Archive | September, 2012

Music Midtown…for moms, too.

24 Sep

Music Midtown was a highlight of my weekend.  In a really cool turn of events, just before friends were about to purchase tickets for us to join them for Saturday’s shows, I saw a tweet from Dunkin Donuts that I had WON two tickets to the entire show- both days!  How great is that?  Especially since I never win anything (maybe my luck is changing?)…

Since we couldn’t go to the Friday show, I passed the tickets along to my son’s Godparent’s daughter.  Maybe I should run a contest with the winner being the person who can figure out that relation…lol.  Anyway, M and her friends had a blast, as evidenced by the cute teenaged, girly photos she posted to Facebook.

Saturday, Atlanta Dad and I got a sitter and descended sans kiddos upon Piedmont Park around 4pm, thinking that we’d be in the older crowd and certainly the minority based upon our experiences nearly a decade ago when we last attended Music Midtown.  We were immediately and pleasantly surprised by the many changes that have been implemented since the MM of the 2000’s that have obviously made it an event people over 25 would actually want to attend.  We saw families, middle-aged folks, and multi-generational groups of people sprawled out on blankets enjoying conversation and refreshments.  There was plenty of room for everyone to move fairly quickly and easily between the two stages or to plop themselves in the middle of the lawn (like we did) so they could enjoy performers in either location without moving back and forth.


Now, I’m not gonna lie, the porta-potties left much to be desired and the 30 minute long lines left many desperate, and therefore willing to find “alternative urinating locales” by the end of the night.  Also, I have yet to attend a concert where the smell of marijuana and the glimpse of a joint or paraphernalia isn’t a part of the experience.  It’s just a fact, and while it’s never been my thing, I was no goody-two-shoes in high school/college and I’d be lying if I said I was shocked by or oblivious to the fairly widespread indulgence that Florence and The Machine and Pearl Jam fans engaged in.

A little history- Music Midtown ran in Atlanta each year 1994-2005, and was brought back in 2011. We attended in both 2004 and 2005 as engaged young adults and then newlyweds.  Since we had just moved to Atlanta in the Spring of 2004, we really got into the festival back then, and living in Midtown at the time made it uber-convenient, too.

During its initial years, the festival would sometimes draw 300,000+ attendees. It began as a two-day event with three stages. Later it grew to three-day event. At that time it had six main stages!  The huge crowd and damage to the park as a result are rumored to be the real reasons (more-so than decreasing attendance) for the hiatus later that decade.  Last year, in 2011, Music Midtown returned as a one-day event, with only two stages.  The festival again offered two stages this year, but expanded across two days.

Big names like Foo Fighters, Garbage, Pearl Jam, and Ludacris drew a sell-out crowd.  Originally I had read that the festival would be capped at 55,000 people, but it was announced during Pearl Jam’s show on Saturday night that attendance was counted at just shy of 53,000 people, so they must’ve stopped selling tickets a little early.  According to the Music Midtown website, sales were closed at 4:20pm Saturday.

While peeing in a portable toilet and being pushed around by drunk 22 year old girls isn’t the way I’d want to spend every weekend, I am really happy to say that those incidents are memorable because they were such a small part of my experience at Music Midtown.  Overall, we found the vendors, servers, musicians, and the crowd itself to be a diverse group of people who were there to enjoy themselves, the beautiful weather, and lovely park, as well as some awesome musical talent.

We spent most of our evening hanging out with friends who are also Penn State alumni and parents.  In fact, they have kids the age of our boys- except that their playmate for L2 is actually a set of triplets his age!  The mom to The Trips, my good friend K, and I are pictured below enjoying a well-deserved Mommy’s night out.  Pardon the blurry photo.


This photo was taken from the second story of a mobile bar that was serving Sweetwater– a local beer.  While our view of Pearl Jam left us far from being able to see Eddie Vedder’s face up-close, the gorgeous view of the stage and crowd, and the huge screens on either side of the stage kept us singing along to Jeremy and Evenflow, nevertheless.


While we didn’t ever make it over to the Ferris Wheel, you can see the lights that it and the other tents and attractions surrounding the festival area added to the night-time atmosphere.


