Thursday, June 30, 2011

A Day in the Life

A day in the life of the Vasquez Tribe,

as told by the one they call "Mama"...

6 am:  Daddy is up and ready for work.  Brees wakes up right with him, slobbering on
Mama's face and giving sweet baby kisses.  She nurses and Mama drifts in and out of
sleep.  We kiss Daddy bye-bye and cuddle in bed for a while.
7 am:  Reluctantly out of bed we go, settling in the living room.  Brees has just discovered
TV and likes to glance at it from time to time while she's crawling around.  We had to
put a quilt on the fireplace because she has started pulling herself up into a standing
position and her favorite spot is the brick fireplace.  ER visit waiting to happen.  We
play on the floor and wait for Isabelle to wake up.
8 am: Isabelle AKA The One Who Sleeps comes down the stairs and is greeted by a
very happy little sister.  They play together while I get breakfast ready.
8:30 am:  Brees is ready for her morning nap.  Off to bed she goes.  Isabelle and I sit
down and have breakfast together.  I drink my first cup of tea and will the black circles
under my eyes far far away.  Isabelle watches a few morning cartoons, I catch up on
emails and blogging, laundry and dishes.
10 am: Brees is up, nurses, we all get dressed and ready for the day.  We put her in her
Jump Up in the bathroom doorway.  Otherwise, I would be wearing my old Grateful
Dead t-shirt and dirty hair all day.
10:30 am:  Off we go to run errands.  
Post office, bank, grocery store.  Riveting stuff!  Isabelle asks me a million and one
questions and tries to convince me to buy everything in the store.  I forget the Ergo
and am too germaphobic to let Brees sit in the cart so I put her in the infant seat on top
of it.  Germaphobia goes into overdrive when every single passerby then walks up to
our cart and touches her.  She seems pretty happy with all the attention.  
12 noon: We arrive home and have lunch.  Isabelle feeds the baby while I get
everything ready and unload all the goods.  Thank God for little helpers!
1 pm:  Brees goes down for her afternoon nap.  I sneak in a few more chores.  Belle and
I head up to her room to play a game of Monopoly Junior and discuss important topics
such as her love for Justin Beiber and what color she wants to paint her nails
after bath time.
2:30 pm:  Brees wakes up, nurses.  We do some laundry and play in the
girls' rooms.  Brees likes to crawl back and forth between her room and Belle's, when
she's willing to unglue herself from my hip, that is.  
3 pm:  We head outside for a swim.  We live in Louisiana where its 97 degrees outside
with 100% humidity.  The water is our only salvation.  
4pm:  Brees goes down for a nap.  Isabelle and I grab the baby monitor and head
back outside.  I read a book and/or write while Isabelle rides her scooter on the drive
and plays with the dogs.
5:30 pm:  Brees wakes up, nurses.  We gather in the kitchen.  The girls play while I do
dishes and prepare supper.  This is what I refer to as "The Witching Hour".  It's loud and
a bit chaotic.  I do my best to keep them entertained, thus avoiding any melt-downs.
When in doubt, bribe them with treats.
6 pm:  Daddy's home!  He is smothered in hugs and kisses and then grabs a quick shower.
We gather around the table for dinner.  That night was pizza night,
Isabelle's favorite.  
6:30 pm:  Bath time for the littles.  
7 pm:  Time for a little music before bed, courtesy of the very talented Daddy.  We all
lounge around the living room, talking about our days, reading, singing, dancing, watching
the few and far between family appropriate TV shows. 
7:30 pm:  Bed time for the littles.  Teeth are brushed, stories read,
lullabies hummed.  
8 pm:  Shower for Mama.  Time to hang out with Daddy, catch up on our day.  We
usually watch a little TV, Shawn plays guitar, I catch up on emails/blog, we read.  No
photo for this one, Daddy is tired of my camera.
10 pm:  Brees wakes up to nurse one more time before its officially lights out.  We all
climb into the big bed, Daddy leads us in our prayers, we kiss each other good night,
and get ready to do it all again the next day!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

P.S. Head on over to Anonymous Was a Woman to see my favorite photo!  Sarah has
the greatest feature where she shares her readers' favorite shots and the stories
behind them.  Today, it's my turn to share a special shot...

anonymous was a woman.

Also, check out my guest post at one of my favorite blogs, Pamplemousse.  I'm sharing my
favorite summer pasta salad recipe while Maryam is enjoying her brand new baby girl! 
Congrats to Maryam and her beautiful growing family!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011


Look who's standing up!!
I have no idea how time passes so quickly, but our teeny tiny baby girl is standing up
all by herself!  She's been pulling herself up on every piece of furniture, especially
her favorite drum.  Banging on instruments and standing:
she's not a little baby anymore!

