Welcome to a piece of our sweet journey of life. This blog is about our family life-- my husband, my type 1 diabetic kindergartner, my spunky pre-schooler, my newborn baby girl, and myself! Enjoy!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Atlanta Weekend

On the last weekend in February, Aaron & I were blessed to be able to take a trip to Atlanta by ourselves!  The boys stayed with one set of grandparents, which was like having their own little vacation! 

Aaron coaches Upwards soccer, so we had to wait until his team had practiced that Friday night.  Fortunately, this was at the beginning of soccer season, so there was no game on that Saturday.  The boys and I went to practice with Aaron, and since his mom is his assistant coach, she took the boys straight to her house when practice was over, and Aaron and I got on the road.  We swung through the Burger King drive through on our way out of town around 6:15pm.  It wasn’t ideal to eat a Whopper while navigating Friday night city traffic getting out of town, but we made do.  Aaron is a better navigator, so I drove while he told me where to go.

We live about three hours away from Atlanta, and they’re on Eastern time there—so when we arrived at the hotel, it was about 10:30pm.  We opted to do valet parking, and the whole staff was so nice to us.  We chose the Aquarium and Breakfast package, which gave us two tickets to the Georgia Aquarium and breakfast vouchers for both mornings we’d be in town.  We headed up to our room and were so thrilled to find that our window overlooked the Aquarium and the World of Coke!

We unpacked our stuff as best we could, and then perused the pamphlets left in the hotel room about what to do in the Atlanta area and what the menu was for Room Service (one of Aaron’s goals for the trip!).

We spent several weeks planning this little trip for ourselves, and originally intended to go to the SuperCross race while it was in town.  We delayed purchasing our tickets and by the time we got around to doing so, the tickets were way-overpriced.  So, we opted to go to Atlanta on the same weekend anyway.  We spent a lot of time choosing our hotel (we selected Hilton Garden Inn Downtown—and I’d totally stay there again!) and narrowing down what restaurants we wanted to try (we chose The Park Bar, and Legacy Seafoods).  My goals were to go to the Aquarium and the World of Coke.  I had been to both places about ten years ago, and since that time, they’ve redone both areas and I really wanted to see the upgrades!  Aaron’s goal was to order Room Service! 

We both fell asleep very quickly and it was SUCH A TREAT to sleep uninterrupted during the night!  

I woke first (surprise) and just reveled in the quietness of my surroundings.  Aaron woke not too long after and we both quickly got ready and ventured to the fourth floor to use our first set of breakfast vouchers!  They had an island set up with scones, croissants, Nutri-grain bars, muffins, etc.  They had a back table set up with coffee, hot water, tea bags, and orange juice and the waffle maker.  Then they had a hot bar with breakfast hash (SO GOOD!), bacon, biscuits, eggs, etc.  Then you could order French toast or omelets or pancakes.  Aaron ordered an omelet the first morning, and I got French Toast.  It was so tasty!  We could order drinks from our waiter if we didn’t want to get our own from the back table, or if there was something we wanted (like apple juice for Aaron) that wasn’t offered on the back table.  The waitstaff was so polite and we got excellent service—which rarely happens for us! 

We went back to our room (on the twelfth floor) and got ready to go to the Aquarium.  Our hotel passes allowed us to go through the City Pass line, which meant we got to skip all of the crowds!  I have to have my bag inspected, and then we were supposed to be wanded, but the Aquarium employee looked at me and then simultaneously made a dome shape in front of this tummy and asked me “Are you…… you know?”  I realized he was asking me if I was pregnant, and I smiled and said I was.  I was showing, and was about 13 weeks along, but I wasn’t showing enough to be very obvious to strangers.

We stopped and had to pose for pictures before entering the aquarium, and I didn’t know that we had to go to a kiosk while in the aquarium to get the pictures—so I missed out.  I emailed the company and they are planning to upload all pictures online eventually, so they kept my name and description of what we were wearing and said they’d notify me when the pictures were available online.

The Aquarium was so cool!  Our first stop, obviously, had to be the Ocean area where the Whale Sharks are!  Ironically, I am terrified of both whales and sharks, but I love whale sharks.  I thought there was only one Whale Shark, but there were actually three.  We rode the moveable sidewalk so that we could just peer above us at the glass enclosure without actually having to watch where we walk!  After the moveable sidewalk ended, we entered into a room where there was a humongous glass wall where we could watch the whale sharks, sting rays, manta rays, eagle rays, sea turtles, and a plethora of fish just swim around.  

The announcer said that they’d be feeding the whale sharks in about 30 minutes, so we found a seat and waited.  The room got very crowded over about 25 minutes and Aaron said “do you really want to see them feed the whale sharks, or do you want to go wander around the aquarium while everyone else is in here?”  We chose to go exploring and had the place nearly to ourselves!  We checked out the rain forest area and the lake area and the arctic area where Aaron tricked me into looking around a corner into a tank that had Beluga whales in it!  Not cool.  We really really enjoyed looking around at everything, and then we bought two stingray toys for the boys to use in the bathtub. 

