Noah decided that he wanted to go on an adventure with his Mama. "Let's go visit Aunt Laura, way down south in Mississippi!" he said. His mother just happened to find a great sale on plane tickets with Southwest Airlines, and she had not spent her Christmas money yet, so she agreed.
They went to the airport and stood in a long line at the ticket booth and then another long line at the security station, and then they boarded a crowded train, and when they got off the train, Mama took off running down the concourse at full speed, pushing Noah in his orange stroller, faster than a roller coaster. Noah heard Mama's name being called over the loud speaker, and he thought they might not get to go to Mississippi after all (he is used to missing planes with his Mama)--but they got to the plane just in time. Mama was so out of breath that Noah was afraid she might die, but luckily she didn't.
Because they were some of the last people to board the plane (two others actually arrived after them), they had to sit in a middle seat, and Noah didn't like being smashed between two people. He climbed all over Mama and ripped off her glasses and gave her sloppy kisses and spilled her drink and drove his toy car on her head and across her face. Mama was very relieved when, after three hours, the plane landed and they could get off!
Noah was so happy to see his Aunt Laura that he gave her a big hug and kiss, and in return, she took him to her favorite fried chicken place in New Orleans, Louisiana.
After their big meal, they went to walk around a cool part of the city called The French Quarter. It was beautiful and felt a little spooky due to the thick fog that had settled on the city and the flickering gas lamps everywhere. They walked so much that they decided that they needed to stop for french beignets and hot chocolate.
Right outside of the beignet shop, a crazy man was playing his saxophone. Noah was quite intrigued and walked right up to him and watched intently for several minutes. The man played Noah his own rendition of Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.
That was just the beginning of the night's music: Noah got to go to his first real concert, a jazz concert in the famous Preservation Hall where Jazz had its beginnings. The building was very old and very small. Everyone had to stand up and squeeze in like sardines. Mama was a little nervous to take Noah to the concert, but he promised that he would behave, and he kept his word. He was so entranced by the musicians with their shiny instruments that he hardly made a peep.
After the concert, they got in Aunt Laura's car and started driving. Noah fell asleep to the sound of Mama and Laura talking, and when he woke up, they had reached Mississippi. It was dark outside, and the moon was up, and Noah almost stayed asleep on his Mama's shoulder--but then he was awakened from his peaceful slumber by the loudest sound he had ever heard! A ginormous train was rumbling by, about 40 yards from Aunt Laura's apartment, and the blare of its horn almost shattered his ear drums. Aunt Laura had warned him that a train track ran very close to her home, but he hadn't realized that it would come by about twenty times throughout the day and night, and it would literally shake the apartment. Noah was excited about the train; Mama was not. She was afraid that he would not nap or sleep at night, but he promised her that he would, and again he kept his word. By some miracle, the train did not disturb his slumber at all during the week that they spent in Mississippi.
One day, they went to see alligators. Noah thought the babies were cute, and he even got to touch one. He liked the big ones too, and it took a lot of effort for Mama to keep him from walking too close to the fences. She was afraid the alligators would want to make Noah their dinner (and who could blame them?)
The highlight of their visit to the alligator ranch was an airboat tour that they took through the swamp nearby. Apparently, a boat with a typical motor won't work in the swamp because the water is generally less than a foot deep. So they boarded a crazy boat with a gigantic fan on the back of it, and they rode around looking for alligators. They got so close to one that Mama almost could've reached out and touched it. Don't worry--she didn't try. The man who drove the boat liked to go fast. Noah liked it too.
Another night, they went to walk on the beach of the Gulf of Mexico. Noah had never seen the ocean before, and he was quite fascinated by the expanse of water. He kept saying, "Water! Water!" Finally, Mama gave in and took off his pants, and they all waded around and enjoyed the sunset.
In addition to all of these new experiences, Noah tried lots of new foods. It is Mardi Gras season in Louisiana and Mississippi right now, and everywhere Noah went, he saw colorful (and slightly ugly) cakes called King Cakes. He tried a King Cake donut at a local bakery, and it was so tasty that he asked Mama and Aunt Laura if they would make him a real King Cake. They willingly obliged, using this recipe that they found online, and it was surprisingly delicious. They celebrated like it was Mardi Gras, right there in Laura's kitchen.
Another culinary delight of the South is a little place called The Waffle House. Ever heard of it? There is one on every corner. Literally. It is a a tiny, greasy diner type of establishment, but the waffles are actually quite good, and it's a great place to get to know the locals. Noah went to breakfast there with Aunt Laura, Uncle Sam, and Mama one Saturday morning. Their waitress would shout, "Welcome to the Waffle House!" or "Welcome to the Waffle Kingdom!" in a strange voice whenever anyone walked in the door. It was quite humorous for them but I imagine it gets very old for all of her co-workers.
With all of the fun that Noah was having, you would think that he would've been in a swell mood all week, right? Well, the truth is that Noah was not a very happy camper during his time in Mississippi. Though he had his gleeful moments, he was unusually fussy and clingy throughout the entire week (which made Mama very tired, but she tried to be patient since traveling can be tough on little people). When Mama and Aunt Laura visited a local souvenir shop, they saw this t-shirt and knew that Noah just had to have it to memorialize his time down South:
Mama and Aunt Laura got some awesome hats. (Just kidding!) In the evenings, after a long day, Mr. Crabbie did enjoy settling down in front of Uncle Sam's big screen to watch a few minutes of Sesame Street before bed.
Then it was back to the plane, where Noah and Mama had a three-hour flight home. Noah was really sad to be leaving Aunt Laura and screamed bloody murder for over an hour of the flight. (Not kidding.) All of the other passengers thought it was adorable. (Definitely kidding.)
When they got back home to Denver, Noah's daddy did a little examination of his mouth and discovered that he had cut two molars while they were in Mississippi. Go figure, right?! Mama told Noah that she forgave him for his crabbiness because she would be pretty grumpy if she had two teeth pushing out of her gums too. Poor baby.
Despite some painful gums, Noah did have a fun week in Mississippi, meeting alligators, wading in the ocean, tasting delicious foods, and hanging out with his Aunt Laura, his Uncle Sam, and of course, his Mama.
He can't wait for his next adventure.