The Girlfriend Guide: Mandy

Good morning and welcome to this week's edition of the Girlfriend Guide!!  This week, I
am so excited to introduce you to one of the nicest, most caring women I know: my
sweet friend Mandy.  Mandy and I have known each other since junior high, growing up
in the same small Louisiana country side.  We became great friends in high school,
spending lots of time together on the side lines of the football field, performing on our
school's dance team.  After high school, as we all went our separate ways, we
unfortunately lost touch.  Years later, we were reunited when I moved home and was
in my junior year of college.  I was in my maternity rotation of clinicals for nursing school
and Mandy was my patient, having just given birth to her second daughter!  We were
so excited to see each other again as it had been too long, until we realized that part of
my assignment for school was to examine her breasts and perform a
post-partum assessment!  Now that's what I call a reunion!  Mandy has since become
one of my closest confidantes and one of my favorite people to spend time with.  We have
girls the same age and share many of the same interests.  She currently lives in the
same town she grew up in with her two daughters, working as a hospice nurse.  I look
up to her in so many ways and hope that you enjoy the insight I am lucky enough
to receive from her!
1. What is your personal definition of friendship?
A friend is not only a friend, but also a sister. It is someone who you can turn to when
you're sad, scared, or happy. You can cry together, laugh together or just be goofy with
and know that there is no judgement, jealousy, or envy. You are truly happy when they
are, and sad with them. A friend is someone who is there when it feels no one else in the
world is there for you. They are a part of you and you them, like family.
{Mandy and I on our high school dance team.  Aren't you jealous of
our sequinned leg warmers?}
2. What qualities do you look for in a girlfriend?
I don't know of specific qualities I look for. Of course there are the obvious trusting,
honest, and caring. These are the most important qualities to have not only in your
friends but to be a true friend yourself. What I look for most is someone who is just
true to their self and accepting of who you really are.
3.  How do you balance spending time with friends and fostering relationships with work and family?
Balance?? I don't think I have worked out the balance yet! As a single mom of 2 girls
and working full time, I find it hard to remember that I need 'me' time. I have set some
goals in my life and balancing is one of them.
4.  What advice would you give other women about having healthy, happy friendships?
Having friends in your life helps to keep you sane when you are going insane. No
really, having true friends helps you to remember who you really are not only as a
person, but also as a friend yourself. Friends are jewels in your life who help you shine
when you are feeling dull. Laughing with them when you are down makes your day
brighter, but also doing the same in return. Keep those close to you who make you
happy and feel great about yourself. A true friend will be there for through the
good and bad.
5.  How has having strong friendships enriched your life?
Friends are my backbone. Having true friends in my life has helped me to overcome
so many obstacles in my life. Having such great friends in my life helped me realize
who I am and that I can be true to myself. 
6.  What is your favorite girlfriend memory we have shared? 
Just being together is always a fun time with you! From hanging out at your house
and listening to Shawn and Alfred play and the kids singing, to partying at Mardi Gras,
to sitting at the park and birthday parties. Oh and I almost forget the 'great' memories
at Dubuis! All memories with you and your family are precious!
Girlfriends like Mandy:
Girlfriends like Mandy are one in a million.  She is the most selfless person I know,
always giving of herself to the people around her.  She is compassionate and
understanding and incredibly patient.  I always think of her when I feel stressed and
anxious and try to emulate her laid back attitude.  She always puts her family first,
not because she feels obligated to, but because she genuinely ENJOYS the gift of
motherhood.  She makes everyday tasks fun and reminds me to appreciate the
simplistic beauty in life.  Her sound, practical advice is invaluable to me, keeping me
grounded  and focused on what's important.  Mandy is sincere, honest, and loving in
every way.  She is the kind of friend who will throw you a beautiful baby shower, spend
all afternoon watching football with your family, help you clean your kitchen even when
you tell her not to.  Every woman should have a friend like Mandy: a friend you can count
on, someone you know will always be there for you, no matter what.  I love you, my
sweet Mandy, like a sister!  Your daughters have my heart and you are all an extended
part of our family!  I look forward to many more nights in the back yard, celebrating
life and all this love!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Water Babies

So far, our summer has been an amazing time of relaxing in the sun and enjoying each
other without the rush rush rush of school.  On my days off, we spend our mornings
cuddling in bed, lingering in the early light and each other's arms.  We spend as much
time outdoors as the Louisiana heat will allow, swinging under the trees, blowing bubbles
on a picnic blanket, chasing the dogs through the pasture.
And, best of all, we swim in our back yard pool, floating in the cool water and splashing
each other through little girl squeals and giggles.  Brees has always loved bath time, since
the very first time we placed her in the water, so I had hoped she would feel the same
way about the pool.  My dreams came true when we dipped her tiny feet in for the first
time and watched her sweet little face light up!  She smiled and oohed and aahed as we
gently swam her from one side of the pool to the other, her hands splashing excitedly.

Isabelle inherited the swimming bug as well and has been a water baby from the start.
She has taken swimming lessons for the last few years and is very strong in the
water.  Hopefully, this will be yet another skill this sweet big sister will pass on to
her younger sibling.
These days are what summer is all about: spending time together as a family in our big
back yard, doing what we love to do.  We are the happiest when we are out under the big
blue sky, our bare feet in the cool green grass.  I cherish these times so much because I
know that when school starts again, with all its schedules and homework and activities,
we will be limited with how many lazy afternoons we can enjoy.  These are the days
of summer, the days of roaming carefree with the ones you love.  And with this being
Brees's first summer, I really want to make the very best impression, creating the
most magical memories to fill her heart with.  I'd say we're off to a pretty good start...

The Paper Mama

The last photo is my entry for this week's Paper Mama photo challenge.  The challenge 
this week is "My favorite photo of June".  Brees flying through the sky in her 
swimsuit is definitely my favorite.  
For obvious reasons:)

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Steppin' Out

This week's Steppin' Out is actually from earlier this week when I ventured out for
THREE job interviews!!  I couldn't resist featuring this ensemble as it is SO out of
character for this flower child mama.  I am not a slacks and heels kind of girl, I wear
scrubs and New Balance to work everyday and jeans and bare feet at home.  However,
it's always fun to get a little dressed up and strut your stuff!  I was extremely happy that
this outfit even fit as the slacks are a size 6 and these hips haven't seen anything smaller
than an 8 in months.  Shawn and Isabelle crowded into my closet with me and held out
one suggestion after another, encouraging me as I anxiously prepared for such a busy
day.  We snapped a few photos before I left, resume in hand.  The girls stayed behind
with Daddy, waving enthusiastically from the front window as I put on a brave face
and drove away.  
Here's what we wore...

I have been contemplating a job change for a few months now and am now in full on
job search mode.  Although I love my current job and the fabulous people I work with,
12 hours shifts are just getting more and more difficult.  My heart has been seriously
hurting for my family lately as those days seem to stretch on for way too long.  It is time
to listen to my emotions and make a change, find something with more reasonable hours
that will better suit our family.  I am extremely nervous about starting over somewhere
new but also excited for the possibilities that lie ahead.  Being a nurse offers me so
much versatility as far as job options go, there are just so many different directions I can
take my career.  All I can hope for is a position I feel passionate about that offers me
better hours for my family.  I know that something amazing is out there, waiting for me,
and I just have to be patient.  That's always the hard part, isn't it?  Please keep us in
your prayers as we work through this transitional time!

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Brees Elizabeth is 7 months old!

