Disclosure: Our day out was provided by USAA. All opinions are my own and do reflect the thoughts of USAA.

I love spending quality time with my family and thanks to past deployments and TDY’s catching up on time together has been extremely important.

My son’s birthday was last month and he had been expressing interest in going back to Great Wolf Lodge. Since USAA gave us a cool opportunity to spend some family time together, that’s exactly what we did. What made this family day trip to Charlotte together a great one was that my parents and brother would be joining us . We piled into the minivan and made the 2 hour drive from our home to Great Wolf. Instead of hopping on the main highway we decided to take the scenic route to Charlotte, North Carolina. This took us through several small towns and because North Carolina has so much history to it we stopped at some of the small landmarks and small town attractions that you may not normally notice. My parents who live in New York loved the small town feel of the mom and pop stores and farm stands alongside of the road.


Me teaching my mom how to take a selfie
Me teaching my mom how to take a selfie


We finally made our way to the Great Wolf Lodge in Concord, North Carolina and checked into our 2 bedroom suite. My brother and I who are 10 years apart still enjoy acting like immature kids around our parents. We were so excited to hang together that we danced, went to the arcade, and of course hung out at the indoor water park with the kids and the husband. My parents in the meantime enjoyed walking around the premises of the resort and people watching. Afterwards we drove around looking for a place to eat. New York is a great place to eat ,but my parents make it clear that New York has nothing on southern cuisine. However we ended up at a place with not so good BBQ, great fried okra, and bland sweet tea. Either way the blandness of the food didn’t take away from the fun we had laughing and eating together all at one table. Afterwards we made our way back to the resort to enjoy the birthday cake we had picked up at the bakery in the hotel.

Me and my brother being silly as usual
Me and my brother being silly as usual


We were pretty exhausted from the water activities and hanging out that day so we crashed pretty early. As I am sleeping I here this faint buzzing sound and I slowly rise out of my slumber as it gets louder. At this point I jump up to check our phones, iPad , and laptop thinking maybe the alarm clock was going off , but then I look up and realize it’s the fire alarm. “Oh geeze did I leave my flat iron on and set something off” is what I am thinking as it hits me that this could be serious. At this point the husband jumps up and makes it clear that the fire alarms are going off in the whole building and we need to get out of the room. I am so disoriented because of course when there is potential of a fire you can’t find your clothes that you would go outside in , and don’t forget trying to wake up two kids who can sleep through anything. We make our way outside, only to realize my mother and father are not out of the building yet. As my brother goes back into see where they are we see them making their way down the steps. Of course my mother didn’t seem to get that when alarms go off in buildings you don’t worry about what you are wearing or how your hair looks. Lesson learned! We eventually learned that there was no fire but something with the pressure in the water park set the fire alarms off.

Celebrating Life

Even though we laughed about how disheveled the entire resort full of people looked standing outside in the wee hours of the morning, we realized how easily that situation could have been more severe. What if we hadn’t heard the alarm? What if there was smoke and we couldn’t exit using the stairs because we were on the 4th floor?

Resort guests standing outside after fire alarm goes off.
Resort guests standing outside after fire alarm goes off.

Situations like this easily make me realize the importance of celebrating life and how I want to for many more years to come. However should the time come , I want to be able to focus on my family and not working out paperwork and putting together the aftermath of my financial life in a time of crisis or vice versa. The reality is no matter what the situation is life insurance will make things easier should you need to utilize it. USAA is making it so much easier for you to learn about life insurance and figure out what kinds and how much you need through the use of their life insurance calculator and also their reps who can help you find a plan that’s good for you.


USAA wants you to have the opportunity to spend a day with your family and just enjoy life. (1) Lucky reader will win a $300 Visa GC to use for their family day out.

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Krystel is the mom of two and an Army Wife. In addition to Army Wife 101 she is the Co-Founder of SoFluential.com a digital media agency that connects brands with the military market. She has appeared on MSNBC ,FOX LA and formerly was a weekly contributor to HLN's "Raising America". She has written for various outlets including Sheknows and Lifetime and is a big fan of cupcakes and french fries.

111 Comments on Celebrating Life With Army Wife 101 & USAA Plus a $300 Visa Gift Card Giveaway

  1. My ultimate family day right now would be to spend the day at the Texas State Fair. We moved to Texas last year, and would love to be able to go, as we have not been to a fair since our youngest was about 9 months old. That was in Washington, and she is now seven.

  2. Wow! What an awesome giveaway! We would love anywhere where we could be together as a family! We love the beach and the mountains!

  3. What a wonderful giveaway. Our ultimate family day is any day that our daughter is home. She attends college out of state.

  4. Our ultimate family day would include watching our son play football with his teammates, donuts and coffee provided to other family members by me, going to a pumpkin patch afterwards for some family time and kettle corn with beautiful fall colors and temperatures surrounding us, coming home & roasting smores wrapped in blankets as we watch a movie in the back yard, and fallin asleep knowing we are all together in the same house. We have 4 kids and tend to do things more on the basic scale rather than luxurious or extravagant. It works though, we feel more bonded and happy.

  5. I think a nice family getaway would involve making the hour or so drive to Denver and just exploring some of the culture and mountains on the way up. We just moved to Colorado and apparently there is much to do outdoors, I think my family would enjoy seeing it and also just being able to spend time as a family. :-)

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  7. Going to the zoo and having a nice dinner with my whole family would be the best day ever!


  8. My ultimate family get away; any where we can laugh and play. Have interaction with each other, without electronics.

  9. My family and I like camping and staying hotels when possible. We have a Great Wolf Lodge about four hours away and that would be and excellent vacation!

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  12. It would be all 3 meals together (preferably where I don’t have to cook!), lots of outside time, and maybe something we’ve never tried before. Like surfing, or skiing, or eat saurkraut! LOL

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  13. We have actually gone to Great Wolf Lodge before – all eight of us – and had a fantastic time! Any day where we are all together and get to share meals and enjoy each other’s company is a great day for me.

  14. A double header baseball game and then a late night breakfast. We used to do it when my boys were young. I miss those days.

  15. My ultimate family day would be to go somewhere away from phones and internet and hike to a beautiful place together and have a great time dong it!

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