About Me

Fort Bragg, NC, United States
I'm a stay at home dad raising four beautiful children. I am the proud spouse of an Army Lieutenant Colonel. I do my best to keep up with the kids and all of their activities. I enjoy playing the bass and the occasional bass guitar building project. You can follow me on twitter if you so desire...@ArmySpouse007.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

You don't have to be miserable during a deployment! Part 1

I remember when my wife left for Afghanistan last Summer thinking about the long hard road ahead. Getting through a year of raising kids alone, not to mention the associated loneliness that goes along with the separation, was a like a giant mountain in my way. But I learned, as I'm sure you will as well, that just because my spouse was gone didn't mean I had to sit still and be miserable for the whole year. In fact, I decided that the kids and I would actually make the most of it. And that's what I'd like most to share with you. When you are starring down a deployment you simply need to decide that your life (and, your kids' lives as well) aren't going to come to a halt. One of the great things that you can do during a deployment is travel. TRAVEL??? WITH THE KIDS? ALONE??? Yep. In fact, I think you might find, as I did, that it really isn't that hard. And there are a number of places you can go that are super kid friendly. The picture I've included above is from Great Wolf Lodge. Now, plenty of military families already know about GWL, but in case you don't, you'll want to learn FAST! It's a hotel (there are 7 of them across the country, 1 in Canada) with a giant indoor water park attached.

Now, I know what you might be thinking. How can I watch all of the kids at once in a water park? The answer will surprise you. You don't have to. Be it because of the liability or some other reason, GWL staffs their water parks with an abundance of lifeguards. And these aren't the ones who are barely interested in your child's safety while sitting up in their high chair. They are probably the most attentive lifeguards I've EVER seen. You really can go in there, set you kids loose, and find a nice chair and settle in with a book. The place is nothing short of amazing. And I think you'll find, just as I did, that your kids will be content to just stay in the park from sun up to sun down. What's more, there is a place in the park itself you can buy lunch from if you don't want to get dried off and go somewhere.

The rooms are totally kid focused. They have bunk beds and little hideaways in their rooms so the kids can enjoy themselves. Don't believe me? Go to their website and check it out for yourself. And for those times you're not in the water park, you can choose to eat your meals in their restaurant. It is buffet style and the food is better than average. At bed time every evening they have story time with some animate/robot animals. The encourage all of the children to come out to the central area, in their PJs, and sit back for a story before bed. Now, the only drawback to a stay at GWL is the cost. For my kids and I, it was usually a bit over $200/night. Expensive, I know, but to me it was worth it. 2 or 3 days spent away from all of the reminders of the deployment in a care free environment can do wonders for morale. And the totally relaxed pace of the days spent their will certainly knock your stress levels down several notches.

While I highly recommend GWL, this is certainly not the only thing that I'll be discussing over the coming weeks. The thing I want most to emphasize is this: You don't have to be miserable during a deployment. You can make the most of it and pass the time while your spouse is gone. Next week I'll discuss another option for you and your family. Until then, keep your chin up!

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You can follow me on Twitter if you so choose... @Armyspouse007

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