Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Hard-headed Goofball

Today when mom-mom picked La Luz up from daycare she had a large bump on her forehead. There's not telling how it happened and La Luz has been climbing all over the furniture and the toys at daycare for the past few months despite being told many times each day to stop. I know it is nobody's fault but it still bothers me. It looks like it must have hurt, alot.

You can't really see it in these pictures of La Luz shoving an entire Ritz cracker in her mouth but trust me, it's there.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

February 2007 Mix

Because he is sweet and knows I love music, Christian generally makes me a mix a month. I get to listen to the new tunes he has heard and thinks I might like and figure out what cds I might be interested in purchasing. It is a treat and something that I look forward to each month. This month's mix is:

1. 23 - Blonde Redhead
2. Ooh La - The Kooks
3. Jackie Big Tits - The Kooks
4. Flathead - The Fratellis
5. Whistle for the Choir - The Fratellis
6. The Prayer - Bloc Party
7. Song for the Clay - Bloc Party
8. Hang Me Up to Dry - Cold War Kids
9. Hospital Beds - Cold War Kids
10. History Song - The Good, the Bad and the Queen
11. Herculean - The Good, the Bad and the Queen
12. Nature of the Experiment - Tokyo Police Club
13. Be Good - Tokyo Police Club
14. Wolf Like Me - TV on the Radio
15. Hours - TV on the Radio
16. Mother, Sisters, Daughters & Wives - Voxtrot
17. Rise Up in the Dirt - Voxtrot
18. Tape It - Winterkids
19. Who Am I Kidding - Winterkids
20. The Canals of Our City - Beirut
21. Mount Wroclai - Beirut

I know he can pretty much predict the ones that I am going to like. On this particular mix he picked two tracks from each band and it was obvious to me from the first listen that there is one song for each of us from every band on the mix. Though we generally like the same musicians, our choices for the overall album favorites are generally not the same.

At any rate, my favorites are, not necessarily in order - 23 (Blonde Redhead because I love everything that they do. They are one of the bands I referred to in yesterday's post when I mentioned that La Luz had attended a few concerts in utero); Hours (TVotR because the girl from Blonde Redhead sings on this one); Who Am I Kidding (Winterkids - I love her voice and don't know anything about this band); Rise Up in the Dirt (Voxtrot - because it is all easy harmony and nice beat); Whistle for the Choir (Fratellis - for the same reason as the Voxtrot song); Song for Clay (Bloc Party - very pretty) and both Beirut songs because they don't sound like anything else out there right now and, of course, both The Good, the Bad and The Queen songs - can't wait to see them when they play next month.

For those of you less interested in the music, here is a picture of La Luz that mom-mom took with her new camera. Did I mention that she is leaving in about a week and a half for South Africa and will be there for two weeks? I am not sure how La Luz is going to do without her human security blanket for two entire weeks.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Respecting The Dignity Of Youth

Jen forwarded me a recent David Brooks editorial for the NYT. The title alone, Moshpit Meets Sandbox, was enough to pique my interest. Brooks basically laments that there is a generation of 'hipster' parents forcing their own styles and interest on their children and preventing them from being, well, kids. The result, in broadstrokes, is children wearing camo and ponchos and snarky t-shirts that say things like, 'anarchy in the pre-K' or some other such nonesense and listening to Brian Eno and Radiohead. Brooks argues that the supposed non-conformist parents are creating miniature reproductions of their hipper-than-thou selves. The editorial is funny and worth reading and I would link to it but you have to subscribe to the NYT. You can find the article reprinted all over the internet by doing a quick google search with Brooks' name and the title.

