Alpharetta: Week in Review

Wow, what a trip. I had thought that staying in a hotel with Kent all day might be hard, because it wouldn't be easy to figure out things to do in an area I wasn't familiar with. Ha. We managed to stay quite busy and had an excellent week in and around Atlanta while Jack was in his seminar. Jack also had an excellent week and is now prepared to demolish the exam in May. Yay, Batten.


This day was spent getting our bearings, visiting a nearby mall, and then welcoming Jack's parents to town. They decided to drive down for a few days, since we're closer to them here than when we're at home. We had Indian food for dinner and a few laughs with Kent, the stuffed monkey they brought him, and the video camera before they left for the evening to go to their hotel. We put Kent to bed, and then Jack did some more math before falling asleep (a trend that continued throughout the week).


The new Georgia Aquarium rocks! Kent's favorites included the African penguins and the angelfish. I'm sure he would have loved the gigantic ocean they've put together, part of which we actually walked under in a tunnel, but he slept through that portion of the tour in my arms. I personally loved the belugas; they have three in an enormous tank and a guide nearby talking about them on a microphone and answering people's questions all day, and later they actually had two staffers in scuba gear inside the tank cleaning the glass. One beluga kept trying to eat one of the diver's flippers, and though the guide assured us that they weren't in danger, I couldn't help imagining what would happen if the beluga decided to body-slam the guy into the glass. For some reason, I was hoping for mayhem.

Ron, Ann, and I were totally impressed by the cafeteria, which included the basic burgers, fries, chicken fingers, etc., but also had a bunch of healthy sandwiches and vegetarian items. Too bad none of our vegetarian relatives were actually with us to enjoy it. I wish I had gotten pictures at the aquarium, but my arms were busy most of the time, and Ron is a better photographer, anyway, so I'll be hitting him up for the shots he took.

We came back to the hotel and grilled veggie burgers outside, since the hotel has two gas grills by the pool and some tables nearby. We also had corn on the cob, cantaloupe, and carrot cake (oy with the C foods already), plus free beer and wine from our hotel's evening reception. This place was so much nicer than any hotel we've ever stayed in!


Kent and I went with Jack's parents to IKEA this morning, finding some great presents for Kent (including these finger puppets and this truck), among other nifty items. IKEA is such fun, and I'm so glad that they understand the kind of toys we like. Ron and Ann left around lunchtime, and since it was such a gorgeous day outside (in the midst of several rainy, grey days), Kent and I splashed around in the pool for a little while in the afternoon. He thought it was hilarious when I splashed him, and I thought it was hilarious that he was laughing so hard, so there were many giggles all around. I was holding him on my hip in the pool, and he was so engaged that he seemed like a little boy... then later, he insisted on nursing while we sat in a chair by the pool, and he turned back into my baby again, all nursy and sunny and sleepy. I drank in the color of his hair in the sun and the way he looked, so content, bundled up in the big white towel.

Tonight's dinner was tortellini in our hotel room, thanks to our great little kitchen. It was so nice to be on vacation and still be able to cook.


Thursday's theme was this: we would love to live here.

The highlight of Thursday was finding a terrific new/used bookstore a few miles north of here called Humpus Bumpus (which I blogged about earlier). Their kids' room is huge, with a big play area in the middle, and after I had found some neat books in the new section, I went over to the used section and found two of them in great shape, plus another neat book, all for less than $10. We're currently enjoying Ten Little Ladybugs and will be enjoying Tumble Bumble and Eating the Alphabet after his birthday in July.

Jack and I splurged by having dinner out at 5 Seasons, an organic restaurant and microbrewery that rocked our world. I had a stout and Jack had a pale ale, and both were wonderfully rich and delicious. In addition to a lot of unique menu items and several vegetarian things, they had beer-battered onion rings, and it's hard for me to say no to anything that's beer-battered. If we lived near here, this is the kind of place we'd want to visit all the time. We added to the culinary excitement of the evening by going to Trader Joe's afterward and picking up some packaged things, interesting sauces, and good chocolate to take home with us. If only we had a Trader Joe's... sigh.

Today's other development, something Jack is still getting choked up about, is that I gave Kent his first haircut. I didn't cut much — just the long ringlets on either side of his face, because, frankly, I was getting tired of people mistaking him for a girl (our waiter at 5 Seasons was the last straw). The ringlets were kind of Shirley-Temple-esque. He still has all his luscious curls on top, but all the hair on the sides and back of his head is short now, more boyish. I loved it immediately, though it does make him look different than he did. Jack has proven to be more sentimental, deciding that we ought to keep the locks I chopped off. He almost cried, too. What a sweet dad.


After visiting the other used bookstore in the area, which was a total letdown, Kent and I visited a fabric store, since I had been itching to find some bright fabrics to make a crayon holder for him. He doesn't have crayons yet, and if he did, he'd only put them in his mouth, but he'll be using them before long. I've loved crayon holders I've seen in various places; they're like roll-up holders for knitting needles, only smaller, with separate compartments for each crayon. One of my favorite craft things is just stacking different fabrics together to see how the colors and patterns play off each other, and these three have some sort of special chemistry that I just love.

