More Pearl River Happenings

December 26, 2011

We came in later from Abita and mostly relaxed at Jeff's house today. It was certainly no surprise to find Ashleigh reading when we arrived, but there was a difference - she was reading on the new Kindle she got for Christmas.

Today is Elyse's 7th birthday, and we did recognize it and give some gifts, but the big birthday celebration was to be on Wednesday.

In the evening, the whole family went over to Jeff and Leslie's to watch the Saints game against the Atlanta Falcons.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Elyse went out to Abita Springs to spend the night with us and we watched the Disney movie "Tangled" with her.

It got quite cold that night and the frost was amazingly heavy on Wednesday morning. It covered the grass heavily, and on the dock rails it formed needle crystals. I don't think I have ever seen heavier frost - lots of moisture in the air and ideal conditions for crystal formation I guess. Elyse enjoyed brushing the frost off the rails and seeing it fall like snow. The fog over the lake and around the cypress trees was also interesting.

There were some neat scenes among the cypress trees of Hillcrest Lake. Above a line of them are shrouded in the light fog on this cold morning. At right they formed interesting reflections in the shallow lake.

We could see large groups of feeding ducks in the distance in the fog. During the night we heard the noises of a large flock of Canada geese - I had seen the flock of over 50 take off on our first morning.

We took Elyse and drove to Slidell to meet Dave and Judy Moyle at the Cracker Barrell for breakfast. That gave Darla time to go to the Moyle's house to make preparation for the big birthday party. Handing off Elyse to the Moyles, we went with Jeff to pick up the cake.

With the nice cake in place, Darla had planned games around the puppy theme, the first being "pin the tail on the puppy".

Elyse as the birthday girl gets the first shot at pinning the tail on the puppy.

The group watches as Elyse makes a creditable effort at placing the puppy's tail. Darla had done a neat job of drawing the puppy, and it was placed on the side of the Moyle's new greenhouse.

All the kids seemed to enjoy the game on this beautiful, sunny afternoon in Pearl River.

The next game was "musical puppy" with the puppy handed around the circle until the music stopped, with a prize for the puppy holder.

Jeff gathers the group of kids to do violence to the puppy pinyata which had been hung from the basketball goal. The adults wisely watch from a distance, out of range of the hefty metal pole that was being put in the hands of the kids.

Elyse gets first try at the pinnate and gets in some good whacks, but the puppy is surprisingly tough.

The tough puppy survives the best whacks of eight kids when it comes up against Jordan. With a mighty whack, she not only sends candy flying but sends the whole pinyata flying over to land at my feet.

It is now time for the giving of gifts and Elyse takes the seat of honor. Even the youngest, Josiah, is held by Jordan and seems very interested in the process.

Elyse enjoys the gifts and everyone seemed to be having a good time. Ashleigh helps with the gift distribution.

Jeff lights the candle on the fancy birthday cake while Jessica and Ashleigh stand by with the ice cream.

The family extends the spirit of celebration by playing games in the living room. It has been a great family day. We had dinner with Jeff and the family in Mandeville and Jordan went on to Abita with us to spend the night. We watched the movie "Soul Surfer".

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Fog bow!

Early in the morning, Jordan and I went out to the lake. It was cold and a fog stood over the lake. I was surprised to see a fog bow toward the west, one of the very few I have ever seen!

We enjoyed our walk to the lake and Jordan liked climbing on the dramatic limbs of the big live oak trees beside Hillcrest Lake.

We had thought about driving to New Orleans, but there was a 40-car pileup in the pre-dawn fog that closed I-10 all day. So we decided to drive up I-12 to Airport Drive and then to the Tamany Trace at S. Oaklawn Drive. From there we walked the Trace to Lake Rd, crossing the Lacombe Bayou.

The biggest surprise to me along the Tamany Trace was the beauty of Lacombe Bayou as we crossed it on a light drawbridge on the trail.

There was this house on an exquisite setting on the Bayou, surrounded by live oaks close in and with cypress at the water's edge. This certainly changed my view of what "life on the bayou" means.

My caricature of life on the Bayou was further destroyed when this expensive speedboat maneuvered under the bridge and thundered off down the curved bayou.

There was an abundance of live oak trees covered with spanish moss, and Ashleigh and I explored a private cemetery of the New Orleans type.

It was a pleasant afternoon excursion for the family. When we returned, Ashleigh accompanied us to Abita Springs where we had supper at Mama D's pizza. We watched Ashleigh's new "Captain America" video.

Friday, December 30, 2011

We awoke to a beautiful sunrise over Hillcrest Lake. There was enough fog over the water from the cold temperature that we got nice streaming of the suns rays in the fog.

The cypress trees produced some nice scenes in the early morning.

We got to the lake a little too late to catch the morning Canada goose flight, but we saw this white heron touch down and then make a short hop to a place he liked better.

We could see a lot of ducks toward the sun, doing their morning dabbling for breakfast. We spooked a few close to us and they are taking off, but are too small to really see in this wide view. After enjoying the sunrise, we hurried to pack up and say our farewell to Abita for this trip. We took Ashleigh back to Jeff's and then we all went to the Cracker Barrell in Slidell for breakfast. After that we headed back toward Atlanta.

Awana Grand Prix trials

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