Friday, January 29, 2010

Paired Off

As Zoe settles in at the LaPierre house, I have come to realize two things:

1. We basically have two kids and two furry kids.

2. Brady = Zoe... and Kennedy = Roscoe

Let me explain. Zoe is hyper, into everything, always on my heels following me from room to room, yelps when she's excited.. you get the picture. Sound familiar? Yes, that is the exact description of my son. Brady follows me from room to room; he's into EVERYTHING; he wants to be sitting in my lap, touching me, etc.

And then we have Roscoe, who would like to just hang out, look around, watch the crowd, and is content hanging by himself. He moves slowly, doesn't pay attention to most things around him, but is extremely loyal. Yes, that's Kennedy. She moves at her own pace (MUCH slower than most), sits and plays by herself and sings to herself. They're a perfect match.

But since Zoe is the newest addition to our family, everyone seems to be obsessed with her.... everyone wants to play with and chase the active little pup. But I haven't forgotten about my sweet senior citizen Roscoe. He gets plenty of love and treats from me.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Death of a Child

What is it about the death of a child that grips you to the core? Knowing that someone so small and innocent could fight so hard to live... and that no matter how hard she fights, the cancer will eventually take her life.

This was the case with a little girl I have never met, but when I learned about her from Susie last week - I cried at the news that she was being sent home to be made comfortable because there was nothing else the doctors could do. Adrianna was just two years old when she was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma last March. She went on to be with the Lord early this morning.

Seeing the innocence in this face hurts my heart in a way I cannot even explain. I do not know her or her parents, but I ache at the thoughts and feelings her mother must be feeling. As parents, we hope and pray that our children feel loved and protected. We do everything in our power to make sure they don't scrape their knees or fall off their bikes. We pray for healthy and happy babies.

But sometimes, life doesn't go our way. I don't know why this happened to Adrianna and her family. I don't know why any child has to endure this type of suffering. But I do know that I will squeeze my children tonight and thank God for every minute I have with them because I do not know what tomorrow will bring.

On a family blog for Adrianna, I found this prayer several times. I found it comforting:

May today there be peace within.
May you trust that you are exactly where you are meant to be.
May you not forget the infinite possibilities that are born of faith in yourself and others.
May you use the gifts that you have received, and pass on the love that has been given to you.
May you be content with yourself just the way you are.
Let this knowledge settle into your bones, and allow your soul the freedom to sing, dance, praise and love.
Is it there for each and every one of us.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Our Beloved New Orleans

Whether or not you are a fan of football... whether or not you know who Drew Brees is... whether or not you spend your Sunday afternoons screaming at the TV with the remote in one hand and an ice cold beer in another - you simply must be touched by the spirit of Louisianans as we have rivaled around our beloved Saints. Much like LSU fans during a championship season, this state has shown unbelievable pride in our team who successfully scored a seat in the Super Bowl 2010 for the first time in franchise history.

After the devastating hurricanes a few years ago, so many things have suffered here. I moved home to Louisiana, a state I love for so many reasons, about a year after those hurricanes and STILL today - the clean up and rebuild continue. Budget concerns and a multi-billion dollar deficit are hurting education and healthcare in Louisiana. People are leaving this state and never returning. But as the New Orleans Saints season kicked off with back-to-back-to-back-to-back wins - there was an overwhelming sense pride building. People started wearing black and gold. I must admit - I bought my first Saints shirt this season. People would nod and smile at me... and I knew it was because of my shirt! Some people would say, "Who Dat!"

For those of you who don't know about the chant "Who Dat" - it started in the jazz and big band days in "Nawlins"... when they started chanting "Who dat say dey gonna beat dem Saints? Who dat? Who dat?" Don't you love it?

So whether or not you love the Saints or are just enjoying the spirit of the state of Louisiana (like me), it feels good to be proud of our state. Laissez les bon temps roulez!

Another Funny (and sweet) Phrase

From Kennedy this weekend:

"Mommy, Daddy said there is always a twinkle in my eye. Do you think so, too?"

