New Orleans Road Trip – Day 4

Posted by in New Orleans

She Said:

So today was kind of a bust. We should have seen the warning signs. Lia woke up this morning after sleeping for nearly 12 hours last night and she was GRUMPY. She pretty much cried and screamed about everything. But we ventured out anyway. We decided to head to the Insectarium today since it was still cold. The kids had a good time, but pretty much had a meltdown about 2/3 of the way through.

We decided to walk around downtown for awhile and find something to eat. We made it about a block before the kids were fussing about being cold. So we ducked into a local cafe for a late breakfast. Well, apparently they don’t serve breakfast after noon. So we loaded up and headed back to the hotel so everyone could take a nap. After we got up more rested but still grumpy, we decided to go do something, anything. First stop was get the kiddos some dinner at KFC. Well, by the time we got the food, it was almost dark. Defeated, we headed back to the hotel.

In a last ditch effort to save the day from complete failure, we decided to have a Star Wars battle/jump-a-thon on the two full size beds that occupy our hotel room. Luckily, we weren’t so loud that we got kicked out. And it did seem to make the kids happier. So, I’m hoping we aren’t the only family who has bad days on vacation… Somebody leave me a comment and let me know we aren’t alone!

Things I learned today:

1. Max remembers everything. Last summer, we were on a walk one day and he asked me what dragonflies eat. This was shortly after I got my iPhone, and Max’s favorite thing was to ask me questions and when I didn’t know the answer, he would say, ‘Look it up on your iPhone.’ So, we looked up what dragonflies eat: insects. When we saw dragonflies at the insectarium today, he proudly exclaimed, ‘dragonflies eat insects!’

2. Even though it was almost 40 degrees today, that is still ‘Cold!’ to the kids.

3. Just because there is a chalkboard sign outside of a restaurant proudly proclaiming all the yummy things they serve for breakfast does not mean that they actually serve breakfast all day.

4. In the older part of downtown New Orleans, all the buildings are really old and shutters cover the windows and doors. Some buildings are apartment/townhomes and some are bars. We saw some shops and restaurants too, but mostly bars. When all the shutters are closed, it looks like the town is empty. It’s very different from Kansas City, but I love the character of all the old buildings.

5. In downtown New Orleans, it’s literally a matter of a couple of blocks distance between the old part that has such neat buildings and the newer part that is all skyscrapers.

6. The insectarium was cool, but is probably better for older kids. Thankfully, we bought the all-in-one passes, so it didn’t cost us much to get it. If we had paid full price, it would have been $50 and I don’t think we got $50 worth of entertainment out of it.

7. Jumping on the bed is all it takes to turn a crappy day into an okay one. The kids probably had as much fun jumping on the beds tonight as they have doing anything else we’ve done here.

These were REAL bugs for sale to EAT! GROSS!!

He Said:

Today, we hit up the Audubon Insectarium, tried to get breakfast at a sweet local cafe (failed), then decided everyone needed a nap (even mommy and daddy). So, we all took naps, then tried to go out this evening, but it took 45 minutes to get dinner (drive-thru fail) and decided it just wasn’t our day. Tomorrow we plan on exploring the French Quarter a little bit. My camera has been dying to get some work done in there.

Max liked the bees.

Butterflies are purrty.

Lia makes a good navigator with her new binoculars.

With lots of energy to burn, we decided to have a jump off. Luckily I brought some pocket wizards and a flash (normally not part of my travel bag), and set it up in the only place that would somewhat work. Major fun ensued!

Someone has got some major hops for a fat white guy.

New Orleans Road Trip – Day 3

Posted by in New Orleans

She Said:

Well, thankfully last night, all the Solars slept better. We got up early this morning and headed due South to New Orleans. The drive from Jackson, MS to New Orleans, LA is pretty much one highway with trees surrounding it on both sides for most of the way. And not the kind of trees we have in Kansas City. Tall, tall skinny trees. And TONS of them. I got the feeling that we were driving on a road carved out in the middle of a forest. But, as we drove further and further South, the temperature slowly crept up. By the time we got to New Orleans, it was ABOVE freezing! Woohoo! It’s been a long time.

When we first got here, we headed straight downtown. Josh and I were both a little overwhelmed by all the one-way streets, people everywhere, streetcars, nowhere to park, etc. In a moment of despair, we decided to head straight to the aquarium. Before we left Kansas City, we bought an all-in-one pass to the Zoo, Aquarium, Insectarium, and Imax.

The aquarium was awesome! The kids really enjoyed it, especially Lia who kept pointing at everything, saying, ‘Fish! Turtle!’ There were lots of jellyfish, turtles, sharks, fish, sea otters, penguins, frogs, and of course a playground and many gift shops. We spent a couple of hours there and everyone had a great time. The kids even got new pirate swords at the gift shop (as if we have a shortage of swords around our house).

After the aquarium, we drove around the downtown area a bit and up and down Bourbon Street before heading to the hotel to call it a night.

Things I learned today:

1. My kids favorite part of any attraction is the gift shop. (Well, I guess I already knew that one!)

2. It’s impossible to find anywhere to park in downtown New Orleans.

3. It’s even more impossible to find a bathroom in downtown New Orleans when you can’t park anywhere and there are two kids in the backseat screaming, “I have to go potty NOW!”

