Because the week is filled with hectic schedules and not as much family time as I'd like, I love love LOVE to savor our family togetherness through the lens on the weekends. This is the most special time because we're all together the entire weekend and being with my family (and capturing it all) is my number one passion of all. (all photos taken with iPhone and edited with the Adobe Photoshop Express app)
This weekend, I savored (through my iPhone lens) our last weekend attending French Quarter Fest in NOLA. Booooooooo! :(
We haven't been in two years because the last two years it rained AND we had two little kiddos, so we just said, yep, not going!
And, honestly, I wasn't even sure if I wanted to attend this year because I'm kinda over NOLA and actually really ready to move.
But when I went down to the city last week, a few days before the festival was starting, for Cs field trip at the Aquarium, and I saw all the stages set up and the food tents, I started to get excited for it because I was reminded of all the fun we always have when we go and that it's always been our favorite festival.
And then once we got to the fest, I was looking around, taking it all in, and I started to feel sad. In that moment, I realized something that I didn't think I'd ever say...that, I'm going to miss NOLA!
Especially all the music and food festivals we've attended during our entire seven years here. And because of that, I started going picture crazy so I can SAVOR it all, because we only have seven weeks left. OH MY GOSH!
Now, don't let this first picture fool you. Right before I took this, the kiddos were having crazy meltdowns in the house.
C had fixed her hair and I accidentally touched it and caused it to slightly mess up which had her VERY mad at me and then she wanted me to paint her nails and then little bro wanted his nails painted the same color, but he had to wait and he was MAD!!!
If you see blue paint on lil' bro's fingernails, this is why.
He always wants to be like his sister right now. :)
So once things settled and we were in the car, I had to snap these CALM and happy faces. Ahhhh! And, yes, C has on my lipstick...she's SO into makeup right now? What!?!? I had NO idea this starts at such an early age. OMG!
When we arrived, the steamboat was playing. This is always my favorite.
Check out those group of people in the left picture, on the right. They were all dancing it up AND they all had on The Amazing Race shirts...I was SO curious if they were on the show and/or how they were affiliated with it.
They had an awesome area for the kids this year. Not sure how new this is, but it's the first year we've seen it. We ALL loved it.
They weren't huge fans of the animal skins, but the shells were a big hit! Especially with Luca.
I LOVED this idea for creating the water cycle (teacher friends, you might, too!) and C just looked SO cute waiting to watch a video that ended up not working at all.
I couldn't help but SAVOR his cuteness as we waited for C.
Last up, the kids and D got to play with remote control robots that a local school students made. That was pretty cool to see!
And I loved savoring my surroundings while waiting for the kiddos to get their face paint on.
A very still cat and a butterfly for the win!
We sure did luck out this year. The weather was the best we've had since we've moved here seven years ago. THE ABSOLUTE BEST!!
The best part about taking the kiddos to these festivals in the city, especially French Quarter fest, is that everything is located all around the Aquarium.
Since we have a membership, we take in the festival and then hit up the Aquarium when the kids get ancy. It's worked SO well for us! D and I get some adult NOLA fun and the kids get their fun, too!
So on our way to go see the fishies, we made a pit stop at our favorite food tent, Desire Oyster Bar to get some Bread Pudding with Bourbon sauce. It still doesn't disappoint. C even remembered it from way back and her "this is heaven!" face made an appearance while eating it!
Off the aquarium we go, while listening to the sounds of NOLA! Yep...really gonna miss this!
Oh this sibling moment right here made me stop and smile while D got our tickets for the Aquarium.
The rainforest tree house is always their fav...Luca wanted no part in the picture and kept running full speed ahead!
Until we got to his favorite part....feeding the birds. The coolest part...we still got to hear all the festival music because the stage was right below this area. Oh yeah! Gotta love NOLA for that!
One last penguin look before taking D and Luca to the Tiny Giants 3D IMAX film that C and I saw while on her field trip. She was so excited to go back with her Daddy and Luca.
And then this little guy was tuckered out so we went home. Awweeee!
The next morning, D was gonna take the kiddos to get breakfast, then go the playground and the grocery store, so I could sleep in and relax a bit. As much as that sounded amazing, I ended up going with them.
I'm SO glad I did because the weather was AMAZING and we all had a really nice time together. We got bagels from Creole Bagelry and brought them to the playground for a breakfast picnic.
Then the kiddos had lots of fun, like all kids do, at the playground.
While I was with Luca for a bit...savoring him on these swings that he's just about ready to be outgrown of, or really, IS already outgrown of, I couldn't help but BE pulled into the present moment.
While I was talking and swinging my boy, I looked over to my left and smiled big because these two were having a giggling moment together.
Then I felt the breeze and looked over to my left even more and could hear the wind blowing through the fresh, lime green leaves on the tree. And that blue sky backdrop...oh gosh! Pure beauty!
I smiled BIG and said, "thank you!" to the Universe that I came with my little family and didn't stay home to miss these uplifting and nourishing moments that my family and nature provides.
And this moment right here...as her Daddy spun her around as fast as he could, had all of us laughing with glee.
After she had enough spinning, her and I had some mommy-daughter time on the swings together. That is, once I pushed her and she got her momentum going.
I do love that she still asks me to push her. :)
And, of course, I still love that she still wants me to watch her do things, too! :)
All while, savoring up my boys from afar. Can you see them? :)
The zip-line was hilarious!! They'd BE so happy to do it and tell D to let go, but once they realized they didn't have his support they'd freak and say, DADDY!!! DON'T LET GO!! LOL!
And when they found out they only had five minutes left, they tried SO hard to continue to climb and climb so they wouldn't have to leave, until I told them, lets go to the store and get some white eggs so we can dye Easter eggs. And, boy, did that work super duper fast! Whoa!! LOL!
When we got home, D and I were told to come outside as fast as we could because they found a fuzzy caterpillar in the backyard. I'm glad they told us, because this one may not have been a nice one.
And then it was EGG COLORING time!! YAAAAAY!! Check out Luca's hand...oh yeah!! That was fun to to clean! LOL!
Then we ended this fabulous weather weekend with dinner on the patio. And, of course, I had to capture these two having a giggling, sibling moment.
They were having lots of fun blowing bubbles into their cups.
Then D figured out a way to upgrade their fun. C was like, OMG!! Ha!
And after seeing lil' bro stand on the chair and do it...
she had to do it, too!
And another giggling, sibling moment was captured and savored!
Ahhhhh...it's these moments that easily melt my busy mama stress away and remind me how lucky I am to be their mom and witness how much love they have for each other all while reminding me just how important is it to let go and let love and laughter and silliness in.
And, like I always say, there's no better way to transition from a fun-filled weekend to the night before the full week starts again than with some calming, coloring fun!
And, yes, Luca is wearing C's romper! Oh, this boy! He LOVES being like his sister! :)
But, as I look back on this weekend, I'm reminded of how jam packed and exhausting they can be. So when I first thought about going to French Quarter Fest, I thought,
"I really don't want to go...the kids will probably hate it and will have a meltdown like that last time when we went down to the city and after a full week of doing homework and getting the kids up and going in the morning for school, I really don't feel like walking all over the place and lugging around all their drinks and snacks...and we've been to FQF a bunch of times and I'm pretty over NOLA and the food and I don't feel like dealing with all the people and so and so on..."
I'm now SO glad we went, because as much as I thought I was done with NOLA and ready to move on, I came to realize that I'm truly gonna miss this place and everything it offers (like all the amazing festivals that are filled with local music, food from all the local restaurants and the most expressive, creative art that you can't find anywhere else here in the US).
And even though I spent the majority of our time here in a deep mental baby and toddler fog, I was reminded that I truly did enjoy our time here, more than I thought I had, and I actually can't wait to visit again, like D and I talk about a lot.
And the next day, I could have stayed home in our quiet house and relaxed by myself for a bit while D took the kids out, but I'm SO glad I went went them because I was reminded how nourishing it is to BE out in nature with my little family and just how important it is to SAVOR them up, because before I know it, they're not going to want me or need me to push them on the swings at the playground anymore or watch them do exciting things up on the slide and on climbing wall.
So, no matter how tired I am from #adulting and being a #mama and no matter how much my mind is telling me every reason in the book to not go do something fun with my family, I have remember that when my busy mama soul speaks...
Like when it told me, I'm excited to go French Quarter Fest after seeing all stages and food tents set up when at the Aquarium for C's field and when it told me to get up, take and shower and just go with the D and the kids to get breakfast and to the playground.
And not only did I hear its whispers, but I felt them. I FELT the excitement of the festival and I could FEEL the JOY it always brings me when we go. I FELT a little bit of sadness and I had deep, inner knowing, that if I didn't get up and go with the kids and D, I'd be missing out on some awesome family fun, that just FELT like something that was way more important than me staying home by myself and relaxing...and plus, I had Monday to do that while the kids are at school. ;)
I must listen to its wisdom!
Because, if I don't, I'll miss out on all the soul nourishing JOY moments that will fill my heart up with love!
I can't thank my intuitive, mama soul enough, because there's SO many times I let my exhausted mind win, but this time, she knew, that these moments, these beautiful and amazing moments, would reconnect me back to what I love and this time, she wasn't letting me miss them.
And, of course, I always listen to when she tells me to be still and rest, because sometimes that's exactly what my soul needs, but this weekend, I see, that my soul needed these JOYous NOLA moments because our time is quickly coming to end here.
Because, yes, I AM LOVE and it's this LOVE that connects me to the beauty that IS life, no matter how tired and exhausted I am. And it's these NOLA moments I love the most! :)
Until next time...
The camera...one of the best creative tools to help ME get out of my exhausted mama head + savor (fully enJOY!) all the JOY moments that fill my heart up with LOVE (something that's hard to do when my mind is running five miles ahead or behind the present moment)