There are always TWO highlights when going home. The Food. And Family.
(Not necessarily in that order ;)
There is something about "home", isn't there? Feels good. Real good. My heart is full (and my belly, too).
- Went straight from airport to the first restaurant -- Mandinas -- for poboys and seafood gumbo. I was always my mom's eating out buddy growing up. So we are two peas in a pod and planned our days around what and where we were gonna eat each day.
- Mom was so sweet and excited for company, she had a new carseat all ready to go in the back of the car, and a new portable crib with beautiful soft little bear bedding set up in our room. Every night my mom or I would say to Pearce, your gonna go night night with the sweet bears.
- Sunday I was in shock to see my tiny little "branch" had turned into quite a crowded "ward"! Never in my wildest dreams did I envision The Uptown Branch to be a ward someday. I was 11 when the branch was split off. I was devastated to be separated from all our friends, but being in a little branch taught me a lot, and i'm grateful for the experiences I had there with my family. We met in an auditorium at the Jewish Community Center and then upgraded to a Jewish Synagogue for many years before we had our very own building on St. Charles Ave. I left for college soon after it was built, but I know how long we waited for that building, and I'm reminded of gratitude each time I'm there.
- I took Jeremy and Pearce to one of my favorite little places growing up-- Camillia Grill. It is right across the street from my middle school. It was a big treat to go there after school sometimes and get a chocolate freezie and BLT. Jeremy joined the Chocolate freeze club, and we made one a day at home thereafter. It's fun to sit at the counter and watch the cooks, and listen to the waiters rattle off 6 orders at a time to the cooks, you can barely understand them. You wonder how in the world can the chef understand, let alone hear. It's funny that 10+ years later they still mumble the same local rap songs I grew up listening too. Like Master P.... "Ungggggghh, na -nah na-nah..." LOL!!
- I realized after we were there just about a day, that Jeremy is not the only one of us that understands a second language. My second language is New Orleans Black Dialect. Jeremy pretty much doesn't understand a word they say. For example, we were checking out at the grocery, and the lady smiles at Pearce and says "she reeeel cute. whe' she-make two?" Jeremy says "What?" And I say, " She turns two in March."
- I remember the roads being terrible with bad potholes on almost every street. But I think they've gotten even worse!! My mom calls them landmines. It's kinda fun though, I'm not gonna lie. When I first got my driver's license, I would drive my mom's minivan real fast down the residential roads (since those are the worst) and it would feel like a roller-coaster ride. Pearce for sure thought it was so fun. She would say "WOAH!!" every time we'd go over bumps.
- We went to the "horsey park" -- or so we called it as kids, the horse rides are no longer there -- a few times. It's so cool to see your own child play at the same place you played at and loved as a kid. I felt bad for Pearce that all I packed for her was long sleeve shirts and pants, because it was sooo hot and humid. Every other kid was in shorts and skirts and tank tops. Oh well. She still had a blast.
- Did Riverwalk. Brings back such good memories. Loved chillen by the river and going in all the little touristy shops.
- My mom took Pearce home for a nap and Jeremy and I cruised around the French Quarter. We like to sit in Jackson square on the steps and watch all the freaks -- the fortune tellers, and other odd performers. And then ate Muffalettas for the first time. (Hope my wish comes true, fountain!)
- I like doing normal everyday stuff too. So one of the days we went out to Metairie and ran errands with my mom, and that is when our little Danny & Clyde gas station po-boys obsession began... I should have taken a picture of these beauties. It doesn't get much better. For $3.49 you get an overflowing with fried shrimp french bread sandwich. Pure joy. We went back two more times including one last stop on the way to the airport heading home. And they also had yummy little mini king cakes. yum!!!
- Took Pearce on a streetcar ride. She loved it at first. But then the streetcar was making frequent and prolonged stops, and that is when meltdown began. I called my mom to see if she'd come pick us up rather than get on another streetcar to head back home. I always love riding the streetcar and looking at all of the beautiful houses on St. Charles.
- Rode bikes to and around Audubon Park. Sat on bench by pond and watched a million ducks. All during Twilight - my favorite time of day.
- Did some baking. Made pumpkin scones one of the first days. And 2 sour cream lemon pies for Thanksgiving day.
- Went for a walk in the Garden District. Always one of my favorite things to do. Such beautiful architecture. And fun to go into little shops, including the "Defend New Orleans" shop and picked out t-shirts for Jeremy and Pearce.
- Played in the french quarter with Pearce for a bit. The weather was finally nice by this time. Thank goodness!
- Hit up my all-time-favorite restaurant EVER!! Palace Cafe. Ate like Kings and Queens. Shrimp Tchefunte, Pork debris pot pie, crab claws, oyster loaf and of course, top it off with the original bananas foster. And Pearce is totally a "dipper". She'll quadruple dip and lick before ever even taking a bite.
- Thanksgiving Day we headed down south to cajun country -- Schriever -- to see all of my mom's family. They always called us the "white beans from the city" (hence the url of my blog.) It was a pretty emotional day for me. Hadn't been home in 3 years and a lot has changed. When I first saw my grandma, I fought back tears. She didn't look/act like I remembered. Jeremy told me he is sorry that I am now going through what he already had to go through with all 4 of his grand parents. It's hard. But at the end of the day, I smiled thinking back to all of the wonderful memories I have with her. She taught me how to play rummy and poker. Our two-week stay at grandma's house was the highlight of each summer. She'd get us new bathing suits and we'd spend an entire glorious day at the nearby waterpark. She'd give us each a $20 bill to spend at the Mall arcade. We thought we were so rich and lucky. It would last hours. And swinging countless hours under the oak tree.
- Got to meet cousin-in-laws for the first time. And LOTS of new 2nd cousins. There were kids everywhere. Pearce was in "kid heaven" AND "park" heaven. She kept saying she was at the park. She loved all the animals, kids, swing set and definitely the bounce house.
Paw paw meeting Pearce for the first time. I love that he still is so active
and gets on the ground to meet her and talk to her.
- Last day we still had to squeeze in a Cafe Du Monde trip for beignets. We usually go to the one in the french quarter, but we drove by and there was a line about a block long. So we ended up at the Riverwalk with no waiting at all and sat outside by the river.
- And a last minute stop at City Park on our last day.
This is as close as we got to the swamps this time. At city park. Faux swamps.
Mom was cracking us up telling some other little girl that her mom was calling her...
basically to get her out of the frame of the photo.
Super fun trip. Miss you already Mom and Jacob!! xoxo