I disagree with much of what Brooks has to say about this supposed 'style' of parenting and how it makes your 'average suburban cul de sac look like Renaissance Florence', but I can see his point. I think the confusion is in the fact that more people are making the decision to move with their families to the city - and, thus, you see a push to a more urban (and often this is equated with a 'hipster') lifestyle. Brooks struck a chord with me on a few things. For example, I have had a certain smug sense of nonconformity each time I put La Luz in a smocked dress. Not many children wear smocked dresses these days (but is it our fault if 'cool' kids clothes are more accessible than any of the others). I happen to be the ONLY person I know who has an aunt who knows how to and enjoys making beautiful dresses. Without that resource, I would be left scratching my head, wondering if it was really appropriate for a toddler to wear black leggings or trying to figure out how an 18 month old is supposed to wear a shrug. Interestingly enough, I think Christian is the one who is guilty of forcing his hipster trends on a poor, unsuspecting baby. He is a fan of the longsleeve shirt underneath the shortsleeve shirt and even moreso when it says the Decembrists on it. The last time he dressed her (Friday) she had it on:

I am just saying...

We are all guilty of allowing La Luz to listen to the bands we love. She attended more concerts in utero than I have been to since she was born. Maybe that makes me guilty of imposing the 'hipster' lifestyle on her before she even had a say-so. I joke about it but certainly draw the line at bringing her to concerts now (unless it is a festival outside - that is completely acceptable and important for her development). Notwithstanding the fact that I am convinced La Luz already has impeccable music taste and likes all of my favorite bands in particular, I promise it is not to the exclusion of countless hours of terrible children's songs that make me want to pull my fingernails off, one by one.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Just The Girls, and Loki

We worked on facial expressions this weekend and La Luz mastered the, "woman, have you completely lost your mind?" look.

La Luz and I were left to our own devices this weekend as Christian had to travel to Shreveport for a volleyball tournament. The weather was perfect and provided a great opportunity for me to open the doors and windows and let the house air out. I am such a germaphobe and, though I had improved substantially, as a result of the last stomach bug, I have completely regressed and am worse than ever. There is Purell in every room in the house and Lysol disinfecting wipes are now conveniently located in every bathroom and the kitchen. Frankly, I would like to replace all of the shower gel and handsoaps with bleach but I think Christian would leave me.

On Saturday night I watched The Devil Wears Prada since I figured Christian would not mind missing it. I was not expecting much and was pleasantly suprised. It was incredibly entertaining and actually made me think about fashion in a way I never would have had I not seen the movie. Now I know that the kelly-green t-shirt I had on yesterday was not an accident.

The weather was perfect today. La Luz, Loki, and I ran to Washington and Prytania this morning where we watched the first runner in the Mardi Gras Marathon head to the park. It was inspiring. He was not winded, perfectly comfortable, and easily a mile ahead of his nearest competitor. On the way back to the house we stopped at the turn at Napoleon and Camp and watched more of the runners with one of La Luz's friends, Tierney. Oddly enough the girls were totally entertained watching the runners and were clapping and shouting as the runners rounded the bend. It was strange to see how the run was so easy for some and such a labor for others. It is so much more than mere training - that part makes the run possible - it has to do with how your body is wired. I ran the 1/2 marathon a few years ago and am starting to get the itch to do either that or the full one next year.

We spent the rest of the day outside - Loki sunning himself and La Luz busying herself with who knows what. We also went to the park to slide and swing a few times and even made it down to Fuel for a cup of coffee this afternoon. That's about all we managed to accomplish this weekend, that and piles of laundry.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Need For Speed

It is no secret around my house that I absolutely abhor flying with Papa-T. I actually hate that Papa-T flies at all, especially with Nana and then sometimes Christian and Susan and Marty and other people that I love and care about in the plane with him. There are only two things I like about the fact that he flies:

1. It is a quick way for Nana and Papa-T to get to New Orleans for the weekend to visit La Luz.
2. It is a really cool hobby and something that Papa-T cares about very deeply.

My fear of flying with Papa-T dates back to my first and last time in the plane with him when he supposedly couldn't land the plane because of a cross-wind. I still don't know if he was kidding or serious but at this point it doesn't really matter because I will never get back in the plane with him, which is kind of sad for a variety of different reasons. Even though the practical side of me can understand that flying in the plane is safer than driving on the highway I can't wrap my head around the idea of climbing back in to the passenger seat or even not hyperventilating for the three or four hours that Nana and Papa-T are in the air when they travel to and from New Orleans.

