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What's to do in Atlanta?

Friends, I'll be in Atlanta next month for work. I won't have a lot of free time, but if you live or have visited there, do you have any recommendations? What does one do in Atlanta? What should one not miss while there? 

I'll be staying "downtown." I have no idea what that means, but all the hotels say "downtown." So where should one eat when "downtown"?

I used to travel quite a bit for my last job, and this job has been different. Which is a good thing now that I'm a mom, but I am pretty excited to be jet setting again, even if it's just for a few days and I don't have time to do much but work. This will be the longest I've been away from Mo, even though it's just three nights. She'll be fine though, and so will I. 

But what should I do with my three days in Atlanta?


Mo's first participatory Easter

Last year was Mo's first Easter, but she was three months old and just kind of laid there, like she didn't even care. She hardly even participated in the egg hunt!


This year, however, she really got into it. A week before Easter, we colored eggs, which, actually, that wasn't her favorite part. It mostly this:

Easter 2014

But Easter weekend, she actually had a lot of fun. Saturday we hung out with my family, and my step-mom put together an egg hunt for the kids. I didn't think Mo would get into it, but turns out she's a Easter egg hunting master! We showed her once what the idea was, and from there, she had it figured out. She'd carry her basket to an egg, set the basket down, grab the egg, place it in the basket, pick up the basket and move on to the next egg. Her poor older cousins, nobody was even paying attention to them because we were all so entertained by Mo.

Mo easter egg hunt


It was a gorgeous day, so we played outside. Mo drew with sidewalk chalk, played on the swing, tried to play basketball with the big kids, and even tried to be a skater!

Mo skateboarding

On Sunday, we gave her a meager little Easter basket. Then we spent the afternoon with Mike's family. I didn't realize Easter was such a big gift giving holiday, but Mo actually got a lot of stuff: books and candy and stuffed animals. And a miniature wagon.

Mo in a mini wagon

I was totally caught off guard, but grateful for how loved she is.

Mo bunny ears


Happy (belated) Easter!


Easter family photo


Mo - Fifteen months

This morning I was thinking about how much Mo has changed in the last few months. It's not that long ago that she turned one, and back then she wasn't walking or climbing. Now that's about all she does! She can get onto all the furniture, including the end tables in the living room, which I recently found her standing on. She not only walks everywhere, but has started experimenting with running (sort of) a little bit. She figured out how to break out of the "baby wall" of objects we use to contain her in the living room.

Mo with her balloon

When we do let her out (like she's a dog, ha!) she just wanders around the house entertaining herself with whatever crap she finds behind the furniture. Her favorite place is this little nook behind our arm chair and next to a table. We always find her little face peeking out from back there as she rips up a tissue or plays with nail clippers she found. She also loves to climb onto the chair. We always say, "On the buns!" which she knows means she needs to sit down. But she thinks it's hilarious to ignore us and keep standing until we make a move to pull her off. Then she flails her body into a sitting position, as if we won't remember she hasn't been like that the whole time. We're pretty good at consistency though. If we said we were going to pull her off, we pull her off, even if she managed to get on the buns before we get to her.


Now that it's finally warming up a bit, we've been getting outside more. When we first put Mo on the grass, she didn't know what to do. She wouldn't even walk on it! But after a couple minutes she decided it was safe and then she explored the whole yard.


Her favorite thing to do is visit the neighbor's dog. When we're inside, she loves to look out the window in hopes that Ellen will be there, and when she is, Mo laughs with joy. Then when we go out and she can visit through the fence, she flips out.

checking out ellen the neighbor dog

Speaking of animals, Mo loves them, all of them. Alive or stuffed. She loves people too. Not in a show-off-center-of-attention way, but in a beautiful-big-heart way. Whenever one of her aunts or grandparents is over, she wants to be held by them or sit in their lap. She just wants to be near them and show them love. Her love of people and animals is one of the things I love most about her. Maybe THE thing I love most. She has such a beautiful, wonderful spirit that I admire and envy. 

thrilled to see neighbor dog

Mo still isn't talking much. I'm still not concerned, but I'm always reminded how little she talks when my nephew is around. We just named him Talking Bear and call him The Orator because he is so verbal! Even though she is very noisy and knows how to communicate, Mo still only consistently and correctly says "uh oh." When she was a tiny baby, she was so noisy, always chirping and cooing. We used to say we couldn't wait until she could talk because she clearly had so much to say. It's still true today. She is noisy and expressive, and I can't wait to hear what she has to say. I know, without a doubt, someday she'll talk my ear off.

Mo kissing mom



Things are weird lately. Mike is out of work and staying home with Mo, which means they spend their days together while I go to work, and they've developed a nice little routine. It's wonderful. But then I get home from work and I've missed the whole thing, and I hate that. I'm still her mama, still her favorite when it comes down to it, but the fact that I'm missing out on so much of her life is much more apparent now that Mike isn't missing it, too. 

To add to the new household dynamic, we've got a temporary tenant living in our guest room. She's a high school senior that my mom knows who needed a place to go. We offered our extra room to her at the end of January with the understanding that a) she would pay us a small amount of rent, and b) while we had room in our house for her, we didn't exactly have room in our lives. Meaning, we have so much going on and it's a very delicate dance to keep it altogether, and if she was going to be in our space, she couldn't disturb our routine. Or our peace. It needed to be NO maintenance. 

Well, it hasn't been that exactly. We should have known. But now we're counting down the days till she's scheduled to move out. Not because we dislike her. It's just not easy fitting another person, a stranger essentially, into everything else.

Work has also been more stressful than usual the last few weeks. Fortunately, I really enjoy what I do, but lately, by the end of Monday I can't believe it's not yet Friday.

Usually I have yoga to help balance me out, but I had to miss it two weeks in a row, then our instructor took two weeks off (a group of coworkers and I pay someone to come right into work and we do yoga in a conference room), and now I haven't had a moment of savasana in a month!

So things are weird, and I'm ready for them to go back to normal I think. Of course there's always this to cheer me up...

Mo in carriers with Mom



Minus one job

When one of the two breadwinners in your household loses his job (because his position was eliminated for financial reasons), you try to focus on the positives. Because even though we rely on both of our incomes to make ends meet, when Mike lost his job recently, there were definitely worse scenarios we could have imagined. 


  • It sucks to have to leave your job on someone else's terms.


  • He gets full pay for a couple months. HUGE pro! We're saving what we can in that time.
  • If he's not employed by the end of that time, he will hopefully be eligible for enough unemployment to buy us a little more time.
  • We pulled Mo out of daycare for the time being, and that means she gets to spend time with Dad, who can do the fun things that (most) stay-at-home parents do with their kids!
  • Our daycare was incredibly understanding, offering to hold her spot for as long as possible. And also offering hourly care as needed if/when Mike has interviews.
  • We've been pretty good about our budget lately, so it was easy to identify some temporary changes we could make. 
  • I participated in a poverty simulation recently, and yeah, it could be a hell of a lot worse!

All that said, we are still a little nervous. I mean we have no reason not to believe that everything will work out fine. For the better, even. But there's just no telling. We pretty much need for Mike to get a job equivalent to or better than the one he left, at least in terms of pay and benefits. Unless we want to sell our house. Or go to jail for not paying our student loans. Pretty sure you go to jail for that.

We're not interested in relocating, but if you happen to have any connections or job leads in West Michigan, please let me know! Mike comes from the food industry (not just cooking, not just restaurants), but is open to career changes if an opportunity presents itself.

Also, bonus Mo photo. Monus photo? Bonus Moto? Monus Moto? No.

Mo's monster hat