Monday, June 29, 2009


Not much has been going on around here. I would say I have finally, slowly, fallen back into a routine but, since Molls is still in town, I guess that isn't quite true. But I do sort of feel like the little, inconsequential things are making their way back into the forefront of my brain, the same, tired refrain : work is busy and stressful and I doubt myself; I don't have enough time with La Luz and James; the house is a zoo, the list goes on. It makes me sad in a way. In a way I don't want to ever be preoccupied with such things again. If I am going to be preoccupied I want it to be with the big stuff, with filling that empty hole that consumed me a month ago, because to not feel that way is to admit that I am moving on and, on some level, that feels even worse than simply grieving. I am not unrealistic. I think I understand what is going on here.

The process is helped along by other things in my life, these incredible distractions...

He is into this now:

and is teething, maybe:

and warming up a bit to tummy time:

and Lucy time:

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Beach Weekend, 2009

We boarded Loki and headed to the beach for a quick weekend in the sand and surf. Molly joined us since mom was spending the weekend in Las Vegas with AJ and Uncle Edward (no, I am not kidding).

The sun was shining. The water was icy-cold. Lucy, finally, loved the sand and James was exactly how you would imagine a 5 month old would behave at the beach. I wish I had captured his initial reaction to the waves on video (I didn't have the Flip with me at the time, of course, but I had my camera). It was the craziest mixture of exhilaration and terror.

Check out his face in the picture - looks just like the Cowardly Lion from Wizard of Oz - just sayin':

All in all it was a perfect weekend and, although it was quick, with three adults around for child care I think everyone had at least a little bit of peace and quiet at some point during that 48 hour period of time. I spent my 1.5 hours with Molly underneath a big umbrella reading magazines and listening the waves. It was bliss.

Here are some of the pictures from the weekend:

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Lucy, 4 Years Old

I might not have done the best job of keeping track of everything that happened this past year, but I have no doubt that this one will go down in history as one with incredible highs and lows. This past year you became a big sister and, after waiting so patiently for his arrival, you were the picture of grace when you learned that James was born, shouting in the middle of the hallway of your school, "he's here, he's here, I can't believe it". And when you saw him for the first time you realized what all of the fuss was about and your heart was so full of love and pride. I saw it all and made a memory which is tucked away in the not-so-far recesses of my brain and when I need to smile I bring it back and I feel good.

You also lost a grandparent this year and, though I worried a great deal about how to act and what to say, you made my job easy because it seemed as if you understood what they say about what awaits us upon death. You were not disturbed by my tears and you were sympathetic about my broken heart. You reminded me about what is high up in the sky and the angels and the beauty of heaven and I felt comforted. I know you will remember your grandfather, not so much because you remember things that happened to you when you were eighteen months old, but because you were his favorite person in the world and I am certain that he left his mark. I am looking forward to telling you about the time you spent together and explaining the hundreds of pictures I have of you next to him. There is a beautiful story in each one.

Despite the deep swings and having to reckon with life being so bittersweet, you continued to grow and thrive and captivate me. A few times over this past year I was struck with the feeling that you grew. I would look away and then look back and your legs seemed longer and suddenly your p.j.'s didn't fit and I had to let the hem out of your dresses and you needed a haircut. I started to hear your opinions more, about how you don't like peanut butter and how orange really isn't your favorite color anymore and why I should buy Oxy Clean (because it gets your stains out). The most annoying thing you started doing this year is making plans with your friends without informing either me or your friends' parents. Occasionally your father or I would show up at school and Aleaya and/or Devyln would be standing next to you, bag in hand, ready to come over. When we explained that we hadn't talked to their parents and it just 'didn't quite work that way' you flipped out. In the middle of your school. I think you sort of understand the concept of a play date now, barely.

You are still clumsy with crayons and have trouble writing your name, but you have small fingers and your father and I do not do enough to help improve your fine motor skills. We should spend more time making you color, write letters, use stickers, string beads and perform whatever other tasks will help you get better control and coordination of your hands. I know you would benefit if we turned the t.v. off more frequently but, honestly, after a long, hot day at camp or school I can understand that you want to veg out and watch some old Loony Tunes, who wouldn't.

So you haven't mastered writing your name yet, you have learned how to do quite a few things. You can jump, ride your bike and your scooter (okay, sort of) and you have even started to climb on furniture. I can tell you are nervous about it, but I have seen you jump from sofa to table to bed and back. You also learned to love the beach this year. While we were in Florida you ran in the sand, built sandcastles and searched for crabs and seashells. You love to swim and, at last, can do so with a bit of confidence, jumping into the pool unassisted and swimming from side to side.

You have a big imagination and love to create stories. You recently figured out that if you don't like the way your 'story' is playing out, you can stop and start all over with a new, more exciting theme. This happens most frequently when I am losing interest in whatever 'story' I am caught in the middle of. I usually end up having to play the role of the school teacher or the family pet and, I promise, it gets old. You still love dress-up and princesses and books and movies. You still suck your thumb and sleep with your bun-bun and want to talk about your friends and the day's events before you drift off to sleep and every now and then when this happens you are in my arms, reminding me of the very first time you were there and how I almost couldn't take how heavy me heart was when I finally understood what my incredible love for you meant.

Happy Birthday Baby Girl, I love you.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Pick A Hand

In her wildest, almost-four-year-old dreams she never imagined this was what mom-mom was talking about when she offered to take her to get a manicure:

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Summertime In Thibodaux

It was a rare weekend of very few obligations so we decided to spend it in Thibodaux. Despite the incredibly high temperature, there was a nice breeze and we stayed cool by spending hours in the pool. We literally had to pull La Luz from the pool. I think she would have spent the entire weekend swimming if we allowed it. By the end of the weekend, and after much patience on Molly's part, La Luz was swimming the length of the pool (with floaties, of course) and jumping in without anyone there to catch her. She has improved dramatically since last summer, so I suppose the over-priced swimming lessons paid-off.

