Sunday, March 29, 2009

Week 52, Part 1- The Memory

365 days ago at this time, Joan was getting pumped full of Pitocin while I was trying to rest on a hospital couch and no one had ever seen one of the coolest babies ever to exist.

(Thanks to a neighbor of the hospital who doesn't know how to password protect wi-fi, I was able to post from the hospital, if any latecomers want to go back and check out the March 2008 archive to the right.)

For my convenience, forget 365 days though. 52 calendar weeks ago Joan was eating Sakura sushi with raw fish for the first time in 9 months, and, down the hall, being poked, prodded and implanted with government tracking chips, was a little man who has since become each of our best friend.

He looks a little different today though.

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To commemorate his first full trip around the sun, while still retaining our cheap roots, we headed out to Portrait Innovations near the "Upper Lafayette" Target.
We are very happy that we did.

These guys are a high volume, cattle herding type operation, but they are dirt cheap, and Tabatha, our photog, was good.

If you are looking for that perfect shot to have blown up into poster size, go to Alan Breaux or a higher end sudio.

But if you want to get a boatload of pictures of a questionably cooperative child for less than the cost of a few sacks of crawfish, give these folks a chance. (how's that for cajun math?)

Here's a few of our favorite shots.
A few of them really capture the way we see him.

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We didn't get a good family shot, but i'll post the best.
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Here's where I'm supposed to pour my heart out about how much being a parent has changed us, but, honestly, I don't really feel like it has.

I basically feel like the last year of our life has been a natural progression of where we were always going.

I don't really feel much different than you do when you wake up every morning, one day older.

I just feel normal, and I think that's right.

But I will say that the last year has flown by, and even though i just turned 29, has brought the limited nature of our lifespan a little more into focus.


Thank you to all of those who have personally been a part of the first year of his life.

Just as big a thank you to those who have read and hopefully enjoyed this blog over the last year, and found our lives to be worth a couple of minutes of your time every week.

I don't know how much longer I'll be able to keep up with weekly posts, 'cause life tends to slow down sometimes, but I appreciate your clicks. (unless you're some perv, then go away)

We now return to your regularly scheduled programming.

Week 52, Part 2

So, after the one year retrospective above, here's the usual mundaneosity that you keep coming back for every week. (yep, thats a real word, I just made it up.)

I was going to write about toys and some of his birthday presents, but I'll wait till next week. But, he did get to enjoy the beautiful weather a couple of days this week in his new fancy pants wagon from Nonnie and Poppy.

Since he and Gabe are both kinda narrow, we were able to take three for a ride in the two seater.

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Saturday night he ate at Barandas where he took an unusually strong liking to the guacamole.

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Once he was done eating it on chips, he dove in with his hands.

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Around the house, he learned to carry his bottle with no hands.

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He also showed some appreciation for mid 80s rap pioneers.

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Sunday afternoon, we went to the zoo, thus now officially having gotten more than his Granny's moneys worth out of the membership.

We decided to give the playground a shot and he took his first step toward making Uncle Eli proud by at least holding onto a rock wall by himself. That's a start.

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He was even looking up to try to figure out his line.

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The he tried out a slide for the first time and just fell backwards.

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That was better though than barely going down it 'cause it is too skinny for even Daddy's narrow hips.

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His buddy Gabe met us there and did a little better than Riley, but he's got a slide at home to practice on.

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(Lindsey's, "Oh, Should i have let go?" face is priceless)

Finally, after wading through all of the inconsiderate pieces of human debris who should not be allowed to breed, Riley got up close and personal with some birds who were in a very chatty mood.

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Then something, probably some inbred smoking a cigar, set the bird off causing it to scream right in Riley's face and flap its wings, leading to predictable results.

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Don't get me wrong. We like taking him to the zoo, but every time we go, it's like the crowd just got out of the Mr & Miss WalMart pageant or a Jeff Foxworthy concert.

Hey Zoo- here's a suggestion I won't even charge you for: Hold a "Smarter Than Forrest Gump Day". If you test with a higher IQ than old Forrest, you are allowed into the park, but have to pay double admission. If not, you go home. I guarantee you would sell the place out.

Wow, I'm out of pictures and just ended on a somewhat negative/cynical note.
Oh well, truth is truth.

See ya next week.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Wow! It's Big and Fun**

The only real story this week is the now complete Cousins' Collective First Birthday Boil.

As the old timers know, Riley has a cousin, Caroline (progeny of Joan's brother), who is just 5 weeks older than he is.

For the sake of efficiency, we decided, with Paul and Liz, to have a joint birthday party for the two kids, and after a few ideas were batted around, it was decreed that the celebration would consist of a crawfish boil.

