Blogging and Praying that I never forget these days . . . .

Appt with the Surgeon

August 29, 2012
 
On Friday one of the cardiologists that I met with on Thursday called me with an update.  He discussed the cardiac MRI with me.  He told me that it showed my septum defect to be large just like the previous test proved.  He also talked to me about pressures in my heart.  He explained how a normal healthy adult has a ratio of 1:1.  (To my understanding)  This is the ratio of blood flow to the lungs versus blood flow to the body.  A normal ASD patient typically has a ratio of 1.5 :1.  This makes since if you think about the mechanics of it.  A hole in the heart allows blood to cross over that isn't suppose to cross.  Therefore, it increases the amount of flow or pressure in that area.  That area for an ASD patient is the lungs.  My MRI showed that my pressures are 3:1.  This means that 3x the amount of blood that flows to my body flows to my lungs.  My lungs are getting 3x the flow of my blood as compared to my body.  So there is definately some increased pressure issues.  The cardiologist said that this could be due to some pulmonary vein issues.  Meaning that some of the veins that carry the blood back to the heart from the lungs have wrong connections.  These veins may be entering my heart and depositing blood into my right atria.  Remember it is the enlarged one that receives blood from the body.  Now it is also receiving blood back from the lungs.  This causes the heart on that side to work more hence the enlargement to compensate.  It is working hard to keep all that blood flowing right to left in the heart.  This hard work (and the Good Lord) is what is keeping me from being symptomatic.  No shortness of breath, no blueish tint of my skin, no chest pains, no intolerance to exercise, nothing!  So after all the education over the phone he told me that I would have all my answers on Wednesday when I saw the surgeon.  He reassured me that I was healthy enough to wait until Wednesday.  He also stated that the surgeon would have special time set aside to walk me through my plan of care.  I was still anxious about waiting so long, but I trusted him and waited.  and waited.

Over the weekend, Jay and I traveled to Paoli Peaks for another 5K mud run.  Of course I did not run.  I was once again on the sidelines as his cheerleader.  It was perfectly fine with me when I saw the race.  It was a beast and really kicked Jay's butt.  He went up and down those ski trails like a champ.  A very winded champ, but he did it.  I was so proud of him as he blew right through the obstacles.  After the race we checked into our Bed and Breakfast for the night.  It was just after lunch, but I took a nice long nap.  Jay watched the Little League World Series and let me rest.  We went out later in the evening for dinner and a walk around the town.  It was a relaxing night.  Sunday we were given a scrumptous breakfast and then we headed home to our babes.  Max and Mary Kate had enjoyed a weekend with my brothers and sister in laws.  I am not sure who was more tired: the kids or aunts and uncles.

Today Jay and I met with the cardiothoracic surgeon that will be taking on my case.  He was very quick and to the point with his description of the surgery.  He basically said you have a very large hole that we have to fix with open heart surgery.  He reviewed why the previous cardiologist could not close it with a device through my groin.  Then he talked about how he planned on closing it.  He will take a piece out of my pericardial sac.  This is the sac that your heart rests inside of in your chest.  He will then sew that piece into the hole and stich up the donor site in the sac.  When I questioned him about the pulmonary veins he stated that he didn't see that in my MRI.  He said he would study it again, but regardless it wouldn't change my surgery.  He would still do the same procedure but just add in the correction or "baffling" of the pulmonary veins too.  We discussed approaches or incisions he could use.  He told me that he would attempt the "princess cut" which is under the breasts.  This will be easily covered with a bathing suit or bra.  It will only be visible at the sternum area.  The alternative approach is one like we have all seen.  It is the "zipper" or cut down your sternum.  He said this one's recovery time and pain is less, but it is a highly visible scar.  I made sure that he understood that I wasn't concerned with a scar.  I want him to use which ever approach makes the surgery the easiest and most successful for him.  He believes that he can do it with the princess cut.  He told us that after I am asleep with anesthesia they will perform another TEE to visualize the area.  This will be used to guide them during the surgery.  If at any point he feels that I would benefit more from a sternal incision he will move to that plan. 

