would be an apt description to our whirlwind trip. Whew!
My sister lives midway to Chattanooga from me so she and I decided that a divide and conquer trip (of both my parents and our 5 boys 12 and under together) was the only solution. Originally the boys and I were going to leave Sunday afternoon but a creation physicist was doing a special presentation at our church that night we did not want to miss. It was well worth the staying for, but it necessitated an early Monday morning departure.
Husband helped me pack the bags Sunday evening, and I told the boys they could sleep in their travel clothes. We all got up around 5:45 a.m. on Monday, grabbed our snack bags of blueberry picnic cake and headed for my sister's. Traffic was tolerable, and we made really good time.
Once at my sister's, it was a comedy of packing her Pilot with everybody's bags, pillows, lovies, a potty seat (youngest is training), snacks, drinks, DVD player, entertainment assortment, and so on. It took us about an hour to cram everything in, but we did it. And ordered everyone not to breathe or wiggle.
(Yeah, right. This would be why our first stop was Starbucks and Venti drinks.)
Once there in Choo-Choo City, and after all the unpacking was accomplished, and after a little bit of rest and refreshment, it was one thing after another. Here are some of the highlights:
**Mom, Sister and I took a girls' night out to the movies. Daddy bravely, ohsobravely, stayed with the 5 grands.
**Ride on the Antique Carousel at Coolidge Park. Those carved carousel animals are so gorgeous. They always make me want one for my den.
**Played in the fountains at Coolidge Park. The weather was perfect, and there is no end to the people watching that can go on at this place.
**We visited the Battles at Chattanooga Museum and toured Point Park. All things within our history curriculum so score on the field trips. We even threw in a drive along Missionary Ridge, another famous War Between the States site.
**Viewed the new African Expedition IMAX 3d movie. Free because some other tickets were messed up and this was part of our consolation prize. Worthwhile prize too. I can still smell the elephants.
**Ice cream at Ben and Jerry's. I chose a Berry Pom Smoothie. Yum. I could use one of those every day right around 2:00 p.m.
**Toured part of the Tennessee Aquarium. We chose the Penguins exhibit highlight because they just hatched out penguinlings. Sooo cute and fuzzy. And we stopped by the amazing Jellyfish exhibit which always makes me feel a bit like I'm surrounded by lava lamps. Groovy.
**Two hour cruise on the Tennessee River Gorge Explorer. Amazing boat! The boys got to "drive" it from the captain's deck. Capt. Mike was a hoot, and he even toured us by his real life paddleboat houseboat. So cool.
**Big family dinner out. My grilled salmon was perfectly done. And I didn't have to clean the kitchen.
**Night of double (hand and foot) canasta where my sister and I beat the pants off my parents in three hands. Ya-hoo!
And then it was time to come back home and tackle life here as we know it. It was a mini-vacation with its regular challenging ups and downs, but I am grateful for the time spent.
Here's to the Chattanooga. Thanks for a good time.