Sunday, December 16, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012 Photos Part II

Seeing as we are just a little over a week away from Christmas, I figured it would be a good time to finally post some of the photographs from our wonderful Thanksgiving weekend in Thibodaux.  We spent five peaceful days with family doing all of the awesome things we cannot do in the city - disconnect from everything electronic (well, sort of, Nana and mom-mom had a few Bejeweled tournaments going on and we cannot live without music and using the Iphone occasionally), taking long walks, lounging around in the sunshine, picking (and eating) citrus, riding around in the golf cart, tasting the 2012 crop of cane, and making memories.  The best part of the time we spent was watching the next generation of the family do all of the things that I remember doing as a kid.

Kiddos, playing on the other side of the ditch (fortunately it was dry and snake free):

Picking mama some grapefruit:

Kiddos, playing in the newly-renovated doll house:

Ready for a Thanksgiving feast:

Frying the turkeys:


 We are only missing one in this picture - baby Walker was sleeping at the time:

Here he is, on Lucy's lap:

Hayride time:

With Nana and Papa-T:

Sunday, December 09, 2012


He is big and black and super-fast and full of love and now he is part of the Vaicius family:

We adopted him and were told he was "about 3", but Christian took one look at him and decided he was closer to 13.  The vet split the difference and landed on 6 or 7.  The age is actually a good thing, he is chilled out enough that he does not bark at everything and understands that on the weekends he needs to sleep late.  He is crate trained, great with kids, and does just fine on a 3 or 4 mile run before dawn.   Someone took the time to train him in his youth because he is incredibly obedient.  He loves to fetch and play and mostly just wants to be wherever I am, which warms my heart.

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Thanksgiving Photos 2012

I finally took a leap and agreed to upgrade the storage space (for a premium) in order to post photographs on the blog.  It was a long time coming, nothing in life is truly free, right.  So, after hemming and hawing for two weeks and throwing around the idea that maybe this was the perfect opportunity to retire the blog, I looked at these photographs from Thanksgiving weekend and decided they just begged to be shared.  And just like that, I made my decision.  Let's hope that 13 year-old Lucy agrees it was a good choice.

Princess Bluebird, post Thanksgiving lunch, ready for an adventure:

Chief Red Fox (yeah, I know, I did not pick the name), keeping guard, watching out for coyotes on our post-lunch hayride:

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving 2012

Our Thanksgiving was filled with blue skies and bonfires and hayrides and great food and plenty of r and r with family.  I hope yours was too!

I have plenty of pictures to share but I have to figure out how to upload everything.  Picasa handles the photo side of Blogger and now has a limit on the amount of pictures it will store free of charge.  Hopefully I will have it all figured out soon...stay tuned!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Holiday Time

I love this time of year - cooler weather (usually), vacations, and visits with friends and family in town for the holidays.  Luz and James have a total of 2, yes, 2 cousins (I was one of 21 very close first cousins- we grew up like brothers and sisters - so this is so strange to me).  They do have quite a few second cousins (or first cousins once removed, I forget which is the correct designation), but they all live out of town.  Consequently, the kids are always looking forward to the holidays so that they can spend time with their cousins.   This weekend they had a chance to play with Jack and William from Virginia.  The weather was incredible so we spent Saturday morning at the zoo and Sunday at City Park and Storyland.  It is always heartwarming to see the kids pick up right where they last left off and to see them enjoying each other's company.  

The kids on Gaston the Gator's lap (Lucy - 7.5, William - 20 mos, James - almost 4, Jack - 3.5)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Soccer Season 2012

Saturday marked the finale of the 2012 Fall soccer league for Chicago Fire.  The Superkids wrapped up a stellar season of mostly cat herding and snack eating.  Overall, James was thrilled to hear that, for the remainder of 2012, most of his Saturday mornings will be spent in pajamas watching cartoons and lounging around.  And this is coming from someone who scored 5 goals on his last day of the season.  Sweet Luz, on the other hand, was sad to see it end and even played through a low-grade fever to finish strong.  All she wanted was one goal, but it was totally elusive (and not for a lack of trying - there were only about a dozen goals for the Firecrackers all season).  I loved watching her develop over the season.  It was incredibly competitive for a team of 7 year old girls and I even caught myself holding my breath and closing my eyes and crossing my fingers and hoping that just maybe the goalie would slip or the wind would be behind her on those very close calls, but it never happened this season.  She has the right attitude too though...try and try and try again and take a deep breath and get out there and try some more.  She was thrilled to get a medal and a post-game donut and is already looking forward to next season with her eyes still fixed on the prize. 

