February 2nd

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Traverse City, Michigan

Great Wolf Lodge

February 1st through February 3rd, 2013

Saturday, February 2nd, 2013 - 18/9°, Snow Shower

    Drew’s first game was scheduled for 11:30am this morning, meaning that we had to leave the hotel around 10:30-10:40 to give us enough time to make the drive to the arena, get him dressed, and be ready to get on the ice at the start of the game. That allowed us a little bit of time to sleep in, which was a welcome thought after a late night last night. Unfortunately the people upstairs had other thoughts in mind for us, as the constant door slamming and feet stomping down the hallway proved to be too much for me. By 7:30am I was fully awake, and unable to even try to fall back asleep. Somehow Tara managed to block out the noise and sleep until 8:30am, so at least one of us adults got a little bit of sleep. Drew and Jayden woke up at about the same time as Tara, and Tyler and Sam crawled out of bed a short while later.

    For breakfast this morning we dined on some fine Meijer cuisine – donut holes, cinnamon rolls, eggs-in-a-cup, and precooked bacon. All this was accomplished while we rotated through the showers, getting everyone ready to head off to hockey with a full stomach. Mostly full, anyway.

    We left the hotel at 10:40am, which would have been fine except that Tara wanted to make a quick stop at Meijer to look for some tennis shoes. She had forgotten to pack hers, and she didn’t want to ruin the casual dress shoes that she wore up with her yesterday. I can’t blame her, but it does plan to check and double check when packing! We finally rolled out of the Meijer parking lot a little after 11:00am, with the directions for the Centre Ice Arena plugged into our GPS.

    We arrived at the arena, which is the same place where the Detroit Red Wings hold their training camp – when the NHL decides to hold training camp, that is. We only had about 10 minutes to go before the start of Drew’s first game, so I dropped off Tara and him and sent them inside to find the locker room and start getting ready while I went to find a spot to park in the packed parking lot. Once inside I found the locker room where I relieved Tara and helped Drew get ready to go. Tara then took the kids to find a spot to sit.

    After a quick fist-bump for good luck, I sent Drew off on the ice and headed to the stands to join Tara and the rest of the kids. We watched his team, the LCHA Hurricanes, play two hockey games this morning, and while they lost there were definite signs of improvement from the jamboree that we participated in at Orchard Lake St. Mary’s last fall. Drew scored his team’s first goal on the way to a 9-2 defeat in the first game, and they fell by a score of 8-0 in the second game. Overall I thought that the kids skated hard, and except for some basic mistakes (like continuing to pass the puck in front of their own net, often resulting in turnovers and goals against) I thought that they were much improved, and certainly more fun to watch.

    Earlier in the week (on Thursday, to be precise), we received an email stating that another of the LCHA coaches wanted Drew and a couple of other kids to play with his team as well, as they were short players. While this was quite an honor for Drew, it also meant that he would be playing in four games both today and tomorrow. For today that meant only a 10 minute break between sets of games!

    He did his best to help the LCHA Cyclones in the two games that followed, but it wasn’t enough. These two games must have come against some of the better teams at the jamboree, because the scores weren’t even close – a 7-0 loss in the first game and a 16-1 blowout loss in game two. By the end Drew could barely skate up and down the ice. I can’t really blame him, by the time the final whistle blew he had skated on the ice for 60 minutes over a span of a little more than two hours. For anyone that is a lot of ice time!

    There were discussions about having an early afternoon dinner with some of the hockey families at a local brew-pub, but when a call was made to check on the wait time we were told it would be nearly 90 minutes. At that time everyone decided to go their own way for tonight’s meal, so we headed for the Outback Steakhouse in honor of my birthday. While we enjoyed a good meal, it turned out that some of the families went to the brew-pub anyway and were seated right away. Nobody could figure out why we were given the long wait time, but oh well… no use crying over a missed meal!

    After we ate we headed back to the hotel so that we could invade the water park once again. We headed down around 4:00pm, and enjoyed our way down water slides, across lily pads, and under 5,000 gallon buckets of water. Not to mention relaxing floats on the lazy river and soaks in the family hot tub. By the time 7:00pm rolled around, we were beginning to get hungry again. We thought about eating at the little lunch counter area in the water park, but the $8.50 chicken tender meal sealed the deal on that one. Knowing that we had the early hockey games tomorrow, we decided instead to call it a night from swimming and order in some pizza.

Great Wolf Lodge Water Park

It seemed strange to be in a swimsuit while this was just outside!

And the water that normally would have been dripping from the slides was frozen into icicles!

Here is a look at a couple of the smaller slides.

Jayden was pleased as could be swimming with her life jacket on.

Samantha was having fun as well.

Tyler going down a slide with Rodney.

Drew, Tara, and Jay in the lazy river.

Tara and Jay picking out a tube for a float down the river.

Drew starting his trek across the lily pads.

Tyler making his way across the lily pads.

Sam watching as Drew gives the crossing another shot.

Tyler holding the pads steady as Drew steps his way across.

Sam didn't get any help, and almost lost her balance completely.

Sam, Drew, and Tyler playing on the lily pads.

Drew making his way off the last pad...

...and Sam following close behind him.

Blurry, but this is Tyler diving across the lily pads.

Tyler trying to stabilize himself for the next crossing attempt.

Tara enjoying some peace and quiet alone in the lazy river.

Tara holding the lily pads so that Jayden can make her way across.

Please click here for page two of the photos


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