April 28, 2016

Being More Intentional

After I graduated from college I had no idea what my future held, so in an effort to postpone making the very adult decision of what I would do for the rest of my life, I decided to enroll in law school. Did I want to practice law? No, but I went anyway. It was an opportunity squandered. I hated almost the entire experience and my time there only lasted a year. Needless to say, I accumulated a little legal knowledge, a good amount of student loans, and a career that went in a completely different direction. (I did meet some wonderful people.)

During that year, I continued to struggle to find my own personal identity, I was in the throws of love with my now-husband and I battled against the new realization that all my best friends had packed up and moved back to their respective home states after college. I was left nearly friendless in my college town. I was in a new phase of life and it wasn't one that I enjoyed all that much, except for the love part. 

My best friends were aware of my struggle and even though miles and state lines keep us from close physical proximity, we were always chatting on the phone, sending emails, and Facebook messages - anything that could keep us connected. They too were living out their new-found realities after college. One returned home to her new husband, another back to the cold of Canada, and another to the beautiful views of Colorado. One of my very best friends returned home to a job she didn't particularly love and to the realization that her mom was battling a very aggressive form of cancer. 

To say that her situation put perspective on my own "perceived" unhappiness is nothing short of the truth. My best friend lifted her head from her pillow each day and took on the world with strength and dignity and so did her mother. With the faith of Jesus in both of these women's hearts, they battled daily with the intimate knowledge that cancer and Christ claim lives in their own time. There were a lot of ups and downs. Tears were shed and bonds were strengthened and some broken. 

I remember coming home one day to a small box sitting on my front stoop. I love snail mail and immediately opened it to discover post-it notes, a journal, a Starbucks gift card and a card from my best friend's mom - yes, the one battling cancer. 

Her note said she thought of me, she prayed for me, she knew I was facing challenges in law school and she asked God to comfort me on my journey. She sent some goodies to ease my burden. Ease my burden. Let that sink in. This amazing woman, who was facing quite literally the fight of her life, wanted to help ease my burden. She prayed for me. She was thinking of me

I was shocked, stunned might be more accurate. How selfless she was in her time of need and how selfish I was to think that my healthy reality could be that bad. I learned a lesson from that moment, although it's taken me years to really understand it. I learned a lesson about intention. That while the intention of our hearts may hold kindness, thoughtfulness, selflessness and other amazing virtues without action those intentions are just fleeting.

I walk through the aisles of Target and see all the beautiful greeting cards announcing Grandparent's Day or some other upcoming special occasion. I see gorgeous little headbands that would be perfect for my friend's little girl. I notice the song playing in the background that makes me smile and think about some of the dance parties I had with those great college friends. Yet I don't buy the card and send it to tell my friend I'm thinking of them. I don't normally buy the headbands or send the text telling those amazing and special women in my life that the memories I have with them mean the world to me. Why? I honestly don't know, a lot of time I make up some excuse like "I don't have enough time" or "I would but it's so expensive..." Today I am making the commitment to be more intentional with my thoughts so that they become prayers and actions. I want people to remember me like I remember my friend's mom: selfless, thoughtful, caring, and a women of God. 

Proverbs 20:5 tells us, "The intention of the human heart is deep water, but the intelligent draw it forth."

"The intention of the human heart is deep water, but the intelligent draw it forth." Proverbs 20:5

I know that in my heart flows deep rivers of intention but I, to this point, have been unintelligent. I have let those intentions grow stale in my heart and fade to the backgrounds of my memory. If I learned anything from my best friend's mom it is that you don't know how many days you have ahead, you cannot sit around thinking that you can put the intentions of your heart on hold until tomorrow. Tomorrow might not come. Therefore, I've made a small list of things I plan to do to be more intentional:

1. Send letters or cards to five different friends or family members - just because.

2. Call two people I haven't spoken to this month, to catch up and really listen to what is happening in their life.

3. Send two small care packages with something bought and something homemade in each. These would go to people that don't receive the letters/cards mentioned above. (I want to reach as many people as possible).