La Luz, on the other hand, had her first taste of what it is like to be in the plane and was hooked. I guess it is in her blood.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

The Season Of Penitence Begins

It has been a crazy couple of days and I haven't had any time to post lately. After a weekend of some serious parade-going and fun we got sick on Monday night and were pretty much useless on Tuesday. The worst part about feeling lousy was not missing Mardi Gras day but missing my trip to NYC with Molls. I had planned to go with her to NYC on Tuesday to spend a few days there and help her get settled in. I felt so lousy on Monday night that we had to cancel the flight. Oh well, the upside of that is I can use the ticket to fly to NYC for a longer trip sometime this spring. I just hate not being there right now and I miss her so much. When she left my house on Monday night we assumed we would be seeing each other Tuesday morning for the flight.

I got my ashes this afternoon and decided that I should give up something that actually takes some effort this year. I think this year it will be wine. Last year it was sugar, I think, and I got around that by eating every sweet tasting thing that was made with artificial sweetener - too easy. The year before that, I vowed to not curse. That didn't last very long. I think it will be challenging to give up wine, not because I can't live without it, but because it is something that I enjoy and really look forward to, especially after a long day of work. It will be good to find another outlet to de-stress.

I have a bunch of great pictures from the past few days and will hopefully get them on flickr eventually. In the meantime, here are a few:

Me and Molls, on the way to Proteus/Orpheus.

La Luz, kissing her doggie.

Mardi Gras reveler...the closest thing we could get to a festive outfit since she refused to wear her dragon costume.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Because It's Carnival Time

There is no question that Carnival is in full swing. We started off the weekend with some parade-watching on Friday night and La Luz was having a great time despite the ridiculously cold weather and the fact that it was well past her bedtime. Here she is with Christian in her ladder...

On Saturday her enthusiasm for parading had dwindled a bit and we spent more time looking at leaves in the front yard than we did at the parade. I assumed she just needed a break and would rebound just in time for Thoth but I was wrong. In addition to not really digging the parade scene La Luz wasn't really in a social mood today which made it a bit tricky to have a house full of guests. I hated that she wasn't her usual, congenial self but she is a toddler and, as such, is completely unpredictable. She didn't realize how important it was that her friend Camille came all the way from Baton Rouge to check out the parades with her.

Instead, she prefered to sit in her Elmo chair and watch Dora.

She cared for a second that Conor wanted to ride in the wagon with her and blow bubbles but that didn't last long. She didn't care that baby Betsy and Baby Edward were all ready to catch beads, she prefered to run around the house reminding all of the guests which things were hers. Dollhouse, 'mine'...sippy cup, 'mine'...television, 'mine'...mommy's leg, 'mine'. It was exhausting and disapointing but WAY beyond my control.

La Luz's mood notwithstanding, the day was excellent. The house was filled with family, friends, and great food and the weather was outstanding. I couldn't have asked for a nicer day or a greater group of people to spend it with.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

I'll Have 1 Oversized Tiger, Please

Nana and Papa-T had a smooth flight into New Orleans earlier today and arrived in time to catch the parades. La Luz had the best seat in the house:

and was in perfect position to catch the gigantic stuffed tiger Christian threw to her.

Mom-Mom, Molls, Catherine and some of our friends watched the parades with us and then joined us afterwards for delicious jambalaya courtesy of AJ. Mom had the best time at the parades. She hasn't admitted to having fun at a parade in years but she enjoyed herself tonight. It all began with the scatalogically themed Chaos - "Chaos Breaks Wind". I think I actually saw her jump to grab the whoopie cushion that was thrown to her. I also think she enjoyed the mad-dash for beads when Pop, Richmond, and Christian's float passed by and they bombed us. I have tried to get her to join me for Muses for years and tonight I think she realized why I think it is such a great parade. She was awed by the crazy light-up shoes and the butterflies, the inappropriately-themed bands of roving women and the girl-power. The throws were entertaining too - comic books, stuffed monkeys, plush spears (what took them so long to invent those?), high-heel charms attached to candy necklaces (of course a woman would come up with this throw), and the list goes on. The highlight of Muses was the Elvi on mopeds, five rows deep and my girl snagged a gross like it was nobody's business.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

My Valentine

Here's La Luz, first thing in the morning...

and then a few minutes later when the chaos ensues and she insists on contorting herself so that she can fit properly in the baby doll bed her Aunt Susan gave her for Christmas. I am just waiting for it to break while she is sitting on it one day. She will be shocked because she just barely grasps that it is not actually a bed for humans.

Tomorrow Nana and Papa-T arrive, Christian rides, and my favorite parade of the season, Muses, rolls. Mardi Gras madness has officially infiltrated the Vaicius household and if La Luz asks me one more time to take her to a parade I think I might defenestrate.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

I Carry Their Hearts In Mine

Happy Valentines Day to all my friends and loved ones.

Monday, February 12, 2007

A Little Relaxation

Tonight was a typical Monday night around the Vaicius house. I got home just in time for Christian to leave for volleyball. Meanwhile, La Luz watched Care Bears. This was the first time she has watched a DVD in over a week. I think that an hour or two once or twice a week is an acceptable amount of DVD watching time. Plus, look how relaxed she looks:

Sunday, February 11, 2007

But Have I Told You How I Love Him

Twelve years ago tomorrow Christian and I first met. I guess it is our golden anniversary of sorts. I usually forget the date, the years, the time...but this year Christian added it to the kitchen calendar, the weekly road map for the Vaicius family, and so I am able to remember and celebrate something that is so hard to believe. Twelve years ago tomorrow was my luckiest day, the day that guaranteed there would be love in my life every day for as long as I live.

So, here we are, together, way back then (or close to it at least):

We made it to a few of the parades this weekend and La Luz officially has more Mardi Gras loot than she knows what to do with. Here's a sample:

On Friday night Christian, Molly, and I took La Luz to see her first parades of the year. We didn't know quite what to expect...did she inherit my blase parade-watching genes or was she infused with a love of mardi gras like no other, inherited from her dad? She was hooked immediately. She was in awe for every second of the madness and didn't want it to end. The band...let's dance...the horses...let's ride them, huh, can we, please...the floats, catch something, wave, catch some more, lift me higher. She was wired when we got home and kept begging Molls to take her to see more floats.

We went to the den to check out the floats with Pop and Uncle Richmond while Christian was at volleyball on Saturday morning. It bummed me out that he wasn't there to see her face when she learned she was able to touch the floats and, oh yes, climb on them. Thankfully, Richmond offered to bring her up onto the float. That part was easy and fun, the tough part was getting her back down when it was time to leave. Here's a picture that Richmond took of her while she was hanging out on the float. She is wearing the adorable smocked dress that AJ just finished. I love it. I think I might put her in it every day this week:

La Luz's buddy, Conor, came over to watch the parades on Saturday night. He enjoyed the whole parade-going experience as much as La Luz and she was so distracted by the fun that she didn't even mind sharing her wagon:

For some reason La Luz has been waking up at 6:00 a.m. for the past few mornings and it really irritates me, especially since Christian had to coach all weekend so there was no chance of sleeping late. Since we were up La Luz and I went running with Loki and the to mass. We could hear the bands getting ready during mass and every time a song would end La Luz would stand up and clap. Everyone sitting around us exercised great patience today. After mass we played with Loki in the yard for a bit and then walked down to the parade to meet up with baby Betsy. I could not believe how much Betsy had grown since the last time I saw her.

