Sunday, February 26, 2012

another photo project update.

february twenty third: your shoes.
february twenty fourth: inside your bathroom cabinet.
{chad, ali}

february twenty fifth: green.
{ali, chad}

february twenty sixth: night.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

mardi gras in the big easy {2012}.

I've been trying to figure out a good way to tell you all about our first ever Mardi Gras experience here in the Crescent City. The whole week I have been hesitating and trying to figure out if I liked it or if I didn't like it.

I think I narrowed it down. To both.

Okay, so I didn't narrow it down. But I can say, when we went to see a couple parades on Monday, we did have fun. Seth's mom was in town (hi, Paula!) and she wanted to experience the events too. Side note: I love moms. We've had two here in the last two weeks and even though our apartment is even more full, it has been a blessing for sure. I like watching how much they care for their children even after they've grown and started their own lives. I really can't wait to be a mom someday. Emphasis on the someday.

We started with a trip on the street car down St. Charles as far as it would take us. Once we couldn't go any farther, we went for a stroll to find a place to watch the parades. First, we had to stop for some cotton candy from this guy. Tina is slowly introducing me to her favorite 'carnival' treats. Of course, I have had cotton candy before, but apparently, that's the only treat I have. I had no idea there are so many.

The street was FILLED with people and tents and food and probably lots of other things I'd rather not know about. I knew this was a big deal, but I still don't think I was prepared for all of the preparation everyone went through to get ready. At this point we had missed an earlier parade, so the garbage was already starting to pile up (one of the things that I didn't really like about the whole day).

The many outfits we saw were.. interesting.

If you can't tell, that cooler contained crawfish. Living ones. One of the men at this 'camp' would grab one and let it pinch his ear for everyone that would stop along the way. They were cooking them in the huge pot you can see in the photo above.

After passing through crowds, and seeing probably the biggest group of people doing the cupid shuffle I've ever seen, we found a little restaurant and decided to stop there. Turns out it was a perfect spot to see the parades and also stay out of the craziness for a bit. We enjoyed drinks and hors d'oeuvres while watching the first of two parades.

(My camera died on our way there so all of these photos are from my phone. Hopefully you can tell what everything is. That is a really big fish.) Then we thought we would get a little closer. Which brought some of us home with battle wounds from flying beads. I'm not even joking, Tina had a small cut on her nose. There was a really fun group of people next to us and one of the women left with a huge welt on her forehead.

Fair warning: they don't mess around with the beads here, people.

So, the second parade was apparently founded by Harry Connick Jr. a while back in an effort to get both men AND women involved. There is so much to learn.

photo one: Bret Michaels.
two: Harry Connick Jr., Mariska Hargitay, and Hillary Swank.
three: Cyndi Lauper (looking.. 'tired')
{I know. you're not convinced. you can't really tell, just trust me.}

So it was pretty entertaining, really. We laughed a lot at how aggressive the bead throwers were and how desperate everyone was to catch beads.

The trees on St. Charles look like this all year. But right now they're just a little extra festive.

That next photo is when we started feeling a little.. heavy. Sure it was a good time, but some people were having TOO much fun. The city was trashed. And hearing about how Mardi Gras was originally a family thing, and how the locals take pride in their family parades and celebrations, it was sad to see what us humans have made it. And how terrible we can treat the beautiful earth that God has blessed us with. We heard that the main reason New Orleans has an 'out of control' reputation is because of all the people that come to visit. As Chad said, 'we are a messy people.'

All of the festivities were happening at least three weeks prior to that. There were over sixty parades. So every weekend, there were multiple parades and after, the streets looked like there was a nuclear fallout (<--a little bit dramatic).

Needless to say, we were all satisfied with one night of that.

I'm sure we'll go out once next year, but I'd rather not feed into the craziness that the true locals don't really like. At least from what we have heard. We also heard many of them get out of town during Mardi Gras. I hope to continue learning more about the origins of all of the festivities during our time here so we can celebrate accordingly. (:

{note: no unnecessary showing of inappropriate skin occurred to acquire these beads. (: no really, they were just throwing them out to everyone.}

Thursday, February 23, 2012

i. gratitude.

Starting a new series here. For the past year or so I've been learning about gratitude. About what life looks like when giving thanks for ALL things. This journey has led me to learning about joy. I believe it will be a forever journey and I hope I continue to learn many new things. And even for that, I am grateful.

I am also grateful for a special someone. Yes, Chad, for you I am VERY grateful. But this someone is a woman. My forever friend, my sisterlove. I struggle with calling her my sister-in-law. It just doesn't sound as nice. And I feel like Amy is more than that. Growing, I never had a sister. But from the first time I met her, she was that for me. I only pray I am that for her. One of the many things that make me grateful for her are her two beautiful girls. Being in their life from day one has been life changing; for all of us, I know. I have the greatest honor of being their aunt. I can't wait for the day she can be called aunt by my children. They will love her. Of that, I am sure.

I didn't mean for this to have so many words. I guess that's just how grateful I am. But I went from living in the same house as her, to living over one thousand miles away. Ick. So this new series is for us to keep in touch and continue to find things that make us grateful.

I stumbled on this blog and felt incredibly inspired. Right away I had the idea to do something like this with Amy. So for now the theme of all of our photos will be gratitude, since I am convinced the list is never ending and we will always be able to find something to be grateful for. Love you, sisterlove.

grateful for: snow, roommates.
Here is what she had to say when she sent me her photo..
Snow. Believe it or not I am grateful for snow. Never really thought i would say that. Seeing the joy and excitement on my girls faces every time it snows.....takes on a whole new meaning now. Especially in this weird winter we are having....where snow is scarce, the excitement has been taken up a notch. :)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

wednesday without (very many) words.

