Spending the Fourth with Family

We made a quick trip down to Baton Rouge to spend time with our families for the 4th of July holiday weekend. It's a long drive but with loads of activities and 2 DVD players we can make the 8-9 hour drive with minimal fussing from the Peanut Gallery.

We made it there in time for dinner with my family on Friday night. We only want that good Cajun cookin' when we go home so of course we had to go to Ralph and Kacoo's. It seems to have a permanent place on our Baton Rouge itinerary.

I love this picture of Nicholas with my brother and Dad. I'm so glad that Nicholas has such a good relationship with them even though we only see them a couple times a year.

My brother just naturally gets along well with the kids because he's just so naturally silly.

Of course we can't miss an opportunity for the BEST boudin in the world. I know it may not look yummy and you may not want to know what's really in it but seriously, this stuff is worth the drive all the way over here.

It's a little spicy but Rachel ate quite a bit of it. She was very lady-like in wanting a plate and fork. Mommy just picks it up and eats it like a hot dog!
We always stay at Stuart's parents' house when we are in town. She has always gone out of her way to make sure that our sleeping arrangements were taken care of. When Nicholas was a baby she had a crib for him then later a toddler bed. Once Rachel came along, she upgraded Nicholas to his own twin bed and then set up the crib again for Rachel. This time she had the toddler bed set up for Rachel. For some reason the absence of the crib makes me a little sad. It has been here for 7 years and now it will no longer be needed. It's just such a big reminder that my babies are growing up
Speaking of growing up, Alyssa has grown a lot since we last saw her and she looks great. Rachel has always been drawn to Alyssa. She spends a lot of time next to Alyssa when they come over to Stuart's parents' house.

One night she even laid down next to Alyssa and pulled her blanket over the two of them like they were going to take a nap together. I love to see the two of them together like this.

But Rachel doesn't stay still for long. If you don't keep an eye on her, you'll walk in to the kitchen at your in laws and find her doing this to their chair...

Grandmother always makes sure that the kids have lots of fun activities while we are there. Rachel had never used an easel before so she thought this was pretty special.

These cups of water were for rinsing her brush before changing colors but she may have dipped her brush in the paint and then directly in the cup a few times just for fun.

Rachel and I spent an afternoon at my Dad's new place. It was her first time to really look around his backyard. She seemed a little timid at first but that didn't last long.

She became obsessed with this little bird statue. She saw that Dad had a bird bath and she kept insisting that the bird wanted to go in the bird bath. Dad just looked at me and laughed.

But Rachel's got him wrapped around her finger so, of course, the bird ended up in the bird bath!

Dad even gave the bird some flowers. Rachel loved it! She had a full conversation with the bird statue in the bird bath.

Then she turned to the squirrel statue and announced that the squirrel wanted to go in the bird bath too!

And my Dad obliged. I love him for that!

But soon the bird and the squirrel were done with their baths. Rachel splashed most of the water out of the bird bath. Then she realized that the bird bath with light weight plastic and could be fun in so many ways. She spent a lot of time just rolling it all around!

Rachel is quite a little sneak and she knows how to hide and get away with things. Back at Stuart's parents' house, I heard a little rustling behind a table. What do I find back there but my little girl who has opened the new box of cookies that Grandmother just bought and eaten quite a few of them before getting caught.

The kids had fun playing in the little pool. It's good for some splashing fun to cool off after time in the sun. I love my camera because it can catch some good action shots. Here is a picture of Nicholas blocking the water with his empty pitcher.

This picture is neat and weird at the same time. Nicholas had just tossed the water from his pitcher onto his cousin. His hand and the pitcher are still moving down and his body and head are moving forward as he naturally follows through with the throwing motion. But the water moved more slowly and it looks like it's coming out of Nicholas' head! Isn't that weird?!

Rachel just had fun being a fish in the pool trying to make big splashes!

Sharing some afternoon fun on their grandparents' swing.
Ok, you know I won't make it to Baton Rouge without a trip to Coffee Call. That Cafe Au Lait and those beignets call to me all the way over in Texas. I love filling my children with that Southern Louisiana culture and a trip to Coffee Call is definitely part of that.

This was Rachel's first time at Coffee Call. Instead of the traditional beignets, we got her some smaller beignet fingers. She just cared about sprinkling the powdered sugar all by herself.

And of course, running her finger through any left over powdered sugar to be sure she didn't miss a single bit of sweet goodness.

We thought it was neat that she realized she could dunk the beignet finger in her hot chocolate. She did it like a pro. But all pride ceased when she then put the beignet finger on her plate and proceeded to squish out all of the hot chocolate with her fist!

We had our traditional fireworks fun in the driveway at Stuart's parents' house. My brother and Michelle joined us as well. Everyone had a great time except Rachel. She didn't like the loud ones or the sudden explosions so we spent time blowing bubbles in the backyard while everyone else played with fire in the front yard.

As always, we had a jam packed time while we were there. Everyone was tired.

Even while we packing up to leave, Nicholas and Rachel were snuggling up to get some rest on the couch before we hit the road.

We had a great time and always wish that we could visit more often.

But that drive...with two kids...one of them being the spunky age of 2...makes it hard to get over to see our family as often as we'd like to.
But we love you all and appreciate all that you do to make our visits fun and enjoyable. We miss you all like crazy!

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