Swamp Thang

IMG_6483We were in the New Orleans area for 4 days.  It was rainy.  It was swampy.  And the mosquitos were off the chain.  So….

It felt like more of a layover spot for us then a destination.  But we did manage to have some fun in our very first state beyond Texas!

We stayed in St. Bernard State Park, which was nice, albeit over half an hour to the city.  We choose this park because it had a water playground for the kids.  The rain prevented us from visiting more than once, but we had a lot of fun that one day!  And I got in a run and some yoga!

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No Dogs on the Water Playground! Whoops.
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Jonah has 3 Mommies most days.

We also went into the city one afternoon and toured the French Quarter via $48 carriage ride, that was totally worth it!  There was no way we were going to make it around the Quarter on foot with 3 Littles in tow and the “driver” told us lots of neat facts and history about the city!  My favorite fact:  Why are the house fronts so skinny?  Because for years, residents paid property taxes based on the length of their house frontage, so the houses were built very skinny and long.

Carriage Ride!
Carriage Ride!

IMG_6510We also had some beignets at Cafe Du Monde, and got a Muffuletta to go from a corner restaurant.

IMG_6496It was a good, short trip for a family that doesn’t navigate big cities all too well, YET.

Another day when it was pouring rain, I took the kids to The Children’s Museum and parallel parked our enormous truck into a street spot, Thank you very much!  It appears I haven’t forgotten everything I learned while at college.  We spent most of our time on the first floor, that I thought was pretty run down and a little dirty.  But the kids were having a blast!  Especially Jonah, who couldn’t ride in the play cars enough!

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He was intense about driving!
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He really liked pushing the shopping cart around and hurling things into it!
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Human-size Bubble!

Finally, I was able to pull them upstairs to the second floor, and OMG!  It was AWESOME up there!  But alas, we could only stay for 40 mins cause my parking meter was going to run out!  There was an eye doctor area, miniture french quarter houses to play in, a super market with cajin foods, and a massive toddler area!  We would have stayed until they closed if we could have!  If you are in the area, definitely do the Children’s Museum and GO TO THE SECOND FLOOR EARLY!

IMG_6537On our drive into New Orleans, our check engine light came on in the truck.  These are the kind of things you have nightmares about when on a cross country trip in your sole vechical, that is your only  means of pulling your HOME!  Shit!

So we had to deal with that.  We were really hoping Old Sadie just needed her oil changed, since it was about that time.  But we also went ahead and gave her a coolant flush too.  We’ve been good ever since, with no check engine lights coming on!  Fingers crossed!

We made an afternoon of getting her worked on.  And after driving through the tornado and flood warning weather to get to the dealership in rush hour traffic, on roads we were unfamiliar with, we waited in their plush waiting area and tried to keep Jonah from rubbing his cheeto hands on anything that could not be wiped off.  Less than 2 hours and we were all set to go, and the kids were really pretty awesome during.

Here they are playing "make-over" in the waiting room.
Here they are playing “make-over” in the waiting room.

I got a recommendation from one of the workers there for a great place to get boiled crawfish, just 6 miles away, Sal’s Seafood.  It was GOOD!  Really GOOD!  And I’m a coonass, so I know GOOD crawfish!  And it was a great way to end our short stay in the New Orleans area!

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This was my ULTIMATE goal for our time in New Orleans!
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She spent the entire time intently getting all the meat out of the claws. …and then she sneaked some of them into the truck with her, which I found a few days later!

All in all, it was a good stay, and the first time on this trip that we were really on our own, not staying with or near anyone we knew.  It was good to get adjusted to it just being US sometimes on the road, for the kids and the parents.

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On our last day there we also fit in a visit to a historical battle ground and learned a little about the Battle of New Orleans.

IMG_6576FUN FACT: On the last day we were there, I talked to the Park Host, who’s beard was way bigger than Joe’s, and he told me, not only were there wild hogs that lived in the park, but there were a couple of alligators that hung out in the lagoon/swamp 4 feet behind the playground.  What the What!?  Shouldn’t this be in a pamphlet you hand to people when they come into the park!?  Like right off!  Good thing there kids didn’t spend too much time playing on the playground due to the rain!

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The swamp, just behind the playground, where the gators live!  "Just little ones though."
The swamp, just behind the playground, where the gators live! “Just little ones though.”

Me and Lou kept watching for snakes too, but never saw any.  Thank Goodness!  What we did see were, possums, loads of rabbits, armadillos, lizards, hoards of dragonfiles (and just after a gave a lesson on them, ain’t life weird like that sometimes), and Joe did see a baby hog just outside the park as we drove onto the freeway!

Glad we visited.  Glad to leave.

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Rockport, TX

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Well, we now have a second week out under our belts.

It was a week filled with FUN and FAMILY!  During our time in Rockport, Tx, we stayed with Joe’s aunt and uncle, at their lovely 5 acre (with a pond!) property, just a few blocks from the beach!  They let us roll up at 9pm on a Tuesday night and fed us and let us play with all their toys until we left the following Saturday.

Patsy and Phil are in their 70’s, but you’d never know it!  They do more on a daily basis, than Joe and I do!  Patsy is full of life and feisty, and will be the first one to tell you to go jump in their outdoor shower or take you on a ride around the lake on their high-speed (I know) golf cart!  Phil lives in his shop and is more than accommodating with all of his tools and kayaks and the kids just adored him!

I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t a hard place to leave!  Really hard!

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I just REALLY REALLY LOVE this lady here!
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In commemoration of us leaving, Joe and Phil dressed in matching clothes….hehe.
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And then there was PIE! Oh, so so so much delicious pie! Pecan, Coconut, Apple…..we loved you ALL! And the pancakes too…and that fried chicken….and, well, I probably should have gone running more than one time this week!
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The House. I just wanted a picture to remember it by. Happy Place!
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Loved all the big oaks on their property! Even if they were dusting us with hoards of evil pollen while we were there.
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We visited the Humane Society just up the street, where the kids LOVED playing with all the cats! But we couldn’t stay long, cause that day I also learned that I have a slight allergy to cats, but only when there are 30+ in one room evidently….SHOWER!, Benedryll, and 2 hour nap. Itchy tongue was back to normal!

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Me and my hunk on a fishing date! Caught a few fish, but really I was just glad to see him fishing and hang with him…alone!

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And then while on our date, these two walk up and ask us if we are catching anything, and then proceed to tell us they are just visiting the area, cause they are traveling around in an RV with their 6 kids!  What the What!?  So, needless to say, the fishing ended right there!  And we spent the rest of the night making new friends, quizing these Veterans on their homeschooling/traveling methods, and figuring out that Adam and I were at the same high school football game in Katy, where a classmate streaked across the field.  It was such a cool, random meeting!   And what do you do when you meet pregnant Mormon’s that don’t drink?  Well you go ahead and finish that bottle of “date” wine while talking to them and then walk to the other side of the peer (4 feet) where’s there’s less light, and proceed to pee off the peer railing.  They were cool!  Happy Travels, Brittany and Adam!

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h IMG_6394 Being so close to Padre Island National Sea Shore, and being the obsessed Jr Ranger that I am (I mean the girls are!), we had to go! And we made lots of discoveries….like these thingies. And the kids played at the beach!
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There were golf cart rides, that included snake adventures and one little Chug that thinks she’s tough enough to take on a water moccasin. Disclaimer: no little chug dogs were injured.
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And there was a wonderful amount of just hanging around, talking.
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One day I took the kids to Estuary Center in Port Aransas, cause it was FREE and educational. We all ended up really liking the place! This was their favorite display, where they got to catch fish with magnetic poles.
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Just yuook at that yittle baby!
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Bean just adored Patsy and would say to her, “Can we talk about something?” all the time. Here’s them having one of their conversations while they peel potatoes together.
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Patsy and Phil went over and beyond for us! They had an egg hunt for the kids, and confetti egg wars, and a scavenger hunt to find presents hidden. SO SO SO SO Sweet!
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Rockport Beach. Good Times! …Immediately followed by Loralai having an allergic reaction and us having to rush home to give her Benedyrll (which I now keep in the diaper bag). But that’s life!
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We are missing y’all!!!

 

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Rusty

The best I could get this year!  I'll take it!
The best I could get this year! I’ll take it!

So….We’ve left.  We’ve really, really Gone and left on our crazy, hair-brained, year+ long RV trip!  Holy Shit….I know!

