Sunday, October 30, 2011

Steppin' Out Saturday: Halloween Edition

Saturday night we stepped out for a costume party at my cousin's house.  We had an
absolute blast dressing up, bobbing for apples, making gooey slime, and eating lots and lots
of treats!  I had full intentions of dressing us all up in coordinating costumes inspired by
the movie "Shrek" but, we ended up all going in our own directions.  What can I say?  We
are a family of creative individuals!  Here's what we wore:
Brees:  For her first Halloween, Brees was a busy bee, pretty appropriate considering
her personality!  This costume was also worn by Isabelle for her first Halloween and it
was such a sentimental moment to see her in it!  I purchased this costume at a specialty
shop and love all of the hand made details, especially the bonnet with antennas!
Brees's general dislike for clothing made dressing her up in costume rather difficult as you
will see in the photo below and she spent most of the night trying to undress
herself, per usual.
Belle:  Isabelle deemed herself "The Great Pumpkin Witch", taking a dress and headband
I found for her and adding her own special touches and accessories.  Her wig was from one
of my old Mardi Gras costumes and the purple poodle was her "magical watchdog".
Isabelle LOVES Halloween and all things dressing up!
Shawn:  My husband, who avoids attention like the plague and will barely let you take
his picture, chose his own costume this year: DJ Lance Rock.  He said, "I think I'll be this
dude because Brees really likes this show and she'll dig it".  I really, really love him for
this.  He made me laugh every time I glanced over at him for obvious reasons.
Liv:  I was, according to Isabelle, "The Great Cobweb Witch" (I love how she adds
"The Great" to everything:).  I bought a witch costume and then Isabelle accessorized me
as she saw fit, per usual.  I actually really loved my sunglasses and hope to wear
them regularly.
We had so much fun and the night was definitely a huge success.  I will treasure these
photos of our uncoordinated family forever and ever... 

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Sweet Friday

In a few hours, Shawn and I are leaving for our first overnight trip since Brees was born.
We are headed to New Orleans for our annual trip to the Voodoo Music Experience,
an amazing festival held in City Park featuring bands of every genre imaginable.  This
year, we will be rocking out to the iconic band Soundgarden, a favorite of ours since we
were 14 years old.  We plan to eat at a few of our favorite restaurants, meet up with
old friends, and enjoy the freedom of just being together.
The excitement doesn't still the anxiety I am feeling over leaving our girls.  My heart
starts racing every time I think about going to bed and not being able to kiss them
goodnight.  It's only one night, I tell myself.  You deserve this, your marriage deserves
this.  But a mother's heart is the master of guilt.  Somewhere along the line, I developed
this sense of reasoning that taking time for myself was selfish, that doing anything that
didn't involve my kids was gluttonous and wrong.  I don't know why, it just
naturally happened.  Have you ever felt that way?
But I'm pushing all of that aside right now, I vow not to ruin this amazing opportunity
by being anxious and upset.  Shawn and I are about to load up our car and hit the
open highway, New Orleans bound.  We have a playlist with all of our favorite songs ready
to go, bags packed, babies well taken care of.  And tonight, when we are swaying under
the stars to the sounds of "Burden In My Hand", Shawn's arms wrapped around me, I
will take a deep breathe and know that my children are loved and cherished.  We will
return home tomorrow refreshed and revived and they will have better parents for it.
Here's to kicking guilt and worry to the curb.  We've earned it.

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Thursday, October 27, 2011


Brees Elizabeth is 11 months old!!

