Even with my failing memory and Nonna status fully setting in, this trip to the states will be one that sinks in. The following is the drama-free version of the trip.
4:00 am Wednesday we should have been in line at the airport waiting to check in and drop our bags at the counter but instead we were jumping awake and rushing around trying to get our asses out of the house. The alarm didn’t go off and we had a 6:00 am flight out. With a 40 minute drive and a 10 minute walk from parking to the airport we made it to the gate with about 30 minutes to spare before boarding. Luckily, there was no line at the check-in counter. We made it but we were breathing hard and still half asleep. Lots of experience traveling kept us from somehow not forgetting anything.
About 14 hours later we landed in Houston, grabbed our rental car and headed to Louisiana. We had landed around 3:00 pm so we were able to get out of town before rush hour traffic picked up, it was well planned by my awesome husband who is CEO of CAT – CoonAss Travel.
Four hours later we arrived at our destination, the very Cajun, very small home town of said CEO. Went to Jimbo’s for a big ole double bacon cheeseburger and tator tots, the husband’s favorite quick stop in town. Jimbo’s is a no frills burger and Cajun food dive that has never disappointed. Back to the hotel to relax, eat and crash early.
Thursday we drove to Lafayette to do some shopping for the things we miss and can’t easily obtain in Italy. For me that meant books…I think the total was six books. A Funko Storm and Boba Fett’s Slave One model car we found at the closeout sale at Toys R Us, some pens, stickers and washi tape for my planner at Hobby Lobby and a lot of Werther’s Sugar Free candies.
For him, Guitar Center loot and a Star Wars figurine from Toys R Us. We had lunch at Buffalo Wild Wings and reminisced about watching the UFC fights and Football there. Then after a couple of beers/ciders we were off to visit one side of my in-laws out in the country. Lovely visit with them but my husband’s stepdad was sporting a massively bandaged hand after losing a battle with a dull blade on his electric saw and almost lost 3 fingers. It was gnarly, I saw photos.
Thursday evening we spent with the two getting married on Saturday, my stepson and his fiance and their beautiful daughter. I am in love with our granddaughter, she’s so happy and easy to be with. Hardly fussed at all and is one focused little 8 month old baby. We were blessed with the couples’ decision to let us watch the baby on their wedding night so they could have time to themselves. We were so honored that they trusted us with her.
Friday we went to lunch with them then split up, the guys and baby went to run some errands and such, the daughter in-law to be and I went to get her manicure and my pedicure done. Had a lovely chat during that. Then later in the afternoon we had the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. At this point I was starting to feel anxiety from being around a lot of people but I managed ok.
Meanwhile, my parents pulled into town so later we picked them up and went to DC’s for a drink and food. DC’s is a sports bar and restaurant with a big menu of Cajun food and some options if you aren’t into crawfish. haha but who isn’t into crawfish really?! Had a nice catch up with the parents then we were done in and ready to head to the hotel.
Saturday we went out for Boudin to snack on and slowly got ready for the wedding in the afternoon. Boudin, for those who don’t know, is a Cajun sausage made from rice and typically pork then steamed. It’s amazing and if you are ever in Louisiana, find some! Careful though, it is often spicy. For the wedding the husband was wearing his dress white uniform and damn he looks good in it! I had my chain mail-like dress with a kimono cover which got some compliments. There was some concern in me about the dress not conforming to the small town Baptist vibe but most seemed to like it. Whew!
The wedding was a little chaotic to get started but it went off without any major issues, the bride looked lovely and was very nervous. The groom was all dressed up and looking calm as always. Not much riles him up. Then after the ceremony, some photos and chatting we went to the reception.
Later that evening the newlyweds passed the baby to us and headed off to their own hotel. This night will remain in my heart forever. It has been a little bit since I have taken care of a baby for more than 30 minutes and longer for my husband. She arrived sleeping so we let her nap and when she woke she was confused and upset of course, she had no idea where she was and probably didn’t remember who we were. That first 30 minutes was stressful trying to help her feel comfortable and loved enough to calm down and when she did she fell back asleep in my arms. Put her in the crib and she slept without much fuss for about 5 hours. My husband is mush around this baby, we went to bed and he laid there watching her sleep (and I think tears fell) till after I fell asleep. She woke up around 4:00 am and was in a very good mood so we played a little, fed her a bit and after an hour or so she crashed out laying on me on the bed. We stayed like that for about 2.5 hours and it crushed my heart. When she woke up, again in a great mood, we fed her and bathed her and got her ready to go.
Sunday after the tag team of getting ready and watching a baby we headed off to the Aunt’s house for the crawfish boil. This is a tradition I absolutely love. As much family as possible gathers and food is prepared in the backyard. We had a decent turn out, saw a lot of family and ate our share of crawfish. Well, I did anyway. The husband was fussing over the baby a lot, worried she was too hot, being passed around too much, etc. He’s such a worrier with her. The newlyweds came out to visit and pick up their daughter then later we went to dinner with them and my parents.
Monday morning we packed up and headed back to Houston airport and back to Italy. Finally walked in the door of our lovely chateau around 4:30 pm Tuesday afternoon.
Today, Wednesday morning, I am writing this out so I don’t forget and to start working through the emotions of it all. We bonded with the baby and leaving was difficult, specially being so far away and knowing she will be so different next time we see her. Seeing my parents was great but not sure when I’ll get to again. Super happy for the newlyweds and hope they settle in well.
I’m glad we were able to visit with so many in such a short amount of time, got great time in with the baby and super glad my parents were able to come out.