Tag Archives: atlanta

Green Day: The Soundtrack of My Life

Nowadays you may not peg me as your typical Green Day fan; conservative, Christian, stay-at-home mom, but I like to think I was one of the originals.  They have been with me over the last 20+ years and as I titled this post, really can provide the soundtrack of my life.

It started when I was 12.  The release of Dookie was life changing (as many things are to a 12-year old.)  It was one of the first CDs I purchased and immediately fell in love.  Found a place of my own, someone who understood me.  I had my dad, a huge music fan, drive me around to a bunch of Circuit City stores in the Philadelphia area (his preferred choice of venue for CD purchasing) until I found their first 2 albums.  I was hooked and had to have everything I could.


Next big memory of Green Day was Woodstock 1994.  My dad purchased the whole weekend via Pay-per-view, and I remember sitting in his basement with some friends at 13 years old watching the now infamous mud fight, just yearning to see them in concert.  I would profess my love to Billie Joe in poems (something to the extent of you’re only 9 years older than me, I know this can work someday.  And “Only of You” was written for me, right?!)  Again, I was young, searching for my meaning in life.  Seems silly now, but still a part of the bigger picture!  I even found these poems but am still way to embarrassed to share!

I finally got my chance in 1998 to see them live, then living in Washington, DC area, when some friends and I attended HFStival.  First time crowd-surfing, I made my way to the front to profess my love for front man Billie Joe Armstrong.  We had a connection, I just knew it!  Here is a pic from one of the many music festivals attended while in High School – complete with our mascot – Beagan (long story!)

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Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) was my high school graduation song, Class of 1999.  An emotional time in anyone’s life.  A song also chosen, 8 years later, to play at the final song at our wedding reception.

In 2005, I meet Steven.  Also a fellow music lover.  We soon came to realize that while I was 13 years old playing Green Day in my room in the Philly suburbs, he was attending college in Philly attending lots of concerts.  Many of which my father, in looking back at ticket stubs, was also in attendance.  Such a small world – would have been weird if we had met back then – but higher powers brought us back together in Atlanta in 2005.  After dating just a few short months, he surprised me to tickets to see Green Day live at Phillips Arena in Atlanta for the American Idiot tour.  This event marked two big milestones for us, our first picture together (see below) and the first time we professed our love for each other (awww!)


9 years later, we find out we are moving to Cleveland, OH aka home of Rock n Roll, coincidence?  I’m beginning to think not.  Steven had already moved, and I came up kid-free to house-hunt one weekend, and was surprised with tickets to see American Idiot at Playhouse Square to celebrate our 7th anniversary.  On Facebook I proclaimed it the “Best Anniversary Present Ever.”


I spoke too soon.  This year, our new hometown of Cleveland, OH is hosting the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Rock Week.   And guess who is to be inducted?  Pretty obvious, huh?  On their first year of eligibility, Green Day was nominated and chosen to be inducted!!  And my amazing husband managed to score us tickets to this exclusive event!!

We kicked off Rock Week with Celebration Day.  The Rock Hall (I’m a local and can now call it this!) opened it doors to the public and hosted an array of activities and events.  We had a blast!  This week also contained lots of local music events.  Unfortunately we didn’t get to attend any of those, the only one really of interest to me was the exclusive show that Green Day put on at the House of Blues.  But thanks to social media, I was able to see lots of pics and even catch some of it streaming live.  Would have been awesome to be there (and believe me I tried!), but I have Saturday to look forward to and that is going to be amazing!!

So thanks for reading – follow-up post to come from this Saturday’s events!  Congrats to Green Day – well deserved!  And Happy 8th Anniversary to my husband.  You Rock!



Filed under Calling, Celebrations

Book Review: Scarlett Says by Julie L. Cannon

Scarlett Says
By Julie L. Cannon
Provided free through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Released 4/1/14

Rating: 4 bones

Finish Time: 6 nights.  I tried to have this review ready for debut day (2 days ago), just didn’t happen.  Also another book where my opinion changed over time.  Actually more as I neared the end of this book.  The beginning was sad and depressing and my original review was going to start out “I think I got diabetes just reading this book.”  But it was all part of the lead up to a super sweet, almost had me in tears, ending.


