We5AmeriKings 2018: Day 1-2

The house was cleaned. 
The yard was mowed. 
House sitters and kitty keepers were arranged. 
Bags packed. 
Car loaded.

IT WAS TIME FOR OUR ANNUAL #We5AmeriKings ROAD TRIP and we were READY! Radley was so excited that he literally could not sleep. He was in our room 5 times and finally fell asleep a little after midnight which made a 5AM wake up call even more brutal. But, everyone was all smiles when we pulled out of the driveway. 

We have a ton of ground to cover this trip going from CS - Memphis - Louisville - Maryland/DC - OBX - Atlanta - Baton Rouge - Home so we are setting off on a TWO WEEK voyage and by the end, we will have the entire southeast US crossed off our list, adding SEVEN new states to our count! 

We make it a point to stop at all the welcome centers when we cross the state line. Gives us an opportunity to stretch, learn something new and...  

score group pictures where all of our faces and bodies fit in the picture! This usually takes less than 15 minutes and then we are right back on the road!

Our first stop was Little Rock for lunch. Since we had been there before we wanted to see something new and head somewhere the kids would enjoy and the Julius Breckling Riverfront Park was perfect.  Ryan prepped lunches while I sat with the kids at the splash pad and I would be lying if I didn't admit that I was tempted to join them in that cool water. 

This little space was delightful for big and little kids - CS take note and up your splash pad game!

Ryan had our picnic all set up by the time the kids were ready to dry off and we scored a table in the shade which was just a miracle of all miracles. 

The kids painted some rocks to leave at different stops along our trip and each one left one in LR. Sadly, Landry's made it in to the river and even though Ryan risked life and limb to retrieve it, I think it will be a long time before anyone finds her hidden treasure. 

Little Rock has an amazing trail system and we could have walked for hours visiting all the connected paths, but since it felt like we were inches from the sun, we decided to get back in the car and head to Memphis. 

We waved at the Tennessee sign since we had been there twice before and we were all a little anxious to get to dinner. 

You can understand why. Gus's did not disappoint one single bit... in fact, it had an extra surprise of SPICE. Y'all. You have been warned. The kids were troopers but they weren't playing with the kick. 

ps. Landry ate that entire bowl of beans.

We were all in bed early and up ready to continue on our way, but first I wanted to go snap some pics at these awesome murals we spotted on the way to dinner. 

They could not have been more perfect for my budding artist...

Wizarding wannabe...

and lover of all things pink!

I would match them every single day if I could!

We hopped back in the car and made our way to Nashville. Now, you can clearly make Nashville your entire vacation. Music Row, museums, live entertainment, amazing food... this city has it all. However, this was just a stop on our journey so we settled on a picnic at Fannie Mae (Dragon) Park... 

The girls could have stayed there all day finding their favorite characters among all those mosaics. And we lucked out because the serpent had been closed for restoration for the past two years. What an awesome community project! ?  

From there we headed to the Capitol - and I should note that Ryan named this his favorite state capitol to date. (WHAT?!) He just really liked that so many presidents were from Tennessee and the way they were highlighted in the building 

The kids seemed to have a good time, too. And if you look really close, you can see Radley in all three of these pictures. Ha!

Me: Are you sure the Capitol is in the picture?
Stranger: Yes!
Also stranger: .... 

A few miles later and.... our FIRST NEW STATE!

We were so excited and couldn't wait to get our hosts waiting across those state lines. But, listen here closely... this is a road trip PRO TIP... make sure you account for the time change when texting people. I let them know that we were going to be there right at 5pm...and we were in Texas time. In Kentucky time, it was 6pm. 


And y'all... this was who was waiting for us! 

This was also waiting for us.

From top to bottom: Alpaca, bison, kangaroo, and wagyu.

No I'm not kidding and yes they were all DELICIOUS!

If you are in or near Louisville, check out Game! 

After delicious food with amazing company, we needed to top it off with a little sweetness so we headed to Austyn's favorite treat spot and Louisville original, the Comfy Cow.

I'll let you decide if they enjoyed it... 

We headed back to the Pryors for the evening where the kids were most impressed by their BASEMENT. Seriously, they couldn't get over how cool this house was and Ryan and I couldn't either. He immediately did what he always does and looked up real estate in the area. We stayed up late, played catch up and our beds hit the pillow full of happy thoughts. 

The best part about all of these trips are the memories we make with the people we love. How lucky are we to have precious friends that treat us like family and make the drive more than worth it. Our first two days were so good to us and I am just overwhelmed with gratitude for the opportunity of this journey. 

Stay tuned... 


Emersyn is EIGHT...

This tiny tot went to bed a precious seven year old and woke up making us the proud parents of a darling eight year old. Y'all. How in the world did we get so lucky? 

At eight, Emersyn is creative - she comes to life when she is making something. A new piece of art, a fancy recipe or even a board game. I hope we can keep nurturing this gift in her to use in the best possible ways. 

