Friday, August 8, 2014

New Orleans: A Bussinesscation

Marshal asked me serval months ago if I wanted to go to New Orleans with him. I of course jumped at the chance. Having lived in Baton Rouge as newlyweds, we went to New Orleans a lot. Honestly, it was the only way we could talk our friends into coming for a visit: a promise of a trip to Mardi Gras or weekend on Bourbon. I looked forward to visiting some of our favorite places and getting some of the yummy foods we used to eat. I had hoped to see some of our Louisiana friends while in town, but the trip was just too short.

The conference Marshal was attending was massive. Like 5,000 attendees. I didn't quite know what to do with all of those people. Teachers just don't get together in large numbers like that. Well at least not at any conference I have gotten to attend.

It made me totally laugh to see all the people Marshal "works" with. This is my mean part so close your ears if you don't want to hear my pretty little month talking so ugly. I can remember getting so jealous and upset with Marshal before kids. He would call me while he was at a conference and I would hear women laughing in the background. I would get super mad and give him all kinds of fits. Let's just say, I was waaaayyyyyy off base. The people at these conferences are absolutely nothing and I mean nothing to be jealous of. I know, I know, I am being sooooooo tacky, but for the most part, women in the dispatching/emergency services profession, just don't provide much to worry about. Not that there isn't an exception.... I'm just saying these people are a lot different than my silly little brain had picture. Plus they are into this crap. Like really excited about things I find super boring. Give me some fire, tornados, or hazmats and I can hang with you. But, how to implement a new dispatching software, you can totally keep to yourself.

Anyway, the trip was a lot of fun and I got to do quite a bit of fun stuff. We stayed on the Riverwalk, neat the convention center. I had never stayed in that part of town. I really never had a reason to. I was super lucky; they had just opened a new mall, in May of this year, right beside the convention center. Monday morning I spent shopping and exploring the Riverwalk area.

First stop at Cafe Du Monde. I went everyday that I was there to make sure I got my fill. French donuts! Yum!

I got introduced to peanut butter truffles, so I had to buy a massive bag.

Monday afternoon we set out to explore the Garden District, Jackson Square and the French Quarter.

I didn't know Marshal and I had our own teaching ministry, whatever that is.

I know this picture stinks, but I wanted to show you how all the trees on St. Charles have beads hanging from them (they get stuck during the parades and they just leave them). I think it is really pretty. I told Marshal we should decorate our tree at home with beads just for the fun of it.

Just to show you the Garden District style. This is the Fresh Market. A little different look than ours in NWA.

Jackson Square with St. Louis cathedral in the background.

I was sad because I used to love Copeland's Cheesecake Bistro. I was so looking forward to eating there. Sadly it was just ok. It wasn't anywhere near the fabulousness that it used to be. Luckily dinner Monday night was so incredibly beyond fabulous it made up for it. Like so so good! We ate at this restaurant off Bourbon called Court of Two Sisters. The place was also just absolutely adorable. The location was once home to five governors built back in the 1800's. I highly recommend it if you are ever in the area.

My dinner friend. Pretty baby! Marshal wouldn't let me bring her home. :-(

Dinner- Chicken Oscar

And of course a New Orleans original, Bananas Foster made table side. I swear I could have picked up the bowl and licked it.

After dinner we hung out on Bourbon for a little while. Nothing too crazy because there was an early morning breakfast the next morning. I did get to visit my favorite club ever, the Cat's Meow, where I danced and Marshal sat like a lump on a log.

Obviously the lightening in Cat's Meow doesn't make me look too good. Ha!

Another friend I made.

Look at the statue shadow. How cool is that.

Tuesday, we bought a ticket for the street cars. (Another tip if you find yourself wanting to explore New Orleans. Takes you all over the place and a day pass is only $3. I had no idea how easy peasy it was to get around.)

Anyway, we went down Canal to the historic cemeteries. Really super cool. If you didn't already know, the graves are all above ground in New Orleans because of the fact the town is located below sea level.

I liked this one. Some are designs while others are just above ground boxes.

It amazed me how many people they put in a single monument. Not sure I would want to be the person that opens these things up when it's time to add the next body.

This tree was pretty interesting. The inside is almost completely hollow.

My little cemetery friend.

Then Tuesday night , the conference hosted a block party at Mardi Gras World. I thought that was so fun! Getting to see the floats being made was really cool to me. I loved the Mardi Gras parades. They were so beautiful.

