So, La Luz got to spend some quality time with her cousin Edward today and was, for the most part, on her best behavior. Here she is sharing her miniature bent-wood rocker:
and here's baby Edward holding his own against a tough competitor:
I love that the two babies are starting to interact. I can only imagine how much fun it will be to watch them together next year.
Thanks to the deluge this morning I got soaked twice before my day really even started. I was completely saturated and I had on my brand new, freshly tailored pants that were a bit of a splurge and that I loved until I realized that when they get wet they stink. I had to sit through three hours of CLE looking around at everyone near me, paranoid, wondering if they thought I have a bathing issue.
In addition to walking around stinking all day the other result of the downpour is that the leak we thought was remedied by the gutter repair work we did this summer is still around. Consequently, there are big bubbles in the sheetrock, discolorations in the walls, and lumps in the paint in two rooms. We also discovered two very minor leaks around other windows which I intend to pretend don't exist. I hate to even think about how this is going to be fixed.
There is some good news though, I was ultra-productive at work today. I think I might actually make it through next week out of the office without suffering from an anxiety attack. I also think I am finally going to break down and get a blackberry or a treo for my peace of mind.
La Luz donned the outfit Kelsea so sweetly gave her for Christmas. I think she looks adorable and can't wait for her to wear it again:
Apparently while I was busy at work La Luz had a great day. She exchanged Christmas gifts at Ash-Fin, had lunch and a nice visit with some of mom-mom's friends and even learned how to say "sayonara", watched Fox and the Hound with Pop, and ate a bunch of sugar with Christian. By the time I got home it was late and La Luz was bouncing off the walls but in a great mood. I think she is still awake in her crib, babbling.
No time to post tonight as Christian and I had a babysitter and decided to brave Metairie for some Christmas shopping followed by a Christmas party. La Luz got to spend the better part of the evening with Kelsea and was thrilled. Kelsea truly spoiled La Luz and gave her a precious outfit and a book for Christmas. I can't wait to put her in the outfit tomorrow and I promise to take some pictures. In the meantime, here's a pic of La Luz sporting her NYC t-shirt:
When I got home from work tonight Christian and La Luz were, as usual, rocking out and making dinner. Here are some pictures of La Luz jamming out with my shuffle. Christian swore that she put the shuffle in her back pocket all on her own.
For what seems like days it has been incredibly foggy and grey each morning. When you look out of the window it makes you feel like it is winter, as it should be in mid-December. It has, however, been a bit on the hot side. It went up to about 75 degrees today and I actually had to turn the ac on in my car at one point in the middle of the day. I am not asking for 40 degree weather, just a litte something to make it feel like Christmas around here. A picture of the tree in our backyard looks like it was taken in a place where there are proper changes of seasons and, perhaps, in December it actually feels cold outside. Here's what late fall in New Orleans looks like at about 7:00 a.m. on a Saturday:
On Friday night we went to a Christmas party at a friend's house and La Luz had a great time playing with her friends Emma & Luke. There were some incredible Christmas decorations at the house too. La Luz couldn't get enough of the gigantic, larger-than-life snow globe and the light-up reindeer. On the way home we passed by Al Copeland's house and we were all in awe. I hadn't seen the lights at his house since I was a little kid and, understandably, the display has improved with time and advances in technology. If you are at all fascinated by Christmas lights it is well worth the trip. He also allows walking tours and even serves cotton candy for the kids (and, I suppose, any adults who would like to partake as well).
Saturday morning La Luz and I bummed around the house until Christian decided to wake up. We all went to P.J.'s to satisfy La Luz's most recent addiction, bluberry muffins. After breakfast we went to the Bywater Arts Market for our first attempt at Christmas shopping. Here's La Luz ambling about the uneven Bywater streets:
On Saturday night I made meatballs and spaghettit for Papa George, GG, mom-mom, and pop. La Luz was very excited to have a crowd of her favorite people join her for dinner. We had a wonderful time and it made me wish that I had a regular monthly dinner night when they would come over so that La Luz could spend more time with them. I think the dinner was pretty good in spite of the fact that I am nothing of a chef. The best part of the night was, of course, the company.
