Thursday, May 5, 2011

Our Spring Break Road Trip

Despite my best intentions to get back into the swing of blogging regularly after our recent road trip to New Orleans, I have found myself in a bit of rut (and not just with my writing).  For whatever reason - and as much as I hate to admit this - I think that there has been a healthy does of allowing myself to wallow and I have not been keeping up with my usual daily activities.  I've blogged...a little.  I've worked out...a little bit more than I've blogged but not the five days a week I had been accustomed to.  I've prepared more dinners at home than has been typical...but we've still eaten out much more than I'd like. I've been a terrible housekeeper...something that is not my strongest suit even on a good day.

All that being said, I've been surprisingly productive in other ways.  Since returning from our trip we have celebrated Princess Wonder's sixth birthday with friends and loved ones.  I helped prepare a grant that I hope will earn money for the water quality testing program at Enthusiastic Explorer Boy (E2B) and Princess Wonder's elementary school.  I've started my vegetable garden planting and bought some gorgeous produce at a local farmer's market.  I registered for my first triathlon.  All of this is good stuff for sure, but not the stuff of everyday life and I'm determined to snap myself out of my slump and get back to approaching my daily life with more intention.  To start, I thought that I'd share a bit about our recent trip down to New Orleans.

Running Man registered, along with several friends, to participate in his first half Ironman triathlon (1.2 mile open water swim, 56 mile bike, 13.1 mile run) in New Orleans at the start of the kids' spring break from school.  He lived there for a few years after graduating from Virginia Tech and moved back to Virginia after we got married (well before Hurricane Katrina ravaged the region).  We picked the big kids up from school at the end of the day on Thursday and drove until quite late, finally stopping at a hotel midway through Alabama for the night.  We got up the next day and completed what was about a 16 hour total drive arriving in New Orleans in the early afternoon.

The first order of business was to unload the car and get checked into the hotel.  A seemingly simple task that was made more challenging by the many others checking in at the same time and the voluminous number of small bags that were stuffed into the van along with two bikes, a large suitcase, snacks for the ride, and entertainment for the long drive.  (Remember my clutter companions - those lovely reusable bags?  They are also a blessing and a curse while traveling because I can easily pack those last minute items I didn't think to pack in the main bag(s), but I end up relying on more of them than I would ever intentionally plan for to tote around our stuff.  Also, I think they may multiply in the back of the van while I'm not looking.)  And the high winds...did I mention the high winds that greeted us in New Orleans?  They were something to behold!

Miss Intrepid decided that high winds made for perfect dancing weather.
E2B is carefully shielding his sunflower seedling that was sent home from school the day that we left on our trip.
I think that Princess Wonder's backpack must have been weighting her down so that she didn't blow away.

Once we unloaded the van, parked the vehicle, and dragged everyone inside we were checked into a river view room (courtesy, I suspect, of the frequency with which Running Man stays in this particular chain of hotels when traveling for work).

Despite the fact that the height - coupled with my children's propensity to play around the window - made me nervous, the view was spectacular.

Next we went down to the race headquarters to check in for the race while the lines were short and cruise around the merchandise expo.

Miss Intrepid was Running Man's special helper in getting registered for the big race.
The kiddos prepared early to get their cheer on!

Running Man actually had a work dinner that night, so the kids and I went out to explore a bit and stretch our legs after all of the time that we spent in the car.  We headed to Jackson Square in hopes of finding some open space that would make playtime a bit more fun and free than the smaller spaces that were packed with people around the convention center (we were staying nearby) and French Quarter.

Checking out the Mississippi River
Fountain gazing never does seem to get old.
And jumping, of course...let's not forget the fun of jumping from fountains!
There may not be many trees in downtown New Orleans, but my kiddos are sure to find them wherever they may be.  There are several stands of palm trees in Jackson Square that provide a natural playscape for little ones (they make wonderful "clubs" of a different sort than what generally comes to mind when one thinks of New Orleans).
Watching the making of beignets at the iconic Cafe Du Monde.

On the recommendation of someone who worked in a local art co-op, the kids and I ate at Cafe Maspero for a taste of the local cuisine.  It was fun to eat by the open doors that line the front of the building, though poor Miss Intrepid reached her limit for, well...everything, while we were eating.

Princess Wonder was enthralled by the traffic passing by on the street just outside the open doors.  Of course, in addition to the families, tourists, and donkey-drawn carriages, she did see someone painted blue and wearing vampire fangs so her interest in checking out the scenery was pretty understandable.
Street performers can be seen all around the French Quarter and we saw this particular gentleman several times during our visit.

It was a good, albeit exhausting day, and the kids and I fell asleep early and well before the time that Running Man made it back from his work event.  The rest of our trip was similarly full and I look forward to sharing more with you in the coming week.  And I will be back with another post tomorrow!

"What you do every day matters more than once you do once in a while."  ~Gretchen Rubin

**Gretchen wrote a great post here about the importance of what you usually do...the every day things that are often more important than once-in-a-while things.

1 comment:

  1. Love your blog! Love the pics of New Orleans. Love your children. :)