Archive for the ‘Kids’ Category

Getting Up There In Years

Last night we went to see Gal Holiday and the Honky Tonk Review at the Botanical Gardens in City Park. At least that was the plan, it was going to be a family affair we had even invited a couple other friends with kids to make it a concert playdate but when we arrived the set up was a bit different from the last time we attended one of the Twilight Concerts at the Gardens. Last year when we went the concert was held outside in the gardens with plenty of room to let the little guys look around and still not bother the other audience members. A perfect way to listen to some great live music with young children.
Last night however they held the concert inside the pavilion at the Gardens. At first we thought it might be due to weather even though the sun was shining and it was warm there were a few grey clouds floating about but we soon debunked this theory with the simple fact that none of the people entering the Gardens had blankets, chairs or anything else that would be needed to sit on the grass like last year. They obviously knew something we did not. We let the little ones run around in the grass for a while before going into the Gardens and as we watched the people file in we realized one other thing. The age of those in attendance had a posh retirement home feel to it, there wasn’t a single person even remotely close to my age let alone my son’s age.
It was then we decided it would probably be a bad idea to take five kids under the age of five into a room full of senior citizens and expect them to sit quietly for over an hour, so we bailed and went to the playground. Although I was looking forward to hearing Gal Holiday I’m sure the playground was the right way to go.
Now what I wonder is if all the concerts will be inside this year. I hope not, last year it was a great family outing and it can be again if they just move it back outside into the actual Gardens.

Note to self: If I’m going to be posting more I need to make sure I take pictures while I am out.

Like Herding Cattle

Last night my husband and I went to our first meeting at Audubon Charter School. Our first meeting after getting in of course there was a meeting before the lottery even happened which was only slightly more informative than the one last night.
This latest meeting was to talk about tuition. For those of you who don’t know Audubon is a charter school within the Orleans Parish School System. Which one? Honestly I don’t know though I should look that up as it’s info I “should” know…the school’s website says New Orleans Parish School Board. I’m not sure that really answers the question at hand however, let’s move on. Since the school lost federal funding for it’s Pre-K program last year they were forced to cut the K-3 grade all together and charge tuition for K-4. We will be heading into K-4 next school year so we will be paying tuition. The up side to this over private schools in which we would also be paying tuition this year is that every year after next is free. That makes paying $4,570 by July 15th much more appealing if not actually easier.
The long and the short of last night’s meeting was we all have to go to an independent website (sss.nais.org) type in our financial information and that will tell us if we are eligible for reduced tuition. I am pretty sure we are not eligible though I will be plugging our numbers into that little website just to be 100%. They also mentioned a loan that is available but of course couldn’t really answer any questions on that since it is “official bank stuff”. The whole shebang lasted half an hour and I didn’t learn a single thing I couldn’t have learned easier from an e-mail.
I was reminded of one thing though, this is going to be a long bumpy ride. I love to learn, I enjoy taking classes and I always have but what I just can not stand is all the bureaucratic crap that goes along with school. I am not the lowest common denominator and I have worked hard my whole life to surround myself with intelligent people in intriguing situations, I do not enjoy being spoken to as though I am a child. I didn’t like it when I was a child and I sure as hell don’t like it now. But there I was in a room full of people asking a question two minutes after someone across the room asked the same exact question. And I ask myself what am I doing back in this place? I worry I will not be able to deal with the system even for the sake of my own child’s school experience. Is this a worry all parent have or is this just me?

Here I am

Man it’s been a long time since I posted on here. I am going to change that, I promise. Have I said that before? Probably, but I mean it this time. I have been out of town for a while but I’m back and the weather is beautiful so I am going to get out and explore and I am making it a goal to share those explorations with you in the metblog universe.
There are so many fun and interesting things going on in the NOLA area, things that are in my plans to attend like this weekend (French Quarter Fest), this Thursday (Gal Holiday at the Botanical Gardens) and tonight I am on my way to a meeting at Audubon Charter School. My 4 year old son was accepted into the French program so there will be a whole new set of adventures in NOLA starting as we traverse the public/charter school system.
The whole prospect of school is scary for any parent but tack onto that the fact that my son will be going to school in French (I don’t speak french) and that adds a level of scary I am not at all sure I am ready to deal with, I hear they have some french classes for the parents and I hope beyond hope that I can keep up, languages are not my thing. I don’t want other parents to be left out in the cold, there are so many questions that I have about this whole thing and it isn’t so easy to find the answers. I will do my best to share with all of you the answers as I figure them out, how can my son learn the basics in another language and not fall behind in his day-to-day English speaking world? There must be a way kids do it all the time and Audubon is hailed at a great school in these parts, It’s just hard to wrap my head around. Of course no one ever said this was going to be easy.

It’s not the destination

Phone Box at Washington Square park It’s the journey. And today was a perfect example of why that saying is spot on. The Little Guy and I headed out to the Creole Tomato Festival at the French Market today after nap time.

If anyone went outside at all today you will know it was damn hot so our adventure had a lot of pit stops and every single one of them was better than the actual festival.First we stopped over at Washington Square Park to play and rest, there were more than the usual crowd in the park, I think there was a memory service being held for someone who has passed but with the little one I did not want to disturb anyone and so I could not get close enough to really hear what was going on. As we left the park we noticed what someone has done with the old pay phone box on the Royal side, it does not specify what the money is for but there are flowers and other decoration inside a custom made shadow box and a request for change. If I had any change on me i would have given to Chance to put in the box. We didn’t get much farther before it was pit stop time again as we passed Cafe Rose Nicaud I was informed that we needed a cookie from the coffee shop so in we went and cookie we did procure. Cookie at Cafe Rose Nicaud After we filled up on cookie off we set for the push to the actual festival crossing Esplanade and crossing Decatur over to the French Market and into the action or more realistically the crowd of tourists in fleur-de-leis T-shirts and too short, impossibly plaid shorts fanning themselves with cardboard fans shaped like (Creole?) tomatos, talking loud and occationally doing what they could to insult the local people.

I was told (though under their breath) in so many words more than once that because I wasn’t carrying my son he would get kidnapped. Well, I am happy to say there were not a million people around, I was walking two feet behind him at all times, it’s none of your damn business and as far as i could tell the worst people around at that time were their sorry asses. fountain I’m sorry but the next time a swarovski crystal embellished grandma wants to give me parenting tips, I say bring it on but, Do It To My Face!

Where was i? Oh yeah it was hot really, really hot and the booths for the festival were all out in the sun so we took ourselves through the festivities at a pretty quick pace, landing ourselves at the fountain near Decatur and Ursuline where we rested another few minutes in the shade, I could have sat a little longer but a two year old never really rests no matter how hot and tired they are so off we went again. This time we followed Decatur back till we hit Angeli’s a tasty restaurant with highchairs (even though we didn’t need one this time) where we went in for a drink and a bite to eat. The place was nearly empty which I though strange for all the people that were out and about but I guess we were a little early for the dinner rush. The little guy amazingly sat in a regular chair the whole time amusing himself by making faces in one of the mirrors that decorate the dinning area.
We made one more stop at Washington Square Park, much shorter this time, before heading on home. Just a block from the house someone stopped us and told me that “something smells dead back there” as he gestured over his shoulder in the direction we were going. Nothing came of it since I did not smell or see anything that smelled/looked dead all the way home but it did add to the adventure of the day.

Eek.


Jazzfest 2009

Can I just say? Most hilarious JazzFest photo I’ve seen so far. In fact, it’s hilarious with or without jazz. [via my friend Jeremy]

New Christmas Tradition?

After spending two days in the house opening presents and watching holiday movies we were ready to get out of the house so the family and I went down to Markey Park in the Bay water. This park has just had a brand new playground installed and word around the park is there are more updates to come. The playground is one of the Little Hands playgrounds that the Allstate Foundation is building around the city. Going to the park on Christmas Day was a brilliant idea, the weather was great and we had tons of fun being outside. There is also one aspect of this playground that I have never seen in a play set before but hope to see it many times again. There is a glockenspiel type instrument built right in next to the bridge and slide that most playgrounds have. The notes are clearly marked and the music to four songs is etched on the metal so kids can learn to play. My little one loved playing the notes and hearing them ring and I am sure many other little ones will enjoy this new playground in the future. We just might turn this into a Christmas tradition. It just felt good to get out and sort of spread the Christmas spirit with the world.

Art everywhere


While at Audubon park with the family yesterday we noticed a new piece of art. It is a wonderful sturdy piece that the little one can get up close and personal with without having to worry that he is going to break it. I do not know if it has anything to do with Prospect 1 or if it is just a coincidence but I have noticed a lot of new sculptures in parks around town lately. There is a one in Washington Square park too though I haven’t been in the park yet to see it up close, only driven by so far. With the weather so nice today we might just walk over there and get a good look.

Kid Friendly Truckstop Show

Last night we packed up the toddler and went out for a “kid friendly” concert by Truckstop Honeymoon. The first week we moved to New Orleans we heard Truckstop Honeymoon on the radio telling their Hurricane story and playing their music. Ever since then we have been buying their albums, they have become a staple of both my husband’s and my Ipods. I saw them for the first time two years ago when I was still pregnant, it was the best night out I had had in a while at that point. Last night it was great to be able to take the little one to see them in person and not just in the womb or through speakers in the car. We saw them at L’art Noir a great little art gallery on St. Claude. It is an intimate venue, we were sitting on the couch not three feet from them for most of the show (ok for the parts where we weren’t chasing the little one). Everyone was very nice to him by-the-way letting him lay on the carpet in the middle of the room and pet the resident cat.

If you want to see Truckstop Honeymoon but missed them last night, no problem, they are playing tonight at d.b.a. and Thursday night at The Circle Bar.

Inside New Orleans High

Teacher Julie Murphy advising Keitron durning lunch

This week, I got sent a preview of “Inside New Orleans High,” a National Geographic Channel documentary that premieres on the channel this Sunday.

[The program] chronicles the stories of students at Walter L. Cohen High School in New Orleans. The majority of the Cohen students are Katrina refugees, bused from other areas because no other schools could take them. And, as in many American teenagers’ lives, school is only part of the story. More money is spent on security than books, and violent gangs often dominate the school. With inner-city unemployment and infant mortality rates higher than those of some developing countries, in many households, drug and alcohol abuse are the norm.

I must admit that, having been inundated with stories of hurricane woe for the six weeks I’ve been here, I am suffering greatly from Katrina fatigue. I was not looking forward to watching this program. But, here’s the thing: the program is not about Katrina. It’s about the everyday struggle of three teens to make a better world for themselves. It’s about how many Americans living in inner-city America are living in the third world. It’s about how the America Dream is not accessible to every one of us. It’s reality and not some Joe-the-Plumber dream world that the politicians and the media are trying to sell you.

This program wasn’t some big bitch-fest about how the system sucks and the city sucks and the government sucks. It highlighted the near-impossible struggle that some American teens have to better themselves. The educators in the program were portrayed in a very favorable light. They were not willing to give up on these kids, despite their lives being threatened, despite the kids giving up on themselves, despite the violence that plagued the school on a daily basis.

With the election looming, I’m thinking a lot about the American Dream. I’m thinking that maybe a couple of Senators should take a year off and teach in one of these inner city schools. I’m thinking if they did that, then maybe they would start thinking that the 10 billion dollars a month we spend in Iraq to make those people free might be better spent making our own people free.

Stepping off the soap box now.

“Inside New Orleans High” premiers on National Geographic Channel Sunday, October 26 at 10PM ET/PT

Candy Contraband

KinderEgg

Today I stopped in the Uptown Mart at Upperline and Prytania and found a box of Kinder Eggs for sale on the counter! I started stuttering in disbelief, knowing they are not available in the U.S.

The staff behind the counter began their nervous disclaimer, “We only sell these to kids if they are with an adult.” I think they thought I was the candy cops. I let them know that I was truly excited and picked a couple up to show Nick and Josh. Once assured I wasn’t going to call the kinder-cops, the guys behind the counter said that they have a few loyal people who come in and order 30 at a time from them. I think they ran about $1.30 each.

If you know anything at all about these magical confections you’ll share my excitement. Kinder Eggs are illegal in the United States because they contain these wonderfully engineered intricate toys unassembled in tiny pieces inside a delicious chocolate egg which is made by Ferrero, many women will recognize them as the makers of the completely legal, Nutella. The candy and toys are of the highest quality.

Rich, over at La Crepe Nanou, turned me onto these little gems years ago and I have been bringing handfuls of them back whenever I travel in Europe ever since. The toys are so well engineered that they aren’t that hard to put together although they look intimidating at first. Once, together, they are very sophisticated and whimsical toys that have become quite collectible.

Dear Parents of New Orleans, please don’t ruin our good fun by letting your kid shove the tail of some adorable animal up his/her nose. Thanks! They are something to do ensemble! That means together in French. Also known as quality time. They’ll think you’re the coolest . . . for 10 minutes at least.

Kinder Eggs containing toys are not suitable for children under the age of three due to the small parts which may be ingested or inhaled. They are sold all over the world excluding the United States, where the 1938 Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act prohibits embedding “non-nutritive items” in confections. Additionally, the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a recall on the eggs in 1997. Kinder Egg-like confections are available, but only in a plastic? form filled with small candies and/or stickers. There are some stores in the United States that sell genuine Kinder Eggs, often in conjunction with other imported British or other European sweets, although their importation is technically illegal due to the 1938 law and 1997 recall.[1]

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