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Nearly half a million babies (1 in 10) are born premature in the US each year which is higher than that of most other developed nations. This is the journeys of our first born son, Finnegan, who was born 14 weeks early and weighed only 1 pound 15 ounces at birth. Of our daugher, Korrigan, who was born a healthy 7 pounds, 7 ounces at 37 weeks. And of our second son, MacKeegan, who was also born at 37 weeks at a whopping 8 pounds, 13 ounces. Our continued adventures reminds us daily how good God is.

Friday, February 17

The Big Easy

On a whim (and to use his free companion airline ticket), Jim surprised me with a long weekend trip to New Orleans Feb 10 through 13. The best part? He arranged care for the kids, so I literally didn't have to do anything but pack! So awesome. Our amazing moms were able to split the time watching the kiddos: Lynn Thursday evening until Saturday and my mom Saturday until Monday evening. Perfect. And a HUGE thank you!!! The kids LOVED the time with them. (duh!)

Anyway, Jim and I headed to the airport Thursday evening. Not to get on the plane, but to be near the airport Friday morning, since we had a morning flight (and it is cheaper to leave a vehicle at a hotel near the airport than actually at the airport). The flight was uneventful, what I remember of it (I MAY have drank a little too much...oops!).

Having a drink in Delta's Sky Club before our flight.
The trip was amazing and so was New Orleans. We stayed right in the French Quarter, a block off of Bourbon St. We didn't realize that Mardi Gras is a SEASON there, not a day, which starts Jan 6! Who knew? So it was perfect...lots of activity but not super crazy like it will be ON Mardi Gras. Honestly, I loved everything about the city, the food, the culture, everything!

View from our balcony into our bedroom and sitting room
Well, except our ghost. Yes, you read that correctly. So pretty much everything in New Orleans claims to be haunted. Yeah, yeah. Whatever...right? Well, our hotel was actually five houses that were converted into a hotel and are very old...and haunted. Two rooms are particularly haunted and yup, you guessed it...ours was one of them!

Our amazing bathroom

Honestly, I'm not necessarily a non-believer in ghosts but I don't WANT them to be real and I feel like if they really, truly are real, why isn't there more evidence and proof? Right? Well, I can't say I don't believe any more. Elizabeth (Jim did some research and the ghost in our room is named Elizabeth) made her presence known, especially to me. The first night I woke to the sound of high heels walking on the floor, but thought it was somebody outside on the balcony (which we shared with another room). Jim later confirmed there was nobody outside all night with him. Later I woke up to what felt like a kick ball hitting my face (like a game of dodge ball...seriously!). I couldn't get rid of the feeling that it would happen again until I rolled over to Jim's side of the bed (please note, every one of my experiences happened when Jim was gone or sleeping!). The next night I woke up to loud noises at the door. I assumed that Jim, who'd gone out to walk on Bourbon St earlier, drank too much and lost his key. When I got to the door, there was nobody there or in the hallway. The third night, I woke up to noises that I thought were voices. I woke Jim up but they'd gone away by then. CREEPY to say the least. Then on our last day when we were getting ready to leave, I was in the bathroom and Jim had the EXACT same experience with the door that I did but he was awake and SAW IT MOVING and nobody was there when he opened it (he thought it was house keeping). Seriously. So crazy.

St. Louis Cathedral behind us.
Anyway, ghosts aside (or maybe because of them if you're into it!), we both highly recommend New Orleans. Our basic goal was to eat (and drink!) our way through New Orleans. We went to eat at Arnauds Friday night (my fish dish was the best we'd ever had and they introduce us to potato souffles...beyond yum!!). Saturday we met an old work acquaintance at Galatoire's and had lunch. So good and I even liked the red wine Jim picked...which I NEVER do. Saturday night we went to GW Fin's, which was fabulous as well. Sunday we went to Nola Poboys for shrimp poboys. Now, my bar is really high for poboys because Jim makes AMAZING poboys...but these were superb. If Jim could steal their bread, his would be perfection. Sunday, we walked all way to Emeril's Restaurant, which was a good 30 minute walk one way. Jim had the BRILLIANT idea for me to put my heals in my purse and wear flip flops. Saved my feet for sure. Monday morning, we went to Cafe Du Monde for...what else...beignets! They were good, but I don't understand waiting for HOURS to get them...hence we went Monday morning instead :)

Bourbon Street!

The only things we missed were Bananas Foster and a muffuletta sandwich. Next time. On Sunday, we went to mass at St. Louis Cathederal, which was amazing, even for the non-Catholic in our twosome! We will for sure be back. Next time we'd like to go on some tours and see more of it (since we've now had all the food!). We HIGHLY recommend it to anybody looking for a really fun weekend adventure. Oh, be sure to get a room with a balcony because sitting on our balcony was probably the highlight of the trip for me. Relaxing, drinking and people watching (without having to be in the crowds, which I hate).
View to the left and right of our balcony!

Our next (as of yet unplanned) weekend destination? New York!!! You better be ready, Sasha!!! Nashville is also on the list. Any other fun cities you recommend visiting for a long weekend? Now that we know how much fun long weekend vacations are, we plan on doing them more often, if/when we can!

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