Saturday, January 5, 2013

Liberty Bowl Trip

Over New Year's weekend, we headed to Memphis to watch the Cyclones play in the Liberty Bowl and enjoy the area. We were really on the fence about seemed like a lot of driving, work and extra money. But then, right after the game was announced, Scott's aunt called us up and invited us to stay with her. It was the deciding factor! She was such a gracious host to us and we are so thankful that she helped make the trip possible. It was great to visit Memphis, but I think the best part of the trip was having an extended visit with her and staying in her home. We also crossed paths with Scott's cousin's family who was in town on their way back home and we haven't seen them for a few years. It was really, really great. 

I would say the second best part of the trip was hanging out with my little family and also seeing our friends. Isn't it true that it doesn't matter what you are doing, just who you are with? It was such a nice little trip. And now...I will bombard you with photos!

Daytime...and nighttime. 

We split the 10+ hour drive up into two parts, staying at our friends home in Keokuk the first night. Michael did great on this leg and it seemed to go quickly. It was nice to break it up and also spent some extra time with the new baby at our friends house! :o) 

The next day we go an early start and it was lucky we were prepared after our Chicago trip fiasco last summer because Michael had a real bout of car sickness on the way to Memphis. I just feel so sorry for the poor guy. I was ready with a bag in hand and Michael is getting pretty good at aiming in the bag.  :o( He still seemed in good spirits and even slept for a little bit. When we arrived in Memphis, we headed right to Scott's Aunt's house and settled in. It was great to be there!!

The next morning was our first outing to the Memphis Zoo. Did you know they have a giant panda?? It was my favorite thing at the zoo! We pretty much had the place to ourselves...the only people crazy enough to go to a zoo on December 30th when it is 40 degrees are obviously Iowa State fans!!

A family picture at the sea lion show just to prove that, yes, we were all there together. I'm trying to get better at this!

After the zoo, we grabbed a burger at Huey's (a Memphis staple, very delicious) and then Scott's Aunt took Michael back to her house for naptime while Scott and I headed to Graceland. I am so glad we bought our tickets ahead of time (thanks, Kelly!) because there is no way we would have gotten in that day, especially arriving after the entire ISU marching band!!

(we took this picture instead of buying the $25 dollar one they try and sell you...and yes, I think mine is better. Be forewarned, this is just the first of many self portraits!)

The tour was a really neat audio tour that you listened to through your own little audio player. I found it really informative, especially since I'm not really a big Elvis aficionado. I've been doing some reading since I've gotten home and he is really interesting to me. Maybe reading a biography is in my future?

The pictures below are from the mirrored staircase leading to the basement- very entertaining!

I think our favorite room was the basement TV room. How cool is that?? A mirrored fireplace? Wow!

I felt like the tour left me feeling pretty sad. I didn't realize that Elvis was buried there, along with his parents and a marker for his twin brother who died at birth. I can see why for some fans it would be a pretty religious experience.

After our tour, we grabbed Michael and headed to Beale Street for the Liberty Bowl Parade and Pep Rally. It was....pretty crazy. We didn't hardly see anything but I got caught up later at home via the newspaper websites and youtube. So crazy!

Beale Street seemed really fun and probably something in my younger days I would have really enjoyed. It was definitely not for preschoolers like Michael but Scott and I did buy one HUGE beer to share for like $6. I should have taken a picture! We thought it was fun to see all the Cyclone fans and joked that it should be known as "Welch Ave South". ha!

Since we couldn't see too much of the action on Beale Street, we walked a few blocks to see the ducks at the Peabody Hotel. So cute! We tried to wait for them to leave the fountain at 5 but Michael was getting worn out at this point.

We had a dinner reservation for our group at Itta Bena above BB Kings on Beale Street. This was really fun- again, thanks Kelly for making the rezzie. It was nice to get out of the craziness on the street and enjoy good food and company. Even the kids were good!

The whole group. They had a great menu and it makes me wish we could do nice dinners out more often. Scott and I split an order of crab cakes and shrimp and grits. Why don't they serve grits in Iowa??

The next morning was game day!

Scott's Aunt very awesomely volunteered to watch Michael for us for the whole day and we are so thankful for her. He would have not had any fun at all. It was chilly and rainy and generally not his thing. However, Scott and I had a really fun time! We caravan-ed with a group of our friends from their hotel so we could all park together at the tailgate. I thought this was great, we wouldn't have to take our car - awesome. It was pretty funny though as we got lost from the caravan pretty much right way. We later regrouped and made it into the parking lot together and then Scott and I remembered we left our tickets in the car. :o( We had put them there so we would be sure not to forget them for the game. I think Scott was pretty upset at himself but luckily, our friend's uncle was coming to the game and lived in Memphis so he gave Scott a ride back to get them. Crazy thing- he lived in my hometown for like 13 years! And later I ran into a guy from my high school at our tailgate! What a small world! It was a really fun tailgate- my ideal tailgate where I didn't bring anything or do anything except drink beer. I guess I did bring Krispy Kreme donuts but I was the only one who ate them. I also think every tailgate should include donuts. Is that weird? 

Scott had a really fun little mini reunion with some of his college friends. One came up from Florida and one lived four blocks from the stadium!! Crazy!

(Rose, step away from the front facing camera...)

Well, the game was pretty terrible and the Cyclones lost. And it was cold and rainy. 

The bowl itself was very cool and it was especially cool seeing all the fans there. Halftime was awesome with the ISUCF"V"MB doing their Rush show again. The Temptations sang "My Girl" and there was a weird tradition of "America's Homecoming Queens" wearing white dresses at halftime. It was pretty cool that the game honored the 50th anniversary of St. Jude's and they had this big thing of all the kids they helped and a child cancer survivor sang the National Anthem. It, of course, made me cry.

Back at Scott's Aunt's house we enjoyed some delicious Memphis BBQ from the Commisary while we caught up with his cousin's family. The kids went to bed early and then we woke them up at 11:00 to watch the ball drop (eastern time) and celebrate the new year. Aren't those smart parents??

I didn't get a group photo of all of us but hopefully someone will send me one! Michael especially enjoyed playing with his cousin Dominic. Before he went to bed on New Year's Eve Michael said that Dominic was, "his best friend". :o) I thought that was so sweet. 

So there you have, this was a long post. We had a great trip to Memphis and although it was a disappointing end to the football season I'm sure we will forget all about it by the time September rolls around. 

Welcome, 2013 and Go Cyclones!!


  1. Love the pictures! Totally jealous :) It's sad that Michael gets so carsick, sad little boy!

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