Yes, I mean that. There are a TON of photos in this post. I am essentially sitting you down to show you our vacation photo album. I have done my best to share only the highlights of the trip, but be warned, and RUN LIKE THE WIND if you are likely to become overwhelmed by photos of myself or my family.
Consider yourself warned.
That said, we had an absolutely lovely vacation to Memphis this past weekend. We travelled with my sister and her husband and daughter (only 3 months younger than Oliver) and had a great time seeing a lot of fun things.
Care to see some highlights?
We started off our trip to Memphis in the way any trip to Memphis should begin. Barbecue. We all enjoyed our plates full of ribs - and barbecue spaghetti - and seven hundred wet naps later, moved on into the downtown area.
We spotted all the balls at the FedEx Forum a mile away and Oliver and Beatrice were quick to jump out of their strollers and enjoy the oversized joy!
We assumed that Beale Street was a must-see. Unfortunately, it was a must-not-see. It was quite overwhelming and really no place for children. (Did you know that Memphis is ranked the 4th most dangerous city in the United States?)
Oliver did take a moment to enjoy being allowed to walk in the street and played one of his favorite stroller games. This game involves a lot of running and chug-a-chug-a-choo-choo-ing, of course.
It may have been more fun if we didn't have two-year-olds with us - we could have enjoyed the music - but we quickly scooted our little treasures off of Beale Street and on to the Peabody Hotel to see the ducks! (I will note here that waiting in a crowded lobby to see ducks march from a fountain into an elevator is a bit overrated. I think the kids enjoyed seeing the ducks, but there were really too many people for us to enjoy ourselves.)
The next day we enjoyed a quiet morning at our cabin in the Meeman-Shelby State Park and went on to enjoy shopping at the Pottery Barn and Williams Sonoma outlets.
For lunch: delicious food at Dan McGuiness Pub!
Yes, Oliver is poking his eye with a straw. You think that's crazy? Go ahead to the next photo.
We may be raising a lunatic. :)
But, who is not a lunatic? Why, my sweet Beatrice, of course.
Isn't this the cutest little peanut lady you've ever seen? I adore her.
After a happy, filling lunch we were off to the races! The greyhound races, that is.
Again, I don't have any photos of the greyhounds racing, but I assure you they were cool and fast! The kids loved watching the dogs but we realized here as we realized on Beale Street that this was really no place for children.
We bet on a few races (we only spent $10, don't worry!) and after one thrilling win for Ryan, we lost the rest of our wagers. Here we are, feeling sad that our dogs didn't win. And Ryan and Caleb, wondering how they're going to pay back all their gambling debts. :)
(I really do have to say that watching the races and guessing the winners based on their statistics was truly thrilling! It's probably best that there are no greyhound tracks in the Nashville area... are there?) We made a quick, obligatory stop at Graceland to see where Elvis lived, died and is buried. It was swarming with tourists and we were not about to fork over a load of cash to tour the place. So, a photo of the front gate will have to do.
We began our third and final day with a stop at my favorite spice shoppe. You may have heard me wax eloquent about Penzey's before. This, however, was my first retail store experience as I have only ever been able to shop their catalogue or online. I wish I had photos of the cute store, but all have is a shot of my cute guy who is proud of his coloring that had just been posted on the wall (top left, all by itself - a tiger and a blue circle, not really related to spices or Penzey's at all).
Are you retinas bleeding yet? Go get a glass of water if you like, you may need it.
We spent much of our final day enjoying a little river called the Mississippi.
We found a great place called Mud Island that actually has a true to scale model of the river beginning in Minnesota, Ohio and Kentucky and going all the way down into the gulf cost. (It's about 5 city blocks long.)
I think Oliver is in a Minnesota lake here. See how even the elevation is to scale - so you can see what happens when the water is high with floods and low with droughts.
Here is a good shot so that you can see the river winding it's way down.
Oliver is making his way through the Tennessee river. We really wished midway through that we'd thought to pack toy boats. We were also quite tempted to play with nature and build dams and such to see what havoc we could wreak.
Another shot of the pretty park.
And here we are arriving at the Gulf of Mexico. It was neat to be in the little scaled down Mississippi and at any moment be able to glance over to the mighty river itself. Cool.
Lunch at Cordelia's Table. It was a lucky find and a MUST if you're ever in Memphis.
Our final activity was the Memphis Zoo. The kids really loved this - they're finally at a good age to appreciate seeing the animals.
He's holding his hand with his foot. It's weird. I'm just saying.
We love this snack cup. It is so pretty and so functional. Woot.
Are we at all surprised that this is the final picture? We tired these puppies out this weekend!
That's all! If you're still with me you are a true friend (or a grandparent!). We really did have a wonderfully relaxing and fun time away. It was much needed. And, best of all, it was SO GREAT to come home!