Thursday, February 26, 2015

Saturday Snow

I never know whether to wish for snow or not.  On the one hand, kids adore it, and nothing beats the surprise of an unexpected day off from school.  Then again, it presents such an added challenge for working parents (even us part-timers!), especially in our family, since health care can't just close down for the day.  Which makes it all the more perfect when it starts snowing early on Saturday morning and keeps up all day!




The roads were too bad to risk driving somewhere to sled, so Joseph and our neighbors' kids just played in our yards.  While Sam was perfecting the sport of snow soccer, Joseph and Benjamin were feasting on snow!





Ahhh, this is the life!


Cold winter days always make me want to cook something special.  Joseph has been asking for Grammy's meatballs, so I took this as an opportunity to have another go at perfecting my mom's gravy recipe.  It's getting better, but hers is still the best!


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Gran, et al

A few final pics from our Louisiana trip, shockingly not Mardi Gras related.  Gran has been slowing down and having a harder time getting around so wasn't up for any parades this year, but we still got to spend plenty of time visiting with her.  I'm not sure if she's shrinking or if Joseph's growing that fast, but it looks like they're pretty close to meeting in the middle.



The only thing about visiting Gran is that one of these days that black mold creeping out of the air ducts is going to get us all.


Joseph was certainly busy being entertained, with spontaneous performances in Poppy's studio, golf cart tours of the neighborhood, and sneaking in more screen time over his cousins' shoulders.




While it was in the single digits at home in DC and neighbors dealt with the gas outage and loss of heat that effected the majority of our block, it was much milder in LA and the boys even got to goof around in the hot tub.  And those three, they are goofs, for sure.



With more free time than I'm used to having, I actually read a book.  Like, a whole book.  Not that it was very deep, but still.  Joseph wanted us all to read the Harry Potter series together, so I had to read The Sorcerer's Stone to catch up.  On to The Chamber of Secrets.


Lastly, one of my favorite photos, of Gran with Joseph, Ashton and Leyton.  The boys wanted to visit and bring her beads since she didn't go to any parades.  They each picked out a special one for her and gave them to her when we picked her up from physical therapy.  Such love!


Monday, February 23, 2015

All About That Cake


Ask Joseph what he was looking forward to the most on our Mardi Gras trip to Louisiana, and he (sadly) did not say seeing his grandparents.  Or playing with his cousins.  Or the parades.  It was: KING CAKE.  (He takes after his Uncle Glenn in that regard).  Just one look at it gives new meaning to the phrase "sweet baby Jesus!"  Mimi and Poppy knew enough to have one at the ready upon our arrival.  There were many more consumed throughout our trip.


This time of year it's the first thing you'll see when you walk into any grocery store.  Ready to take home and enjoy right away, ready to ship anywhere you like, and not a one to be found anywhere once Ash Wednesday rolls around.



Because having king cake a few times a day is never enough, Uncle Glenn also promised the boys a trip to Mr. Ronnie's Famous HOT Donuts.  It's amazing none of these children fell into a sugar coma.



As for me, I'm all about that po' boy.  Fried shrimp, y'all.




Saturday, February 21, 2015

Hit Me!

After a fantastic day in New Orleans, we spent the rest of our Mardi Gras trip back in Houma with the family.  They (or is it just Bo?) rent the same space every year where we can all hang out together and watch the parades.  Due to predicted rain, all the parades planned for Monday and Fat Tuesday were moved up, so we got to see them all together on Sunday.




Ashton really wanted a sign to hold up so he'd be noticed and would get more beads thrown at him.  Mimi made up one for him and Leyton saying they were from Houston, and one for Joseph that said Washington, D.C.  Both of them said "Hit Me!" and that's exactly what happened.  Houma loves having out of towners, so the boys were a constant target.






The floats aren't as impressive as the ones in New Orleans, but they are still lots of fun.  A family favorite was the LSU Tigers float coming around the corner.




The parades in Houma are obviously so much smaller and less crowded than NOLA, so the kids can really go right up to the floats.  It's unbelievable how much stuff we collected that day!  We took home a few souvenirs, but most of it gets cleaned up and recycled.  You can catch things that have been used forever, like some beads that had the year 2000 on them - 15th time around!






Unfortunately they're a little more mean spirited in Houma, and you really need to keep your eyes peeled at all times, because they do try to actually hit you.  Even more so when there's a sign near you that says "Hit Me!"  Go figure.  Toward the end of the night,  they finally got me when I looked away for 1 second.  BAM!  Right in the face.  Didn't even realize my glasses got knocked off until someone  found them on the ground and gave them back to me.


No real harm done, and it was all in good fun.  It definitely gave a lot of people a good laugh, and I'm just glad it was me instead of Joseph, Leyton or Ashton.  Otherwise I would have had to go all Roy Harper on them in my red hoodie.  I guess you have to watch the show Arrow to get that.....


Thursday, February 19, 2015

Endymion

The Saturday before Mardi Gras (which, in other parts of the world this year was simply acknowledged as Valentine's Day) is when the Krewe of Endymion always rides in New Orleans.  Endymion is one of the "super" krewes that has one of the largest parades of the season.  Their mid-city route starts near City Park and ends hours later with an extravaganza in the Superdome.  A family Brent knows through work heard we were coming to Louisiana and generously invited us to join them at their home right at the start of the parade route.  So as crazy as it seems, like going into NYC on New Year's Eve, we headed off into NOLA for Mardi Gras again!



Victoria had secured us parking spaces and a spot right. on. the. street. complete with chairs and a step stool for the kids to climb up on for better viewing, which was directly in front of their street side elevated porch!  Seriously, this is rock star access!!!  Uncle Glenn and his boys drove straight from Houston in time to join us before the festivities even began.





This year's celebrity grand marshall was country superstar Luke Bryan.  Unfortunately that didn't mean much to me, but there he was right in front of me.





We truly had a spectacular view as the parade rolled by, starting with the Captain, Queen, and King.





The theme was "Fantastic Voyages."  The floats this year were outfitted with state of the art LED lighting.  Over 2800 "revelers" ride on over 30 floats and throw out millions of beads and other collectibles.  It's easy to spot Joseph everywhere in his Nats shirt - we went with red for Valentine's Day instead of the traditional purple, green and gold.








We were there for a good four hours, alternating spots from street side to porch.  Typically at a parade like this you wouldn't expect to catch much, but the krewes can actually see people on porches and balconies better and tend to throw tons of stuff their way.






The parade lasted well into the evening, and the boys had the absolute best time.








In case you have absolutely no idea what these parades are like, here are two short videos as an example.  It just goes on like than for hours and hours!

video

video

This is just a sampling of the goods we brought home.  There were also tons of cups, doubloons, toys, stuffed animals, frisbees, footballs, etc.  My favorite, being Valentine's Day and all, were the strings of red and pink of heart shaped beads.