Rocking in Memphis

25 February 2014

... vacation posts continuing. I tend to barely skim vacation recap posts so why I keep torturing you with my own is beyond me. I really should examine my conscience here. But! This is the last one for a few minutes. I promise.

the drive down.

The four hour trip down to our destination was a welcome breath of fast and furious air after our trek to Wichita two weekends prior. Julia pulled the same, "oops! I guess I forgot to get ALL my potty out" stunt two minutes after we pulled back onto the Interstate after stopping to get her first installation of fluid out ...

light feet, empty bladder, can't lose.

Aside from toting a little potty in the trunk (not for me, but thanks ... we are all allowed to have our quirks and mine is no toilets in the car) - how do people with more than one potty trained child travel?? I texted Rachel and asked and she responded, "Gatorade bottles" ... so we'll see what Sebastian thinks about that when the time comes in several years.

the hotel.

We stayed at The Peabody where Lisa Marie Presley was sitting in the lobby bar with ginorm sunglasses (sadly ... this was reported to me by someone else after she'd left but ... lucky for Lisa because you better believe I would've shed my outermost introverted hermit shell for a really awkward and enthused request for a photo ... with all 3.5 kids).

But more excitedly there were these adorable little critters for the kids to fawn over ...

AND then there were ....


I'd heard that there were ducks in the lobby and that there was a little ceremony at 5 where the ducks march themselves onto the elevator and upstairs to their rooftop home and I thought the kids might enjoy that but what I was not prepared for was hysteria the size of the Oscars ... 

shut the duck up.

(stolen directly from the t-shirts the gift shop was selling)

They let the kids sit next to the red carpet so that they got a good look at the circus of humans and the five ducks ...

Sebastian was like, "what the duck is going on?"

And then the idea was that the parents stand directly behind their offspring to supervise but no. I lasted about .05 seconds before I was elbowed out of the way by phone camera wielding crazies wanting to get! a! million! photos! of! the! DUCKS!!!!!!!

And I let them because you just don't mess with that breed of insane.

I did snap these which makes me a hypocrite, I suppose. But ... I didn't want to deprive Theo and Simon of the experience.

(for the record ... it was neat to see but it brought out a lot of ugly in a lot of people and when mother and children are separated for the sake of a series of grainy photos ... I'd just like to think there is a better photo op involved .... but I guess ducks are just so hot right now. I don't know.)

out to dinner.

Simon had a dinner he had to scamper off to but his family hadn't eaten anything above the nutritional grade of cardboard for a million hours so we went across the street to eat at a restaurant that was not the Costco snack bar or Chick-fil-A. We were whisked to the back room which was JUST fine with us. Simon ordered a beer but they totally misheard him and thought he had said trough because 32 ounces later ...

he didn't care where Sebastian's "chruck!!!!" was being driven.

Have I told you that Simon has recently discovered the delight that is Siri on his phone? Here we have him asking her for walking directions to his conference dinner because typing is for chumps. And when I receive texts that end in, "excavation point" .... I know that he's dictating messages to his wife and spending time with the other lady in his life.

Theo was thrilled with the restaurant's soundtrack ...

I have terrible taste in music but he takes it to new and mortifying heights, that Theo.

the hotel room.

And the first night in the hotel room the big kids had their first run in with (you'll never guess!! duck-shaped) soap NOT designed with kids in mind and decided to scrub each others eyeballs -- a little explanation for anyone within a 700 mile radius that heard toddlers screaming while trying to kill each other with eyes half open.

before the acid war.
Theo be like, "I'm done ... please towel me off and fetch me a clean bra."

We had realllllly counted on one of the portacribs being able to fit in the bathroom but the reality of the situation ....

was a very obese NO.

So ... adventures in co-sleeping commenced.

The first night began like so:
Sebastian with Simon
Julia with Grace
Theo with crib in the corner

The night ended like this:
Sleeping Sebastian's feet propped on sleeping Simon's face
Sebastian's urine all up on Simon's side of the bed
Julia's body perfectly perpendicular to Grace's and Julia's feet propped comfortably on baby #4
Theo laying on Simon
Crib all alone

And night #2:
Eight rounds of musical beds that ended with Sebastian getting a bed all to himself and Theo scoring himself a solo bath (supervised by Simon) at 4:55 in the am. We'll keep working on our hotel skillage. Practice makes mediocre --- > Patton mantra.

Beale Street.

I had a couple of Starbucks giftcards burning a hole in my diaper bag so I decided to be adventurous and trot around downtown to hunt and gather some caffeine for me and the baby and some organic apple juice and non-organic donuts for the kids.

Well. After I tried to attend the spouse's breakfast in the hotel restaurant and this is how that went down ...

Grace: We're here for the spouse's breakfast
Hostess: oh, the deli? did you say you were looking for the deli downstairs?

Aaaaaaaand ..... cue my cackle and exit with double jogger and Julia on foot beside me because we only like open-armed welcomes.


I wouldn't have stayed anyway because the restaurant was far too fancy for the likes of the kids (ahem ... Sebastian) but her trepidation over the prospect of having us dine on the premises was hilariously transparent.

So ... out to the wolves and the wild with us!

After several blocks and a little run-in with a Segway tour going the opposite direction and Julia asking and asking and asking where the, "starbocks" was and this being prettttttty much the only beverage I could find ...

I hate beer but I was mildly tempted.

We found our destination just in time for Julia to have one of her infamous potty emergencies so we ran back to the hotel and then we went to the zoo.


As fate would have it ... a Memphis native (hi Erin!) had randomly commented on the baby name post a few weeks ago and we emailed back and forth a bit and I made the bold move to ask her to babysit while we were in town. She and her husband agreed (bless them!!) and took awesome care of the kids .... got them ALL to sleep in the same room and brought library books about the Peabody Ducks and trucks for Sebastian and window stickers for Julia and were really phenomenal .... if ever you were wondering if you should start a blog. You should! You just might find amazing people to watch your notsoamazing kids in foreign lands.

And while they were watching the kids Simon and I had the pleasure of touring Graceland with the conference crew which was a lot more fascinating than I had anticipated. It was a lot smaller than one might assume and has been perfectly preserved just as Elvis had left it .... shag carpet, mirrored ceilings and all.

photo collages are the worst. sorry.

I was also not prepared for, "and step to your right to find Elvis' grave site in the meditation garden..."


People still bring flower arrangements and leave notes and it was quite the experience.

Are you still there??

I didn't think so.

So .... that's that. In a nutshell the size of Alaska.

*and I think I might stoop to the level of dedicating an entire post to this tomorrow but if you're so inclined would you mind donating a minute (I think!! ... it better not take longer than that!) of your time to a vote for the Camp .... that would be awesome. And I don't take awesome lightly.


Thank you.


  1. Ahhhhh…. we are going to be playing musical beds in June for a wedding. My SIL said 2 rooms was paramount with 3 under 4 and I think you post might be causing me to drop a Benjamin and a half on a second room.

  2. Your posts are ALWAYS appreciated, especially for those of us who are not on vacation! Don't take your own advice! Keep them coming :)


  3. I finish reading a post and then I'm sad....I have to be patient for the next round of adventures.

    Awesome - used in the non-lightest of ways.

  4. A clean bra... I'm dying. Looks like a wildly fun time :) and I voted. Can you do it more than once? I've gone back a couple times and it says that my vote has been registered so I'm guessing one vote only?

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. So hilarious. I was totally engrossed. My 4 year old walked up - saw Theo - and laughed out loud. "Dat's widicuwous mom! Who is dat baby?" I remained engrossed while 4 year old begs me to watch Star Wars. As soon as I read about your quest for coffee, I inform him "We are NOT watching Starbucks tonight!" Good laugh for both of us. Going to vote now

  7. The horrors of hotel room sleeping with multiple children. The worst. With all our kids we would try and either get some sort of glorified suite room or spring for the adjoining rooms just so we could separate people. It was worth it.

  8. You crack me up. Oh the woes of co-sleeping in hotel rooms. We've given up that fight and go straight for the two bedroom sleep, cause we enjoy sanity. We're so strange.

  9. Oh my god that duck thing is hilarious.

  10. Okay, seriously, I don't think Theo could be any cuter. All your kids are adorable, of course, but the tub picture? Priceless.

  11. I seriously laughed my way through this whole post! The ducks...what the duck is right? All those people for ducks? I mean golden goose sure, but duck no for some ducks! And I will now go exercise my right to vote!!

  12. Wow... those people at your hotel are ducking crazy. (sorry, had to.)

    Funny about Simon + Siri - I regularly call Siri Joe's other woman... who stupidly can't say our last name correctly anymore, after the last update, not to mention has screwed up directions so many times... but he just can't quit her.

  13. I was with you to the very end. Always am. Because you're hysterical. My son kept trying to take my phone and see what was so funny. The bath story in particular. I'm going to go make my husband read it now. Over and out.

  14. Well this marks a first for me... being mentioned in a world-famous blog. Check that one off the bucket list... ha! Thanks for the shout out! Maybe I will start a blog about how to read "No, David!" 27000 times in a row until toddlers fall asleep.