Dr. Drinkwater told us that we can expect to be in the hospital for four days.  This will include one day in critical care and three days on the cardiac floor.  When I questioned him about the ventilator he told me that many times patients are breathing on their own by the time they leave the operating room.  He told Jay that if by some reason I am still on the ventilator after surgery it will only be for a short period.  The patients usually come off within a few hours of surgery.  He also discussed chest tubes, catheters, and other things that will be attached to me following surgery.  He did an adequate job in painting the picture for us without going into too much detail. Of course I had all the details to fill in the blanks from my friend, Google.  He talked to us about lifting and returning to work at approximately eight weeks following surgery.  Overall he didn't add any new information, but his calculations of down time and hospital time were much less that I had learned from my research.  I find this to be very encouraging.  He also talked about how this procedure had a very low mortality rate especially since I have had anesthesia in the past.  We know I have no problems with anesthesia.  He also informed us that he has done thousands of  these closures before with many of them being babies.  He laughed and said that if you had to have open heart surgery this ASD closure is the easiest to perform and recover from.  Yay.  Right.  Sounds fun.  Wanna see if I gan get a BOGO deal?

Sign me up.  Jay and I discussed it and consulted with my cardiologist from the hospital and decided to go with next week.  Dr.  Drinkwater said their was no urgency in the repair.  It needs to be done, but doesn't have to be done tomorrow.  We are proceeding with next week so that we can get to the recovery side of it.  The diagnosis has tortured us for a week now and we want it fixed before I become symptomatic.  I am scheduling the surgery for Wednesday morning at 8am.  This date gives us the week to prepare mentally and get all our plans in order for the kid-os.  Again, we have our trust in God that he will bring us through this.  He never promised it would be fun, but I know he will walk with me all the way.  I like a statement a friend said, "Girl, God had big plans for you.  He never would of gotten you the xray if he didn't have bigger plans for you."  I am very nervous and anxious.  I have had my moments and I am sure I will continue to, but I plan to "walk by faith even when I can't see."  Please continue to pray for us as we travel this difficult road.  We can already feel the love we are surrounded by.  I (well maybe not me, but someone) will post updates as we know them.  Thank you for your friendship and concern.


My Big Heart

August 23, 2012
Wowzers!  What a week or 72 hrs it has been.  I am sure most of you have heard our news this week, but I decided I needed to record this life event on the blog too.  I apologize if this sounds very clinical and cold.  As you know I am a stoic internalizer of stress.  Most of the people closest to me are concerned about me not processing this with emotion.  I am.  I have had cracks in my firm disposition.  Thank you to those of you who have made me open up even if just momentarily.  

Ok.  Background.  When I was 19 and cheering for our fabulous TN Titans, I came down with pleurisy.  Since Mom is an ultrasonographer she wanted my heart looked at just to make sure.  With her connections, one of the local cardiologists took a look with an echocardiogram or ultrasound of my chest.  He told me that my heart was fine.  I just had a small congenital anomaly of an atrial septal defect or ASD.  He said it was tiny and that only 1 or 2 red blood cells could fit through at a time.  He said since I was healthy and athletic with no symptoms not to worry about it.  We discussed that I had always had an innocent murmur and that was to be expected.  No worries.  I recovered from the pleurisy and returned to cheering and life.  Then I got married, moved to Lynchburg, graduated from Liberty's Nursing program, moved back, started my nursing career at HMC, had two beautiful babies, and never considered my ASD again.  

Until last Friday.  I have been battling bronchitis with a cough since the middle of July.  Since we were going on like the forth week of the cough with antibiotics, inhalers, and steroids my PCP ordered a chest X-ray.  I had that done and called the nurse for results.  She told me it was normal with no pneumonia, but I had an enlarged heart.  This quickly brought up the memories from twelve years ago,but I didn't think much of it over the weekend.

On Monday the office called and wanted me to have an echocardiogram.  I agreed and thought that was a good idea since I had never officially had my heart worked up anyways.  Being at work, I acted like a nurse and talked to our ultrasound department and got it scheduled for that day.  They got me in and it was completed.  As I got ready to leave for the day I passed one of the cardiologists and his nurse in the hall.  I asked if he had read the echos from the day. He said "They're all done. In the reading room." I knew I couldn't look, so thankfully he returned a few moments later to talk me through my scans.  He told me to sit down and look and he pointed to the screen.  He showed me how my right side was very enlarged and that I had a large hole in the septum between my atria.  My non-medical buddies:  Your heart has four chambers divided by walls and valves.  My middle that is suppose to be  a solid wall has a 1 inch hole between the top chambers.  This atrial septum defect causes blood to mix back and forth between the left and right sides.  So as my heart tries to pump blood from my right atria to my right ventricle (bottom chamber) and then to my lungs for oxygen it looses blood across the hole to the left side atria.  The left side atria recollects blood from the lungs to send it to the left ventricle and then out the aorta to the body.  So when blood swishes through the hole it causes pressure equalization problems in the heart.  The right side builds up do to working so hard against the hole just like an muscle when you are working out.  Thus, my right side is twice the size it should be due to it trying to compensate for the hole.  Also, this rushing across to the wrong side causes blood that hasn't been to my lungs yet for oxygen pickup to be sent back out into the body. Got it non-med buds?  Well, the cardiologist and I chatted for a while.  Then another cardiologist from the group stepped in the office and talked too.  It was definitely mind boggling to have both of them looking at you and your pictures.  I should be having all types of symptoms like swelling, shortness of breath, exercise intolerance, etc.  I do not present with any of these things.  Actually Jay and I just ran a 5K obstacle mud run on Saturday.  They were also blown away that my pregnancies didn't cause any cardiac issues with me.  I had no problems.  Crazy huh?  The cardiologist called a surgeon downtown and they started talking and planning.  He told me to go home and share the info with Jay.  Then he gave me some orders and said to come to his office on Wednesday.

Tuesday I worked as I was scheduled.  It was a busy day and I struggled to keep it together.  I had my blood work done and began to share my upcoming journey with my co-workers.  We also started going through a mental list of who we needed to talk this through with.   So by Tuesday night both our families and a few friends knew the scenario and what we were dealing with comprehending.

Wednesday morning Jay and I met with my new buddy of a cardiologist.  Everyone in the office was intrigued by no signs and symptoms for such a large defect.  My cardiologist explained that I would be seeing the cardiologist surgeons on Thursday for some more testing.  He felt that it was better for the actual surgeons to get the diagnostics they needed rather than rely on my cardiologist to get them.  So we scheduled the tests and tried to mentally prepare for all the information and decisions.