On Sunday La Luz and I were both up bright and early. We went to mass and looked for the baby Jesus, as usual. Christian went to the Saints game which ended up being a let down. When Christian got back from game we headed over to City Park to meet up with baby Conor and Betsy and check out Celebration in the Oaks. La Luz loved the lights and is, I think, starting to sort of understand the whole Christmas lights idea. There was a Santa there but once I got within about 10 feet of him she started flipping out so there is still no picture with Santa. Here are some pictures of her at Celebration in the Oaks.
La Luz pretty much loves all things Elmo so it should come as no surprise that she loves noodles (all of you moms and grandmoms who have been forced to watch Sesame Street too many times will understand the reference). Tonight we indulged her a bit and let her have marinara with smart ground (tofu version of meat and not because we don't like to feed her meat - it just happened to be all that we had around) and spaghetti. She decided that she no longer likes to eat noodles that we cut up for her. Instead, she wants the real thing - long, difficult to eat, potential choking hazards. She had a great time but the clean up was unbelievable, which is why she only gets spaghetti noodles once in a great while.
Pics tonight are courtesy of Chritian who was smart enough to get the camera before everything got really messy.
It was an exciting night in the Vaicius household. I arrived at the house to find La Luz and Christian knee deep in the contents of a package that Nana and Papa-T sent. The box was filled with goodies - everything from bones for the generally forgotten Loki to these really cool Christmas tree ornaments made out of yarn to a ton of outfits for La Luz that Aunt Ruthie sent. If she hasn't already, Aunt Ruthie is going to turn La Luz into a clothes horse no matter how hard Christian tries to make her a tomboy.
In addition to the exciting package, the night was even better because AJ invited us over for dinner. We got to hear all about her adventures in Audubon Park the day before with mom-mom and La Luz. Apparently while feeding the ducks (or rather being dive-bombed by the ducks) AJ attempted to kick a piece of bread to the ducks in the water and, isntead, kicked her shoe off and into the lagoon. I would have paid top dollar to watch mom-mom and AJ attempt to retrieve AJ's flip-flop from the lagoon using whatever braches and reeds were nearby.
La Luz was really excited about the Dora bath toys Nana sent her and was ready to get in the tub the minute we walked in the door. The toys are a Dora doll with flippers and an inflatable raft with a baby Dora and Diego inside. You can imagine what happened when Christian got a hand on the toys during La Luz's bath. Whereas I merely had Dora and Diego enjoying the waves on the beach at Destin, Christian had Dora and Diego paddling for their lives to escape Castro - a little heavy for a half-hour with Mr. Bubble if you ask me.
The toys worked so well that they actually presented a new problem. La Luz refused to leave them in the bathtub and insisted on having them with her in bed tonight. I can't win.
Thanks to GG I now know that the 13th of December marks the feast of St. Lucy. I remember as a child that I used to love to read my book about the lives of the saints and I also enjoyed the small celebrations we would have on certain feast days during religion class at Sacred Heart. Generally speaking, the stories of the saints all tended to be dramatic and terribly tragic, and why not, they likely wouldn't be saints at all but for the drama and tragedy.
Apparently we don't know much about St. Lucy, other than that she is the patroness of the eyes, which explains the rather gorey statue in St. Patrick's of St. Lucy holding a platter with two eyeballs on it. She was martyred at the begining of the 4th century and became a saint soon thereafter. During Emperor Diocletian's rule Lucy distributed her dowry to the poor and was a suspected Christian. The guy that was essentially Lucy's fiance turned her in to the authorities when he learned of her generosity.
The name Lucy comes from the Latin word "lux" or "light" and to celebrate the feast of St. Lucy young girls wear crowns of light. On the 12th and 13th of December you can see meteors that come from the constellation Gemini and these are known as "Lucy's Lights".
