We have spent the last three weeks on the Gulf Coast between a week of family time, ten days of support raising, and then a long weekend visiting my dad. This is the part of the country where Scott and I first met, so it is a very fitting place for the next phase of our family’s adventure.

Trip Part 1: New Orleans and South

After spending the last four months in Beaumont concentrating on disaster relief and recovery work after Hurricane Harvey, our family was in need of a little R&R and bonding time. So we hunkered down at St. Bernard State Park, just outside of New Orleans.

For the week before Mardis Gras, this campground sure was quiet! The camping spots are nice and spread out, so even though we had neighbors, we couldn’t hear anyone.

Sisters on the slide… kind of

A playground two spots down from us was a huge win for our toddler, who turned two while we were here! The other big win for this campground was that armadillos were everywhere!

Now you have to understand that for the three years Scott and I lived on the Mississippi Gulf Coast we did not see a single living armadillo. Roadkill armadillos? Oh, yes, by the droves! But living ones, nope!

Living armadillos became our unicorns so to speak.  So to stay at  a campground where they would come right by us was so much fun!

We didn’t do a whole lot while we were there besides rest, play, and hang out. It was just good family time!

We did make a trip to Grand Isle for Madeline’s birthday. If you have never been there, you drive south of New Orleans for almost two hours until you feel like you are going to fall off the edge of the earth. If all of the buildings are 15 feet up in the air on stilts and the island is almost as wide as the road, you have arrived.

It was the girls’ first time on a beach and their first time seeing a large body of water. I love that beach, sand, palm trees, cactus, and snow are all apart of Madeline’ vocabulary because we have seen them all in the last two months. Not bad for a little Okie kid!

Trip Part 2: M-i-ss-i-ss-i-pp-i

Our time in Mississippi was just seriously wet. In case you haven’t experienced a Gulf Coast rainstorm, let me paint you a little picture. It is like the heavens open up and shoot water down to the earth at a speed and frequency you can hardly imagine. It is like what I imagine little bugs feel like when someone pressure washes their house and they happen to be moseying by.

No seriously, it is rain like nowhere else I have ever been. And it rained like that almost our entire time there. Our wonderful lakeside campground was just a giant mud pit with swamps in the woods. Oh don’t worry, it was as much fun as it sounds.

It was, however, fun to see friends that we have not seen in several years. It was great to introduce them to our kids and catch up on each other’s lives. It was a great reminder of why we view support-raising as investing in relationships, not asking for money.

We also visited our first national park as a family, the  Gulf Islands National Seashore in Ocean Springs. Well, their visitor’s center at least. The kids had a lot of fun looking at the different displays and even got their first Junior Ranger badges!

We are excited to go back there again in the future and stay at their campground! Scott picked up his free Access Pass  (thanks to his service connected disability rating), so we now have free entrance to all national parks and half off at their campgrounds- for life!

Trip Part 3: New Orleans Revisted

We made a quick stop back in New Orleans so we could cross paths with my dad for a few days. He was down from NJ for a convention (and a very nice winter thaw out in the 80+ degree weather as it ended up, while my poor mother was home shoveling a new 6 inches of snow).

Planning out stops ahead of time for us is hard at this point in our lives, which makes being able to see family extra sweet!

The girls had lots of fun playing with Gramps, both at the Riverwalk downtown and at City Park. If you ever find yourself in New Orleans on a nice day, definitely check out the 1,300 acre City Park. There is literally something for everyone, including a 24 hour cafe selling beignets and  cafe au lait.

I decided to try out a different state park while we were here this time, just to see which campground we liked better. We  stayed at Bayou Segnette State Park and loved it. First of all, FREE LAUNDRY!! Give up your washer and dryer for five months and you will understand my excitement. Secondly, we managed to get the spot right next to the playground and there were tons of kids here. Madeline had so much fun playing with kids every chance she got!

Tomorrow we begin our trip back to Tulsa, via Beaumont, for doctor visits and to spend some time with our church family.  And then only God knows what is next! Want to go on an adventure?

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