Faux New Yorkers

Thursday, November 20, 2014

We love New York. Really love it. I wish we could live there, but things like preschool and toddler soccer are forever wait-listed and just too dang expensive for us to even seriously consider living there. So, we go when we have a good excuse and let ourselves pretend like we live there for those few precious days. 

Last weekend, Gui's mom and sister were visiting his aunt and uncle who live in the city, so we decided to meet up with them for a few days of their stay. We hadn't seen them in person since January, which feels like a lifetime ago. They Skype with Avienne nearly every weekend, so it wasn't a huge surprise when she saw them in New York and went a little crazy-happy with the hugs and smiles. It's the first time she's really been old enough to get excited about traveling and seeing relatives. 

It was really cold for the first 2 days and rained cats and dogs on our last day, but the weather is part of what I love about New York, and for me, cold and rain just mean more time spent at our favorite restaurants and coffee shops. We stayed in a different area than usual and discovered some new great restaurants and neighborhoods. As creatures of habit, it's hard to get us to move out of our comfort zone, but we managed and succeeded in falling in love even more with our favorite Stateside city.

Mini pain au chocolat for our mini

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

When I left off from posting, back in February, we had just returned from a trip to Paris. As I was going through my camera's SD card earlier today, I stumbled upon this sweet video from a very tiny Avienne in Paris. She is 5 months older now and talks much more, no longer relies on sign language to get her point across, and has about 5 more inches of hair. Time is breezing by.

Still breathing

Monday, July 21, 2014

I've had the urge to come back here for a few weeks now. I miss archiving my thoughts, snippets of my day, moments in my life in this one little corner of the world.

My dad passed away on March 10th. Doctors seemed about as baffled as we were for his abrupt and severe decline in health over a few days, and we eventually settled on a diagnosis and cause that seemed the most logical.

Losing him turned my world upside-down. Perhaps, one day, I'll write down the details of the days just before and after losing him, but I'm not ready to relive my feelings during that time. I never ever believed that emotions could do so much physical damage to a person until mine overtook my life. I am on the path back to good health, though, and I see the strength of my emotions now and work around the clock not to let them spiral out of control. My family have been my saving grace and I surely could not have made it through the thick of it so easily without them.

But, life is good, if not very emotional, and I carry my dad's memory along with me everywhere and in everything I do. Avienne mentions him at every familiar phrase or sound, and she often asks to see his picture when she's upset. I like to think he consoles her somehow, even if just by his memory.

We have a lot going on right now - some really big plans coming up and some expansion on the horizon for my business. Avienne is still enjoying a few hours at preschool, and we're hoping to extend her time there soon. She has turned TWO and lights up our lives with her equal parts silly and sweet self. I'm so grateful for her.

There is much to write and I'm glad to be back here again to make sure I get it all out.

Everything all at once

Thursday, February 27, 2014

It has been a crazy year. There is so much happening in my life that my emotions are riding a continuous set of waves, striking me with constant pangs of sea-like sickness and nervousness. I've been neglecting all the extras, like this blog, my 52 project, time with friends, date nights, emails and social media in general to focus on both the good and bad going on. But, I need to gather my thoughts and get them out before my mind explodes, and I know I'll be glad for it later.

There are so many things for me to be happy about right now. I had the honor of being a part of my best friend's wedding this past weekend. It was a remarkable day and a beautiful ceremony that I'll forever treasure in my memory.

I've been working on starting my own business, too, and finally, tomorrow morning, I'll launch Petit Fauve, an online children's clothing boutique. It's been months and months in the making and I'll still be working out all the kinks and adding to it in the next few months, but I'm really excited to get things rolling. It's been consuming every bit of free time I have, but being busy always gives me a bit of fulfillment.

We took a quick trip to Paris in late-January that was simply way too short and way too busy. I so love that city and hope to be back there again in the summertime to enjoy it a little more. Despite the chaos of running around town from morning to midnight, we had so much fun and I still want to share the pictures from that trip. I will soon.

I have so much to be happy about and grateful for, but there is a lingering and constant sadness despite it all. My dad has been in the hospital for three weeks now. He's been sick since the beginning of the year, and his health has been rapidly declining since then. The most frustrating part of it all is that there is still no definitive diagnosis, and with every treatment, a new symptom or ailment crops up and we're back to square one.

Most recently, they've had to anesthetize him to the point of complete sedation in an effort to "reset" his brain and stop the persisting seizures that seemed to materialize out of nowhere. It's the scariest and saddest thing to witness someone you love deteriorate so quickly. Not knowing if he'll wake up, or if he'll be able to function normally if he wakes up has been the most nervewracking and emotionally-trying part of it all. I wish I could say he's "recovering", but he's really just "maintaining" now until we see how the sedation treatment affects him over the next few days.

Everything I do, I do it with him and his situation in the back of my mind. I can't shake it and I won't stop thinking about it until there are answers. My relationship with my dad is not perfect, but he is my dad and I love him and I know he loves me. Seeing him become so ill has made me feel grateful for the good times and hopeful for more.

I know that more emotional tidal waves are ahead, so I'm just doing my best to focus on the calm and prepare for the chaos.