As you consider attending in the future, I definitely recommend buying early-bird tickets to the event and/or registering to win tickets- there were a lot of opportunities to do so floating around Facebook and Twitter for a couple of months prior.  One tip from several of my friends who attended as a family; leave smaller children at home.  Every single one of them mentioned that their kids weren’t very interested and that potty-breaks and trying to keep track of little people in the crowd wasn’t too much fun.

Overall, Music Midtown was a good time…even for this almost middle-aged Atlanta mom!  Who says soccer moms can’t rock?

Bless your heart ;-),


Georgia Gems: North GA Wineries

18 Sep

Atlanta native.  Is there such a thing?  As much as we joke about it, they do exist and I even know a few!  So you can imagine how surprised we’ve been to learn that most lifelong Atlantans aren’t even aware of the number or quality of wineries in Northern Georgia- most of them just one hour or so outside of Atlanta metro.

We had the pleasure of first discovering this area and the wines made there back in 2006 when we went for a weekend escape from the city.  It was before kids, and in hindsight scheduling a whole weekend of fun was less work and much less expensive than it is now.  We went back the following year, again for a weekend, this time for a babymoon, as I was expecting our first son.  The experiences were totally different in terms of lodging and activity, but this area of the state, in and around Dahlonega, didn’t disappoint back then and hasn’t the half dozen or so times we’ve been since.

Most recently, we spent a Friday-Saturday in the area.  Friday we enjoyed an afternoon of tastings at our three favorite wineries.

While we usually stop along the way, on this trip we didn’t leave Atlanta until 1pm and were anxious to get to as many wineries as possible because all but one of them closes at 5pm.  So it was straight up 400 and directly through Dahlonega and into the mountains we went.

Our first destination was Three Sisters Vineyards, which is just down the hill from Frogtown Cellars, which we had already decided would be our second stop.

The Three Sisters property adjacent to the parking lot.

Three Sisters is a small, family owned and operated vineyard, featuring wines that are made only from grapes grown in their vineyard.  Sharon and Doug Paul pride themselves on this fact.

This particular winery has a fairly small but attractive tasting room where they offer very personal attention and a small cooler of snacks like cheese and crackers to complement the wine.  You can choose a a variety of tastings, some which include a keepsake glass and others which are less expensive (sans glass), and can be mixed and matched to your preferences.

We had the pleasure of having Doug serve us our tasting, and enjoyed a variety of white and red wines, as well as the newest “baby” at Three Sisters, Fat Boy Pink, which they fondly refer to as Red’s little brother.  While we enjoy several of the Three Sister’s wines, my husband and I both decided that Pink is our new fave, probably due to both the flavor and uniqueness of this blend, which by the way is nothing like White Zinfandel, save for the color.

Doug shows off the new Fat Boy Pink!

Be sure to follow Three Sisters on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date on new wines, sales, and especially events like their recent BBQ.  Three Sisters is definitely on our short list of wineries to visit when you venture North.  Thanks to Doug and the staff there for welcoming us!  We look forward to seeing you again soon.

A short drive (basically just up a 1/2 mile long gravel driveway) towards the main road from Three Sisters lands you at Frogtown Cellars.  Frogtown sits atop the hill, with breathtaking views and a lovely indoor and outdoor space that seem to be a desired wedding and event venue nearly every weekend of the year.

This small bridge over a koi pond connects the main building with the parking area.

The left side of the tasting bar gives you a glimpse of the contemporary, yet rustic, feel of the building.
Three of the four women pictured were visiting from Iceland!

“Atlanta Dad” poses for a photo on the other side of the bar.

I had taken a girl’s trip to the area last December on a rainy Friday.  We arrived at Frogtown around 4pm, and though we knew we would be limited in our time, we weren’t disappointed that we had chosen this winery as our one and only stop.  The vintner there, Craig, offered us a private tasting and stayed open nearly one hour late to accommodate all the questions my two girlfriends and I posed to him.  He was a wonderful host and we enjoyed the wines so much we decided to become Frogtown “Citizens”.  In addition to receiving 3 bottles of wine (with a lengthy letter from Craig that he calls the “vintner’s notes” for each choice), you also receive free tastings and discounts on merchandise as a Citizen.  My husband and I enjoyed the tasting while we chatted a bit and then moved outside when our meal arrived.

We decided to share a sandwich mid-afternoon so that we could keep on tasting “safely”.