She was laughing and trying to talk and dancing to the marching bands. She even outlasted La Luz who insisted on going home for a nap even though the second parade hadn't started. So, maybe not all of her parade-going genes were inherited from her father.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Where Does She Learn These Things

I got home from work kind of late this evening and didn't have a chance to spend much time with La Luz. From what I hear she had a nice afternoon playing at mom-mom's and then riding in the wagon (which Christian finally fixed after I incorrectly put it together on Christmas Eve).

The little time I had with her revealed that the most recent trick she has picked up recently is sucking her teeth. I think it is a disgusting habit and it really grosses me out. I have no idea where she learned it but she thinks it is hilarious and likes it even more when I get mad and tell her to cut it out. This one ranks right up there with smacking, which I think mom-mom taught her to do when she was about 6 months old, much to Richmond's chagrin.

While I am on the subject of 'things my kid does', I might as well mention some of the more impressive things. She can get through the alphabet (though she meanders a bit at times), she can count from 1 to 20 (the meandering applies to this task as well), she can recite most of Tumble Bumble (which makes sense considering I have read it to her every night of her life), repeat any word, knows what happens next in most of her favorite books and dvds, and (finally, and most importantly) can sit on my lap hugging and kissing me for up to five minutes at a time. The baby who fought my affection now begs me to pick her up, rock her, carry her, hold her...don't think I don't stop what I am doing immediately and oblige, because to me it just doesn't get any better than that.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

A Little Afternoon Indulgence

I had depositions in Metairie this afternoon and when they ended I walked outside and decided that if I went back to the office for the last hour of work then there's just no hope for me. There are only a handful of days like today in a year and that means there are only a few handfuls of gorgeous afternoons to spend with La Luz in her entire life.

When I arrived at mom-mom's La Luz was on the porch listening to Molly's ipod. We decided to go for a spin around the park, look at the ducks, and enjoy the sunset. It was the most well-spent hour in a long time.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

One More Time

Molls and I are off to The Parish to see Evan Dando. I know, it will be us and every other thirty something girl who had a crush on him when he was the lead singer for the Lemonheads. It was a tough choice tonight because I already saw the Lemonheads once, back in the nineties when I was a student at UGA and Dave Eggers is reading from his new book, What Is The What at NOCCA at the same time. I have seen Dave Eggers before and it was magical. Christian jokes that he is my boyfriend because I was finishing his sentences when he spoke to a small crowd at Beaucoup Books. Jen and I almost had drinks with him afterwards at St. Joe's but something happened and for some reason we didn't...I don't remember why. Molly has always liked Evan Dando, ever since she was 13 and first heard the Lemonheads and she has never seen them and she just had a 15 pound tumor and her entire uterus and both ovaries removed so, being the loving sister that I am, I let her pick. And, so it goes.

Here's La Luz with her shades on earlier tonight. We moved a bunch of her toys upstairs over the weekend and I think that she believes they are all new simply because they are in a new location. It is quite nice.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Look Who Is Moving In

I think the gift basket on our doorstep means that it is official - Cottage Living selected the vacant lot three houses down from us on Camp Street as the site for their Dream Home 2007. When we moved to the neighborhood the house on that lot was abandoned and blighted. The Preservation Resource Center bought the house (for a pretty penny I might add) and partnered with Cottage Living to make it the site for the next dream home. The proceeds from the sale of the house will go to the PRC. The gift basket from the folks at Cottage Living is nice but I can't help but feel like I am being bribed. But I can't think of anything to complain about wtih respect to the project, except that there will be even less parking on the block (which wouldn't have mattered because I had plans to build the driveway this summer...until I learned about the astronomical increase in our escrow payments). The building itself is going to be a modular home. At first I was concerned but the people I know in the construction industry have informed me that modular building is totally legit. The Cottage Living people have promised to design it with the neighborhood architecture in mind. It will look like it belongs here. The inside will, of course, be decked out in great style. They are going to have a sneak-preview open house for the neighbors so I will wait to cast judgment until I see the final result. In the meantime, I will enjoy my year subscription to Cottage Living and my oversized, orange, Cottage Living water bottle. I already put the basket to great use - it is holding the diapers and wipes that we keep downstairs...very handy.