Thursday morning he headed down to Centennial for a transesophageal echocardiogram or TEE.  During this procedure I was put to sleep by anesthesia while it was being performed.  One cardiologist surgeon performed the TEE while the other one was at bedside.  This exam involved putting a scope down my throat to get more precise pictures and measurements.  These calculations help to make a decision on what type of surgery with fix the hole.  We hoped that one of these cardiologist were going to be able to fix the hole with a percutaneous approach.  This would have involved going into my groin with a catheter and up to my heart.  It is minimally invasive as they place a closure device like a mesh in the hole.  After they visualized the hole, they quickly knew it was too big to be corrected in that manner.  The hole measures to be just under 3cm or about a inch.  Being so big the defect doesn't give the cardiologists a good anchor area of tissue for the device.  They thought the device would place pressure on my aorta and eventually erode it.  Since I am only 31yrs old, this is not an ideal situation.  With that option eliminated we moved on up the ladder to other options.  These options include incisions on the chest.  The open heart surgery will be done with  incisions on my sternum, under my left breast, or my left side through my ribs.  They will also probably use exsisting tissue around my heart to plug the hole instead of a device.  Before those decisions can be made I needed another exam.  I went for a Cardiac MRI also today.  This scan was a curve ball we didn't see coming.  The MRI was done to check for other abnormalities that are associated with ASD.  Like one of the docs said today, "Open heart is a one time thing.  We have to get it all fixed this go round.  You don't want problems later in life that lead to another surgery."  Amen.  I couldn't agree more, let's fix it all now.  We don't know any results from the MRI, but since it took so long I didn't get to me the next surgeon today.  I have an appointment with him on Wednesday.  That sounds really far away to me since I have gotten all this done in a 72 hr period.  As a dear friend reminded me, "It will be done in God's timing."  I know this and am trying to be at peace with it.  I will continue to update as I know more.  At this point we just need to remember that "our God is bigger than the boogie man" and an ASD.  Jay and I just request your prayers during this time.  We will update as we know new information.

First Day of Kindergarten

July 30, 2012
First Day Of School
~Author Unknown~

He started school this morning,
And he seemed so very small.
As I walked there beside him
In the Kindergarten hall.

And as he took his place beside
the others in the class,
I realized how all too soon
Those first few years can pass.

Remembering, I saw him as
He first learned how to walk.
The words that we alone made out
When he began to talk.

This little boy so much absorbed
In learning how to write.
It seems as though he must have grown
To boyhood overnight.

My eyes were blurred and hastily
I brushed the tears away
Lest by some word or sign of mine
I mar his first big day.

Oh how I longed to stay with him
And keep him by the hand
To lead him through the places
That he couldn't understand.

And something closely kin to fear
Was mingled with my pride.
I knew he would no longer be
A baby by my side.

But he must have his chance to live,
To work his problems out,
The privilege to grow and learn
What life is all about.

And I must share my little buddy
With friends and work and play;
He's not a baby anymore --
He's in Kindergarten today.

The traffic craziness on first day

Familiar friendly faces make everyone feel good!
Talan, Mac, and Max
CallieBeth and Hannah

It's a Parsons Girl!

July 29, 2012
We are thrilled to announce that Josh and Holly's baby is going to be a GIRL!!  They shared the news that they were expecting with us on Memorial Day Weekend.  We have been looking forward to the gender reveal since then.  Mom was able to get them in her office and take a peek last week.  She discovered it would be a princess and then kept it a secret until the Reveal Party.  Josh and Holly didn't even want to know until the party.  Mom held up her end of the deal and kept her mouth closed, but Josh and Holly showed me the ultrasound pictures a few days early.

Since I have looked at a few ultrasounds I was taken by surprise when this was in the stack.  Oh my goodness . . . I flipped out . . . it is a GIRL! . . . and they have no idea they are holding the answer in their hands.  Silly lil Brother!  OH I was so estactic for them, but I kept my cool and Josh explained that this was a picture of "its" legs.  HaHaHa.  So Cute! 

On Sunday my family and Holly's family had an afternoon together to find out what they were having.  Holly had the house all decorated with bumblebees and the title of "What's it Gonna Bee?"  She also had lots of cute pictures of the two of them as babies and toddlers.  We each had to pick a hairbow or a bowtie to pin to our shirt.   Whatever you picked was what you personally thought of the baby's gender.  Max picked a bowtie and Jay, Mary Kate, and I each picked a hairbow.  Max really wanted it to be twins.  He wanted a girl for Mary Kate and a boy for him.  He is so sweet and thoughtful, but I think Josh and Holly would haved freaked out if it were twins.  When it was time for the reveal Mom gave them a gift.  Inside the gift was a frame matted in pink girly decor that said 'sweetheart'.  She had also put several of the ultrasounds in the frame for them to display.  Also, she handed Holly a gift box that was full of pink tissue when she opened it.  Their reactions were priceless.  Josh just grinned that Parsons grin and said he had known it all along.  Holly went crazy!  She is so elated that it is a girl.  I am pretty sure she shed a few tears while she jumped around the house.  Too cute.  I can't wait until little Charlotte Anne is here to snuggle.  It will be so much fun having more kids at Bebe and Big Daddy's house.