As simple and gorgeous as the inside of Frogtown is (which is why they are booked up for weddings and events nearly every day), the view outside is priceless.  We were blessed with a beautiful day this time, apparent in the almost painting-like clouds in the below photo.

Part of the Frogtown vineyards, as seen from the patio area.

I couldn’t not include a photo of this guy (one of three four-legged friends who live at Frogtown).
We had made friends back in December and I think he remembered me. 😉

It’s harvest time in Dahlonega and you can see how ready these grapes are to be picked!

After purchasing a t-shirt for my hubby and a few gifts (early holiday shopping), we headed across the mountain, through the town square of Dahlonega to our last vineyard destination of the day.  Monteluce is a winery and restaurant we discovered most recently when we went on a horse-backing riding date.  Talk about a hidden gem!  We hadn’t even heard of it until 2011, but it turns out it has quickly become one of our favorites!  It is well worth the drive (of nearly 20 miles from the Frogtown and Three Sisters area), which is scenic and enjoyable.

Monteluce was the inspiration of a family who traveled Tuscany, Italy extensively and fell in love with the aesthetics of that area of the world.  They decided to bring that Tuscan feel to Georgia and this Italian family doesn’t disagree that they have done that quite well!  It is easy, when you are in the valley area of Monteluce, looking up at the Villas, the restaurant and winery and the mountains and hills surrounding you to forget that you aren’t in Europe at all.

The wines are delicious at Monteluce, as is the scenery outdoors and in.  For this one, we’ll let the photos do the talking and encourage you to come visit yourself.  Monteluce is one of the few wineries that offers a full restaurant and lodging onsite- we plan to make a weekend out of this destination sometime soon and I’ll bet you’ll want to do a girl’s trip or a romantic overnight yourself after catching just a glimpse of the beauty here…

A view of the front of the winery and restaurant.

While this tasting was more “hands-off” in service, the pouring of all of our wines at once allowed us to drink at our own pace.
We’re just glad we didn’t have to wash the dishes that day! 😉

I love the decor at Monteluce!


Atlanta Mom and Dad pose for a rare photo together!

Monteluce, like many of the wineries in this region, has been awarded with medals from a variety of wine competitions.

North Georgia is well worth a visit, no matter where you live, but living in Atlanta offers us access to this Georgia Gem every single day!  We hope you’ll visit one of these or the many other wineries and attractions of the Dahlonega area and then share your experience with us!  Cheers!

Bless your heart ;-),


Introducing “Georgia Gems”, a new feature at Atlanta Mom!

15 Sep

When we moved to Georgia eight and a half years ago, we drove directly from New York to Atlanta with only a brief stop in Charlotte to sleep for about 5 hours.  We arrived in Atlanta at around 11am on a Saturday morning.  Since we were moving into a loft in Midtown, we had no reason to exit I-85 until we reached North Avenue.  Dressed in shorts and a tee shirt on the last weekend of February, we were clearly embracing the warmer weather of the South and we decided to begin our new chapter with an early lunch at The Varsity.

Life took off and we found ourselves spending most of our time in town.  We walked a fair amount and the places we drove to were typically only a few miles away.  We began worshiping at a church that was in Midtown as well, and exactly one mile up the street from our home.  With the excitement of Atlanta, we had little reason to explore OTP.

We moved to a house 13 months later, and while still ITP, our ranch set on nearly half an acre and littered with hundred year old pines, felt more suburban than urban.  Yet, we stuck to our area.  With Target, Whole Foods, and Loehmann’s within a two mile radius I had little reason to put more than 50 miles per week on my car!

Once we had lived in Atlanta for a few years and were settled into our home, we decided that perhaps there was life OTP.  We began furiously searching the internet for activities and towns that would resemble what we had done nearly every weekend in New York- travel to B &B’s and explore small towns within a few hours of the city, visiting historic sites and enjoying theater, restaurants, and musical events on a small scale.  While it’s taken us a little longer to find these opportunities in the South, after living here for nearly a decade, we finally feel pretty well-armed with knowledge about weekend getaways and activities within driving distance from the city.  We couldn’t possibly keep this knowledge to ourselves; so we’ve decided to share it here!

