Tuesday, September 30, 2008

What I've Been Watching

At the end of a long day of work I like to spend an hour or two in front of the t.v. numbing my brain a little bit. I probably should be reading my book or listening to some tunes, and I do this on occasion. However, I find that the easiest way to seriously veg out is by watching about an hour of something that has nothing to do with my life. This fall, these are the shows that are in rotation in no particular order:


True Blood

Kitchen Nightmares

Gossip Girls


Amazing Race

The Soup

Please don't judge, we all have guilty pleasures whether it be in taste of t.v. shows, music or books. Some of my selections are, admittedly, terrible. The fake southern accents in True Blood are cringe-worthy and the total predictability of Gossip Girl is tedious (and this is the least of all of the problems I have with the show). Nevertheless, notwithstanding that some of these shows are total trash, rest assured that they are all very entertaining. There are two new shows I am interested in watching, Mad Men and Fringe, but I am just not sure if I can add another show to the list and still maintain my self-respect.

Monday, September 29, 2008

What A Life I Lead In The Winded Breeze

The Fleet Foxes concert was great but I am paying for my late night today. It wasn't even all that late by rock concert standards, but considering that I am usually asleep by 10 on a Sunday night, it was late. They played most of their self-titled album and a few other songs I had not heard. I always appreciate a band that interacts with the crowd and engages in a bit of back and forth banter with the audience and these guys did not disappoint. The place was smoky, the crowd was too loud at times, and my feet ached, really ached, but it isn't just the extra pounds I am carrying around, everyone complained that the concrete floor was tough to contend with. Overall, though, it was worth the small inconveniences and being extra-sleepy today. It had been a long time since my last concert and I missed the energy of a live show.

Fortunately, my work day was cut a bit short today as I had an afternoon doctor's appointment. I picked the bug up from school early figuring I could spend some quality time with her as well. She enjoyed the trip to the doctor's office and hearing the baby's heartbeat. Everything seems to be progressing well, the time is just flying by. After my check-up next week I start going every 2 weeks and, before I know it, the baby will be here.

Now, for a bit of an update on the weekend...Nana and Papa-T flew into town on Friday afternoon and apparently had a great flight thanks to some incredible weather. We had dinner at Joey K's and gelato at La Divina where I had Creme Brulee, possibly the best gelato flavor I have ever had. On Saturday La Luz and I took Nana to the Arts Market at Palmer Park while Christian and Papa-T were busy doing a variety of chores around the house including installing the closet in the guest room/nursery (and it looks rather impressive). We had a great time wandering around and making crafts in the kids tent. On Saturday night we had my birthday celebration at mom-mom and pop's and were joined by GG, Richmond and Meenokshi. Dinner was delicious but the best part was, by far, the cake that mom made - from scratch with strawberries and cream cheese.

On Sunday morning we had a peaceful brunch at Bluebird and then dropped Nana and Papa-T off at the airport. La Luz spent the remainder of the day napping and moping around the house because she was already missing her grandparents, as usual.

What I've Been Listening To

Christian and I went to see Fleet Foxes at the Howling Wolf, so it has been an uncharacteristically late Sunday night. The weekend was great - Nana and Papa-T were in town, the weather was perfect, and we celebrated my birthday. I will tell you all about it after I get some rest. Until then, here's a little La Luz:

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Feeling 35

Tomorrow I turn 35. 35. It is incredibly hard for me to fathom. 35 feels very old. I remember when my mom turned 35. I couldn't believe how old she was. Clearly, I had no idea. I am content to have my birthdays come and go with little fanfare at this point in my life, but birthdays are big deals to three year olds so we have to do a bit of celebrating.

Christian has a volleyball game tomorrow night so we decided to bump my birthday dinner up a night. I picked Crepe Nanou. I ate moules y frites. I think I read somewhere that you aren't supposed to eat mussels when you are pregnant. I am also pretty sure I ate some cheese that was not pasteurized. I do have limits though, my cocktail was a club soda. I hope that a little indulgence when pregnant is okay now and then, particularly on birthdays. For desert, Crepe Lucie, and it was as perfect and satisfying as ever.