I also bought some flannels that were on sale for another project, to be disclosed at a later date.

This was a great eating day for Kent; he had three separate eatings of solid food, which I think must have contributed to the fact that he slept better Friday night than he had all week. Prunes and a sweet potato/corn blend have been the new additions this week (both store-bought, since it would have been too much trouble to transport my homemade stuff), and he's loved both. I think he likes the runny consistency as well, since it's not as much work for him to move the purees around in his mouth.

Friday's other highlight was Kent's learning to climb stairs at the hotel. I put my cell phone a few steps above him, because parental technology like phones and remote controls are the best motivators, and I showed him how to bend his legs and bring them up to the next step. He had the idea of it after a few steps, and then we practiced later in the day. When Jack got back from the seminar that evening, I had some freshly popped popcorn waiting for him to enjoy while he watched his son do a new trick. Kent's a total pro at stair climbing now, but I'm not quite sure when he'll be able to go back down, since he's not interested in sliding down on his butt or climbing down backward. These things can wait.


Saturday was kind of like the other days: grey and rainy. Kent took some good naps and had some good food, we drove around a little to chill out, and then we all went to dinner at a nearby Italian place after Jack was done at his seminar. Nothing much to report for Saturday.


Jack had a half-day for the last day of his seminar, so Kent and I dropped him off at 8, spent a little time getting the room packed up for our departure the next day, bought a cheap styrofoam cooler to take home all our unused groceries, and took a good morning nap (well, Kent took a nap while I caught up on email and blogs and worked on this post).

After Jack was finished at the seminar and had said all of his farewells, we grabbed some burritos and chips at Moe's and headed to Turner Field for Kent's first baseball game ever. We took MARTA, and it was a little more cumbersome than we thought it would be (we had just missed a train so had to wait 20 minutes for the next one), so we made it to the ballpark in the middle of the 5th inning. Apparently the pitching had been really good, because those first few innings before we got there went by really fast. Anyway, we were sitting at the tippy-top of the stadium, two rows down from the very top, and we decided to just sit up in the top row, since there was no one there anyway, so that we could do our thing with Kent and have plenty of space to stow the stroller, food, etc.

The game was very fun, and Kent slept through a good portion of it in our arms.


We got up around 5:30, packed up, had a quick breakfast in the lobby, and then hit the road. Despite the Atlanta Monday-morning traffic, we did actually manage to make it out of town, and we made fairly good time after that. We took a quick side trip down to the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Biloxi to feed my pin addiction, where Kent enjoyed a lemon, as you see.

We spent some too-brief moments at their neat swimming pool, then geared ourselves up for the final push and drove the last two hours home. Exhausted, we put Kent to bed, then ate our dinner, caught up on a little TV we had missed the previous week, and went to bed ourselves.

The most fun thing about coming home (she said, ironically) was that our A/C wasn't working, but after we left it off all night and turned it on again this morning, it was going as strong as ever. This has now happened three times in the last couple of years; we call a technician to come out the next day, and before he has a chance to come, it starts working again. Good enough.

And my final note is this: what a difference a week makes. First of all, I was giving him baby food on my lap all week because we didn't want to bring the highchair, and he seems to have made his peace with eating solids. He's now up to 3 tiny meals a day of fruits, veggies, yogurt, and/or puffs, and it's so much easier to feed him now, I can hardly believe it. He's pulling up on things easily and has even started cruising on some furniture, and he pulled himself up in his crib a little too easily yesterday, so Jack lowered it last night. Also, he can crawl with more skill and gusto than ever before, so he's darting around the house exploring things and trying to grab everything he can. I told Jack this morning that I think Kent is going to teach us how to finish babyproofing the house, and Jack responded that Kent was saving us hundreds of dollars since we wouldn't have to hire a consultant. Not that we would have. But people do. They should hire a 9-month-old instead.

The cats are now in more peril than ever before. He just wants to love them, and he's very fast now.

So that was our trip and the immediate aftermath. Thanks for tuning in and making it all the way to the end.

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So cute!!! I wanna play in the pool.
That was fun to read. It inspires me to go on vacation with my children. Sort of. My parents were just in Atlanta the weekend before for a marathon. They also enjoyed the aquarium. I'm starting to feel left out... Seriously, though, sounds like a lot of fun. It's nice to be able to relax and have new things to do and see.
man, I wish I had thought of this before you went to Atlanta, but there is a great organic/vegetarian restaurant called R. Thomas there. I've been there with my friend Julie and it's super tasty, so if for some reason you go back...glad you had fun at the aquarium I've heard it is great!
I love the new Georgia Aquarium! I'm super impressed that you could navigate it with Kent, though. Don and I purposely went first thing in the morning, hit the touch tanks first and then went to see the Belugas trying to avoid the crowds! It worked...kinda. We were really impressed with it. I think I'm going to have to get over my fear of crowds soon, though! =)
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