Saturday, April 30, 2011



Friday, April 29, 2011

a re-post of my favorite picture! :)

This will always be one of my all time favorite pictures of my goosey pie!
I absolutely love this self portrait!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

charm. beauty. expression.

We started our girls only morning in New Orleans with beignets and coffee! It was an almost perfect morning… (I actually hit a VERY SMALL car in the parking lot with my not so small truck and well…. I'll just blog about that little inci-DENT later). The girls and I had not had beignets yet and we loved them. They were so good and a great way to start a day in a charming colorful city. And what a day we had ahead of us!

We walked and walked and WALKED… we saw SO much culture, heard so much music, tasted so many wonderful flavors. We enjoyed every second of this wondrous city.

I really can't say enough about the art here. It's so free, so expressive. I've seen it three times now and all three times it was different. The artists are different. Sometimes there are two or three of them sitting together. I really wanted to stand and listen to the air, to the conversations that went on around the artists, about the art… I just wanted to stand and listen… There never seems to be time to just stand and listen.

New Orleans has true beauty, breathtaking architecture, vivid color, pure sound, unforgettable smells, and many many tastes. I loved it, I'll go back as often as possible. I wish I had gone years ago. It's wildly charming, terribly delightful and full of colorful flavor!

My girls loved the masks!

Here we are about to try Alligator on a stick…
and to be honest it was GAH-REAT!

My lovely girls in a lovely city!

This beauty was the highlight of my day… today and every day! :)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

THE most AMAZING swamp TOUR ever… I promise…

Honey Island Swamp Tours was hands down one of the best things I have ever experienced while traveling! It was absolutely reasonably priced, the people were MORE than polite and helpful and I could understand EVERY SINGLE word of Captain Charlie our tour guide. He was informative, not overly or weirdly friendly (you know how a tour guide can make you feel very odd?) He was the perfect amount of friendly and factual. We absolutely loved him!

It was April and I so ignorantly thought SWMP=warm…. not so much. When the boat started moving fast SWAMP+wind=fah-reezing! The girls were dying! Capt. Charlie so kindly shared his jacket with Kid2 and a sweet little girl next to Kid4 shared her jacket with her. After we got deep into the swamp though the coldness seemed to melt away and it was like we were in another world. All of a sudden we were surrounded by a wonderland of wild Irises and orchid's. The smell of bay leaves filled the air and a cool fresh living world surrounded us. It was amazing to see how trees LIVE, actually survive in the water, how their roots are so thick and how flowers grow wild right off of them. I loved the swamps, I just couldn't get enough of them.
My cold girl in our kind Captains coat.

I could NOT believe that wild iris's grow in SWAMPS! I could have looked at these for hours! The flowers were so beautiful to me. I had no idea that swamps were such an important eco-system. The flowers in the swamps were breathtaking! Who knew such beauty existed in such a place? I thought and thought about swamps while we were on this tour and it made me re-think so many things… I think I need to look so much deeper at so many things. A swamp is not what I thought. So many things are not what I thought… There are so many things that I need to look deeper into. There is pure true beauty in simple things that I have missed by looking at only a surface or a name.

This was the first alligator spotting. SEE what you might see if you look beyond? These lily pads were AMAZING! These were the biggest lily pads I have every seen before! I love lily pads! This was such a beautiful part of the swamp to me. I thought the swamp was kind of split of into rooms.. like when you visit an old house. It was like "this is the lily pad room… this is the iris room… this is the snake room…. this is the orchid room… this is the wild rice room…" but what I loved so much about it was that it was all natural … not wall papered, not planned by a mans hand or a womans brain, natural and there because of God. It was perfect.

My girl posing with an alligator. Probably (hopefully) as close as she'll ever get!

The big guy that visited our boat. He was all about the posing for a picture!

We loved Honey Island Swamp Tours! We will definitely go back. I'd like to see the swamp in every season. Experience it at all times. Thank you Captain Charlie for your time, for your great voice and for a truly unforgettable experience that we won't soon forget!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

pure- unadulterated- beauty

When I thought "swamp" I pictured SHREK… yeah, yeah, yeah…. I know.

When I witnessed the swamps in Louisiana they took my breath away. I wanted to stand for hours and study every little detail, and honestly would have if it weren't for the mosquitos and the children dancing behind me being eaten alive! I couldn't look hard enough or long enough for Alligators I felt like I was IN a Where's Waldo book… but no one else agreed! I guess it was because Alligators don't wear red and white stripes- who knows?

I loved Louisiana. I loved the swamps. I could not believe the beauty! I was shocked at what grows in the swamps- hundreds of different flowers, wild rice, too many things to remember. It was breathtaking, memorable, and a place that will certainly have a special place in my heart.
I loved Louisiana more than I could express in simple words. If you have a chance to witness the beauty of a louisiana swamp… please do. Pull over, take a chance with mosquitos, take a chance with an alligator, open your mind and look beyond, look far out, as far as your eye can see and study the beauty that is Louisiana.

Monday, April 25, 2011

our next adventure...


Kid4 and I got back from Chicago
we picked up Kid2, kid3 and Max and headed to New Orleans for spring break!
We were so excited and SO tired!
Bat Girl picked us up from the train station,
we headed home,
cleaned up,
repacked and headed south!

We had fantastic adventures with our dear friends in New Orleans.
One of the highlights of our trips was getting to love on our sweet Haylie!
She is Kid2's childhood friend from Mt. Perfect.
She just happened to be New Orleans for a wedding.
We met her downtown and loved on her for a few minutes!
Is she the cutest thing you have ever seen or WHAT?

