Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Vaicius Best of 2009

1. Phoenix - 1901
2. Fanfarlo - I'm A Pilot
3. The Most Serene Republic - Heavens to Purgatory
4. Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Higher than the Stars
5. Morrissey - I'm Throwing My Arms Around Paris
6. Julian Casablancas - 11th Dimension
7. The Postmarks - Go Jetsetter
8. Grizzly Bear - Ready, Able
9. Voxtrot - Berlin, Without Return
10. Bat for Lashes - Pearl's Dream
11. Camera Obscura - Honey in the Sun
12. Cats on Fire - Tears in Your Cup
13. Vetiver - Another Reason to Go
14. The Veils - The Letter
15. Bajofondo w/ Venegas - Pa' Bailar
16. Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Heads Will Roll
17. Rihanna - Russian Roulette
18. The XX - Night Time
19. Telefon Tel Aviv - You Are the Worst Thing in the World
20. Editors - Papillon

Some of these are obvious Xian selections; I am looking at you Morissey. By the same token, there is at least one on here that was not necessarily sanctioned, and more just tolerated, by Xian. Can you guess which one? There are a few that took a while to grow on me and some that I might never truly appreciate, Papillon anyone? That said, I think this is a great roundup of what has been in heavy rotation around our house for the past year. Incidentally, in case you are curious, Luz's personal favorite is the Voxtrot song.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Holiday Haze

Posting has been sporadic because lately we have been knee-deep in Christmas lights and decorating and gingerbread house making and hot chocolate and crisp, blue skies and cold, cold breezes and staying up late and watching Rudolph and listening to the Nutcracker and spending time with cousins and friends and family and smiling, our hearts so full, in the middle of loud, long meals with everyone we love and just generally enjoying the holidays to the fullest.

Don't get me wrong...we are also knee-deep in runny noses and earaches and climbing stairs and cutting teeth and feeling increasingly more anxious as we come to grips with the fact that Big Sexy is about to have this walking thing down.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Gift Giving

Finding the perfect gifts for a class of 4 year-olds is somewhat tricky. Inevitably, someone sends a present that is waaaay to nice, someone sends one that is waaay to creative and then I am left scratching my head, wondering why I am unable to put anything acceptable together.

This year I was inspired by Jen's ( idea to give each kid a barrette BUT I decided way to late and knew I would never be able to order enough in time. So I decided I would make them. I embarked on what ended up being an incredibly time consuming project after getting too much support from people who consider "crafts" a full-time hobby and can create masterpieces in a matter of minutes without so much as breaking a sweat.

I finished most of my project tonight and am covered in krazy glue and glitter, left wondering if my creation is even worthy of passing out to the class. At least I finished it:

I love the idea of creating something nice but when it gets down to it I am useless. I can barely wrap my head around a supply list when starting a project. In fact, even when someone has the project set up for me in stations and has already shopped and organized it in a linear fashion, I still fumble. I guess the short answer is that I am just not a crafty person, though it hasn't yet stopped me from trying.

Monday, December 14, 2009


I waited four years to get a picture of Luz on Santa's lap. I don't think it has anything to do with the fact that she is older and more mature. Rather, it all has to do with a very gregarious 11 month-old. Sometimes there is nothing that works better than a little peer pressure:

Sunday, December 13, 2009

James, 11 Months

As you know, I have been just a little preoccupied with capturing the perfect photograph for our 2009 Christmas card. Understandably, the 9th came and went and I put off James' 11th month photo session. I was out of ideas about how to possibly capture this guy in light of the fact that he is never still for more than about 3 seconds at a time and I think I was sort of prolonging the inevitable in a last-ditch attempt to keep James from growing-up.

They aren't exactly what I had in mind but it was the only way to capture him and the month without sedating him:

James took a few steps at daycare last week. He is cruising and pulling up on everything and trying to climb and falling and slipping and banging his head. He is covered in bruises and has a fat lip. I guess this is just a small sign of what is coming up next. I can't wait.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Christmas Card Photo Attempts #3

I am not kidding, I think this could go on for days:

On another note entirely, I just watched the season finale of Top Chef and I have to say that I am totally disappointed that Michael won. He is a navel-gazing db who hides behind gimmicks. No thanks. I have little interest in trying any of his restaurants, Michelin star or not. I can see that Kevin did not have his best night, but Bryan easily out-cooked Michael. What a shame!