And thus is born “Georgia Gems”.  This new feature will include posts of places that we have actually experienced personally.  Some of the posts might offer a giveaway or deal, and even perhaps eventually feature a sponsor or partner of Atlanta Mom.  However, you can be assured that we won’t write about anything here that we are not actually familiar with ourselves, AND that we will be perfectly honest in our sharing.

I can’t wait to spill the beans about our first “Georgia Gems” feature!  A little known fact about North Georgia is that wines from this region receive more awards than any other outside of California.  You read that right!  Our home state makes what you could say is wine with deliciousness and quality second only to that which is made in CA.  Pretty impressive, in my opinion.

Next week we will be sharing information about North Georgia wineries as our premier Georgia Gems piece.  I hope you’ll be sure to share your thoughts about the post and our state’s wineries, as well as to share the information with your friends.  Cheers!

Bless your heart ;-),


Fernbank Museum Marks 20th Anniversary with Exhibition of Emperor Genghis Khan

13 Sep
Genghis Khan

The special exhibition Genghis Khan invades Atlanta from October 5, 2012 – January 21, 2013, taking visitors on an unforgettable journey into Khan’s legendary empire and revealing the mark his legacy left on the modern world. Fernbank Museum of Natural History, which opened in Atlanta on October 5, 1992, celebrates its 20th anniversary with this major exhibition that includes the largest touring collection of 13th-century Mongolian artifacts ever assembled.

More than 200 rare, authentic relics from the conqueror’s reign, empire and legacy offer visitors a glimpse of historic gold jewelry, ceramics, coins, armor, weaponry, silk robes, costumes, religious relics, a “murdered” mummy, and more. Many of the artifacts have never before been exhibited and will make their public debut at Fernbank Museum.

Through these compelling artifacts, engaging videos and immersive dioramas, the exhibition tells the story of Genghis Khan. This epic tale is filled with surprises, brutality, cunning, influence and intrigue. The exhibition is the first of its kind devoted to the amazing true story of his life, land, people and enduring legacy—perhaps even his status as an “i-Khan” of global innovation.

“As Fernbank Museum celebrates 20 years of bringing culture, nature, science and the Earth’s history to Atlanta, this exhibition is a perfect example of the many ways natural history is relevant in today’s world and the one-of-a-kind experiences Fernbank offers,” said Susan Neugent, Fernbank Museum’s President and CEO. “Genghis Khan is an important part of world history, yet his legacy has continued for hundreds of years in some unexpected ways. We still see his influence in many ways.”

Feared Conqueror or Revered Statesman?

The exhibition features the incredible stories of conquering nomadic tribes to expand his empire across Asia and beyond, while showcasing unexpected traits of the emperor. Genghis Khancaptures the essence of his extensive empire and reveals his dual role as feared conqueror and revered statesman.

Although he ruled with an iron fist, he rewarded loyalty and merit, established the rule of law, and opened trade and exchange across Asia. His warriors reduced cities to ash, eliminated entire populations and incited fear throughout medieval Europe and Asia. Yet, he was an innovative leader who brought stability and unity to a vast and varied empire, encouraged education and meritocracy, and established a passport system to support trade along the Silk Road.

Early Life and A Warrior’s Rise to Power

Genghis Khan journeys into the heart of the Mongol Empire, where visitors are introduced to the boy the world would eventually know as Genghis Khan, but who was born as Temujin. Visitors experience the nomadic life of his harsh childhood as they explore a life-size ger to learn how Mongol nomads kept house and lived on the grassy steppe of central Asia.

Displays reveal how horsemanship gave Mongol warriors a tactical edge over their enemies. As skilled, mounted archers, they were able to shoot while facing backward or while hanging from one side of their saddle. Visitors can examine a wide array of equestrian objects, leather armor, chainmail, and bows and arrows, as well as a full-scale replica of a trebuchet, or catapult, and a giant siege crossbow that could reduce city walls to ruins. 

A Land Larger than the Roman Empire

In just 25 years, Khan’s army conquered more lands and people than the Romans during their entire 400-year rule, creating the largest continuous land empire in history. At its height, the Mongol Empire spanned more than 11 million square miles across Eastern Europe and Asia—more than four times the size of the Roman Empire.

Visitors also explore the methods he used to manage his Empire and learn about many of his lasting influences, including the first widespread use of a messenger service, system of laws, paper money, passports, pants and more.  

