Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Hard-Hearted Harbinger Of Haggis

After a long day at work I spent three hours totally unwinding with family and friends here:

It was lovely company, food and beverages. I highly recommend it for those that are not shy about their love for meat and even those who are not particularly brave. The bonus tonight was that Donald Link was there and even surprised us with some lovely boudin. I will definitely be back soon and I am certain Christian will be with me.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Not Sure They Are Related By The Look Of Thing

I had some fun taking pictures of James on Sunday morning and was reminded of a few that I took of La Luz on her belly at about the same age. I compared them and see nothing in common, save the gigantic cranium and pasty white skin.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

From The Land Where Everything Is Bigger

George and Lauren got married in Houston last night. We did not want to miss a minute of it so we headed to Texas for the weekend. It was a bit chaotic and, at times, a little challenging with two kids in tow, but we managed to have an incredible weekend. The wedding was beautiful and the opportunity to reconnect, even if just briefly, with my cousins and their significant others was perfect.

We even managed a brief photo shoot with the second generation of the PWAC, CC. I am kicking myself for not doing a better job of insisting that La Luz hold Jack properly, but we will have a second chance in two weeks during the christening.

So, for those of you who don't already know, the order is:

Jack Porter (12 weeks) on Lucy's (4 yrs) lap, James Vaicius (6.5 months), Edward Rinehart (3 yrs) and Helen Rinehart (5.5 months):

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Hello Mallory, Or Is It Bruno

The name has changed about 5 times since she was welcomed into our home earlier today, but one thing is for sure, La Luz is incredibly spoiled by her Aunt Kate and Mary Cox:

I am not entirely sure how she conned her way into this one. With 4 year-old kids there is no doubt that bigger is always better, and this one is big and so incredibly loved.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Bonjour To You Too

La Luz spent some time over at mom's house the other day and they watched Madeline and learned some French words like "vite" and then this happened:

Which, I think, begs the question, where did the red beret come from?

I know very little about what happens while I am at work...La Luz has spent most of the past week and a half with Mary Cox who very kindly agreed to be in NOLA to help me with the kids while Christian is in Costa Rica (yes, he is still not home, yes, it feels like months). I am still waiting for some documentary evidence that La Luz isn't throwing ear-piercing tantrums upon discovering that she is not going to be able to pick out a toy at the grocery store or post office (I promise you, she could find something to buy at the post office...I have an idea how this monster was created), and that James is not hanging from the fan blades and running around the yard naked after polishing off a few cokes and a bag of Doritos. Until that time, I have to believe MC when she tells me that everything was 'fine' and that the kids were 'good'. She has quite a poker face.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

And We Are Vagabonds

We took advantage of the cooler temperature this morning and walked to P.J.'s for breakfast. We all started out with incredible energy and were breezing through the first few blocks when, after being stymied by a stretch of craggy NOLA sidewalk, La Luz gave up on the tricycle and decided she should walk. I somehow managed to balance the trike on top of the stroller and tolerated a very precarious walk. We moved like gypsies and were only walking a half mile for a cup of coffee. La Luz packed a baby doll, a tiara, and a purse filled with all sorts of junk she never needed (none of which she carried, incidentally). Apparently she needed free hands to pick every flower she saw along the way (something Christian taught her to do on their walks home from school - now a borderline obsessive compulsion I am unable to stop).

Starting out strong:

Angel baby - always patient, never complaining, just along for the ride:

By the collapsing building:

Very sad to find Lucky You closed and in desperate need of sugar:

Reaching up to pull something off of a tree branch hanging low:

With two of her casualties - plumbago and a morning glory (I think):

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Heads Or Tails

I made it home in time for an actual dinner at a reasonable hour with other people tonight. It was only possible because my trial settled earlier in the day, leaving me with too much adrenaline to focus on anything else and a few hours of idle time this evening. Settlement is generally incredibly anti-climatic; neither side is particularly happy. In this case it was the right result, but I was hoping for some time in front of a jury because it is rare.

Despite the fact that I was able to leave work at a reasonable time tonight, I still completely missed out on this:

Dave Eggers was at The Garden District Bookstore earlier tonight in support of his most recent book, Zeitoun. It is the story of the painting contractor (I know that those of you living in NOLA have seen his signs) and his family in post-Katrina New Orleans. There is no question that I have had an overload of Katrina, but, as far as I am concerned, whatever Eggers pens is worth my attention. What a shame that I missed him because we had such a great rapport last time he was in town, I was convinced we would be fast friends.

I have a few distractions one great excuse, but many little ones.

In honor of Josh's birthday, I am sharing La Luz's most-recent and favorite new trick. It is one he taught her a few weeks ago, one she practices regularly. The video illustrates how she is completely incapable of manipulating small objects. There will be no magic tricks in this girl's future:

Heads or Tails from Julie Vaicius on Vimeo.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

While You Are Far Away

Christian left at around 5 a.m. this morning to spend about two weeks in Costa Rica. I have mountains of work, tons of missed time to catch up on, and a trial next week. The timing is impeccable. In fairness, his trip was planned long before life happened. Fear not, we called in reinforcements. Mary Cox has agreed to spend the next ten days in NOLA filling in the gaps and generally handling the toughest parts of the day with the kiddies, so I can breathe a sigh of relief. Keep your fingers crossed that they are both on their best behavior.

The weekend was nice. In the chaos of all of the trip preparations and usual weekend hustle and bustle, Christian and I managed a late dinner and movie - Crepe Nanou and The Hangover. Crepe Nanou was great, as always, and The Hangover was exactly as I expected it to be, though maybe slightly less funny.

I spent most of the weekend working hard to combat La Luz's recent bouts of absolutely abhorrent behavior (whining, begging, baby talk, and serious attitude). Saturday was a bit tough. I will spare you the details (it is not interesting to hear about other kids' poor manners) but I think my stricter stance and use of time outs helped because today it was like a whole new world.

Here they are, hanging around, James looking as if he desperately needs to be saved:

Thursday, July 09, 2009

As Long As I Can See Your Face

After a bit of a fight and then a bribe or two and a short-lived stand-off, La Luz agreed to let Aunt Susan cut her hair. It is perfect and the irony of it all is that she is now obsessed with it - smiling as she catches her reflection in the mirror, touching the blunt bottom with her hands, fumbling with her barrettes...

Speaking of haircuts...

How awful is this hairdo? I am sure she has a stylist at this point and, yet, the hair persists. And it is not just the hair, it is the color too. It is an ugly trait to pick on physical appearances and I generally try to avoid it for the whole 'living in a glass house' reason, but I can't resist and I am sure it is only because her face is everywhere.

Honestly, the only way to describe it is a haircut that was popular but always consider ugly at some point around the late 80's. In fact, I think maybe my driver's ed teacher had that exact haircut, except he was a guy.

James, 6 Months

It is hard to believe that it is happening so fast, but I guess there's no way around the fact that this little guy is growing up. He is babbling up a storm and I am entertained by the frequent changes in pitch and cadence as he searches for his voice. He is no longer content to sit still and dealing with him proves, on most occasions, to be not unlike a wrestling match with a baby alligator. He is grabbing everything and immediately moves whatever object he was lucky enough to snag into his mouth. He is still enjoying multiple large bottles every day and is slowly warming up to the idea of oatmeal (though he is more interested in just grabbing the spoon and bowl). He is smiley and patient and full of love and still incredibly captivated by me. I hope that never changes.

Monday, July 06, 2009

4th Of July 2009

As we have done every year for about the last 6 or 7 years, we spent 4th of July weekend in Atlanta. It is sort of an annual event for us and is definitely something we look forward to every year. I usually take a week of vacation, but with all that has been going on in 2009, and in light of my recent maternity leave, I cannot afford to miss a week of billable hours. The compromise was taking today off, I know, one day, how pathetic, but that is how it goes...

At any rate, although the trip was shorter than usual, it was great. I got to spend a ton of time with these guys, which is always a good thing:

I ran the Peachtree Road Race for the 5th (I think) time and, though woefully under prepared this year, I managed to finish without walking and without medical intervention. It was a blast and deserving of its own post one day when I have ten spare minutes to write it.

We also managed a few hours with friends we see too infrequently after the race on Saturday. There were a couple of quiet mornings sleeping in and a peaceful afternoon together drinking coffee and looking at books while Nana and Papa-T watched the kids.

As always, it was tough to come back to NOLA after being in the suburbs of Atlanta where the store clerks are polite and actually want to help you, the public parks are state of the art, and you aren't too scared of getting shot to tell your neighbors to call it night when they are shooting off fireworks after midnight.

La Luz had a great time playing with her cousins. As always, Liam was a perfect gentleman and never tired of La Luz's endless bossiness. Pete, on the other hand, might prove to be a bit of a challenge as he gets older.

Pete, running the Zingo table, he isn't even two yet...

James was the absolute center of attention. The boys could not get enough of "Baby James" and I guess I can kind of see why:

Liam holding James

Liam, dispensing wisdom on how to care for a newborn.

James put everything he could get his hands on in his mouth this weekend, spoons, bottles, shoes, you name it. He has to be teething.

All in all it was a lovely trip and I am going to miss this:

The only picture I could manage with all four kids in it. I think you can see why.