Wednesday, April 28, 2010

What Was Old

Good Shepherd Parish (f/k/a St. Stephen's) has a new, very impressive cross atop the steeple. We have been waiting and waiting and waiting for this cross to make it to its final resting place. The old one was damaged during Katrina, though Luz likes to say it was damaged when a gigantic bird ran into it. Either way, it needed replacing. Behold! It went from this:

to this:

James enjoyed checking out the heavy machinery necessary to make this happen. It is incredible to see what sort of effort it takes to replace a cross on top of a church.

Life is busy in the Vaicius house, so busy that I actually agreed when Christian suggested dinner might involve fast food. It was 7, I was still at work...what can I say?

Over the next few days I will be busy with all the goings on at work and a few little distractions here and there to remind me that I am not my job, not all the time at least.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Jazz Fest 2010 - Part I

I am optimistic that there will be a Part II this year, hence the title. That said, with predicted rain, a busy weekend filled with activities and birthday parties, and a trial starting on Monday, I am just not altogether sure it will happen. With that in mind, and because of the incredible weather yesterday, we couldn't pass up an afternoon at Jazz Fest, Luz's 4th and James' 1st (he was just too tiny and the weather was too lousy to brave it last year).

A very kind lady took our photo right as we were walking in. I am sure she thought we were tourists. It makes for a perfect backdrop for the quintessential Jazz Fest family photo - so here you go:

In perfect Jazz Fest serendipity we walked in right as some Mardi Gras Indians were starting to strut their stuff and it was awesome. They were resplendent and totally patient and humble while adoring fans snapped photo after photo after photo. I tried to get a few but couldn't capture any on their own. Each picture has an Aunt Edna or Cousin Nancy or Uncle Al in it and it just doesn't look right. I will try harder next year.

One of the first stops once we were in was the Strawberry Lemonade stand. There was not much of a wait but I think I might've figured out why. Something happened to the recipe this year, or else we had the end of a 'just not right' batch. What a bummer. Fortunately, the meat pies and crawfish bread were right on, as usual:

From there we hit Congo Square for Juan Luis Guerra where James had a meltdown brought on by sunscreen dripping into his eyes thanks to buckets of sweat. Once we had James (sort of) settled we were off to catch Shawn Colvin at the Fais Do Do stage. Have I ever told you about my years working as a barrista at Espresso Royale Cafe in Athens, Georgia - me and every other diminutive brunette in the city- and about how all we listened to was Shawn Colvin, Lush, Beth Orton, K.D. Lang, and, well, you get the picture? Interesting times.

Luz got a little impatient at the Fais Do Do stage and was attracted to the zydeco sounds coming out of the tiny cajun cabin. I have never - in all of my Jazz Fest years - spent any time kicking it at the cabin, so this was a new experience for me. I enjoyed it, especially watching some of the crazy, old Cajun ladies dancing. After some zydeco we checked out the kids' tent, another Jazz Fest first for me and it was there that we struck gold. We could camp out comfortably. There was plenty of shade. There were other kids - tons of them. There were tents filled with kid-focused and friendly foods and games, an 8 by 10 mat covered with wooden blocks...I could go on....I am kicking myself that I didn't know about how perfect this area is for kids on the verge of a meltdown. The music was great too. I think we narrowly missed the Imagination Movers and were there to catch most of Gal Holiday and she was fabulous. Luz and James couldn't help but dance, Luz in her own, 'don't mind me, no, really, don't' kind of way and James in his 'people, I am truly bringing the party' kind of way. The only downside, many many many hipster parents that couldn't get over James' too-cool Decembrists t-shirt (I wanted to put him in a sunsuit, I swear, but didn't have time for the battle after his nap and just left him in the filthy shirt) calling after their Tallulahs and Ryders and Wolfies and Stellas. Yes, they were all there, but then so was I and I had the kid in the Decembrists shirt...

We rounded out the afternoon with the Hot 8. A perfect NOLA send-off after a perfect NOLA day.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Hot, Sweaty Fun

Friday afternoon brought nasty thunderstorms and pitch black skies to kick off the 2010 Jazz Fest season. Later that night, Christian and I decided that attending the first weekend of Jazz Fest was out of the question. We figured that even absent rain storms, which were predicted through Saturday night, the place would be a mess and we'd be chasing James through knee-deep mud pits. BUT...we woke up this morning and the sun was shining and the humidity was low and we thought about the rain predicted for next weekend and the fact that Luz has never missed a Jazz Fest and about how much we know James would be the kid that gets it. It didn't take long to decide that we needed to do it and I am so glad we reached that decision. After $160, a minor medical emergency involving sunscreen, and a few meltdowns we enjoyed a few hours of sticky, sweaty, jumping, dancing, singing and pure bliss. There is nothing in the world that brings me joy like watching my kids recognize those familiar beats so unique to NOLA while balancing oversized cups of strawberry lemonade. I cannot imagine living anywhere else.

The battery died towards the end of the day (I am still using Christian's camera while I decided what to do about mine) so I can't post any pictures until tomorrow. Until then, I give you my latest home improvement project. While Molls was in town I put her mad crafting skills and fearlessness to work with some burlap and a staple gun. The result makes me smile:

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Conge Part II

After very long naps and lots of begging courtesy of Luz, I agreed to take Luz and James back to the ASH fair, but only because Molls agreed to come with us and help out.

By the time we got there most of the fun was winding down. It didn't seem to phase Luz and James who had fun playing with some leftover balloons and whatever else they could find.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Last week the most adorable store front ever opened on Magazine Street, adding some desperately needed zing to the strip mall that houses Chicos and was once home to a Subway. The perfectly complimentary pastel colors, tidy landscaping and clean, modern lines make this place a destination for sure. Did I mention how incredibly delicious the frozen yogurt is? Or that the toppings include all natural granola, dark chocolate, mochi balls, and season fruit, just to name a few?

I had heard of Pinkberry but never had the pleasure...until Sunday when I tasted my first bite and was hooked. Molls, mom and I stopped by tonight. The line was long, but not daunting and the servers were patient, friendly, and helpful. I opted for plain with blackberry and loved every bite. I cannot wait to go back. Oh yeah, James likes it too. Here he is polishing off my yogurt on Sunday:

If you click on the "Pinkberry" in the title the link will take you to Pinkberry's website where you can read all about it and learn about the surprising nutritional information.

Monday, April 19, 2010

What Do You Think

Maybe it is the lighting. Maybe it is the fact that they are both looking at the camera, all smiles, so cute. Maybe it is, after all, something in their bloodlines. I really am not sure what it is, but I do know that, at least in these pictures, they look like mama and baby.

J with his Aunt Moll, in for a few days of r and r from NYC:

Sunday, April 18, 2010

School Fair

We spent a few hours today at the ASH Conge. I always hope that my kids will be like the other ones I see running around at school fairs - happy, polite, enjoying every minute of their time outdoors, appreciative of the fact that a fair is all about indulging a kid - well, except for the bloody mary booth and the wheel of whiskey - but you know what I mean. At any rate, I have to go into these things gritting my teeth because I just know so well how things will be. I don't have the type of babies that fall happily and deeply asleep in strollers, except for that one time at Jazz Fest when Luz was one and I don't have the kind of kids that really fall headfirst into all of the fun that fairs have to offer - at least not yet - James will probably be like that but he is still too young.

So, we started strong around 10 this morning - and I don't think I did anything different than any other parents out there - but by noon James was tired, understandably, and Luz was shrieking and unable to catch her breath after sustaining a very small injury which came on the heels of begging and whining and generally being somewhat rude and quick to tears. Forget about the spacewalks and pony rides and face paint and snowballs. It was time for us to head home and for a long afternoon nap. Maybe we will have better luck next year.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


It is that time of year here in the NOLA area, a festival every weekend, gorgeous spring weather and strawberries are in season. During satsuma season my cousin Catherine's palms have a tendency to become jaundiced because she eats them every day. I have been eating so many strawberries that I am starting to wonder if it is going to make me turn red.

In addition to being totally and completely obsessed with this:

I have been eating strawberries as often as possible. Tonight after work I stopped by GG's house for a quick visit and was the very lucky recipient of some delicious strawberries from her nurse, Pat, who lives near some strawberry patches. I sliced some for quick use in cereal, yogurt and salads and then left a few whole for snacking and school lunches. I am in heaven:

Monday, April 12, 2010

Family Portraits

I guess Luz was inspired by the beautiful weather and our peaceful, happy faces and decided to take some pictures with my camera. Her hands are so tiny and the camera is so big that it made for some interesting shots:

Then Christian took over:

And then I couldn't resist a few:

So, Treme anyone? Did you watch it, like it? I liked it, didn't LOVE it...but I will keep watching, if only just to see the picture of my friends Paola and Jose standing in their flood-soaked Lakeview home. It ran in the Times Picayune in the weeks immediately following Katrina and is one of the first frames in the intro to Treme (which, incidentally, I loved because the styling was very reminiscent of that awesome stop-action sort of feel that Alan Ball did for True Blood's intro). I don't have any emotion left when it comes to Katrina, thankfully, but that picture caught me off guard and for a split-second the heavy boots were back on again. Check it out; let me know what you think.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Nectar, of Course

I took Luz and James for a wagon ride to the local snowball stand on Saturday afternoon. Luz has already had more snowballs than I can count this spring but this was James' first experience. He loved it, but managed to get more of it on him than in him.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Hi, I Don't Believe We've Met

I am in the market for a new phone, at least I think I am. I got a letter from Verizon a few months ago about upgrading and didn't think too much about it since the iphone STILL isn't available for anyone who refuses to use AT&T...but then a few weeks ago my rollerball started to act quirky. I took the advice of the high schoolers who babysit for Luz and James and dismantled the phone, removed the rollerball, cleaned it, replaced it and did it again and again and again. Lather. Rinse. Repeat for the Blackberry Curve I suppose. Why oh why does Blackberry make a phone so incredibly reliant on the rollerball - something that will inevitably break leaving the user with no available options. How about adding a key function that allows you to scroll, c'mon?

So, I need a new phone. The rollerball works every now and then, after much tlc and way more time than I am willing to dedicate to a phone. Now I just have to decide - do I go with the mostly reliable and yet incredibly boring line of blackberries out there on the market,? Do I suck it up and join the happy people at camp Droid despite totally hating the design...or do I go out on a limb and pick up this precious little thing:

Coming from the girl who has been known to select books based on the cover art, I think you know the answer.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Easter Weekend, 2010 - Part II

James was absolutely out of control this weekend. I am glad everyone got to see him in action because it was obvious to everyone that he is a total handful, a lovable, adorable handful. Luz has had to exercise an enormous amount of patience with him lately. I can tell that it is tough on her but it is also part of having a sibling and growing up, good life lessons.

Here are a few more photos from our weekend -

James, helping Uncle Richmond edit his dissertation:

Figuring out how to sneak in the gate and play with the horses:

Using the new corn hole set as his slide:

Discovering a tiny, yellow flower...he does have a sensitive side:

Wagon ride with his cousin Jack:


Luz, and her beautifully dyed eggs:

Easter morning:

Hunting for eggs:

The audience at the uneventful hunt (Molly, Laura, Casey, Luis). I predict Luz will get a run for her money next year and the audience will be more entertained:

On the hammock at the big house. Much like the streetcar, James was terrified of the hammock: