Saturday, February 7, 2015

New Orleans Day 5

Our final day in New Orleans started around 4:30 am when we got ready to head back to the airport. When we got onto the shuttle that was taking us to the airport, we realized our flight had been delayed again until 10:30. Which meant we were going to be about 4 hours early when we could be sleeping. Cody called American Airlines to see if they had anything earlier, and they told him they had actually canceled our flight and we weren't scheduled to leave until 12:30! Luckily the nice lady got us on the 10:30 flight, but we also had to change Tami's tickets because she was also supposed to leave that morning 10:30. We could've found someone else to watch the kids while she went to the airport, but there wasn't really a safe way to get our car back - parking it without locking it and leaving the keys under the seat? No, thanks. I don't need a stolen car on top of our crazy trip home.

After sitting in the airport for hours we finally got on our flight (in first class!) and headed home. I was excited to have first class seats only because they were so much more comfy than any of the other seats. We didn't get anything special since the flight was only like an hour long, but my bum was honestly so sore from those airport seats and it was nice to have some extra cushion!!

We made it back to the airport and were greeted by Tami, Charlee and Preslie (Chloe was in school), and Preslie's fever. That started our month-long-family-sharing-illness. Charlee had pink eye (that same day - I took her to urgent care where I waited forEVER to see a doctor. Finally the dr came in when I was putting Charlee's coat on her to leave because I couldn't handle it anymore. I could see her on her computer for so, so long and I'm sure everything she was doing was important and fantastic and world-saving. But I felt like it was rude. Anyway.)

Charlee had pink eye, Preslie had a fever (for a week) and pink eye, we all had colds, and the girls were throwing up from coughing so hard. I went to the dr 5 times in a week.

However. New Orleans was amazing. We had a blast and when we got home I was wishing I could go back!! Thank you, Tami, for coming to stay with our girls so we didn't have to worry about them at ALL while we were away! You're the best!

Monday, February 2, 2015

New Orleans Day 4

Sunday was our last and final day in New Orleans (or so we thought). I felt like we still had so much to do and was feeling a little stressed to getting out and getting the day started. We first had breakfast at The Grill which is a little diner in the French Quarter. It had great reviews on yelp, but we were a little surprised when we went in and there were two long bars with barstools for seating and that was it! The waiters were also the cooks and you got to watch them all do their thing and make and bring you your food. Cody got a waffle with one egg and hash browns. I ordered pancakes with a side of bacon and orange juice. We ended up getting his waffle, two eggs, a HUGE plate of hash browns, pancakes, two sides of bacon, juice, and four pieces of toast. We were confused, but just decided to go with it and figured we'd have to pay like $20 more than we were originally expecting. When we went to pay our bill we realized our waiter/chef only charged us for the waffle, pancake and juice. That was it! It was crazy.

After breakfast we went to grab a couple souvenirs, took a couple pictures, and then realized…we didn't have anything else to do.

St. Louis Cathedral

All I really had wanted to do was buy a few things and once we had done that we wished we had gotten an earlier flight because we didn't have any plans. We decided to take a street car to City Park and see what was down there. I'm so glad we did! City Park is this big, beautiful park with museums, a sculpture garden, a botanical garden (that was closed), and even a small amusement park! When we got there we rented a tandem bike (the first time either of us had been on a tandem bike for probably 20 years) and rode around the park. It was a pretty nice day - not as cold as it had been, so it was so nice to be outside and seeing all the sites of the park!
These trees were just massive and all over. They were so gorgeous. This park is one of the 10 largest parks in the entire country. It also has the largest collections of mature oaks in the country - some of the trees are over 800 (!!!!) years old. 

Cody was in landscape photographer heaven. We would ride like 10 feet, stop and take pictures for a few minutes. Ride another 10 feet, stop and take more pictures. I didn't mind stopping at all because I loved just sitting and looking at everything and taking it all in!

We found this little pond with all these ducks and geese. We were the only people around and it was so fun to just sit and watch them (while Cody took pictures). 