I wish that I had crown of light for La Luz to wear tomorrow or that it was clearer outside so I could stand on the balcony and look for Lucy's Lights. Maybe next year. Instead I will just remember the martyrdom of St. Lucy and say my thanks for the light La Luz brings to me.
It was another typical Monday around the office. I arrived at around 8:45, sat down at my desk, looked up and itwas 5:45...and December is supposed to be a laid back month. Christian and I were truly engaged in tag team parenting today. When I walked in the door at 6:30 he grabbed his bag and headed to P.J.s to finish making his exam and grading papers. I hate evenings when we are this busy. La Luz and I enjoyed a quiet night together. She practiced her new skill - turning the Christmas tree lights on and off. For some reason Christian taught her how to do this and she loves it. I am sure the neighbors and anyone walking past the house think we bought blinking lights on purpose or else that a crazy person lives here.
I spent the rest of the night putting away clothes. It literally took hours. I don't know if this is a problem that is particular to my household or not. We have an absolute inability to put clothes away around here. We are on top of the actual laundering of the clothes and don't seem to have any problem folding everything. The problem we have is actually getting the folded clothes from the basket to the drawers or closets. We will use every basket in the house (and we have 3) and once those are filled we will cover every empty surface with stacks of clothes. It is unreal and I think it is a problem that is here to stay. Whenever I waste a night putting clothes away (like tonight) I vow that I will keep up with it from here on out. I promise I won't though. Three or four weeks from now one of my nights will be dedicated to putting away clothes, again.
The weekend started in chaos becuase my work Christmas party stretched far beyond the customary five hours of debauchery. I finally extricated myself around 5 p.m. only to learn later the next day that the merrymaking lasted until the wee hours of the night. From what I hear, I was lucky to escape when I did because the later it got the less tasteful the stops along the way became, or so I hear.
Christian and I took La Luz to an ornament making party at Beth and Gabriel's house and she loved it. When we arrived about an hour into the party it was utter madness. There were kids and toys and food and glitter and paste on every square inch of the house. We had a blast.
On Saturday morning we woke up with great anticipation waiting for news that Nana and Papa-T were on their way.
To kill time, La Luz and I voted (for what that was worth) and strolled around Magazine Street and enjoyed the Merriment on Magazine festivities. We saw Santa and Mrs. Claus outside of Whole Foods and I was almost able to get La Luz to sit on Santa's lap but she freaked at the last minute. At around 12 we learned that there was something wrong with the instruments on Papa-T's plane so they had to cancel their flight. Needless to say, we were very disappointed but we managed to enjoy the weekend despite missing them terribly.
We went to a Christmas party at Paola and Jose's on Saturday night. It was really a grown-up Christmas party but we were allowed to bring La Luz because Paola still hadn't met her and Amanda was in town just for the weekend and wanted to see her. Paola and Jose live about five blocks away and yet we never see them and it boggles my mind. I don't know how it is that we get too busy to get together. There was a time when I saw more of Paola than I saw of my own husband. They have a beautiful house and I was very envious of how everything inside matches or at least follows a general contemporary theme.
While La Luz napped on Sunday Gerrish and I went to Festivus. It was very nice but not quite as big as some of the monthly art markets around the city. I picked up a very cool 'cd-turned-ornament' for our tree and some neat green and red Mexican paper cut-outs for Christian. They were serving satsuma mimosas but had run out by the time Gerrish and I arrived so we settled on a nutella crepe instead and it was delicious.
Christian and I finished all of the Christmas decorating on Sunday afternoon. The tree is up and even though it sheds needles if someone so much as coughs nearby, it looks great. Christian was inspired by something and bought a bunch of poinsettias for the front porch and strung lights and garland on the balcony. I guess you really shouldn't live in a house with a balcony unless you are willing to do some Christmas lights. When it got dark enough outside we stepped outside to check out his handiwork and it looks brilliant.
