Wednesday, February 25, 2009

A Parade Of Her Own

La Luz was inspired by the many days and nights of parade-going and decided to create her own Mardi Gras in the middle of the living room using all of her new catches. The whole scene was very bizarre but it served for a few hours of serious entertainment:

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Proteus Progression Shots

La Luz with her fish, 4 years in a row:

Photo credit goes to Christian this year as I was otherwise occupied with baby James. Despite being a mere 6 weeks old, James was a trooper and braved quite a few parades curled up close to me in the Bjorn. He slept most of the time but seemed to enjoy what he saw and heard for the few minutes that he was awake. La Luz, on the other hand, did not miss a beat. While I was inside with James doing whatever it is moms and newborns do (sleeping, eating, changing diapers, watching bad tv), Christian and La Luz were at the parades...all of them. I don't think they missed a single parade (except the truck floats) and probably only missed a handful of floats. Pretty much every day ended something like this:

Here we are, all 4 of us together at Rex earlier today. I realize that I have James covered much like Michael Jackson's kids but the sun was bright and he seemed to prefer being covered, I promise.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Here's Why Sometimes It Is Really Awesome To Live In NOLA

Occasionally during the week before Mardi Gras, a marching band might decide to practice on your street at 2 o'clock in the afternoon while you are minding your own business watching The Dog Whisperer with your newborn baby on your lap:

In My Front Yard, An Impromptu Parade from Julie Vaicius on Vimeo.

For the past week I have been side-lined with a horrible case of mastitis which included the chills, a raging headache, and fever of 104 degrees for a few days. It was possibly the sickest I have ever felt in my life and I don't think I would have gotten through it without my family who totally rallied around me. I will tell you more about it later. I am feeling better now and do not want to relive those hellish days right now. In the meantime, we are gearing up for some serious Mardi Gras fun over the next few days. Well, at least some of us are, I am on antibiotics and trying to put James on some semblance of a schedule, so I imagine this will be the tamest MG I have had in years...and that is really okay with me.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Trying To Create A Happy Baby

The other night, or morning, around 3 a.m. I dusted off my copies of The Happiest Baby On the Block and the Baby Whisperer. I am glad the books survived Katrina and that I saved them (considering that the tips/tricks/techniques were useless in the grand efforts to make La Luz a happy baby). I read them both front to back in preparation for La Luz and it did no good. Maybe it was useless information because I was naive and inexperienced and confused and all the other stuff. Or maybe, as I suspected back then, the bug simply wouldn't conform. Things are different this time around, I hope. Maybe this time it is because I have watched too many episodes of the Dog Whisperer while on maternity leave or maybe it is because I know I have to instill healthy habits and a good routine at an early age, but whatever the reason, I am determined to make things different for the little guy (and the rest of the family).

So, swaddling, it helps, it really helps. I don't have a miracle blanket yet (thanks Calvert) but the hospital grade receiving blankets and the kiddopatamus that mom picked up work very well when used together. In fact, last night I woke up after 1.5 hours of uninterrupted sleep worried that I had swaddled James so tightly that he couldn't breathe and I had to check on him to make sure air was coming out of his mouth and nose. Rocking, this works too but it is exhausting, especially in the middle of the night. White noise, this is also a huge help - the downside - it puts me to sleep too and I wake up 2 hours later asleep in the rocking chair. The best advice and the technique that I really want to embrace is the use of a solid routine - something predictable - a basic one that I am trying to follow is - eat, play, diaper change, nap/bed. In the evening I add a bath and a bit of rocking whenever necessary. It sort of works and I hope that as James gets bigger it will be a reliable routine. The tough part for now is making sure that he doesn't eat more than every 2 or 3 hours. If he eats more frequently, the feedings are insufficient to allow him to sleep undisturbed for more than 3 hours. I am weak and usually cave-in, especially in the evenings which are rough times for most babies. Tonight I was terrible, I fed him in 1.5 hour increments and he was particularly unhappy - it doesn't bode well for what is in store. I guess every day (and night) with a newborn is going to be different so the best thing I can do is remember that the most important tip is to remember to have an endless supply of patience and, fortunately, when I am face to face with this guy at the crack of dawn, somehow the patience is right there:

James, with his Daddy:

The gang. Christian introduced La Luz to Lik-A-Maid today, what a treat:

Sunday, February 08, 2009

1 Month

It is hard to believe that it has already been one month since James was born. It is particularly hard to believe that I have had 30 consecutive days of no more than 3 hours of sleep at a time. I love sleep so this is especially hard on me, but somehow I am able to function. I was even coherent enough to allow Christian to sleep late this morning while I watched both the same time. I know this is not impressive to most people but this was a huge step for me.

Here is James at 1 mo.

and now La Luz at 1 mo.

At times I think they look identical but then when I compare pictures I see the differences. They could not be more dissimilar personality-wise. La Luz hated to cuddle, was a cat-napper and generally fell asleep after any feeding for 3 + hour stretches. James wants to be held and rocked and snuggled constantly, rarely naps, and requires incredible entertainment before he will even consider sleeping. Oh, and when he does sleep, it is rarely for longer than 3 hours at a time and usually not even that long. I think my luck is about to change, however, as my genius little brother composed about an hour of the most beautiful white noise I have ever heard, which is downloading to my ipod right now. My fingers are crossed and my mind and body are aching for a long stretch of sleep. Thank you, thank you!

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Figuring It All Out

James is finally starting to develop a bit of a personality. If he is in a good mood he will smile and attempt to mimic certain sounds I make. If he is in a bad mood he will cry. He tends to be in bad moods when he is alone with me. Whenever other people are around he is on his best behavior and people cannot imagine what I am complaining about when I say that we are having a difficult day.

Here is a picture of him that I took this afternoon upon his discovery of the little stuffed animals hanging from the pack and play. I guess the world is starting to come into focus for him and it is all very exciting:

In other news, La Luz got a haircut last week and it is absolutely adorable. She is totally enjoying her new baby brother and, though she is a bit whinier than normal and has started to beg to an annoying degree, she is adjusting quite nicely.