Sunday, July 10, 2011

New Orleans

Lots of pictures. Sorry....but I just decided to get these vacation pictures posted! We packed a lot into our New Orleans visit. We spent all day at the Audubon zoo, getting there via the St. Charles street car at 11 and not leaving 'til 5ish. It was H-O-T but not crowded. I was kinda surprised since it was the Fourth of July. The kids loved everything about the zoo, but were less than impressed by the dinosaur exhibit. In fact, they were down right terrified. I got LG to take a nap in the stroller for an hour or so inside a cafe at the zoo, so that bought us some more time. They had a small water park there and we attempted to do that at the end of our visit, but there were too many people and we only stayed there for about 30 minutes. We went back to our hotel on the riverfront and Matt managed to get us a room that overlooked the river. This was great as we got to watch the firework show from our room after we went to dinner in the hotel. It worked out perfect!

The next morning we were out the door around 9 and headed to Cafe du Monde. No trip to New Orleans is complete without a trip for beignets! Both kids loved them. Then we headed to the Aquarium of the Americas and the Children's Museum. The highlight of the day were the sharks at the aquarium and then the Winn Dixie grocery store at the museum. Jake and LG thought it was the coolest thing ever that they were able to shop and then ring up their purchases at the cash register. I was impressed by the grocery store as well.

Matt was nice enough to let me go to the Orient Expressed store while we were there(LOVE) and shop their bin sale. For those of you not familiar, this is a children's clothing company based out of New Orleans. We then went back to the hotel for a late afternoon swim. The kids were running and jumping into the pool. Landry Grace jumped in at one point and turned around quickly, causing her chin to catch the deck of the pool. I immediately pulled her out because I knew it was bad. Sure enough, she had a pretty big gash under her chin. Matt got some alcohol and butterfly band aids to do the trick until we could get to a doctor. This ended our trip. We packed up and left New Orleans about 6pm on July 5th and headed north. Dr. S dirmabonded her chin the next morning.

So this was our summer vacation. We were blessed to be able to take the kids and let them do so much. Now we are focusing on finishing out the summer and getting ready for school. Jake is attending VBS at Trinity this week in the A.M. in then going to art camp at Mrs. Renee's house in the afternoon. I can see some fun activities for Landry Grace and I going on while he's away. Hope you enjoy the pictures!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Cruise continued!

Our cruise started on Thursday afternoon. We set sail at 4:30, sailed all day Friday, and were in Cozumel, Mexico all day Saturday. Originally, I had wanted to do a submarine excursion with the kids but we opted for a day at the beach. The price that we paid included transportation to the beach, water activities(they had a water trampoline, climbing apparatus, and boats), plus all you could eat and drink for the day. Our excursion began at 9 and we were back at the dock by 2. We had to be back on the boat by 4:30 or you were left. The water was very murky in Cozumel which was a bummer. It worked out good that we were back a little early as we hit the shops very briefly to get Jake a mask and shirt. Then we went back to the boat for a nap.

Jake dancing at the pool during our excursion.
Jake, Daddy, and GiGi at the pool with their daiquiris. This was a plus to the trip:)!
The hammock area. Landry Grace thought this was the greatest thing.
Jake and Daddy relaxing.
Then they decided to take a stroll out in the water. Normally, the water is so pretty and clear. You can see that it was not at all clear when we were there. Matt said it was very difficult pedaling the boat without a partner(Jake couldn't reach the pedals!). I took his word on it!
Landry Grace enjoying some rare beach time. They were not interested in the beach in Cozumel. We hunted sea shells for a bit, but other than that they stayed at the pool.
Just before we left. They loved the strawberry daiquiris!
On the last day of our trip there was a talent show for the kids on the ship. Landry Grace had been talking about this since Day 1 when we found out they had one. She had all her ballerina gear in tow and was ready to break out all her twirls. Jake was ready to dance as well once we found him a mask to wear in Cozumel along with a pair of maracas.

Well, I knew it wasn't a good sign when Jake wouldn't even go and sit with the contestants on the front row. But LG did, she pranced herself up to the front row and was ready for action.
The 2 little girls in front of her both sang songs. They were probably 6 and 8 years old. So then it was Landry Grace's turn. They asked her name and age which she answered on stage. Then they asked her if she was ready to dance. She told them no, that she was going to sing "Rockabye Baby" to which GiGi and I fell out laughing because this came out of nowhere. I just attributed this to the fact that the girls before her sang. So at this point she was frightened and left the stage.

