Friday, July 15, 2016

Family Weekend Vacation // Atlanta, GA

We surprised the kids and took off on a super fun, long weekend to Atlanta last weekend. Jake missed our family vacation to Florida in June, so this was such a fun time to spend with all five of us together in one place!

Scot was awesome and did all the planning on this beforehand - researching fun things to do, getting reservations, printing parking passes + tickets beforehand - which made everything so easy. (Thank you, babe.) Unfortunately, our van was still in the shop so that created a little snag. But, Scot's dad let us borrow his Jeep Cherokee for the weekend, so we packed everybody + everything in like sardines and early Friday morning, we were off to our surprise destination - Atlanta!

The kids were so excited to see these signs and find out where we were going:

We checked in + unloaded the car as soon as we arrived. Here's the beautiful 2 bed/2 bath apartment he arranged for us to stay in (courtesy of their corporate lodging program):

We headed to the movie theater nearby to see a movie, but unfortunately, it was sold out. We were all hungry anyway, so we opted to go to Brio for dinner instead. One of our favorite Italian restaurants from up north.

The server was awesome and gave each of the kids some pizza dough to play with while we waited on our food. It was so fun!

Connor and I got some snuggle time in, too. Loved it.

I mean, who can resist this??

After dinner, we played bocce ball on their outdoor courts. We all had the best time.

We drove around downtown and headed back to our apartment. Such a beautiful end to the night.

Saturday morning came bright and early for our next big day. We surprised the kids (again) and headed to Stone Mountain State Park high up on a mountain. (Scot had already printed tickets for admission + food for the day, so we didn't have to worry about anything.) It has this massive granite dome called Stone Mountain in the middle with all kinds of outdoor activities like hiking, climbing, fishing, picnicking, horseback riding, camping and more. It's one of the best outdoor theme parks we've ever been to.

The kids had no idea what we were doing when we pulled up and they saw this:

First up was the kids obstacle course. They loved it!

The big kids did some rock climbing. We were surprised how much Brooklyn liked it - she even made it to hit the button at the top!

(Jake was the biggest kid we saw rock climbing in that area, so Scot teased him that he might tip the rock wall over - ha!)

It may have been 100 degrees out there, but these sweaty kids were having fun.

We did a little hiking + exploring around the mountain.

Just check out this 600-foot granite dome:

Next up was the Summit Skyride. A high-speed Swiss cable car that takes you over 800 feet to the top of Stone Mountain.

It was a beautiful ride.

The views were amazing!

At the top of the mountain, the views are even more spectacular. You can see the Appalachian Mountains and more up to 60 miles away. So crazy. (And a little scary with a wild 4-year-old boy, to be honest, but we all did great!)

It was exhilarating and so free to be standing at the top.

 And the kids loved stopping for cold drinks and popcorn for an early snack.

We walked + explored the top of the mountain for a long time until the little kids and I eventually hopped on the Skyride to head back down the mountain. Meanwhile, Scot and Jake decided to take the 3-mile hiking trail down the steep + rugged terrain of the mountainside, which they later laughed about and maybe regretted - ha!

We saved the boys a table inside the marketplace (yay for A/C!!) and we all ate a big, hearty lunch, wiped down our sweaty bodies and continued on with our day.

Next stop, a 5-mile train ride on the scenic railroad.

A few fun, crazy selfies:

I think their faces say it all:

Scot and Jake hiked + climbed all over the big obstacle course at Camp Highland Outpost. The SkyHike.

And I took the little kids to the indoor play place at the Great Barn. It was seriously the coolest play area I've ever seen for kids of all ages with super slides, trampoline floors, climbing structures and indoor games. We stayed there for almost 2 hours!

We saw a couple shows. First was a men's acrobatics show with the Chicago Boyz. They performed lots of tricks and did not disappoint.

The second show was Yogi Bear's 4D Adventure with air + water spraying right in your face - it was so much fun! (No cameras allowed for that one.)

We hit up several souvenir shops and bought candy, souvenirs, and all the best theme park food like pretzels, funnel cakes + ice cream. The best!

We ended the night with the laser show. It started at 9:30pm, but everyone got there early to save seats. It lasted over an hour with music, lasers, fire cannons and fireworks - seriously, the best laser show we've ever seen.

We all collapsed in bed close to midnight that night, but we were up and ready to head to our last surprise location by 10am on Sunday. The Georgia aquarium. The kids loved that place!

Their favorite spot of the whole day was our first stop - the sea lions. So. much. fun.

We took a break for lunch and walked down the street to Johnny Rockets for hamburgers, chicken + milkshakes. It was the kids' first time there, and they loved it. (Don't let this picture fool you.)

We walked back to the aquarium to enjoy the rest of our afternoon there.

The dolphin and sea lion shows were amazing!

We left the aquarium a little before closing time and headed back to our apartment.

We changed clothes and walked to the outdoor pool for an evening swim.

The little kids ate cereal for dinner and were tucked in bed with a Redbox movie, while Scot and Jake picked up Chipotle and a Redbox movie for us. A great end to a great weekend.

Such a fun weekend getaway and such precious time we got to spend as a family. I am so thankful!

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