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May 31, 2014

A Challenging Day, Then a Good Day, and Integrity

Thursday was a challenging day.  

There were lots of good things about it…like the girls working together to build a block tower almost taller than they are…like them surprising me by making MY bed!...like having our friends bike over to our house and playing outside together for most of the morning…like snuggling on the couch, reaching Little House in the Big Woods…like all four of us playing Monkey in the Middle in the basement…but there were a couple of huge challenges, too.

Although the girls’ “no bikes” punishment carried over through Friday, I wanted to start Friday off on a very different note than on which Thursday ended.

The girlies got up, and I surprised them by taking the three of us out to breakfast.  Going out to breakfast is a huge treat…and the three of us have only gone together (without Daddy) once before.  The girls chose to go to JD’s, a downtown bakery/café that we hadn’t been to in quite a while…a place that has farm-fresh milk and eggs and THE BEST pancakes.  We each had a super-yummy pecan pancake and truly ahhh-mazing bacon.  Bliss!

After breakfast, I further surprised the girls with a trip to the park, “the park with the wiggly chain things,” that my A had requested just a few days before.  We had the park to ourselves! 

Before we went to the playground, though, both girls wanted to go to the little soccer field “to run”…and run, they did!  We played a little bit of tag, and then A suggested we take turns sprinting across the field (???).  The funny thing was that A went, then B, and then A wanted to go again before she allowed me to take a turn.

We hit the playground for a while, and then headed home…sweaty, but invigorated.

The girls played SO WELL when we got home from the park.  They spent most of the rest of their morning upstairs.  When I went up to join them, they had a “store” set up, and Baby A wowed me with her ability to count change.  (Seriously!!!) 

After lunch, the girls cleaned up the den, and then we settled for some Little House in the Big Woods.  I left them for a few minutes to get ready for a work meeting, and they prepared for their beloved Miss Jenny to come over – the first time since she left for a semester away in January!

It was such a fantastic day with my baby girls…just what I had hoped for after the challenges of the prior day.

And when I got home from my meeting, just before supper, I could not have been more proud to hear what Hubby had to tell me.  When he got home, he offered – as usual – for the girls to ride their bikes.  He told me how Baby A ponied up, “I don’t think Mommy wants us to ride our bikes today.”

What integrity my baby girl exhibited.


A proud Mommy moment to cap off such a great day!

May 27, 2014

Things I'm Loving This Week

1)      GG visited us last week.  I love seeing how much the girls adore her, and her, the girls.



2)      I [finally!] bought the first “Little House on the Prairie” book for the girls.  They are in love!  We’ve read about 1/3 of the book already, in just two days.  Sweet memories from my childhood!

3)      One afternoon last week, when GG was here, the girls needed some down time.  I asked if they wanted to watch an episode of “Too Cute” on Animal Planet.  Baby A jumped into the corner of the couch, and invited B to sit in her lap.  Then B said, “Hold me, Sissy.”  They snuggled like this for an hour!



4)      We delivered GG to Nashville yesterday, to meet Uncle Tommy and Aunt Janet for her trip home.  On the car ride down, with five of us in the car, I sat between the girls’ car seats.  That little space is not really fit for a human, I now know.  I sat tall and straight and tried to keep my eyes closed most of the way, willing myself not to get car sick.  I may not have felt very well, but I had the sweetest company.  The girls kept stroking my arms with their sweet, tiny hands.  Sometimes we held hands, and they would kiss my fingers.  “I love you, Mommy,” they alternately whispered.  I could endure the torture of that seat again and again for those sweet nothings.

5)      During lunch with the family, Baby A asked me, “Do you think it’s OK if I sit in Uncle Tommy’s lap?”  Of course it was…he loved nothing more.  I watched the light in A’s eyes as she hung on his every word.

6)      After we ate lunch, I spied a big sale at one of my favorite shops.  B didn’t want to go (and Daddy certainly did not), but A did.  While Daddy and B drove around for a few minutes, Baby A helped me shop.  She was a great assistant!  She held the blouses I picked out, and as I tried them on, she kept saying, “What do you think about it so far?”…before I would even have it all the way on.  HA!


7)      This morning, the girls called me to take their picture.  “Come see, Mommy!  We’re two peas in a pod!


I'm loving it!

May 8, 2014

New Orleans...The Big Easy!!! {Part II}

We woke up on Day 3 to the most beautiful sunrise over the Mississippi!

The view from our hotel room...the girls were smitten!

 After breakfast, we caught the trolley to the Garden District.  The girls had been so looking forward to a trolley ride since we were in Memphis two summers ago!

Canal Street.

We had a nice morning wandering around the Garden District.

Baby A wasn't much in the mood for pictures that morning, for some reason.  I had to take what I could get!

Baby B was much more indulgent.

My A didn't mind stopping to pose on this super-cool tree, though!  She loved it!

The girls weren't super impressed, but we got to talk to Archie Manning's gardener.  HA!
Just before lunch, we headed back to the French Quarter.  B got a really special treat...an opportunity to sit in the driver's seat on the trolley (at the back of the car)!