River Tubing

July 21, 2012
Today's adventure at Shannon and Ty's house was river tubing.  After lots of research and calling we found a place that would be hospitable to all of us.  We made reservations and waited for the day.  It was overcast and a little sprinkle at times, but we still had a blast.  I am so glad it wasn't full on sun because we would have fried out on the river.  The river was cold mountain water, but we were able to keep most of our bodies up out of it.  We chose to head down a trip on the French Broad River.  It was an estimated four miles that lasted two hours.  I think we all had a blast.  Mary Kate was a little weary at first, but within a few minutes she was loving her independence on her tube.  Jay splashed water into it to make a little pool and she was happy.  Max and all the other kids loved riding over the little rapids and ripples. We all had a relaxing time as we maneuvered down the river.  The tubes each had a strap so that we could each connect.  We formed one big line going down the river. It only got complicated when Ty's end caught the stream and spun the line around.  Hahaha.  It was fun!  We definitely want to do this again on a return trip!








High Falls

July 20, 2012
The last falls on the two mile hike were High Falls.  This picture just doesn't show the magnitude of the size of these falls.  Our trail didn't go across the bridge in the top of my picture, but I am sure it was a spectacular view.  Our view gave us a great backdrop for more pictures.  Today was a great day of family adventure as we found each fall.  It was a blast to hang out with all the kids in the great outdoors.  Thanks to Shannon and Ty for sharing their little piece of heaven with us.



Triple Falls


July 20, 2012
The next path was 2 miles long and had two sets of falls.  The first one we came upon was called Triple Falls.  It was a set of three that tumbled into each other.  Once we got to this spot on the trail we had to go down about 100 steps to get to the middle fall's landing.  Here we could walk around on the flat rock and watch the water tumble beside us.  Of course that meant we had to climb back up all  those steps to get back on the trail.  It was worth it!  The sight was bea-u-ti-ful!!




Sweet Pic!  Love him!  We are so proud of the trail he is blazing for all his cousins to follow.

Hooker Falls

July 20, 2012
The third set of falls were down a little path called Holly Road.  The kids had a blast running down the muddy trail and splashing through the puddles.  The falls were not extremely high, but they were considerably wide.  The water tumbled into an area to swim that was about 2 to 3 feet deep.  The kids all jumped in and had fun swimming against the current.  We took lots of pictures throughout the day, but this fall is where we captured a great family picture. 

Looking Glass Falls

July 20, 2012
The second waterfall we visited fell from a creek bed way up high.  It was a direct drop into the awaiting pool on bottom.  Again the water was so cold it caused your toes to go numb.  This didn't stop our kids though.  They all headed straight in for a swim.  Mary Kate even headed down to the rock after a time of watching everyone.  She was on a mission to collect her "baby rocks" that she has become obsessed with recently. 



Sliding Rock Falls

July 20, 2012
While we were visiting Shannon and Ty we had some outdoors fun.  We did some researching and mapped out some local waterfalls.  It was a cool rainy day, but we packed up everyone anyways and headed further back into the mountains.  The first falls we went to were called "Sliding Rock."  As you can see from the pictures it was literally a sliding rock.  The water has smoothed out the falls to make a perfect water slide.  I didn't brave the cold water, but all the kids, Jay, and Lee jumped right in it.  They waited their turn and down they came.  It was nice because the National Parks Dept has built bridges and overlooks so that you can watch the fun. Shannon was able to capture some great action shots. 





and no, Mary Kate didn't ride the slide.  She stayed with Ty and I to try to keep warm and dry.