The book follows Joan Marie Meeler.  Resident of Atlanta, Daughter of an Atlanta socialite, social outcast, food lover, and huge Gone With the Wind(GWTW) fan, the book follows her through a very low point in her life, to, well I don’t want to spoil, but as I mentioned above, it has a happy ending.


Joan keeps a blog titled “Scarlett Says” which addresses topics throughout GWTW (the book and movie) and puts a current spin on them.  A few are typed out in the book, with many other mentioned that I would have loved to read.  She gets bolder as her followers increase and takes on more and more controversy.  Joan really looks up to Scarlett O’Hara as a role model, but as she dives into topics realizes she is far from perfect and must make the distinction between fiction and reality. She has her “regulars” and her interactions with them and feelings towards them are quite amusing and escalate over time.   As a blogger, I can’t help but feel proud of her for increasing her readership by almost 10 fold over the course of the book!

Through Siggy, her friend from work, her fluffy white cat, Dandelion, and a few other colorful characters, Joan really comes into her own over the course of this book.  It took a turn I wasn’t expecting when Joan, unlike her, on a whim, attended church with Siggy.  It was quite humorous and uncomfortable at the same time, but also started Joan exploring God, and well I don’t want to spoil…but after I read I guess this book does fall into Christian fiction!

I enjoyed the references to Atlanta as it is where I currently reside and when I first moved here I spent many years right around where Joan lived and worked.  We even looked into renting out Margaret Mitchell’s house for our wedding reception!


The mention of diabetes above is that Joan describes herself as a “generous” woman, and I guess the author wanted to really drive in her appetite by outlining just how much (and terribly) she ate.  From pans of Pillsbury sweet buns, to her large orders at Krispy Kreme, Krystal and McDonalds, it had my stomach turning at times.  But throughout the book, food became less of a crutch, which was good for both her and the reader!

Overall a really sweet book.  Joan grows in all definitions of the word.  She tackles past demons, and becomes a very admirable, confident woman.  Read the description below, I could go on as I really did enjoy this book and there were so many great moments, but check it out for yourself.  It’s a good one!

From Amazon:

For 30-year-old literature lover Joan Meeler, there is no heroine so admirable as Gone With the Wind’s Scarlett O’Hara. Joan, with her quiet nature and love of good food, falls shockingly short of Scarlett’s outspoken passion, strength, and 17-inch waist. Yet as the secret hostess of an advice blog called Scarlett Says, she discovers she’s quite adept at dispensing advice in Scarlett’s devil-may-care tone.

Joan is happy to live vicariously . . . until she meets Charles, a Christian and faithful Scarlett Says reader, who suddenly has Joan dreaming of something more. Since Scarlett has never let her down, Joan digs deeper and deeper into her heroine’s mind, searching for something to calm her rising insecurities. But her search falls short, and Joan realizes that she must look within herself—and to God—to uncover the inner confidence she never knew she possessed.

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We won’t move without You

“God Walks With You”
Isaiah 43:2

It’s been awhile, I apologize.  It’s been one of those times, where a prayer has been answered, just maybe not (or really not) what we expected (wanted).  It’s taking time to adjust, and while I’ve felt close to God, it’s been a lot of “Really, God?”, and just pleading to open my heart to acceptance, surrender, and faith.

We are moving from Atlanta, GA to Cleveland, OH.  I had started a post, and hope to find some time during this hectic time, to list out some of the positives.  It will be good, and my attitude is probably 99% of that.  But it will be hard.  To leave family, friends, our church, our preschool, our neighbors, the amazing network we have worked to build for us and our kids.  And while I have and will cry many tears for that, I feel God keeps placing on my heart that He is what matters, He will provide, and He will not abandon us.

“We won’t move without You”

Lyrics sung tonight by Jay & Abby Akins (two people high on our list of who we will miss) at Evergreen Church, that hit right to my heart.  We may be physically moving, but we won’t be leaving God behind.  He will guide us there, He will be with us every step of the way, and He will never leave.  I need to be comforted in this, I am, but during such an emotional time, it’s hard.

When you pass through the waters, I will be with you;
And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you.
When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned,
Nor shall the flame scorch you.
Isaiah 43:2

More to come, but tonight, I wanted to share with you the aforementioned song (take a listen below) that I’m singing and meditating on this evening.  You will lead us, we will follow, and we will always cry out that You are the LORD OUR GOD!  Amen!

