New Orleans

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We try to pack a few trips into each year so the boys can experience some of the finer things in life. This year’s trip was planned to coincide with a volleyball tournament for their cousin, which meant that we got to spend lots of time with the family while we were on our vacation. Luckily enough, the tournament took place in a city that’s filled with all kinds of memories and delicious food. Buckle up, this is going to be a long one.

We began with a long, long car trip that got us most of the way there, with plans to make the final stretch in the morning. Before we knew it, we were trying to find our way through what seemed to be about a hundred volleyball courts.

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Then we sat down for a while to get our bearings.

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…and watched Jayden play for a bit.

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Apparently they were folding paper airplanes while I was snapping photos.

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Yes, Mimi was there.

I managed to convince everyone that a trip to Mother’s would be a good idea, and after what seemed to be an exceedingly long walk and a bit of a wait in line, we were ready to enjoy our first of many meals.

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Max was…well, I don’t know what this face is.

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Yes, I was seated at the kids’ table.

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Owen was feeling tired but goofy.

After another round of games, we decided it was time to get another round of authentic New Orleans tourist culture in…

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…so streetcars!

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I absolutely did not, under any circumstances, encourage Steve to play with the controls at the back of the streetcar.

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…and then beignets!

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This is about the best I could get.

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This is how you keep them together when they’re walking around town.

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Max’s hair got wet. Clearly this was grounds for a highly posed photo. I didn’t tell him to pose.

After that, we waited for a while for a streetcar to take us back to the general vicinity of our hotels. We were all so full from our late lunch and beignets that we didn’t even bother with dinner. Instead, we all settled in for the night so we could start back up again bright and early.

The volleyball tournament seemed to understand that siblings and relatives might not want to sit around watching games all day. As such, they had some activities set up for those bored kids to partake in.

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Like this bounce house.

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…and this one.

When they weren’t doing that, for the most part they were doing exactly what you’d expect them to be doing.

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No surprises there.

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Though we did actually manage to get Owen to watch one of the games.

The rest of day two went about the same as day one. Lots of food, lots of volleyball, lots of kids playing on electronics. We went out of our way after lunch time to pick up some local sweets from my favorite bakery. Those came in handy later when we wanted to entice people to come visit us at our hotel for some play time in the pool.

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This was pretty much all I could get, since they were moving around like crazy.

Day three brought with it an opportunity to finally get a photo I’d been trying to take since we first arrived at the tournament.

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See, there’s this giant volleyball…

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Then it was back to more electronics time.

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Plus more of those activities that were at this point at the complete opposite end of the arena.

This was the last day of the tournament, so we wrapped things up with a nice big family photo.

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Not too shabby.

With the tournament drawing to a close, we had some time in the afternoon to kill. We decided to try and get the boys to take a nap so they wouldn’t be quite so difficult in the afternoon. Unfortunately, about five minutes after getting them settled in we realized that our afternoon activity was on a different schedule than we’d anticipated. So we roused everyone, rushed out the door, and got everyone down to the riverside.

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Then we got on a riverboat.

The boys enjoyed running around looking at various things on shore, and I enjoyed running around taking random photos.

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I took about 50 of these…

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Hey, finally one with me in it.

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There are two decks on the ship…I tried to get them to lean over a little more but I think they were stopped by the more cautious people upstairs.

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The boys think it’s hilarious that we bring this little stuffed dog with us on vacation.

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If you look closely, Christy and I are both in this photo.

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If you were wondering who took our family photo from earlier…

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Aww, such a nice photo with the boys.

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No…wait…don’t…

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I can’t…

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Much better.

We noticed that one of the other riverboats was passing by, so I urgently demanded that the kids run up to the back of the boat.

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Not too shabby.

One of the kids (Max, I believe) asked if they could take a picture of us, so I obliged.

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Okay, thanks buddy.

Problem is, he thinks it’s funny to just leave the shutter button pressed so it keeps snapping away.

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That’s probably enough.

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Okay seriously stop it.

After the boat ride we decided to do a little more wandering down in the French Quarter. Cindy wanted to walk up to Bourbon so we could snap a quick photo. We walked about a block, decided the kids had learned enough, and headed back to some safer spaces.

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But hey, got the photo.

We wound up in an art gallery where the kids saw some paintings of Pete the Cat, one of their favorite book characters.

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So they sat down to read while Christy and I negotiated for some paintings.

After we’d secured our wall decor, we decided it was time to grab some dinner. The kids had been dealing with our (okay, mostly my) wacky demands for specific places so we let them have something we knew they’d enjoy.

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Who doesn’t like a burger?

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Plus, you know, milkshakes…

After that we walked around letting the kids find souvenirs and tried to settle in for the night, since we had to drive to our secondary vacation spot in the morning (more on that in the next post). We had a little extra time in the morning, though, so we decided to go visit my aunt Dolly before we headed out.

Dolly has recently chosen to add some chickens to her backyard. The boys were very intrigued by this, and my cousin Jenny was more than happy to take them out to go see them. When they left, I mentioned that Owen would probably happily look at and maybe poke at the chickens a little, but holding them was probably out of the question.

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So…yeah.

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The boys spent quite a while taking turns holding/annoying the chickens.

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Owen couldn’t resist poking them while Max was holding them.

We had a nice lunch (thanks again, Dolly!) and hung out a little longer before we decided it was time to move along. But not before the boys had a chance to treat the whole place like their own personal petting zoo.

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Did I mention there were bunnies there too?

It was a nice little break before the drive, which brought us to our next stop. We’ll cover that next time, though, since this has clearly turned into a novel. If you want to check out the rest of the photos from New Orleans, click here. Otherwise we’ll see you next time!

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