another one for the books!

It's no secret that we love Mardi Gras. Just about everything about it. We never thought we would, but then again, who thinks of falling in love with floats, ladders, beads, and glittered shoes. As this Carnival season ends, it's similar to the feeling you had as a kid when you unwrapped the last present only to be left with crumbled paper, empty boxes, and a terribly lonely looking tree. You miss it already; something you spent so much time to prepare for, and then it's over. Carnival is like an extended Christmas, you have multiple days and nights of opening presents, so much so that you pick the parades you want to see. It's a bit magical. I try to articulate this to friends outside of the city, and my words fall short. Hence this blog, filled with pictures of my girls glowing by the inner joy of receiving a bead, while also glowing from the lights of the passing floats.

We have refined our Carnival experience, as this wraps up the 8th year of jubilee, and it goes like this. We start it all with the quickly growing krewedelusion parade in which Ken is the captain of the wildly popular inner krewe, Alkreweists. You can read about this madness HERE FOR EPISODE 5, HERE FOR EPISODE 4 and HERE FOR EPISODE 3

We spend months preparing for this and the immediate days that follow can be slightly depressing, but then, oh wait! The season has just begun! The next weekend we hit up a few parades, with very little investment, and we usually watch from a ways back, to reintroduce parades to the girls.

Then we have the peak of parade season, MUSES Thursday. This year our friend sat out with the ladders, securing our supreme 50 yard line location for about 4 hours before the parade started. This, while writing it now seems ridiculous, at the time, I suggested maybe joining her. You know, bringing out the pac n play and letting Ivy nap on the side of the road. I wrote about the SHOE THING HERE.

I forgot to include my sassy eyes, so, for you all, my glittered eyes. And, you guys, I used coconut oil to make the glitter stick. Remember when I wrote on Facebook asking about the uses of coconut oil? (you don't?) Well, here's another!!

Friday Avery's school had a parade! Krewe de Tots. I mean, as another mom said, it's better than Muses, but it makes you cry. Too true.

Here we have Saturday, with the most beautiful weather and perfect parade conditions. We live about 8 blocks from the epicenter of optimal parade watching, Napoleon and St. Charles. We load the tutu wearing big kids in our wagon. Note, not a red wagon, cause the streets and sidewalks here, well, we need tires. Must haves are glittered eyes part 2, staying hydrated, and tutus. Always tutus. 

Sunday is quite amazing as well. Our church meets a bit earlier because our pastor has a house on the parade route for Thoth. He and his wife most graciously open their home to everyone to feast and celebrate, while the corner is covered with ladders filled with kids catching stuffed animals, beads, and footballs. This is a marathon day, and the kids were excellent. Ivy slept in her car seat for the first half, ate, then I wore her for the rest of the time. Avery thought she had won the lottery with her beads, and Eliza toddled herself down the sidewalk and briefly joined another party. Thankfully, it was all good.

Sunday night we braved after post Thoth naps and I'm glad we did! The most beautiful floats, and at this time, you literally can't think of letting another bead cross the threshold of your house, so you really do just enjoy the floats. Proteus and Orpheus roll on Sunday night and we saw Quinten Tarantino and a train float that was eight floats long. Puts the Main Street Electrical parade to shame, sorry childhood of Disneyland trips, while you dominate in all other areas of theme parks, for parades, well, you can learn a few things from New Orleans. 

MARDI GRAS DAY! With a tint of defeat, the rain and low temps, we didn't do the St Ann parade as we did for the first time last year. And in case you forgot, this happened. And consequently changed our lives. This is not an exaggeration.

We teamed up with our clever friends to do a joint theme and, y'all, if the rain had not, well, rained on our parade (hey barbara!!) we would have been the talk of the town. Here's a preview:

We felt an itch all morning, and I just thought, tomorrow there won't be a parade going down the street, this time, two blocks from our house, so I loaded up my bunnies in our stroller and walked them through the rain, only to catch the last of Rex and the beginning of the truck parade. (Don't get me started with the truck parade. I just, I hate it. If you love it, go ahead with yourself. For me, no.) My hands were frozen and Avery said, "I just want to go home." So after five minutes of that, we came home.

But we ended the season with a gathering that is like a reunion because everyone shares their Mardi Gras highlights, and as we, the Kostrzewas, have our unique schedule of parades and such, so does every family. People who roll in parades share tales from the route, those with epic throws describe the feeling of receiving them, and everyone eats pancakes and toasts with mimosas. This is the 5th year we have done this! Just the best.

Tomorrow, the beads will be gone. The Alkreweist banner will be rolled up. The dried glue on my fingers will have rolled off. The glitter will just barely remain in the corners of my eyes. The capes will be hung on the mantle next to the shoes from Muses, and we will close another beautiful Carnival season.

Chris Rose said it best, "Mardi Gras is the love of life. It is the harmonic convergence of our food, our music, our creativity, our eccentricity, our neighborhoods, and our joy of living. All at once."

Happy Carnival, everybody. 

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