Here is La Luz with Christian, playing with Mr. Big a/k/a Little Man:

and us, outside of Crepe Nanou. It was the perfect night for sidewalk dining:

and me, 6 months pregnant, almost 35, after a large dinner (please excuse the outfit, I had to change into something more comfortable and less fashionable after our walk home):

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Busy, Busy, Busy

Typical Tuesday night around the Vaicius house - volleyball, Parent Night/Open House at ASH and me with homework yet again. I am barely finding a chance to come up for air. The fall is always like this though. Always. And I know there will be a lull, there always is, right?

Today would not have been possible without all of the extra helping hands in my life. I have no idea what I would do without them.

Now it is time to relax though, finally. So, enjoy a picture of La Luz and have a great night.

Here she is, proudly displaying her book - one of the many exciting things inside of the 'literacy bag'(more on that later):

Monday, September 22, 2008

September Causes

Someone pointed out in the comments recently that September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. I would like to take the opportunity to direct you to a great website filled with information about Childhood Cancer if you have a minute or two: www.candlelighters.org

In doing a bit of research I discovered that September is also Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Although, thankfully, I know very little about Childhood Cancer, I know a ton about ovarian cancer because of my little sister's diagnosis, surgery and recovery. The biggest lesson learned by Molly's experience as an ovarian cancer survivor is to question why you feel bad and be diligent and aggressive about getting to the root of what is making you ill. If she had simply accepted the way she felt as her version of 'normal' her results and ultimate prognosis would not likely have been so great. With that in mind, if you think you might have ovarian cancer or are interested in learning more about it, check out this wonderful site: www.ovariancancer.org

The bug with Molls, about one year post-surgery:

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Much To Her Father's Dismay

When I encourage La Luz to wear the LSU Cheerleader uniform it makes Christian seethe. All along I thought it was because he despised seeing purple and gold as opposed to red and black. I have enough sense not to encourage her to wear it on the day UGA and LSU play each other, but I figured there's no harm in running around in an LSU cheerleader outfit on any given Saturday in the fall. Wrong. Apparently, my concerns were misplaced. It is not so much the colors and the team that offends Christian, it is the idea of a cheerleader in general. Maybe I can make up for it today by encouraging her to wear her Reggie Bush jersey.

For what it is worth, I love seeing her in the LSU uniform. Here are a few pictures of her at GGs house while we were there visiting with GG, Aunt Becky and Uncle George:

Smiling, sort of:

Playing with Loki the dalmatian under Grandad's desk:

Cozying up to GG on the sofa:

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Paint The Gym Pink

In celebration of Paint The Gym Pink, a big fundraiser the Newman and ASH volleyball teams do each year to raise money for the Susan G. Komen fund, it was "pink" day at ASH. Pink day, or any non-uniform day actually, requires a bit of prep, which is why I was sort of stressed out last night. I managed to get La Luz's nails painted and find the proper "pink" clothing last night and it all came together nicely this morning when she actually agreed to let me put ponytails in her hair. The more I practice, the better I get. I still have issues with the part:

By the end of the day they look like this:

But messy or not, ponytails are the cutest, especially on the bug:

We had a great time at the game. I predicted La Luz would last under an hour considering the crowd and the noise, but she was invigorated. She spent most of the evening running around the gym chasing (and running away from) the mascot, and she even begged one of the high school girls to paint a heart on her cheek. This is something that is very out of character. At least, I think it is out of character. I haven't ever asked her if she wanted her face painted. I just assumed she didn't because I have never liked having my face painted. Either way, it was pretty cute:

I am curious to find out how much money they raised. I am not sure if I will be up when Christian gets home. We left before the varsity game started and before long La Luz and I will both be asleep.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I Heart Internet

Cox finally squeezed us in for a little round of trouble shooting with the computer and all the wires and doodads that connect us up to the internet. Christian was able to sneak out of school in order to get to the house in time to comply with the insane list of demands that must be met prior to the tech even agreeing to set foot in the house. At the end of the day it turns out that all we needed was a new modem, a tiny little box that sits up near the monitor and flashes a bunch of different colored lights indicating you either are or aren't connected. Oh, we are connected alright, and I couldn't be happier.

Being connected means I have no excuse to lounge about in front of the t.v. anymore. It means I have to post a little something about the goings on around here. I have to fill you in on how disappointed I was to discover that I can no longer eat Skinny Cow ice cream sandwiches at night because they are made with high fructose corn syrup (or maybe that isn't sooooo bad after all) and about how crazy this week has been and why we have spent over $200 on prescriptions this month (I guess I will spare you the details on that one).