In less than a month, Brees will be a year old and I am left sitting here wondering
how this year has flown by so fast!  
Here are her stats:
Feeding:  Brees began eating more table food and less baby food this month.  We have
been giving her servings of whatever we are eating as she shows interest and she has
been gobbling up everything in sight!  Her favorite foods this month have been:
spaghetti, grits, sweet potatoes, green beans, and cornbread dressing.  She is breastfeeding
5-6 times a day with her last feeding at 8pm.  She is no longer waking up at night to
nurse!  See how Brees baby led her own nightime weaning here.
Sleeping:  We ALL slept this month, FINALLY!!!!  After many, many restless nights
over the last few months, we finally decided it was time to move Brees to her own crib in
her nursery.  It was a very hard move for us as we had become very attached to
sleeping with our little one and loved being close to each other.  But as Brees became
more active and mobile, she began trying to climb out of bed, waking up every hour to
nurse, and crying off and on throughout the night.  It became very clear that she needed
her own space and so we made the transition from family bed to Brees in her crib.  After
only 3 nights of adjusting and a few tears (from both baby and parents), Brees is now going
to bed at 8 pm and sleeping through the night until around 7 or 8 in the morning.  Getting
a full night's sleep is something I will never, ever underestimate again!
Health:  Brees currently has 8 teeth and her incisors are making their way out as we
speak, creating two red, swollen bumps on her upper gums.  Teething is the pits, no
matter how you try to sugar coat it.  She has been a little more grumpy than usual and
chews on anything she can get her hands on.  Hopefully, these next 2 teeth will come
in quickly and she can have a break!   Brees now weighs 19 pounds and is still wearing
6-9 month clothing.  She is tiny and petite but has the personality and energy
of a giant!
Milestones:  Brees is walking!!  Actually, running, climbing, jumping, whatever mode
of transportation will get the job done.  She started walking on her 10 month birthday
and hasn't stopped since.  She quickly learned that those two chubby legs of hers were
much more efficient than crawling on all fours and she has made good use of them.
We thought she was a busy bee before: we had no idea what was in store!  She loves to
follow me around the house, walking behind me and babbling the whole way.  She also
started dancing this month, moving to the beat anytime she heard a piece of music.  Is
there anything more hilarious than a big diaper butt shaking it?  Dada remains her
favorite word but she has been saying Mama quite a bit.
Personality:  Brees seriously makes us laugh everyday!  She has such an adventurous
spirit and loves to explore and play.  I am completely terrified of what will happen to
our Christmas tree with this little girl on the loose!  She is a cuddler and loves to be
held, rubbed, and rocked.  She hates riding in her stroller and much prefers the comfort of
the Ergo.  For about the first hour after I get home from work, she is glued to my hip
and cries if I try to put her down.  She has become very shy around people she is not
familiar with, especially men with facial hair.  She has just discovered "Yo Gabba Gabba"
and will sit still for about 5 minutes to stare and dance.  She loves to lay her head on my
chest, twirl my hair, and hum.  She really knows how to tug at my heart.
This month Brees:
  • Became very interested in our pets, sitting on the window sill and watching them run around the yard, giggling every time they lick her toes, petting them and pulling their hair.
  • Started playing in her crib when she woke up in the morning, no longer crying right away to be picked up.
  • Learned to stack blocks
  • Continued to take her shoes, socks, clothing, and diaper off every chance she got
Thank you for bringing so much 
love into our lives, sweet girl!  

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Tuesday, October 25, 2011


We all have places where we feel safe, people who make us feel comfortable with who we
are, days that we look forward to.  My place is with my family: my loud, obnoxiously
large Cajun family.  I look forward to our Sunday dinners all week, my belly
anxiously anticipating the home cooked food, watching all the babies crawl and wrestle
and roll over each other, sitting with my cousins and talking for hours.  I've lived my
whole life surrounded by family, children underfoot, conversations swirling so loudly
around the room you'd think we were all deaf.  There's always someone crying,
someone getting into trouble, a mama breastfeeding, a daddy yelling at the football game,
a grandma with four babies in her lap, not enough room in the oven, not enough room at
the table, doors slamming as cousins go in and out, old stories and new memories.  This
is where I feel at home: wherever this group is gathered.  This is when I feel most like
myself, where I feel safe and free to be me.  Though we are all very different in opinions
and preferences, we are bound together by the same Cajun blood line.  We are a family,
and I wouldn't have it any other way.

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Monday, October 24, 2011


I've debated for some time about becoming a part of this directory.  For some reason, I've
felt a bit insecure about joining this networking site, worried that I would
sound arrogant/lame/desperate when I asked you for support.  Therefore, I shall do
what any sensible, nervous mama would do: hide behind my ridiculously cute baby...
Hello, friends.  It's me, baby Brees.  If you like our blog, please click the box below and
then click the owl on the left.  My mama is a sucker for networking.  Thank you for all of
your sweet, thoughtful comments and the love and support you provide our family.
Blogging is pretty cool.  Now, if you'd be so inclined, vote for me pretty please!

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Beauty Week

The lovely Michelle from She Said is hosting a week long blog party: Beauty Week!  Each
day this week she will be have guest bloggers  sharing their fashion and
beauty tips.
Monday October 24th: Beauty Routine
Tuesday October 25th: Hair
Wednesday October 26th: Make Up
Thursday October 27th: Fashion
Friday October 28th: Accessories
Head on over to read about my daily skin care regime as well as tons of tips and
tricks from some pretty spectacular ladies!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Steppin' Out

This week has been busy, exhausting, and completely chaotic.  I was on call: my phone
ringing off the hook with patients needing me to see them in the late night hours,
panicked family members, worried questions and concerns.  Shawn was away for work,
calling home every night to check in, the stress heavy in his voice as he heard how tired
and worn down I was despite my best efforts to sound chipper and upbeat.  It was one
of those weeks that make you feel accomplished and proud but I am so, so happy to cross
it off my calendar.  And now, my favorite day of the week, Sunday.  Time to relax, enjoy
our family, our blessings.  Time to enjoy a big meal with our aunts and uncles and
cousins, discuss the results of our local elections, watch football and chase our kids
around.  Time to kick my red velvet heels up and enjoy the fruits of my labor.
Sunday, I love you and all that you do for my sanity.
Here's what we wore for a little Sunday steppin' out...

Momma Go Round


The Paper Mama's photo challenge this week: Face.
This little face, it makes me smile everyday...

The Paper Mama

Friday, October 21, 2011

Coffee Talk: The Answers Part 4

As this busy week winds down, I thought I would pour myself a cup of tea, enjoy the
view from our new, FINALLY completely finished back patio, and answer a question
from you, dear friends.  As Brees's one year birthday quickly approaches, I've been
thinking about this particular question a lot.
I can't believe how fast this year as flown...
What is you best family time memory? from MarieHarmony
Of all the many adventures and experiences we have embarked on this last year as a
family of four, there is one memory that stands out in my heart the most: Christmas
morning.  I come from a very large family and the holidays are always a busy time for
us.  There are so many parties and dinners and gatherings, people everywhere, laughter
and singing.  But for our first Christmas morning as a family of four, we decided to spend
the first few hours tucked away in our home, just us.  Shawn and I woke up early and
made cinnamon rolls and hot cocoa, putting all the finishing touches on Santa's
special delivery.  We scooped up our snuggly, sleeping Brees, only a month old, so small
and warm.  We walked upstairs and woke up Isabelle, her excitement filling the air the
way only a child on Christmas morning can.  We spent the next few hours opening
gifts, playing with new toys, eating breakfast, listening to Christmas music, lounging in
our pajamas.  I remember looking around at my little family: Isabelle overjoyed that she
had received the special doll she had been hoping for, Shawn taking photos and holding
his new baby girl, Brees sleeping peacefully through the entire thing.  I remember
feeling overwhelmingly happy, content, thankful.  This was one of those days where
you really, truly see and feel what life is all about, where you let every ounce of stress
and worry go and sink your heels into the present.  This was one of those days that
made me feel alive.
It was the best morning.
It's amazing to look back at these photos and see how much both of the girls have grown
since this special day.  This year, with Brees walking and talking and exploring every
thing that crosses her path, this year will be such a different experience.  I can't wait to
see what kind of memory we will make this Christmas morning...

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Adventures in Breastfeeding: Night Weaning

After a very challenging month of cosleeping that resulted in NO sleep for Brees, Shawn,
or myself, we decided to make the very big move of putting our precious baby in her own
bed.  As Brees became more active and mobile, it started to affect her sleep habits.  For
most of her ninth month, she woke up every 1-2 hours throughout the night,
crying inconsolably, playing and trying to crawl out of bed, and breastfeeding her little
heart out.  We were all, as a result, exhausted.
We tried everything: rocking, patting, one routine after another.  Reluctantly, we made
the decision to put Brees in her pretty little nursery that hasn't gotten much use until now.
I stressed myself into a full blown anxiety attack on night one of the big move: we have
spent every night of her life within an arm's reach, most of those nights sleeping side by
side, her arms wrapped around mine.  Was I really ready to let this precious phase go?  Did
I really want to move on just yet, knowing how quickly they grow, how fast the time flies
by?  But it was time, we all knew it.  And so we went through our normal night
routine: dinner, bath time, lullabies and prayers.  I kissed her a hundred times, gave her
an extra tight hug, and put her down in her bed.  She cried, oh did she cry!  But I patted
her and shushed her and let her know that I was right by her side.  And after about
five minutes, she drifted off to sleep.
The first night, she woke up twice and I went into her room to nurse her.  The second
night, she woke up only once.  By the third night, she slept from 8pm until 7:30 am, no
night feedings, no crying when I put her down.  She just slept.  In just 3 days, Brees
went from waking up every hour to sleeping almost 12 hours a night.  She night
weaned HERSELF, reassuring me that making the move from family bed to baby in her
own crib was definitely the right decision, it was time for that transition to take place.
We followed her cues, knowing that she was ready for her own space.  And I soon
realized that all of those night feedings were happening not because she was hungry
but because I was THERE.  She was using the comfort of nursing to soothe herself back
to sleep.  Now, she is soothing herself.
The first several nights were really hard emotionally: I missed her smell, the warmth of
her little body, the intimacy of the family bed.  My boobs missed her even more and
waking up the first couple of mornings was literally painful.  I actually considered pumping
on the second night when I woke up at 2am to throbbing, leaking boobs that were
left wondering what in the hell was going on here!  But after several days of our new
routine, more sleep than we had experienced in almost a year, and no baby wanting to
nurse herself back to sleep, my boobs have adjusted just fine.  We are still nursing 5 times
a day and my supply has not suffered at all.  It is the most amazing thing to witness:
the human body functioning as it was intended to.  With the demand of breast milk at
night decreased, the supply has decreased.  My body has responded to the new routine,
no longer filling up and causing pain when no need to nurse is there.  And my heart
has adjusted as well: enjoying the chance to read in bed again, to sleep with my head on
my husband's chest, to watch David Letterman with no worries of waking up a
sleeping babe.
So a new phase is here, a new leg of the journey began.  Brees is sleeping comfortably in
her own room, the same crib her sister dreamed in.  And we have reclaimed our room
for ourselves, enjoying the luxury of a full night's rest.  With a consistent bedtime routine
and a night cap dose of breast milk right before bed, Brees has successfully been
night weaned. And, as with most things baby related, it turned out to be much less
dramatic than my mama mind originally anticipated.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What I Honestly Wore Wednesday