These Wednesdays with a few words are getting more common, sorry. Sometimes I feel like you might need some explanation for some of the photos.
An adventurous night on Monday calls for a laid back Tuesday. More on Monday later, but Happy Mardi Gras on Tuesday! Did everyone eat a paczki? They don't have those here. No one knew what they even were. I don't really think they're all that great anyway. So we ate King Cake because we hear about them every single day. I had about the same reaction as I did with paczkis. But I'm really glad we tried it!

now for a photo project update.

february twentieth, twenty first, + twenty second:
handwriting, favorite photo of you, + where you work.

linking here and here.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

february photo project update.

Kyle's mom has been visiting for about a week and a couple days ago she filled our refrigerator and cupboards with some "community" food and has been making dinner for the past few nights. I haven't cooked in days, ha. AND she bought a few of my necklaces and scarves to take home to her daughter and her friends. She has been such a blessing to all of us! She loves her son very much and it shows.
Anywho, here's the past few days of photos.

february sixteenth: something new.

february seventeenth: time.

february eighteenth: drink.
february nineteenth: something you hate to do.
{I don't like taking medicine. It is a rare thing for me.}
{and chad doesn't like getting up at six :)}

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

to the greatest of valentines.

Hubsand, I hesitate to make today more special than any ordinary day because I love you the same today as all of those other days. But I guess I don't see anything wrong with a day for showing extra love and appreciation for my favorite.
Happy Valentine's Day, to the greatest of Valentines. Jesus is way too good to me.

Also, let's live like this guy.

I hope today (and everyday), YOU, my friends and family (or any random reader out there), know you are loved. I mean really loved. ali

Long before he laid down earth's foundations, he had you in mind, had settled on you as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Ephesians (the message) -text from my mom today. I have a great mom.

also loved this: Just another reason to love on purpose! #ValentinesDay -Jason McKay via twitter.

february twelfth: inside your closet.
{chad, ali}

february thirteenth: blue.
{ali, seth, chad. (kyle's new shoes are on display)}

february fourteenth: heart.
{just me today. yeah, old gum on the stairs. grace finds beauty in everything, haha.}

{I know what you're thinking.. but I meant to spell it 'hubsand'.}

Saturday, February 11, 2012

my practical valentine.

Today our little clan [sans Tina, who was at work :( ] went to the mall together. Cute, right?
Hub and I browsed JCPenny and Macy's (because we had gift cards) and picked out a valentine for each other. Really we picked our own, but it was fun to be together. He needed a belt because his recently kicked the bucket (which means free leather scraps for ali, yay!), so that's what he picked and I found myself a new scarf. We'll probably go back with the rest of the gift card money for a duvet cover we've been meaning to purchase. We thought of that just as we were getting home. Whoopsy.
{oh and those Macy's gift cards.. wedding gifts. haha. bout time.}

Also today, it was cold. Michigan people, I don't want to hear it.
I KNOW what cold really is.
But a high of 54 and lots of wind makes for a chilly Louisiana. Seeing all of the people that were out for parades and Mardi Gras celebrations.. I mean you would have thought it was going to snow, ha. They were so bundled up! It did actually feel cool here, though I didn't mind one bit. But we did have to layer up a little.. for 54 degrees. And my face felt a little wind burnt. Wow. Things have changed. (:
Just thought I'd give you something to giggle about.

Welp, I'm very behind on our photo project so here are three days worth:

february ninth: front door.
{ali's, carl's [yay, carl joined in! our participants are scattered.. :) ]}
february tenth: self portrait.
{chad's, ali's}
february eleventh: something that makes you happy.
{ali's, chad's}

I hope you're having a great weekend so far. I hear the roads have been a tad nasty up north. Drive careful, Michigan. And enjoy the beauty of the snow, even if just for a second, for me.

I know I've posted this a few times already, it's just sitting really well with me lately..
'to learn how to be grateful and happy, whether hands full or hands empty. that is a secret worth spending a life on learning.' ann voskamp.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

cafe du monde and other things.

We went to Cafe Du Monde for the first time today. Weird, right? Bout time.

Strolling through the French Quarter is always surprisingly reminiscent of our unexpected stay in Paris. Especially driving down Canal Street. We shared a frozen cafe au lait and beignets, and honestly thought they were a little overrated. BUT we're still glad we finally went. And it wasn't bad. Everything was good. I just think it's more about the whole experience.

I received these lovely pearls in the mail for a very special project in the works. More on that at a later date.
But the company I ordered from sent me this bird charm as a free gift and a handwritten thank you note. So nice. And funny, that they don't know anything about me or the bird nest necklaces I've sold in my shop.

He cares about the details, my friends.

Seth and Tina were hard at work on Tuesday, fixing all of our dining room table chairs. Here he is, drilling her to the chair (not really). Since we've been here, all of the seats were folding in and falling apart. So Seth cut all new wood and foam, and the four of us shopped for some on-sale fabric. They did a great job and we can all sit at the table now!

february seventh: button.
february eighth: sun.
Also, if you haven't seen my post about Stevia from a few days ago yet and would like to add your input, I'll gladly take it.
have a splendid thursday. ali