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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

New Orleans - 5 Year Anniversary and NICU Reunion

Tim and I celebrated five years of marriage on June 9th.  We started dating nine years ago on June 8, 2003.  We figured that it was time we took a trip, just the two of us.  Keep in mind that since bringing the twins home from the NICU I have spent one night away, and he has spent two.  We had yet to have an entire evening alone since becoming parents.  My precious mother agreed to keep the twins so that we could celebrate.  My sister Lauri, niece Mallory, and nephew all chipped in to help watch the dynamic duo!  Thank you for allowing us to get away!  We had a wonderful time and ate wonderful food.  It was very strange being alone for such a long period of time.  We were able to stay out late and sleep in, which was awesome! 

We arrived on Sunday evening and checked in to the Westin on the river.  While in the lobby I heard a very familiar voice and turned to see Arnold "The Terminator," standing right beside me.  He was staying there too, and was surrounded by a small army of bodyguards.  We headed to dinner at The Court of Two Sisters in the French Quarter.  The food was delicious!  We then walked down Bourbon Street, which was definitely an experience.  Even though it was a Sunday night, people were still in rare form and it was interesting to watch.  We headed back to our room and Tim played poker for a few hours at the neighboring hotel - Harrah's. 

On Monday we ate lunch at Bubba Gumps.  In every city we have visited that has a Bubbas (New York, Chicago, San Franciso), we have made a point to eat there, so we had to stick with tradition.  We then walked through the French Market and had beignets at Cafe Du Monde.  They were covered in powdered sugar and absolutely sinful.  We then visited a Voodoo shop, and explored more of the French Quarter.  On our way back to the hotel we passed the restaurant that everyone had recommended - Acme Oyster House.  We decided to stop in and try it out.  Being that I am not a fan of seafood of any kind, I have never tried an oyster, and that is still the case.  Tim tried one years ago and did not have a good experience, but he decided to give them another shot and HE LOVED THEM!!!  Their specialty was chargrilled oysters and he described them as heaven on a half-shell.  I loved their hushpuppies, and suprisingly at some fried fish.  We headed back to the room to rest for a bit, completely considering returning to Acme for dinner in a few hours.  Tim took a nap while I read and then we headed back out for the night.  We decided to try another restaurant with Oysters and they were a big disappointment!  We ended up back on Bourbon Street and hung out at a Karaoke joint.  It was hilarious to people watch.  After taking in more crazy sights we went back to Harrah's to check out the line for poker.  While sitting there watching I noticed Jonah Hill walk up.  He was in Superbad and most recently in the remake of 21 Jump Street.  I pointed him out to Tim and we couldn't be sure if it was him.  Tim walked me back to the room and then headed back for a game of poker, which he played with Mr. Hill himself.  He was telling the table all about movie sets and different celebrities.  He got knocked out before Tim, but shook his hand upon exiting the table.  Wow!!!!

On Tuesday, we rented a car and headed for breakfast at the famous Mother's.  I tried grits for the first time and fell in love!!!!  I have been missing out all of this time.  We drove around different neighborhoods and bought some magnets and t-shirts before heading to the airport.  We had a GREAT time celebrating our anniversary, but we were both so ready to see the twins.  Nothing beats being at home getting hugs and kisses from your babies!!

This past Saturday we went to the NICU reunion.  As we approached the registration table, the nurses could not believe how big the twins have gotten and how great they look.  It was so nice to see the faces of so many people who worked to keep our babies alive and healthy.  We will always have a special place in our hearts for that hospital, the doctors, and nurses!  We had gone to last year's reunion when the kids were just barely walking so they were very easy to contain.  This year was another story.  They were into everything!  They rode the horses (Brooklyn - 3 times, Tayden - 1 time), rode the train twice, jumped in the bounce house, played in the sandboxes, ate cotton candy and popcorn, had their fingerprints taken, a photobutton made, and got to take home goody bags with sunscreen, crayons, coloring books, and beach buckets.  We were able to see the two families that grew close to during our stay - the Simons (twins) and the Peets (triplets).  All of the babies are so grown-up and doing so well.  There was a day when we were all trapped inside four walls, listening to the steady beat of alarms and oxygen, praying for our children to all survive and thrive.  I don't think we ever imagined the day that we would be running after the kids, trying to get them to slow down.  God is so good, and I am grateful for these reminders of how far we have come in the last two years!  The twins had slept for maybe 15 minutes in the car on the way to the reunion and I fully expected them to crash the second we got in the car, but they didn't.  They wanted to talk about all of their adventures.  When we got home, Tayden finally gave in to sleep around 8, and Brooklyn followed at 9.  We figured they would wake up around 10 and want to eat and play for a few hours, but that did not happen.  They slept until 9 the next morning!!  I guess they were completely exhausted! 

On Sunday, we celebrated Father's Day with cupcakes from the Ultimate Cupcake in Weatherford (Tim's favorite).  We made him a card and plan to have dogtags made for him with the kids' names engraved.  We let Tim sleep in and made him a yummy breakfast.  We played all day and then got sushi for dinner.  It was a great family day.  We are so blessed to have such an amazing man as the leader of our family!  I knew Tim would be a great dad many years ago, but he continues to surprise me each and every day.  He is patient, fun-loving, sweet, playful, and most of all he loves each of us unconditionally.

It is always hard to be without my own dad on Father's Day!  I still think about him each and every day and miss him terribly.  I know he would have such a great time playing with the twins and that he would love Tim.  I long for the day when I get to see him again and give him a big hug.  I know he will be my personal tour guide around Heaven, and I can only imagine he will have many great stories to tell.  I have to remind myself that I had the greatest father ever for 20 years, which seems like a very short time, but it is truly more than many people have in a lifetime.  Those years were full of laughter and memories that make it possible to get through each day without him. 

On the plane

The Louis Armstrong International Airport

The gate at The Court of Two Sisters

Five years and two children later

Jackson Square

This guy was playing an instrument that he made himself

Yes, he was standing in a plate eating powdered sugar

There are people inside of these crazy costumes, standing outside in 100 degree heat

Historic Landmark

The chargrilled oyster

View from our hotel



1st popsicle of the summer

Brooklyn - ride #1

Tayden - ride #1


On the train

bounce house

Tim wanted to join the fun

bubble machine

cowboy hats

Simon and Russell twins

someone had the great idea of using a hula hoop to wrangle all of the kids


NICU roomies - Brooklyn, Tayden, Alex, and Will