4. Designate a day to someone and be very intentional with my thoughts and prayers for that person. This will be done in the privacy of my own heart and I will NOT tell the person about my intention but God will hear the cry of my heart.

5. Make baked goods for two different neighbor families. A new family just moved in with twin two-year-old boys - I have a feeling they are going to be great friends with my littles.

I challenge you to be more intentional with your thoughts and prayers. Join me in this commitment to manifest the intentions of your heart. What are some things that you can do in your everyday life to bring forth the deep waters of your heart?

This post was originally written as a guest post for New Crunchy Mom.

Be Blessed,
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April 21, 2016

Packing for the Hospital - Labor and Delivery

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and I will receive a commission if you click on one of those links and make a purchase. 

Your feet are swollen, your belly has bulged and you probably haven't been getting much sleep - you are in the final stretch of your pregnancy - congratulations! One of your biggest considerations at this point is what you need to pack in your hospital bag for labor and delivery. Eight months ago I was blessed with baby #2 and after three hospital visits, I had a very clear understanding of what was needed for a Labor and Delivery bag.

Before I delve into the necessities for a hospital L&D bag I'll share one piece of advice with you - pack early - at least make sure you are gathering these things around 30 weeks. If something should happen and you need to rush to the hospital early, the last thing you want to think about is laundry and making sure you have all your toiletries packed. With my first child I went into labor early and I was so thankful that I took the time to pack my bag ahead of time.

Packing for Labor and Delivery

A Lightweight Bag 
You're already carrying enough extra weight, make sure that whatever bag you take with you to the hospital doesn't add to your load. Find a bag that is lightweight, durable and easy to maneuver. You may change rooms several times during your hospital stay and you want something that will hold up and is easy to identify. I would also caution you not to overpack. Try to limit yourself to just the essentials.

Identification (Drivers License) and Insurance Card 
Eliminate a lot of worry and paperwork by preregistering at your hospital when you're around 30 weeks pregnant and always have your drivers license and health insurance card available. It will make the check in process much shorter and you will likely take priority if there is a line of other women waiting for a room.

A List of Current Medications
You are going to fill out some forms (well, lots of forms), nurses are going to ask you questions (lots of questions) - one question that will come up repeatedly is for a list of current medications, dosage amounts and the last time you took the each. Prescriptions, OTC and prenatal vitamins should all be on this list. If you're like me I can't remember what I was doing five minutes ago so I put a list together on my phone. I had easy access to it when the nurses asked me for the obscure names of my medications. 

Money for Parking
Most hospitals have parking garages or metered parking. Make sure to bring some cash, don't rely solely on credit or debit, to help cover the cost to park conveniently. 

Not to get too personal, but just don't even bother with the cute underwear or thongs. You're about to have a child, there's no shame. Pack those grannie panties - you'll thank me later. 

If you decide to have a vaginal delivery there is going to be some blood after the delivery. The hospital will provide you with some heavy duty pads - take advantage of these and stock up but just in case you'll want to have some extra-strength pads with you. I'm not talking about panty liners ladies think something just below an adult diaper. Honestly if your bag is getting full, you can likely skip this - just give your hospital a call to make sure they'll be providing enough pads for your stay and your journey home. 

Two pairs of warm, comfortable socks 
When you're not in the middle of delivery you might be asked to walk (or waddle) around the corridors of the hospital or you may need to catch up on some much needed shut eye. In either circumstance, comfy socks are a great asset. Plus, hospitals almost always keep things cool, so if you are cold by nature you'll want to bundle up. 

Flip flops
Some hospitals have private showers for each patient, some require you to share with others, either way - just like when you went to summer camp or freshman year in your college dorm - you'll probably want some sturdy flip flops for the shower. Also, if your feet swell before or after delivery they maybe the only pair of shoes that fit. 

