Thursday, April 8, 2010

Easter and egg hunt

After our weeklong trip to New Orleans, we came back to celebrate Easter with our family. We had a beautiful day for a few photos following Easter Mass.

The Murray family
Ann, Brendan, and Melissa
The Milsaps-- cool shades!

Riley-- biggest bow yet!
Nicholas and Riley relaxing in the sun.
Riley and Megan

Once we got back to Grandma's house, the kids had an Easter egg hunt before lunch. Nicholas was initially reluctant, but eventually was really getting into it! Riley didn't need much help herself, but she did enjoy ordering Megan around, getting her big cousin to find eggs for her!

Uncle David is always patient-- I guess that's why the kids love him!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Searching for Easter baskets

There is a method for searching for your Easter basket. First, you have to see if there are any tracks. They might give you a hint as to which direction to start. (These pointed up the stairs.)

Second, you have to consider whether the basket will fit in the space. Really, Nicholas? Under the bed??

Use whatever resources you have available. Can Daddy provide a hint? Can he at least boost you up to see better?

Look with your hands, not just your eyes. (This means you might need to MOVE something to look under or behind it. Nicholas, I realize this is a new technique for you.....)

Pay dirt!!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Coloring Easter eggs

We colored eggs on Saturday night at my sister's house with Megan and Nicholas's cousin, Riley.

Ok, I think for the most part, these photos speak for themselves. But I definitely have to include the quote from Megan's Facebook status that night:

just finished coloring eggs at my aunt's house. It was fun but never, ever let a 2 year old near the colored water, especially if she thinks it is tea....

Laura Plantation, on the way home from New Orleans

On our way out of New Orleans, we stopped at Laura Plantation. It is a Creole plantation, which means the original founders of the plantation were of French descent and lived here prior to the United States acquiring the Louisiana Territory. The colorful exterior was originally a signal to anyone traveling by that the residents spoke French. (American plantation houses were painted white.) We had a wonderful guide who walked us through the house and grounds giving us a treasure trove of history of the family and the plantation itself.

This is Laura, who was the great-granddaughter of the original owners of the plantation. She is the source of the history of the plantation, having written her memoirs when she was in her 70's (she lived to 102). She is dressed in her Mardi Gras costume, which would have been scandalous to the American residents of the area at the time. But Creole families had different ideas about what was appropriate, at least with regard to Mardi Gras!

And here is Megan snapping a few photos of her own!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

New Orleans, day 4

We visited the Audubon Insectarium today which I have to say was pretty cool. I loved the giant scale model of the underground world with the enormous ants and the huge earthworm. Nicholas and Megan got to pet a hissing cockroach, but Nicholas wasn't too keen on all the exhibits with live bugs!

The butterfly garden was pretty cool, but my very favorite was the display of all the beautiful insects. The beetles are amazing! The photo doesn't begin to do the colors justice. And this is one of the biggest moths, a white witch.

After that, we hung out in the French Quarter. We ate our muffalettas on the banks of the Mississippi. One of the coolest things about New Orleans is that there is music where ever you go. All day and all night long. It's not all great, but some of it is really good. But it's there. Someone is singing, or playing the harmonica, or the saxaphone. Or there's a whole horn section on the corner as you walk by. Or it's just some dude and his guitar serenading you as you eat your lunch!

For dinner we ate at NOLA, which is one of Emeril's restaurants here in New Orleans. The food was good, Megan tried her first shirley temple, and Nicholas, who CLAIMED he didn't like mussels, cleaned us out!

And finally, on our last night in the city, we ended with one of the best NO traditions: beignets at Cafe du Monde. It doesn't get any better than this.

We have had a fun week, we have laughed and laughed, the preteen attitude was at low tide, the kids were whispering together in conspiracy against us tonight at dinner, David ran and played with Nicholas and Megan even joined in. We are going to come home more exhausted than we started this spring break, but it's worth it. I really love our family vacations!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

New Orleans, day 3

Day 4 found us in the Garden District of New Orleans. We walked through the beautiful neighborhood and admired the big, old houses and fantastic lawns. Megan read us tidbits about many of the homes, while Nicholas manned the map.

Some of the highlights include:

The oldest known home in the Garden District:

The Mannings' home where Peyton grew up:

Notice that this porch has a sky-blue ceiling. This color is believed to deter nesting insects as well as to ward off evil spirits. Many of the houses shared this color.

This one was owned by Anne Rice and was the setting for her Witching Hour novels. The house was know as Rosegate for the rosettes on the fence, but I think they look more like skulls, don't you? Fitting for Anne Rice, I guess....

At the end of the walk, we explored the Lafayette Cemetery. In New Orleans, the graves are above ground because the city is below sea level. The call the cemetery the City of the Dead, and it does look like a little city with its houses all lined up in a row.

Notice the flowers on the grave have a Mardi Gras napkin and beads attached.

Nicholas noticed that this grave stone had slipped and it appeared that the grave was open. I couldn't get anyone to look in though....

After our walking tour, we boarded the St. Charles Streetcar and headed to the end of the line for lunch at the Camellia Grill. Lunch here is a fast-paced diner style affair, with the grill directly behind the counter where everyone sits for lunch. We had to stand in line, but the burgers are fantastic, and both kids had breakfast food for lunch. You can't beat that.

We spent the afternoon exploring the Audubon Zoo. The otters were my favorite, although I enjoyed the rheas also (a relative of the ostrich).

No real cheetahs, unfortunately, but Megan did get to pose with a cool statue.

And Nicholas found this friendly alligator....

and a goat named Murray.