New Orleans - Day One

At the end of February my sister in law was blessed with a baby.. so we packed our bags and flew down to Houston to meet the munchkin. This was not our first trip to Houston.. and since most of the family was house bound with the baby we thought we'd take a little drive to New Orleans before heading back home.

We got a rent a car and drove the six-ish thank god almost uneventful hours to the Big Easy.. 10 minutes away from the rental car office H threw up in the car. We had to pull over and clean everything.. returned the car and hoped in a taxi to our hotel. Not a great way to start the trip. We were staying at The Whitney don't you just love the name. A little history.. The Whitney is a Louisiana based bank.. and the hotel is based inside the city's first Whitney Bank branch dating back to the 1980's. They have restored the bank's original lobby to function as the hotel lobby. We got cleaned up and headed out to dinner.. just a short walk away. Just like Florida and Houston, New Orleans was cold. :(
We ate at Juan's Flying Burrito. There are no food pictures because we were tired and H was not in a very sit in his seat type mood. And while this place was supposed to have the best Mexican food in NOLA we have had better.. it was alright. We wandered about a bit in the cold before making our way back to the hotel.

We started of the next slightly chilly day off with some breakfast at the Ruby Slipper Cafe.. another place with great reviews and a long wait to prove it. M had the Corned Beef Bennie and I had the Louisiana Shrimp Omelet and D had the Double Chocolate Pancake

D dove right into his pancakes immediately and everything was going pretty good until it wasn't and D threw up everywhere. That pretty much ended breakfast.. we got him cleaned up and headed towards the French Quarter..

We roamed French Street and Royal Street.. Bourbon Street.. saw street performers and art.. so much art.. D was especially taken by the rotating dog.

The St. Louis Cathedral and Jackson Square..  and while we sat on the steps being entertained by the hilariously talented Dragon Master Showcase troupe M stood in line for the famed cafe au lait and beignets of Cafe Du Monde. We take our first sips and first bites and D hurls up some more of his chocolaty breakfast..!! Thank God I was carrying plastic bags.. but what exactly is the protocol for cleaning up/leaving vomit sitting on the steps? We covered it with all the tissues and napkins we had and just left. Escaped to the River Walk.. ate our cold beignets and tried to cool down our  my temper, frustration.. the fact that cafe au lait's are gross and a sorry excuse for coffee did not help. It tasted like warm watered down milk..

We walked along the River Walk but D was now without a sweatshirt.. it was cold and the last thing on our mind was lunch..

Back at the hotel the boys settled for a nap.. but it wasn't long before D vomited yet again.. and this time in bed.. he bathed and went back to sleep while the very helpful and nice hotel cleaning service changed the sheets. D woke up just before dark and we bravely headed back out.

We rode the St. Charles Street Car.. D had been waiting to sit on it all day.. we bought a 3 day pass which was very convenient and rode through the Garden District taking in all the big beautiful houses. Our destination The Camellia Grill. There are usually lines around the block to a seat.. lucky us.. we were early and there was three seats open. The landmark diner has an interesting seating arrangement.

and while the food may not have looked very appetizing.. it was so so good. 

I had the Harry Yankee's Special and M the Chicken and Waffles and we ordered a slice of Chocolate Pecan Pie to go.. D has nut allergies so we saved it for after the boys went to bed and destroyed all the evidence.

I really thought I'd be able to sum up our whole Nola adventure in one post.. but it seems to be getting long and we have two more days to go.. So I'll see back here next week :)

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Friday Photography

Chained - The rusty chains that secure the locks on the Rideau Canal in Ottawa, Canada. The Rideau Canal, also known unofficially as the Rideau Waterway, connects the city of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, on the Ottawa River to the city of Kingston, Ontario, on Lake Ontario. It is 202 kilometres in length. The name Rideau, French for "curtain," is derived from the curtain-like appearance of the Rideau River's twin waterfalls where they join the Ottawa River. There are a total of 45 locks at 23 stations along the canal and most are still hand operated. The area around the Rideau Canal makes for a lovely walk.

This photograph can be purchased here

Want to know more about our trip to Ottawa and the yummiest scones on the planet? here

I drank the kool aid and joined Instagram.. come along and follow me on my photo journey here

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Painting Pottery

A few months ago a dear friend moved across the country leaving us with all her Groupons. While M called dibs on the free massage, D and I went to Art Around the Corner to paint some pottery.. there was a large shelf full of various items that we could pick to paint.. I picked the gift box and D picked the treasure chest. He had a blast picking various paints and just going to town on the treasure chest.

We were to come back after a week to pick up the final product..

Since every inch of D's treasure chest was different I needed to take several pictures to even attempt to do it justice.. and he painted the inside too. Mine of course pales by comparison..

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Friday Photography

Caged In - I have a particular fondness for this photograph because it was a photograph I took when I was still in college, it was a photograph I took with my film camera, one that I processed myself in the dark room. Now all m photographs are taken with a DSLR and I haven't set foot in a dark room in eight years! This is a cross processed photograph of a stores steel shutters. Cross processing is the procedure of deliberately processing photographic film in a chemical solution intended for a different type of film which results in increased contrast and stronger colors. This photograph was taken in Karachi, Pakistan.