Awwwww.... of course I do!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Funny Phrases

Sometimes Kennedy says the funniest things and I just want to bottle up these moments and keep them forever.

This week, during American Idol - she turned to me and in all seriousness said.. "Music and coloring are my life, Mommy."

Love it.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Running is fairly new to me. I started (and quit... and started and quit) when we were living in Plano, but only in the last three years have I run somewhat consistently. (Thanks to amazing coaching and the best running buddy). Obviously there was a break during pregnancy and immediately after I had Brady. My body wasn't ready to begin again until he was about 3 to 4 months old. After my half marathons, I've also taken short breaks... but I've always come back to it.

Here is the process for me: The first mile, I hate it. Then I get into a groove and I love it. The last mile = misery. No matter the distance, I struggle mentally to get through that last mile.

In the last year, Kennedy has started noticing when I put on my running clothes and she asks if I'm going for a run. I tell her yes, and explain that I like running. She has occasionally asked to go, but when I explain that I'll be running for a while - she decides that playing Barbies is much more fun. This weekend, however, she begged to go with me when I was heading out for a long run with Susie. Kennedy wouldn't stop asking to go with me, so I decided that it might be time to give her a chance. (NOT on the 6 mile run Susie and I did Sunday, but I planned to start her with a short run with A LOT of walk breaks).

Yesterday was a holiday, so we had the afternoon daylight to enjoy. I bought her a pair of shorts and a shirt she would be comfortable running in. She had sneakers cotton socks ready to go. When I asked her if she'd like to join me on a run, she smiled SO big... but before accepting, she asked what to wear. (Is it possible that a 5 year old could be so fashion conscious?) I gave her the new running clothes, laced up her sneakers, wrapped her hair in a ponytail, grabbed the leash for Zoe and off we went.

I gave her a few pointers:
1. Run slow so you don't get tired after only a few minutes.
2. This isn't a race, just enjoy it.
3. When you need to take a break, tell mommy and we'll walk and rest.

She immediately ignored pointer number 1. She thought we were racing to the end of the street. Of course she beat me because I was following the pointers!! I know for a fact that she didn't enjoy it after the first 1/4 mile. We took frequent breaks and talked. I explained to her that when mommy goes for a run, I keep going for an hour, which was 60 minutes. Time isn't a concept she gets yet, so I said it was the length of two Sponge Bob shows.

Kennedy: "Mommy, that's a long time!"
Mommy: "Yes, but that's what I like to do!"
Kennedy: (silence).... "Can we go home?"

Walk breaks included, she hung on for an entire mile. Awesome first run!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Never a Dull Moment

We have a new friend to show off. Her name is Zoe. She's a 5-year-old Schipperke dog that belongs to our friend Eric. He gave Amber this dog just a few months after they were married, so of course I have a soft spot for an sweet pet that was my friend's. She loved this dog.

So in an effort to move on with his life and continue to heal after Amber's death, Eric is making some changes at home. When Amber was alive, she was at home with Zoe all day so she had lots of love and attention. Eric travels some for work, which makes it hard on Zoe.

Here is where the LaPierre family comes in. After seeing Zoe a few times at Eric's house and wondering how the sweet pup was managing alone, Chris and I talked about offering to take her in. I knew this would JUST be a discussion with Chris because he likes to mull things over. Me? Not so much. I act immediately, which is definitely a negative quality of mine.

Note: I am a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kind of girl. In my freshman year at LSU, I ended up buying a pet bunny rabbit (because it was SO adorable) and hiding it in my door room. After it bit me a few times and chewed on some of my clothes, I gave it away. I also got Chris a kitten two years ago right before I found out I was pregnant. See? Me = Emotional Decision Maker.

So one night last week at the dinner table, in anticipation of extremely cold overnight temperatures, Chris told me he worried about Zoe being outside and too cold. So in a moment of sheer compassion, Chris said out of the blue, "Why don't we call Eric tonight and see if Zoe would like to come here." People - THIS is why I married that man. He has the biggest heart, full of love - even for the smallest animals. I think in that very moment, I fell in love with him all over again.

Fast forward to last night and we managed to work out a trial run, which is VERY important for our household because we still have Roscoe (my angel doggie who will always be my #1 pooch) and the kids tend to be skiddish around small/active dogs. And when I say "skiddish" - I really mean completely freak out. So we agreed that we would test the waters first before making a final decision.

After a few timid minutes of introductions, we plucked the kids from our bodies and put them on the floor to see how they interact. As it turns out, Zoe is only hyper because she wants attention. The minute the kids started petting her, she was completely calm. Roscoe lost interest after he got a good sniff of her butt. Later that night, she snuggled on the couch next to me with her head in my lap.

I think we might have a 6th member to the LaPierre Family!

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Kennedy does not like to try new food. She has always had consistency issues with certain foods. (I don't blame her. I gag at the smell of oatmeal... flashbacks to my childhood days when my mom made me eat it. YUCK!) But from time-to-time, I make her try things. Last summer, she saw me cutting up an apple and looked at it with curiosity. I asked if she'd like to try it (uh, WHO doesn't like apples!?!), and she politely declined. I was in one of those moods and I made her try it. Guess what? Yup, she LOVED it.

So last night when we went with Nina and Papa to dinner at Cypress Inn (legendary seafood, especially corn fritters and catfish!), I ordered kids catfish plates for both Kennedy and Brady. Of course, Brady will eat pretty much anything. Thank goodness!! One picky child is enough! Kennedy's eyes got huge when she heard me order for her. I reminded her that she had tasted catfish before, but it had been a while. When we are with Nina and Papa, she tends to argue less so I used this as an opportunity to order her something that I KNEW she'd like, but might whine about. This was a HUGE risk because she could have sat at the table the entire night sulking, poking at her food, and therefore my plan would have backfired.

GREAT news: She LOVED it!! She ate more catfish than Brady, which is rare. My little man can pack away some food. But the funniest thing happened about half way through her meal. She looked up from her plate, face frozen with horror and with her mouth full said to me, "Uh mommy... is this CAT or FISH?!??!"

Single moms

I have a deep appreciation for single moms out there. When Chris travels, I do the best I can to balance working my "paying" job while keeping my composure with the "non-paying" job of mother/cook/housekeeper/chauffeur, etc. The ONLY way I am able to survive is knowing that my amazing husband (who does SO much around the house) will be coming home in a few days. Otherwise, I'd go bananas!

This trip was over the weekend. YIKES! (Translation: Must Find Entertainment!) Luckily, Kennedy had her first ballet class Saturday morning so she was thrilled all morning. Nina and Papa came over for the afternoon and offered to watch the kids while I grocery shopped. (HUGE BONUS! Shopping in Walmart with two kids = suicide! "Mommy - I want candy!" "Mommy!" "Mommy, Brady won't stop drooling on me!")

Thank you Nina and Papa for saving my sanity!!!!

We had a nice family dinner and then this morning, church. Now, laundry, cleaning, naps, getting ready for school. I managed to make it through the weekend just fine. I might pass out from sheer exhaustion, but to all you single moms out there who do this on a regular basis - HATS OFF TO YOU!!

Friday, January 8, 2010


When Kennedy was 3 years old, we asked her if she was interested in starting dance classes. She wasn't sure what to think about it at first, but then enjoyed the weekly classes and the end-of-season recital where she was able to dance on stage in full costume and make-up. Just like her mama, Kennedy likes to get all fancied up.
The second year, at 4 years old, she looked less like Mama's Baby and more like a Big Girl. Maybe it was that her hair wasn't in ringlets at the recital. Maybe it's that her form looked like she'd been practicing a lot. Maybe it was her attitude.
After her second recital in May of last year, Kennedy wanted a break from dance. So we signed her up for swimming lessons in the summer and gymnastics in the fall. Just a few weeks ago when I asked if she wanted to continue gymnastics for the spring or go back to dance, she paused for a second, then smiled real big and said, "DANCE!"
So here we are again, this time with a different studio because it was too late to get into the spring recital at our previous studio. After we bought her leotard, skirt, and ballet shoes -she pranced around the house in the complete outfit for SIX hours.