Comfort is key with pajamas but it's also important to think about coverage. At one point or another you'll likely walk the halls in your PJs so make sure you're comfortable. If you plan on nursing take pajamas that are easy to manipulate for when you want to feed the baby. An option like this one would be perfect. If you're planning on a cesarian delivery I would air toward a gown-like option as you likely won't want the added pressure of a waistband against your scars. This option is great

Most L&D hospital stays range from 2-4 days so make sure to pack all the toiletries you'll need. Here is a small list of items you might want to consider bringing with you: a toothbrush and toothpaste, if you wear contacts be sure to pack an extra pair of them plus your glasses and any necessary eye care items, face wash, moisturizer, body wash, body lotion, shampoo and conditioner, a razor and shaving cream,  a comb/brush, hair spray, hair ties or any hair accessories you may want for during and after labor (fabric headbands are a great option to help keep your hair out of your face), chapstick, deodorant....

Straightener/Blow Dryer/Curling Iron
After two days of sweaty labor you'll likely want to quickly refresh yourself, especially if you're having hospital visitors or pictures taken. Some hospitals provide blow dryers but not all of them do so come prepared if it's important to you to do your hair during your stay. But no  pressure there's no shame in the mom bun! 

Similarly you may want to freshen up before or after delivery so be sure to pack your makeup. I recommend waterproof products since you just may shed a tear or two when you get to meet your new bundle of joy. 

Money for the vending machines
A lot of hospitals have vending options and the birthing process can last hours, if not days. It's best to be prepared for a late-night chocolate craving and have a few extra dollars handy. Plus if you're laboring during late-night hours the cafeteria options may not be open. 

If you have a favorite snack, that's easy to tote (like my favorite peanut butter and honey crackers) pack them. Hospitals aren't known for their gourmet cuisine. Also, unless you walk in 7 cm dilated with some serious contractions you may play a bit of a waiting game having something to snack on doesn't hurt.

Clothes for the baby
Don't forget you're packing for two now. Hospitals oftentimes provide things like receiving blankets, diapers and wipes so I wouldn't worry about packing those, but you will need a take home outfit. Also if you're planning on having pictures taken of your little one at the hospital you might also pack a simple outfit to show off your new bundle of joy. 

Don't miss a moment of your beautiful birthing experience. Make sure to bring your camera and/or video camera and any necessary chargers.

A List of People to Update 
During the hustle of childbirth, details can be missed. If you have a list of names and phone numbers prepared ahead of time, indicating who you'd like to contact with updates, it will help you stay focused but you can rest assured that everyone that needs to know about your status is aware of what's happening.

What to Pack When You're Expecting

Thank You Cards 
Nurses, doctors, friendly neighbors, front desk clerks - you'll never know to whom you'll need to extend an extra special thank you. It's best to be prepared with some thank you notes handy in your hospital bag. This is not meaning to say that everyone you encounter should receive one but there will be some people that go above and beyond and how nice will it be when you have a little something that acknowledges their kindness.

Once admitted to the hospital you never know if the birthing process will be minutes, hours or even days. Be prepared with something that will keep you stress-free but also entertained. I'm ob-sessed with my Kindle Paperwhite.

Wash Cloth and Towel
It's nice to have the comforts of home. Hospitals have wash clothes and towels available but should you feel more comfortable with your own, be sure to pack them. Just make sure that they are clearly marked or very easy to recognize.

Clothes for your Husband/Boyfriend/Partner
You and your partner will be staying in the hospital so it's important that they feel comfortable too. I suggest that your partner brings an extra pair of clothes, something to sleep in and all their toiletries.

A Car Seat
Taking baby home is the most essential part of your trip to the hospital, so having a safe car seat ready to go is of the utmost importance. This is the one we use and love. You may want to consider taking your car seat to your local fire station. They will make sure your car seat is installed correctly so you can bring home baby safe and sound.

Hospitals can be noisy places, people are consistently in and out, nurses are changing shifts and babies are crying consistently. You'll likely be sleep deprived those first couple days (okay, months) and you may need to nap in the middle of the afternoon, having a pair of headphones can help you relax. Some women also like to have a playlist prepared for while they labor.

