Friday, January 24, 2014

The Stars at Night....

Maybe I will get the rest of our Christmas pictures up before Valentine's Day. Or maybe not. Who knows. But while I actually have some free time where I am not teaching preschool, driving a carpool, sitting at ballet, practicing piano, cooking dinner, changing diapers, teaching drama, or playing legos, I think I will actually spend a bit of time blogging.

Yay for cousins! We were so happy to see Sophie and Jameson. These four had an awesome time together. We all think this was the best they ever did on one of our family vacations. Of course, getting older helps a lot.
The DC branch of the family met us in Austin and we loved spending time with them as well. Naturally.
 It's all fun and games until the remote controlled fish make an appearance...
 .....and then it's just fun. Well, for me at least. Lainey wasn't so sure.
  And Madeline wasn't so sure about having to sit next to her aunt and Mom. I don't blame her. I blame the red hair. It can bring out the crazy in anybody.

We headed to Zilker Park one night to see the Christmas lights. I must say that it was not my son's finest moment. I think all of the excitement and craziness of Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Orleans and a 14 hour road trip finally caught up with him. It is a lot for a 4 year old little guy. But boy, did it catch up with him. The tantrum thrown on the way to Zilker Park was one for the ages. Only his cousin Madeline could calm him down.
  But the rest of us had a great time. Have I mentioned that my nephew Max is like, the coolest ever?
The whole gang. Will is still clinging to Madeline. That boy needed a bed and his stuffed dog really badly that night.

 We took a really fun day trip to San Antonio. Here we are at the San Jose mission.
We also went to the Riverwalk and rode the boats that I remember riding when I was about Bennett's age. I don't know if she will remember it or not, but riding these boats is one my earliest memories, so who knows?
Looks like a picture from a magazine catalog. Except for the guys in the back. They make it slightly creepy. But nonetheless, it's a cool pic.
The adults actually got to go out for a night on the town. And our awesome friend Maggie joined us. She is technically one of Frank and Stacy's best friends, but the rest of us like to think she is our best friend too. She is definitely a part of our family and we were so happy to see her.
Uncle Frank teaching Madeline how to two step.
The sister-in-laws.
Finding an activity kids from 1-18 can enjoy is kind of hard, but you can't go wrong with bowling.
Webster/Marshall tradition- Mexican train dominoes. We do a lot of fun things when we all get together but sitting around the table at night playing this game is probably my favorite thing that we do. You never know what you are going to hear during game night.
 And just a few random shots. Here are the seven 1st cousins all together. What a great group of kids.
 Dancing in San Antonio to a street band playing "Sweet Home Alabama."  Of course.
Drove past the Alamo. I remember.
Lainey bug with her beautiful Aunt Laura.
Somebody isn't quite used to being serenaded. That's a shame because I don't know of anyone who deserves it more. 2104 resolution: serenade my baby at every meal. But only while wearing a polka dot bow tie.
 Just swinging the day away.
I think they are all obeying the command quite naturally.
What do you mean we have another 14 hour drive home?

 We had such a great time spending the few days after Christmas catching up with our family. I really love all of these peeps. I married into an absolutely wonderful family and I am so grateful for all of them. My only regret is that we all live so far from each other. 
Happy 2014!!!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Who Dat

After Christmas we headed to Austin, Texas to spend a few days with family. It is a long drive to Texas and we needed a place to spend the night on the road and guess what city just happens to be located right in between Montgomery and Austin?

Okay, twist my arm. I suppose I can be okay with spending a night in the Big Easy.

We were there for less than 24 hours but we made the most of our trip. We rolled in around 5:00 in the evening and headed straight for the French Quarter.
Rob wanted oysters so his wish was our command.
We were tired from a long day of driving so we didn't really "laissez le bon temps rouler" that night. Instead we just went to our hotel. An awesome hotel right on the street with gorgeous Boston ferns and carriage lamps. I love this city! Can I just say that I love boutique hotels in the middle of big cities so much? So much better than pulling up to a Hampton Inn off of the Interstate.

We woke up the next morning and knew that we still had a 8 hour drive in front of us. Instead of getting on the road like most sane people with 3 children ages 5 and under, we decided to stay in the city as long as possible. Who needs sleep, right? We started off our morning at the most wonderful restaurant where we ate this-

Yeah....ummm.... it was good. You can't go wrong with Bananas Foster french toast. Ever. That should be my new motto in life. Anyhoo, I love this next shot. I am such a city girl. I just am. I love counters at cafe's for some reason. And this one was so sleepy and expectant like it was waiting for the hustle and bustle of the day.
Loved this sign too.
The kids really wanted to ride the street car next. Okay, okay.... maybe I did too. So we did.

And we headed over to Jackson Square where we found this place. It's kind of famous. And kind of delicious.
We spent awhile just walking around and taking in the sights. I must say that as much as I enjoyed staying in Port Orleans last year at Disney World, being in the real thing was a whole lot better. J'adore the horse drawn carriages and the wrought iron balconies.

And we got to go inside the beautiful St. Louis cathedral. Absolutely breathtaking. I love seeing in person things I have only seen in pictures.

And we found the requisite jazz band. I really could have stayed and listened to them all day.

One of my favorite pictures ever.

Walking around N'awlins with my babies.

We then hopped on another street car and headed to the garden district to look at some of the older historical homes. Yes, my children are holding/wearing beads that they found on the ground. Hey, I would much prefer that they get them that way.

It then occurred to us then that yes, we did still have a 8 hour drive ahead of us. So we sadly left but we enjoyed our little whirlwind trip and can't wait to go back again. Off to Texas. Yee-haw!