From New Orleans, With Love


Lately the weather has been cooling down and with our back-to-school lists are now displayed on the fridge serving as a big reminder that summer is nearly at it’s end.  This weekend we’re taking Dallas shopping for school clothes to go off to second grade in a few short weeks (someone pinch me!) but before I fully commit to the school year mindset I wanted to reflect and share on our summer adventures so far, and the biggest of all was our first family vacation!



I know, I know, how has it taken us THIS long to go on a family trip?!  Well, I don't know, but I'm glad we finally did it.  We all packed into the car (the dogs included) and drove from Michigan to Mississippi to spend a few days with one of my best friends on the planet (you might know her as BlendingbyBetty on Instagram) before all setting off for New Orleans together.  Bridget is one of the very first people that I met after starting my little business and her friendship has been one of my most treasured relationships over these past few years.  I can’t tell you how good it was for the soul to be reunited with her and get to meet her sweet little boy - watching Dallas and Kett meet and play together was enough to make my little mama heart explode.  Most of our time in Mississippi was just spent at Bridget's house, snuggling babies, reading books, and drinking wine on the couch after the kiddos went to bed, but it was truly the best.

 

While in Mississippi we took a day to hike Red Bluff in Foxworth which was absolutely beautiful.  While I’ll admit that seeing my fearless child curiously exploring the canyon alongside my husband may have made me panic a little bit, it was such a cool experience and such a beautiful area.  We took the dogs along and spent our day just exploring the area and taking it all in.  We went back tired, sweaty and sun-kissed so I'd say it was a success.






We drove from Mississippi to New Orleans the following night and spent our first day in New Orleans just exploring the French Quarter.  It was so cool to see the beautiful architecture, eat some real New Orleans (vegan) Gumbo, and explore the local artisan and voodoo shops.  We took the ferry down the river which might have been Dallas’s favorite part.  The view of the city from the water was so cool!  And of course had to indulge in a Hurricane (or two!) while walking around.






Our second day in New Orleans we spent the day in City Park, and went to the art museum and sculpture gardens.  It was the perfect day to spend in the sculpture gardens, the weather was so beautiful and I am still dreaming of the gorgeous landscape - I wish we had lush palm trees like that in Michigan!  

That night we of course had to hit up Bourbon Street which was such an experience in itself.  Dallas got all the beads (apparently you just have to be a super cute kid, who knew!). It was so fun seeing the characters that New Orleans brings out and so much fun just people watching while we walked around.  Of course we had to get a few daiquiris to-go (and a slushie for Dallas!) and get the full (kid-friendly) experience.  My favorite spot was of course Marie Laveau’s voodoo shop, and it was so cool seeing all of the sights like the swinging legs at Big Daddy’s, all of the street performers, and of course the folks dressed in full-on Mardi Gras costume.  We left before it got too wild down there but it is definitely an experience we won’t soon forget.




One thing that I was really pleasantly surprised by in New Orleans was how many vegan friendly options there were!  Two of our absolute favorite spots that we went to (both 100% vegan) were Seed and Sweet Soulfood.  Definite must-haves if you’re visiting!  It was so cool getting to experience real southern soul food like jambalaya, gumbo, cornbread pudding, and I swear I could go on and on listing all the amazing things we ate - ugh I swear my mouth is watering just thinking about it all again.



On our last day in New Orleans we spent a little more time in City Park before getting back on the road en route to Tennessee for bouldering in Stonefort the next day (which Alex will probably tell you is the only reason he agreed to this trip in the first place).  



Being in Stonefort was a really cool experience.  I haven’t climbed outdoors very much myself, but Alex was definitely in heaven.  It was awesome being out in it, attempting a few routes, and watching everyone as they worked on their projects.  Dallas surprised us and was quite the little crusher!  I know that this was definitely Alex's favorite part of the trip and getting to see him so in his element having this experience and climbing out there was awesome.  







After spending the day climbing we packed back in the car and started on the long drive home.  Our trip was packed with so many different things, but I think that just taking the time away together to forget about responsibilities, and work, and the routine, and experiencing something new and exciting together as a family was the best part of it all.  I think we found a lot of things that we weren’t looking for along the way, and it definitely opened my eyes to where l need to make some shifts and changes, and prioritizing time away like this trip is climbing (pun obviously intended) to the top of that list.  This trip was absolutely everything that my heart needed and I’m so so thankful that we were able to take the time away and make it happen.

 


Most of these photos are quick cellphone snaps and it seems fitting that when we got home to upload our in-camera photos that we'd quickly realize that nearly all of them were photos that I took of Alex and Dallas while climbing, but I think that is the perfect reminder that we were out there living in the moment and truly enjoying every second of this trip together.  I know this is a bit of a deeper dive into our personal life than what I normally post here, so I hope that you enjoyed this little peek into our trip too!

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