Tuesday, May 31, 2011


The first tooth...

Here is the note she wrote to the tooth fairy...not particularly polite, but so be it.

I took a poll in the stands at the softball game tonight and the going rate seems to be $10 for the first tooth. Yikes.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Remembering Pop

Right after Pop died a friend of mine shared his own experience with losing his father. This was something that happened frequently after Pop died and I appreciated it even when I grew weary of the gesture and was done with depressing stories of loss and grief. But there was something simple about this particular story, the point of which was nothing more than to prepare me for what was coming, to let me know that I would, in no uncertain terms, miss my father every single day of my life.

It has been two years since my father died, 730 days of missing him, some of those days with a smile on my face, others, like today, with heavy tears.

Here he is with my Aunt Kate, clearly having a great time (which was generally his goal, and an admirable one at that):

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Heart Ache

It has been a rough month on the 'dogs we know and love' front. Two of Loki's 'cousins', dogs he has played with for years, died recently because they, like Loki, just got old.

Loki's medical situation has been tricky, and heart breaking, and anxiety inducing. It has caused a few heated conversations, many tears, a few laughs, but mostly deep sadness. We stopped testing after spending what we agreed was a reasonable amount of money and getting a second opinion. At the end of the day more testing might have given us a diagnosis, but it might not have...and Loki is almost 13 years old.

He has been suffering with some sort of illness that makes it impossible for him to retain protein. His appetite remains steady (although his diet has changed - only 'soft' foods) but his ability to keep weight on is long gone. He is a shadow of his former self...all skin and bones and hollowed out eyes. He looks like a malnourished dog...so much so that a neighborhood busybody started leaving bowls of food and water and (gasp) even called the SPCA (they were totally professional, apologetic and sympathetic once I explained the situation). I can see that the neighbor was acting from a place of goodness but I the message was not so well-received by Christian and it certainly confused and saddened Lucy.

It has been a mix of emotion for the kids - they obviously see that he is sick since he does not move around like he used to...and perhaps Loki's slow death is a blessing...it is very peaceful, mostly pain free and it is giving us all time to come to terms with the idea of life without him around. He started distancing himself from me three months ago when he began to opt out of our morning runs. I am used to running solo now, though I will always miss what was probably the best running partner of my life.

I guess this is all just to say that I am sad about Loki every day. When I wake up in the morning I am on pins and needles until I am sure he is breathing. When I see his chest heave I wonder if it is his last breath...and then still sometimes he will see or hear me and I will use my sweet 'Loki boy' voice and he will thump his tail just to send me a reminder that he is still here, taking it all in, waiting for a few more sticky kisses from James, to lend an ear to me when I want to complain about my day, to sit protectively while Christian putters around in the yard, and to lounge patiently through one last heart to heart with Luz. Thank you boy for breaking it to us gently.

This is the most recent picture I have of Loki. It was taken over Easter weekend at White Plantation. It is amazing how much weight he has lost since then. I will take some pictures this weekend for comparison:

And if you are wondering where all of this is coming from...plain and simple - dogs are awesome. Here, see for yourself:


I guarantee you Loki would hobble home to us on two broken legs. No question.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

School's Out

Remember this little girl...here she is starting her first day of Kindergarten:

Well, she turned into this girl starting her last day of Kindergarten:

and it made my heart ache that she was so grown up and that there will be no more 'white dress' days at ASH until she graduates in 2023:

Someone please feel free to step in and show me how to make it stop racing by...because I cannot keep up.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Cousin Time

Nana and Papa-T surprised Luz and James when they showed up with Liam and Pete for a weekend visit. We managed to pack a ton of activities into 48 hours and capped off the weekend with Luz's birthday party - a swimming party with some of her friends from school.

I apologize for the sporadic posting but the chaos of the end of the school year coupled with the chaos at work is challenging. By the end of the day I can barely muster the energy for thirty minutes of mind-numbing television. I promise that more regular posts will be the rule again soon enough. Until then, I leave you with a little taste of what this past weekend was like.

Here is yet another attempt at a shot of all of the cousins. Clearly I was mistaken when I said this would be easier to capture as the kids got older:

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Happy Birthday Christian

I am sure it was not exactly what Christian had in mind when he thought about how he wanted to spend his 37th birthday...

