christmas, family, fun, gingerbread, hair dye, new orleans, new years, polar express, snow, travel

Christmas 2016 – New Year’s 2017

Christmas Day

Christmas Eve and Day was amazing, in spite of Dad’s accident. On Christmas Eve, the kiddos opened their traditional matching pajama sets from Gymboree, which I managed to snag a picture of before letting Elias sample the cookies and make a chocolatey mess all over himself. Emily came over and we decorated a Wilton’s pre-baked gingerbread mini house party kit (phew, that’s a mouthful!) and I baked chocolate chip cookies for Santa. I found a Santa-Tracker app on my phone, so it was fun showing the kids where Santa was located and when he’d arrive at our house. It was exciting for them as they hurried to bed. James swears he heard sleigh bells, so they hurried to bed before midnight.

Christmas Day was relaxing that morning. Everyone basically got what they wanted, plus some cool extra stuff. Santa only drops off one thing for each kid now (so much easier), so Zac and I buy whatever else. This year the big kids wanted robots. I blame cable TV in Dad’s room for all the commercials. So James only wanted an interactive R2D2 and Leah wanted a Zoomer cat. Santa brought her a Meowzie (Zoomer kitten) and she was disappointed that it didn’t roll, despite having wheels. She’s come to like it, though. And Elias has been glued to his new rocking horse.


We went to Sean’s for New Year’s. We arrived early enough for the kids to play for a little while before having to go to bed. Sean introduced us to his lady-friend, Erica, who Leah just loved to pieces. Erica is into Minecraft on a level similar to James’ so they’re all basically BFFs. Mom had bought tickets for the Polar Express train ride in New Orleans prior to Dad’s accident, so since they couldn’t go, we brought Marie and Francesca. It was such a fun experience. The kids loved it and it was nice going with Zac’s family.

Jessie invited us over to watch fireworks, but it rained all weekend. We hung out and she dolled me up all fancy while Zac picked up a pizza. She even baked some chocolate macarons, O.M.G. They were delicious. The big kids played with Orrin and his super cool Millennium Falcon hovercraft while us grownups enjoyed coffee and conversation. Elias was on such great behavior, we kinda forgot he was around, haha.

It was a great weekend, even in the rain. Karen came to stay with us for a few days to help watch Dad since it’s difficult for me to give him 100% attention when I’ve got kids to worry about.

We had our first snow of the year. I say snow, but it’s really ice. Cold, slippery ice. The kids are loving it, though, even without shoes.
botanical garden, china lights, city park, family, louisiana, new orleans, parade, st patrick's day

Another Louisiana Trip

I had written about a mile of words and accidentally pressed “undo” and the entire post in all it’s well-articulated glory was deleted… Restrained fury is about as well as can be described for current mood status.
Zac and I planned a trip to Louisiana and were going to leave Wednesday. After he was given his requested days off, I discovered the St. Patrick’s parade was going to be the Sunday prior to our departure. Luckily, he was able to switch with a co-worker and we left Saturday.
I woke the kids early Sunday morning, texted Jessie to find out our meet-up plans, then we headed across the lake. Most of March has been nothing but rain, thunderstorms, and major flooding in the south, so we were excited that Sunday was a breezy, sunshiney day. We met up with Jessie at her home, packed up a few snacks and covered ourselves in sunscreen, then left to find a parking spot within walking distance of a parade view. I found us an unoccupied bench, perfect for little kiddos to stand on to see everything, plus a large walled fence for shade. We caught a bunch of potatoes and carrots, a few cabbages and lemons, but mostly beads (which we left behind). Jessie and I received drunken kisses in exchange for silk flowers, which we gave to Leah. Elias slept most of the time, only waking once or twice from being startled by loud music.
Monday, we headed to Slidell to see Mawmaw and Marie. Elias is crazy about Mawmaw. He smiled just about the whole time at her. Marie has a new puppy named Charlie, so all the kids went bananas.  He’s a fluffy little thing. Marie gave Leah some clothes Francesca outgrew, most of which are dance outfits and have glitter on them, so Leah was excited to get them. She’s already started wearing a few as “fancy pajamas”. We couldn’t stay long as we were meeting Sean at Ihop for dinner. Leah’s been dying for Ihop for about three months now. The ones in Mississippi are just atrocious in both service and quality of food, so we haven’t been back for quite some time.
A few weeks ago, I was at choir practice and the music leader mentioned going to New Orleans with his wife and granddaughters to see China Lights. I looked it up online and it sounded amazing, so I convinced Zac to take us on Tuesday (after shopping for Tsum Tsums at the Disney store). He was leaning towards the zoo or aquarium, but I’m glad the China Lights won. It was absolutely beautiful.
On Wednesday, I met up with Chaliese. We used to go to church together when we were in high school. She’s still just as sweet, just as pretty. I haven’t seen her in at least ten or so years. How crazy! The next time we’re in Louisiana will probably be May. Elias’ has been a clingy little beast all week, so this post has taken a while to get finished.
birthday party, family, louisiana, new orleans, riverwalk, visit

Louisiana trip

Last minute, Zac and I decided to take a trip to Louisiana over the weekend. Jessie invited us to Orrin’s 6th birthday party, so our trip was short but sweet. We rented a car and arrived at Sean’s late Saturday night, exhausted. I forgot how tricky traveling with a baby is. Frequent stops for feedings and diaper changes never gets old… Sunday, we spent most of the day in New Orleans. We stopped at the Disney Store to kill time and buy things before heading to the birthday party. I carried Elias in my Moby wrap, which is probably the best thing I’ve purchased for a baby ever. He slept like a snug bug without making a peep the whole time. Why-oh-why didn’t I get one when my big kids were tiny???

We went to Orrin’s Pokemon-themed birthday party. Jessie baked the cutest Squirtle cake and themed cookies. The kids had a fun time pinning the tail on Pikachu and eating pizza.

We finished our day with a trip to the Riverwalk for treats. I don’t think we’ve been for a few years. It’s been remodeled.
Monday, we headed to Marie’s so she could see Elias and the kids could play with Francesca. She usually remembers to take pictures while I don’t, so I had to take this one from her Instagram. The kids didn’t want to go home. They were running around the playroom, doing handstands and flips, trying to see who was strongest.
We didn’t get home til around 2am this morning! I was able to make it (on time!) to my appointment at the high school for 8:30. The kids have both been registered as homeschoolers. I’ve got to get their lesson started before I fall asleep. Hopefully, there’s a nap in the near future since my coffee isn’t working.
aquarium of the americas, fish, louisiana, new orleans

Aquarium of the Americas

Zac and I woke up later than I wanted, but the alarm didn’t go off. Even the kids were still asleep when we woke up! I fed the kids, took a shower and we headed to New Orleans to meet up with Jessie and Joey at the aquarium. There was a parakeet exibit, so we were able to feed the birds. It was so fun! The last time we were at the aquarium was so long ago. James was a toddler and Leah was a zygote.

After the aquarium, Jessie had to get to work, so Zac and I searched the gift shop for the plush crawfish James wanted, but had no luck. Leah picked out an alligator and we headed to the Riverwalk. We ate the best sushi and finally found a crawfish for James. We bought a few sweets and headed back to Sean’s.