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Thursday, December 17, 2015

Day at Stone Mountain

With Kye in the public school system this year we are having to be more mindful about the attendance policy (we're halfway through the year now and he hasn't missed any days due to sickness though whoop whoop!). When he has days off school I like to try to take full advantage of it! He had a Monday off in Oct for Fall Break so Zach and I brainstormed about doing a little getaway for the weekend. 

Random side note but whenever we book hotels we use hotels.com. You earn free nights! It's been awesome for us (plus you can go through Ebates and get 3% back typically! If y'all don't already use Ebates it's a MUST do! It's SO easy and it's straight cash!). We had enough nights stay through hotels.com to earn a free night which was really helpful. We decided to take a quick trip up to Stone Mountain for the weekend. I grew up near Stone Mountain and have a ton of great memories there and wanted to experience it with my children. We were able to find a hotel that had two bedrooms, a kitchen, and a living room and were able to stay 2 nights at the cost of 1 night with our hotels.com rewards! Boom! 

We checked Kye out of school early (you know we know the rules about checking out and still being considered "present" ha!) and headed up to Stone Mountain! We got all checked in and fed the kids dinner that we had packed with us (Z and I had a dinner and Walking Dead date that night once the kids were down...I resisted Walking Dead for a long time bc I didn't want all the zombies but omg y'all. It's legit not about zombies! I'm only on Season 3 but we LOVE it. Rick ain't no joke!). 


Z and I were hardcore about our challenge so the kids got to enjoy the awesome free cookies at the hotel. JEALOUS. 


The big kids shared a room and Tess could fit in our closet in our room!
If you are looking for a hotel in the Stone Mountain area it's a tricky location because a lot of the area just isn't safe. We ended up staying here and had a GREAT experience!





The hotel had free breakfast so we ate that and let the big kids play while Tess had her morning nap and while we got everything ready. Once she woke up we headed over to Stone Mountain. When I was growing up I remember the laser show and climbing the mountain and that's about it. It has changed SO MUCH. There is a TON to do there now and it's also become quite expensive. If you live in the Valdosta area and visit Stone Mountain it's good to know that your Wild Adventures passes get you 50% off admission :)


First thing we all wanted to do was ride up the mountain! No climbing for us ;) It was a 100% chance of rain for the day so we wanted to knock out what we could outside. It was a beautiful morning thankfully!!! 

I'm pretty creeped out by heights but felt secure in the little car thing and the kids LOVED it!


















Mrs. Charlotte and I got Britt's pants and Tess's little dress a month or so before Tess was born! We couldn't resist and we didn't even know if Tess would be a girl or a boy!




Britt kept saying "I see Atlanta!" 
I kept thinking about all the walkers that had taken over the city ;) 




We found an awesome spot to have our picnic lunch where we could see the side of the mountain and had a chance to look over the map and plan out the rest of our day. Kye LOVES a good map :)




The Geyser tower is a HUGE splash type place but in the fall and winter they have the water turned off (thankfully). It was a massive area for the kids to climb and play and we spent a good hour or so there! It was the first time Tess was ever missing her afternoon nap. I wanted to be flexible (I kept channeling Casey as she is SO good about being flexible with Carter). I know Tess has that angel temperament and it was a good chance to take advantage of it for a change! Since she was too little to go up with the big kids I did try my best to get her to fall asleep in the stroller but it didn't happen!







We picked such a fun time of year to visit! There were tons of fall decorations and activities!




They even have a 3D movie experience very similar to Philarmagic at Disney! It was based on Rio which was a movie we saw over the summer (when our local theater does dollar days) and had really enjoyed it. We saw Rio 2 so I can't speak for the first one but the second one had great music, a cute plot, and literally nothing inappropriate. I was impressed (and that's saying a lot for a non-Disney movie ha!). The 3D movie was REALLY cool too! Tess got really freaked out by the experience so I took her off to the side but I was still able to watch :)


We went through a pumpkin maze and Kye read every sign to us!


Clearly not a huge fan of mazes ;)







My main goals for the day were go to the top of the mountain, ride the old train around the mountain, and watch the laser show. The train was really neat but also a tad boring since our kids are used to Disney experiences ;) No animals on this ride guys! Although we did keep an eye out for some since you never know what you might see in the woods. I think we saw more interesting attractions in the fellow park guests! 




