Sunday, September 30, 2007

If You Are Into It

I had a couple of concrete tasks to complete over the weekend and I failed miserably. I promised myself I would learn how to sync the camcorder with the computer to download clearer video clips. I swore I would read 100 pages of my book. I decided I had to vacuum the house. I wanted to cook a meal or two to freeze for the week. I needed to go to Southern Runner and pick up a new pair of running shoes. I had to spend some time sorting through La Luz's clothes, doing laundry, and (of course, isn't it always the case for me) I needed to put clothes away.

I accomplished one thing on the list - I sorted, cleaned, and put away clothes. I feel a little better because my room looks much tidier, but I am disappointed that I managed to accomplish so little. But, then again, we had fun, lots of it. And really, how else should I be spending my weekends when I am so busy all week long and La Luz is only young for such a short time. Now that I think about it, I wouldn't change a thing.

Friday night we met Gerrish, Anne, and Max at St. James for dinner on the patio. The cheese was delicious and the kids' plate was perfect for La Luz. I am looking forward for my next dinner there. Christian had a volleyball tournament in Napoleonville, so La Luz and I walked and had a leisurely stroll home after a brief stop at Creole Creamery.

On Saturday La Luz and I went to a birthday party at Longvue Gardens. I hadn't been to the kids discovery garden so I was very curious. It was great. There are tons of activities and the set up is perfect for kids - plenty of space to run around. La Luz had a blast and, though initially she made me wipe her hands every time she dug in the mud, after about fifteen minutes she was covered in dirt and sweat.




La Luz spent the night at mom-mom and pop's last night so that Christian and I could go to an engagement party and to dinner. La Luz watched Lady and the Tramp for the first time last night and, wouldn't you know, her favorite characters are the Siamese cats. She will not stop talking about them. After sleeping late for the first time in ages, Christian and I spent the rest of the day with La Luz, much of it outside, especially once it cooled off a bit this afternoon.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

More Of What I Was Always Waiting For

When I didn't have a kid and I would sometimes see other adults out and about with children dressed in strange get-ups, like snowsuits in June and cowboy boots with party dresses, I always suspected that the parents encouraged strange wardrobe selections. Now that I have a two-year old I realize that mix-matched outfits are purely the result of toddler fascination. Lately, La Luz prefers my black Anne Klein flats and the pink tutu she inherited from the Wilson twins:


La Luz's love of 'dressing-up' spiralled out of control earlier this week when a gigantic box filled with Maddie Moore's hand-me-down's arrived at the house. La Luz managed to dig straight past the beautiful smocked dresses to unearth the Dora The Explorer costume, replete with brown, mop-like wig and backpack. She also found a pair of two-sizes-too-big polka dot shoes and hasn't taken them off willingly since.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

How I Spent My Birthday

I love it when I am reminded why it is sometimes sort of cool to be a mom. Somehow seeing something like this makes me smile, big:


Thanks to Kelsea, La Luz had a productive afternoon with paper, glue and markers, instead of lounging around in front of the t.v. I know how La Luz behaves between about 4 and 6 p.m. so I can't imagine what Kelsea did to keep her focused on the project.

I had an excellent birthday despite the fact that it got off to a rocky start. Christian could barely muster the energy to get out of bed after the Saint's crushing loss last night, much less do something special for my birthday, like smile. The day improved steadily beginning with an excellent package from Molls waiting for me at the office along with multiple emails and text messages from friends and family, followed by lunch with Tiffany and Jessie at St. James. I got home after work to multiple bday banners, cards, and gifts. Mom and Pop even stopped by for a quick visit while I opened my presents. After I turned 30 birthdays sort of lost their charm for me, but I have no complaints about presents and an excuse to feel special for a day. So, thanks to everyone who helped me celebrate.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Birthday Wishes

Tomorrow is my birthday. I will be 34 years old. Not so long ago I remember thinking that 34 was ancient. It doesn't feel quite that way to me now.

To celebrate, GG cooked grillades and grits, one of my favorites. She also made salad with my 2 favorite delicacies - avocado and hearts of palm - and bought a cookie cake for the occasion. I was in heaven. We visited with mom-mom and pop, who were there as well, and we watched the first quarter of the Saints game. Christian is at the game right now and, considering how things are shaping up going into the 4th quarter, I can't say that I am terribly envious. I wouldn't mind a Saints win for a birthday present, but as long as I am wishing big I might as well use it for something a bit more substantial, like world peace.

Here's La Luz, ready to cheer on the Saints.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

This I Believe

Tomorrow marks the second anniversary of Hurricane Rita. To commemorate the occasion, Hal graciously provided me with the opportunity to post a recent essay he submitted to one of my favorite radio shows, This I Believe. It is heartfelt and beautiful and I appreciate that he has given me permission to share it with all of you.