We headed back to the hotel to drop off our loot and rest a bit before heading to lunch. We chose to eat at Park Bar for lunch.  Aaron had eaten there when he was in Atlanta for a Seahawks/Falcons game two years earlier.  He raved and raved about their burgers and how you can create your own, so we decided to head somewhere we knew was good!  It was a very windy day and we navigated Centennial Park through the wind and with my hair in my eyes.  

Park Bar was just on the other side of the park.  We got a table quickly and already knew what we would order since we had studied the menu online beforehand.  The bar was noisy with Mardi Gras parade participants (who knew that was going on in town on the same weekend? Not us!).  I ordered a turkey burger with avocado and other toppings which I can’t remember now.  I got the side salad for my side and it was DELICIOUS!  I don’t know how they did it, but it was so gosh-darn tasty!  

We walked into the wind on our way back to the hotel, so at least my hair wasn’t in my face!  We had debated going to the Pit area of the SuperCross race, but Aaron found out that you had to have a ticket to the race before you could buy a Pit pass, and the tickets were $300, so we chose not to do that.  We made firm plans, though, to be back in our room by the time the race started so we could watch it live. 

We rested a little bit after lunch, and then headed to the World of Coke!  It was still windy, but at least the lines weren’t long.  As soon as we entered the “holding area” of the museum, we were given a complementary 10oz aluminum Bottle-shaped-can of regular Coca-Cola, Coke Zero, or Diet Coke.  We then headed into a room and learned a bit about Coke marketing, and then we watched a video of the worldwide reach of Coke.  Then we were free to explore the museum on our own.  The line to see the Vault where the secret recipe is kept was huge!  I didn’t have an interest in seeing a piece of paper (it’s not like they’d let you read the secret recipe anyways), so we skipped that part.  We went through the bottling area where we could see how the bottles are cleaned before they ever get the syrup and water, and we learned about the proper temperatures for everything and how every single bottle is documented in the system.  I’m not sure what other areas of exploration were offered because we headed to what we came there for: the tasting room where we could try coke products from around the world!  We found lots of favorites and teased each other with some foreign products that were gross!  After the tasting room, you had to exit through the gift shop (talk about marketing!).  We bought prizes for our parents (for keeping our kids or our dogs!) and bought a basketball each for our boys. 

We headed back to our hotel for a rest and to get ready for dinner.  We chose Legacy Seafoods, which was attached the hotel—so, super convenient!  We walked in to the lower level and were told just to sit anywhere.  We chose a table tucked away from the doors, since it was still quite windy outside!  We ordered two appetizers—shrimp cocktail, and calamari.  For dinner, I got the salmon with seaweed salad and vegetables.  Aaron got a yearly special that’s only available three weeks out of the year.  It was a Norwegian fish (skrete or something), so he was tapping into his Norwegian roots!  (Having a background of Norwegian and Native American ancestors means he has a few weird things attributed to his ancestry!) His frisse salad was too dressed, but the fish and peas were very very good!  I ordered a Boston Cream Pie for dessert take-out. 

We headed back up to our room and got in comfy clothes to watch the SuperCross race.  We caught the tail end of a NASCAR race (one of the lower classes of NASCAR—not the main drivers).  The guy driving the Lilly Diabetes car won!  We were thrilled (as Type One parents usually are about this kind of thing since it means more awareness for Type One!)  We researched the driver and found out that he was diagnosed with Type One Diabetes six years earlier, when he was beginning his racing career.  He was told he wouldn’t be able to continue to race, so he designed a mechanism to allow himself to have two drink straws in his helmet—one for water (as is common) and one for juice (in case he goes low). His CGM sits on his dashboard where he can see it, and his Crew Chief also keeps tabs of what the CGM says, and it’s his Crew Chief who will give him an injection of insulin if needed, during pit stops. We thought this was so cool!  He didn’t let labels defy him and ruin his dream.  He persevered and developed a plan to keep racing. 

After this race, the SuperCross race came on and Aaron ordered his room service—Ben and Jerry’s ice cream.  I pulled my dessert out from the mini fridge, and we enjoyed dessert while watching the race.

In the morning, we used our other set of breakfast vouchers and I got French toast again!  Aaron also got French toast, and a side order of biscuits and gravy.  We packed up our room, settled our bill, got our car back from valet parking, and headed home.  On a Sunday morning leaving Atlanta, there were hardly any cars to be seen!  We made good time getting home, picked up our boys, and were home in plenty of time for our new washer and dryer to be delivered and installed! 

That weekend was such a treat and a blessing to us!  We came home refreshed and ready to tackle the obstacles before us – ie, daily occurrences of being parents to two little boys, one of which has an incurable illness.  We are very thankful for the family we have who are able to watch our children (and pets) for two nights so we can have a mini-getaway.

Until Next Time
Much love, Reba

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