My Mom-cation in Atlanta

Way back in November, one of my very best friends (who happens to live out of state) asked what I wanted for my birthday.  I explained that it would be fun to just take a trip together.  I’d love to just hangout together!

And so, we scoured over airfares and researched travel destinations that would be warmer than Wisconsin and easier for us both to reach with a direct flight.

Atlanta was the perfect destination for our mom-cation. Yes, mom-cations are a thing, and science even proves that we need them, just read It’s science: Girls weekends boost mental health.

Day 1: Ponce City Market + Spa Time

Upon arrival, we met up in the airport and grabbed our very first Lyft ride to Ponce City Market.

Ponce City Market

Ponce City Market – possibly the coolest food hall of all time.

This place was amazing!!  We stopped at the French bakery for croissants and cappuccino before having to catch another Lyft to our pedicure appointments.

French Bakery and donut from Ponce City Market Go Mama O.

Almost too pretty to eat.  Almost… The donut came from another food stall at Ponce City Market.

Day 2: National Center for Civil & Human Rights

During the month of February, Black History Month, the Civil & Human Rights Museum had free admission, so it was no surprise that it was a popular destination on Saturday morning.

Civil and Human Rights Museum

We had a long, but worthwhile wait for this museum

spring flowers in Atlanta

So excited to see FLOWERS and grass in February (unlike Wisconsin)

The museum in a word is POWERFUL.

They have a lunch counter simulation where you sit in a row with other museum-goers, put on headphones, and hear the taunting and feel your seat jerk (being kicked) to give you a small taste of what protesters experienced.

I cannot even begin to imagine what that was like.

They had signs that listed the Jim Crow laws of each state that seem so ridiculous to read.  Sadly, this was not that long ago.  And we still have a long ways to go to achieve equality for all.

While the main floor looks at the civil rights movements in the U.S., the top floor looks at human rights issues happening all across the world: women’s rights, human trafficking, LGBTQ rights, rights of the disabled, workers rights…and more.  As a country and as an entire world, there is work still to be done.

Let’s all help the change.

Here’s the waterfall sculpture outside of the museum.  I especially love the Margaret Mead quote.

Day 3: Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Park

The next morning, we wanted to walk to a dinner in the historic Martin Luther King Jr. neighborhood.  The walk from our Air BnB was a bit longer than expected…and not as enjoyable as it was slightly drizzling at the time.  Nevertheless, we carried on.

Unfortunately, our restaurant of choice was closed, so we googled other nearby dining establishments, ending up at the Thumbs Up Diner.

Mama O at Thumbs Up Cafe

Mama O. outside of Thumbs Up Diner.

Cathy and BFF in Atlanta.jpg

Mama O. and her BFF at breakfast. The diner had really fun paintings.  It was hopping! 

After filling our bellies with a big breakfast, we explored the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Park.

MLK National Historic Site

We started in the visitor center that gave more in-depth timelines about MLK Jr.’s and Coretta Scott King’s lives.  Another exhibit talked about Mahatma Gandhi’s life, which served as an inspiration for Martin Luther King Jr.

Not far from the visitor center was his birth home. Apparently reservations to tour the home go very fast and early in the morning, so we were only able to look at the exterior and pictures of the interior at the adjacent building and gift shop.

Martin Luther King Jr Birthplace.jpg

MLK Jr. was born here. 

Day 4: More Great Food and the Beltline

Our last day in Atlanta we enjoyed another hearty breakfast before having to catch our flights back home.

yummy breakfast

French toast and fried chicken on a biscuit

The sun was shining and we had some extra time, so we started to walk around the neighborhood, finding the Atlanta BeltLine. It really was a cool walking path, busy with walkers, bikers of all ages. There are many murals adorning the bridge underpasses and walls. I really liked the donut and witch with a cat murals.

Ironically, the beltline path led us back to our favorite stop: Ponce City Market, where we grabbed a yummy smoothie as a snack – a preferred alternative to airport food.

All in all, I have to say that Atlanta was a pretty cool city!  I loved the chance to getaway from frigid Wisconsin in February for a mom cation with one of my very best friends.

Atlanta skyline

Atlanta skyline

Atlanta, I’ll see you another time! Cheers!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Old Faithful Fly on the Wall

Welcome to a Fly on the Wall group post. Today 7 bloggers are inviting you to catch a Fly on the Wall Postglimpse of what you’d see if you were a fly on the wall in our homes. Come on in and buzz around my house.

