Well we made it home safe and sound!
17 hours straight in a small compact rental car wasn't great but we survived. Our trip south was absolutely perfect (minus getting a little turned around in southern Louisiana) we had the best time. Every day was pretty much packed with fun memories.
We started off our trip a little groggy, we left bright and early Wednesday morning. Thankfully our little one took some great (aka long) naps the entire trip, here he is right after his afternoon nap. We were going through Eastern Texas (Eastern Texas > Western Texas!) And I put in a request to stretch our legs at a lake, so of course I did what any mother would do and grabbed my camera bag.
This little trooper was awesome the entire way....I think he will be a seasoned traveler by the age of 5.
We eventually made our way into New Orleans Thursday Afternoon. We stayed in the French Quarter so promptly after checking into our hotel and parking our rental car, Mr. Cattlebuyer told me to lead the way to where I wanted to go (we were short on time people...only a few hours to explore the city). He assumed based on all my internet research (aka reading other blogs) I knew where I was going (haha!). Magazine street was on the top of my list. I just knew I would love it based on all my research....however after finding magazine street and walking 15 + blocks in, I realized just how LONG Magazine street really is. I knew we could either keep walking and not make it to anything else....or cut our losses and turn around and walk back to the French Quarter with hopes that maybe we could hit up Magazine the next day. I figured the latter would be better for everyone (Big C was getting hungry and Little C was persistent on riding a street car) So we did the logical and turned around to Canal Street.
We rode the Canal street streetcar (one of the things I researched we should do). Honestly I would have skipped it all together had we not had a little boy in tow. For the record, New Orleans isn't exactly a toddler friendly city. Public transportation totally grosses me out so I should have known better and Canal Street felt too tourist-y to me. But it put a smile on my little guys face so all's well that ends well.
Next we moved on to the French Quarter. Honestly, I was slightly overwhelmed at this point (Big C was still hungry...note to self. never let your husband get hungry.) So I suggested we stop at Cafe Du Monde (it was also on my must do/see list) so we grabbed some powder sugar beignets (highly recommend and got a sugar high in Jackson Square.
Basically by that point it was getting dark and I knew we needed to eat supper asap because both my boys were fading quickly. We also knew we didn't want to have our little guy out too late (we still had a big day of travel the next day) So we headed back to our hotel, regrouped, and then headed out for a quick supper at Oceanas. It was right off Bourbon Street and it was surprisingly great for a toddler friendly/family atmosphere. I really wanted to eat at Emeril's Restaurant, NOLA, but I looked into reservations a few weeks prior and they were already booked the night we were in town. Anyways-- by that point we were so exhausted from traveling and the sensory overload of New Orleans. All we needed was food and sleep. I wish we could have had a full day to explore a little bit more, there were so many quaint little boutiques I could have spent hours exploring & shopping!
Friday we woke up well rested and ready to take on the day. I snapped a few quick pictures at our hotel before loading up and taking off for Gulfport, Mississippi. We found our favorite Seabee waiting for us at his hotel. After exchanging hellos, we grabbed lunch and hopped back in the car to head for our surprise.
This is where things went a little wrong. We missed our turn off in New Orleans and unlike the midwest there is no quick exits or turn arounds to be had for miles in the swamp land. We were supposed to meet the rest of our family at 1:30 at our surprise destination. Unfortunately, 1:30 came and went and we were still not where we were supposed to be. Thankfully, the nice gentleman running our surprise said he would catch us up when we got there. Eventually after numerous phone calls, and 3 gps directions leading us to our location we found it.
Home of the Swamp People (Mr. Cattlebuyer and Uncle Cole are obsessed). We surprised Cole with a Swamp tour. It was fun (despite our late arrival) we joined up with the rest of the group. The boat tour lasted about 2 hours. It was too cold for the gators to come up....so we settled on the blue heron, turkey vultures, owl, and raccoon for our enjoyment. All-in-all it was super fun!
Do you spy the turkey vultures hovering in the trees?
We then headed back to Mississippi. At this point we were all sick and tired of being a vehicle. We drove up to 12 hours day 1, 7 hours day 2, and we had already been the car 4-5 hours on day 3. We went from Louisiana to Mississippi, back to Louisiana, then back to Mississippi.
I was so happy to wake up on Saturday knowing there wasn't any major driving involved in the plans. We headed out to the beach (btw it was freezing outside the entire trip...thus the northface and scarf). I of course brought my camera. So glad I did as later in the day it got cloudy and grey outside.
My favorite family picture:
Roverboy was LOVING the sand. He called it "his" beach and we had to kindly bribe him with the promise we would come back to play again.
Of course, my picture collection wouldn't be complete without a picture of the guy we drove all this way to see.
Saturday we spent the day at a family event planned for all the soon-to-be deployed service men/women and their families. It was so overwhelming to see all those individuals and their families all together in one place. Amazing to see so many individuals willing to give up their lives to serve our country. My Heroes. Please continue to pray for these service men and women because we are still sending these people overseas despite what you may hear or see on the news.
We ended our trip with a windy and cold walk on the pier and dinner at Shaggy's in Biloxi. We had to say goodbye to Uncle Cole Sunday Morning. Goodbyes are never an easy thing, but knowing he will be home in the fall and thinking about the welcome home party brings a smile to my face!
We will sure miss you Uncle Cole! May God keep you safe and protected from all harm and may he pour his unfailing love upon you always. We are so proud of you!