Eye Mask
There will almost always be some sort of light on in your room and nurses and caregivers will come in and out of your room. Similar to headphones an eye mask - like this one - can help you shield out light and get some much needed R&R.

A Pillow 
The pillows the hospital provides are a little thicker than a piece of paper. If you are a picky pillow sleeper, feel free to bring your own pillow but make sure it's easy to identify and clearly marked - you don't want to loose it in the shuffle from room to room.

A Robe 
Post labor you'll be encouraged to get up and walk around to regain your energy. Bring a robe that is at least knee length so that you can venture through the hospital hallways.

Gas in your Car
Alright so this isn't necessarily something you keep in your hospital bag but the last thing you'll want to do if you're having contractions is stop to fill up your tank. Make sure you start rolling with at least half a tank of gas by the time you reach 34 weeks.

What are your hospital must-haves for Labor and Delivery?

Be Blessed,
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April 11, 2016

Pressing Pause 100 Quiet Moments for Moms to Meet with Jesus By Karen Ehman and Ruth Schwenk

Disclosure: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links and I will receive a commission if you click on one of those links and make a purchase. 

It's been 72 hours since I've had any sort of significant sleep. A thunderstorm and a teething baby mean that both my boys were inevitably up in the middle of the night. Were they awake at the same time? Of course not! They like to spread the love so that mom and dad get as little sleep as possible. Now all kidding aside, if you're a parent you've surely done this same kind of song and dance. You can likely relate to the ups and sometimes downs of parenting and the sometimes dire need to just press pause and relax.

I was recently introduced to the devotional, Pressing Pause 100 Quiet Moments for Moms to Meet with Jesus By Karen Ehman and Ruth Schwenk. These two women understand the tasks of motherhood; the sleepless nights, the fears and triumphs, the dirty diapers, the screaming babies and uncooked meals but most of all the constant need for Jesus. Each day they present a Scripture verse and expand upon it's meaning with real-life, motherhood examples. At the end of each short devotional, there is a 2-3 sentence prayer and a couple questions to help you continue the study and apply the lessons to your own life. 

Pressing Pause

The first thing that caught my eye with this devotional is the stunning design. It's a hardback book with a purple string page marker and purple foil details on the cover. The design is simple and elegant and before I ever opened to the first page I was genuinely excited to read it. I judge a book by its cover, and in this case, I knew I had a winner. The inside is equally as beautiful with a tasteful purple and green design that carries you throughout the devotional. 

This is a great devotional for busy moms that need a little extra help to stop and find Jesus each day. I would not consider this a deep devotional - it just skims the surface of each topic but the authors do a fantastic job of relating the Scripture to motherhood. I do wish there was more space to write my thoughts after each devotional. Also, because there are two authors every other chapter is written by either Ruth or Karen and it says their name at the top of the passage. I had a hard time finding any kind of flow to the lessons but later mentally allowed myself to just let each individual devotional stand on its own. The authors do a great job presenting Biblical truth in a challenging and relatable way and I would recommend this book for any mom trying to connect with Jesus. 

Hint: this would make an incredible gift for first-time moms.

BookLook Bloggers provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review. I was not compensated for this review and all opinions are my own.
Be Blessed,
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April 6, 2016

A Service to Mothers

When I was younger I played soccer competitively. Each year on Mother's Day my team played for the state championship and our mothers would devote their day to our service; standing on the sidelines cheering us on as our little legs ran up and down the field. They celebrated our victory as if it was their own. They didn't get breakfast in bed or extra time to read their favorite book, they sacrificed themselves for their children, as mothers always seem to do.

As a small token of our appreciation, I would coordinate a small team "thank you" for our mothers prior to the game. Each girl would run a single-stemmed flower to their mother with a small note of thanks. It wasn't much but I think the gesture itself meant a lot to them.

A Service to Mothers - A faith-filled service project for Mother's Day

I was thinking about Mother's Day recently and thought about how sad it would be if my children forgot about me during that day. If they failed to say, "I love you." I don't need much but it's nice to hear that we're appreciated as moms every now and then. This train of thought got me thinking about getting older. About how it's more important than ever that I remember my grandmothers, my mom, my aunts and the women I'm close to that are courageous, spiritual examples of amazing mothers. It's important that I send them notes of thanks and encouragement that I let them know they're important to me. I cannot sit on the sidelines and expect them to "just know" that they have been tremendous blessings in my life.

Next thing I know my mind is wondering, thinking about all the women who won't hear from their children. The children who get so wrapped in their own lives they won't stop by, if they are able, to say hi to their mom or even send her a card. Well, I came up with a simple solution - I could make them cards. Well not me necessarily but I could make cards with my children and we can deliver them to a nearby nursing home the week of Mother's Day. Who doesn't love a card? And who doesn't love a card made by a child?

So here's my plan, and of course - I need your help.  I plan on making at least 100 Mother's Day cards with my boys which we will then deliver to women in a nearby nursing home. They don't need to be fancy cards, just a small note of thanks expressing your gratitude and prayers for these mothers. We used some construction paper, crayons, and stickers to make our first batch. My son drew "roads" and "flowers" and "scribble lines" but he paid careful attention to each of the cards adding his personal touch. I'm asking you to rally your littles and make some cards for these deserving mothers. Gather some art supplies and be creative.

A Service to Mothers - A faith-filled service project for Mother's Day

Here are some of the requirements for the cards:
  • Please reach out to me and let me know that you plan on participating - email me here
  • The card must say "Happy Mother's Day" in some form or fashion
  • The card should include a bible verse on the back - please choose a loving, encouraging verse
  • On the back, at the bottom each card should say, "This card was made special for you by [Add your child's name], age [add your child's age]. 
  • Collect your cards in a manila envelope and postmark them to me by April 25, 2015
  • Have fun and teach your children about service to others
I hope you'll consider joining me in thanking these women for their years of sacrifice and motherhood. I've even created a Pinterest board if you need some inspiration - if you'd like to collaborate on the board just follow me on Pinterest and let me know you'd like to be a collaborator. It takes very little to offer a blessing to someone and to brighten their day. A card from a child is such a beautiful way to say, "Happy Mother's Day."

Be Blessed,
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March 31, 2016

It's Really None of Your Business

What did you have for dinner last night? Do you even remember? If you're like me you likely don't remember what you did five minutes ago let alone last night!

I was recently thinking how awkward it would be if someone walked up to me in the grocery store, asked me what I had for dinner last night and continued to judge me accordingly. If I said fast food their assumption might be I'm clearly not going to succeed in life - but if I said something like fresh, organic fruit with cage-free chicken breasts I'd be in the winner's column. Stay with me here when I make a leap. So why is it so different with breastfeeding?

Breast vs Bottle - It's none of your business

First of all, it's none of your business what I had for dinner and it's none of your business what my children eat - so asking me in the grocery store, or the mall, or the library or any number of places, whether or not I breastfeed my child is frankly none of your business. Furthermore, if you want to judge me based on my response then I challenge you to let me judge you based on your diet.

My children are fed and happy and I care for them daily and if you'd like to judge me on anything, judge me on the amount of love I shower on my children daily. Ask me how many books I read my son before he went to bed the night prior. Ask me how many pictures we colored or birds we watched. Ask me if we played outside or built a fort. Ask me if I wake up in the middle of the night when he's scared and needs someone to cuddle with him until the thunder and lightning pass. Ask me if I put glowsticks in his bath or green food coloring in his milk to make an ordinary day extra special. Ask me almost anything about being a good caretaker for my children - if they are happy, say their prayers and have safe shelter. If you're really that interested go ahead and ask them if they've ever gone hungry.

You know what they'd say. They'd say that they are cared for in every conceivable way. I do my best and I try to lead by example. They will tell you I cook homemade meals almost daily and that their little tummies are full. They would tell you that they've had so much fun since their last meal that they too can't remember what they ate - unless you are talking about the bugs outside.

Here's a tip that will make all mamas feel better - just don't ask. What are you getting out of the knowledge that my child is breast or bottle fed? Will the information in any way change your day or outlook on life? But when you ask me, it is invading my personal space. It makes me feel judged and while you might walk away and never think about the conversation again, I will turn it over and over in my mind before bed for weeks. Don't make me lose sleep because of your insensitivity. Really when was it ever any of your business what we eat for dinner. Yes, I'm saying this as I look at the frozen pizza, potato chips, and heaps of premade donuts in your grocery cart. I'm not asking you what's on the menu tonight.

From a mom who feeds and loves her children

If you are a breatfeeding mama check out these great nursing essentials!

Be Blessed,
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March 25, 2016

A Visit to the Georgia Aquarium

What's your earliest memory from your childhood? Just how far back can you actually remember? What will be my son's first memory? How can I ensure that it's not a memory of me as the ultimate hot mess express? How can I make sure that he actually remembers any one of the amazing memories I try to create for him every week?

I'm hoping that when my son grows older and searches the vast depths of his childhood he remembers, at least, a small glimpse of this past weekend. And really, I'm not asking for that much considering that he was at the Georgia Aquarium, in a moving tunnel, surrounded by some of the world's most incredible creatures, underneath the wings of a stingray that probably would not fit into our family room? Our Sunday morning experience at the aquarium was an absolute blast and a must see for anyone that plans to visit or lives near Atlanta, Georgia.

I've now had the pleasure of going to the aquarium during two completely different life stages; most recently as a mom and during my first visit, back in 2009, as a dating couple with my now husband. Both experiences were equally fulfilling and truly made for an awesome adventure. Before getting into any specifics I would say that going to the Georgia Aquarium is worth a visit at almost any age.

Georgia Aquarium

All the adults in our group had been to the aquarium previously, but it was the first time for both of my children - ages three and almost eight months. It was the absolute perfect age to take my three-year-old. But if you're weighing your options for out-side-the-home activities for children under the age of three, I might wait. The reason I say this is because it is a bit of an investment at $36.95 for adults (ages 13-64) and $30.95 for children ages 3-12. It is free for children under 3, which is a bonus, but at almost $40 for an adult, I personally would wait and not spend that amount of money until I knew my children would remember and enjoy the experience. I should mention that there are plenty of ways to get discounts on tickets so be sure to scour the interweb if you plan on visiting the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta.

We decided to go to the aquarium early on a Sunday morning - we saved 20% on tickets because we were there within two hours of it opening and we bought the tickets online. Personally, I think this was a good call on my husband's part, the children were awake and alert, the lines were short and parking was plentiful. We left right when things started to get busier downtown. When I went to bed Saturday night I was like a six-year-old on Christmas Eve, I literally couldn't sleep because I was so excited. So when we arrived I was downright jittery.

Before you walk through the aquarium doors you have a chance to get your picture taken in front of a green screen. This happens quickly so beware - but if you're so inclined, you can purchase the pictures at a booth inside. We did buy the picture package which cost about $35. It included an 8x10, a 4x6, and two smaller sized prints and matching magnetic photo frames. In my opinion, it was worth the money to remember the experience but if you're on a budget this is a novelty that you might want to skip.

Georgia Aquarium

Once you walk into the air-conditioned venue, you'll find yourself in a large atrium that connects each of the different sections of the Georgia Aquarium: River Scout, Coldwater Quest, Dolphin Tales, Ocean Voyager, Tropical Diver, and coming March 31 - Sea Lions. There is also a very clean and well-lit cafeteria with plenty of hot and cold options, a banquet area upstairs and clean bathrooms with plenty of room and changing stations.

We went directly to the Sea Lions, who are on special display until their exhibit opens at the end of March. Instantly my oldest son was captivated and I knew at that moment that he was going to love his experience that morning.

