104 degrees + 1 kid who naps regularly + 2 way different groups of kids + no waterproof cell phones = recipe for disaster.
We took a "before" picture of the group, presumably to show the police in case we lost one of the kids. It was 10:30am and already very close to 100 degrees, which meant that everyone was ready to get in the water. I had not even put the camera down yet when the older girls set off to ride the rides. That was totally fine because they are old enough to go off on their own. It just would have been FANTASTIC if we had set a plan to meet up at various times in the day. All I can say is the heat made us temporarily stupid because we just watched them run off while we slathered the little ones with sunscreen and DIDN'T SAY ANYTHING AT ALL.
Mom and I took the 3 little girls to the kiddie area to play. After about 4 minutes in the pool Savannah decided she wanted to ride the big rides, too. Those small slides just weren't going to cut it with her. So off she and I went to wait in a line that looked deceptively short.
We were fools.
2 hours later, we finally made it to the bottom of the ride. 2 hours is a long time to wait when you are 6 years old. Savannah started asking the "are we there yet" question with about 45 minutes to go (at least, that's how long the sign above our heads said we had to wait from that point but we were only in our swimsuits with no watches so we were at the mercy of the water gods. It may have been a total lie; WE'LL NEVER KNOW!) Vanna proceeded to ask if it was our turn about 138 more times from that point on. When there were maybe 10 people in front of us she told me that she had to go potty. We were 200 feet in the air on a water ride platform that did not have a bathroom. I told her she was going to have to hold on until we got to the bottom, but honestly, I wasn't sure if she could. I am only familiar with the capabilities of a two and a half year old bladder. Surely 6 year olds could hold it longer. At least thats what I was hoping.
The great news was that our turn finally came. We were on the same raft, just the two of us, and when we were done with the ride she miraculously didn't need to go potty anymore. I shudder even now at what happened to that urge.
Luckily we run into the 2 older girls when we were getting off the ride, which was God's way of making up for probably just being peed on. Off to the kiddie pool we went to catch up with Grammie and the two little girls.
Except they weren't there.
And they weren't in the wave pool. Or the Pirate's ship. Or the snack bar. Or the table that we put all of our stuff on. They were nowhere to be found. We spent the next 2 hours alternating between playing in the water and going back to our stuff to see if Grammie had gone back there with the kids. It was nerve-wrecking to say the least.
After being separated for over 4 hours, Grammie and the little girls caught up with us in the wave pool. Apparently Bella wanted to go in the wave pool while we were on the rides and when mom went to gather Avery up so they could all go together, Bella took off. Mom couldn't find her and Bella couldn't find mom. They caught eyes after only a few minutes but it was enough to upset both of them. So they thought the only reasonable thing to do would be to leave our section of the water park all-together and go to a different part of the park (which requires leaving one gate and going through another) where there were more kiddie friendly playscapes. Apparently they had a great time while they were over in that part of Schlitterbahn, but we had no idea where they had been so it was JUST A TINY BIT unnerving for me.
We spent the rest of the day all together, going back and forth between the 2 sections of the park. All the girls had a great time, even without a nap (ahem, AVERY). We stayed until they practically kicked us out of there at 8pm.
Here are some shots from the day.
Natalie and Emma riding the waves and current in the Torrent Pool.You'll notice that Avery has her thumb in her mouth in this one. That's because it was almost 8pm and she had been in the water all day without a nap. A new record for her. She was asleep 15 minutes into the drive back home.
Mom's only rule for the day was that I could take pictures of her but I COULD NOT POST THEM ON MY BLOG. (Don't worry mom, I won't!)*
Silly Savannah and Emma after going on a ride together. Emma said, "Don't worry, Aunt Amy, Savannah always ruins pictures." hahaha.
Natalie and Emma hanging from the Swing of Death. I don't think that is the official name, but close enough. (the video is posted here).
Seriously, could Bella's eyes be more beautiful? They actually match the color of the water.
Savannah on the little slides. (Between you and me, I think she had just as much fun with the little kids as she did with the big ones. But don't tell her that!)
Avery and Bella giving hugs. They played together so well all day.
Some final thoughts about Schlitterbahn in general:
- If you are going to the park with your church youth group, you probably shouldn't be wearing the skimpiest string bikini I've ever seen.
- I think some people have just decided that they aren't going to look good in ANY swimsuit so they feel like they can just go for it in the tiniest thing they can find.
- It's kind of unfair that men's swimsuits go down to their knees and women's suits get smaller and smaller. And we pay 5 times more than they do.
- Only Victoria Secret models look good in those one piece suits with the sides cut out.
- Haven't scientists figured out a way to keep pavement cool in the hot sun? I mean, we figured out a way to make bacon flavored vodka. Surely we could put our minds to keeping pavement from burning our feet right off when it gets hot outside.
*not pictured: me in a swimsuit. It is my blog, after all!