It started with a blueberry muffin breakfast and I added a candle just in case we did not have a chance for cake and singing happy birthday later in the day:

And it ended at the softball field, listening to his team sing a rather off-key rendition of happy birthday, dodging termites, drinking concession stand beer and watching the river rise:

Not what he had in mind, but not likely one he will forget either. Happy Birthday Christian...love, J.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Jazz Fest 2011

Last year it was all about the kids' tent...where had I been? Why did I not know about this oasis for fussy toddlers and exhausted parents? How did I miss the reduced price fare, the shade, the toys and the crafts? It was an incredible discovery and we were back again this year and loved every minute of it...except the part when James hit a spicey patch in the mac and cheese...yeah, I get it, it's NOLA and everybody likes a little spice, and James does not have a sensitive palate...I guess this was just a generous batch...

This year we discovered the misting tent and, once again, I was reduced to scratching my head and thinking "how did I not know about this place." It is not tucked away, off the beaten path, like the kids area. In fact, it is right on the side of the main drag and, even on a somewhat mild day, it is a refreshing treat that is not to be missed:

My overall review of JF 2011 is glowing - great weather, great crowd control, awesome bands, and delicious food. My top runners are still strawberry lemonade and crawfish bread but I also enjoyed a few Miller Lites and a couple of bites of a cochon de lait po-boy. Christian still counts the meat pies as his top runner, I think. My only complaint is the price, but, thanks the generosity of friends, we were able to make it happen and document it with a few pictures I will treasure:

Luz, finally working up the guts to kick out the jams at Fais Do Do:

Laughing and playing:

Jazz Fest high:

Heading home:

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Happy Mothers Day

I had a perfect day. My greatest mothers day wish is that I am able remember the little details that made it special and smile many years from now. I want to remember the necklace I got from Luz, one she had made last summer at camp, one that I repaired many times with bits of tin-foil and twine. I want to remember her excitement, how she woke me up at 6 am to climb into the bed next to me, shower me with kisses, and tell me the first part of my present...to sleep late. I want to remember how she took my breakfast order the night before and made it precisely to my persinickity order...two whole grain toasts, one with nutella, one with almond butter, and an iced-coffee from P.J.'s, with one Sugar in the Raw. I want to remember the plate I ate it on...handmade by Luz with specific instructions not to microwave or place in the dishwasher. I want to remember that James slept until after 8 (thank you very much pal) and that he showered me with kisses and hugs and "happy mothers days".

I want to remember a lovely day with my family and friends and with my mom, my wonderful role model and best friend.

And I want to remember the beautiful end to it - the sun setting while I watched my dusty, sleepy kids, covered in bits of hay and Plum St. Snowball, heads spinning from the sights and sounds of the end of Jazz Fest..and as we made our way out, back to reality we happened upon a last little gift, Arcade Fire taking the stage to play with RAM, from Haiti.

I had a perfect day.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

This Guy

Repeats everything that this girl

says and does

and I can only imagine that it requires a bottomless pit of patience on her part as well as a great sense of humor, and (thankfully) she has both.

He is also really really really into cars and trains (which is cool because he can hear the trains that run along the Mississippi clearly from our house), enjoys watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, can speak in complete sentences (despite there being only a handful of folks who can understand what he is saying), has an obsessive relationship with pasta of all sorts (much like his mama), and is 100% sweetness and filled with hugs and kisses.

Monday, May 02, 2011


Aunt Moll was in town for Easter and a week in NOLA for some r and r. As always, the kids loved having her around and are somewhat mopey now that she is back in NYC. Right now when I start a sentence with "Guess what we are doing - -" the response is "going to see Aunt Moll." To say that they idolize her is an understatement.

Here they are at Pinkberry on her last night in town. She clearly looks more like James' mama than I do and, yes, Luz looks more like one who is about to be taken to the doctor for for a round of vaccinations than one who is about to eat frozen yogurt. I do not recall what the complaint of the moment was...

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Jazz Fest 2011

When we first saw the JF 2011 lineup a few months ago Christian and I knew we would be there Sunday evening to close out the first weekend watching the Decemberists at the Fais Do Do stage. With the kids occupied at mom's house and visiting with their cousins, Jack and William, Christian and I enjoyed the first JF in a long time with no kids in tow and we had a ton of fun. Although Christian both opened and shut the place down, I did not get out there until after three...just enough time for crawfish bread, strawberry lemonade and a few laps around the track before the start of the main event.

It was a lovely afternoon, one we hope to repeat next week with kids in tow...weather permitting, of course: