Thursday, May 31, 2007

A Portrait Of The Artist

Christian and La Luz had a lot of time together today, a lot. I had a long day at work followed by a brief 45 minutes in the house (where I was sort of busy notarizing some paperwork for Catherine's friends and locating some Baby Einsteins for poor little Betsy with the too-long cast) and then I was off to the Palace for one of my favorite events - impromptu movie night with the Banos women (those that were around and available) and Uncle Edward. Tonight's feature - The Waitress. I enjoyed it because it was quirky and sweet and touching and I recommend it, but I do so with a big caveat, the star is Kerri Russell (aka, Felicity) and, as far as I am concerned, she can do no wrong. I often love the event of impromptu movie night more than the movie itself simply because there is nothing like hearing mom wince when something troubling is going to happen, finishing the popcorn of who ever had 'eyes bigger than their stomach', and then spending time afterwards discussing whether we liked the movie and what we are supposed to take with us from it.

Meanwhile, Christian and La Luz hung out and played with some of the purchases made today during their afternoon outing to Le Jouet. Contrary to my post yesterday, occasionally Christian takes pictures that aren't staged. Here are some examples:

and then La Luz's first stab at photography (yes, with my prized possession, the thing I love most out of all of my stuff, even more than my Motorolla Q):

Interesting composition, good lighting...maybe I should let her play with camera more often.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Director, His Actor

For a long time now Christian has been the master of the staged photograph. I think ever since La Luz was born Christian has made herculian efforts to capture cute moments that were very short-lived yet he wanted in print for posterity. I, on the other hand, do not have the patience or desire to recreate. I realize that there is no way to capture everything and we will have to rely on our fading memories for the stuff that we miss. Lately La Luz has started to play a pivotal role in Christian's nonsense. She actually understands, for the most part, what it means to recreate something of note for the camera. The latest was a series of games involving 'hiding' in the cabinet. The result is the following:
totally staged

versus totally not staged

From now on I think I will offer a prize if you can tell who took what pictures that appear on the blog. I will give you a hint, some of the best pictures are courtesy of Christian, but it only happens about 10% of the time.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Am I Pretty

La Luz seems to like my new pair of sensible work shoes more than I do. I never really played "dress up" as a child; the idea bored me. I don't understand the shoe fixation at all but I am still mildly amused by it.

After dinner La Luz and I braved a terrible downpour to spend an hour at mom-mom and pop's because Richmond and pop leave early tomorrow morning for their drive out west. Pop is keeping Richmond company as far as Salt Lake City and taking advantage of the opportunity to spend time in a part of the country he has never seen and always wanted to visit. I have to admit that I am a bit jealous. It doesn't end there though, Richmond is spending the rest of his summer (and summer doesn't end until August 27th for him) in and around Jackson Hole and then on to the most enviable part of the summer - the 6 week stint in the San Juans where he is basically going to spend his days kayaking, yes, kayaking.

Monday, May 28, 2007

And The Sweetest

Three-day weekends are incredible but also gut-wrenching in their own way. After a somewhat busy but excellent weekend I had a slow, relaxing, lovely day with La Luz while Christian worked. The downside is that I had such a nice day I now dread returning to the office, much moreso than I do after an average weekend.

Christian, La Luz and I went to the Greek Fest on Friday night with Richmond. The weather was perfect and it was not too crowded so we had a great time. La Luz enjoyed her first baklava sunday and spent most of the evening on the edge of the sandbox, too prissy to actually get sand on her feet. It will be interesting to see what happens when we go to the beach in two weeks.

On Saturday I went to Birmingham for a wedding and left La Luz and Christian to their own devices. We had planned on going together and leaving La Luz with Kitty and Tucker during the wedding but by Friday night La Luz was not feeling great so I decided I would go by myself. It worked out perfectly for me because I got to ride with Jen and Peter which meant that I had hours to talk to Jen (something that rarely happens these days), hours to read plenty of magazines, and a nice hotel room all to myself. The wedding was really pretty and was over around 8 so Jen and I had a few hours to shop at the mall attached to our hotel. I slept until 730 Sunday morning and lounged around in bed watching CBS Sunday morning (one of my old favorite pastimes and something I consider indulgent these days) uninterrupted - it was totally rejeuvenating. I loved the opportunity to have some relaxing time to myself but I missed Christian and La Luz terribly. I am not sure I would trade the benefits of time to myself for missing those two because I almost prefer the chaos and the love when we are together to the peace and heartache when we are apart.

Here are some of the weekend highlights.

La Luz at the doctor's office on Saturday morning.

With the daisy Christian grew and picked.

