Tuesday, July 22, 2008

To Nashville and Back...and Everything In-Between

Summer has almost come to an end. It has flown by so quickly! Where did the time go? There are only eight more days of sweet, sweet summer left and it deeply saddens me. Do you know what that means?

We had to fit in just one more little vacation.

We had already been to Destin last month, so another big trip was out of the question. We like to take little weekend trips to Nashville every once in awhile because it's far enough to get to spend the night in a nice hotel, but close enough to home where the drive does not take a billion hours (like it seemed for Destin).

On Friday evening, soon after Steve got home from work, we packed the car up and left. Emmerson slept maybe an hour of the drive, while I stayed awake and kept Steve company. Oh, and it helped to listen to our Christmas cds too. (Yes, we basically listen to Christmas music all year round. We're dorky like that.)

We got to the hotel around 10 that evening. The place was crowded. Steve had to park in the way back...that would be the back lot. There was a big Premier bus parked in front of the hotel and about a million cars everywhere else. Do you know why? It's because of "the curse."

What is the curse? Well, without going into TOO much detail, let me just say that weddings and reunions (whether it be family or the 52nd Annual Class of 1956 High School Reunion with matching orange and blue t-shirts) always seem to follow us to the same exact hotel where we are staying. As a matter of fact, during our drive, we had just been talking about how many reunions and big events we'd encountered since we'd been married. I think this makes six. At least. But who's counting?

So back to checking-in...

We walked in and the first thing out of Steve's mouth in a sing-song voice was, "Matching teeee-shiiiiiirts!" Imagine that. I couldn't hold back the laughter and shook my head. UN-believable.

We got our room keys and went up to the fourth floor like they told us. We had to request a room change because the room SCREAMED coughed (get it?) of cigarette smoke. There was no way we would've been able to stay in there for two nights, let alone one. Steve was awarded the duty of going back down to handle it. He calmly told the lady of our situation. Rolling her eyes and letting out a huge sigh of disgust, the front desk lady said, "All of the rooms are non-smoking." "Well, someone definitely was smoking in this one,"Steve assured her.

A new room assignment and about ten twenty minutes later, Steve slowly walked off the elevator to the fourth floor where Emmerson and I had been waiting...and waiting....and waiting. Let me tell you, it's hard to keep an antsy toddler entertained, especially when it's way past her bedtime and her mama is tired. Do you know why we had to wait so long? While we we were waiting (again) on the elevator to go up to the 8th floor to our new room, Steve informed me that there were two girls, a middle school age and her seven-year old sidekick, riding up and down the elevator and pushing all of the buttons. I told him, "Wait 'til they get up here. Is that them?" In my best teacher voice, I politely but firmly said, "Hey, can y'all please quit pushing all the buttons? A lot of us have been waiting for awhile." They smiled nervously and nodded. I had embarrassed them. They knew it and I knew it. When we got to our floor, I looked down at the elevator. The girls weren't on it anymore. Hmm. Wonder why? *Shrug*

We had requested a baby crib and they had one, free of charge, waiting outside of the door to our room. We looked at it and laughed. It didn't come with all the bells and whistles of a new crib (which wasn't to be expected), but we knew it would manage for a couple of nights. It was also better than hauling the pack-n-play.

Once inside, I called my parents and told them we had arrived safely, while Emmerson explored her new surroundings. We got everything situated and got ready for bed. It was 10:40 by this time. Dad texted me and asked if Em was sleeping. "Not yet," I typed back and sent him this picture:

"Mommy!! I'm tired and this isn't my comfortable bed at home! Can't I sleep with you?!"

Let's fast forward a little...

We all FINALLY got to sleep and woke up the next morning early for breakfast since we knew it'd be crowded. One thing we LOVE about our favorite hotel is the free breakfast. It's not your typical doughnut and coffee type thing. We're talking omlets, hashbrowns, bacon, sausage, fruit, and biscuits and gravy. Is your mouth watering yet?

After breakfast, the plan was to go shopping at Opry Mills and then come back to the hotel and rest, and then go to dinner and walk around the Opryland Hotel. I'll just tell you right now that we didn't go back to the hotel to rest because we spent all of our time at the mall.

I found a lot of great end-of-summer deals for Emmerson and a few things for myself. Steve was the great husband he always is and strolled Emmerson around while he patiently waited for me listened to his iPod that he brought with him. That's what he does to keep himself entertained when he goes shopping with me. He was even able to finish listening to the Harry Potter book. Emmerson totally missed her normal nap time since we got a late start to our day. Thankfully, she finally wore herself out and slept for about an hour and a half in the mall. Whew! Thank goodness for reclining strollers.

Around dinner time, we decided to just head directly to the Opryland Hotel. No time for rest.

Little Miss Independent. If one of us wasn't holding her hand, she'd run off.

It was getting close to dinnertime, but we first wanted to take Em on the little boat ride they have in there. We spent too much purchased on our tickets and waited about five minutes before boarding.

"I've got a Golden Ticket! It's all MINE and you can't have it!"

We didn't buy the overpriced photo of the three of us. I took our own pictures instead.

"Gosh, Mom, haven't you taken enough pictures of me yet?"

The Lochness Monster

After the relaxing ride, we found a place to eat and sit to watch the water light show that would start at 8 pm. Daddy went and got the food, while Emmerson entertained the family sitting at the table next to us by laughing at the teenage boy who was making funny faces at her.

The water show was very beautiful. It's set to fast-paced music and it was very funny to watch the little kiddos around dance crazy-like. Of course, Emmerson loved it and was a dancing queen from the beginning to the end of the show.