I threw kid2 down on the filthy streets of New Orleans
so she could participate in a show with a street performer.
She was mortified.
Our dear friends may or may not have thought this was such a good idea.
I may or may not have thought it through before I volunteered her.
I may or may not have realized the filth before I shoved her out there.
I may or may not have taken my medication.
I may or may not think things through before I do them.
This may or may not be a blog for a different day.

The art in New Orleans has pure eclectic beauty.
It's expressive art, I loved it.
I saw so many pieces that I would have loved to bring home.
I could have looked all day,
I enjoyed looking at the art first and then the artist.
It's interesting to me to study the art and then the artist.
Usually the artist never looks like you think they will.

This little beauty kept getting roses thrown at her… she loved it!
She was practically lost in all the buildings,
the color, the people.
She took it all in.
She wanted to look at everything and it's just not possible.
I wish I could have read her mind.
From Chicago to New Orleans…
WHAT a change!
She was enamored by the music, the street performers, but we all were.
I wanted to ask the young street performers a million questions.
I love to pick peoples brains- there are so many things I want to know.
There are just not enough hours in the day…

We saw SO MUCH water…
I had no idea how much water was in Louisiana…
I had always wondered and I want to say "now I know"
but I don't even think I can wrap my mind around it.
We enjoyed the beauty of the water, the swamps,
the wild flowers, the fish, the way the sky touches the blue water
and the way the trees twist around…. Louisiana is truly beautiful.

Some of us were a little crabby :)
But we all had a BLAST.
We made LIFELONG friends here…
family really.

The end of this day was the beginning of amazing...

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Happy Birthday My Weezy… I love you

Dearest Weezy,

My sweet Weezy, my goodness girl, I can't even imagine a day without you! So often I think of you throughout the day and I wonder how I survived before you. To me you are so many things. You are like a daughter but also my friend. You are a beautiful being, an important beautiful part of our team. I am certain that we could no longer function properly without you. You are a big sister, a confidant, a perfect bedtime story reader.

Watching you grow this year has been an honor, a pleasure and an absolute joy. I am so honored that you chose us to share your very last teen year with. What a thrill to share a pot of coffee with you in the morning, how exciting to witness you grow and learn every day, how thrilling to share the experience of your first car….

Thank you Weezy, thank you for loving us, thank you for letting us love you. Thank you for being the free spirit that you are, thank you for being the perfectly perfect girl that you are. I adore you, I couldn't love you more. I will love you forever, mo matter where you are. No matter where life takes you, you will always be my girl.

Happy birthday my Weezy, welcome to your twenties my sweet girl. I'll love you forever!

Love "the kid collector"

Friday, April 22, 2011

last memories of Chicago...

view from our room

the beautiful city

me at downtown dogs having a hot dog

Kid4 having a hot dog at downtown dogs too

Kid4 at the hershey store in Chicago

gorgeous church downtown chicago

Kid4 and I on the double decker bus touring Chicago


traveling puppet theater

Kid4 and my mom shopping in Macy's

restaurant in Macy's

Macy's was WONDERFUL!!!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

what a dream….

When you were little did you dream of dolls? I did! I loved my dolls and I dreamed of being a momma someday. I use to look at a calendar and count out nine months and just know that I would never ever be able to wait that long to see my babies faces! I loved my baby dolls just like they were real babies. When I had little girls I could NOT WAIT to get them baby dolls and when I was introduced to American girl dolls I have never looked back. When we planned out trip to Chicago we planned an afternoon at the American girl doll store and picked a special doll to bring home with us.

We looked at all the beautiful dolls and enjoyed our surroundings. An American girl doll store is a treat to spend an afternoon in! There are shoes, clothes, hundreds of dolls and the most amazing backgrounds and settings. We all loved the American girl doll store!

Here is Kid4's personal shopper. Although this is truly an awful picture of her she really was a beautiful person who was so sweet and spent a lot of time with Kid4 helping her pick her special doll, shoes, clothes and walked kid4 and Kanaani up to the doll salon to get Kanaani's ears pierced. She was so helpful and so lovely. We felt so welcome in Chicago!

Kanaani and Kid4 were fast friends and enjoyed their matching outfits! They had a nice train trip home together and she has adjusted well to her new home. She has settled right into the crib with the other American girl dolls and enjoys having her tangles groomed and clothes changed often.

We loved Chicago. We loved the train. We loved it all. Take a vacation with your kids, it's pure bonding time. Time to talk, get to know them again, laugh, and look into their little souls. Plus, you just might learn something about them that you don't know! Kid4 thank you for giving me a memory I will never forget. Thank you being you, thank you for being unique and for being amazing. I adore you my little goosey!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The Art Institute in Chicago (utterly amazing)

As a child I dreamed about art, I dreamed in vivid colors and of famous painters. I drew frames around my pictures and dreamed about being a famous artist… I use to tell people that my mother was an artist and to me she was. My mother painted and I thought her paintings were beautiful. I got in trouble for lying, but I never felt like I lied because the definition of the word 'artist' is a person who produces paintings or drawings as a profession or hobby and she painted as a hobby. I loved her art, her drawings and her creations. To ME she was a famous artist.

Visiting the art institute of Chicago was literally a dream come true. I have always wanted to go to Europe to see the art, the architecture, the pure beauty but I don't fly… and thats a WHOLE different blog! I could have easily spent all day at the museum and although Kid4 did great she was understandably struggling with appreciating the obvious nudity in many of the paintings. Seems as though many of the 6 year olds there didn't quite get the beauty of it. (understandably)

For me it was a dream, for her it was popcorn and a rare chance to see some inappropriate parts in a frame with her grandma. I loved it, she got a pair of earrings and some great postcards. What a wonderful day in Chicago!