New Orleans Round 2

Last spring break while we lived in Alabama, we visited New Orleans since we were so close and I loved it so much more than I ever thought I would! (post on that trip here) I didn't really know much about New Orleans until then and I fell in love with the food, the jazz music, the Mardi Gras decorations and souvenirs everywhere, the voodoo, the accents, the alligators, and the European feel and architecture. (What I don't like - the smell, the dirtiness, the humidity) New Orleans is such a unique and interesting city with such a cool history and culture! I never thought we would ever go back, but then my brother James, decided last minute to do sales there for the summer (which threw all of my mom's potential plans to get our family together this summer out the window) and so my mom planned an extremely logistically complicated last minute weekend vacation to New Orleans and I'm so glad she did! (My mom and Elizabeth drove Thursday, Friday and Saturday to get there, we drove all day Saturday, my dad and Isaac flew in on Sunday, we drove home through the night on Monday and got home Tuesday, my dad flew home Tuesday to get back to work, and my mom and Isaac and Elizabeth drove two days straight and are just getting home tonight... did you follow all of that?!)

We packed up Friday night, left at 3 am on Saturday morning and drove for 14 hours straight.
I miss the canyons of trees in the south!
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Once we got to the hotel, Spencer and I drove into the city to wait in line at Oceana while my mom took our kids to go pick up James and his girlfriend, Maddie, from the neighborhood they were selling at. They ended up taking longer getting to the restaurant because they both got a sale that day (whoot! whoot!) so Spencer and I enjoyed a kidless dinner alone :) We ordered the Taste of New Orleans (creole jambalaya, crawfish etouffee, and red beans and rice with smoked sausage) and the La Boheme Creme Brulee and it was all so delicious! Since it was so late, we just switched cars and took our kids back to the hotel to sleep while my mom, Elizabeth, James, Maddie and her sister had dinner.
Bourbon Street
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Elizabeth ordered the alligator!!!
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James and Maddie
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On Sunday, we went to church, played games, ate pot roast that my mom cooked from the hotel room, and went to feed the alligators by Maddie's apartment (!!!). I didn't think we would actually see one but we did and I'm so glad because we weren't able do a swamp tour (It was closed on Monday) The alligator made Jack's trip and I'm grateful that Maddie and Kenzie donated their raw chicken :)
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On Monday, we walked around the French Quarter, ate the famous beignets from Cafe Du Monde, and shopped at the French Market.
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I love all of the buildings and architecture!
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Isaac - the creepiest mask of all!
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Our souvenirs were these masks and cute little voodoo ornaments for our new Christmas ornaments this year (I'm hoping that's not too sacrilegious!!!)
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March 2014
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May 2015
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We swam at the hotel pool that afternoon.        photo IMG_5075_zpsx7aoa52b.jpg  photo IMG_5073_zps5pyg8bde.jpg
The second highlight of Jack's trip - catching a frog in the swimming pool!
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We decided instead of leaving early Tuesday morning to just leave Monday night and drive through the night and even though we are still catching up on sleep, it was best decision ever! We got home late Tuesday morning and Jack and David were only awake for the last two hours of the drive. We unpacked, did all of the laundry, grocery shopped and took naps all before Spencer had to go back to work the next day.
P.S. We listened to the This American Life podcasts about Hurricane Katrina on the way home and they were really interesting! If you have the app, I highly recommend listening to them ----> episode 296 and 297
In the spirit of full disclosure, we were all a teensy bit motivated to pull this trip off so that we could meet the amazing girl that James is spending his entire summer with ;) Maddie is awesome and passed with flying colors - we all love her!
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What's Up Wednesday

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I'm linking up with Shay and Shaefer for What's Up Wednesday!
What we're eating this week: 
Chicken Enchiladas
Chicken Salad
Thai Curry from Trader Joes!!! (My mom sent some home with us - she is the best)
Korean Pork Tacos
What I'm excited about:
After almost five years of marriage, Spencer is finally done with school! (He got his MBA and MSHA from UAB and this last year we still had to pay stupid tuition to UAB for his fellowship even though he wasn't taking any classes) He got a job here in Iowa and we are so excited!!! 
What I'm reminiscing about:
Spencer graduating had me reminiscing about the first semester that I started dating him back at Utah State. After finals week, he checked his final grades and sighed with relief when he saw that he got a couple Cs in his classes and that was almost a deal breaker for my OCD-straight-A-self! ;) Then when we were engaged, he was having a hard time finding a job (because of his track schedule and lack of experience) He applied and interviewed for a janitor job but he didn't get it and I seriously wondered how it was possible to mess up a janitor interview!?!! And then a few months later in another job interview he was asked to share about a mistake he made and how he fixed it - he told them that in middle school he shot his friend with a bow-and-arrow! (Spoiler alert: he didn't get that job either)

