Wednesday, January 25, 2012

NOLA New Years

Do you ever feel like New Year's is such a let down? New Years is supposed to be exciting! A party with fireworks and a fresh start. Maybe even a little champagne. You are supposed to enter the New Year with friends and family and celebrate! I dream of that trip to NYC to watch the ball drop, a New York entrance. But the reality is, I guess I am getting older and making it to midnight is getting more difficult. The reality is paying for a flight to NYC at New Years is probably just an expensive ticket to freezing your butt off on a crowded street of chaos. The reality is that itchy, sequined cocktail dress for the Country Club party can only be worn once.

This year we had fireworks! This year we had bagpipes! This year we celebrated New Years in the best way with wonderful friends in NOLA! It was the perfect balance of family, friends, fireworks, festivities, and even a little fizzling champagne. We entered 2012 New Orleans style... and it totally restored my faith in New Years... we stayed up till midnight!!!
From the moment we pulled into Adriane's parent's driveway, the fun had begun. I thought that the 6 hour drive was going to be tough for Liam, but turns out he has a thing for Nemo. We watched it start to finish 3 times. In a row. I think I can recite it by heart now! Wine in hand we took the kids to stretch their legs and run in the park just outside their backyard. Oh how I would kill for this enclosed space for Liam to play in. We met Mac, their dog and Liam insisted that he hold the leash. Soon after we arrived Danny met us and we all piled in, drinks and all, to the lights display. You heard me correctly, you see... as long as there is a lid and a straw, you can take your alcohol along with you in NO. Best thing ever... drive through cocktails. Seriously.
There were so many lights to see and the kids had such a fun time exploring.
Again with the peacock obsession.. but seriously? He stared at me first!
The next morning, we had a great breakfast and then headed to Bourbon St. With the kids.

It was fun to meet Danny's brother and a few of his friends... and don't think just because we were pushing strollers we couldn't hang with the hand grenade!

Believe it or not, Bourbon street has all the kids favorites like colors and beads... soft pretzels and hotdogs...
a balloon clown.

And the amazing street performers.
Some of our favorite college memories was attending the Sigma Chi formal in NOLA each year. What comes before Part B? that's right... things have changed a bit. We couldn't take the kids into the piano bar area where we spent most nights till 3am, but we took a family photo with the Irish and waved goodbye to the college days. Bill and I still think a reunion with all the guys would be a blast.
The kids napped while we strolled and we even ran into the art gallery of Pete the Cat (Liam's favorite book if you recall). I screamed with excitement when I saw the painting outside the window... Yes, things have certainly changed.

Adriane and I may or may not have taken a street shot. We may or may not have danced behind a man on the street corner. We may or may not have purchased items that shall remain nameless...and we may or may not have kissed our husbands in the streets.... but there is one thing for sure... we had so much fun.

It was a good thing we were walking...
Adriane in a boot no less. And don't worry, we traded off with the boys being the "responsible" parents.
Adriane's dad was amazing. He was like our very own tour guide and he even dropped us off and picked us up! Liam learned so many fun things from him. Like showing your muscles and yelling touchdown. Liam thought he was just the coolest and he was so sweet to him! We are still talking about "Mr. Pepper"
We pulled out all the gear and dressed for the occasion...
Ate dinner, and then headed out to our private spot in the backyard park to do a little fire celebration before bedtime. They were especially fond of the sparklers!

Then it was off to bed and Adriane's mom prepared another incredible meal for us. Seriously, her parents are a blast and so fun to be around. We sat up late just chatting and drinking wine. They were such amazing hosts and we were so grateful for them to allow us to take over the third floor of their beautiful home.

When it was time for the countdown we grabbed the monitors and headed next door as the neighbors put on a display you had to see to believe. Absolutely incredible. There must have been thousands spent. And we had a front row seat. As the fireworks began, another neighbor began to pipe "Auld Lang Syne" through his bagpipes and it made it all seem so magical. There is something special about the bagpipes.
One of the shooting stars fell over and began to open rapid fire on a few spectators who were ducking behind coolers and crouching to cover their heads. All hilarious until we discovered she suffered a few burns and lacerations. If you ever questioned, fireworks are no joke. Mental note for when Liam is older and wants to shoot bottle rockets out of his hand... eh hemm... Bill!!!

One of Adriane's hidden talents is firecracker shooting!
The next day we had a wonderful lunch at Mothers. The food in New Orleans is out of this world and I would say that if I lived there I would weigh 200 pounds; however we earned every bit of our caloric intake from the miles of walking that we accomplished. Pushing strollers no doubt! We took a load off and sprung for the rent for the full carriage. If we had split with additional passengers they might have asked for their money back from the extra toddler commentary throughout the tour! Nothing goldfish and rock candy couldn't fix!

New Orleans has so much incredible history and I really enjoyed listening to its secrets. The tour guide was such a nice guy and even let Liam feed a carrot to his mule!
The kids ran through the center park to the musical sounds from the across the street band.
The weather was amazing and we had a fantastic afternoon.
The boys even enjoyed a little pose next to the Sports Center setup before we met up with Adriane's mom at Harrahs.
I do not gamble. I have never been to Vegas. Not saying I won't or that it isn't fun, just haven't. Not really my thing....losing money. Danny and Bill watched the babies and Adriane and I headed inside. I took a $20. That's it. Little did I know the master of slots was inside! Adriane's mom led us to some machines and so it began. I had no clue what I was doing. Adriane's mom's advice? Bet singles and when you feel lucky? Hit 3! We were feeding and betting and feeding and then she would say.. okay, now! and I kid you not...sirens went off! I was a millimeter from the thousand, but I will settle from my $175! Can you believe it? And I had only spent $10 of my $20. That was enough for me.. CASH OUT! Takin my money and running! No sooner had my tush left the seat some guy swooped in...guess that is called a hot machine? I have so much to learn.. but I am not going without Adriane and her mom that is certain!
I know what Bill was thinking when we came out... thirty minutes later... lost $20 fast huh? So you can imagine his surprise when I handed him back the $185! All he could say was... "Damn that Johnson luck!" When it was their turn, he came back $40 down... you win some, you lose some!

I was so sad our last night. We toasted smores...
and had a few more glasses of wine in the hottub! I think it is safe to say that this was one of the best New Years with some of the best friends. Cheers to 2012... may it end the way it began! With a bang!! We love you Mraz family!


  1. I could not have said it better. Thanks for the great great new year weekend! Happy New Year!

  2. Are you kidding me?....You guys are living the fairy tale...what great memories...great friends...and by the way, looks like her dad is wearing a Longhorn shirt???? Love you bunches! Great post and beautiful pictures....xoxoGigi