The Lord Our God
Kristian Stanfill/Passion

Promise maker, promise keeper
You finish what you begin
Our provision through the desert
You see it through ’til the end
You see it through ’til the end

The Lord out God is ever faithful
Never changing through the ages
From this darkness You will lead us
And forever we will say
You’re the Lord our God

In the silence, in the waiting
Still we can know You are good
All Your plans are for Your glory
Yes, we can know You are good
Yes, we can know You are good


We won’t move without You
We won’t move without You
You’re the light of all and all that we need


And forever we will say
You’re the Lord our God

The Lord our God (x2)


Filed under Calling

Fun afternoon at the #AtlantaBoatShow


Big thanks to The Uncoordinated Mommy for her review of the Atlanta Boat Show and the chance to win tickets.  I found her blog through Atlanta’s Frugal Mom blog (another new favorite) just yesterday and she had a quick contest and I’m happy to report I won!  So lucky for you – you can check out my review – along with hers here.  I never would have known there were so many things to do – so a great way to spend a wet weekend!  (Which actually turned out pretty nice and 60 by the afternoon!)

ATL-suaYou may remember, or if you are newer, be sure to check this out, my review of the Atlanta Camping & RV show.  We had a blast there.  While we actually may be in the market for an RV in the next few years, a boat is probably not on a list (we’ll stick to enjoying our friends – like this super fun one in AR).  My husband will be the first to tell you that our family is not “a sea-fairing folk!”  But its still fun to see how much you can customize a boat and see some other fun things too!


A view from one of the boats of the massive showroom of boats.  As the kids pointed out, big boats, little boats, fast boats, slow boats, party boats, you name it – they had it.  Our little princess especially liked the “glitter boats”, of which there were a ton!

Ofcourse, like any show there were tons of giveaways.  In my efforts to reduce clutter, we were actually very good and walked away with only a towel, keychain, and picture (at top) from the Progressive booth (which was huge since they were the sponsor!)  They also had a few little games, like throwing fish in bigger fishes mouths, for the kids which was fun!


We actually only set foot on one boat I believe.  There were lines wrapped around several of the larger boats (like the one pictured above with me and LM in front of.)  While it would have been nice to see how the rich and famous boat, we weren’t interested in waiting in line.

The only thing we waited for was our opportunity to trout fish.  They had little fishing poles and the kids attempted to fish in the middle of the boat showroom.  On a tip from the blog we won tickets from, I asked for a new brightly colored bait (not a fisher – so don’t mind my lack of knowledge of fishing terms!), and sure enough, me and my LM caught a fish!  Lucky for me, it’s catch and release, but it was fun for everyone to see!  As I was busy reeling it in (ok – I was just holding the poll looking for help!), I wasn’t able to snap a pic, so you’ll just have to take my word for it!

And what seemed to be the most popular of all was the Swampmaster Gator Show.  Seriously people we saving their spots an hour before show time.  We decided to grab a bite to eat first (which while there were some nice choices of food – it was far from affordable) and take our chances on seeing.  But lucky for us, we gave the kids “head-rides” and they could see just fine.  The guy was absolutely crazy tackling a wild alligator, but it was amusing and everyone seemed to enjoy.  I was really glad to hear and actually read before going, that they only use the alligators for 5 days and then they are released into the wild.  And as I promised the kids over the last day, at the end the baby alligator was revealed.  Unfortunately the line to see and hold and take pictures with him was way too long and we were ready to leave at that point, so no pictures to share of that.  But here are a few from the show:


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Overall, so much to see, kept the kids and us entertained.  A few more highlights included were the fish tanks (pictured below), a random mermaid (I guess promoting one of the boat companies?), floating chairs (LL liked!), tons of bars, a few more kids activities (face painting, balloon animals, sand necklaces), demonstrations, contests, and I’m sure more that we didn’t even catch.

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Crazy traffic, between the boat show and Monster Jam next door (possibly on the agenda for the kids in the future as it looks like a few of our friends went and had a blast!), but fun afternoon evening, and a great view of ATL after dark.  Thanks for stopping by!