James, psyched out of his mind that soccer is over:

Sweet girl, all heart:

Luz, last shot on goal for 2012:

Meanwhile, James was inspecting his battle scars and waiting (in fairness, VERY patiently like he did every Saturday) for Lucy's game to end:

Sunday, November 04, 2012

Halloween 2012

Inspired by an entire extra hour in the day today I cooked and cleaned.  Ok, well, cooking really involved heating a few things up and making some oven-baked chicken tenders (and the kids actually did all of the work), but the cleaning was involved.  What do those of you out there with kids and no housekeeper do to keep things tidy around your homes?  It is enough to make a borderline obsessive-compulsive person like myself suffer with panic attacks.  I can handle the routine tidying up after a long day of work (and that is work - the kids 'play' all over the house - and we have a dog now).  It is the more involved cleaning that gets me.  I just don't know how people fit it all in.  I spent the better part of the day today (even with the extra hour) changing and washing sheets.  And does anyone loathe washing and refitting duvet covers as much as I do?   Getting the duvet cover on the king sized duvet is akin to wrestling an alligator or baby tiger.  I don't like it.  Writing all of this seems incredibly shallow in light of everything else going on in the world right now - I mean it only as a cry for help to those who manage to do it without help - tell me your secrets!

In addition to the chores I found some time to download the pics from Halloween.  This year the kids had half days so I ended up taking the day off of work and it was the right idea.  The day was busy and filled with fun.  Christian found a VHS copy of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow and I showed it to the kids (in his classroom since nobody seems to have a VCR these days, understandably).  I loved this cartoon when I was little and was thrilled when C finally found a copy of it.  They were not as amused and when it ended Lucy offered a simple "that's it?"  Oh well, maybe I will try again next year.  

We spent the afternoon with friends visiting while the kids played (and ate candy), stopped at G.G.'s for some trick or treating, checked out the entertaining and ever-expanding "skeleton" house on St. Charles, and made our way down to Aunt Margot and Uncle Walker's for the annual Halloween party and trick or treating.  It is the best way to celebrate Halloween!

Dressed and ready to go, Little Red Riding Hood and Anakin Skywalker:

With GG:

The "skeleton" house on St. Charles Avenue:

Luz, finally wearing her 'real' costume:

With the Barnes kids, ready to trick or treat:

This was the gang last year...time continues to fly:

With sweet Miller, the mummy:

OMG - I just 'published' this post and realized it is my 1,000th blog post.  I cannot even imagine that I have had 1,000 things to share. I suppose I should have approached this post with more care and come up with something memorable, but I am lucky just to get the photos downloaded and a few quick sentences about the activities.  It is sad to say, but I just do not have the time to devote to blogging these days (or the brain capacity for good writing and/or entertainment).  And, honestly, as the kids get older I worry about 'over' sharing.  What are the implications of all of this information being out there and accessible on the inter-webs.  Is it fair to future, teen-ager Lucy and James?   Will they be mortified?  Maybe it is time to consider wrapping-up NOLA baby until I am otherwise inspired.  1,000 posts is plenty!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

What Did You Do This Weekend

I ran a half marathon.  There is nothing impressive about my time.  It was fine.  Respectable. The impressive part is that I am not the least bit sore today.  I think I need a new exercise program because there is clearly too much muscle memory associated with a 13.1 mile run.  I am just maintaining the status quo at this point.

We carved a pumpkin.  Just one.  There was no fussing - none of the old, it is MYYYY pumpkin, stuff that I was concerned about.  The tricky part was agreeing on a design. There were a few rough drafts but it all worked out just fine.

We enjoyed some incredibly cool weather and figured out that both James and Luz need some new winter clothes.  I guess they actually did grow over the past year, even though it seems impossible.

We ate candy and drank hot chocolate and talked about Halloween, over and over and over again.

We played with sweet baby Walker who was in town from Ocean Springs, MS for the night and is as cute as can be!

And, we adopted a dog.  What?  I know. Just like that.  At least I think we adopted him.  He needs to visit Dr. B. this week and get fully vetted (sorry, could not resist).  We also need to find out how old he is.  They tell us he is 3 but Christian suspects he is closer to 13.  His name is Noah and he is black and big and a total sweetheart and he already loves me the most.  We are, however, waaaaay out of practice and are still warming up to the idea of having this sort of responsibility all over again. 

She is always the one who is ready to help out with the tough part of carving:

Here is Luz, dressed and ready for the Spooky Halloween Tea at the Windsor Court.  This is her 3rd costume of the 2012 Halloween season - a Dorothy costume she first wore on her 5th birthday - amazing that it still fits.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

And Then There is This Too

Face paint, yay or nay?  I, for one, was a reliable nay every time.  I could not stand the idea of face paint.  I remember I was once a cat (or a dog) for Halloween and mom somehow convinced me to allow her to draw a nose and maybe whiskers on my face.  I felt awkward all night.  Maybe it was the black spandex and fanciful tail though, who knows.  At any rate, I have never been a fan of face paint and Lucy loves the stuff.  She was the last kid standing at the face painting station at the annual Boo Carre Halloween celebration in the Quarter last Sunday.  We waited and waited and waited and - even though it was 5:30 and bath time was imminent - she still wanted "just a little something" on her face, and she got it:

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Costume Quandary

Luz has been this way for all of her life and it is at times incredible frustrating and often utterly amusing -  she is always looking for the next big thing, constantly struggling with buyer's remorse, and frequently fishing for reassurance that she has made the right choice.  It can get exhausting, especially during the holidays when our mailbox is flooded with catalogs geared at her demographic, filled with costumes and toys and enough junk to complete a thousand wish lists.  

We encountered the classic struggle again this year - the great debate about which costume to pick.  She   labored over two flimsy magazines, dog eared multiple pages, circled A-list items, made check marks next to extra-special choices and question marks near the ones obviously intended for adults and completely inappropriate for seven year olds.  She hemmed and hawed and we discussed until I couldn't take it any longer.  And then, one Sunday afternoon we met friends and the costume store and there it was - a sweet little red riding hood outfit - and it called her name.  I loved it and agreed it was the right choice, a great choice, and even splurged on a poorly made and ridiculously over-priced basket.  I even agreed to purchase a pair of red canvas Toms to complete the outfit.  She was happy and starry eyed and couldn't wait to try it on.  When we got home she got dressed and it was perfect, for a day, and then the buyer's remorse kicked in and we have had to discuss the merits of her choice and the downsides to the other options - a witch would be hot, a mad scientist would be complicated,  a princess - nah, been there, done that - but I could hear it in her voice, she couldn't be sure that her choice was right.  I reassured and supported and praised and yet it just wasn't enough.  When it came time to put the costume on for the first of many Halloween-themed celebrations, little red riding hood didn't make the cut - instead, she transformed into a pop star (incidentally, a costume we have never discussed or considered) thanks to a variety of odds and ends in her dress up bin.  I didn't say a word - just smiled and said I thought she looked great.

James is much more easy-going - Anakin Skywalker - he has not looked back once and has worn this costume at least a dozen times:

Luz and James before we left for Ghosts in the Oaks at City Park:

Ghosts in the Oaks is worth checking out.  We usually go to Boo at the Zoo but it was sold out so we decided to check out Ghosts and the kids loved it.  It is a little crazier and more crowded than Boo at the Zoo but the bonus is that all of the rides are free with admission.  There is a trick or treating area, a big craft area, and plenty of fun things to do.  

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Always Making Me Smile

Two or so years ago Luz played on her first soccer team.  The first couple of seasons amounted to nothing more than herding cats really.  This year things are different and talent, effort and heart all play a big role.  I love watching Luz play because she never stops trying.  She listens to her coaches, processes the rules and does what she can to master the skills.  Bit by bit over the past few weeks I have watched her gather up the courage to protect her space with a polite elbow and garner the confidence to go after a ball well within the control of an opponent, all while the game itself is starting to click.  More than anything, she wants what any kid out on the soccer field wants, a goal.  They aren't easy to come by though.  There are probably no more than 2 dozen in the entire season and many girls with longer and faster legs, but she doesn't give up and while she tries she gets stronger and faster and more aggressive and her love for sports grows.  I feel lucky to be on the sidelines watching it unfold, sort of amazed that this little kid who could barely get in the mix just a few years ago is making some cheer-worthy plays.

Yesterday the fly was blocked off for a race and the only way to the soccer field was to park a few blocks aways and walk.  Instead of parking just a few blocks away, we just left the car (and James) at mom-mom's and walked. The walk was probably a mile there and a mile back, and she dribbled the soccer ball the entire time, and grinned ear to ear when a passerby told her she had great ball control.  Even after running up and down the soccer field for an hour, she never complained about the hike ahead of us.  She did it all with a smile and an admirable attitude and it is one of the things I love so much about her. She is all heart.

Lucy - first soccer season - 2010:

in 2012:

Go Girl!