Yesterday, sticking to tradition, Jeremy, Noah, myself and our friends snuck away for our annual one day vacation. A few years ago, when Jeremy and I still lived in CA but would come back for family visits, we started a tradition with our friends here. That tradition was to all pile into the church's 15 passenger van at 7am (give or take a few minutes) and make a long trek to somewhere... anywhere... as long as we were together and having fun. However, this trip is never intended to be a "non-stop" trip. We usually have several layovers. The first layover is usually at a Walmart for junk food and a bathroom break (yesterday there happened to be a need for new windshield wipers on the church van when it started raining). Another layover usually entitles us to some breakfast from either McDonald's or Cracker Barrel, my absolute favorite. Finally, everyone settles in for the long haul and we endure one sitting position until we've reached our destination.
Amid tons of stories and laughter, each trip has been such fun. Each personality is so different and everyone has different interests, yet we never fail to have the biggest blast when we all come together on our little one day vacation. Our first trip was only a handful of friends who decided rather spontaneously to go to Atlanta, GA and eat at Fogo de Chao. We enjoyed that "one-day-er" so much that we decided it was worth it to make it an annual tradition. The next year, with a few more people, we decided to go to Nashville,TN and see and eat at the Opry Land Hotel. Well, this year with Noah and my camera, I was able to capture the fun we had.
We were to meet at the new church at 7am and be on our way. Well, the one's who lived the farthest away were the first ones there while the ones who lived 2 miles away were...shall we say "on the road at 7am? lol On the way to Altanta, we laughed so hard listening to stories about organic chap stick, and "when he was just a boy...", and "very important phone calls" from some of our esteemed ministers of the Gospel. Well, Jeremy had called and made lunch reservations for us to eat at 1pm so we ended up going straight there after our Walmart layover. Everyone saved their appetite knowing that Fogo's salad bar and meat supply never ran out. We arrived after 3 hours and the waitress showed us to our tables. We hit the gourmet salad bar and I opted for the standard Romaine with their House Special Caesar dressing. Although the Pesto salad dressing is worth getting too. Some got the Brie cheese and House sourdough bread, but I chose to fill up on the main course. The Fillet Mignon was incredible... as usual. But this time my favorite was the House Special, Prime Rib. The flavor was out of this world and it melted in our mouths. As I sat there with my card on "green" the waiters brought me roasted Lamb, pork chops, two different Fillet Mignon's, Chicken legs in a white wine sauce, sausage, Prime Rib, and garlic Sirloin. They served drinks, cheese rolls, garlic mashed potatoes, and fried plantains (not crazy about this last one) along with the meat. After all that protein I was dying for something sweet. I asked what the most ordered dessert was and they told me the Molten Chocolate Cake served with ice cream... which is what I had been eyeing. It was all to die for... and so was the price of our bill. haha But once a year with some good friends, hey its worth it. The experience was so much fun... especially taking those who hadn't been before. Everyone loved it.
Next we went to the Atlanta Aquarium which is supposedly the world's largest aquarium. Noah fell asleep not too long into this excursion but woke up in time to see the whale shark that was showing off for its audience. I think he really enjoys the fish. We have a pond outside our back deck and he like me to hold him up while he leans over and looks at the gold fish. These fish at the aquarium were quite a bit larger than the ones he's used to at home. Here are some pictures of us at the aquarium.
After seeing all there was to see at the aquarium, we made our way to Lenox Square and went shopping, drank Starbucks, and spent more money. But hey, this one day vacation comes around only once a year. Like I said, its worth it.