At Daneel Park with me earlier today.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Why I Like New Books

I got home from a long day to find a present from Christian. He picked up a copy of Dave Eggers' new book of short stories, How We Are Hungry. How great is that? There is nothing like the feel of a new book - so crisp and clean - no eyelashes in the creases and grease stains in the corners. I want to be all about used books and libraries but something stops me - my cleanliness compulsion - or maybe just how much I love the way it feels when you are the first person to turn a page.

Tomorrow afternoon my three-day weekend begins and I can't wait. We are off to Birmingham for a wedding but will be back on Sunday. I am looking forward to spending Monday with La Luz doing sweet f.a.

Here's a picture of La Luz just before bedtime:

As huggable as the gigantic teddy bear from GG and Papa George.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007


La Luz helped celebrate Aunt Anne's birthday tonight with a surprise party at Gautreaux's. It was La Luz's first Gautreaux's experience and she almost made it to the entrees! The waiter and maitre d were totally accomodating. They do not have highchairs but they provided us with a booster chair, plenty of bread, and pasta for La Luz. They also offered to open the upstairs and turn the lights on so that she could run around. I was very impressed!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

So Now She'll Be Sleeping With The Stars

Great pets have a way of finding Pop. He never goes looking for them, they simply wander into his life and, inevitably, his heart. Abbey is the perfect example and she was made extra special because of Molly's love from way back when she was a puppy. There is no question that she was Pop's companion, but she was also Molly's baby and, in recent years, one of La Luz's best friends. One year ago La Luz was talking quite a bit, but there were about ten words that were clearer than all of the others and were used on a regular basis. They were:
1. mom-mom
2. pop
3. nana
4. papa-t
5. daddy
6. mommy
7. bird
8. bubble
9. loki
10. abbey

Over the past two years Abbey made a litle room in her heart for La Luz. Never one to turn away affection, Abbey was totally patient with La Luz, allowing her to pull on her feathery hair with sticky, baby fingers. Not making a peep when La Luz would grab her face and shriek with love or tug on her tail while chasing her around the kitchen. When La Luz pushed her out of the way or climbed on top of her, Abbey didn't mind, and she never snapped when La Luz hugged her to the point of strangulation. Most of the time she would simply lie right next to her, as if she knew it was her fate, as if there was nothing she wanted more in the world than to be attacked by a toddler. Even when La Luz yelled at Abbey and ordered her around -"Abbey, eat your food"; "Abbey, lie down"; "Abbey, sit"; "Abbey, go into the living room" - Abbey didn't mind. Her only response was to wag her tail and lick and lick some more and lick once again.

Tonight when we rock in the chair and recall the day's events things will be a little different. This time La Luz won't tell me about how Abbey licked her shirt and tried to eat her cookies or how Abbey wagged her tail or how she sat on the deck with Pop and watched Abbey eat her dinner. She won't tell me about how Pop took Abbey for a walk. Instead, this time I will have to try to explain that Abbey is up in heaven with the stars and that she won't find her in her usual spot in the living room on the floor next to Pop's chair.

There's probably not much La Luz will remember of Abbey, save what is captured in photographs, but one thing Abbey taught La Luz that she will always have is the sense that you can find great joy in a loving pet and endless amounts of unconditional love to go along with it. Maybe one day when it is time for La Luz to pick out a dog she will have a soft spot for the ones with feathery hair, holding on to some vague recollection from her childhood of the way it feels to run your hands through matted puppy hair and the everlasting love of a sweet, red dog she once knew quite well.

Thanks for all of the joy you brought us Abbey girl, you know you will be missed.

Monday, May 21, 2007

You Can Hear It In Their Voices How You've Made Them Proud

Tomorrow is Molly's birthday and I think she will be mortified if I become effusive about how incredible I think she is and how much I love and miss her. So, instead of getting sentimental yet again about my baby sister, I am posting one of my favorite pictures of her from when she was about La Luz's age:

and one of my recent favorites:

Happy Birthday Molls, with all of our love.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Hanging Around In The Lost And Found

Over the weekend mom dug up this incredible dress that Molly and I both wore when we were little. I couldn't find a picture of me in it but I have a vague recollection of the dress, especially the sailboat on the ribbon that runs through the smocking. I am amazed that clothing that old is, a.) still in good shape and b.) not completely outdated.

The weather was perfect this weekend - a cool front kept the temperatures low and made the sun feel nice as opposed to oppressive. Consequently, we spent as much time as possible outside, recognizing that soon it won't be comfortable to spend hours on end sitting on the front porch and running around at the park. We took La Luz to Storyland and to ride the train at City Park. She really got a kick out of the train ride and seemed to enjoy most of Storyland. Some of the attractions freaked her out a little bit, like this one:

And really, I think she would have been fine had she not turned and realized there was a man there...but what is hanging out of Old King Cole's nose anyway? I think it is a bit frightening myself.

