Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Itty Bitty Vacation

The Perkins family reunion gave us a good reason to get away for the long 4th of July weekend. We stayed with Maw Maw Judy and Paw Paw "Randis" (Woody kept mixing his paw paws -- Randy + Travis= Randis)!
Our first big adventure was taking the new bridge in New Roads for the first time. People have always traveled by ferry to cross the Mississippi River from Point Coupee Parish to East Feliciana Parish, and now that there is a bridge, we have a more straight shot over to my mom's house, which saves us about 45 minutes of driving (at least). Strangely enough, there were no signs, and it took us a while to find the dang bridge. At the gas station, we asked which way to turn for the bridge, and the young lady asked, "Which bridge?" What bridge?! Are you kidding? Once we saw it, we wondered how anyone from this town could ask that! The John James Audubon Bridge is the longest cable-stayed bridge in the Western Hemisphere according to the website: "Each cable stay is anchored to a 500-foot tower, which provides support to the bridge deck. Each stay contains 20 to 69 individual cables for a total of 4,548 cables." It cost over 400 million dollars to build. And it's sitting out beyond a bunch of sugar cane fields in the middle of nowhere! It was very impressive!

Our fun also included a quick trip to Hammond to the Children's Discovery Center, a children's museum! Favorites: Jack loved the big bubble room. Woody was very interested in the ambulance/EMT spot.

Ellie adored the Middendorf's restaurant exhibit where she took our orders and brought us something completely different! We did a simulated hot air balloon ride and laughed hard at Chris and Aunt Nene almost getting stuck in the slide trying to help the boys get a turn :) 

Another fun trip was to the Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans after church on Sunday, although we went through a terrible storm getting there -- hail and a very loud downpour. But once we got there, the kids were amazed! Ellie called the parking garage a "car cave" and the winding ramp a "car slide." I have some serious small-town kids. The see-through elevator in Canal Place that seemed to land us in a fountain was exciting, too. Mom and I joked that all we needed to do was go to the parking garage to entertain my silly kids. Favorites at the aquarium: Ellie was tickled at the hammerhead sharks ans the stingrays. Jack loved the penguins! But he calls them "pen-goyns", which is too cute. Woody is not our animal lover, but he did seem amazed by the BIG fish in the Gulf of Mexico exhibit -- sharks, sea turtles, and enormous tarpon! But the highlight was when Jack attempted to hold the feeding stick in the Parakeet exhibit and the little bird nipped his finger. He stayed pretty calm. . . . and then knocked the bird right off that stick! Don't mess with Jack, parakeets!

On the 4th, we headed to the country to have the family reunion. There was a good turn-out, so we were able to visit with our favorite cousins and a few relatives several times removed . . . especially from my memory. We ate goat. Yep. Goat. Chewy. Anyway, all sorts of garden vegetables like butter beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, and sweet corn, tons of desserts, and homemade ice cream, too. It was exactly what a family reunion in July in Louisiana ought to be, I guess: HOT. An afternoon shower helped out a little bit. We watched as the big group of people fishing down the hill at the pond came running toward the house!

I'd say this was a fun little escape and a great way to spend the 4th, enjoying all things America. And we discovered that 2 of our 3 kids are entertainers to the core -- making people laugh by singing, laughing, dancing, and being comedians. They were a riot. And Woody, the non-entertainer, is a flirt who loves to cuddle and spend time with people one-on-one. He can win your heart in his own way :)

Real pictures on "The Facebook" as soon as Nene posts them (I took almost none, sadly.)

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