Something really special happened this week: Shawn and I finally stopped making
excuses and joined a gym!  We are both very athletic, active people and have spent
the majority of our lives working up a sweat and feeling the burn.
That is until a little baby girl named Brees came along...
After I gave birth to Brees, my lactation consultant advised me to take it easy with
my exercise regimen.  She warned me about the risk of decreasing your milk supply
when delving back into your old work out habits.  "Think of this time as your time to just
be a woman, to be a mom.  Nurse your baby, get all the right calories, stay active but
don't overdo it.  This is one of the only times in life when you can do this and not feel
guilty about it".  And you know what?  She was right!  For the last year, I have been
eating enough calories to sustain a healthy milk supply, and sometimes a few extra.  I
have gone on long walks and a few bike rides here and there but I let Billy Blanks and
his Tae-Bo insanity collect a little dust in the corner.  This year has been all about
enjoying every single moment with my new baby and appreciating my body for what
it has accomplished.  I have loved every minute of it.
But now, as Brees's one year birthday quickly approaches, my freezer stockpiled with
enough breast milk to feed a tiny baby army, and my supply efficiently in sync with
my baby's needs, it's time to jump start these old bones and muscles!  It's time to hop back
on the elliptical, get some muscle tone back in my pitiful gluts, and feel the
endorphins pumping through my veins.  Shawn has been riding the train through easy
street right along with me so he is just as excited as I am to get things moving again.
We joined Anytime Fitness, a gym that is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week with
multiple locations across the country.  Basically, this gym leaves you with NO excuse
for skipping a workout because they are completely available, ready and waiting.  I'm
going to start out slow, allow my body the time and space it needs to get back on track.
I'm going to be patient with myself and my progress.  And I'm going to remember to
have fun, no matter what. 
And in the spirit of having fun, here's what I honestly wore this week:
Scrubs to work and oversized Adidas pants to the gym: living the life here, friends.
Here's to good health, happy living, and gigantic dogs who provide endless amounts of
love and entertainment...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Art Walking

This weekend, we attended the Fall Art Walk: an event that features local artists,
musicians, dance troupes, and theater groups.  The art council shuts down 10 city blocks
and fills them with beautiful, creative vibes of which we were so happy to take in.  We
met so many interesting people, most of them living in our small area of Louisiana and
some traveling hundreds of miles to be a part of this special event.  We met
sculptors, painters, poets, and muralists.  We cheered on belly dancers and ballerinas
and watched body painters transform a woman's skin into a living work of art.
This night was especially important because my brother and his wife were showing
several pieces from their most recent collection.  My mama and I were beaming with pride
as we watched them discuss their work with people walking by their display, showing off
their hard work and raw talent.  It was such a beautiful thing to witness them in
their element, taking their love for the arts to a new level.

My mom fell in love with a pendant decoupaged with antique stamps.  Isabelle enjoyed
a collection of bird houses constructed from old cabinet doors and lined with vintage
Life magazine covers.  And I fell head over heels for a 16 year old girl's paintings using
pages from anatomy and physiology text books.  I ended up buying my brother's piece,
"No Place Like Home", which he constructed using a piece of wood from our family's
barn.  There's a special spot in our kitchen anxiously awaiting its arrival. 

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Steppin' Out

This weekend we stepped out for our city's annual Fall Art Walk.  The weather was
picture perfect and we were able to walk through the downtown streets for hours,
meeting local artists and marveling over their unique perspectives.  I have so many photos
to share from this magical night, but for now, here's what we wore...
Isabelle picked out her outfit all by herself, running down the stairs and twirling around
as she showed off her ensemble.  "This is my art show look" she told me proudly.  Oh,
how this stylish, creative little butterfly amazes me every single day.  We have enrolled
her in an art program at school and I am so excited to see her talent and love for
the arts evolve.  
Brees, on the other hand, seems to have a serious problem with clothes and loves
getting down to her diaper.  She takes her shoes and socks off as soon as we put them on
her tiny feet, has learned how to unbutton and unsnap every article of clothing she owns,
and strips down as quickly as we get her dressed.  My mama always told me that no
two children are exactly alike and wow, was she right.  I love watching them grow into
their own personalities and knowing that, as different as they may be, they are still
connected and bound by their sisterhood.
So here's to a flower child earth mama, a fashionista butterfly, and a barefoot hippie baby:
our own little puzzle, fitting together to create a family portrait of love.

Momma Go Round