Travel with a Mother's Helper (Our Trip to Triple Play)

Our trip to Idaho was media sponsored.
I was asked to share honestly about our experience.
Do you travel with a mother's helper? 

Early last month we drove out to Nebraska (yes, crossing Wyoming once again) for my family reunion weekend. The kids and I needed to leave straight from there for a week-long stay in northern Idaho, but my husband needed to head back to work. We decided to try something new, and invited my mom and niece to come along for the ride. Our first destination made it easy to be traveling with the kids; having the extra pairs of eyes and hands turned out even better than I'd expected!

mothers helper
The Trip: Western Nebraska-Couer d'Alene road trip 
The Destination: Triple Play Resort & Suites
The Helpers: Grandma and a Super-Fun 12-yr-old cousin
Choosing a Room
Booking a room for 7 people is not always easy. From my years working in the hotel industry, I know that regular room occupancy is usually a maximum of 6...and it's tight. Our family is only just moving into the stage where the babies count as "real" people and have to be considered when we're thinking of what type of room to book. It's not a pleasant thought, as our hotel budget is usually quite low. But at Triple Play, there were several options to accommodate our large group.  

hotel bunk beds

The Kids' Suite was B & P's first choice. With bunk beds, television, and video game system in an alcove, can we say little boy heaven? Making it even better, the resort's water slides were right outside the window. Their grandma and cousin could have shared one of the other queen beds while I shared with the babies, but it sounded kind of tight.

Instead, we decided to stay in a 2-room Suite. Divided by a half-wall, there were 2 queen beds, plus a pull out sofa. The room also had a small eating area. When B & P were very young, we started building them forts under the desk and tables in our hotel rooms, and so it worked out perfectly for Grandma, cousin, and myself to have our own beds with the boys in their cool blanket forts. We weren't tripping over each other, and everyone got to have a little bit of privacy.  

Splishing and Splashing

Triple Play is a 3-in-1 vacation destination-the hotel, water park, and fun center all in one facility. Entering through the breakfast nook, you can go straight from eating to playing in less than a minute. There is something HUGE to be said for not having to pile into the car, sit in traffic, and be frustrated when you get to the fun play place! Grabbing our swim bag from the room, we headed first to Raptor Reef...

triple play resort water park

The benefit of having my "mother's helpers" became obvious instantly! B wanted to go straight to the water slides, but I wasn't comfortable yet sending him off alone. P wanted to play in the spray area, and the babies simply did NOT want to play at all. In comes Grandma!  She sat with the babies, watched Peyton, and slowly convinced them all to get wet and play together.  

raptor reef

It freed me up to ride the slides with B-that is something we had never done together before! He was nervous to slide at first, and I was there to assure him he would love it. We took turns riding down together and with my niece and racing each other down different slides. And when my legs couldn't climb the stairs one more time, B and his cousin kept on going on. With her there, I was able to take time to rest and play with the little kids without having to worry.  

The Center of Fun
My kids have never been to a place where a wristband gets them into everything for free. We went mid-week and they almost never had to wait in line. Triple Play was their paradise. We bowled, drove go-karts, and played laser tag. Grandma watched the babies sometimes, I watched the babies sometimes, we all did activities together sometimes. Having more than one person over the height requirement was especially useful on the bumper boats. With a combination of adults and kids in boats, the little ones had a blast spraying (read: soaking) the grown-ups.  

bumper boats

The ropes course was something different all together. Beck and cousin went up first, but he got scared. By the time I went up he'd gained some confidence, but she was on her way to the top. Doing something I would never have done with my little boys, I followed her all the way up and meandered around 3 stories above the ground. Forever now she and I will have "that time we did that kind of scary thing together" to talk and laugh about.  

The sweet part of the whole trip came when the group divided. When we met back up, we found the babies in the arcade with Grandma, punching ducks and having a spectacular!

This trip to Triple Play Resort had three great take-aways:

  1. A 2-3 day vacation completely contained in one location is absolutely worth it! If the babies needed a change, we could run to the room and back without having to pack and take a diaper bag. We could take a break for naptime without fearing we'd decide not to come all the way back later. We could take our time eating, knowing every meal was only moments away from getting back to the fun.  
  2. A mother's helper is useful, but also a subtle relationship building tool. With the extra help, I never had to tell the kids no. There was no reason not to trade cars and ride around the go-kart track three times. There was no fighting about taking turns or waiting for the next time. Just like when I camp with the kids alone, they got to see that Mom does know how to have fun. Mom can help me be not afraid. Mom can relax and let kids be kids.    
  3. Travel strengthens families. It is difficult living far away from family. Our long road-trip and week of fun in Couer d'Alene gave Grandma and the babies a chance to get to know each other. It allowed me to interact with my niece as a growing-up girl, and gave her the chance to appreciate her younger cousins. It brought each one of us closer together.
Have you ever traveled with a mother's helper?
Here are 4 more tips to get you on your way.