We wrapped up a weekend of some of the most incredible weather ever playing outside and putting the finishing touches on our Halloween decorations. Luz and I battled the fake cobweb decorations for what felt like hours and finally managed to get it to look at least somewhat authentic. I don't know though...I read the directions this year and paid very close attention to some nice examples around the neighborhood but ours still looks like it was created by someone totally inept (ahem). The kids like it, so I guess that is all that matters.
Christian coached volleyball Friday night, Saturday and Sunday so he was missing from most of our adventures. The kids and I checked out the Courtyard Grill on Friday night. This restaurant is a recent renovation of a long-standing NOLA favorite, Tee-Eva's. I was sad to see Tee-Eva's leave this location and somewhat heartbroken when they painted over the iconic mural during the renovations, but I am giving this place my support because I hate to see restaurants fail and I certainly do not want any more unoccupied buildings in my neighborhood.
I needed a place we could walk to and where the kids would not disturb other patrons and this seemed like the right spot. We sat outside on the covered deck and it was perfect. James could run up and down the ramp without getting too close to Magazine Street and there was enough noise and commotion that it didn't seem to bother anyone. Our waiter was incredibly accommodating and patient. He understood what it means to be dining with kids. Everything we ordered came out quickly and he had great suggestions for Luz and James. I don't think there is a need for another Middle Eastern themed restaurant in NOLA and I was disappointed when I discovered that this place is not just a 'grill' (something I think would actually do quite well on Magazine Street) and is, instead, focused more on kebabs than anything else. That said, the food was good and I will go back. I had a delicious salad and the kids had a totally kid-friendly burger and fries. We ordered hummus as an appetizer and the kids devoured it, but I found it somewhat bland. The homemade bread that was served with it was delicious and worth going back for. The prices were all reasonable but the kindness of our waiter was easily the best part of the experience.
On Saturday I woke up early to tackle a 10 mile training run - just a few weeks left until the 1/2 marathon and I am really looking forward to it, especially now that the weather is so nice.
After the run I took the kids to their friend, Elizabeth's, birthday party. It was Halloween-themed, of course, so it was the first of many opportunities for Luz and James to test out some of their costumes. I bet you can guess what Luz had on, oh yeah, all weekend (unless I insisted she put on 'regular' clothes). The obsession with the gown might be borderline unhealthy.
and James got to play with Joseph, also a Superman:
When Christian got home from coaching we headed out to Oktoberfest and it was a total madhouse. Admittedly, this is not high on my list of favorite NOLA activities, but Christian loves it and so does Luz so I mustered the wherewithal, albeit somewhat grudgingly. It was as chaotic as I expected it to be but the kids had a great time practicing the chicken dance and running around the neutral ground (they expanded this year and blocked off part of the street - which was a huge improvement). Most importantly, Christian was able to enjoy two plates of his favorite food in the city, food he can only get once a year (and, incidentally, maybe not at all next year depending upon the fate of Deutsches Haus).
With wreath in hair:
Practicing the chicken dance:
Relaxing in a borrowed chair :
We spent the morning at the City Park fall garden show. The gardening part is, for the most part, lost on me, but I enjoy looking at all the flowers and seeing what is for sale. The highlight is the scarecrow trail. For the past 3 years Luz's class has created one and it is always fun to go around the trail hunting for the one that her class created. It took a while this year and it just happened to be in the miniature train area, which means we stayed in that section of City Park for about an hour because James was riveted. This event is only over one weekend and I wish it lasted longer. I recommend checking it out if you are in the NOLA area and looking for an excuse to walk around the Bot Gardens at City Park. There were artists' booths set up, craft tables for kids and plenty of food and drinks (Abita beer and mojitos - it doesn't get much better than that).
After our morning in City Park we visited with GG and Papa George and watched a bit of the Saints game. As usual GG sent us home with all sorts of goodies, including some delicious lentil soup! Luz and James love playing with all of GG's treasures and could easily spend hours there playing and exploring.
I am not sure what the weather will be like next weekend but my fingers are crossed for more incredible weather. I have a few ideas of some things I would like to do, including a trip to Cafe du Monde and the French Market to pick out our pumpkins (a Eustis family tradition). Until then though, there is a week of work and schedule juggling and routine craziness to get through. Here we go!