We usually do a couple of boils a year, one for friends and one for family.

Realizing this would combine the two, we trimmed down our guest lists and sent out the invitations.

Semi-Rapidly, the RSVPs came in until we had 60 people eating crawfish and another 10-15 kids and non eaters coming. We prepared for the worst and hoped for the best.

I can now safely say that things were a success.

200 pounds of crawfish, 20 pounds of potatoes, 10 pounds of corn, 10 pounds of sausage, 5 pounds of boudin, 3 pounds of mushrooms, and 4 cases of beer were all obliterated by 70+ people.

Because everyone was spread around the yard and in the house, we were able to squeeze it all in, but I purposely didn't go in the front yard, because I did not want to see the parking arrangements.

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We want to thank everyone that came, especially the out of towners and folks we hadn't seen in a while.

One of the coolest aspects of the party was the cake made by Aunt Connie, which was a surprise and blew everyone away.

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She actually made silicone molds of 5 different crawfish. Plus the cake was really good. She's cool.

The kids enjoyed eating and playing with the cake, as they are obligated to do on their first birthday.

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Riley then got to try ice cream for the first time.
It was messy, but Jimmy was more than willing to help him clean up.

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Since Jimmy was tied up in cleaning Riley, Caroline just tidied up on her mom's clothes.

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We probably had 10-ish kids here, and one of the most popular spots was Riley's play table.

Riley showed a few kids the ropes, then Anna, an experienced table operator, took over supervisory duties.

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The second most popular spot was the real life Power Wheels, my Jeep.

Eli D's Mom said he spent at least a half hour in it.

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Lillian then attempted to drive a stick shift, even with an ankle to thigh cast.

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Next, the daughter of a lawyer and a cop showed us both good and bad driving habits.

Good= wearing a seatbelt
Bad= Chugging a beer

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(Dear Child Protective Services----it was empty.)

The Jeep was so much fun that Lillian was quite displeased when removed.

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Eli D's good time was also temporarily thwarted when he fell into a bucket of melted/ing ice while fishing for bottle caps.

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(Dear Child Protective Services-- he was never in danger, mommy was right there the whole time)

Things then moved inside, where our living room became temporarily unlivable due to presents and paper.

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Riley of course dove right in.

Wait. No. He just lounged while Mommy did all of the work.

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He had quite the haul of goodies, and I'll spotlight some of them next week.

Bottom line, for a toddler birthday party that started at noon, the last folks left at 8:30, but Riley hung with them until the end.

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It was a great first party, and it's a good thing you only have one. We'll definitely scale things back for a while.

Now, just to make the rest of the week not feel neglected-----

Earlier in the week he got to ride around town in the back of Nonnie's Jeep, with the windows out. He loved it. (he better, or it's gonna be a miserable life)

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Friday night, he caught Joan's uncle's band, Louisiana Red, playing at Downtown Alive. Riley showed us that despite ripping off his baby sunglasses just minutes before, he likes wearing Uncle Jake's glasses.

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Saturday morning, while we prepared for the party, he met over 9,000 other people (including lots of family) downtown to raise money to save boobies, an anatomical feature he's a big fan of, I mean a fan of big of, uhhhh...... you know what I mean.

He strolled in support of Nicole H and Sharon W and in memory of Aunt Barbara.

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And, as if our weekend wasn't full enough, the major dieties of every religion got together and declared it a sin to not go to the zoo in this beautiful weather.

We cooperated.

He was definitely much more engaged than last time, especially with the brightly colored birds. (some of which he can only recognize when matching their physical orientation).

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He helped Granny Lynn feed a goat for a while, until Riley said, "Put up your dukes," to which the Goat replied, "I got no dukes."

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The goat, of course, denies this and says, "They superimposed me”***

Then he showed us how big he is by walking (with assistance) up the hill then back down, which was much harder. By the end he just wanted a celebratory hug.

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He was quite relaxed and trying to play Mr Cool most of the time.

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A note of congratulation to Jake, whose Jeep officially grew up this morning when we installed a lift and put on some bigger meats.
My Jeep then knighted his Jeep.


And in closing, a word of warning.

Yes, it may be efficient to clean a crawfish pot covered in spices with a pressure washer, but the resulting mist is roughly equivalent to Mace, a theory I painfully stumbled upon which was then accidentally confirmed by Trey who actually has been Maced before.

Be careful folks.

**If you said "That's What She Said," Dwight Schrute, Michael Scott and Jim Halpert congratulate you.

*** I'm afraid this classic Sandler bit may be lost on the mostly female readership.