We had only rented our bike for an hour, so we had to move from one place to another pretty fast (after stopping so much to take pictures). We hopped on the street car back to the french quarter and went to get some lunch. We went to this grocery store called Verti Marte that apparently has an amazing little deli in the back. We ordered a philly cheesesteak to share from this guy (which I thought was just ok), and then probably 12 teenagers walked in. They all wanted a catfish sandwich and the guy started freaking out about why they all wanted catfish and what was the deal with them wanting catfish? He then started telling them no one could order anything hot because the grill was closed until 4 pm. …Except it WAS 4 pm. So these poor kids were like, "I heard the catfish sandwich is really great here…" 

Not one to just stand around when I think people are being treated unfairly, I started yelling at the guy (from behind all these kids that were all taller than me, so he probably never saw me) JUST GIVE THEM THE DANG CATFISH. YOU SELL IT, WHY DOES IT MATTER IF THEY ALL WANT IT? MAKE THE FLIPPING SANDWICHES. …Cody had left by this point to wait outside since it was SO tiny and there were so many people in there. Then the guy kept yelling about the grill being turned off until 4, so we all started yelling - IT IS 4!! OPEN THE GRILL! One kid looked at me and was like-Do you come here a lot? Do you know this guy? I was like..oh, no. I've never been here. 

Finally my sandwich was done and I left because I was claustrophobic and couldn't handle it anymore. I'll never know if those kids got their catfish…

After we ate and really didn't have anything to do and no hotel to just sit and watch tv at, we went to Jackson Square to people watch and hang out. When we had gotten back from City Park to the time we were done eating our food, it had gotten REALLY foggy. I was starting to get worried we wouldn't be able to fly out in the fog, but Cody kept reassuring me it would be fine and wasn't a big deal. (However, I remembered that one time Amy tried coming to visit us in CA and there was fog in Long Beach so she couldn't land…)

The fog made everything kinda spooky and I kept thinking about all the ghost stories we had heard from our tour. 

We made our way back to our hotel, grabbed our bags and made our way to the airport. Our flight was supposed to leave around 7 and get into LAX at 9. We kept trying to talk to Tami about keeping the girls up verses getting my neighbor to come over after they were in bed to watch them while Tami came to get us from the airport. We decided to have her put them to bed (luckily), and our flight kept getting more and more delayed because of the fog. We didn't know what we were going to do if our flight got in at 11 or midnight - we couldn't really ask someone to come stay with the girls that late, but we also felt bad about making Tami get them all up to bring them to the airport. Eventually they announced that our flight had been canceled. So we, along with the other 100 passengers, tried to grab a hotel before anyone else so that we could sleep for 3 hours before having to be back in the airport. We got a room at the DoubleTree and finally, after not knowing where they were picking us up, got on shuttle. When we got to the hotel, they give you a cookie when you check in. We got up to our room, and I decided I needed more cookies. I went back to the front, told the nice man I was really pregnant and had a rough night and needed more cookies. He only gave me 2 more, but I was happy with the results. He was happy I wasn't in labor. 

We finally went to bed around midnight, only to wake up at 4:30 to get ready for our 6 am flight. It was a crazy day!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

New Orleans Day 3

Saturday, January 10 was Cody's birthday! We celebrated by sleeping in late (again!!) and going out for breakfast to Cafe Du Monde. By the time we got there it was around 10 am, and the line was SO long. It was insane. Luckily, we knew that you don't have to wait in line because that line is only to get a table (I don't think most of the people in line knew that…). We cut through and got in the much, MUCH smaller line that was in the back of the cafe. We were probably 6 in line, as opposed to 200th! We grabbed our beignets and some hot chocolate and made our way to Jackson Square to eat on the steps.
A lot of people have been asking us to rate Cafe Du Monde against Cafe Beignet. I know that everyone LOVES Cafe Du Monde, and they were super yummy, but they weren't as big and fluffy as the ones from Cafe Beignet - 2 of mine were SUPER crispy and overdone, so I was kind of sad about that. However, there was more powdered sugar than Cafe Beignet (a big plus) AND the order came with 4 instead of 3 (for both me and Cody..maybe that's normal? it says you get 3 but they throw in an extra every time?), so we were both happy about that. I couldn't eat all of mine, but Cody finished it off for me and we were both happy and full.

While we were sitting on the steps, this car pulled over in front of us and these three guys with a bunch of tv camera equipment got out. They started putting it all right next to us and when they got unloaded, sat down. I started talking to the guy sitting next to me and asked him what they were working on. He said they were filming a Canadian children's cooking show and there are two kids getting the week of their life in New Orleans working with a bunch of chefs. We asked him about other things he's done, and he told us a few (all international so we didn't recognize anything); he said he had flown straight from a project in Canada to a project in Ireland to this project in NOLA. I asked if he had a family and he said no, only a fish. Which may or may not still be alive. 

So. If anyone lives in Canada and sees a children's cooking show filmed in New Orleans, think of us.

After our breakfast we went to check out the French Market. It was near Jackson Square and was basically a farmers market, shops and a flea market all rolled into one. Farmers markets and flea markets are on my Top 10 Favorite Things list, so we were excited to go check it out. 