We took a few more pictures and let Emmerson walk around the garden path for a little bit without anyone holding her hand. She LOVED that and thought it was awesome that SHE got to make the ultimate decisions on which way to go.

I think the best part of the Opryland Hotel experience for Emmerson and for us...HANDS DOWN...was her toddling through the main lobby, crawling up the stairs, and running like a prison escapee in one of the big (and empty) carpeted ballrooms. Squealing and hearing her voice echo was so amusing to her. We definitely enjoyed that part the best because it was one of those happy moments that you etch in your memory and never, ever want to forget.

So....let's review the things we did there at the ol' Opryland Hotel that we've been to a countless number of times and what they were worth....

Parking= $16.00 + tax

Tickets for boat ride= $20.00
Greasy not-good-for-your-health cheeseburger and fries=$15.00

Light show= free with admission (so $17.42)

Watching Emmerson run around freely=Priceless
I wish I could get the video to load.

Once we were ALL worn out, we headed back to the hotel and went straight to bed. No, not really. SOMEbody thought it was still play time. And I'll give you a hint. It wasn't me. Or Steve.

Future Gamer of America

"Ahhh! You found me, Mommy!"

I love to read books....upside down.

She finally was so worn out that she was literally crawling into her bed.

No, not really. She just likes to climb on things. That silly little monkey.

It didn't take too long before Em was out. We slept in later the next morning, but we still didn't miss out on our wonderful breakfast. We got everything loaded into the car and headed to a different mall in Franklin. I was good had spent almost all that I wanted to on Emmerson the day before, and I only bought her a cute pair of denim shorts that were on sale. Oh, and I couldn't resist the cute variety of hair bows being sold at a booth near the food court and snatched up twelve of those little suckers. They are totally worth the money and I even got a few to match outfits for the upcoming Tiger football season.

By 1 pm, it was lunch time. Late breakfast...remember? We went over to eat at TGI FRidays. Emmerson had cheese pizza and mandarin oranges (this is important for later). We enjoyed our meal, but we were all so very tired. Steve needed a pick-me-up to endure the treacherous drive home, so we were going to stop at Starbucks after filling up the car with gas one more time before heading home.

Emmerson was drinking her lemonade from her cup. Sometimes she drinks a little too fast and gets choked up a little. She did this a few times and I thought nothing of it. Then her coughs became deeper and stronger until it sounded more like dry heaving. Oh no, this is it! I thought. Somewhere between driving from the gas station to Starbucks, her lunch revisisted her....WHOLE. A big sea of mess covered her and her seat. I had to keep from gagging too. I told Steve to hurry up so I could get her cleaned up. He floored it and whipped into the parking lot, leaving me alone to clean up the grossness while he went in to get his drink and napkins..and some water. Gee, thanks a lot, I thought. By the time he walked back out, I was already done cleaning up E and had started on the seat. Thank goodness I had packed an extra package of wipes. Do you also know that Clorox travel wipes and travel-sized Lysol do come in handy in extreme emergencies? What life savers. The seat was cleaned up as best as possible. I had to have the windows rolled down to let some air in...or is it out? Anyway, regardless, Steve claimed he never could smell the stuff and said I have an extra sensitive smeller. I had to hold my breath to keep from doing the same thing. Emmerson was fine, by the way. I think she just ate too quickly and had more than her bitty tummy could handle. She slept for a good two hours. And just so you know, Steve scrubbed the seat and washed it with soap and water once we got home. Now it's Tide Fresh clean. Luckily for you, I didn't take a picture of that awful event. I wouldn't want to look at it and I'm sure you probably wouldn't either.

Because of our wonderful GPS system, we were able to shave off about half an hour off our drive home. It gives you the quickest route to anywhere, even it means taking you down the back country roads that don't seem to have much civilization. Steve started singing the Dueling Banjos song when we would see some not-so-normal things along the way. Thankfully, we arrived home safely late Sunday afternoon.

So.....we had an almost uneventful trip. Not too bad. We had loads of fun and made some more special memories on our vacay, even if it includes the dreaded curse and puking. That's what they're all about, right? The memories, I mean.

I can't wait to see what our next vacation brings.


HappyChristian said...

LOL, trips like that never end (until they are like 18-20 years old and out of the house!) Jeremy's grandfather passed away about 1 1/2 years ago so we went to back of course for the funeral- MAJOR ICE STORM + 6 people (all 4 children, Jer, & me) with the stomach flu + only 1 weeks worth of clothing + no electricity = very long car trip home (we were all in brand new clothing for the trip home)
Enjoy the priccelessness!

My Goodness said...

I can't believe I made it through that super long story. I think I should get credit for reading a book this summer! lol

What would a family vacation be without a little drama? You handled everything very well...but I'm glad that Donald is the vomit-cleaner-upper in this family!

I think we need to give your hotel a try sometime...sounds great...minus the metal crib. We had one of those in CA for Ella when she was 10 months old. She couldn't blink without that thing squeaking...very annoying.

PaPoo said...

Good googley-moogley! I should have waited for the movie to come out. Glad you all had a wonderful time! I think you three ought to get matching t-shirts that say, "Childress Family Reunion." That way, on your next trip, you'll fit right in.


P.S. By the way, it looks like that diaper may be on backwards. :)

Jana said...

Hilarious! Ever thought about writing a parenting type book? You'd make a ton of money because you are one funny chicka!

Also, loved PaPoo's comment after reading your previous diaper post!

Anonymous said...

Hello baby, we read your Nashville blog all the way down here in the Gulf of Mexico, sure missing you.
Grandaddy & Grandma