Filed under Celebrations, Children

Garden Lights, Holiday Nights

We kicked off the Christmas season at the Member Premiere night at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens this past Thursday night!  See details of our last visit here – so much fun – we joined the “elite” group of members!  For my mom’s (aka Grandma’s) birthday, the kids and I surprised her with an early dinner at Loca Luna, and one of the very first walks through the garden this holiday season!  (And got to cross off an item on my Christmas Bucket List!)

This is the third year of the Garden Lights, Holiday Nights, and seems to be improving with time.  Last time we went was in November of 2011, right before our LM was born (see my big belly below).  I think it may have opened earlier then (as you can see many of the pictures are still in daytime!), but this year – it was all dark, which made it all the more magical!

Here is a peak at the layout of the garden and a few fun things going on that night.  I believe there are more events going on throughout the season too – check those out on their webpage.  But the carolers were great to put Christmas songs in their air and really get you in the spirit.  The ice carver had a large crowd around him as he chainsawed a train.  And the kids (not ours this year) could make s’mores over an open fire and make crafts in the Orchid Center.  I packed the kids a “cleaner” version of s’mores – graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate chips – in a bag!

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It wasn’t too crowded and we really enjoyed strolling along all the different paths throughout the garden and inside the buildings.  It’s a lot of walking, and while the kids wanted to walk themselves some, the double stroller definitely came in handy!

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LL was a bit disappointed that many of the topiaries from our last visit were taken down – but they kept the snakes and the Garden Goddess – which were very pretty!  (I think some of the snake’s lights are out here though!)

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A definite favorite of the kids was the dancing lights.  Here is a glimpse of them dancing to the “snoopy song!”  These as mesmorizing and a lot of fun!


The indoor areas were a lot of fun to walk through too, especially the Radiant Rainforest.  I didn’t get any  pictures there except this one with Grandma in front of the big Poinsettia Tree.


We ended our visit with a trip to the model train display.  This was fun for the kids to watch.  This, and the ride-on train coming soon, may warrant another day visit.  With LM’s train birthday coming up – I want him to be super excited!

Here are a few more pictures:

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And I’ll leave you with this quote etched above the outdoor fireplace.

Not what we have, but what we enjoy constitutes our abundance.


Thanks for stopping by – check out the Atlanta Botanical Gardens – Garden Lights, Holiday Nights – you won’t be disappointed!  (And I hope Grandma had a fun birthday – Happy Birthday Mom!)


Filed under Celebrations, Children

Christmas in Atlanta Bucket List


I love Christmas time.  Maybe even more than fall, so that’s a lot for me if you saw all my posts from this fall.

There are so many amazing and fun things to do to get in the Christmas spirit (I guess you can say holiday, but no filters here – I’m a Christian and I celebrate the birth of my LORD and SAVIOR this time of year!)


I started thinking about the realistic things we will check off our list this year, but also thought I would add a few more either because we have gone in the past, or may in the future (as kids get older, or just to spread out the fun!)

New this year in Atlanta, and top of my list is the Global Winter Wonderland at Turner Field.  This opens November 21st – January 5th from 5pm-11pm daily, and is $24.99 for adult tickets, $16.99 for kids, and best deal for us this year, kids 4 & under are FREE!  It appears they have made many of the world’s most well-known landmarks into light displays (some up to 7 stories high according to the video!) in the Global Village.  Also traditional Christmas light displays, a dinosaur maze, carnival rides, daily entertainment (including Christian artist Aaron Shust one night!), meet & greet with Santa, and more to be announced!  Wow – I really can’t wait.  Review definitely to come – stay tuned!

Stone Mountain Christmas – I keep saying I want to go here, for all seasons.  I’ve already missed the Pumpkin Festival and the Yellow Daisy festival – so maybe we’ll make it for Christmas!  So much to do including (but not limited to); shows, parades, 4D theater, shopping, characters, Santa, and every night there is a snowfall and fireworks!  All of this in addition to their usual activities (which is a ton!)  I haven’t been in a good number of years, so maybe it’s time for a return trip and this sounds like a pretty good time of year to go!

Macy’s Pink Pig at Macy’s Lenox Sqaure – An Atlanta tradition (so I’ve been told).  Have yet to go – but the kids seem good ages to maybe check this out.

