Thursday, July 11, 2019

A Visit from Aunt Amanda

Way back in April Sam's sister, Amanda, came to visit with her husband and 8-year-old son!
(I never wrote about it because I wanted to get some pictures from her.)
The boys LOVE playing with their cousin, Ivan,
and it is always enjoyable to visit with Dan and Amanda.
They know so much about just about everything, it seems, which always makes for a fascinating conversation! Amanda works for Google and Dan works designing agricultural robots, so it was fun for me to learn more about their work as well.

Unfortunately, it rained for much of the time we were there, but we still managed to do a number of fun things.
They arrived pretty late in the evening, so we let the boys stay up late eating San Francisco candy and running wildly through the house with Ivan, roughhousing and just altogether enjoying life.
The next morning we headed to the zoo together.
Right now the Memphis zoo has a really cool Lego animal exhibit. It blows my mind to think about the effort put into these and other large-scale Lego projects!

This is the face Maxwell always makes as he points to animals (a sea lion, in this case). I find it irresistible!

After the zoo we stopped by the house for a bit and then headed out to the trampoline park.
The boys had sooo much fun bouncing and flipping and unleashing all their pent-up energy!
Sam and I had a lot of fun trying to conquer the Ninja Warrior course and the Warped Wall, as well.
There was almost no one else there, so they bent a few of the rules and let us play on the trampolines with Maxwell and Benson, too, who very quickly warmed up to it all.

The next morning we headed out to the Civil Rights Museum.
It was sobering to stand where Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot and consider the history of racism. I feel so grateful to be a part of this country but there is much from its history that makes my stomach churn and fills me with confusion and anger. I loved the way the museum focused a lot on those who triumphed in spite of all of the persecution and opposition.

We decided to find a place to grab lunch downtown, and, after consulting online reviews, settled on a place that sounded like it had a good menu and lots of more nutritious options to meet the dietary needs of our group. We walked into the restaurant and I was surprised to see that it was about the size of our living room and our group filled up about half of the seats! I looked at the overpriced menu and tried to find something the kids would eat. Finally, I decided on smoothies for each of them and ordered and paid. After we had placed our orders they started reporting the ingredients they were out of...which were kind of key ingredients on several of our dishes!
(Like, there was no smoothie base, so they couldn't make any smoothies.)
When I asked if they could just refund me, the cashier looked at me with concern and said uncertainly, "Uh...I could call my manager..." I told her not to worry about it and attempted to form some sandwich combinations that the kids would eat and just cut our losses on those pricey smoothies. Meanwhile, they were out of berries for Amanda's berry/spinach salad. The sandwiches Sam and I got were reasonably good, but I left pretty disenchanted with the whole thing.
We had planned to go to the River Park after lunch, but it was FREEZING and pouring down rain, so we decided to come home and set up their video game system with our computer and let the boys play Mario Kart for the afternoon.

The next morning was beautiful.
It was one of the first warm Saturdays of the year, so we headed out to Shelby Farms Park to let the kids play.

That afternoon, we drove across the river into Arkansas to let Ivan walk around and check off another state he's visited. Then we came back into Memphis to check out Beale Street.
I've been to Beale Street a couple of times, but the first time it was completely frozen over with ice and snow and, as such, was almost totally deserted, and the second time was early on a Saturday morning for breakfast.
So I was sorely unprepared for the MASSIVE crowds of people.
We parked and fought through crowds with our family "train" we make in these kinds of situations...Sam led the way, three boys walked single-file behind, and I took up the rear with the other two boys in a stroller, barking orders to keep moving, close the gaps, cross streets quickly, and stay together, frantically trying not to lose any kids in the swarms of people.

Apparently Saturday afternoon is the WORST time to visit Beale Street.
AND, three professional ball games were about to start, each just a couple of blocks away.
AND, it was one of the first warm weekends of the year.
AAANNNND, unbeknownst to us, it was April 11...4/11...marijuana day.
So marijuana was being used heavily and we were packed into the area like sardines while trying to navigate the stroller-unfriendly streets with 5 kids and a stroller, shouting to be heard over ear-splitting music. We stopped in a candy store that seemed to be about the size of our bedroom closet, fought the whole time to keep little hands from grabbing things they should not, paid for extremely overpriced treats, and were incredibly relieved when Dan and Amanda decided they had seen enough just a few minutes later.
We were all rather overwhelmed.

The kids did not enjoy Beale Street at all and have since categorized it as one of the worst, most filthy, evil places on Earth. They are still telling me often about how they don't like Beale Street and even warned the missionaries about it last week when they came over for dinner!
Haha. I guess it made for a good real-life lesson for them.

Note to self: if we ever take guests to Beale Street again, let's not do it on Saturday afternoon/marijuana day.

We came home and recovered from the stressful evening and then Dan and Amanda packed things up and prepared to leave, as their flight would head out in the wee hours of the morning. We had one more late-night chat with them, and then called it a night.

We're so grateful they made the effort to come see us!
Maybe one day we'll make it out to California...just give us a few years. Maybe we can handle crowds better when we're stroller-free. ;)

1 comment:

  1. These are such nice pictures. Ricky and I are both amazed at the Lego's creations. The boys are growing so fast I am amazed every time I see them.


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