The day started out SO COLD. Seriously, it's been a super mild winter and here we were driving to a beach island where the high temp for the day was in the mid-40's with 17-20 mph winds. NOT my idea of a good time, especially with two kids in tow! We all dressed in two layers plus winter coats, hats, gloves, scarves and headed on our way. We arrived in Galveston right around 11am, which was when the festivities were to begin. We had planned to go down, find a nice restaurant to sit down in, eat a nice, slow lunch and basically hang out there until the parade began at 1. Well, we found exactly TWO restaurants that were open on a Sunday. One was a greasy cafe that served burgers and dogs, the other was a little cafe that served muffalettas and deli sandwiches. We chose the cafe and ate some hot fresh, greasy food :) It was a really small place and started to fill up fast when we were finished eating so we cleared out of our tables, bundled back up and went back out into the blustery cold.
We started walking a little and that's when Eric saw the beads being thrown from a balcony. Of course, since we were at a Mardi Gras celebration, we HAD to get some beads! What I wasn't prepared for was the amount of beads we would end up with...but I'm getting ahead of myself. We stood there catching beads for a LONG time. I don't know how long, but it felt like forever :) I finally managed to pull Eric and Maddie away from the crowd of bead-catchers and we headed over to enjoy some live music for a while. We danced with the girls and had a good time, then we found a spot on the curb to wait for the parade! The curbs in Galveston are about 18 inches (maybe more) high...I guess to accomodate any minor flooding in the city. It was quite convenient for sitting on waiting for the parade. AND we had thought ahead to take a blanket, so that made for a much warmer seat!
Once the parade started, we all stood up to get up close to catch MORE beads! Little did we know, the parade only lasted about 15 minutes (and that might be generous). We were pretty bummed that we drove all the way to Galveston in freezing cold temperatures for a 15 minute parade. Eric and I just kind of looked at each other and laughed...it was all we could do :) We headed off walking back toward where they were throwing beads over the balcony, because, you know, we didn't quite have enough beads at that point (I'm being sarcastic here...). We caught a few more beads and were surprised when the "parade" came back around again! How strange was that?? Maybe it's the norm when it comes to Mardi Gras parades, but we were shocked. So guess what we did?? Yup...got MORE beads! At this point I was telling Eric we had more than enough and we should give up on the the beads and take the girls to the beach. I kept saying we were going to have to weigh the beads when we got home so we could see just how much we had. It was insane!
We finally headed back to the van and took the girls over to see the beach. It was still really cold, although it had warmed up into the low 40's by then, and it was still SUPER windy. But that didn't deter our die-hard beach bums! Both girls took off to run in the sand fully clothed with hats and mittens. What a fun sight and great memories! We finished off our day in Galveston with a trip to Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream. That's become an unspoken tradition. It seems every time we go down there, we stop off for some ice cream before heading home. It was really fun (and yummy!!).