Ty's Graduation

July 19, 2012
This week we took another mini vacation to visit Ty, Shannon, Kayla, and Tristan in North Carolina.  The kids were so excited to go to their cousins' house for a few days.  It is great to be able to get away and just relax at their house.  All the kids run and play and the adults get time to talk and catch up.  The purpose of our visit was to attend Ty's Graduation from the NC Police Academy.  He has been in class since the first of the year.  He had to go through this entire process again since they moved states.  Kind of crazy if you ask me, but they didn't!  He has been in law enforcement here for years, but I guess it is a requirement to help learn all their state laws and such.  At the ceremony, Ty had the kids pin on his new badge.  They were both nervous but thrilled to get to do this for their Dad.  We are so proud of you TY!




The Kelley Grand kids:   Kayla-9, Trace-10, Max-6, Mary Kate-2, Ashton-8, and Tristan-7
The Original Five
Chris, Dianne, Lee, Shannon, & Jay

Big Daddy's Boat

July 2012
Dad has been working on his boat this summer so we can get back on the lake. He was off this week so we took it out for a spin.  Mary Kate had never been on the boat and it had been a few years for Max.  We rode for a long time and enjoyed the breeze in our hair.  Mary Kate loved standing on the front of the boat as the wind blew.  After riding, we stopped and put the tube in to ride.  Max and I got on and Big Daddy took off.  As Dad started tossing us across the wake I was quickly reminded how many muscles it takes to stay on the tube.  I was on my belly and Max was on by back.  I quickly had to teach him how to lean in the curves and hold on tight over waves.  He caught on fast and we cruised for a long time.  During our tube ride, Mary Kate snuggled up with Big Daddy and went to sleep.  After a good long ride, I counted and Max and I jumped off the tube.  He was scared to abandon ship while Big Daddy was still going, but he was fine once we did it.  He saw that he will pop right back up out of the water and that it doesn't hurt to hit the water.  Big Daddy and Mary Kate got in with us and we swam for a little while.  Then we climbed back in the boat and  . . . nothing . . . nothing  . . . . that's right nothing happened.  As kids growing up we called it a  "Chip Party" when the boat was having problems and not starting.  After some paddling to show our distress a gentleman stopped and towed us over to the ramp.  Max didn't understand being broke down very much, but as we know it is just a part of boating.  Big Daddy has since fixed the boat and it is ready to go again.


Atlanta Trip Day Four

July 7, 2012
After our day full of fun at Stone Mountain Park we reconnected with some more LU friends.  We drove north and stopped at some very special friends' house.  Matt played all four years on the football team at LU with Jay.  His wife, Casey, became one of my best friends when I moved to Lynchburg.  Casey's dad was a coach on the team so she was very involved just like me.  We met watching practice in August and were pretty much inseparable.  We loved traveling to the games together and just hanging out.  Casey had her eyes on Matt after just a few interactions with him.  It took Matt a little while to notice, but once he did he never looked anywhere else. They were married a few years after we graduated.  Actually, it was Max's first road trip.  He wasn't even 2 weeks old when we went to the wedding in AL.   
We arrived at their house Friday night at about midnight, but we were all so excited we stayed up for hours talking.  We also got the opportunity to see another old friend.  Josh also played football with the guys at LU.  He was in town for a wedding, but came to Matt and Casey's for the night to hang out with all of us.  Josh was also one of Jay's best friends while at LU.  Since he is from LA and unable to go home as often as us; he made many trips home with Jay for the weekend.  All three of these friends met our families and became a real part of our lives during our times together at LU.  The reconnections we made on this trip were so crucial to us.  Each person we met up with made lasting impressions on our lives.  We all found each other in the strange times that college brings into your life.  I believe we made bonds that will last forever,  Being with everyone again also reminded me to live outside my little bubble at home.  We have very special friends that may not be in our everyday lives, but care and love us just the same.  God reminded us of these friendships by helping make it possible for us to see each of them on the trip.  We are so blessed with friends here at home and friends far away.  Each of our friends play a special part in our lives that help shape and mold us.


