Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Christian and I spent Friday night at the International House hotel and I find myself still daydreaming about it five days later. I don't know if it was the fact that I didn't have to spend forty-five minutes cleaning up the place or the fact that I wasn't 'half' sleeping, ready to hear crying, but I have only great thoughts about the time we spent there.

The hotel was built at some point within the last ten years. The decor is impressive. It is a smaller hotel, 'boutique' hotel and the vibe of the place is warm even though the look is contemporary. The rooms are a perfect blend of modern style with classic touches. There are plenty of muted greys and crisp, clean white shades juxtaposed with overstuffed velvet chairs and headboards and over-the-top chandeliers. I have never been a huge fan of chandeliers, preferring something more simple, but I am sold. The lighting was beautiful and the effect was lovely.

The other nice touch was the over-sized mirror. I think it made a somewhat small room (think more European, less American in dimension) seem enormous. I am now on the hunt for something similar for our bedroom. We have tons of wasted wall space so I think this would be the perfect use.

The bedroom we stayed in was a king deluxe. We were upgraded but, frankly, it was unnecessary. My only request was a quiet room so that I could sleep, instead i got a bigger room with a great view (overlooking Camp Street) but in return I woke up once or twice because of street noise. I would have traded for a smaller room overlooking the hvac system if it was totally quiet. Here is a picture of our room:

I recommend the hotel for a lovely and cheap staycation option for anyone looking for something a little different from the traditional, stuffy NOLA hotel styles that abound and for those who do not want to be stuck in the French Quarter. I don't think it is the best option for people traveling with children because it is small and not necessarily well-suited for kids. If, like me, you are interested in late-night tapas, you can enjoy the delicious fare at Rambla, a Spanish restaurant attached to the hotel.
Or maybe you want to enjoy the candlelight and overstuffed chairs while you sip a glass of your favorite wine from the impressive selection at Loa, the hotel bar:

I was just looking for a little peace and quiet when I made the reservation and ended up discovering a little gem in the heart of NOLA's cbd.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

My Birthday

I celebrated my 37th birthday on Saturday but really the entire weekend was one incredible celebration thanks to friends and family. Aunt Becky arrived on Thursday evening, full of energy and a bottomless goody bag, just in time to take care of Luz and James while Christian and I enjoyed a much-needed escape from reality. The timing could not have been worse, however, because Luz and James both contracted a nasty fever virus. Fortunately, Becky was not deterred and she jumped right into the role of nurse/nanny/friend/mama. To say that there were long faces around the house tonight when it finally dawned on the kids that Becky was no longer here is an understatement. Luz is already planning Becky's next trip (and mine too, apparently).

While the kids were battling headaches and fever, Christian and I spent a quiet night at the International House hotel and enjoyed a late dinner at Rambla followed by drinks at Loa. It was lovely and a great way to ease into my birthday weekend. On Saturday morning we hit the road and headed to Starkville, Mississippi for the UGA game. It was the first road trip in years that we spent listening to old episodes of This American Life and not worrying about how many stops we need to make for the dog and/or kids. I daresay it was luxurious. I delved into a hand-me-down InStyle and totally relaxed.

The game itself was a huge disappointment but we had front row seats and met some nice MSU fans. They were possibly the sweetest, most humble fans I have ever met, but I guess losing for so many years has that effect.

We raced back to NOLA this morning so that Christian could make it to the Saints game on time. I spent the remainder of the afternoon while the kids napped playing with my birthday present, in total awe:

Here are a few of the pics I took over the weekend. I have not taken many
pics lately so if you are curious about the kids these will have to do:

Monday, September 20, 2010

It's That Time Of Year Again

Yep. You guessed it - school picture time. In a complete role reversal, Luz seemed to love being the subject:

while James hated it:

So so very heart-breaking. He usually begs to have his picture taken, whereas Luz is much less interested. Consequently, when I opened the pictures I was quite surprised to see the results. Such a sad little dude. Christian wants him to have a retake session. I think retakes are a bit excessive, particularly for a baby. Retakes should be reserved for people caught with their eyes closed. I just think that if we are going to waste the photographer's time we need to consider how best those resources can be utilized. Perhaps there is a more pressing need:

I only mention it because this picture does very little to highlight how handsome he is...truly. There is something going on with the hair and the smile. You would think everyone in my house would know better than to use a closed mouth smile. I warn against it constantly (see the teethy grin in Exhibit A above).

While you are looking at the pictures, please let me know if/whether you think the kids look like Christian. I always wonder. It is tougher for me to tell since I see them every day. I only ask because someone (a Chinese lady) asked us if James was part Chinese on Saturday.

Thursday, September 16, 2010


After it sat collecting dust for nine months, we finally unwrapped and installed the Wii a few days ago. It has been quite the attraction since we hooked it up and has provided some decent comic relief for me.

