#dellsGTG #OMG #internetfriends

If you follow me on Instagram you've already endured the invasion of #dellsGTG pictures from the weekend on your feed. But you know there's more where that came from;)

The backstory: A long time ago, Andrea had mentioned that our Milwaukee group of friends should do a big Dells trip sometime this winter. I had been emailing with Erin, too, discussing the fact that we needed to finally meet in person. And then someone came up with the brilliant idea of EVERYONE going to the Dells together---husbands, two kids a piece, and six families total. We weren't sure if someone would back out at the last minute, if kids would be too sick, or if the idea of spending two nights with 'internet friends' would be too scary for the husbands. Oh, and the drive itself---it was less than 2 hours for the Milwaukee girls but almost 4 for those coming from Minnesota. That could be a horrible factor in the trip. We were especially nervous about the sleep situation with 12 kids, worried that the children might not share well or would hate each other, or that they could be in their tantrum prime with such over-stimulation. We knew it would be chaos and with all of the planning and over 100 emails shared between us, we were getting pretty freaking excited. I almost forgot about the whole indoor water park aspect in the midst of all the other variables. But the prospect of wearing a swimming suit in the dead of winter, right after the holidays? Another reason to be a bit apprehensive.

Andrea had already met Leah once, and obviously the Milwaukee girls are close friends in real life already (Erin, Andrea, Dizzy, and myself). Leah and Erin knew each other already, too. But otherwise it was one giant blind date---that involved spending multiple nights together in close quarters with rowdy toddlers and babies! It certainly could have been a disaster. And yet? It.Was.Amazing. We are all sort of shocked at how smooth the weekend went for us. Sure, we didn't sleep that great and it was total chaos a lot of the time. But a good chaos. One that I know we all enjoyed. One that was obviously well documented and photographed with a bunch of nutso bloggers. Duh.

Do we need to do a legend/key for this trip, to explain who belongs to who?

WI: Julia + Nate with Truman and Cecelia
WI: Erin + Dave with Henry and Ben
WI: Andrea + Jim with Eli and Gabby
WI: Dizzy + Andy with Charlotte and Eddie (not a true blogger but she was a great sport and it right in, as expected)
MN: Erin + Ben with Annie and Luke
MN: Leah + Tony with Isaac and Ezra (and baby #3 coming in April!)

The oldest kid will be 4 in April (Isaac) and the youngest was my 7 monther, Cecelia. Kind of crazy how we all have two kids that are basically the same ages, right? Also kind of crazy that the Packers played the Vikings on Saturday night for the playoffs. Nobody got nasty with each other during the game, in case you were wondering. Definitely too tired to care who won.

We stayed at The Wilderness and had two condos, side-by-side, with full kitchens with 3 bedrooms and a den in each condo. There are 3 indoor water parks there, including one that was perfect for our '4 and under' babes. We coordinated which families would bring what food (Google Docs, what?!) so we could all eat together for meals. Again, lots of planning but oh, so worth it.

I had a few moments during the trip when I was watching Truman play with his daddy in the water, grinning ear to ear, loving the entire experience when I thought, 'Being a parent is so freaking fun.' It makes me remember all of the fun water park experiences I had as a kid---the epitome of childhood summer fun, if you ask me. But this time, for my Wisconsin boy, his water park was indoors while snow was on the frigid January ground. He literally had the time of his life and although he was EXHAUSTED it was clearly one of the most fun weekends he's had. Watching Truman interact with the 'online celebrity/stranger' friends that we sort of forced upon him was also entertaining. He and Annie warmed up to each other right away and he even watched her take a bath within hours of meeting her! So basically he thinks the Dells equals naked chicks and he will probably ask to go back every weekend;) I'm pretty sure that Truman and Isaac were holding hands and running up and down stairs together by the second night. I just couldn't get over seeing my kids play with children I've 'watched' grow up but haven't met in real life. It was just so surreal.

Not to mention that meeting Erin and Leah in real life was pretty surreal and awesome for me, too. They were both who I expected them to be and it was fun to sit down and chat with them face-to-face. Girl time rules. Although I'm not sure there was ever an hour with EVERY child peacefully sleeping we came close a few times and it was wonderful. I'm also thankful that my extremely social husband hit it off with the other dads there. Perhaps he thought he was back in college surrounded by his frat bros, because they really did seem to get along without much effort. All of the guys were such great sports to go along with this idea and I'm pretty sure they don't regret coming with us. I mean, water slides DO bring out the little boy in every dad, right? And Cecelia? She was the youngest baby there and did so great! She loved the water--it was her first time really getting wet in a pool and Nate even took her down her first water slide. She didn't cry and didn't smile, so I call that a success! Also? Little girl bathing suits = reason enough to plan a trip like this every winter. I die.

I think that is all of the rambling I want to do about this amazing trip. There is talk of making this an annual event and I'm all about recurring chaos. Even if it will be even wilder with more/growing children. I'm in for 2014 ;)

And now for the visual evidence, non-iPhone style.

Dinner on Friday night. Babies inspect each other.

Three little monkeys...


And two more families arrive!

Saturday morning


(Leah's image)


(Leah's image)

(Leah's image)



And ready for the water park!


(Leah's image)

(Leah's image)


And after the park, we ate lunch. Then hung out. And eventually, a nap.