An Enduring Legacy Remains

Genghis Khan follows his successors through the legend of Kublai Khan, Genghis Khan’s grandson who laid the foundation of modern China. Visitors wander through a recreation of his summer palace, Xanadu, and learn about the journeys of the court courier, Marco Polo, along the Silk Road.

The exhibition reveals that Genghis Khan had many descendants beyond Kublai Khan. Modern chromosome testing estimates more than .5% of the modern worldwide male population, or 16 million living descendants, can be genetically linked to him.

“It’s a powerful experience to step back in time, see real artifacts from hundreds of years ago, and encounter history firsthand,” said Dr. Bobbi Hohmann, Fernbank curator and anthropologist. “Genghis Khan’s life and legacy encompass some of the world’s most important cultural history, including his modern influences.”

Ticket and Visitor Information

Fernbank Museum of Natural History is located at 767 Clifton Road, NE in Atlanta. Genghis Khanis on view from October 5, 2012 through January 21, 2013 and is included with Museum admission: $17.50 for adults, $16.50 for students and seniors, $15.50 for children ages 3 to 12 (ages 2 and under are free), and free for museum members. Tickets and information are available at or 404.929.6300.

About Fernbank Museum of Natural History

Atlanta’s Fernbank Museum of Natural History inspires discovery and exploration of the earth’s history, the natural world and human culture with immersive programming and unmatched experiences. Through exhibitions, programs and IMAX® films, visitors come face to face with the world’s largest dinosaurs, explore the development of life on Earth, journey through the landscapes of present-day Georgia, connect with cultures from around the world, and engage in learning through a variety of hands-on programs, including Family Days, Summer Camps, lectures, field trips and more.

Fernbank has received several awards for its innovative new children’s exhibition, Fernbank NatureQuest, and is accredited by the American Association of Museums, a distinction earned by less than five percent of museums in the United States.

Atlanta Braves to Host Sixth Annual Braves Breast Cancer Awareness Day

12 Sep

ATLANTA – The Atlanta Braves, Publix Super Markets, WellStar Health System and the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer will team up for the sixth annual Braves Breast Cancer Awareness Day on Sunday, September 16. The day-long celebration of survivorship, held at Turner Field, honors those who have courageously battled breast cancer, and raised awareness and funds to support research, education and advocacy for cancer patients and their families throughout metro Atlanta.

Breast cancer survivors will receive a free ticket to watch the Braves take on the Washington Nationals during the 8:05 p.m. game. Friends and family can purchase additional tickets for $14 each. Breast cancer survivors should redeem their free ticket by filling out the Braves Breast Cancer Awareness Day form at

Survivors will receive:

  • ·         One FREE Lower Level Ticket (Additional tickets available for purchase for family and friends for $14 each)
  • ·         Commemorative Braves Breast Cancer Awareness Day t-shirt
  • ·         Access to a pregame reception
  • ·         Participation in “A Walk in the Park” a pregame on-field ceremony

In addition, the Braves will present recipients with the 2012 Diamond of Hope Award honoring caregivers who have made an impact in the lives of breast cancer survivors. For additional information or to purchase tickets, please visit

Contact: Mackenzie Anderson, Atlanta Braves, 404-614-1535 or

About Atlanta Braves

The Atlanta Braves have earned 16 division championships, five National League pennants, a World Series title and most recently were the 2010 National League Wild Card Champions. Based in Atlanta since 1966, the Braves franchise is the longest continuously operating franchise in Major League Baseball. Atlanta Braves games are telecast on FS South, SportSouth, and Peachtree TV.  Radio broadcasts can be heard in Atlanta on 680 the Fan, Rock 100 FM, 93.7 FM and regionally on the Atlanta Braves Radio Network.  Follow the Braves at, and

*This post is a press release, however on a personal note, I personally know two people who are very dear to my heart currently fighting the breast cancer battle.  As women and mothers I hope we will all consider supporting breast cancer awareness and research in one way or another.  It’s a fight no woman should have to endure.

Bless your heart ;-),


Having More Kids? When everyone says “You’ll know…”, but you don’t.

5 Sep

When I was growing up I always said I wanted to have three children.  Maybe it was because I am one of three myself.


