Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Florida and Downtown Disney

We were off to Florida where we would be spending quite a lot of our 7 week trip.

We left Alabama while the kids were still sleeping and Ben was the last one to wake up, even our dog, Honey, joined him!

When we arrived in Florida, Zach (my saver, he loves to keep things and finds the coolest things) found this colorful leaf

Another picture by a state sign (I'm going to have to do something cool with all of these state pictures, leave me a comment if you think of anything good or crafty that I can do with them).

 We found the biggest bug, I made Ben put his hand by it so you could see how big it really was!

Disney World was a huge compound, nothing like Disneyland Park near us. And I thought New Orleans was the most expensive campground, until we came to Camp Wilderness, the official Disney World Campground.

There were many tiny (maybe baby) lizards all over the campground, my boys loved finding them and picking them up. They enjoyed walking around the campground, which was flooded 

 We took the tram/bus from the campground to Downtown Disney and got all of our shopping in, so we wouldn't do it while visiting the park, since we were only planning on spending one day at the park. We bought our tickets the day before from a local Walmart.

After shopping we walked out to a squirting Stitch from the movie Lilo and Stitch. The boys had fun getting wet and it was nice since it was still hot out.

My silly boys still having fun getting wet!

As we were leaving I saw these and wanted them to put their heads through the middles of the shirts...

 but they didn't figure it out!

 We took the bus back to the campground, but ended up getting on the wrong bus and taking an extremely long bus trip through all of the hotels and back to Downtown Disney to get on the right bus. Not sure how I messed that one up, but I did!!

 We finally made our way back to the campground, very tired, and went straight to bed! Very excited to spend the day at Disney World, the kids picked it instead of the other parks when we said we were only going to one of them.

Alabama Detour to see the cousins!

We knew that while on our cross country bucket list trip, we wanted to visit as many family members as possible. After we left New Orleans, we had about a 6 hour drive up to my cousins house in Alabama. The Eastern states are so close that it's fairly easy to bounce around.
Another state to add to our growing list!

Since we are vegetarian, people often don't know what to cook for us, so we ended up going out to a Mexican food restaurant in the downtown area.
 After dinner the kids were given food to feed the fish in the pond and they all loved it!

Then we returned to their beautifully decorated house (my cousin's wife, Holly, is such a great decorator).
We took a picture of the cousins!

Then we had the kids take a "silly" picture. I think my kids were a little more silly!!

After this we went to their community pool and swam until late in the night. Swimming at night is great because it gets the kids extra tired and they continued to sleep a couple hours after we left my cousins house, which makes for a nice quiet RV drive for Sean and I for a couple of hours!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Hit and Run and Nawlins

We left Tennessee for New Orleans early in the morning so that we could get there in time to enjoy the evening there. We planned to stay 2 nights at the campground.
 We drove through Mississippi and at one point, Sean decided that he didn't want to drive and that it was my turn. So he pulled off the freeway at a gas station and we switched drivers. When I was pulling out of the gas station, Sean said "you are way to close to that car, you're gotta hit it!"  I pulled out of the gas station and paused in the street to see if I did scrape the car, like Sean thought I may have, but there was no movement from the car, even though there were people in it. So I got on the freeway ans headed south to New Orleans, when about 10 minutes later I see the car that I came close to following us. I pulled over off the freeway. Looking in the back up camera and rear view mirrors I could see two big tattooed me get out of the car as they followed us off the freeway! I told Sean and he said "kids, stay in the RV" while he and I were getting out. The men said they were sleeping in the car with their girlfriends when one said they felt a bump and saw an RV, so they didn't even fully realize if we had bumped them or not and we told them we knew we got really close, but didn't feel anything. We saw a mark on their car in the front, but one of the men rubbed it out and we rubbed out a mark on the side of our RV. The men, however scary they were, ended up being very nice and said "it's an old beat up car, we're not going to worry about it. Enjoy your trip!" Wow, were we ever shocked! People in Mississippi were so nice, or like Sean says they were still drunk from the night before and didn't want to get into trouble for that.
 We continued on our trip and made it to New Orleans. I must say, I have never felt heat like this before. I am now worried about Florida and the rest of the East!
It was a beautiful drive across a very long bridge.
We drove past the Mercedes Benz Superdome

We hit the town and were not really impressed. The only thing I enjoyed was the architecture. It was definitely not a place for kids! About half of the shops on Bourbon street were strip clubs, many with half naked women poking out of the shop trying to lure men in. One store had porn playing on a big screen as we walked by, luckily none of my children saw it.

