We were debating what to do today, and I got a message from Lauren that she and our friend Cherie, along with Cherie’s two kids (Isabelle and Elliott) were planning a trip to the aquarium, and did we want to join them? Absolutely! That was actually one of the places I was thinking about going, and the kids being able to run around with each other made it a perfect idea! (Also, it’s air-conditioned.)
We met up at the Aquarium of the Americas at 10:00, right when it opened, and bought our tickets. It was too early to be really packed, so it was nice to be able to walk around and let the kids roam. Holland and Isabelle made fast friends, and they were basically inseparable for the rest of the afternoon. I think that Cherie and Lauren and I would have liked to have spent more time watching the penguins and otters and whatnot, but the kids barreled through the exhibits pretty quickly. The place we stopped the longest was “Adventure Island,” the little playground upstairs. They burned off some excess energy in there, and after that we were almost finished. A quick wander through the Gulf and jellyfish exhibits, and of course a stop in the gift shop on the way out. I’m glad Holland isn’t at the point where she wants the pricey stuff. A sippy cup with some starfish on it makes her pretty happy (although she did try to walk out with a four-foot-long stuffed shark).
We piled into the truck and drove to the French Market for lunch and to help Cherie in her pursuit for a ring. We went to the Magnolia Grill on Decatur, which isn’t the greatest place to eat in NOLA, but it’s good and kid-friendly. I can’t complain about the catfish po-boy, but the “hot” sauce on the tables was anything but. (Shameful.) From there, it was on to the French Market to walk off lunch and do a little shopping. The kids were getting a little overstimulated by the booths, toys, gator heads, and beads draped over all the tables, so we went to a few more quiet stores on our quest. Once Cherie found her ring, we stopped for a drink at Envie on Decatur. It was the most appropriate place, because we all certainly had the envie for something icy and delicious. Holland and I shared a hazelnut iced mocha and a ridiculously big chocolate-chip cookie, half of which is still in a bag in the kitchen!
Since Holland had never ridden the ferry, we decided to hop on that after dropping Cherie and her kids off at their car. At first, she wasn’t totally sure about the whole “boat” thing, but she gradually got interested in looking at the water. It wasn’t until we were docking on the Westbank that she got brave enough to get close and look out at the river, but once she did, she didn’t want to get back in the truck!
She was a sleepy girl by this point, and snoozed all the way back to Oma’s house. Good thing, because I wanted her to be in a good mood for her evening with Oma! I had a date with Angie and Lauren at Skate Country.
I haven’t been skating in literally fifteen years, but thankfully it’s like riding a bike. It only took a few wobbly minutes to get used to it again. Angie’s a manager there now, which is funny because she and I used to be some of their most regular customers many, many years ago! It was just as cheesy as I remembered, and the only things that have changed are the skates and the music. The building’s room collapsed during Katrina, and it held a few feet of water because the walls are cinderblock. It’s a little cleaner and more modern now, but the atmosphere is totally unchanged. We skated till our legs were wobbly and then got back into our shoes. A strange man flirted with us for a few minutes, and we left just in time because it was nearly impossible not to laugh.
Lauren and I stopped for a snack and drink at Chili’s, and then it was home and to bed for me! Tomorrow I have to find something to wear to Chantal’s baby shower because, of course, I forgot to pack something cute. Here’s hoping!