I included the link below; however, in the event that it does not work, I reproduced the essay as well.

http://www.thisibelieve.org/dsp_ShowEssay.php?topessays=3&uid=31100

I believe in my Louisiana front porch.

The Governor never suggested that the non-evacuating residents of this city write their social security numbers on their arms to expedite the process of identifying their dead bodies. This city, while southern, is too far inland to ever be subject to a mandatory evacuation order. But when the hurricanes roll in, we still feel them. They knock out power, they down limbs, and they rustle rooftops. And then they roll out, sparing us the levee breaches and storm surges that plague the coastal parishes.

When the back-end cloud cover lifted on August 30, 2005, the post-storm summer sun seemed inordinately intense. With no electricity to cool the house, it seemed logical to pass the time by climbing onto the roof for a shingle inspection. Mistake. It was sweltering.

When night finally fell, the neighbors on the street took position on their respective front porches. In this bungaloid neighborhood, where every window has been painted shut for fifty-odd years, the porch was the only place to breathe on a night like that. I could hear the creaks and moans of porch swings and rocking chairs, but I couldn't actually see anything, save perhaps a distant candle or roving flashlight beam. When I lit a candle, my immediate neighbors stole fleeting glances, wondering what decent young man would venture outside in his underwear. I desperately wanted to explain to them exactly how hot I was and how the combination of tepid beer and generator exhaust fumes will make you do just about anything. A mosquito buzzed and I swatted at the darkness.

I was miserable.

In the following days, news accounts revealed the horrific goings-on in New Orleans. The spotty cell reception improved and as the teary and troubled phone calls arrived, it quickly became apparent that it was time to change the sheets in the guestroom and locate the air mattresses in anticipation of my westbound pilgrims. The air conditioner kicked on and the phone rang. ''Of course you can bring the dog,'' I answered.

Their arrival date was certain. Their departure date was not. They unpacked their under-packed bags and took position on the porch -- the only space large enough to comfortably accommodate everyone. It was there that I became audience to the exchange of their profound worries and concerns. And as I tried to relate, the mosquito bites didn't itch as much, the fallen limb wasn’t nearly as big as it first appeared, and not one roof shingle was missing. What had been missing was my perspective. If those porch conversations taught me anything, it was that my first, post-storm night had not been miserable. They were the miserable ones.

And it was a timely lesson, too, because a second Category Five would soon enter the Gulf. In three weeks’ time, a new and larger group of pilgrims would arrive – this time, eastbound. When their caravan turned onto the street, my Louisiana front porch was swept and ready to receive them.

The porch in March 2005 (Hal, Me - 6 months pregnant, and Jen):


The porch today:

Friday, September 21, 2007

Lucy - T2

School pics are in and they are precious:

The photographer did a pretty good job of capturing the essence of La Luz; she looks like a ragamuffin.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Vote Walt

A friend of mine, Walt Leger, III, is running for the house seat in District 91. Tonight we co-hosted a meet and greet for the neighbors and I am totally wiped out.


Tomorrow night will be just as busy, if not more, as we are celebrating the upcoming nuptials of one of our co-workers at an undisclosed location in the French Quarter.

Christian had bug duty tonight and I really missed her. I look forward to the nightly routine at the end of a long day. There is nothing more therapeutic to me than bath, book, bed.


Can you blame me?

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Bump, Set, Spike

I had to leave the office a bit early today to meet our ac guy. He told us when we moved in that we needed to replace the duct work in the attic. It is a year and a half later and it is now apparent that we really cannot put it off any longer, even though we are not even supposed to think about spending money on stuff like that right now. As soon as someone starts throwing around the word mold, however, I can easily justify a few bucks here and there.

I managed to get quite a bit accomplished this afternoon - cooked jambalaya, made a salad, straightened the house up a bit, chilled out with La Luz in front of the tv, and watched a little of the ASH volleyball game. These days going to a volleyball game means either La Luz is squirming around in my lap the entire time, sitting still only as long as the snacks last, or we retire to the 'little' gym so that La Luz can chase balls around, dive bomb on the foam mats, jump rope, and play with the wheely-discs. Today she had the extra entertainment of her friends, Emma, Luke, and Bruce. By the time we got home she was wired, despite the fact that she barely took a nap at school today. She has a long day tomorrow, so I hope she sleeps well tonight.

Here she is playing hard and hanging out:



Monday, September 17, 2007

The Things She Carries With Her

Lately La Luz has turned into a bit of a pack rat. There's no question that she has always enjoyed having a toy or two around at all times, just in case. I probably created this monster. Whenever we leave the house I make sure to have about 3 different options in my purse to avert melt-downs in public. What was once easily thwarted by milk bottles has over time become much more challenging to fight. Still, I find toys are reliable. These are my go-to distractions: the un-leaded Dora figurine; a baby doll; the Little Golden Book about Noah's Ark; Achoo, the semi-mechanical kitty cat; and the plush Dora and Diego dolls. The lineup changes over time and certain new items are subbed in for older, tired attractions.