It was a very busy month for our sweet little lamb as she quickly discovered how to
MOVE!  She reached so many milestones this month and I am so excited to share them
with you!  I feel like I just wrote her 6 month post, I can't believe another month has
so quickly passed by.  It was a fun one, though, and we just keep falling more deeply in
love with our little darling every day.
Here are her stats:
Feeding:  We added solid foods to Brees's diet this month!  You can read more in
depth about our adventures with eating here.  She is still breast feeding every 3-4 1/2
hours but now also eats three meals of solid foods a day.  It was a slow start but she is
now thoroughly enjoying a wide variety of fruits and veggies.  At this point, on top of
breast feeding, she typically eats oatmeal for breakfast, fruit and rice cereal for lunch,
and veggies with brown rice for dinner.  Bananas and sweet potatoes seem to be her
favorites so far.  I am making some of my own baby food and also using Gerber and
Earth's Best Organic.  So far, no problems with food allergies!
Sleeping:  Sleep?  What sleep?  There was NO sleep this month!  Not for Mama and
Daddy, anyway.  I read somewhere that the 7 month mark can bring
about a "wakeful" phase.  HA!  I also credit teething with our very eventful nights, poor
baby.  Basically, Brees wakes up at 6:30 am, takes 3 two hour naps a day and
sleeps peacefully.  Around 6 pm, she has a bath and I rock her to sleep, singing a Bob
Marley tune or two as she sucks her thumb.  I get her up again around 10, right before I
go to bed, and nurse her one more time.  Then, all hell breaks lose!  She becomes a
different child, crying and whining, inconsolable.  So, I basically just started putting her in
bed with us, nursing her back to sleep, holding her close.  Which of course makes her
perfectly happy.  But in her own bed, forget about it!  I have received countless pieces
of advice on this topic and have seriously tried everything except letting her cry it out.  I
just can't do that, it kills my heart.  I would rather mess up our sleep routine for a little
while than listen to my baby cry, I am a weakling.  And so that is what we have been
doing, nursing every three hours throughout the night and co-sleeping most nights.  The
last week has been a little better, she has been waking every 4 hours or so but has
drifted back to sleep right after I nurse her and not crying when I put her in her bed (which
is right next to ours).  So, we shall see what this month brings.  For now, Shawn and I
are surviving on black tea and delirium!
Health: A+ in this department!  Breast milk is gold!!  Having a mother who works in
one of the sickest areas of the hospital and therefore has the immune system of a
lab rat doesn't hurt either!  
Milestones:  Brees accomplished so much this month!  She now sits up with no support,
so strong and big.  She also crawls on all fours and will travel as far as it takes to get a toy
or object she really wants.  And she moves FAST!  We can not leave her out of our sight
for even a minute!  She can get into a sitting position from her stomach and rake with
her fingers to pick up small objects.  She indiscriminately says "dada", "mama", and
"baba", which is ridiculously cute.  She is constantly babbling and cooing and giggling,
which means she fits right in with this family of chatterboxes!  She pulls herself up on
her knees and holds onto the furniture, standing is not far behind I am sure!
Personality:  With the exception of her night time fussiness, Brees is the easiest and
most mellow baby.  Her cues are easy to read and very clear which makes soothing
her fussiness very simple.  She loves bath time and being in the water.   She has become
quite attached to her pink lamb blankie and holds her close while sucking her thumb, it's
quite a precious sight.  She enjoys her Exersaucer and Johnny Jump Up and chewing
on Sophie the Giraffe.  Best of all, she loves watching her big sister's every move, following
her around like a little duckling.  Their relationship is one of the most beautiful things I
have ever witnessed.  They are truly so enamored with each other and I am so excited
to watch their friendship grow.
This month we:
  • Took our first bath in the kitchen sink, like every good country girl should
  • Attended big sister's dance recital and never took our eyes off the big stage and bright lights
  • Played with lots of cousins and friends while the adults enjoyed the lazy days of summer
  • Enjoyed sitting in our big girl high chair with the rest of the family at meal times
  • Developed a serious interest and love for music, brightening up every time Daddy brought out the guitar
It has been another wonderful month, Brees Elizabeth, 
where you have shown us just how much love our hearts 
can hold.  You are such a blessing to our little tribe and we 
are so proud of you!

Friday, June 24, 2011


Sweet Friday

After a long, restful weekend, this past week has flown by.  We escaped from the world and
all the stress of work and responsibilities and spent several days with family, unplugging
from all distractions and just allowing ourselves to relax and be free.  We were surrounded
by cousins, aunts, uncles, and some of the most delicious food imaginable.  We stayed up
way past our bed times and laughed as kids just piled into the bath tub, bubbles over
flowing onto the crowded bathroom floor.  We had a slumber party with our favorite
cousins and stayed in our pajamas for as long as we pleased.
It was soul nourishing to say the least...
This weekend also marked Shawn's first Father's Day as a papa of two.  It was a simple
day filled with love: a picnic lunch of burgers and iced tea, homemade cards and little
girls begging for just one more piggy back ride.  These little girls have really stolen his
heart, making every day so much more meaningful and real.
If I left it up to Isabelle, she would tell you that the best part of our long weekend
was on Monday, the day we surprised her with a trip to a water/amusement park.  We
have driven past this park a hundred times during various road trips and have
always promised that one day we would visit.  We finally came through this week,
leaving Brees with my cousin and packing up our beach bag.  Isabelle had no idea where
we were going until we reached the front gates and yelled "SURPRISE!!!".  My ears are
still ringing from her shrieking at the highest decibel possible.  
We spent the entire day slipping and sliding down every water ride and raft in the
park.  Shawn and I are still marveling at how brave our 7 year old is: she fearlessly
rode every ride with us, never blinking an eye!  After we were done with the water
activities, we moved on to the roller coasters, ferris wheels, and bumper cars.  The three
of us played like wild kids all day, running from one end of the park to the next.  My
stomach is still sore from all the laughing...
It was the very first time we have ever left Brees and spent time alone with Isabelle.  Just
as it is important for Shawn and I to have alone time, I realized that day how important
it is to spend quality time with each of our daughters as well.  She enjoyed herself so
much, hugging us and soaking in all the attention.  As much as I missed my little lamb,
I thoroughly enjoyed bonding with my oldest.  It was a truly magical day.
We arrived home late Monday night tired, sun burnt, and ridiculously happy.  Thank you
to all of you for your lovely words of support and encouragement, I feel so blessed to
have connected with so many amazing women.  And thank you especially to Kristy,
Hilary, Mandy, Kristance, and Charlie for keeping this little blog moving to their own
groovy beat in my absence, your posts were all so beautiful and inspiring.  I hope you all
had an amazing week and look forward to catching up soon!