So this is my proud wife post because Spencer has come a long way from that C semester and from not being able to get a janitor job and from telling about all the stupid things he did in middle school in job interviews :) #itsagoodthinghedoesn'treadmyblog
What we've been up to:
We just got back from a crazy spontaneous family trip to New Orleans to visit James since he spontaneously up and moved there for the summer and ruined all of my mom's potential summer family vacation ideas :) It took some crazy logistical planning and coordination, but we were all able to meet in New Orleans for the weekend and it was so much fun! (New Orleans post coming later)
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What I'm dreading:
The fact that we have an even longer car drives coming up this summer than the 14 hour drive to New Orleans. Utah is far away!!!
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What I'm working on:
I got a job! I started working last month just once a week as a swim instructor at the YMCA because working my high school job for the rest of my life is THE DREAM!!! hahaha Actually, my goal is to go to Disney next year so I need to start saving. I think I am only earning about 5 Disney churros a week so I've got a long way to go! haha We are also enjoying the free Y membership.
What I'm loving:
Sleep. The less I get the more I love it and we are still catching up on sleep from the weekend. (We drove through the night on the way home). My bed feels like heaven. 
What I'm watching/reading:
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Still watching Gilmore Girls. We're on the final season! (It's my least favorite season so far and Lorlei is being really dumb)
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My friend let me borrow The Selection Series and I totally binge read them last week! The only way I can describe them in a nutshell would be a not-as-violent Hunger Games mixed with The Bachelor, so obviously... epic!
What I'm listening to:
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I've been catching up on one of my favorite podcasts, Mormon Discussions. Bill Real discusses a lot of complex issues within the Mormon church and its history while still leading with faith and it has been very helpful and interesting to me.
What I'm wearing: 
I wear these earrings basically every day and I love them! I have them in turquoise and coral but I want to get every color!
Also, I love these shoes that I got seven years ago while I was in China. They were about three dollars and are sooooo comfortable and I can't believe they haven't fallen apart yet!
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What I'm doing this weekend:
Relaxing and going to Jack's last soccer game.
What I'm looking forward to next month:
Arizona and Utah!!!!
What's up with you?!
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Things I'm Loving

  • Our zoo pass! Almost one year without one was way too long :)

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Jack's favorite zoo activity was the nasty reptile house and this worm :)
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  • Fathers and sons camp out. Jack was so excited to go and Spencer said that he dug in the dirt the entire time :) 
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David stayed home with me and had a party with the girls!

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  • The nest of cute baby bunnies in our backyard. Between Jack and David and the lawn mower guy (who mowed two baby bunnies!!!), I hope momma bunnies think twice before nesting so close to us!

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  • Our pigeons eggs right outside our back door hatched this week! They are ugly, but they are babies and it is spring so I love it!

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  • I don't love that my kids got in a slap fight at the doctor's office, but I love this picture of them in time out :)

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  • David's hair: business in the front, party in the back

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Show and Tell Tuesday: Momfessionals

Today, I'm linking up with Andrea (another friend I don't know aka stalkee) at Momfessionals and am sharing some mom confessions:

1. About once a week, I drop my kids off at the gym daycare and just read a book in the lobby.

2. A lot of times I procrastinate and drive the long way home because the thought of unbuckling my kids and getting them inside and making them lunch sounds too exhausting.

3. Sometimes, my heart starts racing and I feel major anxiety thinking that I may never sleep past 6:30 ever again. (6:30 is a good day for us)

4. The only place in our townhouse where I can't hear my kids is in the shower (with the bathroom door locked). It is my favorite place to retreat when Spencer comes home from work :)

5. I HATE HATE HATE giving my kids baths. At the end of the day, Spencer usually bathes the kids while I clean the kitchen and living room and listen to a podcast. It's a win/win for us.

6. The worst times of the day are 8:30 am and 3:30 pm. 8:30 am because I realize that we have all been up for 2 1/2 hours but the day hasn't even started yet and 3:30 pm because I feel like the day should be over but I have another two hours to go until Spencer comes home and another two hours after that until bedtime :)

7. And of course there is that one time when I accidentally took a naked selfie thinking that I was just taking a picture of my baby and then texted it to my mom.

What are your momfessionals???


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My mom came to visit us for Mother's Day weekend and it was so fun! We didn't tell Jack that she was coming, just that there would be a surprise when he woke up in the morning. He loved his surprises - Nana and the amazing pig poppers that she brought with her. (I highly recommend the pig poppers - inexpensive, bizarre, and a huge hit - I'm going to stalk up for birthday party gifts. Good find, mom!) My mom taught Jack how to do puppet shows behind the couch and he's been doing them ever since she left.
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On Friday, it was looking like it was going to rain so we went to the mall and my mom blew all my secrets. The train isn't broken, and neither is the candy machine, and the build-a-bear animals are actually for sale - we are so spoiled! Jack chose a bunny and named it Girl even when I tried to change his mind, plus he wanted bows on the ears. hahaha
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On Saturday, we went to the Air Show because Spencer was really really excited about the Blue Angels and the three-jet-engined semi truck that drives 350 miles an hour. It was basically a state fair with airplanes, and I'm pretty sure all of Iowa was there. It was epic and not-that-epic, depending on who you ask :) #spencerlovedit #ijustdon'tgetit
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I'm pretty sure the crowds were my mom's favorite part. Photos courtesy of my mother: #thevideoswereevenbetter
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I'm so glad I got to be with my mom on Mother's Day and I'm glad I get to see her again next month! Photo courtesy of @gmaannie1 :)
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On Monday, we went to the Riverbandit baseball game, though no baseball was actually watched. Jack loved catching the baseball, riding the ferris wheel, and high-fiving the mascot. David loved the popcorn.
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I really like these boys.
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