May 7, 2012

Spring Break 2012 - Day 1 - The Long Road to Atlanta

This is our third major road trip with the boys.  The first was to Chattanooga, TN in 2010. Lincoln and Spencer were three and Jackson was just a milk drinking baby that was happy to be in a stroller.  That trip included A Day Out With Thomas, tons of other train activities, a river boat ride, the Tennessee Aquarium, a visit to Great Great Aunt Dutch and more.  That was before we discovered our love of lighthouses.  I would like to chronicle it one day, when I catch up with everything else.
Our second major road trip was last years Road Trip Endeavour.  We spent the night in 4 different states, explored 8 lighthousesKennedy Space Centerbeach timewater park, lots of fun restaurantsgo cartsNascarsHarleysGreat Great Aunt Dutch and more.
So, we're headed back to Daytona Beach with a two night layover in Atlanta.  Last year we had two layovers--Charlotte, NC and Savannah, GA.  I wanted to mix it up this year and try something new.  We've decided we like two nights versus short one night stays.  It gives you more of a chance to relax and get to know the city.  Our major plans for Atlanta are the Georgia Aquarium and the World of Coca-Cola.

loaded up and ready to go

I packed very similarly to last year, with a few inexpensive additions for the 5 year olds.  We brought the same bin full of Bugsby books, earbuds, one washable stuffed animal each, car bingo, travel blankets, Magna Doodles and DVDs.  However, this year I thought of a couple other things that excite my boys.  They LOVE to collect travel brochures and maps where ever we go.  They get out of control with papers everywhere.  But they love them and they know when one disappears, so I needed a solution.  Thankfully, just in time for vacay, Target refreshed their dollar section.  I let them each pick out an expandable file folder to organize all their papers.  They were so excited!  We went home right away and categorized them.  We also hit the dollar store and got 3 letter and number workbooks each. Then we went home and they each packed a little pencil bag.  They got to pick 3 brand new fun pencils and one new eraser each.  That way if when one falls on the floor while we're driving they have back ups and no reason to whine.  I said "no crayons" on this trip.  This is one of those things you learn from experience.  They collect approximately one million crayons from restaurants while we travel, we didn't need to bring any thing else to pack.  Finally, I gave them each a canvas shopping bag to hang from their hooks in the van to keep everything contained.  They hung low enough, so they could still see out of the windows.
Jackson was a lot easier to pack this year, too.  He's two now, so he doesn't need a lot of big baby toys anymore.  He likes a lot of small things that can play with and make eat each other. He brought and an empty wipe container full of dinosaurs, cars, planes, etc... He also keeps busy with a lot of the same things and his older brothers.  Lincoln and Spencer each brought an empty wipe container (they were fun Disney designs)  to use as a treasure box.      Every time they got something little they couldn't wait to get back to the hotel to put it in there.

giant cooler, giant snack bag and boys travel
 blankets (made by Aunt Joy)
3 boys excited for vacation
this is the weather we left behind
ice on the trees
This year the kids are five and two.  Each year gets a little easier, as far a traveling goes.  Last year we left around 5:30 pm and drove through the night.  This year played out a little differently. John got the go ahead from work a little earlier, so we tried to get a jump on it and left around 12:30 pm.  The entire week before we left it was in the high 70's and low 80's, but this week returned to winter.  We were happy to get out the second we were cleared for departure.  It worked out great at first.  Then we hit Indiana, let's just say we don't want to go back any time soon!  It was the longest state of our lives--construction, rain, rush hour, extra vacation traffic...grrrrrrr

movie time-always make sure to refresh the selection before you head out
nasty weather

We finally arrived, waaaaaaaaaaaay later than we should have.  The boys actually did pretty well in the car.  I think it's fair to say that I was more frustrated than they were.  We were exhausted, but exited to be in Atlanta!  The boys were super excited to see our high rise, big city hotel. We hit the sack around 5 am. Whew!  We only had one thing planned for the next day--The Georgia Aquarium.  After some much need sleep we'll be AOK.

view of Atlanta from high rise hotel room
Lincoln's excited face
finally in bed at 5:02 AM
about one minute after hitting the sack
my sweet

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