But she came back at the end of the show to perform. ONLY so she could score her medal and certificate. Bless her heart, she would only sway back and forth. Everyone in the crowd(which there were only about 20 but we were on the main stage in the ship) cheered loudly for her but she wouldn't break out her dance moves. Halfway through the Taylor Swift song, she asked me if she could get her medal. We stopped shortly thereafter. I really was just proud of her for getting up on the stage and being brave. She was by far the youngest contestant:).
Getting her medal. They also gave Jake a consolation medal.
The whole gang after the talent show.
The last dinner we had on the ship. They were dressed and ready to go!
What a fun time we had on the cruise! Thank you to GiGi and Aunt Lou for a wonderful time!
We woke up at 7 Monday morning and got off the boat in New Orleans around 9. The rest of the day was spent at the Audubon zoo. Then we enjoyed the fireworks that night from our hotel room. More on that later. Have a great Saturday!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Cruise: Part 1

So what did we think about the cruise? Well, it was a lot of fun, but not something that we will necessarily do again. The atmosphere wasn't the most appealing but we knew that going in. We'd all been on a cruise before with the exception of Jake and LG. The boat did have a kids club for ages 2-5 called Camp Carnival. I couldn't keep Jake out of that place for the first half day and then the next day. Landry Grace enjoyed it as well. She even signed up for the camp talent show. More on that later....

Our room consisted of a king bed and twin bed. We brought along Landry Grace's blow-up twin bed that I got from One Step Ahead last year and she sleeps great on it. The room was a perfect fit for us. Aunt Lou and GiGi shared a room down the hall. Here are the kids looking out the window after we left the port.
Jake thought it was pretty cool to wave at the barges as we headed out.
Matt and his mini me before we left to explore the ship.
One stop back to the room around 5:30 to freshen up for dinner and sweet LG falls asleep on the bed. She was absolutely exhausted from all we did that day but both kids were troopers.
We took them to kids club after dinner for about an hour and this is what they looked like when we picked them up. I was most impressed with the fact that Landry Grace stayed and didn't cry. She isn't big on new environments at all. They did give us a cell phone to use in case they needed to call us, so that was very helpful.

Each night they loved coming back to the room to see what animal towel was left on the bed. Our steward was great and left 2 animals a couple of nights. They loved the chocolate mints as well!
The next morning Jake was in a rush to play putt putt golf. Then he was in a mad dash to make it to kids club. I really can't remember what I did in the mean time, but we didn't go to the pool until the last day. They were extremely small and just not appealing at all. LG was too small to go on the water slide and Jake was afraid he was going to get stuck on the slide. Not sure why but I didn't argue.

Right when LG and I got to the course, Jake hit a hole in one!! Here is his thumbs up in celebration!
Just a picture to let you see the layout.
And my kiddos most favorite thing on the ship.....ICE CREAM. Yes, 24 hours a day, ice cream was available. I'd be lying if I told you that this picture wasn't taken at 9am. They loved this part!
And later on that day the kids club had a "Build a Bear" workshop that we could participate in for an additional fee(of course). I didn't realize that you had to manually stuff each animal along with dressing it. So after waiting in line for a while and then working on each animal, we were ready to go.
Jake with his pirate lion in the kids club room.
So I thought this was enough pictures for one post. I'll add more later!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Beach Vacation

We made it back from our vacation around midnight last night. It was a lot of fun, but of course there is no place like home!! Here are some pictures from the beach that I took on my camera. I took a total of 544 pictures so trying to narrow them down was tough:)! I don't like the slide show video from and am not sure how to load one on my Mac. I'm sure there's a way, just haven't figured it out yet. Share some info if you have any!!

We stayed 4 nights at the beach, which in years past has been PLENTY! This year I think we all felt like our time ran out way too soon. Thinking we may try to go longer in the future. My sister, Laura, and her son Cameron flew in from Atlanta. Neither of my brothers were able to make it but Brian's girlfriend, Mandy, and her son Grant came. We stayed at the Phoenix West in Orange Beach and were thoroughly impressed. The lazy river, pool, and water slide were great entertainment in addition to the beach.

Also, we got some big news while we were at the beach. My oldest brother, Darrell, who has never been married, proposed to his girlfriend last week. We are so excited for them!! They are getting married next spring.

Enjoy the pics!

Laura and Mom laying at the beach
LG enjoying a pb and j for lunch
Jake, Cameron, Grant, and Landry Grace
Sweet picture of my dad and Jake. Wish I'd gotten a picture of his white feet. They'd never seen sun!!
The water slide at our condo. LG was able to ride down with another person and took full advantage.
Big Jake sliding down!
We had some really big waves on Day 2 at the beach. I loved their reactions!!
And if we ran through the waves once, we did it a thousand times!! She loved it.
Loving the waves.
Jake and Grant on their skim/boogie boards.
We had a fun trip! I'll post cruise pictures tomorrow.