Wednesday, July 10, 2013

over the river and through the woods...

A few weeks ago I took the boys down to my parents in Memphis. I want to be able to spend a week there during the summer but Jon doesn't want to take that much time off of work since we travel so much already. And really, its more for the kiddos anyway. He gets a little stir crazy hanging out doing nothing all day (which I am more than happy to do :) But since there was no way I could attempt a 10 hour drive by myself with all three, I asked my friend Manda to come with me to help. She's been a very close friend of our family for 15 years. (Half my life!! I still can't believe I've lived here half my life when the first half was spent moving all over the place.) She's a little bit older than me (ie: her kids are older) so it was easy for her to get away. I love her for many reasons. We're always laughing together, she loves good food and loves to read. She's also one of the few people that I can go many many months without seeing or talking to but I wouldn't feel odd in the least to pick up the phone if I needed to ask her a random question. I can probably say that about two people. (I hate the phone. Texting is an introvert's best friend.) So anyway, we had a lot of fun together that week and it wasn't stressful at all. Usually Dawson is at his worst when we're traveling (lack of sleep + new situations/schedules = major meltdowns) but for some reason, having her 10 year old son, Eli, there made a HUGE difference. It was kind of amazing and I asked her if I could adopt him for a year or so. She said no since that would just leave her with one preteen daughter. Enough said. 
I have weird pictures from this trip. I only got out my DSLR camera once, at our favorite park. The rest of the pictures are from Manda's iPhone. (And a lot were on Instagram, so sorry if they're repeats for you.)

Here's the coolest park ever. If IKEA designed a playground it would look something like this. I blogged a little bit about it from our first trip there too. It was cool to see part of the metal tunnels nearly covered in vines this time, whereas a couple of years ago, they were just little sprouts.

My littlest sister, Claire, is living down there this summer to save money so it was a treat to have her to ourselves all week too.

My parents asked us to come down during their church's VBS week. (My dad's on staff at a huge church down there.) Both my mom and dad were volunteering at VBS so they took all three big boys with them every day. It worked out so well. So basically all morning, every day, Manda and I got to have fun! Usually vacation with kiddos isn't vacation at all. It's extra work and extra stress and usually a lot less sleep. But I actually came away from that week so rejuvenated! It was pretty amazing. 
Like I said, Manda loves good food as much as I do. She and her hubby plan their trips around which restaurants they want to visit. (I need to travel with them...) And it was absolutely hilarious to see Eli eating my mom's meals that week. He sounded JUST like his dad, raving about how delicious everything was. A food snob already, at just 10 years old. It was so cute. My husband enjoys good food but wouldn't be sad at all to eat the same thing every day. Food just doesn't excite him. So it made me really happy to go out to eat with Manda and my sister and be able to go on, and on, and on (and on...) about how insanely good the meal was.
We ate at Brother Juniper's which claims to have the best breakfast in Memphis. Manda and I shared that sandwich below. Ham & swiss between two pieces of French Toast and dipped in Maple syrup. Oh. My. Word. I literally just started salivating thinking about it again. It was worth every calorie. The cheese grits were way too garlic-y but we weren't complaining since we'd just had our minds blown with the sandwich. That picture on the left of Channing was my favorite moment of the whole trip. Our waiter was this pretty quiet young tall guy with a full beard. When he was leaning on our table at the end, figuring out how to divide our ticket, Channing would look up at him and then bury his face in his arm, over and over. He was totally nervous around him but never got upset. I wish I had video of it. It was the cutest and we were cracking up. 

The boys had so much fun with Eli. They fought over who got to sit or sleep by him all week and Eli was such a good sport about it all. I told Manda he's the most pleasant 10 year old boy I'd ever been around. So helpful. He would actually clear other people's dishes from the table without being asked. Seriously....I was taking notes on how I want to train my boys.

Like I said, Dawson did so much better that week. He only had one major meltdown on Wednesday (our third full day there). He fell asleep really late in the afternoon and woke up crying. He got pretty hysterical and absolutely could not calm down no matter how much holding and rocking and shushing or singing I did. Everyone else started eating dinner and I took him into the bedroom and just started reading books to him. After at least 15 minutes of reading, he finally could stop crying. Then we went out and ate dinner and he snapped right back to his happy self. That was the only rough moment of the whole trip. 
One afternoon we went to "experience" Jerry's Sno Cones. I say experience because it was exactly that. They're famous for their shaved ice/ice cream combo. One of my mom's closest friends down there is always raving about this place so I told her she had to take us. We drive halfway across town around 3pm. We get to this dinky little place in a parking lot and the line is LOOOONG. We waited nearly an hour and it was well over 90 degrees out. I mean, really. It was crazytown. But we had a blast talking to people and deciding which of the 100 flavors we were going to get. My mom stayed in the car with the boys in the air conditioning until we were to the front of the line. Minor meltdown from Dawson because the "cotton candy" flavor wasn't pink but we distracted him somehow. We all really liked it but I can't say I'd ever wait in line for an hour again for one. That place is a goldmine. So just a tip to all you Tropical Sno owners- put a little dollop of soft serve ice cream in the middle and you'll gain a cult-like following.
Another delicious meal at an old beauty shop converted into a restaurant. The hairdryers and everything are still in there. It was really cute.
Kid-free shopping happy: 
While we were there we dug out old family photos. And bam....there was Channing's face in all my baby pictures. I thought he favored me more than Jon but I had no idea how much.

I also found my old hardcover Anne of Green Gables book that my very first best friend gave to me when I moved away from Georgia. She threw me a surprise going-away party and I remember feeling so fiercely loved that day. She and I were inseparable and spent many afternoons roller skating on our driveways in our matching white skates with pink and purple stripes. We wore matching outfits whenever we could and we would always take bubble baths in our bathing suits in her parent's jacuzzi tub whenever I slept over. Her dad never called me Haverlee, always Waverly and her mom had the sweetest smile and most gentle voice. My very first plane ride was to visit her all by myself somewhere around 8th grade. We slowly lost touch for the most part after that but drove cross country to attend each other's weddings. Thankfully now we can at least keep up with each other on Instagram. 
Always fun to see how much my boys have changed in a year. Last year in Memphis

 Click on over here if you're a blogger and want to support one family's adoption. 


  1. Joanna's inscription made me cry! What a sweet friend and memories you still carry today...

  2. and super weird to see that profile pic of mine. ha!

  3. Sounds like a fantastic little getaway. Manda and Eli are the greatest. ANd oh my word, that park looks sa-weet!
    Channing is so scrumptious and the resemblance between you two is ridiculous! How fun to have a little twin! I love the name Joanna. If Roman was a girl, that would have been his name. What a lovely friend!

  4. Love seeing Memphis in pics! You did a great job capturing it. Thanks so much for letting us visit with you while you were here. We loved it. Drew just got really excited to see Bennett's pic on here! Hope to see y'all again soon! (Had to insert a "y'all" in here!) :)

  5. We love that playground! Hoping to visit it next week, actually. Thanks for the inspiration!


Please leave your email if you'd like a reply! Thanks for the love.