We finally rebounded from a misreable bug that knocked me and Christian out in the begining of the week and even infected mom-mom. La Luz might have had it at some point but it is so difficult to tell with babies because their behavior can be somewhat erratic for no reason whatsoever.
So, to finally rid the house of every germ in the hopes of having maybe a week when we are all well at the same time I washed every sheet and towel, scrubbed every sink and toilet, and broke down and bought two gigantic cans of Lysol. I covered every square inch of the house, even things that probably aren't supposed to be hosed down with disinfectant. In the process I really pissed off Christian who thinks that the reason why we keep getting sick is because we are too clean and there are too many chemicals around. I am flattered that he belives the house is so clean but I don't follow the logic. I stood my ground and continued to spray and it made him misreable but I felt better about it, that is until I got to daycare and the ladies there told me that I couldn't prevent these types of viruses if I bleached the house from top to bottom. Can this really be true? What do I know?
Nevermind the unstoppable germs, we are all feeling just fine today. We are looking forward to a weekend of all sorts of Christmassy things and, if we are lucky and the weather holds out, a quick visit with Nana and Papa-T who will fly into town on Saturday.
Sometimes I wonder how La Luz got stuck with all of my genes. However, every now and then she makes a face or gesture that is 100% Christian. Occasionally, it is even better than that and somebody, in this case, Aunt Linda, sends a picture that proves La Luz is her father's daughter.
More than anything that stands out about this weekend is the fact that it was very cold. There were a few things that made it special, as usual, but I learned how much of a pain it must be to live in places where it really gets cold, like snow cold, not southern cold. It was a chore getting La Luz into her seat every time we had to drive somewhere on account of the many layers of clothing. I wedged her in and snapped the belt and she complained for the duration of the ride each time, probably because the belts were constricting her breathing. I would have fussed too. I don't think I would go anywhere in the winter if it was cold enough to require a proper snowsuit. It would just be too much of a hassle.
The weekend started sort of misreably because La Luz decided to wake up at 5:30 and since Christian had been out the night before for a bachelor party the morning child-rearing duties were my responsibility. Needless to say, I was not thrilled. La Luz looked pretty cute in her feeties though. Thanks to her grandmothers she is going to stay nice and warm this winter. The greatest gift about the feeties is that having them on encouraged her to dress the baby doll, finally, so that they could be twins.
On Sunday we went to baby Betsy's christening at St. Stephens. Betsy looked beautiful and was so well-behaved. She didn't cry once during the ceremony. I was amazed. La Luz was actually not too bad either. She was a bit chatty during mass but I don't think too many people were put-off by it. After I pointed out a particularly vivid stained-glass window she didn't stop talking to it. It was sort of funny but also probably not really appropriate for the middle of a church service. She kept saying, "Hi, Jesus" and "What's your name baby?".
At the party at Attie's after the baptism La Luz enjoyed a plate full of shrimp grits and strawberries. When we got home she crashed while Christian and I watched the Saints game.
We woke La Luz up out of a deep sleep around 4:30 so that we could go pick out our Christmas tree with the few remaining minutes of light left in the day. It was La Luz's first Christmas tree shopping experience since we were living at mom-mom and pop's at this time last year. I think she had a good time but was definitely overwhelmed by the entire ordeal, understandably. At one point as I was heaving trees left and right, trying to find just the perfect one, I looked off to the side and saw Christian and La Luz out of the corner of my eye standing close together, acting like they needed to be rescued from the blow-up santas and light-up nativity scenes. The two of them have a much lower threshold for that sort of madness than I do.
At the end of the day we found what seems to be a good tree. Since we lost all of our Christmas accoutrements we splurged and paid to have a stand put on the tree at the lot. It really doesn't get any easier than that. When we got home and got the tree inside we realized it is much bigger than it appeared to be at the lot. It is a great tree though, even if it is a behemoth. It might take us until Christmas to decorate it but at least the house finally smells like the holidays to me.