Monday, January 31, 2011

Christmas Trip 2010

We went on a whirlwind tour back to Texas for Christmas. We spent Christmas eve, Christmas day and the day after at my parents in the country. We always love it there ... it's a breath of fresh air, quiet, lots of outdoor fun, a porch swing, peaceful ... can you feel it? Next stop, Ft. Worth, we we spent an incredibly blessed evening with our Root family. So needed that! So awesome ... and Gina cooked and my kids begged me to get the recipe. :) I don't know why we didn't get any photo's there. Hmpffff! Next stop, hanging with my sister. She and her girls flew in from Seattle. Great fun! These cousins ADORE each other and when they are together, all is fantastic! We ate dinner at my Aunt Doris' house one evening reuniting the second cousins ... always fun, and hanging with "Big Grannie." That's my Grannie. She is the matriarch of the Dunham clan and quite fiesty at her young age of 93! :) Next up, my mother-in-love, Barbara. I am apologizing in advance for the photo I put of her. It's the only one I have and she was just barely awake. I still think she looks lovely. And, for the icing on the cake, we hung out for breakfast with our Herrold family before leaving our great state of Texas. God blessed us with a great trip! Our hearts were full as we headed back to Lousiana. We are tremendously gifted with relationships that are enduring and focused on His amazing hand in all of our lives. Thank you, Lord!

Porch swing with Paw-paw!

They all share a crazy sense of humor ... enjoying Calvin and Hobbs. Now, that's a classic!

Cooking with Grannie ... sweets for the sweet! :)

Christmas caroling?!

A girl can never have enough dolls! :)

Oh, the surprised faces of girls getting just what they hoped for but never expected! Isn't that how our Lord is. Joy!

IPod touches!

So fun to open presents for the first time (although this was not her first Christmas). She LOVES this guitar. Lots of buttons to push. We are hearing lots of great "music" these days!

I love this picture of me and my Mom. She is the bomb!

Cousins! Woo-hoo! And, they are all decked out in the nightgowns Grannie (my mom) made them for Christmas. Aren't they lovely? Reminds me a bit of "Little House on the Prairie." I was wondering where is my nightgown, Mom?

Hanging with Aunt Tracy, who takes every opportunity to spoil the baby. :)

Swimming with the Paw-paw ... he is so hip!

The second cousins playing Wii Just Dance! They were all exhausted, but played it for hours. I'd like to say the girls had more umpf than the boys. Just saying.

Four generations. Isn't my Grannie the cutest?!

My mother-in-love ... she's a good sport for letting me put the photo of her just waking up self, even though I think she looks lovely. Thank you!

Aren't they lovely? The girls and Aubree ... an amazing friendship started at birth!

The Morel and Herrold blessings!


Sunday, January 30, 2011

Aquarium and Insectarium

New Orleans has a wonderful Aquarium and an impressive Insectarium, both of which we visited on one of Brian's days off. So much fun! Unfortunately, we never made it to the zoo. We hear it's pretty impressive, too. Maybe this summer with our Bray friends. :)

Standing in front of the big aquarium. An amazing variety of fish ...

Ummm. SHARK!

Up close and personal. My favorite were the sea horses and sea dragons. God has such an awesome imagination and to think, He created all these things for our pleasure. Such gifts!

Peyton's penguin ... seriously, for 10 minutes he followed her back and forth from the glass. It was fascinating. He would watch for her and then follow wherever she was walking. We even did experiments to see if it was our imagination. Nope, he was sweet on her. :)

Touching sharks ...

White alligator. Very cool to see this.
I understand he is actually a breed of alligator and not albino like we first thought.

Insectarium! BIG BUGS!


Tarantula ... yikes!

Ladybugs are my FAVORITE!

Bug mouth ... this was a part of an underground display. Very cool!

Creepy crawlies!

Various buggy delicacies.

Brian tried ALL the buggy delights, but I was really impressed that Peyton tried them. She didn't even toss her cookies, although we weren't sure for a moment! :)

Bug armor!

It was a great two days of learning about the world God has created. Seriously cool things both at the Aquarium and the Insectarium.


Haven't posted about our 3 1/2 months in New Orleans, lovingly referred to as NOLA by the people who live here. It was an unexpected treat to live in the Bayou-Segnette State Park on the West Bank in Westwego. By God's grace we were allowed to stay at this park for as long as we did. We got to know and love on the people who worked in the park and some who were longer term campers, like us. We also enjoyed long walks and lots of wildlife, including a two 'possums we "caught" in our dog pen, wolves, bunnies, coyote's, alligators, armadillo's and a deer or two.

In the city, we ate LOTS of good food, cause in NOLA it's alot about eating! We enjoyed the library system. We visited the Aquarium and the Insectarium (more on that in another post). We attended church at Vintage , where we celebrated Thanksgiving and got to be a part of Vintage Adopt, which was a great program to provide Christmas to families that otherwise wouldn't have Christmas. We did gymnastics, toured around the city, admired some beautiful architecture, and found our way around the city (which, if you know anything about me, is a feat in itself), and took a cooking class. We won second place at the Halloween decorating contest at the RV park and are now the proud owners of a really cool birdhouse. We celebrated my birthday at Emeril's restaurant and stayed in a historic and absolutely gorgeous hotel (thank you to my sweet hubby). We also made some sweet friends and had a great time just being together and embracing RV life.

One of campsites we stayed in at Bayou-Segnette.
We changed sites several times while we were there.

Walking and exploring the park ... lots of nature to see and experience.

The infamous Cafe Du Monde where one can get a beignette and a cup of coffee at all hours of the day and night. Beignette's are a french version of a doughnut and a NOLA tradition.
I'm still more foolishly fond of donuts. :)

Family photo after the French donuts ...

Mississippi River ...

Touring the city. On this day we took a horse and carriage tour. It was rather unique. This is a park in the middle of town just next to the catholic church. Very old building.

Inside the church ...

Can't miss out on face-painting and in NOLA it had to be a fleur-de-lis.

All things Halloween and trick-or-treat ....

Gymnastics ...

Watching "Polar Express" on the riverwalk.
Chilly night, hotdogs, hot chocolate, popcorn, new friends ... great fun!

The Bray sisters ... our Vintage girlfriends. An answer to prayers.