We moved into a new house! It's a half shotgun in Algier's Point. The place is newly renovated. All of the fireplaces have been redone. The kitchen and bathroom are completely new, and we finally have a dishwasher. No more paper plates and long clean-ups for us! The kitchen cleans so quickly now. One problem with these old shotguns is usually that they aren't sealed well, but ours is very well insulated. It also has a yard and a white picket fence, and if you know me, then you know that is not a positive thing. It really is a wonderful place, and we are only four blocks from the Algiers Ferry, meaning that we are only four blocks from the front of the Quarter. We can take the kids on a four block walk and a short boat ride, which thrills Amelie, and be standing in front of the Aquarium of the Americas.
I would like to go into a discussion of the real estate market in the French Quarter -about how they smile at you and take your rental application for a place, knowing the whole time that they aren't going to give it to you, because you have kids. I would like to do that, but I won't. I will say this though. If you want to move into the Quarter, and you have kids, then you should buy a house there. That is the only way you will get in, because they just don't want you there. Fair housing laws don't exist in the French Quarter. The place will suddenly need renovations or some family friend will appear from thin air to rent it from the owner.
Christmas was great! I had four vacation days left at the end of the year and I was actually able to bridge the gap between Christmas and New Years. I was off of work for a total of ten straight days. It's never easy to go back after that. So what did I get for Christmas? Well here are a couple of the highlights.
First up is my new Hookah! My lovely wife bought me a Mya Petite, a box of 100 coals, and three flavors of Social Smoke tobacco (Mint Chocolate, Chai, and Double Apple). The Mya is a small personal Hookah, which it perfect for me. If I ever want to smoke with someone, it does convert to a two hose hookah with an adapter. It has really high ratings all around the web. I plan on buying a second hose adapter, a washable hose, and possibly a larger bowl for it. By the way, the Mint Chocolate flavor is superb.
Another gift that I absolutely loved is the French press that my mother-in-law bought for me. I have never tasted coffee with as much flavor as that which is made by the French press. My drip pot has sat on the counter alone and unused since I brought the French press home. If you've never used a French press, here is how it works. You pull off the lid and press and put in your ground coffee. Pour in hot water after that. Stir the coffee grounds and water, and let it sit for four minutes with the press/lid on and the press pulled all the way up. After four minutes place your hand on top of the press and let the weight of your hand carry it down. All of the coffee will be trapped at the bottom under the press. Finally, pour yourself a cup of the best coffee you've ever had.
The kids...well they got a lot. Here's a video I made of the footage:
All in all it was a very good Christmas.We got to relax and spend time with family. It was a much needed break after a long and tiring season of life. I'm looking forward to 2011. I am full of hope in God as our lives are getting back on track spiritually and emotionally. God is good, and he has blessed us beyond measure with family and friends who love and care for us. Most of all he sent his Son to Earth to live the life I could not live and die the death I should have died. When I think about Christmas, I think about the God of the universe identifying with me experiencing the stress, pain, and hardships of being a human.
So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind. Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
(Philippians 2:1-11 ESV)