Another Spring Break is in the history books. We aren’t usually those people who take their kids on multiple trips a year. We do try to squeeze in a summer vacation every year. But we have four kids. And four kids are both expensive and exhausting. So we usually spend spring break home or taking a day trip at best.
But this year I thought….Let’s go to Atlanta! As in, kind of far from our home base.
I blame my oldest son actually. It all started when he said that he wanted to go to Legoland. Except Legoland is in California. And I am not trying to cross the country with my family. So I thought The Legoland Discovery Center in Atlanta would be just as fun.
I mentioned to Mr. Bell On Heels my idea and convinced him to schedule a couple of days off from work so we could go as a family. He did just that.
He is the planner in the family. I am more of a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of gal. And it drives my husband mad. Multiple times he asked if I had mapped out our trip. He wanted a detailed account of where we would be spending our time, while in Atlanta.
Except he has known me for like, a bunch of years. Cut to, Hubby handing me a printed itinerary, complete with bullet points. I knew I married him for a reason.
Fast forward to our departure day. Just like every time we travel as a family, I have my rituals. I never pack until the day we are leaving. Seriously. I pack five people. My husband does manage to pack himself and he is also a last-minute packer. It is a wonder we get anywhere with our stuff.
After everyone is dressed and ready for the trip, I have to clean all 3 and a half bathrooms. I cannot leave unless all of the toilets are shiny. Then I have to make sure that all of the laundry is not only clean but also put away. Yes, I can hear you judging me from here but I don’t care.
The OCD/Perfectionism struggle is real, People. And I need my brain to be quiet when I am on a trip.
Two adults, four kids, a two-pound Yorkie get into a car. And we are off. First stop is my mother’s house in Alabama. She is the one who oftentimes babysits the family pet. It takes two hours and some change to get to Grandma’s house. And by the time we get there the kids are convinced that we are surely in Atlanta by now.
But no. Back into the car. And off we go.
Luckily when I bought my car years ago I had the bright notion to get the one with dual-row DVD screens. Three movies later, we arrived in the ATL. I am never a fan of hotel stays with the family. Six people sharing one bathroom is something that nightmares are made of.
But the plan was not to stay in the room. The plan was to follow Dad’s itinerary, one bullet point at a time. After a day of travel we opted for dinner and rest. The fun would kick off the following day.
Fresh and renewed is not exactly how I would describe myself the next morning. I always sleep horribly in hotel rooms. But IHOP and a pot of coffee later and I was pumped.
First stop The College Football Hall of Fame. We are a football family. This stop was really for my husband though. The kids weren’t overly excited. He mostly walked around, freely exploring all of the exhibits and games as I wrangled four children. Which is even harder than it sounds, with my bunch. But we made it through.
Next stop World Of Coke. This one was a lot of fun. At least for us adults. But the kids were ecstatic that after the thirty minute wait to get inside, they were rewarded with an actual Coke, which they referred to as a “free Coke.”
Their favorite part of the whole place though was actually the tasting room. This is where there are many stations of dispensers. Patrons are free to walk around on the unbelievably sticky floor (because every kids in there is sloshing Coke onto the floor) going from station to station, sampling Coke products from all over the world.
It was horrific.
My kids don’t often drink caffeinated, sugar beverages. So it was basically like a drug den to them. Once we were able to drag them out, we had to exit through the Coke gift shop. Where I was not about to wait 30 minutes in line again to pay for some keychains and t-shirts. So my husband and I left with four highly-caffeinated, devastated, emotional children.
Last stop of the Whirlwind tour of Atlanta: The Lego Discovery Center. Which my children hated more than the other stops.
We aren’t monsters so we did allow them to pick out a souvenir from the Lego gift shop. There wasn’t a wait after all. $150 later and everyone was declaring it the best mini vacation ever.
So we literally could have just taken them to a toy store and bought them Legos and they would have been equally as happy. Lesson learned.
Maybe we don’t have to drive hours away for future spring breaks. But it is always fun when we hang out as a family. These days of having them with us everywhere we go won’t last forever.
I love my family and it doesn’t matter where we are or what we are doing. I will even traipse over Coke ravaged floors to spend time with my children. I treasure these days. And hopefully they will too one day, when they look back on all of the memories.
I think this trip helped me realize that I am just a beach or bust kind of girl. Everything is better at the beach. So this summer that is where we will be spending our week of family vacation.
I don’t care who you are. No one can hate on crashing waves, sunny skies and an umbrella drink. Stay tuned for that one.