There is no doubt that it was a weekend well-spent, but it was not without a fair amount of heavy-heartedness. The last time we were out there was Easter weekend. I remember staring in disbelief as Pop rolled around on the floor with James, both of them laughing. It seems like yesterday and, yet, like ages ago. I missed him...probably a bit too much, but I felt comforted by the familiar sounds he loved and by the smell of the night blooming jasmine right outside of our door. I wish there was an easier way to do these things, to go through these experiences knowing that there will be a hole there. The only way to do it is just that, to do it, but I have to brace myself pretty hard and be ready for tears and for feeling, for the hundredth time, like the wind was knocked out me. I know that I have to do these things and it will only get better (or different or just less painful) if I continue to do them and not just curl up in a ball and wish it all away (which is an occasional temptation but not a realistic decision considering my personality type). At any rate, one down, one hundred million to go...or something like that.

La Luz and James provided a good distraction, especially James who happened to have a somewhat fussy weekend. I think the rice cereal is interfering with his usually efficient digestive system. He managed a little fun though - cracking up as we entertained him with ridiculous baby babble and facial contortions that would've frightened any onlookers - and enjoyed some nice strolls with mom-mom.

I am not particularly well-rested after the weekend but I feel a little bit, just the tiniest, eensiest bit, more at ease.

Here are some shots from the weekend. I played around with the zoom lens a bit. I need to use it more often. The picture clarity smokes the kit lens.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

5 Months

Oh yeah, almost an entire 1/2 year since he was born. How is that possible?

Monday, June 08, 2009


On the eve of the celebration of James' 5th month we opened up the rice cereal. He has had some intestinal issues, and has been spitting up more than usual, so we reached a consensus - it was time to introduce cereal and cut back on the bottles.

The rice cereal was introduced without much fanfare. It was after dinner, during one of the most chaotic hours in our house, so there were plenty of distractions. I wouldn't say that James particularly enjoyed his first experience with food, but it wasn't a total bust either. Despite basically being force-fed by La Luz and feeling sleepy and full already after an evening bottle, James humored us and gagged down a few bites.

First bite:

La Luz steps in to help:

Saving some for later:

It feels weird to post this story and know that Pop won't read it. He always got a kick out of the very mundane goings on in our house and I appreciated that so much. He had a way of making me feel like everything we do is extra-special, at least to him. I am going to miss that feeling.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Mr Richmond Minor Eustis 1945 - 2009

I never wrote about his battle with cancer becuase he was modest and would've been embarrased by the attention. Now that I can write about it I don't want to because I am mostly filled with heartache. I haven't yet begun to figure out what life is going to be like without him in it.

What follows is a lovely obiturary written by my brother, Richmond. It captures the essence of Pop perfectly.

EUSTIS Richmond Minor Eustis, a lawyer, died Saturday in his home in New Orleans after surviving cancer for nearly two years. He was 63. The son of David Eustis and Molly Minor Eustis, Richmond Eustis was born in New Orleans and graduated from Isidore Newman School. He earned a BS degree in economics from the University of Virginia, where he was a member of Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity, and he earned a JD from Tulane University Law School. An expert in corporate and admiralty litigation, Eustis began practice at Phelps, Dunbar, then joined Monroe & Lemann, where he became a partner. He later founded the firm Eustis, O'Keefe & Gleason, where he practiced until shortly before his death. He was a member of the Maritime Institute and the Louisiana Bar Association, and was admitted to federal practice before the U.S. Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court. His survivors include his wife of 38 years, Catherine BaƱos Eustis; two daughters, Julie Eustis Vaicius of New Orleans and Molly Minor Eustis of New York City; two sons, Richmond Minor Eustis, Jr. of Baton Rouge and Joshua Leeds Eustis of Chicago, IL; his brother David Leeds Eustis of New Orleans; his sister, Kate Eustis of Birmingham, AL; son-in-law, Christian Vaicius; two grandchildren, Lucy and James Vaicius, and more than a score of adoring nieces and nephews. His family and friends were gathered around him as he died. Eustis served on the board of the Children's Bureau and the New Orleans Board of Trade, and was an advisor to family-owned White Plantation. He was a member of the Inns of Court, the Sons of the Revolution, the Louisiana Club, and the Boston Club. In addition to his legal work and his board work, Eustis enjoyed working outside in his yard or around his Lafourche Parish house. Blessed with what he liked to call "a trivial mind," he was fond of the works of J.R.R. Tolkien, of punning humor, and of the dogs who flocked to him. He also was one of a handful of people expert in the history, repair and maintenance of traditional Carnival flambeaux. Services are on Friday at noon at Trinity Episcopal Church, 1329 Jackson Ave., in New Orleans - where as a boy Eustis served as an acolyte. Burial will follow in Metairie Cemetery. Visitation at 11:00 in the church. In lieu of flowers, donations to: Trinity Episcopal Church Medical Mission, 1329 Jackson Ave. 70130; Kellermann Foundation/Burundi Community Health Center-Uganda, P.O. Box 1901 Penn Valley, CA 95946; or the Delta Chapter of Alpha Tau Omega Fraternity at the University of Virginia, P.O. Box 400314, Charlottesville, VA 22904. To sign and view the Family Guestbook, please visit

Mr Richmond Minor Eustis 1945 - 2009 - Obituary -

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