Buzz around, see what you think, then click on these links for a peek into some other homes:

Baking In A Tornado                  https://www.BakingInATornado.com

Never Ever Give Up Hope             https://batteredhope.blogspot.com

Menopausal Mother                     https://www.menopausalmom.com/

Spatulas on Parade                     https://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com

The Crazy Mama Llama                     https://www.thecrazymamallama.com/

Follow Me Home                        https://followmehome.shellybean.com

Here’s who you’ll be hearing from in my house:

  • Me, Mama O.
  • Daddy O.
  • Big Sister, age 9
  • Little Brother, age 7

Since I have been writing these blog posts since 2014, I have my own Fly Post Page.  Check it out if you want to hear more craziness from my house.

Playing Trivia with the Kids

We have this game called Beat the Parents, a trivia game where kids take on parents (obviously).  Daddy O. and I faced Big Sister, Little Brother, and their two cousins, ages 10 and 7, so we really had a good game going.

My 10 year old nephew was surprised as we talked about shots that happen at Starbucks, “What they put shots in your coffee?”  Not those kind of shots (at the doctor’s office or of the alcoholic variety)…but espresso shots!

Big Sister called out “world ball” during one answer.

“You mean a globe?” I suggested.  Yeah – that.

I asked, “What is Old Faithful?”

Little Brother shouted out, “a priest.”

Another little voice yelled, “a dog.”

Nice try…

Another question that stumped the kids, “What are blue jeans made of?”

They decided that silk was the best answer.  I guess we don’t talk about denim much. This is a really really fun game that we love playing.  Check it out if you haven’t before.

Tooth Fairy Questions

Big Sister’s tooth broke in half, so she wondered, “What does the tooth fairy do with broken teeth? Does it count as two teeth?”  Nice try…

Cold Days Call for Baking & Bundling Up

Wisconsin has had an awful winter – lots of snow and extreme cold, called a polar vortex. The kids and I decided to bake muffins on one of our snow days.

Big Sister guided me, saying, “The muffins should be golden, round, and bumpy.”

Can you tell that we watch baking shows?

On one of many horribly frigid days, I found myself sporting a fleece bathrobe over a hoodie and sweatpants.  I may have even had my hood up because I simply felt chilled to the bone.

I turned to Daddy O. and said, “Wow, this is what you married! Pretty hot, right?!”

Still Loves his Mama

We were talking about school, and Little Brother was being a little grumpy about it.  As we talked more, he shared, “I get lonely when I’m at school.  I miss you, Mama.”

This was so sweet.  I try to volunteer at his school during library time, and he really doesn’t even acknowledge me much, but he did admit that he wants me there.  I’ll take it!

Now shoo, Fly!  Go check out those other fun bloggers!

 

 

 

 

12 Days of Christmas – Sweet Memories

We took down our Christmas tree today.  I didn’t realize until today that it lasted all 12 days of Christmas.

Our real Fraser Fir was nick named Mr. FFR (fluffy, Fraser) by my kids, and yes, we name our trees.  It’s a thing…maybe just our thing? Anyway, Mr. FFR really lasted a long time.  Sure the needles were falling, but he really looked full and beautiful adorned with lights and ornaments until the very end.

Just look:

mr ffr 2018

Our tree in 2018

Every Christmas Tree Tells a Story

I couldn’t help but feel a little sentimental taking down the tree with so many stories behind the decorations on our tree year after year.  Our grandparents and parents gave us so many beautiful ornaments from little on, and some of them have become our daughter’s favorites. My dad handmade wooden sled ornaments years ago.  My mom made both the angel that tops our tree and the tree skirt at the bottom.

cat-by-christmas-tree

Big Sumo Kitty loves sitting on the tree skirt my mom made.

Ornaments remind me of places we’ve lived or traveled – two more recent ones from the Grand Canyon and South Dakota.

There’s ornaments from Germany and Austria to remember my high school foreign exchange program and my semester abroad in Vienna. There’s a hang gliding Santa that my best friend gave me because I went paragliding in Switzerland.

One plastic orb holds freeze dried flowers from my wedding bouquet.

Another high heel ornament reminds me of our favorite girls’ nights with my sister, cousin and aunt.

Each one of us have ornaments from the year we were born – mine and Daddy O’s looking a little more well-loved than our kids’ numerous baby ornaments.

This tree is our life as a family.  It’s adorned with a whole lot of love through many years.

And then there’s  the ornaments and gifts that our kids have made.  Each year more ornament crafts make their way from backpacks and onto our tree.  Today, I have to confess, that some of the ones in bad shape (sticker, foam type) went in the garbage! Many, however, are part of our annual holiday decor.

christmas crafts from kids go mama o

Most recent craft – top left: hand print trees, reindeer painting (2018, Little Brother), reindeer flower pot (2017 Big Sister), hand print tree (Little Brother), ribbon tree (2017 Big Sister).

While most of these projects were made at school, I remember Big Sister making the reindeer flower pot craft in our basement inside of a patio furniture box that transformed into a “workshop / fort” for our her.  She had glue, paint, pipe cleaners and the flower pots all assembled in her work station down there.  In the end, she gave me, Daddy O. and her brother each a reindeer flower pot.  They turned out adorable, and we were proud of her for putting so much effort into these gifts.

The hand prints are getting bigger through the years, and I can’t help but wonder when they’ll stop doing these hand print crafts.  At seven and nine, my kiddos are growing up for sure, but still firmly believe in the magic of Christmas.  Big Sister wrote a letter to Santa for our elf Fred to deliver to him. Elf on the Shelf proved to be an amazing way to motivate the kids to get out of bed in the month of December. It was really fun and very sweet.

Here was a new event that Big Sister created at grandma and grandpa’s house this year:

jingle bell sing along

Big Sister’s first concert for family

What will next year hold for our family? How much longer will these sweet traditions last?  I can’t predict for sure.

And while some traditions fade away (and I may will be a little sad), I hope we’ll find a way to make new family traditions. Until that day comes, I’m just going to soak up and savor all of the sweetness and joy that this parenting gig can hold.

This is what I found on the back of Little Brother’s hand print craft:

thank you for being my mama

A sweet note just for me

 

 

Fly on the Wall: C’est la Vie

Welcome to a Fly on the Wall group post. Today 5 bloggers are inviting you to catch a Fly on the Wall Postglimpse of what you’d see if you were a fly on the wall in our homes. Come on in and buzz around my house.

Buzz around, see what you think, then click on these links for a peek into some other homes:

Here’s who you’ll be hearing from in my house:

  • Me, Mama O.
  • Daddy O.
  • Big Sister, age 9
  • Little Brother, age 7

Since I have been writing these blog posts since 2014, I have my own Fly Post Page.  Check it out if you want to hear more craziness from my house.

Mixed up Lyrics

One night at dinner, my kids were changing the words to “I like to Move it, Move it” song.

Mom, your song should be, “I like to talk it, talk it. I like to talk it, talk it.  I like to …. talk it!”

Dad, your song should be, “I like to snooze it, snooze it. I like to snooze it, snooze it. I like to … snooze it!”

Big sister’s is, “I like to read it, read it. I like to read it, read it. I like to … read it!”

Little brother’s is simply the song, being an active little boy that he is!

Little Brother’s Funny Sayings

Mom, can you do a rainbow load of laundry?

This sounded so sweet. I wash a lot of the bright colors together, but never thought of it as a rainbow load.  It almost makes doing laundry sound like fun…almost.

Mom: Hey, can you help me make breakfast?

Little Brother: No, I’m in Legoland.

in Lego land

Busy building away

Little Brother refers to his comforter on his bed as a confronter.

A few weeks ago I bought a chewable vitamin.  They were an unwelcome change from the gummy vitamins they replaced.

Kids' Multivitamin Bottle

The horror – chewable vitamins.

Little brother’s reaction: I have to eat 150 of them.

And later –

“The world is against me.”

Wow…just wow.

Serious Readers

My kids really enjoy reading.  Sometimes bookmarks can’t be found.  As in this case:

quality reading material

Sometimes you just use a tissue for a bookmark

This is an example of the quality material they read.

These Kids

During dinner Big Sister said, “C’est la Vie.”

Little Brother responded: La Vie

Yes…it does sound like, “Say la vie.”

Big, Big Sister

My little girl turned 9 this month. Daddy O. recently commented to me that our daughter is now halfway to 18.

YIKES!!

When I think about it that way, this parenting gig is going by way too fast!

Here’s a picture of her at her friend birthday party (they made unicorn crafts at Michael’s Craft Store).

Big Sister Unicorn

Big sister and her unicorn sleeping mask

She even wears more grown-up clothing.  I want to borrow these boots of hers.

boots

Are these girls boots available in my size?

Me and Daddy O.

One woman from church said to me, “My friend and I saw you and your family in church, and we think you look like teenagers.”

Hmm…well, we are well past that phase.  Daddy O. is almost 40.

Here’s a recent picture of our youthful selves.

Mama O and Daddy O Sept 2018

Now go check out these other Fly on the Wall Posts:

Baking in a Tornado

Menopausal Mother 

Never Ever Give Up Hope

Spatulas on Parade