Friday, August 23, 2013

Vacation is over and I finally can get all the pictures together.  The boys and I had a great time.  It is always nice to go home and get spoiled a little....well, maybe a lot!  The boys and I spoiled ourselves even when flying - going out to eat in LA and Minnesota (ok, in the airports), watching movies on the airplane, and enjoying all of the pop and goodies the stewardess would give us.  The first part of our time in Tennessee was spent just being with mom and dad.  Mom and I had a good time shopping and we all got a new wardrobes. 

After we finished our shopping, we headed off to visit some of the Civil War battlefields that are in the area.  There are four battlefields in and around Chattanooga - Chickamauga, Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge, and Orchard Knob.  Bryce will be studying the 1800s this year and I figured it would be beneficial for him to visit some of the areas where the battles were fought.  Our first stop was Chickamauga.   We visited the museum and watched their video depicting the battle.  My favorite monument is the Wilder Tower built by an Indiana battalion.  It is built like a castle turret that is three stories high.  You can walk right up to the top and get a great view of the area.  Chickamauga has a lot of great memories for me.  When I was little we would go there and fly our kites or shoot off model rockets.  In the summers the symphony would play there and we would lay on our blankets and listen.  Even my ecology class in college did a study on the deer population living in the park.   The next day we went to the top of Signal Mountain where the Confederate soldiers stationed themselves to keep an eye on the Tennessee River to watch for any ships that were coming in to supply the Union soldiers who had stationed themselves in Chattanooga after their "defeat" at Chickamauga.
 Our next stop was Lookout Mountain where another Confederate battalion had stationed themselves. 
There weren't a lot of Confederate soldiers stationed on top of Lookout Mountain and when the Union soldiers climbed up the mountain side the Confederates couldn't angle their cannons to shoot at them.
The Union forces ended up captured Lookout Mountain.  The battle that took place here was known as the Battle Above the Clouds. 
Chickamauga and Lookout Mountain were the first military parks established to honor the Civil War.  The veterans of the war came to dedicate the parks and helped with the positioning of all the cannons. 

Once we came off the mountain we went to  Aunt Bea's Restaurant for dinner.  Aunt Bea's made the news recently.  When President Obama came to visit Chattanooga last month, his Secret Service called Aunt Bea's to see if they were open.  Aunt Bea's was closed.  Now if the SS agent had notified the owners that he was asking for the President they may have opened but the agent didn't identify himself.  But the main thing is that the President wanted to eat at Aunt Bea's.  In fact, when Bush was President and visited Chattanooga he too wanted to eat at Bea's but he had asked the restaurant to close down and serve only his group and they wouldn't do that. 
So what makes Aunt Bea's so special?  Well, for one you don't order anything.  Instead, they sit you down at a table that has a huge lazy susan in the middle of it.  Then the waitress begins to bring out dishes of food - fried chicken, fried fish, mashed potatoes, green beans, pinto beans, mac-n-cheese, banana pudding, cole slaw, potato salad, biscuits, corn bread, sweet tea and water. You spin that lazy susan around and fill your plate.  If you empty a dish, they fill it back up until you are full.  Another thing they do is assign people to sit at your table if the restaurant is full so you might just get to eat a family style dinner with someone new. 

The next day we took the boys to Lake Winne - an amusement park that started in 1925.  Its most popular ride is an old school wooden roller coaster - The Cannonball.

 We started off light by heading to the ferris wheel.  I came prepared though and took some Dramamine before getting on any rides.  I was going to enjoy my day and not spend my time sick to my stomach.

Every year my school would go to Lake Winnie to end our school year.  We also went every summer with my mom's work for their company picnic.  Many of the rides I rode in 3rd grade are still here and running.  I love Lake Winnie and now my boys do too.

After Lake Winnie we cleaned up and headed back up Signal Mountain to hear my dad play his saxophone in the Uptown Big Band.  I love big band/swing/jazz music.  It was such a treat to hear dad play.
We had one more  thing to do before our trip to Chattanooga was complete.  The boys had asked that we go to their favorite playground in Collegedale just down the road from the Little Debbie company. 
It had been raining all night and all morning so everything was pretty wet, but the most disappointing thing about the park was how much it "shrunk."  The reality is that the boys are getting bigger.  It was a sad day for my two boys.  Just a short walk from the park is a memorial park for all of the armed forces.  The boys like going there to climb on the tank, so we had to check it out before we left. 
Our week was finally over.  We crammed a lot in.  Our bags were loaded and heavy on the trip back.  We made it back late Tuesday night.  Now we are back into the full swing of things - office, garden, house, etc.....Could we delay school just another week or two?  or five?


  1. You mentioned that Bryce will be studying the 1800s this year. What will you guys be using for curriculum?