Tuesday, December 22, 2015


In November, we went to Memphis. Thus, a new word: Novemphis. Get ready for a ton of photos (76, to be exact)! 

New configuration for the car: big kids in way back, baby in the middle. Makes for exponentially more insanity in the back row.

Toward the beginning of the 9.5 hour trip, which actually took 12 hours, thus the smiles.

The place we stayed had beautiful, big windows, that fit a standing three year old.

We went to this coffee shop a number of times. Look at that fancy coffee drink Matt got. That's no latte.

Here we are in the hallway of the apartment building we stayed in.

I didn't realize how Elvis-y Memphis is. QUITE Elvis-y.

Here was a fun little park we found.

The Mississippi River is SO BIG in Memphis.

This was another part of that cute little park we found.

All the online reviews told us to go to this chicken place, Gus's. It didn't disappoint, and Charlotte colored this masterpiece while we were waiting for our food.

When we travel, if we can, we stay in vacation rentals instead of hotels. Hotel rooms with three little kids who nap is so hard. But, this spacious two bedroom apartment downtown cost the same or less than pretty much any hotel room we could have found, but it allowed us to live life a little more normally (and a lot less stressfully).

Matt and I took turns being in charge of naptime so the other one could go out and read for awhile. On one of his days, I had some nice moments in the apartment, myself, and they looked like this, plus some coffee and the Bible. Huge thumbs up from me!

Plus, the vacation rental allows us to have a kitchen! So so great.

We were one of two brave families with young children to hit Beale Street that night. It was Monday night, so I don't think the die hard blues fans were too upset about us cramping their style. We even got to hear some live music.

I shared a room/bed with Ambrose, and Matt shared the other bedroom with Charlotte, while Lincoln took over one of the walk in closets as his room (which was about as big as his current room in our house). I really enjoyed getting to share a (king!) bed with the boy.

The Memphis Zoo is always rated one of the top five in the country, so we were excited to go. And thanks to our Des Moines Zoo membership (thanks, Mom and Dad!), we got in for half off!
Right away, we realized this zoo is on, what we call the "Curious George level" of zoos.

BL liked it.

We opened a door to walk into the next room in the aviary, and these two owls were already starting us down. Not the best picture (no surprise there), but it was worth documenting.

That's a panda. And that's a big deal.

That's another panda, and that one is sleeping. Still a big deal.

Their first time seeing elephants in person! (Matt's too...?)

This cute face saved me from losing my phone forever. I went to take a picture of him (cuz he's so cute), but then I didn't have my phone, and realized I left it at the place I had changed his diaper. If he hadn't been so cute, I might be blogging today about "this is what I lost my phone..." Cuteness saves the day!

Grizzly Bear bathing.

Here's me, making our $4 Walgreens meal.

Dinner! (This makes me want to go back and to live in that apartment! Although, I looked it up later, and even though it only cost around $600 to stay there for the week, it would cost us well over $2,000/month in rent to live there. The visit was in our price range, but the residence is definitely out of it.)

Many mornings started with watching a little PBS Kids in bed while the adults took turns showering.

One of the things that sold me on going to Memphis was that they have a trolley system. And from the limited research I did online in Des Moines, it appeared that it was still in service. However, once we got to Memphis, we found out that they just retired the actual trolley system in 2014 (just missed it!). Instead, they now have buses that look like trolleys. The kids were unaware of the difference, so I was excited to go on a trolley trip or two.

Expectations are high! (Mine are, at least.)

C'mon, Ambrose! Love this more!!!

Turns out the trolley takes weird routes, and it doesn't really take you to useful places. No offense, Memphis, but the Des Moines public transportation system has you beat, and that's saying something. So, the trolley ride was a little bit of a dud, and it caused a little bit of a headache. But, to this day, although we wouldn't have been able to predict this on the day pictured, Ambrose had very fond memories of the trolley ride. And, since he is the child who has expressed the most interest in all things that go, that was the main goal of the trolley experience, in my mind, so success!

How excited are you, Matt??!?!?!

He was excited enough to look out the window.

Yes, Baby Lincoln, indeed loved the trolley. I mean, the "trolley". 

The apartment building we stayed in had a super fun rooftop terrace. We enjoyed some time up there.

On our last full day in Memphis, we went to a beautiful art museum/botanical gardens. That experience completely confirmed in my mind that the plants and trees are much bigger in Tennessee than in Iowa. Additionally, I'll put this observation here... Tennessee : Iowa/Nebraska :: Iowa/Nebraska : North Dakota.

The kids both love doing "performances", where one finds a make shift stage and reads or explains something, and the rest of us watch and applaud. 


See?! Look how big those leaves are!

Yes, big leaves indeed.

Ambrose in the fluffy, fluffy grass.

After the art museum/botanical gardens, we went to this yummy pancake place. Two thumbs up.

Everyone was tuckered out on our last night in Memphis.

The drive back to Des Moines took even longer, because we intentionally stopped outside of Cape Girardeau for a little bit longer to break up the drive. We got Panera, ate it at a state park, and then walked down to the Mississippi River to look at some cliffs. Then, we drove to the top of the cliff. It ended up being almost like a little day trip added onto the trip. It made us get home super late, but I think we'd still say it was worth it... right, Matt?

Parts of the drive were so pretty!

The other thing that happened in November, as everyone knows, was Thanksgiving. This year, we went to Lincoln, and we stopped at the SAS Museum (or for people my age from Lincoln, the SAC Museum).

We had a GREAT time in Lincoln!

We took at a very cold walk one night.

I caught the four children having a little conference. What are you guys plotting?

Matt and I got to go to a Husker game. A very cold Husker game.

Just like in Memphis, I shared a bed with the boy. We ended each night with a little show, like Shark Tank, or Full House.

Back in Des Moines, we continued living regular life. Like, going to the Science Center:

I left BL to look at this turtle while I supervised the big two kids a few yards away...

...and when I came back, the turtle was the one watching HIM!

Stop staring at my baby, turtle.

Here's a photo from what would happen to me multiple times a day in November. I call it "Critter Time". 

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