She is kind - she senses when one of us is sad and needs some extra attention and is so quick to offer an extra hug. She's also not our snuggler so hugs and attention from her is extra sweet!

She is so quick to forgive - Landry isn't the easiest baby sister... she retaliates in the typical physical 6 year old ways like shoving when we aren't looking and Emersyn simply turns the other cheek. 

She is ours. And that's my favorite part of her. 

She wanted to celebrate at Freebirds which I think is funny because I feel like the only time we ever go there is on her birthday. Maybe we should go more often!

Her special request was to bring her cake (that she decided she didn't want at her slumber party) and share with the crew. 

 And what an awesome crew we have. Seriously, I love that we have a village that shows up to celebrate the big and small of life. That no one complains when they hear the restaurant of choice and shows up all smiles! 

No one's smile was as big as hers! We had so much cake that the kids decided to ask other customers if they wanted some, too. Y'all. Some of these college kids had the best reactions to FREE CAKE - some even opted for two pieces.  

Most importantly, our girl felt loved and celebrated by friends that are family...

family that added to our crew... 

people she idolizes... 

and people she's stuck with whether she likes it or not.

Eight years of loving her is one of the easiest things I've ever done. 

Party patrol...

As soon as we got back from picking Landry up at camp, we went straight into birthday mode for Emersyn. She couldn't decide between a pool party and a slumber party, so we decided to do both. Her friends met us at the pool late that afternoon so they could swim and work up an appetite before dinner. 

One of my favorite childhood memories include slumber parties. At my house or friends' houses it didn't matter... the evenings were filled with giggles and being goofy and all the girlie things. Too much make up, licking icing off cake and maybe sometimes freezing bras and undies. 

I still love the noise and the silliness and the make believe. I love the cooking challenges and the make overs and the movie marathons. There is just something so beautiful when you are in the company of other women... women that lift you up and know your secrets and simply just make you laugh. 

And on top of that... pick out the perfect gifts to celebrate you!

I have a little tradition of taking a sleeping picture the night before the kids' birthdays... my attempt at remembering them just as they were at that age. This picture is a total fake because I wasn't about to stay up as late as the girls to get one. 

I'm not sure what time they actually fell asleep - when you come from the school of Gigi you learn real quickly to just put away all the breakables and hope for the best. Regardless, they were all ready for some morning "cake and ice cream." I ordered her an actual birthday cake, but at the last minute she decided she just wanted her friends to sing to her the morning of her birthday with donuts and ice cream. Well... 

This may be the best birthday cake ever!

They all had the best time... even this guy... who was the hero of the party and survived an 8:1 ratio for 16 hours. 

Can't wait for the next (no) sleepover! 


Landry goes to camp...

Landry finished kindergarten on a Thursday and that next Sunday we packed her and Millie up and shipped them off to their FIRST OVER NIGHT CAMP.

What in the world? They are JUST BABIES!!

But she was more than ready to go - she had been talking about "Camp Carolina" for WEEKS, asking us daily when she got to leave. She was 1000 percent more ready to go than I was ready to let her leave. I mean, yes... #thirdkid but also the BABY.

We got her all signed in, and her smile never left her face. She was practically pushing us out of this room to get to her cabin. 

Campers are split up by age groups (K-4) and this year Landy was a zebra. 

As we were moving all her stuff in, we noticed a new little addition to the cabin - each camper was assigned a chore for the week. Millie and Landry hit the jackpot, y'all.  

She was especially excited that she got a top bunk since she sleeps on bottom at home. They tried to shove us out of there but we insisted on making them actually walk us outside. 

Emmy didn't want to let her go. 

But they were more than ready for the four days ahead!

I love that Carolina Creek uploads pictures each day, so we can stalk check in on all the fun the kids are having. She was all smiles that next morning... 

and throughout the entire week. Cindy and I would text back and forth when new pics were uploaded but both noticed that the girls weren't in any pictures together. This could mean:

1. They had a fight because it's Millie and Landry and they are more like cousin siblings than anything
2. They are comfortable in their friendship and did a great job of including other people

We went with option 2. 

And on the last day we finally got to see their smiling faces together!

By Wednesday morning we were ready to see our girls and got to camp just in time for cabin awards. Landry received the "kindness" award for including others, being kind, and making friends with everyone. 

::Mom heart explosion:: 

We couldn't have been more proud of this girl!

After cabin awards, we all made our way to the gym to get a glimpse of what a day at camp looks and feels like. Counselors do a skit, campers sing a song and you hear testimonies from campers - the whole thing just lights up every part of these kids faces. 

Plus, you get to run into your old counselors making your anticipation for when you get to come back THAT MUCH GREATER!

A few final pics... 

and we were heading back home, a complete set of three once again. Radley was so excited and proud of Landry. I love how much he loves them.

Thanks, Carolina Creek.... see you in August!