We had to visit our favorite alligator friends at the alligator park. The adults here are named Boudreaux and Clotile:
And one of the kids' favorite moments from the whole trip, getting to hold the baby alligator, Bubba:
That moment was talked about for days before and now days after. We also let the kids play on the super-fun playground they have there.
(Ella showing her bravery and lack of fear of heights.)
I think if I gave my kids the choice, they would both willing move in with Aunt Andrea. And do you want to know why? They have a barn and a field FULL of horses. The kids spent hours playing in the hay.
(Ella on top of the haystack peeking out of the barn.)
And I spent hours picking hay out of a certain little girl's long blond hair. :(
But the definite favorite even over the alligators was getting to ride horses.
They both were riding by themselves and directing the horse where they wanted her to go, and Ella even learned to trot. They got to ride on two different days and probably would have ridden more if it weren't for all the work you have to do in order to ride. Ella even said at one point, "Why are horses such hard work?" It was cute. I would actually love to put Ella in riding lessons, but I fear they will break the bank.
The kids also got to go on a horse-drawn wagon ride.
This wagon was built entirely by Andrea's father-in-law, and they use it on trail rides. The kids each got a turn to drive.
And then they just took over the driving seat from Pawpaw, as the cousins call him.
We dragged Ella out for a photoshoot with Aunt Andrea. (She has her own photography business.)
First Andrea did her hair all pretty. Ella insisted on a side ponytail, and I'm glad Andrea knew how to do it without it looking all '80s. Then we headed out into the bayou for photos!
(Yes, you can find abandoned bathtubs in the fields of LA.)
By the time we were getting close to being finished, Ella was really done cooperating.
We were lucky to get the good ones we did. She is just not naturally photogenic. She makes lots of goofy faces.
We watched copious amounts of movies while we were there. We went to a rabbit festival where I was able to eat the requisite boiled crawfish. You can't visit LA and not eat crawfish! And I even managed to just relax and read. The kids loved being able to run around outside and ride bikes and play with their cousins. But my favorite thing was sitting on the back porch in the mornings and listening to the birds and other sounds of nature and basking in the sun. I'm starting to think that I may need to find myself a nice country home to live in someday.
Then after a looooong 10 hour drive home (which was made much easier by listening to an audiobook), we came back to reality. We're hoping Andrea and family can come visit us before we move to the other side of the country and don't get to see them for ages. We have so much fun playing with them!