Friday, December 31, 2010


We just got back to NOLA after 5 incredible days here:

It was an amazing trip and I cannot wait to tell you all about it, but I am knee deep in Christmas tree needles and dirty clothes. Soon...I promise.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Failed Christmas Card Attempt #4

I thought that maybe, just maybe, there was hope for a photo of Luz and James on Santa's lap. Last year was Luz first year on Santa's lap and I think it was due, in large part, to the fact that James did not seem to mind. I figured that if he did not mind last year he would be just fine this year. Boy was I wrong. Santa set him off unlike anything I have ever seen. I could not even remove James' fingers from the death grip around my neck. It was awful. Luz was perfectly happy, if not a bit disappointed that she had to go solo.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Failed Christmas Card Attempt #3

When I started to take these pictures I sensed I would get the perfect Christmas card shot. Everything was perfect and totally unintentionally so - precisely the perfect scenario. The lighting was beautiful, they had on similar colors, and they both decided to wear their Christmas photo-worth hats that Aunt Moll knitted.

So, there is nothing wrong with the pictures really, but they are just not right either. James looks incredibly grouchy and pasty and I just don't think this series of photographs captures his essence, so I scrapped them.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Failed Christmas Card Attempt #2

I guess, technically speaking, this was the first attempt at the Christmas card. I took these pictures over Thanksgiving weekend, during a very quiet Thibodaux morning while the kids were feeling festive in their Christmas pjs. Unfortunately, it just did not work out quite as I had planned. This batch does not even really require an explanation, the pictures sort of speak for themselves. And check out James' hairdo - wow it was long!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Failed Christmas Card Attempt #1

There are quite a few of these waiting to be published, here is the most recent. It doesn't work for so many rather obvious reasons...

The tears:

The hand raised at precisely the wrong moment:

The string of saliva:

I have a few more of these to share over the next few days, including the loneliest Santa picture ever wherein Luz sits, so politely, while Santa's other knee is bare instead of supporting James' squirmy little self.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

First Cut

Despite getting totally sidelined by a nasty bout of strep throat last week, I finally completed a big project at work and have time to get organized before vacation. I am slowly starting to feel like my old self again and even managed to muster the energy to run this morning. There is no question that the past two weeks were some of the busiest in my life. As a result, I have shopping and cleaning and organizing and planning and packing to do - all in a very short period of time.

We have been busy, yeah, but we have had all sorts of fun. The most news-worthy, though perhaps less-exciting of the recent events was James' first haircut. It broke my heart but I got tired of seeing the daycare ladies put barrettes in his hair, hated watching him squint and constantly push his bangs out of his eyes, and realized I had a problem when I started putting Luz's headbands in his hair while he played.

He was totally upset the entire time (both of us were) but I managed a few shots with Luz's help.

The only person who cuts our hair is Aunt Sue so I had not idea what to do when I finally decided it had to be done. I opted for the very old-timey, Golden Shears, where my brothers used to get their hair cut. It is a true barbershop, the real deal:

The hair, immediately before the cut. You can see why I couldn't wait any longer:

On my lap and very angry:

And afterward, comforted by Luz and a paper bird and looking much more Jim Carrey ala Dumb and Dumber than Justin Bieber (at least according to Christian):

but at least he can see when he plays.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Hey There

It has been a crazy week around here at the Vaicius house. I am really looking forward to the weekend so that I can spend some time catching my breath. We have some fun Christmas activities planned, a quiet night out for dinner (and maybe even a movie), and I am looking forward to a long run on Saturday morning.

I am off to read and to bed. I am in the middle of The Art of Racing In the Rain. Do you love dogs? Is your dog under-appreciated? Read. This. Book.

I leave you with a snapshot from Saturday night. Christian looks very distinguished in his tuxedo. I look sort of drunk (it is that weird 'eye half closed' thing I tend to do in photographs):

Monday, December 06, 2010

The Grouch

I guess the total Santa freak-out of 2010 tipped me off a little...I just knew something was not right with James because he was extra clingy and not his usual, happy-go-lucky self on Saturday. I suspected he might be getting sick. Luz had complained about a scratchy throat earlier that morning and it was a busy weekend, so that part made sense - my kids tend to plan their illnesses at the worst possible times - Christian is gearing up for exams, I have a few projects to finish at work before the holidays, and there are tons of extra-curricular things going on.

Look at this face, so completely bummed out:

Ultimately fever surfaced and the rest of the weekend was spent quietly. We decorated a tree that was selected without any fanfare (Christian picked it up from Whole Foods on Sunday afternoon while the kids napped) and watched movies and stayed cozy and warm on a very chilly day. The kids recuperated somewhat but James still has a hacking smoker's cough that keeps him up at night (I miss the days when it was okay to give kids cough medicine).

If you are in the market for a tree that is in the 7 to 9 foot range, please check out Whole Foods. It is a great deal - every tree is $50 - and there is no haggling and hard-selling by some inebriated drifter looking to score a big commission. They will tie it to your car and promise to plant two trees for every one tree sold. I don't think it gets any better than that. Our tree is not particularly big and we contemplating going really big this year since we have the ceiling to accommodate it. I am glad we didn't because the first thing out of Luz's mouth was "wow, that is a gigantic tree". It is all relative.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Santa, 2010

Last year it was incredible...bolstered by her very brave little brother, Luz climbed right on to Santa's lap and the two of them sitting there, side by side, never looked happier. They could have stayed in that position for hours.

On Saturday I took Luz and James to see Santa and I hoped for the best. It was the same exact environment as last year, James talks about Santa incessantly, and Luz fully reconciled the fact that, though she wasn't wild about the idea of getting on his lap, she realized that she had to do it in order to send a clear message about exactly what she wanted to see under the tree on December 25 (she even had me google the barking, walking dog to double-check the name and brand).

When we arrived there was a bit of a wait and they busied themselves with Christmas crafts and cookies while I waited in line. As our turn neared James started to figure out what was going on, insisted that I pick him up, and commenced with the death grip. Luz never had this but there is something about the way that James can grip the back of my neck and opposite shoulder simultaneously...I am powerless. Needless to say, Luz dutifully climbed on Santa's lap, smiled for her picture, politely rattled off her list and excused herself smiling. James...well, I couldn't even remove him from around my neck...he was like a deranged lemur. And the screaming and crying...I am sure he scared away a few kids.

Here's what happned after Santa...candy canes (which make everything better) and the comfort couch...a place for kids traumatized by Santa and mom's to work on a Christmas card photo.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010, in Pictures

I put together a little video of my Thanksgiving weekend pictures. I lost image quality in a major way when I converted the stills to video format and I cannot quite figure out how to fix the problem. I used a very basic Windows tool to create the video and am now thinking I probably need to rely on something a little more sophisticated if I am going to complain about the quality of the pictures. I am just disappointed. I also uploaded the video without first adding a soundtrack and could not figure out how to add music without starting all over again. Oh, and I have no idea why Vimeo selected the still of Jack as the 'cover' shot. As far as I know it was totally random and, incidentally, very cute. Obviously I have quite a bit to learn about making movies.

Thanksgiving at White Plantation 2010 from Julie Vaicius on Vimeo.