Saturday, September 11, 2010

Cajun Connections

Since I've lost my dad and both of his parents, it's been very important to me to keep up my Cain connections. My best memories growing up involve family, and the Cain side of my family was all about crawfish boils, trips to the beach, crabbing, and cousins. As I got older, I began to realize how special all of my uncles and aunts are. Now that my dad is gone, I can't describe how much it warms my heart to be with people who knew who he was - faults and all - and still loved him. Grandmama and Papa's house was a place of love and fun. I can still see Grandmama sitting in her recliner talking to Papa even after he silently slipped out of the room to go tinker with something. Grandmama made the best rice and gravy, and one of the last things my dad did before he died was teach me how to make it.

While we were in Louisiana, my Cain family all met at Hollier's (which also makes a mean rice and gravy). Aunt Liz & Uncle Clay drove in from New Orleans, Aunt Karen & Uncle Benny organized the whole thing, Uncle Jud & Aunt Lupita came despite Aunt Lupita not feeling well, and Aunt Vera became James' new best friend. We had a great time eating lunch and talking. My cousin Ann is getting married Super Bowl weekend and there were several comments about her choice of date. Robert & Clay have boys around the age of my three monkeys, so it was fun to compare all of their stats.
Uncle Jud & James have a pretty riveting conversation. The boys ate lots of sausage (their Papa would have been proud), chicken, and rice then they ran around the back room of the restaurant like mad-men. They had a great time and loved being the center of all that attention. Of course, now that they are older, it takes them a little longer to warm up to people, but they sure did love their Cain relatives.
Aunt Liz had some great kid-friendly games on her iPhone which both Michael and Ryan LOVED.

Aunt Karen attempts to hold Ryan back from his destructive tear throughout the restaurant.
I'm pretty sure that Michael would have gotten in the car and gone home with Uncle Clay & Aunt Liz. They definitely have the grandma and grandpa spoil them rotten moves down pat. Notice Aunt Vera & James in the background. James would run around and make Aunt Vera chase him. If she stopped, he'd go back, get her attention, and then run away again. He loved every second of it.
Aunt Karen finally manages to tame Ryan's urge to run with her pink flower earrings. I'm pretty sure Alie didn't mind sharing her grammy for a little while, but I know that it was probably best that she was in Nebraska.
After our lunch with the Cains, we headed to Uncle Frank & Aunt Lynn Dee's house for a dip in the pool (by way of the snow cone stand). My biggest regret of the weekend is that my snow cone melted on the counter while I changed the boys into their swim gear. Ah, the sacrifices a mother makes.
Even Momo hopped into the pool for some fun with the boys. They had a blast swimming until the rain forced us all out of the pool.
Much like when I was a kid, Uncle Frank & Aunt Lynn Dee prefer to lounge along side the pool rather than get in. Of course, since I was younger, the number of fruit trees in the backyard has grown exponentially. I'm pretty sure Uncle Frank was meant to be a gentleman farmer.
Momo gives rides in the float. The boys love the freedom of playing in the water without being restrained. Of course, they don't mind taking a leap off of their safety net, either, so one must be vigilant.
Daddy does the dastardly deed of making the kids get out of the pool. For the first time, all three of the kids had a blast in the pool, and there were no tears from one more cautious little man (Michael). It was so much fun, but the crowd was getting hungry so we headed back to Momo's house for "LobsterFest." Uncle Frank cooked so much food that I'm still full from all of the lobster, shrimp, corn, potatoes, and crab legs.
Michael is not so impressed by Lucy the Lobster despite the entertaining song and dance Aunt Lynn Dee made her perform. Ryan, on the other hand, was all about the lobsters. That's my boy, lobster taste on a crawfish budget.
TWO Lobsters! How decadent! I'm pretty sure the one crawfish I was allowed to torture into submission during family boils was much less expensive than these shellfish. Uncle Frank & Aunt Lynn Dee do know how to spoil a boy.
It's on, Lucy, hit me with your best shot, I'll take you down!
Examining the victim.
Ryan shows the lobster who's boss.

After such a long day, you'd expect our little monkeys to be tired and ready for bed. The evidence definitely proves the opposite is true. The boys love sleeping in the same room. They always have company, but on trips, they end up closer together which means more time for fun. I love watching them play. It's purely unadulterated joy.

We had such a fantastic time in Louisiana that I'm itching to go back. I can't wait until the boys are old enough to go to the beach, walk the Creole Nature Trail to see some alligators, and perform the sacred ritual which is crabbing. There are so many good times ahead!

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