Monday, May 21, 2018

Science Olympians in Atlanta

In May, we traveled with Evan's school science olympiad team to the Atlanta area where they were competing in the state competition.  I felt bad that the kids and teachers had to ride on an unair-conditioned bus while we drove separately.  First, we met the kids at Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park in Kennesaw, Georgia and enjoyed exploring this little piece of our nation's history.  Kennesaw Mountain was the site of an epic Civil War battle as the Confederacy fought to keep Sherman's Union army out of Atlanta.  This battle ultimately led to the final demise of the Confederacy and, of course, Sherman's tragic and destructive march to the sea.  After receiving a history lesson and exploring the museum, everyone was ready to head to our hotel for dinner and some cooling off in the pool.  The next day would be a busy day of competitions at Kennesaw State University.  We also threw in a fun meet-up with a blog friend for lunch at Chick-fil-a and a much anticipated visit to a local Pinkberry for our much missed favorite frozen yogurt. It was a fun weekend although we didn't really explore much of Atlanta on this trip.

We did brave Atlanta traffic as we passed through to the western side of Atlanta.  I think part of the problem with Atlanta's roads is that its interstate passes right through downtown instead of going around it.  The outer beltline takes you really far outside the city so it is a lot farther to drive that way.  I know Charlotte seemed to have a better road system with an inner city beltway that went around its center city area and then a much wider beltway system that went around the outer edges of the metropolitan area.  Next time we visit, we would like to explore Centennial Olympic Park, Atlanta Braves stadium, Stone Mountain, and other of the city's treasures.  

The Science Olympiad team was supposed to meet up here for lunch in Kennesaw before going to Kennesaw Mountain, but the bus got delayed in traffic and the kids were getting so hot and hungry, they stopped earlier for lunch.  We were ahead of them and went on to Freddy's.  We had this restaurant in our last hometown of Holly Springs and liked it. 
We arrived at the National Battlefield and were excited to add the passport stamp to our National Park passport book. 

The main entrance and parking lot was closed for some road maintenance (although they did let the school bus through thankfully) so we had a nice little walk to the park. The "mountain" is more of a pretty tree covered hill. 

It was a hot, sunny day but most of the sites were inside the museum. 

My boys love a cannon.  Brody helped stamp his book. 

The class received a lesson from some of the park rangers and were shown some of the artifacts that can still be found on the battlefield grounds like buttons from soldiers' uniforms, rifle shells and casings, and other pieces that tell the tale of the battle that was fought here. 

One of the students was dressed up like a soldier and experienced how hot and heavy all of the gear was. 

The kids got their certificates and pins for being junior rangers. 

My Junior Rangers

Brothers on opposite sides of the war! 

I had to get a picture of my big boy before we left. 

The boys enjoyed riding the luggage cart at the hotel.  Silly boys! 

An evening swim after dinner was needed after a long, hot day. 

I love watching my boys playing together. 

And splashing with my baby in the water. 

The pool water was a little cool. 

So Brody warmed up in the hot tub.  
Our team got a front row seat for the beginning of the competition. 

Evan and his teammates were ready to compete. 

While the little boys and I waited for the teams to finish the beginning ceremonies inside, they picked up a ton of streamers that were all over the grass in the big courtyard area that was apparently leftover from recent graduation celebrations.  I used them to make some pom-poms for them to cheer for their school.  Hey, we had a recycling lesson.  

Grayson tried to play ball, but his ball kept rolling down a hill.  He also enjoyed sitting in the shade with me. 

After Evan left for his first competition, I took the boys to eat lunch at a local Chick-fil-a and to meet some special blog friends.  Unfortunately, we met at one of the only Chick-fil-as with no play space so they had to content themselves with playing in the restaurant to the dislike of one of the elderly dining room workers.  Haha!  I think all of the kids behaved very well, and they all loved Mrs. Kelly.  

Kelly and I were twinning in striped shirts and matching hairstyles.  Haha!  

We arrived back in time to see some of the bottle rocket competition.  

I went inside with Evan for the closing ceremonies and awards presentation.  We were a little late after leaving Daddy with the sleeping babies in the car so we had to sit on the floor next to Evan's class.  

The awards were a bit of a disappointment and a joke.  It seems that the competition is a bit skewed in favor of the schools in the area where the competition is held.  Out of like 200 schools, they won the awards for pretty much every category.  The only feasible way they could do that is if their "coaches" already knew the exact questions and taught them the answers because they very likely created the tests.  Evan's two competition areas were tests of the material and were very difficult areas (astronomy and knowing stars and constellations and tree, plant, and insect biology).  He knew his stuff!  This seemed to be an ongoing pattern with these competitions so I am not sure we will be participating in the future sadly.  It just seems like a waste for all of our kids' hardwork.  

But we did enjoy some yummy Pinkberry treats which made up for our disappointments.  Grayson loved his first Pinkberry experience. 

Evan and Brody were ready for their first bites. 

Well, I guess this will have to satisfy us for a while until we make another trip to the Atlanta area since there aren't any other locations closer to us.  

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