  15. This book might be kind of fun for your kids since they've seen the Peabody ducks. Or not.

    1. I was trying to remember the name of that book...thanks for posting it. I didn't realize the duck thing was still going on.

  16. When I was 9 we went to Graceland and I was all like "Why is everyone crying?" And my brother who was 2 cried and spent the entire tour with my dad throwing coins into the pool.

  17. The day Elvis died the neighbor boy came over and mentioned that his mama was crying because Elvis died. I said, "who is Elvis?" I was 9.

    I have made two trips to Memphis. The first was a one night stand that went from the Atlanta Airport to Memphis with a guy I barely knew. The second was for my youngest brother's wedding. I was flying on a buddy pass from a guy that I worked for as a personal assistant (babysitter/housekeeper/fetch it girl). I was producing my first ever professional theatre show - The Fantasticks - and could only be away for barely 24 hours. It was the weekend of the 25th anniversary of Elvis' death. I was a nervous wreck afraid of being bumped on the flights either way. My sister-in-law's family put me up at her mother's house which was, as it turned out, in Mississippi. They put a rollaway bed in the dining room for me. I was never so glad to see the Atlanta Airport in my life. Anyways. That's my Memphis experience. Never seen the ducks but they really are a big deal.

    Love the travel adventures and don't mind the detail at all! *hugs* Heather

  18. Grace, you need to be introduced to this staple of my mom-of-a-potty-trained-toddler life: affectionately referred to as "the car potty". I LOVE this thing because there is nothing to clean and it takes up very little space. I've even brought it on walks before just in case! We buy the refills for it but you could just as easily use a regular plastic bag with a few paper towels thrown into it for absorption. I know you said you don't do car pottys but I thought you might only object to those that require emptying and cleaning. I LOVE this contraption as much as one can possibly love a toileting receptacle.

  19. Normally I skim vacation posts too, but yours put all others to shame. Thank you for recounting all your adventures for our enjoyment :)

  20. OMG! When we honeymooned there my husband thought the duck soaps were HILARIOUS. So hilarious that he apparently stole a ton of them from house keeping because four years later I still find them in random places. haha

  21. I was reading this at work and was literally laughing out loud for each section... hope my co-workers didn't mind!

    Also, if you're ever in the DC area, I will totally baby-sit for you! I have excellent references :)

  22. I'm glad Simon's able to get some use out of Siri. The one time I sought her counsel was at lunch with friends, when we wondered how to pronounce "gyro." I consulted Siri and she said, "It looks like the answer is 'jay-a-hair-oh.'" I haven't bothered to ask her help again.

    I would totally babysit--gladly!--if you all ever come to Durham, N.C. Granted, there's probably no reason for you to come out here, BUT Durham is known as "The City of Medicine" and Simon's a doctor, so it works, right?

  23. What is it with husbands and Siri? I have never seen that stupid feature work properly yet my husband tries it every. single. time. he needs to use his phone.

  24. Goodness gracious, Grace! My first comment here because I just couldn't help myself. SO hilarious! This mom is in bed waiting for prescription meds to cure mastitis and this post was just the lift I needed!

  25. Okay, my vaca recap posts are awful and blah-blah. Yours are funny. And I think I once stayed in that place with the ducks in the lobby! I have half of a memory floating around in my mommy-brain of a stay there pre-children. Hope you had a fun trip even with all the craziness.

  26. Can we only vote for you once, Grace? I want to vote everyday!

  27. I love vacation posts. Probably because I don't go anywhere myself. Were we ever to go to Memphis (unlikely), we would certainly go to Graceland. My husband loves Elvis (not to the extent of leaving messages and flowers at his grave, though . . .). My four-year-old calls "Blue Christmas," "Daddy's song".

  28. I didn't know if anyone could put into words the crazy times that can be had taking three kids to a hotel. You've got it! Esp. the bath at 445am. It's so tiring! IT always sounds so fun when you are planning it, but the reality is tough! Great post...made me laugh out loud a few times!!

  29. that photo of theo in the bathtub is literally what inspired me to subscribe to your blog. so hello... can't wait to keep reading ;)

  30. the bathtub photo was da bomb! Oh gracious that was hysterical. Anyway. thanks for taking me to Memphis. I loved the tour. I don't get out much. LOL!

  31. I just laughed SO HARD at the sleeping situation scenario! Seriously, only moms get how funny (but not funny at the time) that is! If you are ever in Arizona my hubby & I would love to babysit for you guys! :) Our baby girl would love to smile on your sweet baby Theo!

  32. okay I had to stop eating and reading bc my keyboard was getting messy.... they pry thought Simon needed/deserved a big mug :)
    Tub story... hilarious



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