She was also concomittantly intrigued and petrified by Jonah and the whale:

But again, I think it was merited because Christian hid inside of it and scared the crap out of both of us as we rounded the corner.

La Luz spent the night at mom-mom and pop's again on Saturday. It was a treat to get to sleep late and La Luz loved every minute of it because she got to have bacon for breakfast, follow poor Abbey around the kitchen, and play with mom-mom and pop. Apparently she slept until after 8 a.m. I wish she would do that here.

We spent the afternoon at the end of the year crawfish boil for the ASH teachers. La Luz had a nice time playing with the crwafish heads but was not really into the idea of eating them. Christian, on the other hand, ate a ton and proceeded to peel close to 10 lbs that were left over. I never thought I would see this sight, ever.

I think we will be sampling every crawfish dish imaginable in the next few weeks.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Matching Eyes

I love the end of the day and the fact that I spend it consumed with La Luz. My favorite part is when I get her out of the bathtub and she smells like delicious baby soap and lotion - the same smell since she was born - the smell I usually recognize on my hands later, the smell that instantly makes me think of how it feels when she grabs me around the neck and hugs me, and that reminds me always that she is part of me.

Christian bought this towel for her and I protested, thinking it was too boyish and maybe a bit scary. Wouldn't you know, it is her favorite one, the one she insists on using almost every night.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Always Beginning The World

I always knew she was destined for great things, but this far exceeded my expectations. The day is even sweeter in light of what life was like for Molly a few months ago, back when I thought I would never catch my breath and my heart ached. I only wish I could have been there to watch her graduate and see that spark in her eyes when it finally hit her that this might be where it all begins.

I wanted to post a picture of Molly with her cap on but the cap is not the least bit flattering. Additionally, the only picture of Molly in a cap has a random man in the background going to town on an overstuffed sandwich and it sort of detracts from the charm of the picture. So, here she is - with robe, without cap:

and in the red dress she wore underneath, because she bought it when I was in town and, despite the fact that you can't really tell in this particular picture, I think she rocks it just right:

Congratulations baby sis', you tried for perfect and it worked!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

As Close As Hands And Feet

I love my siblings and am blessed to have such awesome people in my life. Here's what is new in their lives:

Molly graduates from Columbia with her MFA tomorrow and is working on another play which I will provide details about when they become available.

Josh is in Europe on tour and his band, Telefon Tel Aviv, just released a new cd.

Richmond just finished a semester of Ph.D. work at LSU, composed a nice review of the new Elliot Smith posthumous, double disc cd which is up at, and is now somewhere in the North Carolina woods hiking and teaching a few kayaking classes.

How cool are they? How lucky is La Luz to be part of such an interesting family. How much do I miss having them around...

Monday, May 14, 2007

Fair Is Fair

I spent the best hour of my day in a place I never thought I would be. I guess I can't complain that Christian gets to have all the fun. I sat through an hour of The Little Mermaid. Maybe motherhood is softening me to cartoons. Then again, I wasn't really paying attention to the movie - I was pinching La Luz's chubby thighs, twirling her tangled hair into miniature buns above her ears, kissing her sticky fingers, and smelling the very distinct mixture of daycare, sweat, and a hard day of play. I loved every minute of it.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

A Way To Make Me Smile

I am in the difficult position of having two extremely important events to discuss on my post today. It is Mother's Day as well as Christian's 33rd birthday. Christian has a way of inserting his special events into the middle of other, very important things. For example, La Luz was born on Father's Day, and yea, he wasn't quite a dad at that point, but you get the idea. Thanks to mom-mom and pop babysitting for us last night we didn't have to do rock-paper-scissors to figure out which event merited the gift of sleeping late.

Since Mother's Day is techinically about me it feels a bit narcissistic to write much about it but it is also about my mom, and my mother-in-law, and my aunts, and my grandmother and all of the beautiful mothers who are a part of me. It would be a waste to not take advantage of the opportunity to thank them all because each one of them - in gigantic and also subtle ways - provides the example for how I behave as a mother and what kind of a mother I am to La Luz.

So far, so good; wouldn't you say?

I know that I am blessed with incredible role models and for that I will always feel lucky. So, thank you to all of you - thank you for your example and your love.

Thirty-three years ago today Christian was born in a small town outside of Boston. And meanwhile, down in New Orleans, my 8 month-old heart was full.

Happy Birthday Christian. Thank you for figuring out early on in our relationship that iced-coffee and mix tapes are about all that is needed to make me happy. Thanks for not stopping there though and for spending every day of your life since then figuring out what else makes me happy. Thanks for thinking I am funny and clever and for insisting that people are inherently good and for making me listen to incredible new songs that you know I am going to love and for finding books I don't know have been published. Thanks for La Luz and for enjoying every minute of our life with her - sitting peacefully on the front porch next to me while we watch her pick apart the lantana and Loki dig up the azaleas every day- while inside I know you are probably aching to travel. Thanks for making us feel like the most important people in the world.