I also bought a real, bona fide mardi gras mask there!

We walked around the markets, finding some junk stores that were amazing and made me want to move there just to shop at them.

We went to St. Louis Cemetery No. 1. It is the oldest cemetery in New Orleans and hosts some famous dead people such as Marie Laveau, Delphine LaLaurie (awful woman) and someday, Nicolas Cage. Apparently he paid whoever is in charge to move historical plots OUT of the cemetery to move his giant, gaudy pyramid in. Personally I think it's a nod to National Treasure, but that's just me. Basically everyone in NOLA hates Nicolas Cage and although the government has taken his homes away from him (in NOLA), they can't take his burial plot. And everyone wishes they could.

The offending tomb

After we walked around the cemetery, we went back to the hotel to relax before our ghost tour that night. We met our tour guide outside the St. Louis Cathedral and toured all the French Quarter learning about the spirits that haunt the place.
The back of the Cathedral at night

Me as a ghost

From Jackson Square looking on

 She told us about a hotel that is full of little boy spirits that watch Cartoon Network in people's rooms at night, a theater with spirits that you can hear crying or singing, the most haunted home in NOLA (which was owned by Delphine LaLaurie- who made it the most haunted home by all her horrible deeds - and later Nicolas Cage) and more. It was really interesting! Cody thought it was kind of boring, but I love a good ghost story so I loved it. 
LaLaurie Home - you should look her up. Or don't. She was seriously awful.
Close up of the St. Louis Cathedral - there are a even a few ghosts haunting this place!
After our tour we went to celebrate Cody's birthday with a fancy dinner! We went to K-Paul's Louisiana Kitchen. It was this cute, little restaurant that you could watch the chefs while they worked. Well, we could at least because we were seated by them. 
We got to talk about the tour and I told Cody some ghost stories from when I was little and how freaked out they made me (and maybe still do? thanks a lot, mom!). They brought us the most amazing bread basket full of different rolls and we ordered. Cody got the Blackened Louisiana Drum ("Fresh Drum Fish from Louisiana Waters Seasoned and Blackened in a Cast Iron Skillet and Served with Drawn Butter, Potatoes and Veggies) (someone needs to edit their menu and tell them every other word doesn't need to be capitalized). I was deciding between Duck and Shrimp Dulac (Julienned Duck Breast & Shrimp in a Sauce of Leeks, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Shiitake & Oyster Mushrooms and Duck Glaze and Served with Pasta) and Blackened Twin Beef Tenders with Debris ("Twin Beef Tenders Seasoned and Blackened in a Cast Iron Skillet and Served with Debris Sauce, Potatoes and Veggies). The waiter said absolutely the beef tenders. And I know we all know this already, but it was amazing. I was literally almost in tears eating my dinner it was so good. Cody loved his food as well, but I don't think he was in tears about it :) 

My leftovers. Which you can absolutely bet I asked to take home (with extra bread of course) and I ate it in the airport right in front of 50 people. No shame. 
I told our waiter it was Cody's birthday. I didn't expect anything from it since it was a nicer place, but he said we could either get free drinks or a free dessert. That was a pretty easy (and obvious) choice. Cody picked Chocolate Hill (Homemade, Rich Chocolate Bundt Cake with a Chocolate Ganache Underneath and White and Dark Chocolate Drizzled on Top) (again with the capitalization)
And it was really, really yummy...

After dinner we went back to the hotel to grab my Mardi Gras mask (when else will I ever get to wear it??) and headed out to Bourbon Street to collect some souvenirs for our kids. I'm pretty sure I may be the only person in the history of the world that's ever uttered that sentence. Again, Bourbon Street is disgusting - strip clubs and bars along the whole thing, but luckily it was freezing so there weren't too many actual naked people. We did see one however - I wanted to give her a lesson on why you should respect yourself and not to let people make you feel like you're just a body and nothing more…but I didn't. Because I was running away. 

Also, because it was so cold, most people were just throwing beads and not expecting "anything" from it. (Except for one like 60 year old man that wanted everyone to flash him. He was nasty) We had 3-4 people throw us (me) beads and I think my mask helped! One girl saw me and said, "Ooh I like her!!" and threw me some giant green beads. I was so excited! 

We finally got back to our hotel around 12:30 or 1 in the morning. I think it was a pretty great day and a good birthday!! (Oh, I also surprised Cody with a go pro that morning! He's been loving using it on his airplane and flying it around the neighborhood)


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