For more than 50 years, Atlantans have started their holiday traditions by riding the Macy’s Pink Pig. Kids of all ages are now invited to ride the Macy’s Pink Pig train on top of the Lenox Square Mall. Atlanta’s most unique and beloved holiday tradition rides beneath the signature 170-foot, 1950’s themed Pink Pig Tent.Since 1953, Macy’s Pink Pig has been delighting generations of Atlantans. Come ride Priscilla the Pink Pig on train tracks through a life-sized storybook featuring Priscilla and her friends. Tickets are available at the Macy’s Pink Pig kiosk inside the East mall entrance at Lenox Square. A portion of the ride’s proceeds will benefit Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

Atlanta Botanical Gardens Lights, Holiday Nights.  We just joined the garden (see our last visit here!), and while this is not included in our membership, we do get a discount, and we can’t wait to go back!  Last time we checked this out was actually it’s first year, and the weekend before our LM was born!  Beautiful lights adorn all the gardens.  There is also a Holiday Model Train Show (LM will like this!)  Also during the day throughout the season there are many kids activities (including a ride-on train) that sound great too!garden_lights_storza_by_joey_ivansco_1

Callaway Gardens – Fantasy in Lights.  Another great holiday light display.  I took LL last year with some family for a ride on the “Jolly Trolley”.  You can also drive your own car through, but for little ones the trolley is a nice way to make sure they can see everything.  Be sure to bundle up though, and hang on, it can get cold and bumpy, but its beautiful (especially by the lake) and we loved it!  There is also a big indoor and outdoor area to shop, eat, drink, and meet St. Nick.  Will definitely go back, probably not this year with everything else we want to check out – but maybe next, and definitely recommend.  Also they had a Groupon – keep your eye out for another if you’re planning going to save some $$!

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Magical Nights of Lights at Lake Lanier Islands – I’ll list this as a “someday” activity.  We are not very close to Lake Lanier, but I would love to go up there once the kids are older.  This sounds like another great light display.  Anyone been?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!  Looks like they have ice skating, a live nativity, Santa, and carnival rides.

A few honorable mentions:
Holiday in Lights at Centennial Olympic Park (maybe even check out SkyView?)
Lights at Life University (Marietta)
Season of Magic (Piedmont Park)
Gift of Lights at Atlanta Motor Speedway

I’m sure I’m missing a million other things, but thought I would share our Christmas bucket list.  Updates to come throughout the season!  What’s on yours?

Merry Christmas Season – bless you and your family this special time of year, and may you keep in the front of your hearts and mind the TRUE meaning.  Amen and have fun!



Filed under Calling, Celebrations, Children

Look to the Sky!

I believe I have mentioned how much I enjoy Fall!!??  These last two weekend did not disappoint.  My mom (Grandma/Grann) and I headed up to downtown Atlanta last weekend to take the kids to Disney on Ice’s “Let’s Celebrate” and afterwards we headed to picnic in Centennial Olympic Park, right underneath the new SkyView Atlanta.

skyviewI guess Atlanta needed one of these?  To put them in lines with London and whoever else.  Although it was randomly erected in the parking lot of a music venue downtown across from Centennial Olympic Park.  Great views south and west of the city, not much of a view north or east.  And not cheap (see here!)  Thanks to Grann, we took a trip and it was quite enjoyable, but definitely a one-time thing.  It said we would get 4 rotations, due to it not being too busy on a Friday AM, we scored an extra loop!  Nice enclosed compartments to fit up to 6 people, so the 4 of us were very comfortable.  All climate controlled as well, although the day we went it actually would have been nice to have it open-air!  I would maybe would go again at night, but we can check that Atlanta to-do off the list.  Check it out if you are in the area, but nothing to rush downtown right now to see!

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ggaslogoaIn keeping with the “looking up” theme, on Saturday (the 12th) we headed to Peachtree City for the Great Georgia Air Show.  Thanks to a Groupon, we scored a pretty good deal to get in, way below door prices.  It included parking (off-site with a school bus shuttle), 4 admissions (under 5 was free), a program, 4 hot-dogs, and 4 drinks.  We were able to take advantage of the first few, but my biggest complaint was they had 1 (ONE) tent to pick-up food, and when I inquired how long it took to get through, I was told 45 min!  No thank you.  Being the diligent consumer that I am, I did send them an email with “feedback”, not negative, but just an honest opinion of my experience, and they were very receptive and made it right – so kudos to their team on that!