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Christmas Card Photo Attempts #2

Here are more attempts from later that same morning. The kids were still dressed in Christmas outfits and we were in a new place so I figured...maybe with the change of scene...just maybe. No.

And so you can see what it is that I am up against.

Monday, December 07, 2009

ASH Christmas Party and Christmas Card Photo Attempt #1

On Saturday morning I took La Luz and James to the ASH alumni Christmas party. I knew Luz would have a great time and figured James was the x factor. He is at a very tough age to be anywhere where there are crowds, things he can't touch, other people in need of my attention, and no rooms with padded walls. Basically, I can't leave the house with him. I am kidding, of course, sort of. I braved it anyway and James proved me wrong. He was charming and congenial and perfectly content to sit in his stroller and dance and smile and flirt with everyone around. He even sat on Santa's lap and smiled. Big. And, because he sat on Santa's lap and smiled, Luz did too and she got to ask for a baby doll and feel the magic of it all. So I think I have a picture of Santa holding both kids, smiling.

I figured since both kids were in Christmassy outfits I would attempt a Christmas card photo. I didn't have any luck. I never had a problem capturing a good picture of Luz but trying to capture Luz and James at the same time is impossible. I am not sure when it will happen but until then I will be content to pull my hair out trying.

Luz and James, enjoying the fun:

The best of my attempts - not terrible but not card-worthy either - the new lens will blur the background which certainly would've helped in this situation:

No way. James looks lobotomized and Luz is eating:

Again, not great, and I think Luz is digging in the goldfish cup and, maybe, chewing?

Sunday, December 06, 2009

An Afternoon At The Roosevelt

I generally do not seek out over-the-top celebrations and sort of tend to shy away from fanfare; however, because Luz is 4 years old now, ideas that at one point in my life seemed crazy now seem like fun. A case in point is how we spent our afternoon - at the Teddy Bear Tea at the newly-restored Roosevelt Hotel.

There were multiple reasons to do it this year - Luz is finally old enough to really understand and love everything about Christmas, I love an excuse to get 4 generations together, and I was filled with curiosity about the restoration of the hotel and looking for a reason to have a look around.

The tea was slightly more chaotic than I imagined it would be and maybe even a bit more Disney-esque than I anticipated, but once I reminded myself that it was not about me and how I enjoy tea-time and was, instead, about Luz, I really understood and appreciated all of the bells and whistles.

GG and mom joined us and they were total troopers, never complaining while we waited in a somewhat long line to get into the tea and doing everything they could to make it the most magical afternoon ever for one particular for year old. All in all it was a lovely event and will be a great memory for all of us. I know that there is a narrow window to enjoy these sorts of things together, because at some point Rudolph just isn't going to be fascinating to Luz anymore, so I am glad that we took advantage of the opportunity today.

The lighting was incredibly challenging so the pictures aren't great but they give you an idea of what goes on at one of these things:

Four generations, wow:

Luz and the Sugar Plum Fairy (undoubtedly an out-of-work actress picking up some holiday cash - reminded me of the stories Molly tells me of what strange acting gigs her friends pick up):

Talking to Mrs. Clause (who sounded a bit like she had been out drinking last night and maybe hadn't stopped):

At the North Pole:

In the winter wonderland:

Luz, listening to Santa (who sounded like he was from Jersey and was a little too enthusiastic if you asked me) and Mrs. Claus recite Twas The Night Before Christmas:

Off of the lobby is a beautiful P.J.s and there are comfy leather chairs and flat screen t.v.s. During Christmas the lobby is decorated with lights and trees and a miniature train. Here is Luz by the train (you can see the Saints game in the background - things were getting crazy right when we stopped in because of a fumble):

With her Roosevelt Teddy Bear:

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Daydreaming, 2009

I already got the pair of shoes that would be featured at the top of the list, so I decided not to include any clothing in my the first installation of my 2009 wish list. Here are a few of the things that I daydream about when I should be busy doing other important things:

The lovely 50 mm Cannon lens...with the hope that it will make portraits of my favorite subjects all the more professional looking:

Only because I have thoroughly enjoyed everything he has ever written and not at all because I am interested in reading about Tillman's life (okay, maybe just the tiniest bit fascinated)...the new John Krakauer book:

