Being a home schooling family, we can take spring break whenever we want, but this year we chose to do it during the same week as a lot of public school’s break. Why in the world did we choose that week? Well, it was because of a beautiful, auburn-headed little girl who celebrated her tenth birthday on April 7th, my daughter Lindsay.
Lindsay really wanted to spend her birthday having lunch with her mama at the American Girl Store bistro in Alpharetta, GA and then do a little shopping, of course! We made reservations for an 11:30 lunch time (I highly recommend the reservations!), and enjoyed a quiet lunch. She got the Tic Tac Toe Pizza (pepperonis for O’s and crossed julienned green peppers for X’s). I had a turkey panini with sweet potato crisps. The food was so much, that I called my husband to offer he and our two boys the leftovers before they found a place to eat. He came by the bistro and got our leftovers and the boys enjoyed the same lunch we did at the Food Court! (I love stretching our food dollars on vacation!)
After the wait staff brought Lindsay a stuffed ice cream cookie sandwich (of which there were no leftovers for the boys!) and sang to her, we made our way into the shop and Lindsay picked out a cute pair of pajamas for herself and an Atlanta tee shirt for her doll. We had fun walking around the store and looking at all the things they sell for dolls and little girls! We even saw several dolls having their hair done!
On Tuesday, we toured Coca Cola World in Atlanta. Our highlights of that visit included the 4-D movie and the Tasting Room, where we sampled, to our heart’s content and a burper’s delight, popular soda drinks from around the world. One soda that stands out to me was a mint soda from South America. I felt like I was swallowing mouth wash! It was interesting to me to note the variety of soda flavors that appeal to different cultures!
We walked across the street and strolled through Centennial Olympic Park where festivities of the Summer Olympics of 1996 were held. The children enjoyed playing on the playground and seeing the water fountains. For lunch, we went to The Varsity, Atlanta’s famed hamburger and hot dog joint. Brad and I had a chili cheeseburger with slaw and shared a huge serving of onion rings. Lindsay and Luke shared a hot dog meal and Logan had a hamburger. Our lunch cost $16 for the five of us!
After lunch, we drove to Stone Mountain Park. We spent the afternoon walking around the park, watching a funny kid’s show where the actors worked on complete improvisation and stopping in a glass shop to watch the art of glass blowing. Lindsay and Logan were fascinated with the glass blowing process, and I think they even learned something!
As we walked towards the barn, a lady approached us and offered us three Adventure Passes that her family was not planning to use (I love stretching entertainment dollars too!). We thanked her, and Brad hurried to buy two more passes to cover the rest of the family. We headed for the Swiss Cable Cars and rode up to the top of Stone Mountain, got out and walked around, and took pictures. The view from the top was magnificent and included the impressive Atlanta skyline.
When we reached the bottom again, Brad took Lindsay and Logan through a fun obstacle course and Luke and I explored the barn. Play in the barn was “organized chaos,” as I heard a father say on the way out. I was in total agreement! It was an indoor jungle gym with rope nets for climbing and kids shooting foam balls everywhere! Luke was content to play in the preschool area with a small slide and a tunnel, and I was relieved!
After the madness, Luke and I went to our car and retrieved a blanket we had brought for our picnic dinner. We met up with Brad, Lindsay, and Logan and made our way to the grassy area for the Laser Light Show, where we laid out our blanket to reserve our spot. We walked to a deli and ordered sandwiches to go. We took our dinner back to our blanket and enjoyed a relaxing dinner in the coolness of dusk. The laser light show was performed over the carving of Robert E. Lee and company on the side of Stone Mountain. It was a delightful evening and the kids really enjoyed themselves.
While in town, we went to a Braves game, and they just so happened to be in the middle of their season opening series against the Chicago Cubs, my husband’s favorite team! We had great seats, and the children enjoyed their first professional baseball game. It was a good game, too, I might add. Chipper Jones hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the 8th, and we saw fireworks shoot out of the Coca Cola bottle on top of the stadium! The Braves went on to win 3-2!
On our 0ne rainy day of the week, we headed to the Georgia Aquarium, the world’s largest aquarium. Everyone else seemed to have the same idea because let me tell you, the place was packed! I was awed by God’s creativity of some of the most unusual creatures I have ever seen: elephant-nosed fish, sea dragons, sea nettles with their very long stringy arms, and spider crabs. We really enjoyed walking through the 6.3 million gallon water tank holding back four whale sharks, manta rays, sting rays, grouper, and tons of fish. I loved sitting in front of the floor-to-ceiling tank and watching the smaller fish swim in their schools underneath the belly of the whale sharks, for the feeling of safety the enormous creature offered. Interestingly, though whale sharks have huge mouths, their throats are about only as wide as a quarter, so they could not eat any of the fish in the tank with them even if they wanted!
We had a wonderful time away and were so thankful that the Lord provided that time for our family. There is nothing like getting away from home for a little while, but then there is nothing like getting back home either!