Monday, March 31, 2008

Is It Me Or Is She Just Stubborn

The second half of this week is crazy. Christian and I will be out of town at different times and in different places. We will be in Thibodaux for the better part of the weekend and on Monday morning I have a hearing in Lafayette. I have a million things sitting on my desk at work that are in need of my attention and La Luz clearly needs it as well. We have hit a wall with her potty training and I just can't figure out a way over it or around it. The wall is that she refuses to go to the bathroom at school. Some of my good friends have confessed that they never once had to use a school facility. I find it hard to believe but also a bit reassuring. On the other hand, I know it isn't healthy and that she needs to learn how to do it. Earlier tonight, in a moment of frustration and weakness I resorted to another bribe. I told her that if she went on the potty many many times for multiple consecutive days I would take her to the toy store. At first she said that she would like to purchase an orange scooter with a seat on it and later, thankfully, changed her mind and opted for a new doll. Now I have to spend the rest of my night creating some sort of colorful and enticing chart that keeps track of her progress on the potty at school. I know it doesn't have to be like this. If I were at home with her every day there would be no pressure and no guilt. If I were here I wouldn't be worried about what school thinks about her progress, and here I am getting ready to pack my bags for another trip. I guess it will always be something as long as I am working and I will always feel like it is because I am working and not because I have the most independent, strong-willed, stubborn, headstrong two and half-year old EVER.

Stubborn or not, she is perfect in my eyes:

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Idle Time

These days I find myself with fewer and fewer free days. The work week is stressful enough and, more often than not, the weekends are hectic and a bit stressful as well. One of the many things that stands out about my childhood is that I didn't ever feel over-programmed. True, there were crazy weekends and busy summers, but overall there was plenty of time for good old-fashioned playing. The best place to do that was (and still is), in my opinion, in Thibodaux. It was even better if my cousins were out there at the same time and that was usually the case. I wish La Luz's cousins lived in town so that she could have the same experience. For now she has to make do with the adults and the dogs. Finding ourselves with no plans, we headed to Thibodaux on Saturday and it was the perfect way to spend the day.

There was plenty of work going on around the place (mostly at the hands of Aunt Margot and Uncle Walker) to get everything looking perfect for the party next Saturday. Mom and AJ joined in the work and tackled the somewhat daunting task of sprucing up the dollhouse. For a full report you can check out (PWAC CC members, I think you will appreciate the update to the old clubhouse).

It is going to be a crazy week. I am having that typical 'Sunday evening before the work week starts' distress.

Here's a pic of La Luz and Pop in the golf cart, accompanied by Chloe:

Thursday, March 27, 2008

What To Wear

The weather really has been incredible lately - gorgeous, sunny afternoons and brisk mornings. I always get a kick out of watching how people dress when the seasons change. Today I saw people in shorts and flip flops and then one block later there was a lady in knee-high leather boots and a wool blazer. It made me laugh.

La Luz got some really great clothes thanks to an Atlanta shopping trip that her Aunts (Marie and Ruthie) took while they were visiting Nana. The greatest thing about the coat is that it turns into a vest. Just right for the change of seasons!

Extra special wishes go out to GG who celebrates her birthday on Saturday!
Happy Birthday GG. We love you and will be thinking about you!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Part 3

Here is the last batch of Easter in Atlanta pictures. These were taken at Adams Park, near Nana and Papa-T's house. Every city should have clean, safe parks for kids. There should be jungle gyms, nature trails, tennis courts and baseball diamonds. Why is the value of free recreation for children so underestimated in our city? It seems so obvious to me that it is a cost-effective way to make a difference.

This made La Luz very happy. I think it is the first time she has ever run bases. As much as Christian hates softball (he retired from coaching softball two years ago and swore he would never do it again) he is certainly turning La Luz into quite the softball player. She already has a an accurate arm and is a decent catch.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Part 2

Here are a few more from the weekend, this time in black and white - usually my preference.

In the window at St. Catherine's

La Luz & Teagan

at St. Catherine's - stained glass window of Kennesaw Mountain the background

more La Luz & Liam

Susan, Wes, Liam & Marty

La Luz, Easter Weekend In Atlanta, 2008 - Part 1

We spent the weekend in Atlanta at Nana and Papa-T's house. Christian's cousin, Frankie, was in town with his wife, three kids, and their family pet, Divet, the Australian Shepherd. Aunt Ruthie was also in town visiting. We were at max capacity for most of the weekend - 9 adults, 6 kids, and two dogs. I don't know how Nana and Papa-T do it but I didn't doubt for a second that they enjoyed every minute of the chaos. I am a quiet person for the most part and I require a good amount of private time. I have learned, however, to enjoy every minute of weekends like these because I know it is the stuff that makes memories.

When I woke up this morning La Luz was whimpering in her bed. I went in the room to check on her and when I asked her what was wrong she told me that it was "just because she missed her cousins". I smiled and my heart ached a little bit because I remember feeling exactly the same way and I am grateful that her heart now knows it too.

La Luz, Easter Sunday dress, courtesy of Aunt Julie

La Luz and Liam, on Nana and Papa-T's deck

La Luz, Riley, Wes, Teagan, Liam, and Connor - ready to hunt for eggs

Dyeing eggs

The O'Rourke Kids

Loki and Divet - fast friends

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Easter Bonnet

La Luz and Christian officially started Spring Break 2008 today. To celebrate Easter, the little hearts girls wore their Easter bonnets and hunted for eggs.

The bonnet is something else:

I am off to complete a few NCAA brackets before the deadline and then take a little vacation. I hope you all have a wonderful Easter.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Here's What Has Been Happening

It has been one of those crazy days...trying to get enough work done so that I can enjoy my brief Easter vacation in Atlanta without some overwhelming anxiety about the amount of work in need of my attention, running a few errands at lunch because when else does a working mom shop for Easter bunny treats, and the list goes on. Mid chaos I got an email from La Luz's teacher that she actually used the potty at school. This is serious stuff. This is the moment we have been waiting for. At the same time I got a call from Christian who just wanted to let me know that while he was busy teaching someone decided to absolutely obliterate the side of his car and not leave a note. The car that was a gift to us during Hurricane Katrina after ours flooded and we had no other options, the car that has been incredibly reliable for the past 2 years, the car that we are supposed to be returning to Papa-T on Thursday, the car that now has (at least according to my best guess) about $3,500.00 worth of body work waiting for it. Life is nothing if not good and bad all together all the time and I guess it doesn't ever hurt to remember that it is all relative, right.

I want to pull my hair out and scream and kick something but then I also want to run in circles and shake my head and make silly faces and kiss La Luz a million times because maybe, just maybe, she is learning how to go to use the potty. This is what our evenings have looked like lately - less clothing = easier potty training, or so they say.

Christian and I (well, me really I can't blame Christian for this one) have been bribing La Luz with this doll (at least it looks like this):

For the past two weeks La Luz has looked at this doll every day, sometimes multiple times. I wouldn't ever let her touch it and it broke my heart. I told her it could be hers when and if she ever decided to go on the potty at school. Tonight she is sound asleep, the precious Cinderella doll wedged between her fingers. I think bribery is twisted stuff, but apparently it is useful at times.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Your Diction Dripping With Disdain

I am addicted to these guys:

They played at Tulane last week. For free. I missed it because, oh yeah, in the middle of the afternoon I am at work. Oh well. I should have made an exception. What a shame. Overall, this cd is just great fun. Smart but silly lyrics, catchy melodies, what more do you need? There is only one track that annoys me (and I have to fast forward to the next track because it is so dumb and boring). See if you can figure out what one. My favorite tracks are, in no particular order:

Oxford Comma, The Kids Don't Stand A Chance, and M79

La Luz enjoys a little Vampire Weekend too. Her favorite song is Oxford Comma. I am glad she can't really understanding the lyrics.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

It Is Only 48 Hours After All

The weekend flew by, again. The weather was perfect. There was absolutely no way to improve it. Maybe it was a little on the toasty side when in the sunshine on Saturday, but if you could find a bit of shade it was just right. No complaints really, other than that the time went by too fast. When it is beautiful outside there is no time for sitting inside and lounging about. In retrospect it feels like we didn't stop, ever. In between various activities we worked on La Luz's potty training - my least favorite part of the weekend.

Saturday was spent, at least for a few hours, in the heart of the Irish Channel celebrating St. Patrick's Day at Jessie and Beau's house.

Here's La Luz in Jessie's St. Patrick's Day wreath:

The azaleas are in bloom all over the city. Here's La Luz passing by a particularly thriving batch on the way home from the parade.

Earlier today La Luz and I supervised Christian as he hacked away at the enormous banana trees in the backyard. I love them but our neighbor is not wild about them and they do have a way of taking over the yard. We kept a few of them but removed the ones that encroach on her yard.

Here's Christian with the most apropos shirt ever:

I am kidding, of course, it was a terrible task.

