Thursday, October 29, 2009

Great Pumpkins

We are getting all geared up for Halloween around here - decorations outside, pumpkins ready for carving, Halloween specials way past bedtime for three nights in a row - and I couldn't be happier. I have been feeling a bit bummed out at work lately so the distractions around here are good. I am happy to be preoccupied with locating glitter for the perfect fairy costume and figuring out whether James will be more comfortable as a ghost or a dragon. I like worrying about when we will actually find the time to carve pumpkins and whether it is more important for La Luz to sleep or watch It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown. So, that's what is going on over here, that and the Real Housewives of Atlanta Reunion show. Is it terrible that I enjoy watching the RH series? I think that is a rhetorical question.

Getting ready for Halloween - picking out the perfect pumpkin:

test run of the fairy costume:

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Wild Thing

Christian and I took advantage of some free babysitting while Nana and Papa-T were in town this past weekend and headed over to the Prytania Theater for the late show of Where The Wild Things Are. It had all the makings of a movie for me to love - one of my top 5 books, a Dave Eggars screenplay, Spike Jonz direction, ridiculous wild thing costumes - but it fell flat. I am sad - not because I can't bring La Luz to see it because it is dark and scary and really really heavy - but because it just kind of dragged a bit and left me feeling, well, just sort of "so what"-ish about the whole thing. There were a few moments when I felt a little teary - difficult departures always evoke those emotions - but, other than that and a totally like-able 'Max' played by non-actor and coincidentally named, Max Records, I was not really moved.

The Prytania Theater, on the other hand, always moves me. I am not sure if I have mentioned it before but, in case I haven't, here you have it : it is the first digital theater in NOLA and you will notice a difference. If you don't care so much about sight and sound and are more concerned about melted milk duds on your seat cushion, rest assured, the place is in great shape. If your last visit to the Prytania was not in 2009, you owe it a chance. It is a remarkable place and the owner is dedicated to cinema. He runs classics a few times a week, midnight movies on the weekend, and loves nothing more than to visit with anyone who appreciates movies in the lobby between shows.

One very important hobby that Christian and I share is a love of movies, particularly the act of going to a movie and watching it unfold in larger-than-life proportions. We are not snobbish or particular and will generally indulge in whatever sounds entertaining at the moment. Sure, we have standards (we have never seen any of the Final Destinations or Fast and the Furious movies, for example) but they are not very high. I hope that we pass this love on to our kids because, at least for me, there is no greater escape than spending 2 hours engrossed in something that is not my life. So, even though I didn't love WTWA, I loved 2 hours in the Prytania Theater when my only concern was what Max would do next.

La Luz as Max, courtesy of the incredibly crafty cut-out featured at the Wilson twins' bi-annual Wild Things Birthday Party last Saturday, ROAR:

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Check This Out

After all of Papa-T's hard work getting our garden in top shape Christian neutered all of the plants with weed-be-gone or pest away or some such thing and no vegetables or fruit ever appeared...until:

Papa-T discovered these when he was here last weekend and they are delicious!

Monday, October 26, 2009

All For Tradition

Long, long ago, years before I was ever a student at ASH, girls wore white party dresses on special occasions. I guess they decided to bring this idea back a few years ago and now there are a handful of days each year when the Pre-K and K girls wear white dresses. I gather that it coincides with feast days that are particularly important to ASH girls, days when they celebrate Mater.

I am not necessarily a traditional person; however, the older I get the more I appreciate traditions and understand why they are important. At this point in my life any excuse to see La Luz looking angelic works for me. Sure, the ironing and the finding the dress shoes and socks and the getting the hair just right and the tying of the bows complicates the morning prep a bit, but I wouldn't trade it. Here she is on her way to celebrate Mater's Feast at ASH:

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Lugging That Great Thing About

Big Sexy had his 9 month check-up last week and is currently holding strong in the 90th percentile for weight and height. He weighs 23 pounds and is 30 inches long. I think I heard the doctor say that his head was in the 'somethingth' percentile, or maybe she said it was off the chart. I have tuned out head circumference measurements since La Luz was a baby. Struggles with turtlenecks and hats have made it obvious that both of my kids have gargantuan craniums so I have never really needed a number to back it up. I just hope that there is a correlation to intellect.

Whatever the numbers and stats, he looks just great to me.

At the 'fly' on Saturday evening:

After beignets with Nana and Papa-T:

Dancing to Sunpie at the COPS benefit:

It was yet another lovely NOLA weekend and it passed by way too fast.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Few More Sweet Pics

I am leaving in just a few hours and imagine that blogging is going to be tough over the next few days, so I wanted to post a few sweet pictures so you have something lovely to look at:

Monday, October 19, 2009

Saturday Pictures

I spent the past hour putting away folded clothes. They had been building up for a week or two. I do not understand why putting clothes away is so difficult for us. It always seems like such a pointless exercise because tonight there were clothes drying, and tomorrow there will be more to put away, and it just never ends. But the alternative, stacks upon stacks of clothes, mad scrambles for uniform bloomers and matching socks and, the worst scenario of all in my opinion - the ritualistic unfolding and throwing into random piles that Christian does when searching through stacks for clean t-shirts - make my blood boil. Because the alternative is no good, I have to spend time putting clothes away and it often seems like such an unnecessary waste of time. Maybe one day someone will invent something that streamlines the process.

On to other important matters - pictures and brief stories from our lovely Saturday -

After hanging out at the Bywater Arts Market with Katie, Aunt Kate, and Meenokshi and meeting dozens of precious, adoptable dogs, La Luz and I headed to the garden show at City Park to check out her class scarecrow, Purple Crow A Licious:

On the way home we stopped by GG and Papa George's house to pick up some of GG's fabulous vegetable soup and joined them for a lovely lunch:

James, spending time in the playstation at home with Daddy, poor guy has been sniffly and we didn't think he would enjoy the excursion:

Loki, enjoying the sunshine patch, where he spent most of the weekend...dogs are so good at finding just the right one:

I am going out of town for work on Wednesday morning but, fortunately, Nana is coming to the rescue. She arrives tomorrow night and La Luz can barely contain herself. I am so glad she is going to be here because I know I do not need to worry about everyone while I am away. Maybe, just maybe, I will catch up on some much-needed rest.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Wiped. Out.

After 2 weekends in a row of being the one to wake up first with the kids and then 5 or so nights of rocking and bouncing James at 3 a.m. I am exhausted. It hit me this afternoon when Christian got home from the Saints game - I could barely muster the energy to change a diaper.

That said, the cold weather over the past few days has been invigorating and - realizing it is probably temporary - we did what we could to enjoy it and spent most of the weekend outside - with the exception of a few hours this afternoon while La Luz and I were watching the Saints and making our first gumbo.

An activity-filled weekend, a Saints victory, and tons of quality time with friends and family is about as good as it gets in my world. So, even though I am tired, I am filled with joy.

It was cold; I am not kidding. See for yourself.

Here's James, bundled up for a morning run:

La Luz at the Bywater Arts Market, falling in love with Scout, a gentle German shepherd desperately in need of a home:

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

An Additional Expense - Dry Cleaning

I left work at around 5:30 today and it felt like I had a part time job. I am not sure there was much advantage to leaving at 5:30 because the traffic was awful and it took half an hour to travel 5 miles, but it was a liberating sensation. My early departure was due to baby Elizabeth's first birthday party. I had to swing by the house, collect the kids, and make it to Tiffany and Mike's before the 6:30 cake smashing. We did it, though barely, and it was worth the racing around. The party was perfect. The highlight was a whimsical Happy Birthday banner that Tiffany stayed up constructing until all hours last night. I hope she got some good pictures because I did not have a chance to take a single one as I was completely preoccupied with James and his spit up. My warning to all new mom's out there (and this is advice I should heed but don't and then end up kicking myself over) is to change into something machine washable before you pick up/play with/go anywhere within a 5 foot radius of your baby. If you are wearing something that happens to be dry clean only, you will, inevitably, be barfed on. As luck would have it, it happened to me tonight. I had on this:

my brand-new, birthday splurge, Banana Republic shirt dress which I bought specifically for work and intended to wear many more times before having to dry clean. Oh well. In addition to diapers and formula, don't forget to create a budget for extra dry cleaning because you will need it.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Few Pictures

We celebrated mom's birthday with a lovely dinner at GG's house last Friday and, since both kids were bathed and in nice clothes, I forced them to sit still for a few pictures. Enjoy:

By the end of the night La Luz had gone from a fancy dress to a two-sizes-too-small nightgown and James was rolling around on the living room floor in nothing but a diaper, gagging himself on the toy dog's tail. Most nights end in this way, a slight variation of the same theme:

Sunday, October 11, 2009

James, 9 Months

James is now nine months old. Nine months. Yikes. In just nine quick months so many incredible things happen and I wish I could slow it all down, just a bit. The most newsworthy milestones are the top two teeth with an absolutely irresistible gap in between and crawling. I haven't properly documented either one yet. It is challenging photographing top teeth when all James wants to do is put anything that comes within reach into his mouth. The crawling presents a different set of challenges. I guess the main reason I decided not to document it is because it would look like a clip from one of those Discovery Health shows that come on late at night, "No Limbs, No Problem" or something like that. Because although it is technically a crawl, it appears to be a bit more of a propelling and dragging sort of thing going on. He can get wherever he needs to go but that is thanks, in large part, to the developing upper body strength. The legs play no role in this whatsoever - at least, not yet. The good news is we likely will not have to vacuum again until James starts walking.

The monthly photos are becoming incredibly challenging. I had to enlist La Luz's help this time since Christian was not around. The results:

In some of the most anti-climatic news ever - the birthday present for mom completely backfired. We got her an iphone and she was actually totally psyched about it and ready to embrace it BUT then AT&T reared its ugly head (the one that made me break a contract and switch to Verizon over a decade ago) and we basically couldn't make it happen unless she wanted to break her current contract (which does not include a data package) and get a new phone number. Unfortunately, mom will have to wait until June 2010 to actually use her present. Bummer.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Feliz Cumple Mamela!

Tomorrow is mom-mom's birthday and, at least in La Luz's world, birthdays are VERY big deals. I am sure that mom would be perfectly happy if the day came and went without much ado but, as far as La Luz is concerned, there better be cake and clowns and music and balloons and, well, failing those things, at least a few presents. So, we (the kids and grandkids and son in law) sort of went out on a limb and selected a present that we all agree is just the best, but we are not sure how it will be received. There is a little hill, or mountain, that must be climbed to get to what makes it 'best'. I am, perhaps, building it up just a bit too much. It is nothing sentimental and nothing close to a trip abroad, but we all think she will like it. I promise to update on the status of the gift at some point and let you know if it was a success. It is going to take a few weeks before we will know one way or the other.

Until then, in honor of her birthday, I leave you with the most rad picture of my mom I have ever seen. Molly uncovered this one when we were digging furiously through pictures after Pop died, holding on to every little bit of him and making his memory inside of our hearts.

Don't you totally want to hang out with these guys? Happy Birthday Mom, with all the love...

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Anyone Have A Spare Set Of Gills?

It is October. Usually by the first week of October I have a little spring in my step because I can actually breathe when I walk outside. Not this year. The weather is so incredibly hot and humid that it feels like we are living in a soup bowl or a fish tank or something. I am not asking for anything out of the ordinary. I would just like an 80 degree day and humidity below 90%. I would like to hear my ac turn off now and then and be able to cool my house below 78 degrees.

At the rate we are going there is no way that James will tolerate his Halloween costume - a hand-me-down that would probably fit him perfectly this year...if only. We tested one part of it out tonight and still managed to work up a good sweat:

James, not sure what to think:

Had enough, I don't blame him:

Trying to convince him it is great:

Still a bit curious:

Deciding maybe this is not his favorite costume:

By the looks of things, you would imagine we have all the time in the world to goof off, trying on Halloween costumes and engaging in tom-foolery. I promise, we don't. There were cupcakes to bake for treat day on Friday (baking tonight, icing tomorrow night), pink outfits to pick out for Paint The Gym Pink tomorrow to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the class book to review, school bags to fill...and it goes on. Sometimes three minutes looks and feels like three hours of fun, fortunately.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Looks Like The Daddy?

He doesn't look anything like me, does he? Honestly, I look at this picture and don't see any way that this kid came from me, except that he looks somewhat like Christian, I guess:

Monday, October 05, 2009

I Just Want Four Walls And Adobe Slats

Here are a few things that are entertaining me these days:

The new Lorrie Moore book, A Gate at the Stairs:

I loved everything she ever wrote until Birds of America and, even though everyone else loved it, it sort of fell flat with me. I think it must have been a case of "wrong time, wrong place" and am determined to try it again, just in case.

The new-to-me Animal Collective, Merriweather Post Pavilion:

Josh told me to get this ages ago when La Luz got her first taste of Animal Collective during her rides to swimming lessons with Josh. Quite predictably, my favorite song so far is track one, My Girls.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

You Cannot Stop Him

Over the weekend, while La Luz and Christian were in Georgia for the UGA v. LSU game, James and I had quality time together. One of the highlights for James was a very brief trip to the Children's Clothing Exchange where I scored a walker for $15. I am still not certain if walkers were discontinued, but I figured they wouldn't be selling one if it was dangerous, right? After scrubbing it down with bleach water and washing the seat part, it looks as good as new, for the most part. And now, well, James is basically a terror on wheels.

It is time to start the overwhelming task of child-proofing. He has already been in the garbage can and cleared out the Tupperware cabinet. I fear that unless we take action, the next stop is the knife drawer.

Here he is, making a break for the door:

and La Luz, ever the protector, putting a stop to the nonsense: