Saturday morning Jon and I took the kids to City Park. The kids could spend all day there.
Saturday night my Aunt Julie rented a bus for all the family and some friends to go look at Christmas lights in the French Quarter. We stopped at 5 different hotels to look at their decorations.
Aunt Gina and Aunt Ronda had cups made that said "Merry Christmas: Noto - One Big Italian Family"
Someone was excited.
The Roosevelt Hotel
Street Car on Canal Street
Fulton Street Fun: Madeline, Andrew, Elle, Bella and Lane
I'll let you guess which one of us was over served.
So glad that Emily (Aimee's BFF) was able to make her first trip to New Orleans with us. Sorry about that hand grenade incident. :) Love you!
Dad and Pistol Pete with his siblings (minus Aunt Peggy)
Some of Pistol's grandkids and great-grandkids
Giant gingerbread house at Harrah's Hotel. This year it was a replica of Café du Monde. If they make a replica of the Cathedral I'll make a special trip just to see it.
Madeline and Bella
We toured the decor at the Omni, where my Aunt Julie worked for 20+ years. Lots of fun memories here!
On Sunday we went to Aunt Gina and Aunt Ronda's house for the big Noto Family Christmas Party. The party revolves around what the Saints game comes on, which was at noon. So the first few hours were eating and watching football.
We ate grilled artichokes, fresh salmon, brisket sandwiches, chicken and sausage gumbo, crab quiche and crawfish cornbread dressing.
And desserts. Now I'm hungry.
After the game we had a white elephant style gift exchange. Everyone brings a $25 gift. Candles are banned and alcohol is usually the most popular item. Imagine that. :)
Proof that there's a method to the madness. If anyone wants to steal, they can consult the master list in case someone is trying to hide something.
And don't you dare try to steal after a gift has been frozen. These two will make sure you'll regret trying break the rules.
The evening concludes with a Christmas sing along, but not with traditional carols. That would be too easy. Since the mid-90's Aunt Ronda has been re-writing carols to make them relevant to Noto Family current events. Favorites include "Aimee The Last Born Noto" (sung to Rudolph) and "Christmas at the Condo Once Again" (sung to Winter Wonderland). My sweet little Madeline was convinced that these are real songs. On Christmas morning, when "Winter Wonderland" came on Pandora, Madeline said, "Mommy! It's Christmas at the Condo Once Again!".
Click this link for proof.
Doesn't everyone have mini guitars and tambourines for a sing along?
After the party we went back to JuJu's house where my children decided they would pretend to be baby tigers and clean her floors while growling. Random, I know.
We left Monday morning to come home and I happened to catch this rare moment: My kids sharing AND smiling about it!