I took advantage of the gorgeous weather and went for a late afternoon run with Loki. I got in some great runs this weekend and I am relieved that I still enjoy it. I was worried that I would be feeling burnt-out after the marathon but that is not the case. If anything, I think I might enjoy running a little more now. I have a different focus though, I would like to work on improving my speed. It is something I have never paid attention to or cared about before.

We ended the weekend at mom-mom and pop's. Mary Cox and Aunt Kate are in town visiting for MC's spring break so we all had dinner together, along with one of Molly's friends who is in town from NYC and got to meet Brad Pitt and Bill Clinton at the Make It Right pink house project earlier today. Pretty cool.

Here's the bug with MC on the back deck:

Thursday, March 13, 2008

A Little Lucy

I have been so preoccupied with books and movies that I haven't posted a picture of La Luz this week. I would love to discuss the highlights of Christian's January mix cd (yea, I know it is March, but we have a tendency to fall a bit behind schedule around here) but I will, instead, give you a little La Luz.

Here's a picture mom took at the zoo earlier this week. She is in her new orange crocs (an early Easter present from mom and pop). It is a fight getting her to take them off.

I also got a new pair of shoes from mom and pop for Eater this year. I wanted these Loeffler-Randall ballet flats the day they arrived at Target. I daydreamed about them for two weeks and when Molly was in town last weekend we took a trip to Target and mom treated us! Molly and I both opted for the rosey-gold color and we agree, they rock:
Loeffler Randall Rosette Ballet Flats - Rose : Target

(via FashionKitty)

I am by no means the type of girl that cares about shoes. I have about 10 pair, 3 of which are flip flops, 3 of which are running/athletic shoes of some sort. It is rare that I feel strongly about owning a particular shoe, but I sensed that I would be happy owning these flats and I was right. I could wear them every day.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Calling Each Thing By Its Rightful Name

Into the Wild was excellent. Not only was the photography beautiful - lots of footage of beautiful landscape and a lovely, golden hue throughout - the storytelling was perfectly paced. Sean Penn did an excellent job capturing and retelling the story of Chris McCandless' ultimately deadly journey to Alaska where he hoped to finally, really live life but, instead, learned that he was woefully ill-prepared and under-skilled for such an undertaking. Foolish, without a doubt. Hair-brained, indeed. Understandable, yes, in an odd way. Heartbreaking, 100%. Maybe what hurts most about the story of McCandless is that, by virtue of what was by all accounts a very engaging personality, he touched too many people and caused them profound sadness when he went out on his own to Alaska. Even more harrowing still is his realization in his final days that happiness is only real when it is shared. How lonely. Not tragic really, just sad.

The movie, much like the book, has a 'stick in your head' quality that I appreciate. Maybe I have spent a bit too much time mulling over the story of McCandless, but it is intriguing to me.

I highly recommend the movie. I also recommend reading the book first if you have time. It is a very quick read, Krakauer always is.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Catching Up On Important Business

Molls is leaving tomorrow for NYC. It has been a quick trip but we have had time to do a few important things, including movie-watching. A few nights ago we watched this:

and we all agreed it was excellent - though Christian fought hard because he did not want to like something Ben Affleck directed. I had no problem with that and I loved Casey Affleck in this movie. He did an excellent job - maybe it wasn't much of a stretch for him but I was impressed nonetheless.

Tonight we are watching this:

I am very excited about this movie. I loved the book (I have loved every Krakauer book that I have read - I only have one left - I am saving it for a special occasion) and was bummed that I somehow missed it when it was in the theater. I will let you know how it is.

Monday, March 10, 2008

We Are So Made In China

A few days ago, one of the afternoons when I was working from home, taking care of La Luz, another great treat arrived in the mail. As far as I am concerned there are few things more exciting than brown packages arriving at my door step. I sort of suspected I might get this, I hoped for it in fact and, sure enough, it came when I least expected it.

Hal sent me (well, really it is inscribed to both me and Christian) a copy of this book:

It is a book that I am very curious about and cannot wait to read. I wanted to go to Baton Rouge when the author was speaking a few weeks ago but with work, volleyball, and La Luz, the logistics of arranging an evening excursion to Baton Rouge were more than I could manage. No worries, I am now the proud owner of a copy of A Year Without Made In China.

