Atlanta Trip with Riese recap

Hey friends! Riese (our 5 year old) and I had a fun adventure last weekend: we flew down to Atlanta, Georgia for the weekend to visit my high school best friend Jenny and her family! 

Jenny comes up to visit the DC area fairly often since her siblings both live here, but she didn’t have any plans to do so this summer so she pitched us coming down to visit her instead. The idea of a plane ride with Wes (2 years old) was not sounding super fun, plus Jenny’s kids are all older and don’t nap anymore or anything, so instead I thought: what if Riese and I just came down on our own for a big kid trip?!

Riese had been begging to go on an airplane ride for ages (the last time she was on an airplane was when she was 2 and we had a complete travel hot mess going to Aspen with family over Christmas/NYE, right before the pandemic), so this seemed like the perfect opportunity!

This past weekend worked best for everyone schedule-wise, and Jenny’s husband had to work all weekend anyway so she was happy to have company. The only complication was that we missed Father’s Day on Sunday, but Matt was cool with doing a re-do this coming weekend!

Riese and I flew out on Saturday mid-morning and came back Monday evening (it was a holiday – Juneteenth – so Matt was off of work to hang with Wes and there was no camp, so that worked out well and was cheaper than doing a Friday to Sunday trip).

As for the actual trip, turns out traveling with a 5.5 year old instead of a 2 year old is wayyyyyyyyyy easier. 😉 

Riese was thrilled to be in the airport checking out all the planes come and go from the window, and I snagged her a window seat for the flight so she could see the action during takeoff and landing. It was so cute how excited she was about it all.

When she got bored I had 1,000 snacks (trail mix, popcorn, crackers, pretzels, dried fruit, etc.), some coloring books and activity books, and also her audiobook player (she has a Yoto (<- Amazon affiliate link) and loves it). 

For lunch on the way there, I packed us both tuna sandwiches (using my tuna salad with avocado recipe, which is her fave), plus carrots, bell peppers, chickpeas (she randomly loves them plain, straight from the can – just rinsed), and some orange and apple (pre-peeled/sliced for less mess). 

Jenny and her three kids (she has two girls, age 10 and almost 8, and one boy, who is almost 6) picked us up at the airport and we drove an hour north to her house. Once there, we dropped our stuff and got changed and headed to the pool! 

I love swimming and so does Riese (she still wears floaties for now – we need to get her some swim lessons…), and we don’t belong to a pool at home so it was a fun treat!

Riese really hit it off with Jenny’s almost 8 year old girl, Kira – they had a blast playing with mermaids in the pool and swimming around, and I had fun doing some handstand competitions, having underwater tea parties, etc. Playing with Kira got me really excited for when Riese can legit swim and do this stuff with me too!

We ordered pizza to the pool for dinner which worked out well so we didn’t get home with hangry kids. 

We asked Riese whether she’d rather sleep in a bed with me, or have a sleepover with either Jenny’s almost 6 year old boy or the two big girls, and she wanted to do a sleepover with the big girls (she’s very much in a “I only want to play with/hang out with girls” phase, with a few exceptions).

Riese is such an extrovert and was THRILLED to be having a sleepover with the big girls. So sweet. 

On Sunday morning, I had some eggs, banana bread, and fruit to kick off the day. 

Once I digested a bit, Jenny and I went out for a quick run and left her 10 year old in charge (having a kid old enough to babysit briefly is amazing…)

We did a 3 mile run – 1.5 miles out and back from her house. It felt good to get out and was nice to have a little time just the two of us as well, especially since the big kids go to bed on the later side and I didn’t stay up much later than they did so we weren’t hanging out much at night together. 😉 #oldlady

Once we were back, everyone had an early lunch (a bagel with goat cheese, smoked salmon, and capers for me) plus some kiwi:

And then we headed over to the playground for a bit, but the kids were all hot and not really feeling it so we decided to go back to the pool instead!

How fun is this – Jenny had mermaid tails that Riese and Kira put on to swim! This was when they came out of the water to “sun their fins” and also to pretend they were in a museum and people were paying to come see them as mermaids (love little kid imagination):

The mermaid tails were basically a swimsuit-like fabric, and then the bottom is an actual flipper than you put your feet into in a V shape so that you can swim. So cool! Riese had her floaties on in the pool which ruined the look a bit but she still had a blast. 😉 

We ended up staying at the pool for 4 hours and heading back in time for baths and dinnertime. 

Dinner was some burgers Jenny’s husband Dan cooked for us on the grill, plus baked beans and a kale slaw salad:

On Monday morning, I had the same breakfast again:

After breakfast, Jenny and I did a 20 minute Peloton yoga flow in her basement (love Anna Greenberg, she’s my fave):

And then Riese and I got our stuff all packed up and into the car and we all (minus Jenny’s 10 year old girl, who went to a friend’s house) went to the Atlanta Zoo! 

It worked out perfectly as the Zoo was on the way to the airport – about 40 minutes away, and then it was another 20 on to the airport. Riese hadn’t been to the DC Zoo in a couple years so she was super excited!

We had a lot of fun seeing the animals, and the rain thankfully held off for us. It was actually really nice because with the clouds it wasn’t super hot, and the rainy forecast kept a lot of people away so it wasn’t crowded – win/win. 

We didn’t have a ton of time to spend because we had to get to the airport after lunch, but it was enough to do one big loop!

Lunch at the Zoo exceeded my expectations – we went to their “Nourish Cafe” and Riese was excited to have a hot dog, and I was excited to find they had a Greek salad on the menu to which I added some chicken and a quinoa vegetable salad thingy. It was really good and just what I wanted!

We were really sad to head to the airport after lunch and to say goodbye – and Riese was extra sad to say goodbye to her new bestie Kira! 

Thanks again for having us, Jenny! It was so fun to be together, and we can’t wait to see y’all in October when you come up here. 🙂 

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