~Meet my siblings~

Maybe it was because all three of my parents were technically one of three in their families (my stepmother lost a teenage brother when she was 13).  Or, later on because my husband is also one of three.  It seemed like everyone around me had three kids.

I pictured myself with a little girl, I think mostly because of the clothes.  I’ve always loved fashion and dressing someone else is so much more fun than (and easy than, right?) yourself.

After I had my PPD baby (which happened much later in life than expected on my 31st birthday due to some unexplained infertility the first few years of marriage), I was certain I was DONE.   I was so ill physically and emotionally from a traumatic birth and postpartum period that I couldn’t imagine having anymore kids.

~Meet L1~

Thank God, I didn’t go ahead with having my tubes tied, as I had begged my OB to do back then.  Because, of course, I got well and eventually got up the nerve to have another baby.  Things were totally different the second time.  I had a little more difficult pregnancy, but the birth was beautiful and I only had a couple of weeks of postpartum challenges.  And that’s when I fell in love with the newborn and early infant stage that sadly I could barely remember with my first son.

~Meet L2~

In fact, I remember blogging about that very thing the day that I took the above photo in late May 2011.  I believe I named the post “Best. Decision. Ever.”.  And it has been.

Since I had never dreamed I would have a second child, after all the difficulty becoming pregnant the first time and then my emotional challenges that had to be overcome to reconcile my PPD experience, you can imagine my surprise when I became pregnant with L2 after just a few months of trying.  It was meant to be.  Except, about halfway through my pregnancy I got a pretty bad bout of antenatal (or pregnancy-related) depression.  Because it occurred right around the same time we had our 20 week sonogram (and this time chose to learn the gender of our baby, which we had not done the first time around), I blamed it on gender disappointment.  I cried for three weeks straight.  I told only people who directly asked me the gender that I was having a boy.  I refused to shop for the baby or his room and denied my pregnancy in my mind, despite my expanding belly.  Thank goodness my hormones leveled out after a few weeks and I began to accept and acknowledge that I was going to be the mother of two boys.  Also, gratefully I was in the care of a psychiatrist (though I had decided not to medicate during pregnancy) and a therapist who helped me work through this difficult period.

I had deemed myself to be “done” prior to even conceiving L2, so it seemed obvious to me and everyone else (many of whom were also secretly disappointed I wasn’t having a girl), that I would never be a mother to a female.  I made plans to give away my maternity clothes, infant clothes and paraphernalia and toys as soon as L2 and I grew out of them.  I had labeled bins and bags ready and waiting in the closet.

And when that little head popped out of my belly and L2 greeted me with a wave and we locked eyes, I felt instantly that our family was complete.  My heart felt full and my eyes welled with tears, and this time they were tears of joy!

But here we are 15 months later, and all of that stuff having been donated, consigned or gifted.  And there’s still a little part of me that sighs when I walk past the maternity section at Target.  When I catch a glimpse of a mother nuzzling those soft hairs on her baby’s newborn head.  And mostly when I think about the future.  I always pictured big family holidays and reunions with lots of kids and in-laws and grandchildren.  With just two boys, will we always be just the four of us?  Or, will my boys marry and go to be with their wives’ families, leaving my husband and me (or even just me, if something happens to him later in life) to eat turkey alone?

I know lots of things rationally.  Sure, having lots of kids doesn’t guarantee they’ll be close to you or each other later in life.  It doesn’t mean that you’ll get to have a child of each gender.  Then there’s the advanced maternal age label and the associated risks now that I am over 35.  There’s the fact that I am still taking a small dose of medication to deal with anxiety that accompanies the first couple of years postpartum for me.  There’s my workaholic, traveling husband and the fact that I live far away from all of our family.  I can rattle off a thousand reasons why I should be able to proclaim “I’m done!” and mean it.

I know it’s what’s right in my head.  I know that my capacity to be a good mom is greater with just two very active boys.  But somewhere in my heart, not down very deep I yearn for another baby.  And if not for that, then for the courage and confidence to say “Just two for me.” and mean it.

Am I alone in this dilemma?  How did you “know” your family was complete?  And if you feel like you don’t know if you are “done”, then how do you believe you’ll decide whether or not to have more children?

Bless your heart ;-),

p.s. I linked up with Naptime Review today.  Check it out, I think you’ll like it!
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