 We walked around in the heat and found a nice place to eat with air conditioning. The wait was long, but we wanted to really experience the town and many people told us about this restaurant, since we had never been there before and would probably never go back. 

 Patiently waiting for our table!

 Once seated, Sean and I ordered a fried Cajun seafood platter that had a large fried crab! The boys thought it was great and wanted pictures with it and to taste it, since they both really enjoy seafood. Here is Zach with the crab (don't worry, there was no shell), but it still was the shape of a crab!
Ben waiting for his turn as Josh takes a bite of the crab!
We ended the evening by walking back to our campground, which was the nicest campground we have stayed at so far. We stopped at a fun shop where the boys tried on hats for a full experience! Boy did they look cute!!
 After we got back from Bourbon Street, we went swimming. It was a great place to cool down and get the kids tired out for a good night's sleep. (I had to take these pool pictures the next morning as it was too dark when we were there at night.)

 Here is the picture of the campground, it was right next to Bourbon Street, we only had to walk a couple blocks! Each spot was paved and had a little grass, but it was just so clean and in the perfect location for us. Which is probably why it is the most expensive camp ground we stayed at!

 In the morning we walked around the town a little more, it was still hot and there were people all over cleaning up the area, washing the sidewalk off, etc. We were told that we had to eat a beignet and that there was no better place than the famous Cafe Du Monde. We were lucky to find a seat fairly quickly when we arrived. When we left there was a very long line of people waiting to get a seat. 

The beignets were great! We all enjoyed them and the boys got powdered sugar all over themselves!

I took some pictures of the architecture in hopes of framing some when we get home.
I plan on doing this and already have taken some nice scenic photos so that I can frame them and hang them in our dining room as a reminder of all that we did as a family!
Our walk back to the campground was even more beautiful in the day! But it was still overwhelmingly hot!!
We decided not to stay another night as we felt we did everything in New Orleans that you can do as a family and there was no point in staying another night, so we left in the morning and headed up to my cousins house in Alabama.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Tennessee for few days

We arrived in Tennessee to visit with Sean's sister, Kirstin and her husband Jeff and their baby daughter, Avery!
Everyone took turns holding baby Avery!

For most of our visit, we just hung out with the family and relaxed. The first night, they had friends over, who we met at their wedding a little over a year before. It was funny because we started off the night by hanging out in our cramped RV (which we seemed to do at almost every stop. It's cozy and people seem to want to hang in it, maybe to get a sense of what it's like living in an RV like we were doing). Kirstin and Jeff's friends son named our RV, Brass Monkey (like the Beastie Boys song, not really sure why, but it fit!)

After a couple of days Sean brought the RV to a shop to get the AC fixed as it just wasn't working quite right and we were now going to need it to work as we were getting more into the hot part of summer and further south where the heat and humidity are. It was great to sleep in a bed at their house and to have our own rooms rather than one big room in the RV and one bathroom to share between the 6 of us. We could actually wander around the house, take long showers and enjoy family time.
Avery and Ben at dinner one night. Ben looks like such a giant next to Avery, but he'll always be my baby!
One thing my boys loved was helping give baby Avery a bath, they all fell in love with her!
 We took walks around their neighborhood, which was around a lake. It rained a few times, but was warm out and felt nice. It was nice to get our dog out of the RV, keeping her in their backyard, and to be able to take long walks with her. On one of our walks we all had a good laugh because she hopped into the lake! 

 Tennessee was nice. It was fun wandering around the neighborhood and driving around in a rental car that we rented. Faith and I spent an afternoon at the local mall.
 The homes in the area were beautiful and so different 
than the homes in California.

On our last afternoon in Tennessee, we went down to Beale Street, but as vegetarians we did not eat any ribs (we had them a couple of years ago when we visited). We ate veggie burgers at the Hard Rock Cafe
Sean's great big beer!

 Sean with all the little kiddos!

Aunt Kirstin and Avery

Cousins on Beale Street
 My turn to hold Avery!
 Just down around the corner from Beale Street we found this colorful lion and Faith got a little playful for the photo!!

Tennessee was a nice stopping place and it was fun staying with family, but our cross country bucketlist trip had to comtinue, so we left on July 15th.