March 06, 2013

Hey 13. How YOU doin'?

Nature Boy just got back from a fabulous week-long vacation.  What a way to celebrate a milestone birthday!  First, he visited my uncle in New Orleans.  My uncle lives right on the French Quarter, so they were perfectly positioned for some N'awlins fun.

^^My Uncle Craig^^

Uncle Craig told me New Orleans would be a culture shock to Nature Boy, and I was all, "He'll be fine.  He used to take hip hop dance up on the north side of town."

But it totally was a culture shock.

The first thing that happened was a New Orleans looting of his checked baggage.  He was pissed!  I know this because he texted me in all caps with lots of exclamation points, "THEY STOLE MY STUFF!!!!!!"  

Welcome to New Orleans, buddy.

The next thing that happened was that their car was swamped by people wanting day labor.  We live in such a homogeneous suburban/rural area that my freaked out son immediately called me and said, "There are a bunch of Mexican guys surrounding our car!!!"  Like they were getting car jacked or something.

As it happens, my uncle did, in fact, need a day laborer, so it all worked out.  

The next bit of culture shock was all good though.  The FOOD, y'all.  He loved it all.  Except the beet gumbo.  But only because it was too spicy.  He also loved all of my uncle's tropical plants.  I call him Nature Boy for a reason!

^^Uncle Craig's tropical courtyard^^

(An aside:  My son excitedly brought home 3 or 4 of these plants.  "These are from Costa Rica!" he exclaimed.  Only thing is, we are in a different growing zone than New Orleans.  Those plants have to be indoor plants here, so Nature Boy brought them inside.  A couple days later, I discovered that they had a bunch of slugs on them!  Ahhhhh!  

See, I'm all about nature from a distance.  I have a rule that no pests are allowed in the house.  No roaches or mice or ticks or fleas or worms or lice.  I will turn into an OCD ninja if I even suspect an invasion.  So the plants are now in quarantine in the garage.)

The next couple days of his New Orleans trip were all about sightseeing.  They went to the awesome aquarium there, and a fascinatingly multicultural flea market where Nature Boy got yelled at by a Chinese guy for asking for a lower price on a jade carving and told by a Russian woman that he needs a haircut.  

Then they checked out a couple voodoo shops.  At first I was cool with it.  I was all, "Hey, it's part of the culture of the area.  He's learning.  It's social studies!"  But then other people around me were freaking me out by going, "You have to be careful around that stuff.  It's real."  

     ^^Place to avoid if you have OCD.  Or if your mom does.^^

Then they drove down to Houston to visit my cousin, who is a fishing guide in Galveston.  Tree Guy met them there and they all enjoyed a manly few days of fishing.

On the way back, my guys visited Tree Guy's parents and brother, Uncle Jake.

^^Wrestling action shot.^^

^^Tree Guy's mom.^^

Then, my guys were HOME!  Woohoo!!!!  It was time to get our birthday partyin' on!  And that we did.

^^Gettin' Rooty Tooty Fresh 'n' Fruity with it at IHOP with a pal.^^

^^Monster Cookie "Cake" and a fab new 'do, courtesy of Mom.^^

^^Tree Guy chomping on a slice of Monster Cookie.  It's his family's recipe.^^

^^LOVE these cute plates from Walmart.^^

Happy birthday, Nature Boy!  I love you!

P.S.  Stay tuned for the Monster Cookie recipe!


  1. I will offer myself up to go visit Uncle Craig next time and write a report for Nature Boy..ya keep him safe from voodoo. NOT because of the food.

  2. Sounds like an exciting adventure for a 13 year old. Much more acceptable than my husband's 13 yo adventure. His father took him to Chicago where they bought a sail boat, then sailed down the MS river, through the Gulf of Mexico and to FL where they sold the boat (after almost dying in a storm on the Gulf) and came back home. ACK!

    Happy birthday to Nature Boy. I'm glad the kids have gotten to hang out and have so much fun together!

  3. LOL!!!! You're so self-sacrificing, Samantha! Mother Teresa!

  4. Dang! He got all Huckleberry Finn on his 13th birthday! Now I have a better understanding about why you guys don't make birthdays a big deal. LOL!

  5. What a fun post!! Uncle Craig's tropical courtyard is so pretty! Love the fishing pictures! I just adore that everyone looks so happy and silly in the pictures. Gotta love kids who get their silly on for the camera! :)

  6. Thanks!!! So cute that you called him Uncle Craig. :D

    I also love kids who get their silly on. I don't know that I'd know how to deal with any other kind of kid!