I love the smell, look, and feel of new books - especially hardback books. I have probably mentioned it before a few hundred times. I also love taking a look at the author. Usually I am pleasantly amused, like when I first saw a picture of David Sedaris (I was even more amused when I saw him at a reading and realized how diminutive he is) or just fascinated, like when I first saw a picture of Dave Eggers. Occasionally I am jealous, like when I realized Jhumpa Lahiri is younger than me, beautiful and an incredible writer. It happened again when I looked at the jacket of this particular book. I saw the image of someone who looks like she could have been a movie star and I am amazed - a writer, an activist (of sorts), and a beautiful girl.

Later that night we celebrated the birthday of some toy or another. They all gathered around the table and imaginary cake and we sang for one or another of them. These dolls are all made in China, all likely fully leaded. I am the anti-Bongiorni and it is clear that it is not just the flowing blond locks that separate us. I can't wait to read more.

La Luz spent the afternoon at AJ's followed by dinner at GG and Papa George's where she acquired "Brownie", a motorized dog and her favorite new toy. Papa George presented "Brownie" to La Luz earlier this evening and she hasn't put her down since then. Brownie is motorized so she runs and begs and yaps and is the next best thing to a real lap dog. I just hope La Luz doesn't activate the "on" switch while she is sleeping tonight.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Fresh County Air

La Luz rallied a bit this weekend and, since I figured she was tired of being cooped up inside of the house, we decided to go to Thibodaux for the day. Molls is in town for a few days from NYC so she, mom, pop, and richmond all decided to enjoy the gorgeous weather and spend some time in the country. It was the perfect way to spend the day and, apparently, we weren't the only ones who had the idea. GG and Aunt Julie were out there as well as Jonathan, Jordan and one of their friends. After spending a few hours in the sunshine and fresh air La Luz's cough sounds much improved, so much so that I think she will be able to return to school tomorrow. Christian took advantage of our absence and vacuumed, scrubbed the kitchen floor and worked in the yard.

Here's La Luz, playing softball:

and with Aunt Molly:

and Uncle Richmond:

and with Mama:

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

It Was Inevitable

It appears that whatever illness got to me last week and Christian last month finally got to La Luz. She was good for nothing more than this by the time I got home from work tonight:

I can't complain. She resisted for a long time. She hasn't been sick since the fall and I have had at least three colds since then. I am off to track down the Vick's Vapor Rub and locate the Care Bear and Scooby Doo DVDs.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Please Allow Me To Introduce, Star Catcher

As I imagine is the case for most kids between the ages of two and three, La Luz's affection for certain toys is unpredictable. So her fascination with Star Catcher should not have come as a surprise. It started a couple of weeks ago when La Luz watched Fantasia at Margot's house for the third of fourth time. Fantasia. It is very strange - a movie I always had trouble sitting through (though I admit it is probably some defect on my part because I know there are countless remarkable things about this movie) - and she LOVES it. Her favorite part involves Bacchus getting rip-roaring drunk and Thor causing a total ruckus. Seizing the opportunity to enrich La Luz's life with anything involving mythology, Christian immediately scoured the aisles of the toy store in an attempt to find a pegasus. Star Catcher was the result of his hard work. I am, I suppose, happy he didn't come home with a centaur, something La Luz has asked for repeatedly. I guess I know what's next on the shopping list.

Monday, March 03, 2008


Although I missed out on all of the fun because of my cold, La Luz got to spend some time with her cousin Edward who was in town from Dallas for the weekend.

Here they are on a bench in Audubon Park, feeding the ducks:

The older they get the more fun it is to see the two of them together. I love that they are now able to interact and communicate with each other.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Here's To Actually Using The Transoms

While La Luz had an action-packed weekend thanks to mom-mom and a visit from baby Edward, I did NOTHING this weekend (with the exception of finally watching Children of Men on Saturday night with Richmond and Christian and it was excellent - more on that when I can think more clearly). I am starting to feel better but have been dealing with what is, I suppose, just a lousy head cold for the past few days. Consequently, we spent most of the weekend lounging around outside (we were fortunate to have had two of the most incredible days in a row) and allowing the nice, spring breeze to blow through the house. I kept whatever doors and windows actually work open and did a ton of laundry. Hopefully sunshine and fresh air will have done the trick. Living in a 100 year old house has some advantages, one of which is that it allows for air to travel through the hallways and rooms with ease thanks to high ceilings and transoms.

Here's how the weekend started:

picking flowers on the front porch...and she asked me to do her hair like that

Here's what it was like in the middle:

oranges on the porch before Christian left for his volleyball tournament

and here's how it ended:

Sunset on the upstairs porch...why don't we do this every night?