We5AmeriKings 2018: Day 3

We were up before the sun one more time to continue our way northeast. The drive from Louisville to Gaithersburg, MD was going to be our longest day so we wanted to get on the road as soon as possible! Before we knew it, we were crossing another state off our list as we made our way into West Virginia. This welcome center was a delight - I know it's easy to keep trucking on the road when you are trying to get somewhere, but

#Protip: Stop at the Welcome Centers. They are filled with friendly people, fun facts about the state, clean restrooms and awesome photo ops! This stops usually take around 20 minutes and are a great way to get out, stretch your legs, and learn something new. Bonus for places like WV that give our darling souvenirs, too!

In no time, we made our way to Charleston for our planned stop to tour the Capitol and eat lunch. I should note that we don't plan our routes around capitols, it just happened that on this trip, we hit one each day! 

The entrance is a stunning Vietnam Memorial that honors more than 10,000 West Virginians who lost their lives during the war. 

Then as you curve around the walkway, you are greeted by the most beautiful golden dome atop a stunning historic structure. 

We were just blown away by it's beauty... and also just like to take pictures.

Sadly, the Capitol is undergoing some upkeep so we didn't get to explore; HOWEVER, we lucked out because they have an amazing FREE museum as part of the complex where we (unexpectedly) spent the next two hours ...by the end we all wanted to be from West Virginia. 

(Just kidding, Texas).

Seriously, if you are anywhere near the city of Charleston, take the time to come and explore. This place was filled with so.much.history... West Virginia is old y'all... and so many cool things happened here! In Tennessee we learned about Davey Crockett and in WV, we read all about Daniel Boone. We learned about Native Americans, how WV became the 35th state, how to operate a telephone, and work in a grocery store and a soda shop.  Bravo, WV... bravo.

The kids LOVED this little fact. They had a display dedicated to "the dressed fleas"... two tiny insects that were part of a real life flea circus... Emmy wanted to know how in the world they got dressed!

We actually had to cut our time short because we still had 4 hours to drive before our final stop of the day. Please note: I wanted to take at least 7 of those quilts home. 

We filled up Myrtle with gas and our tummies with pbjs and were back on the road. All the driving was so much more easy to take with these as our views. There was really no way to get a proper picture, but the highways in the NE are lined with miles and miles of trees. Gorgeous isn't even the right word to describe it. 

After a couple of hours, we finally crossed into Maryland and while this particular Welcome Center didn't have a cute state sign to pose beside... 

they more than made up for it with this... 

Maryland's welcome game is strong. We all voted to just build a house right there and send for the cats.

The next two hours were filled with lots of snacks, some random questions, reading, singing, and frantic texts back and forth between Jenn and I. Ryan couldn't drive fast enough, and then.... we FINALLY pulled into the quaintest driveway for the cutest #casainthecountry and had the most DARLING welcome crew ever.

Please note: Gracie was totally happy to see us before she was asked to take a picture.

Also note... we didn't care who was crying because we had wine and each other in PERSON! The next WEEK was going to be amazing.... 

I so hope you'll stick around to read about those adventures next... 

We5AmeriKings: Day Three


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.