New Orleans trip, in photos

Our trip to New Orleans was so much fun, I don’t know where to start. I think I’ll let the pictures do the writing for me.

Catie in her princess dress that Mimi made
If you need a custom-made princess dress, it’s good to have a Mimi who knows how to sew. (Also included: silver sparkly headband-crown, which you can’t really see in this picture because of the light.)

Two of the nights that we were in town, we went to my cousin Ryan and his wife Theresa’s house, who generously hosted a dinner/family reunion/hanging-out-talking-for-hours thing. That was a lot of fun, since they have kids close to Catie’s age, so she had a fantastic time playing with her cousins (and their toys).

Brendan & C.C. smiling for the camera, while Catie's having a very animated phone conversation
This picture cracks me up. Brendan and C.C., two of Catie’s cousins, were happy to smile for my camera, but Catie is totally indifferent and is all, “Whatever, I’m gonna call somebody on this toy phone and have a very animated phone conversation complete with hand gestures.” And, um, I don’t know where she gets that whole talking-with-her-hands thing. *cough* I swear I don’t know anyone in my family who does that. *cough cough*

We were lucky to have gorgeous weather all weekend. On Saturday, a bunch of us went to City Park, which I was hoping to get to take Catie to see.

Oak trees lining City Park
I love the old oak trees in City Park. My aunt Michele said that the oak trees are almost like people, they’re such a part of New Orleans’ identity. I can kind of see what she means. Those oak trees hold a piece of my heart like almost no other part of the city.

The last time I was in New Orleans (June 2006), it was almost a year after Hurricane Katrina, and the train ride around City Park was still destroyed. I was six weeks pregnant with Catie at the time, and I started to cry because I always had this vision of someday taking my kids on the train that I had ridden on when I was little.

In the last few years, they’ve rebuilt City Park to even better than before. Not only is the train ride back, and the carousel has been restored, there’s a small amusement park there as well. It was fantastic.

Catie & me on the carousel

Catie "driving"

Finally, we got on the train.

family train ride!
All aboard!

I’ll be honest, I almost cried. It was so cool to finally get to take Catie on that train, which four years ago, I thought might never happen.

I took a few dozen pictures from the train. Most of them were crap. Then I happened to snap this one, which I didn’t even know was good until I saw it on my computer later.

One of the biggest & oldest oak trees I've ever seen

I want to have it enlarged and framed. I love it that much. And I’m not trying to toot my own horn as a photographer, this one was just a really happy accident. It was taken from a moving train, it’s not like I had time to compose the shot.

On Sunday, we went to the French Quarter.

St. Louis Cathedral
Catie recognized St. Louis Cathedral as “the castle from Princess & the Frog.” I tried to explain that it was a church, not a castle, but… eh. It has spires. I can see how she’d be confused.

The Wilkinsons on Wilkinson Street!
Hey look, it’s the Wilkinsons on Wilkinson Street!

Catie & Mimi share a moment by the Mighty Mississippi
I love this picture of Catie and my mom, the way their heads are tilted toward each other. They have such a great relationship, I love watching them interact.

Flying home yesterday was exhausting, as air travel always is, with or without a toddler. But we’re home, and we’re getting back to normal everyday life now. As nice as it is to be home, though, I am already missing New Orleans. I love that city so much.

like a damn deer in the headlights

I forgot to mention that next weekend (March 26th – 29th), Catie and I are taking a quick trip to New Orleans. It’s my mom’s hometown, a bunch of my family is going to be there, and most of them have never met Catie. The last time I went to New Orleans, I was 6 weeks pregnant with Catie. And even though we were there for my cousin’s wedding, which was lovely and beautiful, I was also completely ill with morning sickness most of the time, and I couldn’t eat oysters or drink a hurricane or anything, so it wasn’t as much fun as I wanted. But I love New Orleans, it’s one of my favorite cities. It feels like home to me, even though I’ve never actually lived there. (I grew up going there all the time to visit my grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.)

So, next Friday, Catie & I will be hopping on a plane headed south. My mom is going to meet us there, and we’re sharing a hotel room, so it should be a lot of fun. And as much as I love my family and look forward to seeing them, I’m mostly excited about the food. New Orleans has some of the best food in the world.

Oh, and when I told Catie that we’re going to the city where Princess Tiana (from “The Princess & The Frog”) lives? She responded, “I need a princess costume.” Umm. This is the first time she’s expressed any interest whatsoever in dressing up like a princess. I kind of figured this phase was coming eventually, and I swore I wouldn’t fight it. Most girls go through a princess phase, and most of them outgrow it in due time.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

(Yes, we bought the t-shirt and the DVD yesterday, as soon as it was released. I figure that as far as Disney princesses go, Tiana is probably the most empowered of all of them, and besides, the music in the movie doesn’t make me want to bash my head into a wall.)

Anyway, Catie happens to be lucky that her Mimi (my mom) is an excellent seamstress, because she is currently whipping up a custom-made princess costume for her as I type.

As for me, I was thinking about the fact that we’ll probably be taking pictures while we’re there, and lately I’ve been looking a bit like the sad slacker mom who doesn’t make much of an effort anymore. I made an appointment to get my hair cut, and yesterday I went to get my eyebrows waxed. I decided to try out a new place, because it’s closer to our new house and I’m lazy, and… hmm. Ok, well, let’s just look at the photographic evidence.

This is what I looked like before the eyebrow wax.

Mommy & Catie

Now, I realize that my eyebrows are way too heavy and they’re a big ol’ mess. So I needed to get them tidied up. I know that. But I think my eyebrow waxer lady yesterday might’ve been just a little bit overzealous.

Post-eyebrow wax

I look a little bit startled, don’t I? I mean, I’m intentionally not doing anything with my face in this picture, and still… Yeah. (Aside: good GOD, I look tired. And you can totally see my lazy eye in this picture. Lovely.)

I don’t think I’m at the point of breaking out the eyebrow pencil yet. But it’s weird. My face feels sort of naked and air-conditioned all of a sudden.