No electricity!

When there's no electricity in your house, you tend to realize how much we rely on having power to do the basic things .... such as turning on lights, blow drying hair, keeping food cold and our bodies warm!

So at 7:15 last night when the power went out, I went into protective Mama Bear mode keeping my bear cubs warm, safe and entertained. After calming down the kiddos, we shuffled to the kitchen in the pitch black house to find the candles and flashlights. It's a good thing I had a little common sense when we bought the house and stocked a shelf with candles, votive holders, and four flashlights (two big and two small).

I handed each child a small flashlight, which immediately lifted their spirits. At that point, they were brave enough to unclench themselves from my legs so that I could get out the candles and light them in the living room.

After things settled down and I found out that we wouldn't be getting the power back on for a while, I decided to go ahead and put Brady to bed. Kennedy came with us in Brady's room because the sweet girl didn't want to sit in a candle-lit room by herself. I don't blame her - it's eerily quiet!

To lighten the mood after Brady went to bed, I decided to have a little fun with Kennedy. She was getting chilly and was starting to cry for her daddy.

No ghost stories or scary tales here... just funny faces with flashlights.

After a good laugh and lots of hugs, Kennedy was feeling better and slowly fell asleep in my lap. The power came back on two hours later. Today, I am (electricity) grateful for Ben Franklin and his lightening bolt.
ps. Chris was in Atlanta and kept tabs on us by text messages and phone calls. Poor daddy worried about his family, but we managed!!

Friday, January 1, 2010

At the end of the year....

At the end of the year, I like to spend time reflecting on the past 12 months. Was it a good year? Did I do everything I could? Are my children happy? Is my marriage going well? Did I accomplish anything?

When looking back at my posts from this year, I think it's safe to say that 2009 was an AWESOME year for the LaPierre family. Here's why, in my very own Top 10:

1. Mine and Susie's other "third" - Shelley - married the man of her dreams.

2. Chris and I both trained and ran in two half marathons this year. One of those was as part of Team in Training, where our team raised $30,000 for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in memory of Amber.

3. We went on an adults-only vacation (with best friends Susie and Ford) to Jamaica, the first vacation for just the two of us since we were married in 2001.

4. We were able to fly Memere and Pepere down to spend time with Kennedy and Brady while Chris and I were in Jamaica.

5. I donated blood for the first time and became a regular donor. Chris (not afraid of needles in the least) donated like it was no big deal.

6. We become friends with our neighbors by hosting a Memorial Day BBQ, which had all the kids playing in our yard, while the adults chowed down on burgers and dogs.

7. Our sweet son celebrated his first birthday, which showed his Boston Red Sox patriotism (more like his daddy's, but who's keeping track?)

8. Roscoe rejoined the family inside as an inside dog, since he's getting older and his health isn't the best. He's MUCH happier and Kennedy got over her dog-phobia... sort of.

9. Kennedy and I both started school. She went to kindergarten and I started grad school. At the rate I'm going, I might finish by the time she graduates high school. (Apparently I didn't post an update on grad school - I GOT AN "A"!)

10. I have come to appreciate family time more and have relinquished some of my community commitments in order to have more time at home. I will continue to support my community, but for the time being - I want to focus more on making sure my kids are happy and raised with good values and good manners.

So, see what I mean? Awesome year. Truly the best. I'm praying that 2010 is just as good, if not better.

Let the Games Begin in 2010

This year, we celebrated the new year with games, friends and drinks. We had some old friends.....
...and new friends. But no matter how long we've known these folks, we had a great time with everyone!!

By far, my favorite picture of the night. Rick Greene (Shelley's hunk 'o man) is quite tall, don't you think?
Happy New Year!!