I have always loved the Saints for Sinners medals and now they have these really neat bracelets to honor the Saints...who dat:

I have mentioned to Christian quite a few times that I thought it would be an awesome idea to have a balance ball in my office. I spend a ton of time sitting at my desk and I figured I might as well start engaging my core muscles and get a little exercise as I type, right? Christian always acts perplexed and sort of weirded-out by the idea that I would consider such a thing. Tonight I discovered they actually make a ball chair. Is this any more acceptable in the office? I am willing to give it a try:

These are all enticing; however, I think that the 2009 purchases are going to be much less exciting and much more practical. We are in need of a new mattress, a new water heater (it seems) and we have to pay our portion of an exorbitant medical bill we incurred when we had to bring Luz to the ER at the end of the summer. At least a girl can dream and justify at least one of the purchases on the list.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Baby Legs

I picked up a nifty little baby accessory during our trip to Portland and Seattle in the summer of '08. I was pregnant and incredibly excited and couldn't quite figure out if I was having a boy or a girl so I settled on a very gender-neutral style. I found these legwarmer things in a tiny baby emporium of sorts tucked away off of an incredibly claustrophobic thoroughfare somewhere near the waterfront in Seattle. I think I was killing time one afternoon while Christian was at a conference because I cannot imagine that he would have agreed to set one foot in this store. When we returned to NOLA I hid the legwarmers away somewhere, thinking that it would be ages until I would actually need them - the thought of a crawling baby seemed so foreign, so far away. While reorganizing and sorting and sifting and selecting I stumbled upon them and it wasn't a moment too soon.

I am not sure if these things existed when Luz was a baby (not that it would have mattered since she wasn't a crawler) but I think they are pretty easy to find these days. I highly recommend them to anyone who has a baby that enjoys crawling, particularly a baby who enjoys crawling and hasn't really figured out how to engage the lower body, like James:

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Have You Seen These?

If you have looked at my feet at some point in the past three days you probably have. On Friday the B'ham Browns braved Saks for some Black Friday shopping and I was the lucky recipient of what was probably the most irresistible deal around. Sometimes it is lucky to have size 7 feet and family members who truly love to shop! This is, by far, the nicest pair of shoes I have ever owned and I think I will wear them until they fall apart. Thanks so much for thinking of me and my size 7 feet!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Herding Cats

While we were in Thibodaux for Thanksgiving I attempted a photograph of the second generation of cousins. As expected, it was an unsuccessful endeavor. I know that as the kids get older this exercise will be much easier but at this point it is nothing short of exhausting. So, here are a few of the many attempts:

The kids are usually in this order : Edward (3.5), Helen 9.5 months), Luz (4.5), James (10.5 months)

and there were a few moments when I had no idea what was going on, like this:

and it mostly ended like this and I realized it was time to stop:

I am hoping that Betsy got a better shot of all four of them. I have to learn a few new techniques before Christmas.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

I started out the week anxious because of a small trial I had on Monday, totally blue because I was missing my dad (his birthday, Thanksgiving, all these things I wish he was still around to be a part of), exhausted due to an ongoing sleep deprivation issue on account of the kids, and worn out from a nagging sore throat. Over the past week James cut a new tooth (the total is now 5), Luz came down with a nasty ear infection, Christian caught the sore throat I started the week with, and then we gave Luz a toxic dose of Delsym and had to keep her up until 3 a.m. to make sure she was going to be okay.

That said, we managed to have a beautiful Thanksgiving dinner surrounded by family in Thibodaux, we picked about 50 lbs of citrus, took long walks, watched the incredible sunsets (and sunrises - at least James and I did once or twice), stared at the trucks going about their business harvesting the sugar cane (James can watch loud trucks dump things into other loud trucks for hours), fried turkeys and twinkies (this is true, really), roasted smores and sat by a bonfire, went on a hayride, had two lovely dinners with the B'ham Browns, and started watching Christmas cartoons 24/7, and it isn't even December yet.

I can be thankful for the highs and the lows. I have to be because I know I cannot have one without the other.

Christian and Luz (in her precious MCB design t-shirt):

Luz, part pilgrim costume:

Luz and Edward, by the tractor wheel:

Golden sunset:

James, grapefruit = ball:

James, first hayride:

Attempting to get just one picture of them together in their Thanksgiving t's: