Archives For Kansas City

No rest for the weary

April 28, 2015

I’m 38 years old, but I may as well be 83 based on my body’s inability to fully recover from a girls’ weekend getaway.

The Woodard ladies comprised roughly half of the entourage.

L to R: Me, my mother-in-law, and my three sisters-in-law comprised roughly half of the total entourage.

My lovely, much younger, sister-in-law Kristi is getting married in June. In true pre-wedding fashion, a large group of ladies gathered together for one last hoorah for the single bride-to-be.

We landed at a popular, central destination spot to celebrate – Kansas City, MO. There we soaked in the city’s attractions, including the Power & Light District, various breweries, a Pedal Hopper party bike tour, and the best sushi place the city has to offer.

Pedal Hopper

Pedal Hopper injuries are legit.

All of the bachelorette party goers – and I mean ALL of them – are awesome people, which makes me look forward to the big wedding day even more. The 2.5 days we spent together flew by in what felt like 2.5 hours because of the Maid of Honor’s attention to every single detail.

Speaking of 2.5 hours, that’s roughly the amount of time I napped on Saturday afternoon following Friday night’s festivities. I don’t go to bed at 2 AM frequently enough (thank God!) and my lack of training made it nearly impossible to bounce back…yet bounce back I did on Saturday evening.

Much of the weekend is now a blur, thanks to lack of sleep, some specialty drinks, and the most amazing pudding I’ve ever tasted in my entire life (NO it wasn’t laced with anything illegal…it wasn’t that kind of party). I am a big fan of making people laugh so, fortunately for me – and in particular my back – the mechanical bull was out of commission at the last bar we visited.

I gave Kristi a two-sided necklace that has her maiden name engraved on the side that faces her heart and her soon-to-be new last name on the side that faces outward. I feel that it’s very important for married couples to remember that they, as individuals, are as important on their own as they are as a pair. I feel like this is something I’ve learned throughout my 15-year marriage to my husband. We haven’t tried to change one another, just compliment each other.


There was no rest for the weary when I got back into town Sunday as I had two of my son’s baseball games to attend. So while all the youngins could lounge and recharge after returning home, I was busy cheering on a bunch of 11-year old boys. I’m now nursing a nasty sore throat as a result, but I don’t regret a single second of my time with friends and family.

You only live once. If you’re asked to join a rowdy bunch to celebrate a special occasion, don’t ever pass up on the opportunity. I was reminded this weekend how blessed I am to be able to sneak away with the women I love and to return home to the family I love.

Written by Heidi Woodard

I struggle at times to remember what it feels like to step away from the everyday grind and have no set agenda other than to relax and have fun as a family.

It’s been too long since we’ve experienced that feeling. We’re getting ready to re-embrace it at one of our boys’ favorite places,¬†Great Wolf Lodge in Kansas City.

We’re rarely at home. Always on the go. Stressing about getting kids to school and ourselves to work on time. Stressing about leaving work on time to rush home. Stressing about meal planning and getting out of the house on time to make it to basketball. Stressing about getting the kids to bed at a decent hour.

Shoot, I’m stressing with guilt right now over the fact our daughter has never experienced a Great Wolf Lodge getaway. And she’s 4.

Pregnant mom with baby girl

The boys loved to pretend their bellies were as big as mine when I was pregnant with their baby sister.

We’re lucky that all three of our kids LOVE getting wet. Water slides, lazy rivers, spray stations…you name it…I remember the boys having a blast standing under the 1,000-gallon bucket dump.

You know what’s even better than getting soaked by such an extreme force of water? Watching your 4-year old sister experience that combination of fear and adrenaline rush for the first time.

Dad and sons in the lazy river

Lazy boys in the lazy river.

Some of my favorite memories from Great Wolf Lodge have nothing to do with water at all. Each evening, lodge guests are invited to attend a story time in their pajamas in front of the Great Clock Tower within the grand lobby.

The Great Clock Tower has timed lighting and mechanical animals that sing and talk to the audience. Anyone who is my age may recall Showbiz Pizza back in the 80s. This Clock Tower is like Showbiz on steroids, highly entertaining for kids and adults alike.

I’m going to make it my goal to use my iPhone for picture taking and maybe a periodic Facebook status update. One of the best things about vacationing at an indoor water park is that water and electronics don’t mix.

We deserve the uninterrupted time together and each other’s undivided attention.

The rest of the world can wait.

Created by Heidi Woodard

I talked my husband into bringing back a fun family tradition that we haven’t done for over four years.

We’re taking our kids to Great Wolf Lodge in Kansas City. This will be the first trip for our youngest and a much-needed return adventure for the rest of us.

Prior to Christmas, I asked my oldest, who will be turning 11 in January, what he thought his favorite vacation was of all time. He and his brother have seen moose and mountains in Estes Park and visited Water World outside of Denver. Their one and only plane trip thus far was to Chicago, where they got to ride the historic Navy Pier Ferris wheel and explore Millennium Park.

I’ve shared before on this blog how I can feel him moving away from his childhood and reliance on me and his dad.

You can imagine my surprise when he responded that Great Wold Lodge was his all-time favorite place to vacation.

The more I thought about it, the more it made perfect sense. The drive there is relatively short for us, and once there, we don’t have to leave the lodge for anything. We swim, eat, sleep, and repeat. It’s uninterrupted family time, something we don’t make nearly enough time for these days.

I captured the moment my kids learned that we are heading to Great Wolf again. You can’t quite see the expression on my oldest’s face, but our middle son’s reaction basically says enough for both of them.

The Great Wolf Lodge website shows a 17-second video of a family riding down a giant water slide together in a tube. The caption beneath the video reads, “Your kids’ childhood goes by just as fast.”

I couldn’t agree more.

First year at GWL

First year at GWL

Second year at GWL

Second year at GWL

Third year at GWL

Third year at GWL

My how fast time flies!

My how fast time flies!

Created by Heidi Woodard