Sunday, August 15, 2010

Our First Visitor

Over a month ago my Mom blessed us with her presence and was officially crowned our very first visitor. She has taken a "vacation" of sorts in almost every place that we have lived so we knew it was only a matter of time before she came knocking on our door here in the dirty south.

She flew into New Orleans, on the 4th of July, and Chris and I couldn't have been more excited to play tour guide in one of our favorite cities. So off we went to explore the city that we love oh so much...

You can't start your day off without breakfast, so we took her to the famous Cafe Du Monde for some authentic beignets.
From the horse drawn carriages lining the streets, to the jazz duo on the corner playing some upbeat patriotic music on their tuba and trumpet, the atmosphere couldn't have been more perfect while we ate our little french donuts. While we were sitting there we started to experience some sporadic rain showers and figured that our best bet was to head over to the aquarium to escape the rain and the impending heat. So off we set for a nice little walk along the Mississippi River when out of no where buckets of rain starting pouring out of the sky. So we had no choice but to sprint in a desperate search to find shelter. When we finally came to a covered awning we were all laughing so hard... I love moments like that. So there we stayed until the rain slowly let up and we decided to continue our journey on the banks of the Mississippi towards our destination.

Next stop...
I cannot remember what was so intriguing about this small exhibit. It must have been good to draw in this crowd.
The aquarium doesn't necessarily have the cultural aspects that you would expect to find in New Orleans, but when the weather isn't being so friendly it's a great retreat.
So once we left the aquarium we all grabbed a quick bite to eat for lunch, and then decided to split up. My Aunt Robin was in New Orleans at the same time we were for a work conference, and sadly she was tied up in meetings the majority of the day we were there but she kindly gave us a key to her hotel room, and while my brother and Ashley went back to put their daughter down for a nap, Chris, my Mom, and myself decided to explore the streets of the Big Easy.

We walked the beautiful grounds of the St. Louis Cathedral,
strolled through the French Market,
and this is where we talked my Mom into trying alligator. It was in sausage form so it hid a lot of the texture and flavor of the meat, but I was still proud of her.

And then we wandered through the streets of the French Quarter.
A short time later after the rain clouds had moved on and the heat of the day started taking its toll on us, we too decided to head back to the hotel for a little rest before dinner.

That night my Mom treated us to a spectacular dinner at a restaurant, that was recommended by my Aunt, in the French Quarter. It was so authentic and good, that it has had Chris and I dreaming of it ever since. After dinner, we were finally able to meet up with my Aunt and her friend Sherry and get ready for the firework show over the Mississippi. Her hotel opened up its top floor and allowed people to watch the show from there.
Now just imagine that darkness has descended and the lights of the French Quarter below are all aglow, and that two barges slowly make there way down the Mighty Mississippi and stop, and suddenly your eyes are feasting upon two spectacular and simultaneous firework shows. That is the way we celebrated our Country's Birthday. It was incredible.

A little while later we had to say goodbye to my Aunt and head back home so that we could be refreshed for the activities that awaited us the next day.

The next day we decided to take my Mom to see the ocean. The key word there being "see." With the oil having washed up on the shores about a month back the water wasn't safe to swim in. That was the first time that Chris and I had been back in a while and we were amazed to see that the cleaning crews had cleaned the oil off the sand, but there were still chemicals in the water that could be very harmful to your health, so "No Swimming!" It's always a relaxing experience to just sit on the beach or play in the sand so we still enjoyed ourselves.
Over the course of the next few days I had to return to work, so my brother and his wife took over as tour guide and showed her some of our favorite spots. But when night fell and after dinner all our game faces came on. We had many laughs over our games of Uno, Skipbo, and Life.
There are two things I have to comment on about this picture. (1) Ashley has a scary game face. And (2) I think I caught Chris cheating.
The last night that my Mom was going to be in Alabama we treated her to our favorite local BBQ joint down by the bay. Moe's.
And after dinner we went down the street and caught a beautiful sunset over the Bay. It was a perfect sunset on her last night there.
The next night we had to say our goodbyes to her, but since she was flying out of New Orleans we had one more dinner and enjoyed dessert at Cafe Du Monde.

We had so much fun with her here and enjoyed showing her the new place we get to call home. If I know her I'm sure she's already planning her next visit, and we already have some new things to show her.
Thanks for the visit and come back anytime. Love you Mom!