I suppose what you would really like to hear about is how La Luz decided yesterday that we should call the baby "Louie". Or maybe you would like to know that she had her first ballet class on Saturday and was instantly hooked, despite her lack of coordination, and that she has asked me every day since then when she would be going back to ballet class and that she now stands in first position sometimes just because she can.

My tiny dancer:

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Please Excuse The Technical Difficulties

At some point last week our internet service totally fizzled out. I don't know anything about the miracle of the internet other than that when it is not functioning propertly, things around our house are turned upside down. Initially we thought it was something simple, but after Christian had two or three apparently arduous conversations with Cox tech support, they decided to schedule an appointment to come to the house to further investigate (and, we hope, fix) the problem. There is nothing simple about scheduling an appointment to meet with a Cox technician, particularly when everyone in the house works (or is in school) full time. There are rules - someone 18 years of age or older must be there to meet the technician, there cannot be any dogs in the house, the computer area must be moved two feet from the wall and outlet to allow room for the tech to work, and the list goes on. At any rate, we will do what we need to do to comply with the demands in the hopes that internet will be restored by Wednesday night. I miss blogging, checking Facebook and doing whatever else it is I do while on the internet (shopping, I guess?). Christian has suffered the most though - totally crippled by his inability to obsessively check his fantasy football stats.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Sweet Girl

Here is another picture of La Luz from our week in Atlanta. I think she looks so sweet:

Things have started to get a bit hectic around here. Work has been incredibly busy. In pre-Lucy times I would be spending 12 and 14 hours in the office at times like this, but I just don't think I have it in me any more. I need to learn how to be more productive at night and work from home, but I just don't see it happening, at least not often. By the time I get La Luz bathed and in bed and after I climb in the bed with her for a story I am usually half-way to dreamland myself. I generally wake myself up so that I can spend an hour or two with Christian, who we see very little of during volleyball season, but sometimes even that is a struggle. As usual, I am looking forward to the weekend.

Monday, September 08, 2008

A Few Simple Pleasures

When we returned to NOLA this weekend and the grocery stores and coffee shops were low on stock there were two things that I really wanted - my own cold brewing coffee machine and chocolate. The cold brewing coffee machine was easy to acquire. PJ's always has them in stock. We had one before Katrina but never invested in a new one and, instead, have probably kept PJ's and Cool Brew in business. I think we will still drink our share of PJ's coffee, especially on the weekends, but during the week we will be using this guy and maybe saving a bit of money:

More than anything else I have really been craving chocolate with this pregnancy. I was desperate for a glass of very cold chocolate milk or Ovaltine. Unfortunately, I just finished reading In Defense Of Food and am renewed in my obsession with serious label reading. I glanced at the back a few cartons of chocolate milk and decided it was out of the question. I picked up a container of Ovaltine (they only come in one size, gigantic) and read the nutrition information and the list was too long and filled with names of things I didn't recognize. At that point I decided to look at packaged cookies (bad idea) and brownie mixes as possible alternatives. In the natural foods section of Rouses I found a box of brownie mix called No Pudge Brownies.

It was immediately familiar to me because Mary Cox recommended this recipe to me in the past. The ingredient list was not bad - especially not compared to what I had been reading - pure cane sugar, unbleached wheat flour, dutch cocoa, egg white, wheat gluten, salt, baking soda, and corn starch. The brownies have no fat and a reasonable amount of calories per serving. The biggest plus, however, is that they are incredibly easy to make - you add 2/3 of a cup of vanilla yogurt (I used Stoneyfield Farm Fat Free Vanilla), mix it together in a bowl and put it in the oven for about 30 minutes. The result is chewy, delicious, choclatey-ness. I think Pop and I were the biggest fans but that is no surprise since we both love brownies. Overall, they were a hit and I would make them again in a second.

We are all about to breath a sigh of relief around here as it looks like Ike is headed away from NOLA, not that I wish a hurricane upon anyone...Tonight we got together with those in the family who were in town and free at GG and Papa George's house for a delicious dinner. It was nice to get to visit with everyone and a particularly welcome treat since we have been waiting to see what happens with Ike before restocking the freezer and fridge.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

We're Back

We left Atlanta at about 5 a.m. on Friday morning. I needed to get back to NOLA in time to get into the office for at least a few hours and Christian wanted plenty of daylight to get a good look around the house and start the storm clean-up work. It ended up being a good time to drive. The roads were busy but we never stopped because of traffic and we made decent time. Oddly enough, Christian had plenty of energy at 5 a.m. and La Luz ended up sleeping until around 8:30, well into the drive.

