We began our annual road trip adventure bright and early on Saturday morning. Radley set his alarm for 4:30am y'all and I'm not sure he even slept because he was so excited to begin - we all were! We loaded up the car, grabbed some coffee and we.were.OFF!
Our first stop came from Holly's recommendation from their trip to Memphis. If you are ever near or headed close to Hot Springs, Arkansas then you need to plan a trip to Garvan Woodland Gardens. We packed food for a picnic and enjoyed the beautiful sites and sounds (and WEATHER) before heading out to explore.
We stayed about an hour longer than we intended but we could have stayed all day long. Every inch of this space is beautiful and enchanting. It's seriously gorgeous and a GREAT way to get rid of some of that energy from sitting in a car all morning.
These are the kind of pics and adventures I really hope they look back on with fondness. The big trips and elaborate days are awesome, but these moments of us in our shorts, tshirts and flip flops with messy hair and unscripted fun are the memories that matter.
(We are currently working on our selfie stick skills.)
The kids had a list of items to find in the gardens and I'm pretty sure all of them liked the fairies the best. I mean - that's the TOOTH FAIRIES house (including teeth!)... Emmy was SO PUMPED.
Everywhere you turn is something beautiful. The kids and I decided that Ryan's newest project is making our backyard look like this. Good luck, babe!
My four favorite people in the whole wide world.
And look - I even got in a picture! :)
Our last stop in the gardens was the Anthony Chapel and we lucked out and got there just as a wedding was finished so the girls got to see the bride leaving which was basically like seeing a real live princess.
Poor strangers that always have to be the ones that take the pictures for the crazy lady.
We hopped back in the car and made the 3 hour drive to Memphis and headed straight to dinner. We helped the wedding photographer to her car as we were leaving the gardens (because of course we did) and she recommended a place called "Westy's" as her number 1 favorite all time place to stop in Memphis. We've already had the BBQ on Beale Street so we figured - why not!
The beer was amazing.
And the food wasn't so bad either!!! I ordered the Mediterranean which was olives, ham, cheese and some special sauce with a side of homemade onion rings. Clearly living my best #Whole30 life over here.
Gina, the sweetest waitress you ever did meet, hooked us up with the "biggest fudge pie I have EVER made"...
We pretended we weren't going to be able to eat it all but spoiler alert: we did.
Sunday morning we were up bright and early again. We had big plans to make it Chicago by 3pm so we could explore some of the city! Our first stop was another Holly recommendation - Gibson's donuts. Y'all - we ate for $8.94 (not pictured: coffees and milks).
The only thing sweeter than those donuts were these faces!
We met the Peabody Duck Master (seriously, that's a thing) while we were eating at Westy's (which should clue in on how good this place was). We missed him walking the ducks down and were leaving too early to see them on Sunday, but he gave the kids some duck pins, told them all about the ducks and told us to come visit the duck palace the next morning.
Goodness, it was a BEAUTIFUL day.
And our selfie skills are improving.
The kids were also such good sports and then....
Yep. Landry and Emmy discovered that the momma duck had laid and egg and were so excited to show me. As they were running away I said, "no running"... they kept running and well..
Natural consequences are some of life's greatest lessons. Poor Landry scraped her entire face and her shoulder and then as Ryan was picking her up, she got sick. Everywhere. On the roof of the Peabody. So, we got delayed a bit on our start time but we made it to Missouri...
Which has an awesome welcome center...
and Illinois ...
which also has a welcome center but not so great of a picture spot...
got settled into our hotel and then went to Ryan's cousin's house for dinner. Day two ended just as sweet as it started!