Atlanta + Lake Oconee

This past week we were in Georgia for my Granddad’s funeral.  We’re thankful he’s back with the love of his life, and were happy to see the family although it was under not under the circumstances you would hope for.

We drove to Atlanta on Wednesday morning and got to Atlanta just before rush hour.  Lauren greeted us with a cheese & charcuterie tray which was the perfect complement to our favorite wine we brought that we discovered in Napa: Regusci’s The Elders. Seemed appropriate!

All of the cousins and their spouses were staying at my sister’s place which was perfect.  Our cousin Michael got in town, then we headed to a local Italian place to eat and wait for the others to arrive.  That night we hung out on the couches drinking wine and catching up while more family arrived.

The next morning we got ready and headed to the Jonesboro Chickfila Dwarf House restaurant to meet all of our family & enjoy lunch before the funeral.

Chickfila might seem like a really random spot for lunch (or not if you know my love for waffle fries), but it was one of Granddad’s favorite places to eat.  He went to that restaurant every week for over 20 years, sat in the same section & had the same waitress, Tracey.  We were told that if she wasn’t there, he’d turn around and find another place to eat!

We had a few Dwarf House newbies with us and I hadn’t been to one in awhile, so I loved looking over the pages of items that aren’t in a normal Chickfila.  Uncle Mark printed some pictures of Granddad at one of his many breakfasts at the very spot we were eating, so it was the most fitting place to eat before heading to the church.

The service was beautiful and very much like Grandmom’s with the exception that both Uncle Mark & Gordon spoke, and Molly, Michael & myself read scripture this time around.  We all get our emotional side from Granddad so naturally I didn’t quite make it through my reading without crying.

After the service there was a reception and I enjoyed catching up with some extended family & old family friends.  We set up a table of photos & memories from his life – look at baby me! 

A family friend was more than gracious and invited our whole family over for a drink after the reception while we waited for traffic to die down.  We headed to their house which was on the same lake Grandmom & Granddad lived on at one point.  That sunset was just beautiful too..

Once we made it back to the north side of the city, we changed our clothes and all headed to a Mexican place near Lauren’s house, Huey Luey’s.  Lauren & Darren hadn’t been yet, but they had a Thursday night special for margaritas & massages for stressed out moms…. so we were intrigued.  When we happened to be seated right next to the massage station, it was only a matter of time before someone checked it out.

That someone was Darren.  Then Gordon.. then Hunter… and all the guys, plus most of the girls and holy cow it was great!  I would have never thought to combine margaritas, cheese dip & a free massage, but it’s genius.  I will say that we all loved our food there, and I think Lauren is planning on going back this Thursday.

The parents headed back to hotels / friends’ houses and all of the cousins headed to Lauren + Darren’s house.  Michael remembered that Granddad wrote all of us grandkids a living will on his 80th birthday where he talked about his history, beliefs & hopes for us.  Lauren found her copy and we all got in pjs, poured some wine and listened to her read it out loud.  It’s such a cool piece of him that I’ll always have 🙂

After that we had a full blown Wii sports night.  There was a sword fight tournament and we played lots of other games against each other and just laughed and laughed late into the night.

After staying up too late and being emotionally drained from the day before, we headed to Top Golf for lunch & an afternoon of fun for our family fun day! I had never been to Top Golf before, but had a blast!  We got 2 bays and had guys on one and girls on the other.  The guys were good enough to play some of the difficult games, while we just tried to hit the circles.

We hit golf balls for 3 hours and enjoyed their appetizers and the beautiful weather.  I hadn’t hit a golf ball in a long time and slowly got back into it, but now my muscles are sore haha.  before we left we got a group picture, then one with the framed golf trophy plates I made for Granddad.  Hitting golf balls was the perfect way to honor him & hang out as a family!

We enjoyed happy hour at McCormick and Schmick’s before saying goodbyes to the parents and heading back to the house.  PS – They have a fabulous happy hour!

There was another night of wine & Wii with the cousins (and maybe a broken lamp & spilled drink), then we all headed our separate ways in the morning.  We had actually planned to have a lake weekend with Lauren & Darren this weekend, so we just pushed back our plans a day and headed to Lake Oconee Saturday morning.

The guys went up early to meet Darren’s dad and play a round of golf at Great Waters while we took a long walk to the marina with Fun Aunt Christa.  I forgot there are so many hills in Georgia and man my legs were sore after walking up some of them!

When they got back we took the boat over to Gaby’s by the Lake for a late lunch.  I had heard a lot about the BBQ nachos and man did they live up to the hype! I’m definitely getting those again next time we’re there. 

We checked out the north side of the lake on jet skis (bundled up) then had a lazy late afternoon hanging out, reading & watching golf / basketball.  That night the guys grilled while us girls made the rest of our dinner.  We had the same filet log & steakhouse butter that we ate at Christmas, plus potatoes, Christa’s slow cooked green beans and caprese salad.  Jimbo even made us banana fosters for dessert (I was too full for my own, but had some of Hunter’s and was impressed)!

After stuffing ourselves we opened some wine, laid on the couch and listened to Jim & Christa’s recap of their Mount Kilimanjaro climb while looking at all the pictures.  None of us had any idea how crazy & intense that trip was – I’d never be able to do that!  There were definitely parts where we all had our mouths open in shock and I have a new respect for mountain climbers.  Some of the pictures they took truly looked too beautiful to be real.

Unfortunately the next morning was too rainy & cold for the guys to play another round of golf, so we ate breakfast, packed up and headed back to Charleston.

I am so happy to have such a wonderful family that I love spending time with (spouses included)!  Although we were sad to be together for Granddad’s funeral, I know he was so happy to see us enjoying each other (and even hitting golf balls).  One of his legacies is the importance of family and I’m so glad to keep that legacy going the next 87 years.

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