Monday, October 24, 2011


We went to Atlanta weekend before last so that Brad could attend the Produce Marketing Association conference and the kids and I could finally go to the Georgia Aquarium.  We stayed in the Westin downtown, and our room was on the 47th floor.  We had an awesome view of the city -- I know this is a terrible picture (I couldn't figure out how to take the picture and get the lights to show up correctly -- a photographer, I am not.), but this was our view at night:

We got to Atlanta on Friday in time to check into the hotel and change clothes for dinner.  We were all being taken out to dinner by someone who does business with Brad's family, and he was taking us to this really nice place -- Nicolai's Roof, on the 30th floor of the Hilton Atlanta.  Brad and I had done a little research on the place since we knew we were taking the kids, and we definitely knew that we were not dealing with a kids' restaurant.  This place had received Most Romantic and Best View rewards.  We were really nervous about taking the kids, and we gave them all a lecture about being on their best behavior, using their nicest table manners, etc -- and then we just kept our fingers crossed.  However, we had no reason to be worried.  The people were so nice.  They had nothing on the menu pleasing to kids, so they went to the other restaurant in the Hilton and got cheeseburgers and pizzas for the kids!  They made them Shirley Temples.  And our kids were as good as gold.  They got a little tired before we were finished with our meals, but they were great.  We could not have asked for better from the restaurant or the kids, and the people at Nicolai's surely didn't have to be as accommodating as they were.  Such a thing may never happen again, but I am so thankful for everyone's behavior that night!

Saturday morning the kids, my mother-in-law, and I met Brad's cousin's wife (are you with me on that?) and her kids in front of the Aquarium.  One of our fabulous sitters, Joni, attends the University of Georgia, so she also met us.  We had heard a lot of great things about the Aquarium and about the dolphin show -- which we had purchased tickets for in advance -- so the kids were super excited.  Add to that that they were getting to see their cousins and Joni, and you just about had a perfect day!

There were a lot of really cool things to see in the Aquarium, and apparently we got lucky that the octopus showed himself because usually he is hiding somewhere!

There is a room where one entire wall is glass from a tank that holds some of the biggest sea life you have ever seen -- huge manta rays, whale sharks, things that make us humans look teeny tiny.  I think we could have spent a lot longer in this room if we didn't have to make the dolphin show.

There is a tank where you can touch stingrays and some sort of shark -- I can't remember if they were hammerheads or sand sharks.  Honestly, I didn't get close enough.  The kids all touched a stingray, though, and thought it was the coolest thing ever.

A group shot of the kids before we left:

The kids had the best day.  They went from exhibit to exhibit just squealing with delight at each new form of sea life that they got to experience.  It was really fun to see everything through their eyes!

Saturday night Brad's cousin (a different one) came over to our hotel room to babysit the kids so that Brad and I could go to a cocktail party and dinner back at the Aquarium hosted by another company that does business with Brad's family.  The cocktail party was in this room that had huge, glass tanks on either side -- on one side we could see Belugas and on the other we saw all of the whale sharks, manta rays, etc.  I have to say that party was a bit boring for me.  Brad was in business mode, so I spent most of my time checking my Clemson app, texting my brother, and worrying over the Clemson/Maryland game since we were down by 18 points at one point in the game.  I hate to say it, but my eyes really start to glaze over when the talk goes toward watermelons for any length of time!  Thankfully it didn't last too long -- and thankfully Clemson ended up winning!  And, when we got home, the kids were all worn out and looked like this:

Sunday morning Louise and I took the kids to Imagine It!  The Children's Museum of Atlanta, and it was another great place for us to spend our day.  There were a ton of things for the kids to do there.  They played with these machines when we first got in the museum:

Then they moved on to the section where they had the "real life" sort of stuff -- the delivery truck, fork-lift, grocery store, tractor, living room, etc:

Right now they have this really cute fairy tale section, and the kids got to pretend to be in different fairy tales:

There was a stage, complete with costumes and dance shoes.  Sanders was very serious about her dancing, while Tyler and Gibson had a little more fun with it:

And then there was this stuff that was a mix between beach sand and clay -- semi-moldable but not completely.  The kids loved playing in this table, too.

I actually had more pictures to upload, but Blogger isn't cooperating, and I am tired of trying -- and by now you are probably tired of reading about this trip, anyway.  Suffice it to say that we had a great time at the museum!

That afternoon Brad got finished with the conference, and we went out to eat as a family at a very touristy location -- The Hard Rock Cafe.  It was close to our hotel and we figured it would be fine for the kids, but it was the first time I had ever eaten in one, and the food was not that fab.  But we made up for it by going to this all night diner afterward and getting each of the kids and Brad the biggest slice of cake you have ever seen in your life -- and of course, no one ate his or her whole slice, but that's the fun of vacation, I guess!

The next morning we were up bright and early and headed home...but I definitely think we will do Atlanta again, and next time I want to go when we can take in a baseball game and maybe the American Girl doll store!

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