The photograph is available for purchase here

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I Love You Stinky Face

As a book lover the moment D was born.. even before that I was planning all the books we were going to read, first me to him then us together.. I have all the Harry Potter books on my shelf waiting for D to turn seven.. eight so that we can read them together.. follow each book with the movie. Of course we started with the simpler Goodnight Moon, Chika Chika Boom Boom and similar. M's boss at the time sent us a basket full of books.. :) Since then we have read countless books.. some over and over again.. and some not so much. We make regular trips to the library and when we run out of new books we reread the old..

A few weeks ago we reread I Love You Stinky Face

and while I always loved this book it got very little love from D until now. He was now old enough to understand it's meaning.. After reading it he let out an enormous bugger filled sneeze and when I called him bugger face he asked me.. 'but you still love me right?'

What was interesting was not just that he finally got the book but that something as simple as me calling him a bugger face would cause him to question my love for him.

What have been some of your kid's favorite books?

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Friday Photography

Break From The Pack - A lone wild pony breaks away from his herd on the Assateague Island, to explore and graze in solitude. Assateague Island is a 37-mile long barrier island located off the eastern coast of Delmarva. The northern two-thirds of the island is in Maryland while the southern third is in Virginia. These ponies.. more commonly known as the Chincoteague Ponies, whom legend states are descendants of Spanish horses shipwrecked on their way to Peru in the 16th century.  
Every year on the last Wednesday of July is held a pony run.. also known as Pony Penning.. where the ponies swim across the channel. It takes 5-10 minutes.. Larger foals are auctioned the next day and the majority of the herd, including any young foals, are returned to Assateague on Friday. Some ponies are purchased under "buy back" conditions, where the bidder donates the money to the fire department but allows the pony to be released back onto Assateague Island. 

This print is available for purchase here

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Sea World, Orlando

Our last day in Orlando was spent at Sea World. The park was a mix of highs and lows.. but at the end of the day how could you not leave happy after seeing whales and dolphins. This was another cold day.. it was a bit disappointing to leave the snowy Jersey weather and fly down to the Sunshine State only to be cold and in our winter jackets!

We started the day off with some pictures with Shamu..

Our first stop was at the Turtle Trek.. we were not exactly sure what to expect.. we walked by Manatee's and Turtles.. until we got to a round room with a round 360 degree dome ceiling.. there was no place to sit.. everyone was to simply stand and wear their 3D glasses.. what began was the tale of one little sea turtle emerging from its egg and onto an epic journey through the sea, the challenges it faces as it grows and makes its way back to the beach it hatched on. It was amazing.. I have no words to describe the awe we all felt. 

Next we hurried over to the Dolphin Theater to catch the next Blue Horizon's Show. We sat in the wet zone with our poncho's on ready to get wet but thank god only got a little splashed on.. The Blue Horizon's show was what I assumed supposed to be a dolphin show.. it was so much more than that.. it was a musical, a love story, an acrobatic spectacular with dolphins and parrots that left us amazed.. pictures can not do justice ..

D wasn't tall enough to meet the height requirement for any of the rides so my parent's volunteered to watch the boys while M and I sat on a few.. we didn't.. turns out The Journey to Atlantis and the Kraken.. which looked like a lot of fun were both temporarily closed because of some technical difficulties.. which made the lines for Antarctica Empire of the Penguin unbelievably long.. the Sea Lion and Otter Theater was also closed so we moved on to the Sky Tower. Similar to Legoland's Island in the Sky.. the Sky Tower is a 400 feet high tower that gives you a 360 degree birds eye view of the entire park.

We were now ready for lunch.. we ate at Mango Joes's Burgers just before running in to grab a seat in the Shamu Stadium to watch the One Ocean Show. We were late.. there were hardly any seats left except for those in the splash zone..

The One Ocean Show was all about the Killer Whales and they are such show offs! They were dazzling and we were soaked!

The Wild Arctic was yet another thing D could not sit on. So we headed towards Shamu's Happy Harbor. D was able to enjoy some of the more kid friendly rides.. and we took a few too many rides on Shamu's Express.. a cute little roller coaster

and while D enjoyed the Net Climb.. four story high nets linked together with a series of tunnels.. he loved it.. he loved it so much he didn't notice us leave to finally get a chance to sit on a roller coaster.. he loved it so much when we returned he made me go through it with him to show me just how awesome it is.. made me realize how old I am.. i couldn't get out fast enough.

Since the moment we entered the park M was obsessed with the Manta ride.. it was the one ride he really wanted to sit on so he and I headed that way.. stood in the long line and by the time it came to get on I was starting to feel queasy.. you ride the ride as if you were a real manta.. meaning face down.

The moment they strapped us in and flipped us over I started to pray, seriously. The ride was mindblowingly awesome.. I had my eyes closed the whole time so I have no idea what happened.. but M had his open and he said we grazed the water.. he had a wet knee to prove it..

All in all even with all the rides closed and so many things D couldn't sit on.. the whales and dolphins made it worth it.. the turtle trek and the manta.. it all made it a perfect end to a great vacation. Heading home with wonderful memories and stories to tell.

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