With all of my love.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Cut From The Same Mold

For some reason this week I have been demoted to "least favorite parent". It comes in waves and I understand it and, generally speaking, it doesn't bother me. Today I was sort of irked though. When I got home from work Christian and La Luz were ensconsed watching The Little Mermaid and my presence in the house after being gone ALL DAY basically went unnoticed, with the exception of Loki who is always good for a big hello after a long day. Here they are, oblivious:

And to add insult to injury, I really don't like cartoons of any type, especially the Disney type. I hate the profound, aching sadness, it overwhelms me. It all started with Bambi and Dumbo. Christian, on the other hand, loves cartoons. He even admitted to seeing this particular one in the movie theater. I find that very strange, though he claims he has a perfectly legitimate explanation having something to do with a girl that he really liked at the time. Sounds suspicious to me. Well, now he has somebody new to watch cartoons with. Meanwhile, I suppose I will do some laundry, because there is nothing I would rather do after a long day at work.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Aquarium Dress

I think this dress might turn into La Luz's uniform because she fought me when I took it off to bathe her earlier tonight. It is one of many beautiful dresses once worn by one (or both) of the Wilson twins of which La Luz happens to be the lucky recipient. It is a little big but I got tired of listening to her beg to wear it, so here we go

You can barely see it, but there is a tiny sticker of a husky dog in the middle of the smocking that La Luz picked up at ASH Fin earlier today (and, incidentally, took into the bed with her).

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Readers Meet Authors

Tonight Christian took care of La Luz while I did two very important things. I worked late and then met Nelia and Jen for dinner at Crepe Nanou. It was nice to get in an extra hour of work to start the week off but the best part of the evening, and probably the highlight of my week, was having a few hours to visit with Neila and Jen. It is amazing how rarely we get to spend time together what with all the child rearing and working. It is strange that most of what we know about each other's lives is from reading the blogs. You can see for yourself: and

Around the Vaicius house things weren't as wonderful. Although La Luz started off her day like this:

It ended with a badly skinned knee, serious tears, and an early bed time so I did not get a chance to see her. According to Christian, La Luz insisted on walking Loki and at some point he pulled too hard and, being the diligent dog-walker that she is, La Luz refused to let go of the leash and, instead, toppled over. The result - the first of many skinned knees.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Jazz Fest 2007

We are all recovering from a wonderful and busy weekend with Nana, Papa-T, Susan, Marty, and Liam. Somehow La Luz was able to make it through the weekend without throwing a complete fit about having to share some of her things. She was, for the most part, a gracious host. For her part, she did a good job teaching Liam some of the more important things in her life - playing with the french doors between the kitchen and the living room is fun, peeking out of the mailbox and screaming to nobody in particular makes for good entertainment, chasing Loki around the house is a funny, and "mine" is a word that is fun to say for hours on end. When he left for Atlanta earlier today, Liam took two new words with him, "Dora" and "mine".

Everyone arrived on Friday evening and, luckily, they did not encounter any problems on the drive. I, on the other hand, should have listened to mom because I got stuck on the Northshore after my hearing when they closed the causeway for a period of time due to the terrible weather.

On Friday night we ate Theos and hung out around the house. We went to the Aquarium on Saturday morning and La Luz and Liam had a blast. It was hot on Saturday but there was a nice breeze so we walked along the river and had lunch at Cafe Maspero.

On Saturday night mom-mom and pop came over and we all had dinner together and celebrated Susan's (belated) birthday and Christian's (early) birthday with a delicious doberge cake.

Christian, Nana, and Papa-T headed out to Jazz Fest early on Sunday. Susan, Marty and I went out there with the babies in the afternoon. We should have known it was going to be a rough afternoon when La Luz was crying before we even got out of the car. I prepared Susan for what to expect but I just don't think it is possible to make someone who is 8 months pregnant comfortable at Jazz Fest. In her defense, she was a total trooper and would have stuck it out if the babies had been willing.

We spent about two hours in the hot sun trying to figure out how to make La Luz and Liam happy at the same time. It didn't work. There were a few moments of grace, however:

but for the most part, it was too much effort and we ultimately packed it in. Chris, Nana and Papa-T stuck around Jazz Fest until the end and had an incredible time. Once we got back to the house La Luz and Liam were in perfect moods sweet, happy, talkative, and energetic. Here they are picking the blooms off of the lantana plant, yet another great trick that La Luz taught Liam.

The house feels empty right now. La Luz keeps explaining to me where everyone went and then asking me to reassure her. Right now she thinks they are all 'at work', with the exception of Liam who is, maybe, looking for his Dada.