Saturday, February 15, 2014

"A portrait of Avienne once a week, every week, in 2013"

Six :: Playing princess

Last week was insane, and remembering to bring my camera with me to photograph Avienne for her portrait of the week was pretty much an impossible goal. Luckily, just before the week ended, I snapped this picture iPhone of my gal helping with decorations for my best friend's bachelorette party. You can probably guess the theme from this picture, and Avienne was especially digging all the "royal" photobooth props. The craziness of last week has carried over into this current week, but missing so many photo ops throughout the week has made me realize how much I value this project. I so want to have something to remember the days with my baby as they pass faster and faster. It's not easy, but it's worth the extra effort to lug along my camera to capture all the little moments that get lost in a hectic week.


Wednesday, February 5, 2014

"A portrait of Avienne once a week, every week, in 2014"

Cinq :: Living the café life

We were in Paris last week (more on that later, I promise!) which flew by so, so quickly. There were lots of meetups with friends and family squeezed into each day, and Avienne adapted quickly to city life in a stroller and on the métro. She also had no problem adapting to all the pastries and desserts in pretty much every corner of the city. Sitting down for coffee or lunch was sometimes a challenge in cramped cafés and narrow restaurants, but we managed to figure it out and really enjoyed hoofing around Paris with this curious baby in tow. 

Linking up with Jodi's 52 Project.


"A portrait of Avienne once a week, every week, in 2014"

Quatre :: My little monkey

Avienne has hit the climbing stage, which has been stopping my mama heart on the regular. Her favorite things to climb are chairs, of course, which means we have to be extra careful not to leave anything sharp or breakable on counters and tables. She also enjoys using her toys (especially her cash register) as step-stools, and every time she stands up and unsteadily jumps on the edge of our bed, I'm pretty sure my heart skips a handful of beats. But, she's so much fun to be around right now, and even when she misses a step and takes a tumble, she gets up with a smile or laughs it off like it was all a game. 


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

"A portrait of Avienne once a week, every week, in 2014"

Trois :: Back in the swing of things

Ever since Avienne really started walking, she hasn't been much interested in swinging as she has been in sliding and climbing and running and jumping. A couple of weeks ago, though, Gui set her in the swing and she was happy as a clam to just sit there and be pushed for a good 20 minutes. The weather's been so nice that I've been taking her out to swing for a bit each day, and she just smiles so big, stares into the blue sky or points at a rustling branch in the tree. I love seeing her take it all in. And it's nice to have a moment to just hang outside together without chasing after my little daring explorer. 

Linking up with Jodi's 52 Project


Monday, January 13, 2014

"A portrait of Avienne once a week, every week, in 2014"

Deux :: Mama's little model

We have so many new, exciting and stressful projects brewing chez nous, including the recent opening of my little Etsy shop of hand-knit goods. I have a few new items to add to it, so this past week, we took advantage of the perfect weather and staged a little photoshoot. Avienne has a pretty good grasp of how the camera works (she better, since she has me for a mama!), and her favorite thing is to have her picture taken and then run up to the camera to see it displayed while she points and says "ça!" We have a little Sardinia that she also loves to play with, and for Christmas, we got her a wooden camera of her own, but she seems to prefer the real deal (of course). I know I couldn't ask for a sweeter girl to be both my model and my mini-assistant. 

Linking up with Jodi's 52 Project.


Monday, January 6, 2014

"A portrait once a week, every week, in 2014."

Un :: In the backyard with a handful of friends on the first day of a new year

It was so hard to choose between this picture and another (both taken by Gui) to start off a new year of Project 52. Eventually, I chose this one because it so curiously caught Avienne mid-expression, perhaps in the middle of a conversation with her papa. I also chose it because it shows her face so clearly (the other contending photo was a full-body shot from further away), and I think I'll appreciate looking back at this at the end of the year to see how much my girl will have changed in these next 12 months. It's pretty astounding how different this photo is from the one taken just one year ago (where did my chubby baby go?!).

Linking up with Jodi for Project 52.

52 Project 2013 recap

Sunday, January 5, 2014

"A portrait of Avienne once a week, every week, in 2013"

Project 52 was such a fun and motivating goal to have for the year. Initially, I hoped to have 52 pictures to look back on at the end of the year that kind of told a story of a week in the life of Avienne. I had also hoped that having a bit of pressure to deliver a photograph each week might encourage me to pull out my real camera more often and be a little more present on this blog. There were definitely weeks that went by when I didn't give myself the time to sit down and reflect on the week's picture, instead, making myself play catch-up a week later. But, somehow, I managed to have a picture of my girl every single week. (My iPhone certainly came in handy on those "off" weeks.)

I'll be keeping up once again with the 52 Project for 2014. I thought about getting in front of the camera with Avienne, or forcing a family photo each week (it's not as easy at it sounds, really!), but I'm just going to stick with capturing a weekly moment of Avienne. I can honestly look back at every single one of the pictures above and tell you exactly where we were and what we were doing and feeling, and I sure do treasure having those visual reminders. This year, I really do hope to enhance my camera skills, and I am going to make every effort to use my real camera every week. Fingers crossed...
TEXAS SARAH. All rights reserved. © Maira Gall.