Stone Mountain

As the temps dip to a refreshing 88 degrees and we get overanxious for fall to show up, I've got some catching up to do with some fun summer stuff that never got shared. And if you really don't feel that it needs to be shared, consider this my own personal scrapbook for posterity one day (and feel free to ignore this post), because let's be real and acknowledge the fact that none of that fancy schmancy scrapbooking has been done around here since kid #2 was about two months old. And now he's 7. Years.

Back in July, we decided our summer record of being home for a week and a half was quite long enough, so we took a quick trip to Stone Mountain with some of our best traveling buddies, the McNeals. We took our first trip with these friends when they had little baby twins and we had one curly-headed blonde baby girl. Time has flown and we headed to Atlanta this year with seven kids in tow.

After we arrived and got our two carts full of stuff to our hotel rooms (hey, one night times eleven people is...well, eleven), the kids were bouncing off the walls, if you can imagine that. So, we headed to enjoy some putt-putting in the fabulous 95 degrees with 95% humidity weather.

I think I'll start the post with the following photo, because it's just so cute:

We had to go in three different "groups" because our one group together blew the course limit away. This resulted in bunches of kids running ahead of us and two husbands and a baby lagging behind. Kerrie and I ended up with the two little Sweetarts.

One wasn't so happy...

And the other one was...

Maybe it was because she got started on such a good note...with a hole in one! There's nothing to demoralize an adult's whole miniature golf game like a three-year-old showing you up big time on the very first hole. Yeah, we decided to chunk the whole score keeping business after that. No need to have evidence of getting creamed by preschoolers.

About 2/3 of the way through the game, we decided we'd putted all we could stand to putt and headed to dinner. The lovely thing about theme parks is that you can feed a family of six a Bucket O Chicken for the low, low price of $43. Okay, maybe it wasn't quite that much, but it was way more than a Bucket O Anything should cost.

After a quick return to the hotel for a dip in the pool, we headed to the world renowned Laser Light Show. I don't know what it is about lights projected onto the side of a mountain that looks like a giant baked potato (per my friend and putting partner, Kerrie), but it's pretty great. Add in some fireworks and a rousing soundtrack, and you've got yourself some entertainment. Sam found it a little boring and decided to pass out, but everyone else really loved it.

We got back to the hotel with some pooped kiddos and spent the next 37 minutes trying to procure three washcloths. Apparently they're in high demand and must be kept under lock and key. I mean, we can't just let any old riff raff get washcloths. (Any normal person would have thrown some soap and water on themselves and headed to bed. I never claimed to be normal.)

The next morning, we were up and at 'em pretty early. Included in our package was breakfast at the hotel. And this wasn't your Holiday Inn Express continental breakfast. I could have skipped the rest of the day and camped out in the dining room all day. I can see why people get attached to living the high life. I could do with eating at nice hotels and getting my choice of every breakfast item known to man in any quantity I could handle. Of course, the kids were excited about the tiny boxes of cereal.

After filling our tummies, we headed to do the Sky Hike. It's a high ropes course. If that means nothing to you, allow me to explain. You harness yourself to a metal beam and walk across very narrow or rickety things up in the sky. Let me tell you that I'm afraid of almost everything, and it never occurred to me to be afraid of Sky Hike. Not once.

Kerrie and I watched the guys and the four older kids go through all three levels while we kept an eye on the Sweetarts and poor Sam, who was stuck in a stroller.

There were a few tense moments and tears by a child I will leave unnamed (but who proceeded to complete the whole course) and there was the dare devil leading the way, Jack. I'm telling you, kids will never cease to surprise. He cries and cowers at tiny ants and loud trains, but put him on a 2x4 35 feet in the air and he's all smiles.

So, finally, it was the mamas' turn. We got strapped up, hiked up the stairs, and then...I freaked out. See?

Okay, I don't exactly look terrified in this pic, but I was at certain moments. I couldn't believe it hadn't occurred to me to be afraid and then I got up there and hated it. I told myself I was completely safe and that the worst thing that could happen to me was to slip and dangle in the air in humiliation. But that didn't help. I was shakin' in my tennis shoes and focused on nothing but getting out of there.

I'm so sorry I don't have the picture that my dear, sweet friend Tom took as he laughed at me, but I did have to get a little help from a friendly Sky Hike guide. I should remember his name, because for those few moments that he held my hand as I slid across that 2x4, he was the best friend I'd ever had. You know you're scared when you don't care who laughs at you or takes your picture while you're holding a perfect stranger's hand and looking like a big old chicken.

Needless to say, I chose to forego the second and third levels and get my feet planted firmly back on solid ground asap. Obviously, Chris felt the same way. He's such a scaredy cat.

Sweet Sam finally got to escape the stroller and do his own little course. He's a chip off the old block...Daddy's block. Not a scared bone in his body.

After my blood pressure and heart rate returned to normal, we proceeded with the rest of our day. There was water at some climbing geyser thing, another overpriced meal...

...some cute photo ops with some cute kids...

Is it just me or does Sam look a little ticked off? The stroller must have been getting to him.

...the nice and relaxing train ride that put at least two people in our party to sleep...

...and the kids' favorite part, a giant sand box. They're so easily impressed.

Of course, there was the pinnacle of it all (ha!)...the trip to the top of Stone Mountain. Some more ambitious people would have walked up, but those people don't have seven kids 10 years old and under with them. So, we rode the giant, terrifying skylift thingy where they cram you in like sardines and you work some fervent prayer time into your trip, while holding your breath for fear of your neighbor's body odor.

Here they are. Our seven angels, being blinded by the sunlight as we ignore their complaints of burning corneas and insist they smile for a picture.

Here is Chris pretending to be cool.

And here is the moment when we try not to freak out even though it looks, from where we're standing, like Olivia's about to jump off the side of the mountain. You know there's a fence, but you still want to freak out.

Sam has no concept of gravity or mountains and yet feels like there is no need for him to be supervised, so it wasn't too long before I was ready to head back down. But before we go...a picture for the ages...

Then we boarded the swinging gondola thingy once again, packed on even tighter than before. When we reached the bottom and the door finally opened, Sam (just learning to talk) pushed me from behind and shouted, "Go!" I don't blame him.

We wrapped up the day with some non-theme-park-food at Uncle Julio's. I felt genuinely sorry for that poor waiter who obviously drew the shortest straw and got stuck with a sweaty, starving party of 11. Drinks got spilled multiple times, crayons were everywhere, we all got water and ordered things off the half price happy hour (food) menu, and the volume in the place went down 100 decibels when we left. Yeah, I'm thinking he was glad to see us leave.

But it sure was a lot better than a Bucket O Chicken, for about the same price.

All in all, Trip #5 of the Summer of 2012 was a success. A grand time was had by all. It's so great to have such wonderful friends to make such fun memories with year after year.


  1. Good times for sure! I will go ahead and admit that it was my youngest that did the spilling of her drink multiple times :-). So thankful for y'all and all our sweet kiddos. That last picture shows just how blessed we are. Can't wait until next years adventure!!


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