After napping it was time to round up the troops for another water park excursion

(Leah's image---note the HUGE sleep line on my face. Best family portrait ever!)








Sunday morning

Group picture time! This was no small feat, obviously.

(Leah's images for all of these. I die laughing at this one)

Everybody show us your silly faces! Bwahahahaha. Dave and Andy and Dizzy are the winners here. For various reasons.

Handsome/Awesome daddys with their kids. Procreation!

Moms with kids---obviously the children were a little bit over it at this point. Annie and Charlotte are my faves ever.

And then one more time at the water parks right before we all left for home.


(Leah's image)

(Leah's image)

(Leah's image)

(this was when I lost my freaking earring somehow. Very devastating but I suppose if that is the worst thing to happen on the trip it was a pretty good time)


(Leah's images--would like to use this one for a profile pic on FB if it weren't for my semi-obnoxious boobs)


Sigh. Is it really over? So much fun. Where would I be without this blog? Would I have made any new friends since moving to Wisconsin? Probably none quite like this;)


  1. Okay, I'm gonna take off my jealousy glasses and just say that this is flat out awesome that you guys planned this! It looks like so much and I love love love meeting internet friends in real life. These relationships really are real even if our husbands roll their eyes from time to time :)

    p.s. just put the picture up! Your boobs look awesome!

  2. What a fun group and weekend. Looks like you guys had a blast!

  3. So freaking epic!! What a fun trip. I LOVED stalking y'all on instagram this weekend. And I'm totally serious about adding the MO group for 2014. I'll totally force my family into an 8 hour drive for the privilege of meeting you ladies!! :)

  4. This.Is.Amazing. Seriously, so awesome! Love when internet friends become real friends:) I LOVE Cecelia's smile at you in the last photo.

    The boobs aren't obnoxious- post that photo!

  5. Great recap! Kind of horrified that I wore a tank top and yoga pants in the pool that night, but otherwise great pix!

  6. Aw, I love how you ended that. Thank God for blogs - seriously, I feel very lucky to have met you ladies and developed such awesome friendships over the years!

    Great recap of the weekend, and I love all the pics! Hadn't seen a few of those yet. ;)

    Dells 2014!

  7. Ditto Kristal!! I'm all for a 9 hour drive. :)

    Looks like SO.MUCH.FUN!! I am so happy for you all that you got to meet and just be together.

  8. Looks like blast! Too funny too, I "met" Leah the same way I met you ;) I was in her bmb before the loss. Going to add her my reader now!

  9. I'm not going to lie. I loved following you guys on instagram through your #dellsgtg updates. It's so awesome that you got this all planned and it all played out better than your expected. I loved this update too... The way you write cracks me up!

    Your non-iphone pictures are great too! What a memory for your families... oh and that part about T thinking that Dells equals naked chicks... laughed my butt off!

    So fun!

  10. What a cool idea! I'm jealous, as I'm pretty sure my husband wouldn't go for something like that, and at this stage with two little ones (same ages as yours), I'd be pretty hesitant to try it. I think you're all very brave. Wish I knew nearby bloggers I could meet in real life. Everyone I follow lives many states away.

  11. Looks like you all had a blast. I had a great time following in spirit through IG :)

  12. Julia wins for most dedicated blogger to get her recap up first!! :)

    It was so amazing to see our kids actually play together! Even if Annie WAS naked almost immediately ;)

  13. Loved following the pics on IG! We're doing the same thing with friends next month (albeit with a much smaller group). Seeing all the pics makes me so excited as we're going to the Wilderness too!

  14. Looks like SO much fun! I haven't been to the Dells in years and thought about taking the kids, but thought they were too young. Guess I'll have to reconsider! (First time commenter, follower for a while now, found you through Erin, who went with you! Love your blog and your kids are adorable!)

  15. Seriously, I could cry that it's over. The planning and anticipation was so exciting and then the actual weekend was just amazing. I can't remember coming down from a high that big in a long time. So much fun. And there's nothing like getting together with girlfriends. Ah, I'm so sad...but also excited at the possibility of next year! I'm going to go as far to say we should book our weekend asap so we all have something to look forward to!

  16. P.S. Picture of Gabs in her booster seat = epic. Gabby to a T. It gave me a good laugh!!

  17. Glad you guys all had so much fun! Looks like it was a blast :)

  18. Totally jealous here, too. There aren't too many central IL bloggers :(.

  19. Look how far you all have come since that first get together at the wicked hop! It's so great! What a great weekend.

  20. So much fun! Looks like you guys had a great time!

  21. That is so awesome! And your husband are freakin amazing... mine might think I was crazy, but I would so make him go.

  22. This looked like a BLAST on Instragram and even more amazing here in written form!! Omgosh I think it is so amazing that you guys did this for yourselves and your littles!!! Lol I'm all the way over in CA and I want to go SO BAD!!! I may or may not have looked up lodging ;)

  23. Totally jealous over here (along with many other commenters I see!).

    Someday I'll get to meet up with you. Coming to Ontario any time soon?

  24. This is so cool, what great memories you all can share together - I love it! So awesome to meet "blog friends" in real life! Loved these pics!

  25. Oh and yes, put the boobie pic up, it really isn't taht boobie! :)


Thank you for taking the time to comment on my blog. Sorry that commenting through Blogger can be a royal pain. I'm glad you are commenting despite that, and please email me if you are having issues.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...