Exploring With Kids

IMG_7111 copyThere is a first time for everything and this is my first time taking a vacation on my own with the kids! Growing up I lived a very spontaneous life style. That all changed when I got married to my husband, though. Yes, he was in the military, but so were his parents so he has always lived a very structured and planned out life. “Sowder’s don’t do spontaneous!”, or so I’ve been told a time or two ;). So I changed my ways when I changed my name, or I tried my best. But, this week my husband was off to Texas for a week for work. I saw my opportunity to take the kids on a fly by the seat of your pants adventure! Of course, with children there is some planning involved but I kept that to a minimum. I did things like calling ahead of time and planning where we would go and who we would stay with, but other than that NO plans, just adventure. It’s important to me that my kids have a balanced upbringing. We started our trip in the mountains with one of my best friends and her son. She and a friend took their kids on one last trip before school started back, so we just crashed with them for the night. Which worked out great because our kids got to have the time of their lives with a huge water ballon fight in the woods, and once we got them all in bed the moms got to relax in the hot tub and laugh our little hearts out while enjoying a trip down memory lane playing an old school game of M.A.S.H! IMG_0204We woke up to a big family style breakfast with a great view of the mountains and shared a quick morning devotional with the kids before hitting the road again. Our next stop would be visiting my brother and his family in Chattanooga. That is the part of the trip I really want to break down and share with you guys. There is SO MUCH to do in Chattanooga and I never knew it. I honestly never thought of it as a vacation spot before my brother moved here, and I had a free place to stay lol. But it is loaded with family fun activities for everyone to enjoy. My Brother & his wife had to work our first morning here so we set out to explore the city on our own. I’m not going to lie, I didn’t think we would get far. But the kids did surprising well. I felt like a total boss mom walking around town with two kids who were on their best behavior. We did have one pesky dilemma, so it wasn’t 100% smooth sailing but I was super proud of me & my crew!!! So here are some of the fun things we did and if you and your family every find yourself in Chattanooga, maybe you’ll want to do these things too!

  First Stop Aretha Frankensteins for Breakfast: IMG_0269WOW! This place was SO GOOD! It was a funky little pancake house. I ordered the waffle and it was honestly the best waffle I have ever eaten. Daniel really enjoyed all the fun decor and he devoured his pancake! It is super tiny, so you might have to wait if they are busy, but it is so worth it. I would totally recommend trying it if you’re in the area!

Then Off To Coolidge Park: IMG_0299

This place has so much to offer for the kids. It was full of momma’s with their babies. They have a HUGE splash pad with fun statues the kids can climb on. Miles and miles of walking trails that go over these really cool bridges that overlook downtown Chattanooga, which Daniel thought was the coolest. I forgot to snap pictures of it because I honestly had my hands full with two kids, so you’ll just have to take my word on it. It is worth seeing 🙂 But I think the coolest part was the indoor carousel. Audrey LOVED IT! Daniel thought the fact that he had to buy his ticket and turn it in to ride was the greatest thing ever. He is simple lol, but he would have stayed there all day had I let him.

The Good Dog for lunch:IMG_0296

So to add to the coolness of Coolidge Park there are a ton of little shops and restaurants right along the park. We ate at a place called “The Good Dog”, because I knew Daniel would eat a hotdog. But, I was presently surprised to find out they had more than your basic hotdogs. They had vegan dogs, sausage dogs that they make in house and all kind of specialty hotdogs ( I got the Hawaiian.. it was so tasty) But y’all their fries were EVERYTHING! I don’t know if it is because I quit eating fries a couple of months ago that these fries tasted so heavenly, but when I stole one from Daniel just to try it because I saw they were cutting them fresh in house, well I had to go back and buy my own. And if you make it into here, do yourself a favor and try their housemade ketchups!!! You’ll be happy you did!

One last Stop at Frios Popsicles Before Nap Time: IMG_0303

After Lunch we walked to a Toy Store that has a great area for kids to play with toys they may/ may not want to buy. PLUS IT’S INSIDE. So if you want to get out of the mid-day heat this is another cool place to play. All in walking distance from the park. After we played with some cool- but overpriced toys (lol), we treated ourselves to some popsicles made from all fresh ingredients. Daniel got a zesty Orange one that I was more than happy to finish for him when he was done with it. It was so refreshing! I’m not big on popsicles normally but these were so good, and something fun for Daniel and I to do together. Even Audrey got to enjoy a cold refreshing treat! Which she loved and greatly appreciated for her teething gums i’m sure.

IMG_0315After that we went back home to nap (well the kids did. I started writing this blog) until my brother and sister got home. Upon their arrival, we ate dinner and went out to a fun pool/park. On Monday nights they have “Family Night” and it only costs like $5 bucks for 6 of us to go. I’m not sure what all the details were, but It was a lot of fun and the kids had a blast. It was the perfecting ending to a fun day!   IMG_0320

There are tons of other things you can do with kids while visiting Chattanooga, but not all of them I would do alone. We also went to the Children’s museum here one day while my sister in law was off work. The kids LOVED it.. Even Audrey. But this isn’t something I would do alone. IMG_0375

Some other places to check out would be Rock City, Lookout mountain, Ruby Falls, and any of their hiking trails if you have older kids. There are so many outdoor adventures here and that’s what I love. Another great thing about Downtown Chattanooga is there are like no fast food places (that I saw), and I love that. It really promotes an active healthy lifestyle. Also there are so many neat places to eat. A real foodies paradise. So if your looking for a fun place to take your kids I would totally recommend Chattanooga. I would also recommend checking out The Chattanooga ChooChoo. They have old train cars that have been converted into hotel rooms! (Now that’s a cool memory for a kid). Hopefully this was helpful, but more than anything remember that you don’t have to stay home because you have kids. GET OUT AND EXPLORE! There is a whole world out there they know nothing about!!!

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