Monday, April 30, 2012

NOLA Jazz Fest 2012

Where to begin... This year's Fest was one of the best ones we've attended. Just like last year, we had three days at fest and NO rain! (No other years since we started going 12 years ago can boast that.) We also had no meltdowns by Eli (bonus!), and we had some new travel companions.
The four of us hit the road early on Thursday morning. On the other side of the country, two grandparents boarded a flight at the same time. Somewhere around 4PM we all met in New Orleans and the kids got the surprise of their lives. We took a trolley to one of our favorite restaurants and spent the evening making Fest plans. The kids could not contain their excitement; sleep did not come easy Thursday night!

Friday morning we woke up with plenty of time to spare, so we drove to Metairie to visit Morning Call and partake in some beignets. Our temporary residence was well within walking distance to the fest, so after breakfast we loaded up and made our way to the Fairgrounds. We wanted to be there when the gates opened so that we could see The Revivalists at the first show. What a way to kick off the weekend :) From there we moved from stage to tent to stage to tent again, stopping here and there to get more food, do a dance, or take in a 2-minute parade. The four of us met up with some local friends for dinner that night; Maddux caught a nap in the car on the way. Everyone fell asleep a little quicker this night.

Saturday morning we opted to head to Jackson Square for some sightseeing before Fest. We took in a Muffuletta, some art, and the boats in the river. It was just after lunch by the time we hit the Fairgrounds, but we still managed to fit in a full full day. Maddux fell asleep promptly on my lap while we sat in the Blues tent, mid afternoon. By the time we hit the Soul Rebels show to end the day, she was full of energy for dancing.

Sunday morning we went to Fest even earlier; Trombone Shorty was playing the second show on the big stage. That stage is one we usually avoid, but the kids wanted to see Shorty, so we gave it a shot. Maddux slept through the first act while the rest of us held down our front row spots. Just about the time Shorty's show was finishing up, Eli and Maddux were both asking to leave. (That stage puts you in direct sun and forces you to stand and watch.) We hit a few more tents, a few more stages, and ate our way through the rest of the day. Our final stop was Tuba Tuba where the kids danced their feet off. No problems sleeping this night, and the kids even slept until 8AM the next day.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Eli loves sports...all sports. He gravitates towards baseball most consistently, but when the wind blows, he'll pick up a new one and stay focused on it for months at a time. Right now, the sport de jour is golf. Partially fueled by Masters weekend, he's picked up his hand-me-down clubs again and has taken to swinging in the front yard. Lucky for him, Grandpa Jim breezed through town this weekend for 24 hours. Just long enough for he and the kids to enjoy one of the most beautiful afternoons at the driving range.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012


I'm not sure when it happened, but there has been a definite shift in Eli's maturity. For the better.

It's the little things that I noticed first. He'd be up later than normal and NOT have a meltdown. We would have a day of errands or other not-fun stuff and things wouldn't necessarily go his way, yet he was able to express his frustration without totally losing it. I realize I just called those occurrences "little", when they are really big for us, however, when they are not meltdowns, they aren't so big.

This week I've noticed some bigger things. Eli and Maddux have definitely made strides in their sibling relationship in the last year or so, but lately Eli has taken even more an interest in his sister. Two specific events come to mind.

  • Maddux made a paper plate craft at church on Sunday. Later that day, Eli walked by the mudroom and saw it on the counter. He said, "Hey Maddux. What is this? Tell me about it..." Very cool, because it wasn't something that was particularly eye-catching; Eli was just trying to engage her.
  • Tonight Eli had a baseball game. I didn't know ahead of time, but Maddux drew a picture and put it into Eli's ball bag. After the first inning, Eli came out of the dugout to get his water bottle just as Maddux and I were walking by. He found the picture and said, "Hey Maddux...did you put this picture in my bag? Cool...Thanks!"
To say I'm excited about this new level of sibling relationship would be a huge understatement.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Bald Eagle

Eli was assigned his first research project just before Spring Break. He was given over two weeks to learn about, compile data on, and prepare a poster displaying information regarding his chosen animal. He did not choose a shark, as I would have guessed. Or even a dog or whale or cheetah, which are all also animals of interest for him. Instead he chose a bald eagle, randomly.

Lehr spearheaded the beginning stages of this project, helping Eli research characteristics, eating patterns, habitats, etc. We were given very little direction with this project, so most of what we did, we chose to do. Along the lines of being only as much work as we wanted it to be. (Pretty cool.) This last week found us doing a little bit on the actual poster each night. Eli typed out six lists of information from the research he'd done. He printed, colored and cut out a picture of a bald eagle. And then he asked if we could make the poster look like the American flag, due to the obvious ties to the eagle. All of this was done by him which is really cool. So even though it took probably 14-ish 'sessions' of working, his poster was done with no arguments, no work by Mommy or Daddy and passed off as work by Eli, and no stress. (Sidenote: I stopped by the school today to see the display of the posters and I was so glad to see the broad spectrum of presentation. Some posters had a scribbled picture and a few words, some had glitter and glitz, some had no words and lots of pictures, and some had toys taped to the paper instead of pictures. Eli's fell very snugly in the middle of all of it. Sooo glad his first experience of this nature was a good one, and I'm so glad that his peers, the work he's probably comparing his to, was all so unique.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Easter Weekend

This weekend was a full one! The kids wanted to take me to SkyZone for my birthday last month, but at the last minute, Eli came down with a fever. We pushed off the plans until we could find a day with an opening, but unfortunately it was this last (busy) Easter/Spring Break weekend. We had a great time, but the crowds meant that we could only jump for an hour. Eli mostly stuck at the Dodgeball area, dodging balls at the back of the back rather than risking jumping out in front to actually THROW the ball. Maddux stuck with me and alternated between stunt jumps into the pit and open jump. We had a blast!

On Sunday we attended church and then played in the front yard; the weather was amazing! The kids were excited to find that we'd made 'fancy dinner' reservations too, as a birthday redo/Easter celebration. We took the kids to Sotto Sotto, one of our long time favorite restaurants. We ordered a few appetizers and a few entrees and shared it all. Even though my kids both love southern Italian food best (aka red sauce 'stuff'), they tried everything and definitely enjoyed the risotto and mussels.

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Spring Break, Part II

While the first part of the week was spent in Kentucky, the second half was equally as full, even though we were 'only' at home. I had several errands to run on Wednesday, the first day after we returned from our trip. Unfortunately for the kids that meant a lot more car time. However, I did mix it up a little and they had some fun things here and there. Plus, the game "War" was rediscovered recently, so they played that in the car between Costco and the bank and all of the other boooring places I had to drag them to.

Thursday morning we ran a quick errand and then headed out to DACKids, which both Maddux and Eli love. We brought our lunch and spent about three hours there. The kids played in the sand, on the wooden structure, with the nerf-ball was a blast! Maddux and Eli really had a great time playing with just each other; we weren't able to coordinate schedules for anyone to join us, but the two of them didn't seem to mind at all.

On Friday we ended our week-o-free-schedule with a trip slightly north to visit the Tellus Science Museum for the first time. We walked through exhibits on the evolution of transportation of all kinds (including shuttles!), exhibits on gems and fossils, and many 'bone' exhibits. At the end, we watch a movie on space in a planetarium and got to dig for our own fossils. Eli found a shark tooth and was so excited. This week was a great preview of our summer!