We thought we’d never leave!  And it’s been a whirl wind!  And I should have written more posts about it in the process, but honestly, they would have been a bummer to read.  Cause leaving is damn hard!  And leaving when you have amazing family and friends, is super, damn hard!  As a matter of fact, in the end, we really just had to sneak away.  Cause just one more girls night or playdate, and we may have just never left!  We were worn down, and tired, and emotional.  Empty houses are depressing, and living on your back lot is a pain.  And getting all packed up and settled into 200sqft is a huge energy suck!

IMG_6001[1]But we did do it!  And I even found our tax docs on our last day in the house!  Hallaluja!  Now all I’m missing is my favorite pair of jeans!

So we’ve spent this first week out in Kingsland, TX at Joe’s parents property.  It’s gorgeous here and peak wildflower week in the hill country!

IMG_6108[1]But it hasn’t been all rainbows and flowers.  Cause…..well….we’re RUSTY.

It’s been awhile since we took a long trip in the RV.  And it’s not just all of our outdoor equipment that doesn’t fit anymore and needs some servicing.  It’s us too.  We are finding our new normal.  And at times, it’s Hard!

The kids are adjusting.  As in, throwing a lot of fits.  You know, pushing their limits and seeing what they can get away with.  Today, Loralai packed her Lady Bug Girl backpack with snacks, “Lambey” her beloved sleep-with doll, and PJ’s and took off to the end of the driveway, cause she was “running away”.  She was done with us all!  This isn’t too concerning, cause she “runs away” to Nana’s house about once a week.  But it did signify her mood this week.  It was full of ups and downs for the kids.  Like I said, leaving is damn hard!

A girl and her dog...hitting the road.
A girl and her dog…hitting the road.

I wrote a blog post the first day we were out.  It was a total bummer, so I didn’t post it.  You’re welcome!  Trust me.  But I’ll summarize it here for you in one short paragraph and then follow it up with all the wonderful.  That first day out, we loaded up and set down the road to our hour-away destination.  Half way there, we had a tire blow out.  It was hard to change.  A weird cop stopped to watch us and text on his phone, but not to offer any help.  Joe was stressed and serious, and grumpy.  I was awesome as always, but grossly out numbered, so… When we got to the place, it was still all business (what do we have left to do, check the list, make the schedule, etc).  Then at bedtime, Lou through one of her epic fits.  Ahg!  What have we done!  The night did end with Mommy and Lou cuddles and we woke to happy kids and OMA coming the next day!  So it got better.

The Flat.
The Flat.

The week continued to have its ups and downs.  But the downs are so easily forgotten….and the ups are memories made for a life time!  Like…

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The Slab
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Don’t be fooled by this picture. Oma went down as many waterfalls as the kids did!
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She was having a great time. This was before we noticed the leaches.

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Church. Joe spent the hour walking exhausted Jonah around the grounds and I spent it trying to convince Juliet to let me pull the cactus thorns she’d gotten on the egg hunt out of her hand. But we look real good here!
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Oma and Opa
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Easter Morning! And yes, those are Pringles. Small towns don’t have much selection, and we’ve been a little busy this week, trying to start our trip.
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The hunt is ON!

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Good thing the Easter Bunny brought us these umbrellas for our misty egg hunt morning.

 

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The girls helped Joe wash and wax the RV another day.
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Then they made mud holes and fairy houses.

 

We went to Balloons over Horseshoe Bay and enjoyed hanging out with friends for probably the last time in a LONG time (sob), which eating $6 hotdogs and drinking $6 beers.  Fun!  And we are broke now.
We went to Balloons over Horseshoe Bay and enjoyed hanging out with friends for probably the last time in a LONG time (sob), while eating $6 hotdogs and drinking $6 beers. Fun! And we are broke now.
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A visit to nearby Llano to see family and the cool 100 year old house they are renovating.
Dakota was sweet and collected a ton of snails for the kids to play with.  I think about half of them lived.  Whoops....splat, crack.
Dakota was sweet and collected a ton of snails for the kids to play with. I think about half of them lived. Whoops….splat, crack.
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In Llano we also found some old trains that we could climb in!

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We also took a long bike ride.  The first of trip!  Just loved Joe's parents long driveway into the property.
We also took a long bike ride. The first of the trip! Just loved Joe’s parents long driveway into the property.

I  mean, sure, there were lots of cactus thorns and malfitting water shoes, and leaches.  But at the end of day, there was love and adventure, and family.

Chuggin' Along.
Chuggin’ Along.
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