Proud as punch!  And holding on tight!
For lunch that day, we decided to try another oyster house, known as the arch rival to Acme (where we ate our first meal).  It did not disappoint!  I think we have a new favorite!  And the girls got some long-awaited (chargrilled) oysters, to boot!

Feeling like such big kids!

The afternoon was reserved for a swamp tour.  Daddy had been on a swamp tour many years ago, but this was a first for Mommy and the girls.

We drove to a little town about 15 miles outside of downtown New Orleans.  We were a little early, so we took a walk around the levy.  We were so excited to see a gator, sunning himself.  Little did we know there were dozens of these guys swimming around...some many, many times larger!

What a cute little guy!
 We headed out on the boat...

Look at the moss!

And then we met Winky:

He is estimated to be 110 years old, based on his length!  Yikes!!!

Before the boat ride was over, we got to hold Killer:

He was really cool!  And the girls were super excited to check him out!
For supper that night, we were seafood-ed out.  A burger hit the spot!  Afterwards, the girls posed with this big alligator statue.  Hubby joked how much we looked like tourists...guilty!

He was a little more tame than our friends in the swamp.
After dinner, I had one last treat in store...we went to a little confectionery where we watched some talented ladies make pralines...and then we got one of those wonderful confections for ourselves.

We walked to the river and found a bench to enjoy ourselves.  It was a little bit cool, and a little bit blustery...but I love this picture of A, the remnants of her praline still quite visible with her big, bright smile...the last bits of the day's sun in her eyes.



Wednesday morning, we headed to Jackson's Square for one last visit.  I love this family photo so much!!!




And then we headed to Cafe du Monde one last time, stopping to see the horses on the way...


We scored primo seating, right next to the sidewalk!


The girls loved their beignets...this time, with hot chocolate...extra-super-special, for sure!

Baby A is sold!
 I gave the girls each a dollar, and they put it in the donation basket for this little band, parked right outside Cafe du Monde, right in front of our table.  Baby B was excited to get a picture with them...but A was a little more tentative.

Such a fun memory!
And I snagged this gem, the girls hanging out in the hotel, looking at A's iPad together, as Mommy and Daddy were getting the suitcases packed.  Of all the awesome scenery, this is one of my absolute faves.
L.O.V.E.

What a blessing it was to share one of our favorite places, one in which we have so much history, with the girls.

May 5, 2014

New Orleans...The Big Easy!!! {PART I}

I could kick myself for not blogging this sooner...but what better way to memorialize my 1000TH POST (!!!) than with pictures from one of our favorite trips???

When we arrived in New Orleans on Sunday afternoon, we checked into the hotel and made a beeline for our traditional first stop, Acme Oyster House.  The girls didn't get to sample any of our raw oysters, but they were excited to see them in their shells.  The girls chowed down on crab claws, and then made themselves at home with some crawfish etouffee.

Nothing fancy...but oh, so good!!!

Following our early dinner, we made our way to the Mighty Mississippi.  The girls loved looking at all the boats...and all the interesting people, too!

My jewels of the Mississippi!

And the perfect ending to our day was the girls' introduction to Cafe du Monde.  They'd been looking forward to that for a long, long time...and the beignets did not disappoint!

Baby A, checking out the scene while our table was cleaned.

Behold!  Our sugar-laden feast!

B shows her approval!

A rare family photo...at one of our favorite places, to boot!

The girls got paper hats, and I will always remember the walk back to the hotel...


...they were quite the attraction in their pigtails, powdered sugar-smudged faces, and Cafe du Monde hats!

The next morning, we found an excellent cafe for breakfast, and then headed to the aquarium.

Waiting on the aquarium to open...love this picture!
The penguins are always a favorite!


After the aquarium, we headed just outside the French Quarter for lunch at Mother's.  B wasn't feeling super well, but we still had a nice lunch...more etouffee for the girlies, a poboy for Hubby and me...capped off with some bread pudding for dessert.

Sweetness!!!
That afternoon we all enjoyed a LONG (and much needed!) family nap!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And then we headed to Jackson Square for some milling around.

Feeling better!

Walking through Jackson Square

Mommy and her babies!
 The girls found this little pathway through an enormous section of monkey grass.  They got quite the workout, back and forth, back and forth!

Here comes B, with A in the background...finding a "treasure", no doubt.
 Quintessential New Orleans!  A view from Jackson's Square!


We found a gelato shop, which was the perfect afternoon treat!

This kid enjoys every single drop!
The girls were a little preoccupied by watching some dogs on a nearby balcony. :)
After our refreshments, we headed to the French Market to mill around some more.  Of course we had to try on some hats!  (I wish now I'd bought one for myself!)

B thought it was GREAT fun!

Where is Baby A hiding??!!!


We walked around a little more...
Love this scene, with Jackson Square in the background!

 
Such a pretty door...my A couldn't resist touching the lion!  (I don't think she actually knocked...hope not, anyway!)

We rounded out Day 2 with dinner at another favorite, the Gumbo Shop.  The girls split a catfish dish, over a bed of creamed spinach with hollandaise.  (I write that down, because they loved it so much!)

We even scored a table in the courtyard!
Looking back on these pictures makes me hungry...for great food, and for new adventures!  L-O-V-E!!!
 
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