Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hi There

We are in hyper-drive over here...still building furniture, watching paint dry (the first coat of primer is on and my heart is full), juggling some rather crazy work schedules, running (all the time it seems), and gearing up for Mardi Gras.  In between all of that are tiny bits of awesomeness. I wish I had more time and energy to tell you all about it...about the little moments like this:

Thursday, January 26, 2012

We are looking forward to a quiet weekend - there is plenty of cleaning and organizing to do around here to get this place in gear for Mardi Gras.  I am also hoping that the incredible thunderstorm this morning was the last of the rain around here for a while.  I am starting to get slightly edgy about getting the house painted.

And just to make you smile...a picture of Jamesy holding a gigantic, stale loaf of french bread for the Audubon Park ducks and sweet Luz on the moonwalk during a recent trip to the French Quarter:

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

House Stuff

In addition to the new Ikea furniture, there are a few other home improvements going on around here.  We are (it seems) midway through a massive house face lift.   What started out as a paint job has become a tiny bit more involved...

I guess as with many home improvement projects, as the work progresses, new problems are revealed.  The good news is, we will have a new front porch.  The bad news is that the project is rapidly becoming more expensive than we ever anticipated.  I have miniature panic attacks when I get a call from Christian during the day right now.  I find myself holding my breath, bracing for news of some expensive new problem.

The weather has not been ideal for painting so the pace has been rather slow.  I had hoped the work would be complete before Mardi Gras, but at this rate I do not think it will be possible.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

New and Exciting

Nana and Papa-T came in town this weekend and delivered a carload of awesomeness...

the result of a romantic night out at Ikea last time we were in Atlanta.  We have new bookshelves, a new bed for Jamesy, and a chest of drawers (or 'chester' drawers as Luz likes to call them).  Needless to say, there is a great deal of building going on around here, not by me though. So many home improvement projects going on at once overwhelms me. Strangely, instead of obsessing about timelines and freaking out about mess, I am operating around the stacks of paperwork and out-of-place furniture and overlooking the sanded and miserable-looking facade of the house.  I am sure I will reach a breaking point eventually, but for now I think we are all sort of enjoying that I am not completely losing it amid the disorder.

...and speaking of losing things, check out Luz's new smile.  Doesn't she look so grown up?  

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

I am in the middle of this book:

by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman and would like to sit down and read it cover to cover if I had time.  It is fascinating and entertaining and troubling all at once. The premise, and you can see it for yourself on the website, www.nurtureshock.com, is essentially that many modern parenting strategies/formulas are completely backfiring because some of the "twists in science have been overlooked."  I am half way through it and apparently have operated under some misconceptions about how to parent and support my children since their birth.  I am not going to completely change my style at this point, but it is certainly food for thought.  I highly recommend it if you are at all interested in the psychology behind parenting/child rearing.  I cannot get enough of the stuff because who wouldn't want to try to get everything right?


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Some Good Things

Yeah, the Saints lost...and we all walked around feeling punched in the gut for a while there, particularly on the heels of the ugly LSU loss...but so it goes in the world of stuff.  In the wake of all the sadness, though, we woke up to an incredibly beautiful day, most of which we spent outside (feeding the ducks at Audubon Park, a nice long walk, soccer practice at the fly, cafe du monde and a French Quarter stroll).   And there is other good stuff - I have the day off tomorrow, my first official MLK holiday in 10 years.  (Unofficially, however, I have plenty of work to do and need to find about 3 quiet hours to get some work done.)  We had a Haydel's king cake tonight after dinner with a lovely Chilean lady who is in town for a few weeks as part of an exchange program with the Sacred Heart school in Chile.  Haydel's still reigns as my favorite king cake in the city (it helps that they give you a cool porcelain figurine, a go cup, Mardi Gras beads and a choice of "Saints colors" or "traditional").  Which brings me to another good thing....Mardi Gras is just a few short weeks away...and you can feel it all across the city.  It helps take the blues away.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

King Cake Season

Have you had one of these yet?

We are just 4 days in and I have already had two pieces of king cake.  It is a good thing that Mardi Gras is only a little over a month away.  So far I have had a Rouses cinnamon/traditional king cake (I never eat filled king cakes, ever - I do have limitations) and a king cake from the Cake Palace which is somewhere in Kenner but they also make their king cakes available at the P.J.s near our house.  Again, I had a cinnamon/traditional.  Of the two, my favorite was the Cake Palace king cake, better all around on all areas where I give marks (cake consistency, icing, amount of cinnamon, portability, type of baby inside).  The Rouses was okay but it was VERY dry.  

By the end of the season last year I realized that I am no longer a  McKenzie's purist.  I still appreciate the simplicity of the brioche-style cake, but I absolutely love the cinnamon and (gasp) the copious amounts of white icing that appears on most cakes underneath the obligatory purple, green and gold granules.  My favorites last year were Diane Randazzo's and Haydel's.  If the lines ever go down or someone brings me one I will try them both again, until then, I will likely sample everything else in between.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

Jamesy Is Three!

We celebrated James' 3rd birthday with pony rides at the park down the street.  We lucked out with incredibly mild weather, well-behaved ponies, and enthusiastic kids.  It was a simple and lovely birthday celebration but it will always be a memory that stands out because of the incredible serendipity... a perfectly timed visit by the Roman Candy Man right before we sang happy birthday and cut James' birthday king cake, a sea of Saints jerseys on tiny bodies that took over the otherwise quiet playground and the end of a fabulous day capped off with followed by an incredible Saints victory and, unbelievably, there is still more celebrating and fun to come.

James' very special birthday is celebrated at a very special time in a very special city.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Photo Overload

I finally moved 300 photographs from my memory card to the hard drive.  It took almost an hour as the communication between the computer and my Rebel is deteriorating (and I have no idea why at this point).  At any rate, there are photographs dating back to early December that I need to sift through and, eventually, share.  Until then, here is a cute one of Luz and James with their cousin, Liam at Stone Mt. for the Snow Moutain Extravaganza (if you live in the ATL area, have kids and have not checked this place out, GO). I did not take as many pictures as I would have liked to while we were in Atlanta because my camera battery died.  To make matters worse, it died before I was able to capture a picture of the cousins together - Pete is sneaky.

On another note, I cannot BELIEVE that James is going to be 3 on Monday.  Once you are 3 you are officially more a kid than you are a toddler.  To say my heart is aching is inadequate.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Hey There 2012

We are back in NOLA after a lovely week in Atlanta filled with, in no particular order, the following awesomeness:

1.  tons of times with family and friends we do not see often enough;
2.  late bedtimes and mornings spent in pjs, lounging around;
3.  some incredible (but hilly) runs in a beautiful public park;
4.  great meals;
5.  a night in one of the most luxurious hotels I have ever been in;
6.  a trip to Ikea and H&M;
7.  my first-ever trip to Stone Mountain, GA;
8.  a late afternoon arrival in NOLA to our house mid-way through a massive, much-needed paint job.

There are tons of exciting things going on over the next few weeks and, although I am not totally psyched about getting back in to the routine and I am going to be in a bit of a post-holiday funk (especially when my sweet sissy heads back to NYC on Wednesday), I am looking forward to James' 3rd birthday, the start  of the Mardi Gras season, a freshly painted house, friends in and out of town for various football games and events over the next few weeks and whatever other blessings 2012 has in store.