While in Nashville we celebrated Nana's (Anne's) birthday. Uncle Timmy hosted a wonderful cookout. The food was fantastic, his patio and gardens were beautiful, and Ava had a ball playing with Daisie Mae, the neighbors' dog.
While the rest played cards, Aunt Bethany, Ava, and I made a late night run to Target in search of the ultimate in child leashes. You heard right, child leashes! At the zoo we saw multiple children wearing monkey backpacks that had a long tail (aka, leash) attached. I finally asked a mother were they got them and she said Target, so we had to make the trip. Ava definitely did not like it at first, but after she was able to get out of the stroller and have a little freedom, she was all for her monkey backpack. When she sees it she says, "Is a monkey!" we just pretend it's Boots from Dora.
She utilized this new found freedom at Opry Mills. What a huge mall. Tons of great shops and The Rainforest Cafe was fantastic. We sat in the elephant section and Ava was completely entertained by them. She loved the fish when we first walked in and it is a little overwhelming for a little one. When we first got in, Anne thought she was about to cry since her little lip was pooched out, but she was just making her little elephants sounds. Adorable. Pop walked around with her quite a bit to keep her entertained. She loved her dino shaped chicken nuggets and made them roar and walk around her plate. Nana was surprised by a birthday volcano and the food was fantastic. True to Ava's nature she loved the gift shop. At one point she had so many things picked out she couldn't carry them all. Thankfully after some distractions by Aunt Bethany, we left with only a t-shirt for Ava and I (matching tie dye) and a magnet.
Looking back, I know it is a trip I will remember for a long time. The experiences with Ava at this age were priceless and I will treasure that always.