Here's a picture I took of La Luz on Saturday as she was throwing an absolute fit because she wanted to go to the park and slide. It was about 5:30, cold, and dark. She won. I am quickly learning that I am not a disciplinarian. I figured it would be a good idea to include a picture of La Luz acting like a real toddler and pitching a fit because you don't really get the sense that she is anything less than perfect reading the blog.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

A Friendly Reminder

Despite the cold and mostly gray weather we managed to have a lovely weekend overall, with the exception of the hour or so of anxiety-induced intestinal distress I endured when Christian told me we received a statement from the bank about the escrow for our house and that our monthly payments increased $225. There's no question that we were already cutting it close to live in this beautiful house in this ideal neighborhood. Now I am not really sure how it is all supposed to work out. Last month it was the crime, this month it is economics making me question my decision to live in New Orleans. Fortunately for this month, it is also Mardi Gras.

On Friday night La Luz, Christian, Molly, and I had dinner at Ninja and watched An Inconvenient Truth. I loved the sushi, as always, and the documentary was excellent. It sort of took all of the fun out of it that following the release of the report from the U.N. panel on global warming earlier this week even Fox News admitted that global warming is, at least they are 90% sure, the result of mankind. Nevertheless, it was still excellent and worth watching and also extremely frustrating because it reminds you that we should all be doing so much more. Al Gore was so comfortable, so convincing, so passionate. I wish I would have seen more of that Al Gore when he was running for President because then maybe he would have, eh...

Saturday morning La Luz and I went to the playground on Laurel St. with my friend Monique and her little girl. They had a great time swinging and sliding and La Luz finally met her match in toddler greed. It was funny to watch two babies jockeying for toys.

Christian and I went to Krewe du Vieux on Saturday night with Richmond and some of our friends while Kelsea babysat for La Luz and our friends' kids. Parking was nightmarish and the crowd in the Marigny around dba was unreal but I had a great night anyway. KdV is my favorite way to kick off the Mardi Gras season. I love the raunchiness and the satire. You can check out my pics on flickr (see the link above and to the left) but if you are easily offended, please refrain. After the parade we went to Slice for some pizza and a few beers. It was an excellent night and a good reason to live in the city of New Orleans.

While Christian slept a bit La Luz, Loki, and I went for a quick run. When we got home La Luz ate some waffles while I watched Paula Dean and drank a pot of coffee, our typical Sunday routine when we don't go to PJs. Later in the morning we went to mass and, of course, the playground for more swinging and sliding. Tonight while Christian and La Luz watched the Superbowl at Catherine and Steven's (La Luz actually spent the majority of the evening chasing around poor Mr. Cat) I went to the Palace with mom, Molly, and Margarita to see The Queen. It was good but not as outstanding as I had hoped and, frankly, a bit slow. It is worth it to see Helen Mirren because she could very easily win an Oscar for her role, but Netflix it.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Brown Eyes

Christian dropped off La Luz at my office around 5 today so that he could make it to a meeting and then volleyball practice. I guess I convinced myself that I could get some work done for an hour or so while La Luz colored or sat quietly in a chair reading a book. For a second I suppose I forgot she was a toddler, and a chatty one at that. She was on her best behavior and was excited to see all of the people in the office and all of the interesting things in my office, particularly the highlighters. Unfortunately, after about five minutes she needed a diaper change and Christian forgot to pack an extra one in her bag. Consequently, I spent the next twenty-five minutes answering a bunch of her questions and grabbing choking hazards out her hands as I tried to hold my breath and come up with a plan to get her in an elevator at rush hour and travel 40 floors without offending the other respectable business people in the building. All of this was happening as I attempted to edit a letter and respond to email. Needless to say I decided that the best solution was to head home and just apologize profusely to those less fortunate who happened to be trapped in the elevator with us.

Interestingly, the prevailing sentiment around the office is that La Luz is a miniature Christian, and I definitely see it too. But look at those is unmistakable that she is my baby, right?