We don't own many games, but that doesn't matter because there is one in particular that is stuck on heavy rotation:

I will let you guess who holds the high score and will stop at nothing to defend the title.

James, making sure it is set up properly:

and patiently waiting for his turn:

Monday, September 13, 2010

A Few More

I had a LONG day at work, at least by my standards...almost 12 hours and that is just too long for a mama. I made it home just in time to rock Jamesy for about 20 minutes and then hear all about Luz's day - she decided she is bringing the Cabbage Patch twins for show and tell on Thursday, she earned more piano 'bucks' during practice today and almost has enough to buy something (yippee for more plastic bric a brac), her buns stayed in place for most of the day and she wants pigtails tomorrow (who is this kid), and she barfed up her celery when Daddy made her laugh during dinner (they had fun without me...heart.breaking).

I am 1/2 way through the Bourdain in Madrid episode, I gave up on my idea of not drinking wine during the week (an idea I came up with during the middle of the day today because of my fear that wine = accumulation of belly fat), Christian is watching the last minute of Monday Night Football, and I am taking a few quick minutes to post more pictures from Labor Day Weekend. That is all that is happening around here, pretty standard stuff for a Monday. Oh, did I mention that I washed my hair with bath gel this morning? I have been having serious hair issues lately, like my hair feeling as if it is a giant dread lock. I have tried everything from leave-in-conditioner to letting it air dry to flat ironing, and nothing works. Today I decided I must have something seriously wrong with me, some terrifying disease, when I couldn't get a brush through it. Finally, at around 5 o'clock it dawned on me that in my bleary-eyed haze during my shower, I mixed up the bottles. Just in case you were curious about what a normal day is like around here lately.

And now, pictures...

The kids discovered GG's house on Saturday and asked to play in it all weekend.

Playing on her king-sized bed:

Luz, pretending she is a princess, in love with GG's vanity:

And I couldn't resist this one...kissable

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Labor Day Weekend 2010

Last week was like one long party starting with the holiday on Monday and ending with Saints madness on Thursday night. It was a great week, an especially great week to be a New Orleanian, but it was a mostly unproductive week for me at work and around the house. Consequently, I have had to play catch up this weekend. Somehow I still managed to fit in some fun time with friends - awesome, awesome drinks at Oak (oh yeah, and Brothers III), dinner at Patois, and nice visit with friends I don't see enough. But, now it is Sunday; a long week starts in twelve hours, and I am exhausted just thinking about it.

Here area few of the pics from our holiday weekend. I started to get a bit nostalgic looking at these and thinking about posting them. Labor Day 2006 was when I first started the blog and it is just unfathomable that it has already been 4 years. 4 years means that Luz is getting older, you can see it in the pictures, especially these. She is becoming her own little person and I am wondering if maybe I need to think a bit about how much blogging I can and should do about her life. This is all very new. There is no roadmap to follow or guide to tell you whether what you are doing is ultimately going to be some huge disservice. I think the fact that I am mentioning it at all sort of begs the question.

My big girl


Playing with cousin Jack:

Story time with GG:

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Here We Come

In the Vaicius house all of the Saints T's and Jerseys are clean and neatly folded, set out and ready to go for Black and Gold Thursday.

During assembly today Luz learned Drew Brees' plan for the Who Dat chant at the start of tomorrow night's game and taught me all about it when I got home from work.

Christian is totally bull-penning. Thanks to the incredible kindness of Jessie of Gimlet Eye fame, he will be at the game, watching the 'raising of the banners', shouting at the top of his lungs. Earlier today he declared "it feels like Mardi Gras."

The city is absolutely on fire and I wish I had the ability to describe what it feels like to be here right now. Suffice it to say, I cherish this place, the ability of the people of NOLA to really embrace a celebration.

Who Dat indeed!

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Horseback Riding at White Plantation

Luz had her first real horseback riding experience courtesy of Uncle Luis and Lady Di. It was easily the highlight of a very exciting weekend and something that she has not stopped talking about.

Funny thing, I remember that feeling quite well:

Monday, September 06, 2010

R & R

After a very long and somewhat hectic and stressful week at work, we spent 3 of the most gorgeous, relaxing days in the country. I am wiped out because the weekend was filled with activities, but I feel refreshed if that makes sense. We spent most of our last three days like this:

so I think that explains something.

I have quite a few pictures from the weekend - Luz and James hanging out with their cousin, Jack, from Virginia and Luz's first real horseback riding experience courtesy of her Great Uncle Luis - but I just got back from an 8 mile run and I am feeling incredibly tired. I have to get organized for another busy and exciting week and right now all I really want to do is have another glass of wine and read GG's hand-me-down Spanish "People" magazine. More soon, I promise!