Friday, April 10, 2015

Easter Fun!

I love Spring and when Easter falls at a time when it actually feels and looks like Spring, I am one happy lady!  Luckily, this year was beautiful, so we took full advantage of all the fun happening around us.

First up, Uncle Joey and Aunt Megan stopped by on their way back to Memphis from visiting a certain baby in New York.  Jeremy and Violet LOVE Joey and Megan.  Like LOVE. When they left, Violet begged to go home with them.  She literally looked at me and said she loved Megan more than me and wanted to go live with her.  Hmpf.

reading to the babies - the blonde one is named Penelope :)

Uncle Joey is the best at bedtime stories - ignore Jeremy's room mess

I can't blame them, though.  My little brother and his lovely wife are pretty awesome.

Then, we hit up the annual Eggstravaganza on campus.  It is hosted by our student leaders in Housing (The National Residence Hall Honorary, NRHH), so I knew all the great students running the event.  They do a great job to make sure it is a fair hunt and every kid gets prizes and eggs.  I love them.

cotton candy!!

painting crafts

our awesome student leaders with popcorn, cotton candy, treats, games, and fun!

Every kid was able to find a golden egg that corresponded to a prize on the table.  Jeremy won a packet of tablets that turn into dinosaurs (which he loved) and Violet won the Frozen scooter.  Of course she did.  What the heck.  I worry sometimes that they do this when I am there simply because the students know my kids.  But, she loved it and there was no way I was going to take it away after Austin presented it to her.

Later that week, we had a neighborhood egg hunt with the kids in our little cul de sac.  It was so much fun!  We have a ton of kids in our little historic neighborhood and I love that every day we just see kids running around and riding bikes all over the place.  The moms planned a lovely picnic and hunt for the little kids and the big kids (the teenagers) hunted eggs with money in them in the cemetery by our houses.  We had an awesome time.  Sara helped Violet work on riding her new scooter, and Kaitlin (who is in Jeremy's class at school) helped him ride his bike when one of the dad's removed his training wheels on a whim (more on that later).
LOVE our little old neighborhood

dying eggs

stealing a neighbor's sweet ride


For actual Easter Sunday, the bunny came and left fun baskets for the kids.  We subscribe to the "if it doesn't fit in a basket, it does not belong as an Easter treat" poor people philosophy.  The dollar section at target is my best friend.
no idea who these kids belong to...

bed head

immediately ran to her room to make dresses out of her new play dough

immediately ran to start building is lego creator

That silly bunny also hid 85 (what!?!) eggs around the house for the kids to find.  They were filled with jellybeans (kids candy of choice in our house), so it's not as decadent as it sounds.  They had a blast finding them all.

golden egg with a $2 bill inside!

Finally, Brian took Jeremy to Latin High Mass.  It is a cool mass that follows pre-Vatican II rules. Women have to cover their heads, the altar faces away, and the entire mass is said in Latin.  It is a beautiful service, and Jeremy got to see it for the first time.  Wisely, we agreed I would stay home with Violet as Easter is not the time for an evil spawn to enter the church (too harsh or too true?).  When they got back, I asked him what his favorite part was he and he said "When we got to leave."  Ha ha, I love the honesty of kids.
heehee, tiny Brian

my little princess

We had a lovely Easter week, and we hope everyone else did as well!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

New Orleans!

I had a conference in New Orleans that just happened to fall at the same time as Jeremy's spring break, so Brian and I decided to take advantage of the prime opportunity to totally dump our kids on other people and spend some time together.

We had a wonderful time!  Brian LOVES New Orleans, so he spent months reading up on all the great places to see and where we absolutely had to eat.  I am glad he did, because we managed to fit a lot of fun into a short period of time.

Fun on the street car (not named Desire, sadly)!
on the streetcar -  the drunk frat boys showed up later to make the end of our ride hilarious - after working on a college campus so long, that stuff doesn't bother me, but it was funny to see the other people appalled at their behavior

The house I picked out on our ride uptown.  
We took the street car uptown and ate at a fabulous tiny dive called Casamentos.  It has been featured on the Food Network and was so delicious.  I had fried crab claws and shrimp, while Brian had the soft shell crab.  Yummy!

famously fast oyster shuckers
nom nom nom
I was working, so Brian spent a lot of time roaming the city on his own, and he kept sending me fun pictures throughout the day.  He had a blast!  The boy loves anything historical, so he was set.

We spent a lot of time in the French Quarter, obviously, and we both decided we are now too old and boring to enjoy Bourbon Street.  I am OK with that.  I did have several drinks, which happens about once a year these days, and got some beads, so we were not total fuddy duddies.
beads and a cocktail-to-go
We ate beignets at Cafe Du Monde and they were insanely yummy.  Btw, we went on a Friday evening and immediately sat down and were served with no wait.  Saturday morning, we walked past and the line was literally hours long.  Don't do that.
mmm, I need another one...
Brian took a random pic of me in Cafe Du Monde
Jackson Square was really pretty.  I loved the park itself for its great views, but I also loved the fun booths and fortune tellers set up all around the perimeter.  New Orleans culture is such a hodge podge.

look - I got Brian in multiple photos!
Naturally, I had both my palms and my tarot cards read.  We did it at night by candlelight, so it was so fun.  Apparently, jealousy is in my past, I will have one marriage and no divorce, 2 maybe 3 kids (NOOO! I made her double check that just in case), financial happiness in 2015, travel to the East in the summer, and travel to the West in the fall.  I also have a big change coming that I need to not be afraid of.  Hilariously vague and would pretty much work for every single person who sat down in her chair.  I loved it.
so funny
We hit up the jazz/music scene on Frenchmen Street and heard a lovely jazz quartet in The Spotted Cat.  It was a fun little area full of music clubs that had a bit more of a calm vibe than the mess of the French Quarter at night.  We heard the Russell Welch Hot Jazz Quartet and I was very impressed.  Brian preferred the big band stylings of The Young Fellaz Brass Band, who he heard outside the cathedral.  Either way, good music was all over the place.
the spotted cat music club
It was more crowded and fun at night, but my daytime pictures turned out better
my hubs in the park
We ate even more amazing food, and hit up the The Old Coffee Pot in the French Quarter (also featured on the Food Network) for an incredible breakfast, and made sure to get a muffuletta from the originators of the famous sandwich at Central Grocery and Deli.  I am literally drooling as I type this remembering all of the amazing food.
old, outdoor seating, amazing breakfast
sooo good
Oh, we also found where William Faulkner lived in New Orleans (we will always be literature nerds) and it is converted into a great little bookstore.  They had a glass case of tons of first editions of his books.  So cool to see!
so handsome
Naturally, we needed to get the kids some souvenirs, so we got them VooDoo dolls.  Heehee.  They loved them.  We also got Jeremy a t-shirt and Violet some mardi gras beads with mermaids on them.
both bring positive things to the kiddos

they beelined for this when they got home
And I suppose I should mention that I was actually there to interview some amazing candidates for positions at UT.  We met some great potential Vols, and our own graduate assistants did a wonderful job interviewing for their first professional jobs post-master's degree.  Look at all the orange!  When hundreds upon hundreds of schools are set up to meet candidates, I have to say I love all of our obnoxious orange and how it stands out in a crowd!
our interview team: Jerry, Teddi, me, Stephanie, and Nequel - and a ton of orange
two of our overwhelmingly orange tables
me and my boss, Jerry
So thanks to UT for sending me to New Orleans to recruit some amazing new talent for our school.  Also, Good luck to Camille, Caroline, Amy, and Danny, our 4 amazing graduate assistants who interviewed for jobs at the conference and will make their new institutions proud!
I drove a van rather than hopped on a plane so I could give a ride to our amazing grads.  Love them!