The girls had spring break last week, so Bobby got the week off and we made plans to spend a couple of days in St. Louis, and then a couple of days in Memphis, TN. Shortly after we moved here, Bobby mentioned to me that he would like to go to Memphis so he could taste the barbecue. I didn't get it. And I was not on board. A sixteen hour round trip just to try some ribs and pulled pork? Then a few years later, as I started to develop an appreciation and an understanding of this wonderful culinary tradition, I started to warm up to the idea. And we decided that if we were ever going to do it, now was the time. St. Louis is a guaranteed good time no matter what time of year, and with Ray and Natalie living there, well that only sweetened the deal. It's been a while since we've gone to St. Louis. After Justin and Ashley moved, it was just too sad and we missed them too much. But we love having Natalie and Ray closer!
First I will mention how nice it was to have Bobby home for a whole week! I just love having him home and so do the girls. He went in to work on Tuesday morning for just three hours to take care of some paperwork and because a rep was there with some info he was interested in hearing, and I was so sad he had to go! I felt like I was getting ripped off! It was a little pathetic. That's what Bobby said anyway the night before when I was whining about him having to leave. Thanks babe. We both started p90x again and it was great to be working out together and drinking protein shakes again. We rented Just Dance for the Wii and we all loved it, just like I know we would. Franny wanted to do all the dances and she was pretty good at them. Sophie didn't want to play for a while. I think she was afraid of scoring really low. I haven't ever thought of her as such a perfectionist. She finally got into it, though and I got some great video of her and Bobby dancing to the Spice Girls. (video may be coming later.)
We left Wednesday morning and drove to St. Louis. Our first stop was Costco and then we headed to Five Guys at the Galleria, which was our next destination so we could drop our computer off at the Apple Store to have our disc drive fixed. I feel so bad that we always have to spend at least one day of our vacations shopping and running errands we can't do where we live. Franny hates it! The kids were pretty worn out from the drive and all the shopping so we headed to Natalie and Ray's a little earlier than we were planning. We ate in and talked while the kids played. It was perfect and so good to see my friend again!
The next morning we got up, got dressed, and headed out for the zoo. But first we made a stop in Chesterfield. I have a cousin who lives there that I hadn't seen since I was sixteen or seventeen years old! It was so good to see Raenell and meet three of her kids and see her beautiful home. I hope it won't be that long until the next time I see her.
The zoo was pretty cold, but not too cold. We had the good sense to bring our stroller from home and then rent one at the zoo, so we could bundle the children up in blankets and push them around the park. Bobby and I were fine with hats and gloves so we still had a nice time. Standouts for the day were the jaguar family, the gorillas (we told Franny one of them wanted her to be his girlfriend), the giraffes (which were Claire's favorite), some giant spider from the rainforest that will no doubt haunt my dreams in the coming months, and the butterfly room. A really nice thing about going to the zoo when it's cold is you have the park to yourself so you can take inappropriate pictures with gorilla statues. The one of Bobby hugging the gorilla makes me laugh every time I look at it.
The next morning it was hard for us to leave. The girls each said that one of their favorite parts of the trip was playing with Jonnie and Max and I loved talking to Natalie. But we had a long drive and we needed to get going. We stopped in Cape Girardeau for lunch and then rolled into Memphis at about 4:45. We went straight to Graceland to check out Elvis' house. We couldn't get very close at all. We hadn't thought we were very interested in taking the tour at all for two reasons: 1.) it's pretty expensive and 2.) we're not huge Elvis fans. But we realized then that we were interested in going and figured there probably won't be another chance, so we decided to come back the next morning and do the tour. Luckily Franny's tap number was "Hound Dog" last year for her dance recital, so we were able to explain to her who Elvis even was. I think we all enjoyed the tour except for Claire. She was badly sleep-deprived on this trip, so I'd say she did pretty good considering how little sleep she got.
We also ate barbecue three times on our trip and we were not disappointed. My favorite one was Central's BBQ, which was the first place we tried Friday night after we left Graceland. It was so good- very tender meat, very good sauce. The people in line with us kept buying bbq nachos- they looked amazing. I spent the rest of the weekend wishing we had purchased them as well. But we did buy them at the next two BBQ places we tried (Rendezvous's and Corky's). Very good. I'll be making those at home when we have leftover pulled pork for sure. Rendezvous wasn't as good as Central's, but it was much bigger and had a really cool atmosphere. Bobby ordered ribs for him and nachos for the girls. Tasty. I also ordered a greek salad of all things and it was fabulous!
After that we walked to the Peabody Hotel to check out their trained ducks. I guess they all parade through the lobby and up to the roof of the hotel twice a day and people come and watch. We didn't get to witness the parade, but we did get to visit the ducks playing in the fountain. The girls loved it. Especially Claire. Pretty cute. After that we all walked down to Beale Street- famous for live music and spirits. The music was pretty cool, but it wasn't really our speed. Our family stuck out like a sore thumb, but we found a diner and bought a chocolate shake before heading back to our hotel for a much needed nap.
When Sophie woke up, she had a fever and felt really sick. We were planning on eating out at one more BBQ place, but we couldn't do that to Sophie. She said she felt good enough to go for a drive (after we promised her some ice cream), so we loaded everyone in the car and proceeded to buy food from FIVE different places! On our way to Corky's, we saw Bobby's favorite restaurant of all time- HOUSTON'S. They make these chicken tenders- I just don't know how they do it- they are amazing! So I found their number on my phone and ordered some takeout while we picked up a pound of pulled pork and some more BBQ nachos from Corky's. We also used that time to pick up some beautiful cupcakes from two different bakeries. Then of course we needed the ice cream we promised Sophie, so we stopped at this frozen yogurt store called Yogurt Mountain. It was the best thing ever. You get to fill up your own cups and add your own toppings- they have a great selection of toppings and flavors. Fresh fruit, all the candy bars, tons of sauces (white choc, lemon zest, raspberry, dark choc). The flavors we picked were: coconut, acai berry, cookies and cream, peanut butter... And then you pay by the ounce. I love that place so much.
So we took home our spoils and ate ourselves sick! We still had so much left over when we were done eating. We were able to bring some of the BBQ and all the cupcakes home with us the next day so none of it was wasted. I wish we had more time in Memphis. It was a great city. There were some really nice areas with some beautiful homes. We really enjoyed driving around and we thoroughly enjoyed the gorgeous weather!