Monday, August 22, 2011

Staycation - Atlanta Braves

For our last big adventure on our Staycation, we headed to Turner Field to watch the Atlanta Braves take on the Pittsburg Pirates. The game didn't start til after 7:00 pm, but let me tell you, it was still hot! But we had GREAT seats, down on the lowest level out in left field - and most importantly, in the shaded section of the stadium while the sun was still high in the sky.

And then... the sky started looking funny! These odd-colored clouds moved in, a few sprinkles fell from the sky, and the bottom dropped out. Boy, did it rain! We headed into the concourse to wait out the rain delay, which lasted a good long while. But finally, the rain stopped and play resumed.

I was excited to be at the Braves game (my first in Turner Field since 2007), but I wasn't expecting to see my favorite player since he was injured. But in the 7th inning, with the Braves trailing, the entire stadium went wild to see CHIPPER JONES walking to the plate as designated hitter. Oh my! It was so cool to see him bat... even if he did swing at the first pitch and hit it straight to one of the inn-fielders. But I was really glad to see #10, Chipper Jones, at least one more time. What a great night with my family (other than the Braves getting a loss)!

Staycation - Starr's Mill

Wednesday of our Staycation was Mom's birthday. It's not often I get to celebrate my family's birthdays with them in person, so I was happy to be there with Mom this year. She wanted a relatively laid-back day, so we spent the morning in the pool, then took her to Red Lobster for a late lunch. I wanted to stop by Starr's Mill and take some family pics before I left, so we decided to do that while we all looked decent. After all, much of our time was spent in swimsuits, which is not when we look our best. If you don't recognize Starr's Mill, it was one of the filming sites in the movie Sweet Home Alabama. It's less than a mile from Mom and Dad's house, and is just a really picturesque location. I try to go out there every time I'm home.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Staycation - Zipline

On Tuesday of our Staycation, we drove up to Historic Banning Mills to take part in their zipline course. Even Mom was planning to participate, though we were a little concerned about how her back would handle it. We didn't need to worry, though. The harnesses we wore were almost like a chair when we rode down the ropes, so there was very little pressure on her back. The hardest part was walking up the hill to the start of the course! We met our guides, put on all our gear, and headed out across the first and only bridge on the Forest Tour (the first and basic course). That bridge almost did Ben in - none of us were really comfortable with it - but once we finished that, the ziplines were so much fun. We had a blast flying through the treetops. It was really hot and humid, but so much fun!

At the end of the Forest Tour, Dad and I decided to take on the next level, the Flight Pattern Tour. We were excited about three really long ziplines (900-1000ft long), but I don't think either of us realized it included eight more bridges. Oh my! The first of the ziplines was 1000ft long and high above the Snake River Gorge - the view was amazing, though it was hard to watch it for trying to keep from twisting and watching for the landing track. Mom took a couple of pics of us from the ground as we flew along. Then we were back in the tree tops, 80 feet high, making our way across bridges with steps so far apart that I had to really stretch, octagonal steps that spun under your feet, and final steps onto the platforms so tall that I could barely reach. Honestly, the bridges were the scariest part, but the ziplines were amazing.

We all really enjoyed our zipline adventure, and agreed we would like to try it again in the fall when the leaves are changing and it isn't quite as hot.

Castles Galore!

So, I was reflecting on my vacations over the last several summers, and I realized that since 2007, I have seen at least one castle every summer. Of course, in 2007 I saw LOTS of castles because I was in Scotland. But perhaps my favorite was Eilean Donan Castle on my trip to the highlands and west coast islands with Laurie and Amie. In 2008 it's a bit of a stretch, but Tina, Carol and I built a sandcastle in Panama City. :) 2009 saw my family trying to stay dry while 8 inches of rain fell on us at Walt Disney World. In 2010 we traveled a bit farther to see Schloss Neuschwanstein in Germany. And this year Amie and I went to Hogwarts Castle at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. I wonder what castle 2012 will bring... I hope it involves more international travel!



Sunday, August 14, 2011

Staycation - Jetskiing at Yellowjacket Creek

On Monday of our "staycation" my family took "Pablo" the jetski out to Yellowjacket Creek Recreation Center. Since it was a weekday, we had the lake almost all to ourselves, and we spent almost the whole day out there. We took turns heading out on Pablo, speeding our way around the lake and having a great time. We also attached the tube to the back of the jetski and flew across the water. Dad and Ben both rode the tube for a little while, but I was the one who tubed the most. Dad tried his hardest to make me fly off, but I held on for dear life (my fingers are still sore, I think I strained them!). Dad may not have been able to throw me from the tube, but Mom sure did from the jetski. We had stopped in the middle of the lake to switch places and let her drive. Next thing I knew, she took off and turned at the same time, and I flew off the side of the jetski and hit that water so hard it took my breath away. She didn't even realize I was gone at first, and when she came back for me she was just upset that I lost my sunglasses (no big deal). But I was a little sore the next day after that fall!

It started drizzling and thundering for a little while, so we took a break from the water, had lunch, and threw the football around for a bit until the storm passed around us. It didn't last long.

Then it was back to the water and more brilliant sunshine (Ben and I both got a little too much sun that day.)I had originally planned to take Brodie with us to the lake, but after finding out that dogs weren't allowed on the beach area and thinking about how much extra work it would be, we decided to leave him home. But he had his little life jacket with him, and I really wanted a pic of him on the jetski. So when we got home I got him outfitted and sat him on top of Pablo before Dad got it all cleaned up. I think the pics turned out pretty cute.