Even back in the dark ages when they put bells on caskets just in case people just so happened to rise from the dead. All the speculation, the tv shows, the urban legends, the myths, the movies…. they’re wrong.

How? How could I possibly know the unknown? How can I state that all the literature, all the science fiction, won’t come to be fact? BECAUSE. I am patient zero!

That’s right. If the zombie apocalypse ravages the entire planet, it probably started in my humble abode. Nukes aren’t to blame, neither is radiation, infectious disease leak from the CDC, animal testing, asteroids reanimating the dead from their graves, no.
This is where that book series/move “The 5th Wave” had it all wrong. You don’t kill off the adults and leave the children. You start by infecting the children. It seems so innocent. Childhood cold, keeps them home from school for a few days, and then they’re good to go. But once the parents get it, and they ALWAYS get it, it’s 75 times worse, 80 times longer, and has them wondering if this is it. If this bitch-ass head cold is how it all ends.

WELL IT IS.

It all starts with what you think is a cold. Runny nose, mild fever. No big deal. Or, you don’t think so, until you hear 5 other kids in your child’s class are also out with the same thing. You get your kid well, back to school, and then you catch it, along with 3 more classmates and 6 teachers. Days later, they come home with yet another illness, only this time, it’s changed. Stomach ache, nausea, lack of appetite. They delightfully pass that one on to you, too, when you certainly didn’t ask for it, nor did you want it. The third illness comes home shortly after– taking out 8 classmates and your entire family with wheezing cough, extreme congestion, general sense of misery. You haven’t even recovered from the other two illnesses before you’re floored by this one.

That is precisely what’s going on in my house right now. I’m just waiting for skin to start rotting or limbs to fall off, or to suddenly have an insatiable urge to consume human flesh. It hasn’t happened yet, but I’ve clearly got the plague, so it’s only a matter of time.

If it doesn’t start here, with me– it will start in an elementary school, probably somewhere near you. Prepare the lysol & the bunker.

In the immortal words of Bruno Mars: “Don’t believe me? Just watch.”

Posted on March 2, 2017 by Holdin' Holden 0 Comment