48 hours later...
I would love to say that we are completely relaxed and refreshed, but having just finished another 11 hours in the car (including stops), I think that would be a stretch. The driving has begun to wear on us all and I think we can all agree that we are glad tomorrow is our last day. As interesting as it has been, I was correct in my assessment that next time we need to build in more stopping time.
Other than the Grand Canyon and Memphis, we have had to quickly pass by or ignore completely so many places of interest. We had a brief swing through Nashville today, and even that was apparently pushing it. Rather than dwell on what we didn't see, however, I should point out that we did have quality family time in Memphis. The girls had a two night sleepover with the grandparents and cousin Lydia (for one night), Nicholas had fun playing with Walker and Emmitt (both of the preschool set) and also had a good chunk of time helping Guy (Grandpa) run errands.
We also attempted to take a few family photos. Dibby (Granny Gretchen) wanted to get a few shots of the kids in matching t-shirts. She thought the yard at the family church might be the ideal location, but there were more distractions than she realized...sticks, dirt and mulch, oh my! We finally managed to wrangle all of the kids onto the steps, but then came the issue of lining them up.
Cousin Emmitt (in black) wasn't quite so keen on the idea, but I still managed one shot with all of the them. More of an action shot, but captured the moment very well.
A few photos later, I got one with most of them looking at the camera, another spectacular feat, since the Little Guy wanted to look everywhere but at me.
After the photos, it was time to head back to the house for a family gathering and an indulgence of sorts: an evening of Corky's BBQ and Ribs. The ribs were incredibly tasty as always (yes, finger licking good) and the accompaniments of slaw and beans rounded out the meal. Not many pictures, as one can't very well eat ribs, lick fingers and take photos all at the same time.
Since Peter's birthday is Sunday, and Guy (Grandpa) will miss Father's Day at home, we had a small celebration. Cait spent the afternoon baking a cake for Peter and later frosted and decorated the cake with Lydia and Kelsey's help. The cake was delish and the perfect dessert for the evening.
After the gift opening and devouring of the cake, the kids romped outside and attempted to catch (and, yes, then let go) fireflies. Up until now, this was a once a year activity, given that there were no fireflies in Iceland (to our knowledge). If they were in our neck of the woods in the East Bay, they were not apparent to us.
Our time in Memphis was over well too soon, and before we knew it, we were hefting the bags back in the car for today's trek. We also loaded up the surprise gifts from Auntie Shannon. They arrived in Memphis well in time for our departure and the hand-sewn bags contained several treats for each and kept them occupied for most, if not all of today's journey.
Shannon also clearly knows the rest stops in Tennessee quite well: there may not be play ares, but there is plenty of mulch. Mulch + a bulldozer = bliss for Nicholas. Thank you, Salty Dogs, and see you tomorrow!