We made our way through the section of the Georgia Aquarium named River Scout which is home to the American Alligator, tons of amazing fish and river creatures and the most adorable group of otters you may ever lay your eyes upon. It was quickly evident that the architects of the Georgia Aquarium clearly had children in mind when they put their design in motion. There are small entryways, secret bubble viewing glasses, and hallways through which only the tiniest guests can walk.

Georgia Aquarium Otters

Next, we headed up the escalator to the Dolphain viewing area. We did not see the show Dolphin Tales but as an Atlanta resident, I've heard nothing but great things about it. I do know that photogrpahy at the show is strictly prohibited. But if you, like us, decide not to go to Dolphin Tales, make sure you check out the dolphines in their tank. It's an absolutely amazing experience to be in such close proximity to these beautiful sea creatures. The dolphines swim very close to the glass and it seems almost like they know you're there and they are swimming by just to say "hi." You cannot take strollers into the dolphine viewing deck but there is a stroller parking area just at the bottom of the escalator.

Georgia Aquarium Dolphins

Following Dolphin Tales we stopped by the cafeteria to grab a couple coffees and some quick snacks. - got to keep the kids fed so they wouldn't get cranky. We did not have any of the prepared food but I can say it smelled amazing and I'd have no trouble ordering something off the menu. The dining area was impecably clean and I felt very comfortable eating there with my children and family. There was a small gift shop off to the side of the cafeteria in case you want to take home a token from your trip. We also made a potty break and I took my potty-training son with me to the women's bathroom. The bathrooms were very clean and there was an attendant in the bathroom during both of my visits.

Coldwater Conquest is home to the penguins, which is what my son was most looking forward to seeing. I know I've said it several times, but it really is amazing that we have the opportunity to stand so close to such magnificent creatures. I had the blessing of watching my son's face as some of his favorite cartoon characters took on their true form. The penguin display is fairly large and there is a kids tunnel that runs underneath the arctic area so that kids can explore and play. On one side of the tunnel there are two viewing windows that allow you to literally put your head in the middle of the penguins habitat - so naturally we took a penguin selfie.

Georgia Aquarium Penguins

In my opinion, the highlight of the entire Georgia Aquarium experience is the Ocean Voyager area. It's a huge tank that hosts a variety of stingrays, fish, turtles, sharks, whale sharks and many other creatures. There is a huge observatory that allows you to relax and sit down while you watch the oceanic life circle but to get there you walk (or stand on a moving platform) through a tunnel that completely surrounds you. You are literally emerged - without getting wet - into the mock ocean and it's mind boggling. If you want to see just how amazing this exhibit is you can visit the aquarium to take in the full experience but if it's not going to fit into your schedule this week they have a webcam you can check out here - set it to music and it's pretty mesmerizing.

Georgia Aquarium Stingray

Once we finished here we thought we were done so we packed up, met a couple of the fluffy, costumed creatures that walk the atrium and yes, took one more trip to the potty. It was at that point that we realized we have completely neglected to check out an entire section - Tropical Diver. Think tropical reef, colors and complete beauty and it might give you a good idea of what to expect. The jellyfish, the Nemos and Doris, the waves and the colors. Oh, the colors. Make sure you don't miss out on this part of the aquarium. If you follow me on Instagram then you might have seen this picture and it pretty much sums up how both my son and I felt as we wandered the halls with all the sea life - complete awe and wonderment.

Georgia Aquarium Kid and Fish

We hit up the store on the way out and there was plenty to distract your children choose from. My son got a small toy and we headed back to the covered parking garage.

All in all, the trip could have been more successful. We will be back and we can't wait to take our youngest son again when he can remember some of the beautiful flashes of fins and gills. Until then we are happy to reminisce on the turtles, pretend to walk like a penguin and dream about dolphins.

If you've been to the Georgia Aquarium I'd love to hear about your experience in the comments below.

Be Blessed,
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