It is nice to be home but, other than the long drive and the expense of gas, it was lovely spending time in Atlanta. At Nana and Papa-T's house we have all of the comforts of home plus a few extras. We have plenty of room to roam around, a pool, a stocked kitchen, easy access to any of the conveniences we have grown accustomed to, privacy and lots and lots of TLC. On top of all of that, La Luz has time to play with her cousins and gets totally spoiled by her grandparents. I cannot imagine spending more than about 2 nights in a hotel room with La Luz. I don't know how people with young children (especially those with pets too) are able to tolerate extended stays in hotel rooms. There simply isn't enough space and meals certainly become an issue. We are incredibly lucky to have Atlanta as our evacuation destination.

We sort of agreed around here not to talk about Ike for a few days. We wanted to clean up the house, walk around the neighborhood, visit with friends, and enjoy the Saints game before even considering what next week might be like. I also need a clear head for a day or two so that I can concentrate on work. It was tough getting anything done the few days before the evacuation for Gustav and even tougher while working remotely from Atlanta. I just couldn't focus. I am hoping for a productive day tomorrow and Tuesday and then I can start thinking about Ike. What concerns me more than that, however, is that La Luz actually understands the concept of hurricanes and storms now. On the way upstairs last night she saw the weather map with the hurricane icon swirling around and said "uh-oh, a hurricane". I would like for her to be able to enjoy her routine for a few days before disrupting it again.

La Luz, in the backyard at Nana and Papa-T's:

Wes, loving hanging out with me:

Liam, driving the 'train' at Adams park:

La Luz and Liam at Adams park:

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Homeward Bound

We are heading back to NOLA tomorrow. Though most of our neighborhood has power, apparently our block is still out. Our neighborhood association reported earlier this evening that Entergy had multiple crews out working on the problem all day today, so we are confident that power will be restored by the end of the day. Either way, we will be back because my office is open Friday morning and I suppose I need to get some work done. We also want to check out the house and make sure there is no major damage in need of immediate attention.

It has been a lovely couple of days. Once we realized Gustav wasn't going to be the terror that we anticipated, we were able to relax a bit and have some fun. Today we took La Luz to the Fernbank Museum where she got to experience the awesomeness of Imax movie watching. She was a little freaked out by the magnitude but made it through the entire (somewhat boring) 45 minute show about Antarctica. After the museum we had lunch at La Fonda. La Luz loved every bite of the paella and cuban sandwich but spent most of her time eating the chips and cheese dip. The weather was perfect so we were able to eat outside. For a few hours today we were 'that family', the family I see in the middle of the day, in the middle of the work week hanging out together while I am en route to a deposition or running a quick errand during my lunch hour. They do not have a care in the world. They are the kind of family that makes me say "what on earth...how can they do that...it is 2 o'clock on a Wednesday, my they are lucky" and today we really were.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Evacuation Update

Christian, La Luz and I have been comfortable in Atlanta for the past few days. For the first couple of days of our evacuation we were edgy and anxiety-ridden. After watching the weather updates yesterday, we felt a little relieved and started to plan our return to NOLA. We have mixed feelings about this one. Christian thinks we should be allowed to return whenever we are ready, assuming power is restored to our house. I disagree, I understand why it is important to have a staggered return and to allow city officials an opportunity to check out the city before the influx of evacuees. Either way, we can't get back in until the mayor gives us a green light because there will be road blocks set up. I am not interested in challenging the authority of the NOPD or the National Guard or whoever is manning the posts.

I am more concerned about Thibodaux. We had initially planned to spend our Labor Day weekend in Thibodaux relaxing by the pool and enjoying some time in the country. I haven't been able to find any detailed information about the damage in that area. I only know that it was bad. I hope someone will be able to get to White Plantation soon to check it out and give us a report.

I have tons of pictures of La Luz hanging out with her cousins over the past few days but I forgot to bring my cable to post them (I am currently posting from an Atlanta Bread Company with free wireless internet). I will try to do that later. There is no wireless internet at Nana and Papa-T's and lots of competition for the computer now that the football draft started so I might not have a chance to post any until we get home.