I had to get this one for Jaxton.

Another Jaxton must.

Look how big these floats really are.

They also had this area called The Swamp. I tried and tried to get a good picture, but it was just too dark in there. It was complete daylight outside, but when you walked into this area of the warehouse it looked like night time in a Louisiana swamp. So amazing!

They also had a jazz band playing for us.

After we had enough meet and greet we headed back down to Bourbon. This time we took the Streetcar so no one had to drive. No one had early morning breakfast meetings either so we got to stay and have a good time. Well, I had a good time. Not sure if sitting and watching everyone dance is fun or not. I love to dance and sing way too much to just sit around.

This guy was in the middle of he street yelling that everyone there was going to burn in hell. It was intense.

Ok now is he part where if you don't want to see sweet little me acting a fool, close your eyes.

Turns our my duck face looks just as stupid as everyone else's duck face. Ha!

Krazy Korner bar now has given Cat's Meow a run for their money with me.

It was amazing to me how much of a party that place is. I wasn't sure a random Monday or Tuesday night would be all that fun. Didn't seem to stop anyone down there. It might not have been quite up to the weekend crowd, but still enough people to have a great time. I just needed my girls, so I didn't have to dance alone and with random people. #myhusbandwon'tdance #Iwoulddancewithawall #musicismyhappyplace

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Shortest Week Ever

This year's Destin trip was absolutely the quickest week ever. I have gone to Destin with my parents basically every summer for the last 21 years. We always have a good time and I love the familiarity of it. This year was extra great though. Having spent the last two years in a constant state of stress, this summer just felt like we could finally take in the big breath of relief we have been longing for, and just enjoy. (More on that in another post soon.)

Another super big plus, was that both kids have outgrown naps and are independent enough to play without someone having to be right on top of them the whole time. They both loved the ocean this year and basically wanted to spend every minute there.

Jaxton and Ashlynn made some fun new friends.

Marshal and I made new friends too. I even had a weak moment and let them talk me into borrowing their super ugly chair..... ( mercy look at those freckles)

Sunday and Monday were pretty overcast, but made for some fabulous boogie board waves.

Tuesday was sunny and gorgeous. I was happy to see the sun, but a portion of my lower legs and Ashlynn's back weren't so happy. It wasn't a terrible sunburn, but enough of a sunburn that we decided to take a break from the beach Wednesday and spent the day at the Track riding go carts and rides. The kids had a blast ( and I might have had a little fun too, beating some teenage boys that thought they could out drive me, sorry boys I have got many years of terrible driving on you. ;-) )

We couldn't spend the whole day there and not get some beach time in somewhere. We decided to spend the evening on the beach crab hunting. We caught over 30 crabs and the kids loved it!!! Ashlynn had to orchestrate an official crab releasing ceremony. The kids really thought we needed to keep them all as pets.

Thursday my mom and I squeezed in a massage around our beach time. We have this guy we have gone to at the Aveda Spa in Destin for years. He is so fabulous at his job! I tried to pack him up in my suitcase and bring him home as my souvenir.

Post spa happy!

Thursday night was family night at the Harbor.

And you haven't seen anything until you have seen a bunch of 70 year old ladies tap dancing to Pharrell William's song Happy.

Friday morning Ashlynn and I went parasailing. This was not my favorite year for that. Ashlynn loved it and said it made her feel like a bird. I was kind of scared the whole time. We kept getting caught in these cross winds and it was rocking and jerking us all over the place. Being the adult though I put on my happy brave face. We did get to see a sea turtle, which made me smile.

Friday morning Marshal and I had a date morning. We went back to school clothes shopping for the kids and me and ok even Marshal. It was really great to clothes shop without the helpers that are always rushing me because they are bored.

One thing I look forward to every year is the food. Not only is it the one place I love getting my fill of crab legs and fruity adult beverages, I love love the atmosphere of eating with the ocean view. So relaxing and nice. Relaxing + food= hello perfectness for Andrea. You guys know how much I love my food!

It was a perfect week of family time and vacation.

Just as a random side note, Jaxton has started saying things and including baby to them. Like " ok babe y" all drawn out and cute. I think my favorite "baby" saying was on the trip down he turns to my dad and randomly says " look at this face baby", while putting his hand under his chin. What a mess that boy is. Not sure what we would do without him to keep us on our toes.

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