The downside of my packing, planing, and anticipating is that the effects have spilled over into La Luz's bed. Lately, the nighttime routine has gotten slightly more complicated. The inventory used to include bun-bun and pink silky, those were easy times. These days I have to do what amounts, essentially, to a roll call. Tonight it went a little something like this : bun-bun, check; pink silky, check; twin rubber duckies, check; knuffle bunny, check; The Things People Do, check; Disney's, A Spooky Princess Halloween, check. Too add even more chaos to La Luz's bed, last time we were in Thibodaux she insisted on bringing Molly's old Care Bear pillow case and Strawberry Shortcake sheets back to New Orleans. Now La Luz's bed is a gigantic Mattel nightmare. It should be no surprise, considering the over-sized pillow and the billowy bedding, that stuff gets lost. Consequently, for the past few nights La Luz has screamed at about 3 o'clock in the morning because she was concerned that, perhaps, someone had taken the knuffle bunny out of her bed or that one of the duckies jumped ship. I always race to her room, sure that she somehow managed to do something really dangerous, what with all the junk in her bed, only to find that she is just worried about her stuff. Generally, knuffle bunny is exactly where we left him, stuffed between the pillow and the bed bars, and the ducky is usually just caught up in the creases of the sheets. Once she is satisfied that everything is accounted for, she goes back to sleep.

It is frustrating, but I sort of understand it, and can't say I blame her. I have some of the same tendencies and I remember Molly behaving in precisely the same manner. So, this is all somewhat familiar to me, if not a bit humorous. Plus, even at 3 a.m., she is still really adorable.

Here she is this evening, after a walk with Margot and Chloe:

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Ring Out Every Bell

The highlight of the weekend was baby Betsy's first birthday party. It was months in the making and the result of all the planning was a pretty incredible party, and I never thought I would be able to say that about a baby's party without dry-heaving. In typical fashion, and following in La Luz's footsteps, Betsy was not too interested in her cake or presents and somehow managed to take a 45 minute nap amid all of the chaos. She was a good sport and had a great time, notwithstanding all the cheek grabbing and passing around from friends' and relatives' arms. Here she is, at her party, almost one:


I imagine that for La Luz the best part of the celebration was testing out some of Betsy's presents before she actually got a turn:


and the baby swag. She toted this thing around all weekend:


For me, the best part was having a chance to visit with my friend, Hal, who came in from Baton Rouge for the festivities. I imagine the time we had to talk was a total of about 15 minutes, considering the constant interruptions courtesy of La Luz, but I will take what I can get.

The weather this weekend was incredible. We spent the majority of our time this weekend outside. It reminded me of last fall and spring and the beautiful days we spent on the porch outside with La Luz. I hope that the weather is a good sign that the super-hot days are behind us.

Here she is, after running around in the sprinkler, looking incredibly sharp in her Dora poncho/towel. I did not make this purchase:



Thursday, September 13, 2007

Paint It Pink

Tonight ASH and Cabrini are battling it out on the volleyball courts at Tulane. They are 'painting the gym pink' by asking students and spectators to purchase pink t-shirts, the proceeds of which go to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. According to my last text message from Christian, the schools raised $13,000.00, pretty impressive. I initially planned on taking La Luz to at least one of the three volleyball games, but ultimately decided that the last thing she needs is a chaotic evening and a late night out. Instead, we took Loki for a walk, threw rocks in puddles, and read about twenty books. At least she was dressed for the occasion, expressing her solidarity:

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Lucy, Squared

Today was another very long day for La Luz. Although it has essentially just begun, I am already looking forward to the end of the volleyball season and the return of shorter days for La Luz. La Luz went straight from a long school day to the ASH/Newman volleyball game and by the time I got to the gym she was ready for bed.

The long day ended with a delicious red beans and rice dinner at La Luz's namesake's house. Years ago, when Christian and I moved back to New Orleans after I finished law school, Tuesday night red beans was a weekly standard. It was so nice to know that we had a guaranteed hot meal, beer, wine, and great company at least once a week. I hope that Aunt Lucy will start the tradition again. La Luz had a great time playing with the three doggies, watching one of the many movies in Aunt Lucy's collection, and hitting her up for various treats. She is already asking to go back for more.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Girl Plus Two

We spent the weekend in Atlanta celebrating Beau and Emily's wedding. As an added bonus, we had three days to spend with Nana, Papa-T, and the Martins. Most importantly, I had uninterrupted time holding my amazing, tiny, brand new nephew, and it was perfect. La Luz had a great time taking care of baby Wesley. I keep telling her to enjoy it for now because when the boys get bigger she will be outnumbered. For now, this is how it is:


La Luz and Liam finally play together and it is totally entertaining, better than I ever imagined. The most wonderful part is that they are really sweet to one another, heartwarming stuff:



The wedding was beautiful. It was outside, overlooking the woods. I didn't realize such scenes were possible in the heart of Roswell, Georgia. The highlight was the two bands that played, DQE and Windy and Carl, and the favors, mix cds and vintage bottles filled with heather. We had a blast catching up with friends we don't get to see often and we stayed out way too late both nights. Although we were afforded the luxury of sleeping late on Saturday and Sunday, I still don't feel like I have fully recovered. I suppose it might all be related to the buzz-kill of an hour spent on the runway in Atlanta with a toddler on my lap and an angry, anal-retentive, giant in the seat in front of me. I will hopefully have a chance to download more of my pictures sometime in the next few days.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Are You Ready For Some Football?

I flipped out yesterday when I got an email from ASH at around 10 a.m. asking the parents to make sure that our daughters have Saints hair bows/ribbons/barrettes in their hair for a pep rally in support of the Saints. Hair bows? Ribbons? Barrettes? Thanks to AJ and Kelsea, La Luz was able to show up at school today with a Saints bow/barette in her hair. Getting it in her hair was not unlike wrestling an alligator, but it looked adorable. When I got home, however, she had a completely different barrette in her hair. Apparently, one of the other mom's in La Luz's class made matching Saints barrettes for all of the girls. Wow. I wish I could be that mom.

I think that La Luz now accepts the idea that her hair should be brushed and that, at least occasionally, it is a good idea to have things in her hair. AJ hooked La Luz up with her own bow/barrette container and even got her a brush. La Luz takes a great deal of pride in her barrette box. She opens it constantly and looks at all of the different barrettes AJ made for her hair. She was sort of disappointed when I refused to put three barrettes in her hair at the same time earlier today. I appreciate the enthusiasm, but really, there are limits.

We watched most of the Saints game tonight and, though we were filled with hope and optimism in the beginning, by then end there was much more of the old shouting through clenched teeth, stomping of feet, and cursing at the coach going on. At the risk of sounding like a pollyana, I think the next game will be much better, that this was just a fluke and we got off on the wrong foot. They are, after all, Our Team, Our Hope, Our Spirit...or at least La Luz thinks so.


Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Artifice Or Poesis

My old friend, Saskia, is currently exhibiting some of her work at Soren Christensen on Julia Street in the Warehouse District. I urge everyone to check it out if possible sometime between now and the end of September. All of the pieces are wonderful. Saskia is so good at what she does thanks, in large part, to natural ability but also to years of training and incredible discipline. The result is very impressive. There are so many pieces in the exhibit that I love - Exhaustion and Color of Summer II, just to name a few. The most magnificent piece, in my opinion, is an 86 x 96 painting of a horse in motion, Fight of Flight. The title is probably self-explanatory for those of you living in New Orleans. You have three weeks to look at it because once the show closes some lucky guy will have it all to himself. It would be a shame for you to miss the opportunity to look at something so incredible, even if just for a minute or two.

You can check out the work at www.sorenchristensen.com if you are unable to make it to the gallery.

And because some of you might be sad if I don't include a picture, here's La Luz in her robe from Kelsea, ready for her bath:

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Edge Of The Ocean

I woke up dizzy this morning, so dizzy that I couldn't go to pilates and could barely concentrate on my work. I am not sure what is causing it (and no, I am not pregnant) but it is making me feel very odd. I don't have any other symptoms, just the very strange sensation of having just climbed off of a carousel. I suppose my head aches a bit, but it stands to reason. Incidentally, the glass of wine I just drank only contributed to the situation. I am now ready for bed.

La Luz, Christian and I went to the Aquarium last Sunday where we met up with my friend, Fulton, and his wife and daughter. I have known Fulton since I was three. He doesn't live here anymore, so it is always a treat to have a chance to visit. His daughter is adorable and, with his permission, I will post some pics sometime soon.

I have never been one of those types of people who can tolerate foolishness like this, but I suppose I better get used to it with these two:

Monday, September 03, 2007

Labor Day Weekend 2007

Here was my view for the better part of the past three days:



Christian, La Luz, Loki and I spent the weekend in Thibodaux and were able to catch up on some serious, much needed r and r.

La Luz learned how to throw rocks into the ditches and was hooked instantly:





We also spent time checking out the sugar cane crop for the year, feeding sugar cubes to the horses and swimming.

Here's La Luz standing by the tractors (she isn't too interested in heavy machinery yet):


and getting all sunscreened up for a mid-morning swim: