Mason had a conference booked in New Orleans. We had known about this for about 6 months and had hopes of me being able to go with him. ESPECIALLY since he was leaving on my birthday... We were also hoping to use this trip for our 10 year anniversary trip. It wasn't looking like it was going to work out for a while there. My parents couldn't come up, Mason's parents couldn't take off that much time... and our kids were just too little to split up with different people. We had actually written the trip off and decided I just wasn't going to be able to go until I thought of a girl I had danced with in the Little Mermaid and the Thriller production. Her name is Laura Hailes. I asked her if she could come watch the kids for 3 1/2 days and she said yes!!!! Mason's parents would come up for the remaining two days at the end of the week. I was SO THANKFUL. I have been having some major cabin fever with all this snow. This was a much needed break. Mason and I had SO MUCH FUN.
When we got there they upgraded us to a suite. When we checked out Mason asked how much this room normally goes for and they told us $550 dollars. Awesome! We stayed at the Hotel Monteleone on Royal Street right in the French Quarter. This hotel was built in 1886 and is just beautiful. Every night the maids would come BACK in the room, turn the sheets down, set out our robes, and leave two chocolates. I felt like a queen - and acted like one for 4 days - doing whatever I pleased.
We arrived on Tuesday, my birthday, walked around the French Quarter for a bit. At first we were a little shocked - we went down Burbon Street first. It's just like Tijuana, Mexico. Pretty sleazy and covered in bars. There were a lot of homeless guys and riffraff... we weren't too impressed. But the city grew on us majorly by the time we left. We decided that New Orleans is a great place to visit as long as you avoid Burbon Street. Go there once, just to say you've been there, and then avoid it the rest of the time.
We did eat some yummy beignets at Cafe DuMonde. They were delicious. We went there twice and my only regret is not going a 3rd time. YUMMY!!
The rest of the afternoon we just walked around and looked at little shops that were all over the place and listen to entertainers on every corner. We found a mall on the Mississippi and relax there for a while watching the boats. It's a whole new world to do ANYTHING without children. Bless their little hearts.
That night we walked to Emeril's for dinner. This place had some authentic Creole food. It was very fancy. As we were walking in this party trolley pulled up with tons of people throwing beads. We got enough beads to take home for our kiddos! Thanks guys! It was pretty funny watching all the people on there... they didn't quite know what to do with themselves after their party train stopped. They all came into Emeril's for drinks.
The next morning we walked to a darling little cafe just down the road from our hotel. We got omelets and beignets - I mean... because we had to compare them to Cafe DuMonde. And they were good, but not as good.
We Skyped the babies back at home and it took us about 5 seconds to realize that we were thankful for the break as we saw the babysitter struggle to get them to behave over the camera. Ha! I spent the rest of the day taking naps and planning the rest of our activities at the rooftop pool in the 75 degree weather. Just what this mama needed.
We decided to document every time we got beignets. Yes we got some more that night. We went to dinner with a couple of Mason's colleagues.
That night we went to the lounge in our hotel. We had been given vouchers for a free drink being it was our Anniversary trip as well. We used them to get a coke and some fruit drink. She basically just poured whatever fruit juice she had lying around. It was pretty interesting. The lounge in our hotel had a carousel bar that rotated slowly. That was fun to see. They also had live music nightly. We spent some time listening to the singer.
The next day I ventured out on my own. I walked to a mall, did some shopping, visiting all the cute shops in the French Quarter, and watch all the live entertainment. The street was especially alive that day. There were some amazing bands that I loved listening to. They were like bluegrass bands. Some of them were so good people were stopping to dance. It was so fun.
That night we were on the Creole Queen dinner cruise. We got to eat a yummy buffet dinner and watch the New Orleans skyline at night while listening to another live band. We were visiting two weeks before Marti Gras so it wasn't very busy at all. That was a very good thing for the cruise. It was just perfect!
You can see the St. Louis cathedral behind Mason. We visited that the first day we were there.
The next day Mason was done at noon so we went on a swamp tour. The first three days we were there the weather was beautiful and warm. The last two it got a little chilly. But that's okay... it was nothing like back home. We went on an airboat tour (thanks groupon!!). There were 4 of us on the boat along with the guide. It was so fun - and fast! I got nervous at the beginning when there was nothing more than a bar in front of us to hold onto. But we were safe and really enjoyed our time.
This is what a swamp looks like in the winter. Luckily we were able to see an alligator. The rest of them were hibernating. This alligator's name was Vicki. You can see Vicki's head below in the picture with Mason.
Another tour boat pulled up next to us to give us marshmallows to feed Vicki and pulled out this little guy right in front of my face to scare me. Of course I screamed while everyone laughed and got it on film. He was so cute. This little guy was a year and a half old.
The rest of the day we spent looking through shops and enjoying the music and food.
We ended the night back in our lounge of our hotel where we ran into some stars from my favorite reality tv show. That makes it sound like I watch so many reality tv shows.... I only watch 1. The bachelor. And I saw Jordan and Jojo.... so naturally I got a picture with them and sent about a million texts back and forth to Emily - because I'm cool like that.
It was a great trip. We were nervous to leave the babies. I was nervous something would happen to us. Mason was nervous something would happen to them. But once we left everything felt fine and it was good. Since being home I have felt so much more patience and appreciation for them. They are growing so fast. You don't see it when you are always with them. Even just a week away and I was able to have some clarity with them. I just love them so much. We came home to this cute 'Welcome home' sign from Laura Hailes. The kids have also been so good since we've been back. I think we all just needed a break from each other.
And now it looks like someone discovered buried treasure in my house. These beads are everywhere!