This girl didn't sleep a wink for her afternoon nap but she LOVED the train :)




While on the train (with NONE of our rain gear) we saw it come pouring down....



We made a made dash to the nearest restaurant and Zach went back out and got all of our stuff and we made a plan for where to go next! We had planned to do putt putt but obviously that plan had to change with the weather!


They have a super cool indoor play place called The Great Barn. It's multiple levels of play areas with balls the kids collect and shooters for them to shoot the balls from (foam balls, of course). It was a mad house but I appreciated the planning that went into it to keep it safe. There was only ONE entrance and exit so it was pretty easy to make sure our kids stayed inside. It did stress me out a bit b/c there were just so many people and it was impossible to keep a close eye on our children. I kept Tess as Zach wanted to play ha! But he also kept watch for the big kids and Kye did a pretty good job of looking out for Britt too!


It was SUPER cool for the older kids, but much less to do for Tess. Especially because there were so many older children who were just WILD and CRAZY and UNSUPERVISED. Ugh y'all that gets me so, so annoyed. Parents were sitting there and just letting their children climb all over the baby play areas and jumping over things and just being reckless. I am totally "that mom" at the playground who will get onto your child if you won't! 


This video is super dark but she LOVED the slide! It took both of us to manage it (one to help make sure she could get up the stairs and the other to catch her!) but it was so cute :)



I was ZERO percent surprised when I saw Kye running around spending most of his time collecting the foam balls. Kid loves some organization!



This is her "I'm a big kid" face!



The rain cleared up a bit (after we spent close to 2 hours in The Barn!) and the big kids were really pumped for some putt putt. This was the toughest time of the day for me. The putt putt was very small and just wouldn't work well with Tess in the stroller. So I told them to go play and I took her and tried to keep her happy. After no nap. And at the time when she usually is eating dinner (5 ish). She wasn't too fussy but Tess being fussy at all just isn't something I'm used to (she is spoiling ME!)




Kye got a hole in one!


I had brought some fruit loops for the big kids (from breakfast that morning!) and it was the only thing I had available to bribe Tess into happiness while we waited. They worked!



I walked loops around a gift shop for over an hour. We read every kids book and I did a little play with every magnet as well as every stuffed animal. I'm sure people thought I was nuts haha!


Once they finished up with the putt putt we went to get a spot on the lawn for the laser show. The benefit of going in Oct was that it was earlier than during the summer time. It was pretty wet still and Zach went to the car to get all our laser show gear so I kept the kids busy and happy while we waited!




I was totally that parent that let me kids invade another family's game of frisbee haha!


Guess how long it took her to slip and be covered in mud? 





I was SO PUMPED for my kids to experience a taste of my childhood!


Yes, we packed dinner too! You know how we roll...cheap cheap!





I brought some glow stuff for the kids (thanks for the suggestions Facebook friends!)






This girl had her regular morning nap (but didn't even sleep for the full thing), NO afternoon nap, didn't eat dinner until 7:00 (which is her normal bedtime), and didn't get to the hotel until almost 10. She had that little bit of fussiness at 5 ish but otherwise was PURE JOY. I have no regrets about having our whole family together to experience the laser show! 




The kids LOVED the laser show! I was a little nervous about the loud sounds (which Zach hated and we should have brought ear plugs for him) and the fireworks, especially with Tess. It was her first time seeing fireworks and she did great! I held her the whole time and loved the snuggles. Britt and Kye were in complete awe of the entire production. Britt especially loved that they had a part with Elsa and "Let it Go". It was an experience we all truly enjoyed and is something I'm SO glad we did! I've been wanting to take the older kids for a long time but am glad we waited. Britt would have FLIPPED when she was younger and they both really loved it a lot and Tess did awesome too! We were shocked she stayed awake the entire night like she did, but she did finally fall asleep in the car on the way back to the hotel! 

It was a super fun-filled day and if you are ever visiting near the Stone Mountain area then I do highly recommend it. There is SO MUCH to see and do and it was an awesome day from start to finish. It's not cheap (I think even with ours being ½ off we still paid $60 for our family plus the cost to park which was $15) but it's very much worth experiencing! 

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