Monday, December 19, 2011

Ho, ho, ho!

This was Hannah's first time meeting Santa ~ no tears! She had a major freak out when Rudolph came around to say hello while waiting we were in line, so I did not have very high hopes for a good St. Nick encounter. Lucy told Santa that she wanted a baby doll "named Hannah" for Christmas and that was it. She's been very cryptic about her requests this year, saying only that she wants some toys. Hannah's new party trick is to respond, "Ho, ho!" in a deep voice when asked "What does Santa Claus say?". It's quite entertaining!

I've had a blast this Christmas season watching these two become excited about lights and Christmas carols and trees and baby Jesus. Hannah likes to walk around holding "Jeeshus" from the nativity scene and Lucy is finally starting to get that Christmas is a celebration of Jesus' birth. Christmas has also been a truly lovely time of year for me, but it is ever so much magical when seen through the eyes of a child.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

I guess that's why they call it the blues

We hit up the Highland Jazz and Blues Festival a couple of weekends ago, and it was suprisingly fabulous! The weather was warm, the food was good (we tried Geauxcicles for the first time - yum!), and the musicians were super talented. Plus it's set in Columbia Park, so there is a ton of playground equipment to keep the kiddos entertained. It was a very bohemian, spread your blanket on the lawn, bring your dog and your baby, and dance like a hippie kind of event... and I loved it.

We got there just in time to hear the Preservation Hall Jazz Band out of NOLA entertain the crowd - for free! They were really great and the girls loved dancing to those famous Crescent City jams. It's a super fun event for the city of Shreveport and we're already looking to going back again next year.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A thrill of hope

It is no surprise to anyone living in my household that I LOVE Christmas music. I have mixes on my iPod, listen to a holiday station on Pandora, and love traveling along with the cheesy holiday station on the local radio. The girls and I had a dance party in the living room to the Rat Pack holiday tunes the other night. I even burned a CD mix with my favorite songs on it as a Christmas gift for our family members many years ago.

And while I have many favorites, both secular (Zooey Deschanel's version of "Baby It's Cold Outside" from the Elf  soundtrack just knocks my socks off) and religious, there is only one song that causes me to sit in the driveway with the car running until it's over ~ "O Holy Night".  These lyrics and the musical notes that accompany them get me every single time:
A thrill of hope the weary world rejoices, For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
Fall on your knees! O hear the angels' voices!
O night divine, O night when Christ was born;
O night divine, O night, O night Divine.
I literally cry almost every single time I hear this song. It's stunningly beautiful. I've heard it so many times, sung by so many different artists, but something new stirred in me today while driving the girls home (listening to Mariah Carey's version no less): a thrill of hope. Because really, isn't that what the Christmas season is all about? Hope that God would send his son, the Saviour, so that we might be made new. Hope that broken relationships may be mended. Hope for a fresh start and a new beginning.

So during this advent season, I will pray for the thrill of hope to take seed in my heart as I prepare to hear the good news.

8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” (Luke 2 NIV)

Wordless Wednesday: It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas edition

Mommy's little helper

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care

"Little Cindy Lou Who who was no more than two..."

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Baby love edition

Louisiana State Fair ~ 10.29.11

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Rebel

We took the girls to their first ever Red River Revel a few weekends ago, which Lucy now affectionately refers to as "The Rebel."  The day was a big hit -- beautiful weather, great food (hello again, muffaletta pizza!), and lots of really entertaining kid-friendly activities.

Making a sand art bottle person thing

Face painting tent
Blue sno cone with purple and gold pumpkin (to match our ensemble, of course)

Baby "Mac" rocking her mullet 

Trying to con Daddy out of his funnel cake
"But I want to go back to the grocery store tent!!!"
In addition to browsing all of the artist stalls, we also got to take in some performances (belly dancers, jugglers, and Bossier students singing "Little Mermaid" songs). Thanks, Rebel! We look forward to seeing you and your bad self again next year.  :)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Monkey see, monkey do

Pretty much sums up the theme around our new house these days!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Au revoir, Red Stick!

Louisiana State Capitol during Fest For All ~ May 2009
Or... so long, Baton Rouge! You've been pretty good to the Powers family -- provided us with amazing eats, educational experiences, a church family, steady jobs, a nice home, and lasting personal and professional relationships, just to name a few. And after over 10 years in your fair city, it's finally time for us to say goodbye to 1429 King Dean Drive.

In this room alone, Handy Andy scraped popcorn and painted the ceiling, painted out the fireplace, sanded and painted the built-in cabinets, painted the walls, installed new flooring, and replaced the ceiling fan and curtain hardware. Whew!
 Our moving day was nothing close to being picturesque; in fact, I'd probably list it as being one of the Top 5 worst days of my life. It was so charged with unbelievable stress and high emotions with very little time for reflection -- I had to finish up some projects at work while Andrew was left to complete all the packing and cleaning alone before our 3 pm closing.  Everything that could possibly go wrong that day did. Seriously. But we did get to take about 30 seconds (literally) right before we closed the door one last time to hug and thank God for all of the lovely memories we created there.

It was the first house we bought together, and it was in this home that we adopted our sweet Evie and eventually brought two perfect little girls home from the hospital. It was where we become a family. Andrew's devotion to us can be seen in every room since he almost single-handedly remodeled the entire space over the course of 4+ years. We became close to two sets of neighbors on our street, one of whom immediately began to treat us like family. They invited us over to watch football games, took care of our house and dog when we went out of town, cooked us food and provided support when the babies were born... The list could go on and on and on. After the girls came along, we realized just how difficult it is to work full-time and be so far away from family. I feel like the Favaloros were sent from heaven to take us under their wings. We were truly blessed to get to know them and watch their kids grow over the years.

Bailey Favaloro with Lucy ~ October 2008

So before moving on, I thought I'd compile this little list as a tribute to the Old War Skule town.

We will miss: our friends and neighbors, LSU football games and tailgate parties, fresh seafood and beer at the Chimes, day trips to NOLA, the zoo, Whole Foods, my co-workers, omelets and biscuits Louie's, our amazing daycare center, live music, crawfish at Sammy's, beignets and cafe au lait at Coffee Call, oak trees on campus, St. Patty's Day parade at the Craigs. Did I mention the FOOD?

We will not miss: your traffic (hiss, boo!!!) and crazy drivers, politicians and backwards politics, lack of interest in improving the public education system, humidity, interstate system, daycare/private school tuition. Did I mention the TRAFFIC?

I never thought I'd miss: daily afternoon thunderstorms (it's so hot in Shreveport it makes you wanna slap your momma), turning left on red lights, men who actually wear sleeves on their shirts, coonass/Cajun accents, kiddie swimming pool at the Y, my job, the feel of living in a "college town". Did I mention the RAIN?

Now that we have the computer up and running, I'll start filling you in on more of our summer activities and our move back to the Port City.  We'll miss you BR!!!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

A year in the life of Daddy

Our lives have changed a lot since last Father's Day with the addition of another little person to our family. And Andrew has taken it all in stride, quickly adjusting and thriving in our Kingdom of Pink. I've said before that I had no idea what a remarkable father Andrew would be when we got married -- I knew that he was kind and funny and passionate -- but the enthusiasm with which he has embraced this amazing responsibility has surpassed my wildest imagination.

He's made simply being there for his girls one of the highest priorities in his life and I know how lucky we are to be the recipients of that kind of devotion. So three cheers this Father's Day for the man who:

opened up his heart to love another baby girl unconditionally,

provided a shoulder to lean on,

kept himself grounded so those around him could soar,

encouraged his family's spiritual development,

played hopscotch in the driveway,

became close personal friends with Dora and Elmo and George,

fostered sweet dreams and cozy mornings,

attended impromptu tea parties,

gave chauffeured zoo tours,

taught a little fisherman how to cast a reel,

eased fears,

calmed tears,

cheered on brave attempts at carnival rides,

and turned an ordinary afternoon into a WWF audition.

That's quite the year you've had, Daddy! Your girls look up to you and absolutely adore you ~ it's easy to see why.  I'm incredibly blessed to be walking this journey as parents with you and I can't wait to see how fatherhood continues to mold you in the years to come.

Friday, June 17, 2011

The sun comes shinin' through

When you're smilin'....keep on smilin'
The whole world smiles with you
And when you're laughin'....keep on laughin'
The sun comes shinin' through
                 ~Louis Armstrong

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Cindy Lou Who

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Memorial Day mishap

Having the day off of work and all, we decided to cook up a little family adventure after nap time on Memorial Day. We packed up the towels, snacks, sunscreen, etc., put everyone's swimsuits on, and took the 25 minute drive out to Gonzales to play in the Jambalaya Park splash pad thingy.  It looked so neat and refreshing online, so imagine our delight when we got all the way there and saw the big sign that read "Closed on Monday". What the what, G-town? Fail.

So... we let the girls play in a regular old park for a bit but surrendered once the heat became too relentless and went on back home. We dug out Lucy's old splash mat (a 1st birthday present) and let the girls play in the backyard as the sun went down. I think they had a better time than they would have at the fancy water park and their parents were happy to be within reaching distance of a nice cold Abita satsuma beer. :)  Summertime and the livin' is easy... if you let it be.


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Saturday morning cartoons edition

You outta be in pictures

So as many of you may know, now that we've finally gotten most of the renovations complete on our 1970s abode... we're gearing up to sell up. I've taken a ton of pictures in the last week getting ready to post our listing on, and as I starting scrolling them them I kept finding errant heads and smiles popping up in the frames. Some are goofy, some are cute, and some are completely nonchalant. But they all remind me of the people who live in this house, particularly the little ones who helped us make this house a home.

Here are some of the "outtakes":

Hannah's room


Lucy's "Baby Girl Pink" room

Living room

Because we've been in a constant state of renovation the entire time we've lived in this house, I don't know if I ever really and truly felt at home in it (like I didn't need to be painting something, etc.). And now that we're getting ready to leave it, I've never felt more at home here. Of course. I guess it doesn't hurt that the house has never been cleaner!

If you know anyone looking for a house in Baton Rouge, please send them our way! And please keep us in your prayers for a speedy sale -- we have open houses this Sunday and next Sunday. And Lucy's birthday party this Saturday, and a baby shower and Father's Day next weekend, and my church small group here in a few weeks, and a beach trip the weekend after that, and Hannah's 1st birthday party the weekend after that... Calgon take me away!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: "The Sunshine of My Life" edition

You are the sunshine of my life
That's why I'll always be around,
You are the apple of my eye,
Forever you'll stay in my heart...
           ~ Stevie Wonder, 1973