I have spent the time since we got back and sent the girls' back to school on the 23rd trying to recover from "car lag" and getting unpacked and the house back in order. I have finally gotten there YAY! I will say this, I learned several things this time around. I LOVE our vacations; but this was the first one I ever did just me and my girlies. This was the first road trip I have ever undertaken by myself. We are so lucky to have my sweet DH on our road adventures as he is in his element on long drives. Plus he can drive really late at night and I can't. So I went and got the car on Friday at Noon.....A sweet slate colored 2009 Impala which we dubbed "The Bullet". This baby had some serious get up and go. It was a nice ride and the kids' wanted me to keep it ( I will admit I wanted to keep it too). We had everything packed and stacked in Busy Body's room ready to go in the car. This also included two plastic storage totes full of food. The idea was to avoid over spending by eating out only at lunches which is usually the cheapest meal to eat out. This worked out really well as the great deal hotel DH researched and got for us had a kitchenette in it. So after the girls' got home that afternoon I took two Benyadrl and hit the hay at 4pm. I got up at 2am, we loaded the ice chest with cold stuff, and put sleeping kids' in the car and off we went. My sweet friend Lisa lent us her family's GPS that they have dubbed "Doris"(we LOVED Doris she was such a blessing) who made our trip so much more safe and easy. We hit the road at exactly 3am after stopping for gas and ice. We drove until 9am when we reached Beaumont and stopped for a quick breakfast at Mickey D's. We stopped again for lunch at 1pm at Chik Fil-A. We hit the road again and the bathroom breaks with four girls' we SUPER plentiful. I decided we would eat dinner in the car using a drive thru so at about 7:30pm we had Arby's. We realized in passing a bank clock at 10:30pm on the car's clock that we had changed time zones.....It totally slipped my mind. So we called the hotel and they agreed to hold our room till 1am which made the night shift guy end up waiting an extra hour for us (they were really great to us more than just this instance too). We pulled into the parking lot of the hotel at exactly 12:59am WHEW. We got into our room and the hotel got two other sales by waiting on us. We unloaded the ice chest, our suitcases, and the food.....All this woke Busy Body to the point that the only way she would go back to sleep was in KK's arms in the overstuffed easy chair. We got about 3 hours sleep then we had breakfast. The first day was going to be the only day Six Flags was supposed to be open while we were on vacation so that was the plan for the day. Bad weather moved in so we needed a new plan. A call home to Dad who did some Internet research for us and we got the address to plug into Doris for the nearest Wal-Mart (to grab coloring books) and to find the nearest Chuck E. Cheese (which only KK had ever been to one before). The great thing about the bad weather was unless I was playing a game with them I could sit at the table and they could just have fun at a leisurely pace. After that we grabbed coloring books and some hamburger meat for dinner and headed to the room. We made dinner, ate, took baths, and watched a movie (YAY that Mom remembered the portable DVD player and DVD's). We got a much better night's sleep since we changed rooms to a double bed room on the ground floor (Busy Body didn't understand there were people under the floor,, so I didn't want to disturb anyone else...This was a free upgrade as well). Up to breakfast again in the room and then we were off to the Inside CNN tour which we all weren't sure if we would enjoy or not. It was actually very interesting....We got to see the green screen weather process as well as watch the control room behind the scenes. We had lunch there in their food court, value menu at Wendy's WOO HOO. Then we walked only a few blocks up and hit the World Of Coca-Cola tour which we all thought was AWESOME!!!! We got to watch a 4D movie with seats that moved, misted you, and blew air up under your feet. The middle girls' had their picture taken with the Coca-Cola Bear. We saw an animated short film of what happens inside a coke machine when you put your money in. Plus we all got a bottle of Coke to take home. It was really getting late by the time we got done so we hit Steak and Shake for dinner. Tuesday we hit the High Art Museum to see the moving exhibition from the Louvre and some of China's Terra Cotta Warriors. We loved the Modern Art section the best, as there was a whole room of art done by a local area preacher. We left there and were done by lunch time and hit the Teryaki Experience for some yummy Chinese. Then we had the whole afternoon left wide open so we looked up area parks on Doris and hit Piedmont Park. This park was HUGE!!!! The girls' loved it and ran out some more energy. We went back to the room, watched another movie, and had Spaghetti for dinner. Wednesday was forecasted to be beautiful so we hit the Atlanta Zoo. Everyone was super jazzed to see the Pandas....They had a six month old cub. We had lunch at the Zoo, finished soon after lunch time, hit Wal-Mart for ice cream, had sundaes in the room, Shells and Cheese for dinner, and played Battleship. We all took our showers and hit the hay early. Thursday, we went to the Fernbank Natural History Museum to see their exhibits on dinosaurs. There were some great interactive areas for the kids' and they loved being able to run and go. We had lunch at Mickey D's and returned to Piedmont Park. I was able to lay on the grass on a beach towel and finish my week's bible study on Esther, it was so nice. We went back to the room, watched a movie, and had Lasagna for dinner. Friday, we went to the Atlanta Aquarium (which everyone but Busy Body voted as their favorite stop on the trip, she voted for the Zoo). We finished there by lunch time and hit the Spaghetti Factory for lunch (they have the most incredible crab and three cheese stuffed ravioli, YUMMO). We went back to the room, I did laundry, packed the car except for our clothes and our snack bag of food. I took a nice hot shower and went to bed early....Thank God for a responsible KK or I wouldn't have been able to do this trip. I got up at 4am, got the last minute odds and ends gathered, had some yogurt, made some coffee for the road, and got the kids in the car. We hit the road at exactly 5am. I decided for the trip home (the trip there took roughly 21 hours with all the stops) we would be rationing liquid intake for everyone but Busy Body. Plus we only hit the drive thru's to eat lunch ( Burger King) and dinner (Mickey D's). We had dry cereal and cinnamon bread(thanks Lisa we LOVE that bread) for breakfast in the car. The route Doris gave us to take home was completely different than the trip there, as well as a route I had never been on in my trips home to that direction. It was wonderful.....We avoided Houston (which I HATE to drive through), Dallas/Fort Worth, and Austin. We made the trip home in about 16 hours and hit the door at 10:30pm our time. We only unloaded the ice chest then we all happily dived into our beds and passed out. The next morning we headed out to Fiesta Texas with a friend of KK's joining us. The weather was SUPER, we rode every ride we wanted to, left the park right at closing, and I even got in my free Red Robin birthday burger coupon for dinner. We were home and in bed by 11pm, I slept so hard that night...I was worn slap out. The next day I ran some errands and returned my lovely Impala and we started working on getting back to our version of normal. I uploaded and edited 160 something photos as well as two videos.....Boy was that an undertaking. It was a jam packed trip full of memories that will last me a lifetime. I see so much how each of my girls' won't be at the stage they are this time next year, it is bittersweet. My girls' are not good long distance car riders as a general rule, but it amazed me that except for a few meltdowns we accomplished this trip just fine. We got to do the mother/daughter's thing and we laughed, were silly, and conquered the big city of Atlanta. It was wonderful to know I could handle such a big trip and have some much fun out of my element. But next year it is Daddy accompanying us or we are just going camping though ;) ;)
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