Tons to do, very spread-out.  I think we only grazed the surface of all their was to see and do.  According to their website they offered hot air balloon rides, helicopter rides, Warbird rides, monster truck rides, a wind tunnel, rock climbing, simulators, a 4D Theater, and so much more.  Many activities geared towards the older kids, so definitely something we will revisit when kids are older.  And this year they offered a night show with fireworks that I was told was AMAZING, again something for maybe next year.  They offer many VIP packages as well, which may be worth it.  It was pretty warm for October, and all the seating was in the direct sun, so that could be nice!

Overall a great event in Peachtree City, GA and something that should be on everyone’s to-do list.  Bring chairs/blankets and prepare to stay awhile.  The show was so much fun to watch.  It didn’t hold the interest of the young kids as I hoped it would, but my husband pointed out they may just think that is normal from all the cartoons they see doing similar things!  Good point!

And while we’re on the topic – I can’t NOT (yes I know double negative!) post a few pictures from Disney on Ice.  Not exactly a Fall Fun outdoor activity, but fun nonetheless, and the kids really enjoyed.  A good preview to the real thing…someday (maybe next year!)  And a fun way for Disney to be brought to you & your city!

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Thanks for stopping by!  (Did I mention I love fall!

Other activities have been:
Pumpkin Patch
Atlanta Botanical Gardens
Carl Miller Park
Doggie Walks

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Filed under Celebrations, Children

Scarecrows, Ogres, and Shaggy Dogs!


What do all those have in common?  Why they are all fun things to view this fall at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens!  We packed a picnic and headed up there this past Sunday AM.  (Another item to add to our Fall Fun list!)  Right now, two fun events are going on, as it looks like they change seasonally.  (We checked out the Garden Lights a few years back and it did not disappoint!)

First is the Imaginary Worlds | Plants Larger Than Life.  This included:

“The sculptures – ranging up to 25 feet tall and 20 feet wide – include a gazing unicorn, a friendly ogre, a pair of gigantic cobras, a group of enchanting rabbits, and a couple of flighty butterflies. The largest piece, a 25-foot-tall representation of a goddess emerging from the earth, greets visitors in the Cascades Garden.”  (Description from website)

Here are some of our pictures.  The kids favorites were the Shaggy Dog and the bunnies (I think LL found 6!)

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Second was the annual Scarecrows in the Garden were various companies, organizations, and school from around Atlanta participate in constructing their own scarecrows.  These were SO fun to look at as they lined the trails throughout many parts of the garden. I just noticed a Scavenger hunt on their website – we’ll definitely have to print that one out for next year for the kids! Here are a few favorites: (the first was named BooBee for Breast Cancer Awareness – by far my favorite!)

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Another big highlight was the Children’s Garden.  A surprisingly large section of trails with a variety of activities for the little ones.  It included (but is not limited to); a treehouse, how a caterpillar turns into a butterfly, digging for dinosaur bones, a sunflower splash pad (we’ll have to go back in the summer to check this out!), a little house, a little cavern, and just lots of “little” places to crawl/walk/whatever through!  Definitely need to go back and spend some more time there!  And bonus this weekend, they had little stations set up where kids got the hands painted, made a hat, and went pumpkin bowling – extra fun!

After taking in all the kids could handle (and actually joining for only a little bit more plus free tickets to bring friends!), we walked right into Piedmont Park and set up to picnic.  Did I mention how pretty the weather was?  Then we went to the playground, which I was very impressed with, and then strolled around a little.  The AIDS walk was going on, so we walked over to the main green space to observe and dance to a great band playing some of our favorite songs (Moves Like Jagger, Don’t Stop Believin’…), before calling it a day.


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Kids both fell asleep on the way home, and we came home exhausted, but refreshed from a perfect Sunday morning together and outside!  The perfect way to celebrate God’s glory and rejoice in it!


On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate. Psalm 145:5


Filed under Calling, Celebrations, Children