Our trip came to a close after spending the morning with Matt, Casey, and Josh. We ate breakfast and talked through friends, family, and events that had happened in the past few years. It was sad for our time together to come to an end, but everyone had to get on their way.  I just don't think I can say it enough . . . but we are so blessed.

Atlanta Trip Day Three

July 6, 2012

Our third day began with breakfast with Chad and Holly.  Jay and Chad were roommates their freshman and sophomore years at Liberty.  Chad was a running back from Chattanooga and played on the LU football team with Jay.  Chad became one of Jay's closest friends during their time together.  We have been privileged to stay in touch with him and have seen him a few time over the past years.  We ate a delicious breakfast and caught up on each other's lives.  It is so wonderful to visit with old friends.  We pray to keep them in our lives for a long time.
After breakfast we headed out for our day at Stone Mtn Park.  The history of the park includes a ginormous stone carving of Stonewall Jackson, Robert E. Lee, and President Jefferson Davis.  They were each military leaders of the Confederacy.  The size of the carving surpasses the size of South Dakota's Mount Rushmore carvings.  One of our tour guides said that you can park 2 school buses on the back of the Robert E Lee' horse.  Other fun facts we learned about the carving was that part of the limestone was used to make the Lincoln Memorial and one of the carvers went on to carve Mt. Rushmore.  So, what did we do with a 2 and 6 year old at a monument park. Lol!  So much that we did not get it all in . . . we have to go back!



Of course we rode the cable car to the top of the limestone rock.  The rock is 5 miles across on the base and touched multiple states.  The view was spectacular!  It shocked me because just like the Grand Canyon, there was very little in protection from falling.  You are truly on your own to be careful.  We also did the Camp Highland Post.  It had lots of ropes to climb, zip lines, and a rock wall.  Max was excited to be bale to do it all by himself. 



Jay and Max then conquered the Sky Hike.  Here they fastened them into harnesses that were attached to a runner above them.  Then they climbed through all the obstacles and worked their way up four stories in height.  Jay said Max didn't get nervous once and wanted to do it again. 




Conveniently,  there was a stream running under the Sky Hike for Mary Kate and I to play.  We had brought their swim suits for the wet zones so I changed her and she went nuts.  She splashed and kicked and crawled all over the rocks and water.  I kicked off my shoes and soaked my feet in the little stream and we watched Jay and Max climb above us.  After several hours in this area, we headed out to see some side shows with the characters of the park.  We also visited to candy store for giant licorice strips, fudge, and chocolate covered peanuts.  Next we caught the Yogi Bear 4-D show.  Jay and I decided it was by far the best show we have seen.  It had the moving seats, spritzing water, air movers, and all kinds of effects.  Max and Mary Kate thought it was a real treat.

Late in the afternoon we had purchased tickets to "Ride the Ducks."  These "ducks" are from the 1940's Army era of land trucks that drive onto the water.  This was probably my favorite part of the day.  We each got quackers to blow on and wow it was loud.  We were lucky to get the best Captain of all the Ducks.  Captain Bob made the trip with lots of interesting facts about Stone Mountain.  He also had crazy fun with the radio songs and getting the kids to participate.  Max got to be Captain for a few minutes while he drove us around the lake.  FUN!  Once back from the ride we headed over to the water area.  There was a giant play area made of ropes and tree houses for the kids to climb.  Every so many minutes the geysers underneath would explode with water.  The kids would get wet even in the tops of the play area.  After cooling off we stopped in a Ms Katy's Kitchen for a fried chicken dinner and some sweet tea.  Finally to close the night we got our blanket and played on the lawn beneath the carving.  They did a fantastic laser show about the southern states and had lots of fireworks.  It was late when we loaded up the car to head to our next destination.






Go Flames
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