Thursday, May 17, 2012

Meet Me in the Land of Hope and Dreams, Part 1: Our Day in NOLA

I kind of don't even know where to start this post.  Our little trip to New Orleans a few weeks back was just salve for our souls, to be perfectly frank.  I don't want to give the impression that we've "lost" ourselves or anything, but this past year required more from us than we're used to in a way.  It just hasn't been as easy to get away as it was when it was just AP and also we've just been busy.  It's a good busy and we both thoroughly enjoy the things we're doing, but it was so nice just to hit the road and enjoy some time together.

It really worked out perfectly taking the kids and my mom with us.  I know there will come a day when we leave them for an extended period of time and that will be great, too, but I wasn't ready for that yet.  Even if Graves hadn't still been nursing, I still think I would have liked this set up.  We got the best of both worlds- we got to enjoy a fantastic day in the city doing things we don't get to do here with our whole family (and AP just about died she had so much fun) and then had a magical night to ourselves.  It was perfect because I never had to get "worked up" about leaving them.

We had so much fun enjoying the city. I'll be honest- there's a part of me that struggles with New Orleans.  It's dirty, it's busy, and the hardest part for me- it's dark. Peyton and I discussed how there is so much spiritual warfare going on with all the vodoo and everything and it just makes me so uncomfortable. But the truth is, there's a lot of spiritual warfare in Jackson, too, just in more subtle ways.  There's another part of me, though, that really loves the culture and how incredibly different and unique it is.  This was one of those trips where I got a small taste of how much Peyton enjoys new places and (don't fall over) I felt better about someday moving away for a period.

To elaborate a little more on Ann Peyton's reaction- this was the first trip we've taken that she has really, truly enjoyed.  We didn't do anything super special, either- we didn't have time for the aquarium or the zoo- but she did have some experiences that she's not accustomed to. We walked around and looked at all the art being sold on the streets, she watched an awesome band perform, and she saw all the colorful street entertainers doing their thing.  And of course, she got an ice cream cone and a monkey balloon.  And ordered room service pizza in the hotel room with Minnie.  Can't do much better than that.

Here are a few of the pictures from our day in the Big Easy....

pretty early...right before hitting the road

Our first stop was for lunch!

Part of what made this trip so enjoyable and laid back is that Baby Graves was an excellent travel companion.  He took a good, solid nap in the stroller. We actually switched him and put him in our big travel system stroller and he went right back to sleep.  [We decided to take the regular and the umbrella instead of the double because Peyton thought it would be simpler to maneuver that way.  I'm still not convinced, but we did have more space for all our stuff.]

They were both pretty fascinated with it all.  

We actually ended up purchasing one piece of art.  It's going somewhere in Peyton's study.  I really like it- it has a great feel to it and it will always remind me of this special trip.

Of course, she wanted to stroll.

Peyton and I both loved this picture with the bikes and what it captured about the city.

Dancing in the street!

I forgot to take a picture on the actual trip, but here's the monkey balloon AP scored.  She was slightly infatuated with it.

We ended the family part of the day with ice cream and obviously, that was a win!

Initially, I had just intended to do one big post, but the actual concert was so amazing and special I wanted to make it a two parter.  So stay tuned!

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