4. I told Max he could have anything he wanted for dinner. He said shell macaroni. I always wondered why anybody would pay $1.59 for a microwaveable bowl of macaroni and cheese. Now I know.

5. Ava wants to learn how to skateboard when she gets bigger. We saw some kids skateboarding outside the aquarium and Max & Ava were amazed.

6. Lia almost thinks she’s in a separate room and will go to sleep great if you push her pack n play to the corner of the room and block it off with the bathroom door or that door that’s in between two rooms so you can adjoin them. Putting her right next to the bed so she can literally stand up and smack you is not a good place.

7. In a city full of amazing fresh seafood, my husband wants to eat a Belgian waffle for dinner. I guess that doesn’t surprise me 🙂

8. Max learned that jellyfish will sting you from watching Spongebob. And who says cartoons aren’t educational?

Oops! Apparently I only took a few photos today, so these are Josh’s!

He Said:

We made it to New Orleans this afternoon and the kids were itching to, “run around and lightsaber fight,” Max’s words. It was still mid 30’s, so we hit up the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas instead. Here’s what I saw.

Photography tip/Rant: If you’re at an aquarium, and taking photos, please turn off your flash. Not only does it ruin your photos, it ruins mine too. End rant.

Ava decided to blow dry her hair with the heater 🙂

Can I fit this all in my mouth?

Yes, yes I can.

The ship was THIS big!

Hi, Mr. Penguin, I’m Ava.

Ava touched the snake, Max didn’t. Lia did too 🙂

Lia tried to give the fishies a kiss.

Ava touched the baby shark. Max didn’t. Lia didn’t either.

I was told to watch out for muggers in New Orleans, Ava brought protection, but used it on me 🙂

New Orleans Road Trip – Day 2

Posted by in New Orleans

She Said:

We’re ALMOST there. Today was a lot of driving… it’s hard to get out and do stuff along the way when it’s SO cold. So we drove from Springfield, MO to Memphis, TN to Jackson, MS today. We made a pit stop at the Parachute Inn for lunch. They have a giant Southwest airplane with seating inside for lunch. Well, the airplane part was closed due to cold weather. The kids did enjoy watching the ducks swim in the fountain of the Peabody Hotel in Memphis. Thankfully though, we’re now at our hotel in Jackson and all three kids are asleep. We should be in New Orleans and into warmer weather by lunchtime tomorrow. And I saw that the low for tonight in KC is -14 degrees. No thanks.

Things I learned today:

1. If you leave stuff in the car overnight when it’s ridiculously cold outside, it will freeze. That includes special k bars, V8, and baby wipes.

2. Lia is probably getting too old to sleep in the pack n play. She was up most of the night last night.

3. Lia is not a good co-sleeper. In a moment of desperation, I put her in the bed with me to sleep. She’s a wiggler like Ava and still didn’t sleep a long time.

4. My kids really don’t know the difference between a successful visit to a tourist spot and a bust. Josh was unimpressed by the Peabody ducks, but the kids thought it was awesome that there were ducks in the fountain INSIDE the hotel.

5. My kids love the simple things in life… running up and down the hallways of an expensive hotel screaming at the top of their lungs, having two beds in our hotel room so they can jump back and forth, m&m’s from the gas station.

6. Max & Ava laugh hysterically every time they watch videos of themselves on our iPhones. They can be entertained for quite some time doing this.

Lia hates socks. Here she is trying desperately to get these off 🙂
And she’s out… we had a long night last night, so she needed this nap!
Remember these dinos from our Colorado trip?
Here’s Max & Ava watching iPhone videos
Lia loves peanut butter and jelly and making a mess
But mostly Lia loves doing whatever Max and Ava do. She thinks she’s a big girl,
but I know she’s still a baby…

He Said:

Day 2 found us still headed south. Day 2 was also still very cold. But, BUT, I’m such an optimist, the temperatures reached 20 degrees! Which was at least 20 degrees warmer than Kansas City, so that’s a plus right? RIGHT? Today was also a bit of a let down. We’ll let the pictures tell the story 🙂

As you can see in the Day 2 map, it was still cold.

Sadly, this place was closed. Our kids could have done some serious mess making in there! Oh, wait, I don’t think anyone would notice.

Still in Arkansas. If you love run down, junky buildings, Arkansas is your place!

Jenny read about this amazing restaurant where you eat in the inside of an old Southwest Plane. Our kids would love that! Unfortunately they didn’t turn on the heat in the plane this morning so you had to eat crappy food in a normal crappy restaurant.

In Memphis, they have this cool hotel with ducks that march or something in the lobby. Unfortunately, we were there at 2pm and they didn’t march until 5pm. The kids still liked seeing the ducks. Lia even “quacked” a few times at them. Note: Ava took this picture (although I did help her steady the camera, but she did everything else)

Ava: “How does a piano play by itself?”

Then we let the kiddos run up and down this hallway for about 20 minutes to burn some energy. This also marked the turning point in the trip where neither Max nor Ava asked when we were going home.

Maybe I’ll be able to call day 3, “The day we actually got to New Orleans” 🙂