Oh, Atlanta

Two weeks ago, my mom, sisters, and I packed our bags & began driving 5+ hours southwest to Atlanta! We had decided to go all out with this vacation, since (a) I just graduated from college -- big deal -- and (b) who knows if the four of us will ever get to do anything like this again?? We'll still have family vacations, of this I am sure. But over the course of the next five years, I'll get married, both of my sisters will graduate college, & we'll all have jobs/careers/lives of our own. Even if all four of the "Haynes girls" are able to get away for another trip together, we won't all have the same last name. (How crazy is that?) So, this was our grand hurrah as the "Haynes girls" --- next time, we'll be the "Haynes/Jones/Tebow/Tatum" girls ;)


A few highlights from the trip:

Centennial Park/anything having to do with the 1996 Olympics

I was six years old during the 1996 Olympics, but I remember it SO well. It's the first time I ever remember my parents allowing me to stay up past my bedtime, and my six year old self sat in front of the television watching the 1996 USA Women's Gymnastics Team, also known as the Magnificent Seven, win the first ever gold medal for the United States in the Women's Team Competition.

Because of that very moment, I was inspired to be a competitive gymnast, traveling across the state and becoming one of the top 15 Level 6 gymnasts in North Carolina by 2002... and it all started with those 1996 Olympics in Atlanta! It sounds cheesy to say that it was "life-changing," but it seriously did impact my life so dramatically. I can still name all seven of the girls on that Olympic team, so it was so neat to see the place where they competed 16 years ago!


Memorial Day Atlanta Braves game at Turner Field (vs. the St. Louis Cardinals)

The Braves had a HUGE pre-game ceremony in honor of Memorial Day: I'm talking members of the military stretching out a huge American flag in the outfield, a representative from each branch of the military with a star on the field, a retired general & former Vice Chief of Staff of the US Army throwing out the first pitch, a WWII vet honored on the pitcher's mound, a 21-gun salute, the playing of Taps, and an F-16 flyover.

Marine Corps, oorah! :)

the players of the Braves & Cardinals lining the bases with members of the military for the National Anthem

playing of Taps & an F-16 flyover. So legit.

Below is a pretty sweet video from the Atlanta Braves' website that gives an even better idea of what it was like.

I was unaware it was possible to cry so much at a baseball game... and not because the Braves lost (although they did... womp). Sure, I have a deeper connection to the military than most, but I promise you that everyone was crying when an Airman surprised his wife and four kids right there on the field after a six month deployment to Afghanistan.

And even though the Braves couldn't pull out a win, I got to attend my first Major League Baseball game. That's worth a trip to Atlanta in and of itself! ----- Trying on wedding dresses at the bridal salon featured on "Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta" True life: this happened! Pictures weren't allowed inside the salon, but we snagged a couple right outside the entrance & in the elevator. Who am I kidding... we snagged a couple when I was trying on dress after dress as well, but those aren't being posted anywhere ;) We had a blast -- the staff was incredibly nice & there was only one other girl trying on dresses while I was there (she was being filmed and actually said yes to a dress, so if you see an episode within the year with a girl from South Carolina who brought along at least seven friends and family members... look for us walking around in the background) :) ----- World of Coke Obsessed. So obsessed. A room with a giant screen that plays Coke commercials from throughout history, endless amounts of vintage memorabilia, a touch screen where you can try drawing the Coke logo, walls filled with Coke bottle art, a taste testing room with over 60 different Coke products from around the world... ...and the world's most snuggly polar bear. So in love. I want one. Seriously, though, I was in awe of the World of Coke (and I don't even drink soda!) If I ever go back to Atlanta, World of Coke will the my #1 place to revisit. ----- Bugs Bunny at Six Flags I don't go to Six Flags to ride roller coasters. Nope. (I don't ride roller coasters, period). I went to Six Flags to meet Bugs Bunny. My most precious stuffed animal in the world is named Bugs Bunny... even though it is just a bunny rabbit that looks nothing like Bugs. (Don't hate--I named him when I was three). I loved me some Looney Tunes when I was growing up (I had a Tweety Bird bookbag well past the acceptable age of having cartoon bookbags), and was elated to stumble upon Daffy, Taz, and Bugs during our trip. ----- We packed a lot of other things into our Atlanta visit: we went to Passion City Church (where Chris Tomlin is the worship leader... it's casual) on Sunday, ate at Johnny Rocket's & The Varsity, saw glimpses of both Georgia Tech's and SCAD's (swoon!) campuses, reverted to a bunch of seven year old girls in the American Girl Doll Store, and hiked Stone Mountain.
This was actually a miserable hike... and I'm the summer camp counselor extraordinaire who loves hiking/has hiked trails over 10x longer than this one. Womp. Regardless, we lived to tell about it... barely :) Thanks for the memories, Atlanta!
Haynes girls forever <3