My brother & sister-in-law's house after Katrina

My brother and sister-in-law's home in Lakeview--a photo of their sweet dog, JJ, lounging around as they packed up to evacuate prior to Katrina.

Their living room---wedding presents on the floor(again, prior to the hurricane). Mark and Katheryn got married the month before Katrina hit.

Outside their home in Lakeview on 10.1.05, over a month after Katrina hit.

My brother, Mark, and his friend surveying the damage.

Inside. There are no words, really. As you can see, the water flooded the entirety of the first floor.

Looking into the kitchen.

Mark pointed out the bottle of Crown on the hood. It settled there on its own, with the help of the floodwaters.

The water even managed to seep up to the second floor of their home.

Katheryn's car underneath a fence.

My younger brother, Mark, in his backyard. This photo crushed me. I felt helpless. I was precariously pregnant with the twins and my family basically refused to let me fly down to help. It was difficult watching them go through this and not being able to DO anything. Not that there was really anything I could have done.
I could talk about the waiting, the wondering, the wishing they could get back in to assess the damage, begin to clean up, and move on with their lives. I could talk about the anger, the tears, the depression and frustration. But it wouldn't really matter because I didn't experience it myself. The photos speak a thousand words, though.

On the Anniversary of Hurricane Katrina

My Uncle Steven's house in Lakeview. Obviously all that stuff is mold. The excessive heat & humidity combined with the fact that no one was allowed back in until a month later only allowed it to fester. Everyone still talks about "that smell," which permeated everything. Note the lines along the upper walls---the water line. Because New Orleans is a bowl and completely below sea level, the floodwater seeped in and then had nowhere to go. It sat and sat and sat. New Orleans drowned. Many others along the Gulf Coast lost everything completely (i.e. only foundations left), but I'm not sure this was any better or easier.

This was exactly how they walked in and found it. The water moved/stacked everything like this.

My uncle's kitchen. The fridge had lodged itself on top of the counter.

This one is the last photo of my uncle's house. More mold on the sofa, walls, etc. I feel as if the photos stand on their own and I don't need to add much of anything. My next post will be of my brother & sister-in-law's home, also in Lakeview. I am not good enough with Blogger to figure out how to get it to space out my pics within text.


Birthdays and old photos

Me, my brother Mark, Jennifer M., Elizabeth T., and Jessica M.
Mom lighting the candles on my cake.

That's me with the balloon...

Hurricane Katrina, that nasty bitch, stole so much from my family. Hubby and I are lucky because we had already moved away from New Orleans by that time, but my parents and my brothers suffered greatly (but that is another post I'm working on).

It's never been a secret that my mom prized old photos above most everything else, and each time she evacuated, she loaded up the trunk of her car with as many albums as she could cram in. When Hubs and I moved to Kansas City, she gifted me with several new albums which contained many of her old photos of my childhood. I am so very grateful to have these.

The photos above are from my seventh birthday, which almost seems like it was yesterday. I am posting these because I was just telling my daughters how amazing their GiGi (my mom) is. She baked all of our birthday cakes herself. She had this amazing cake book with photographs of cakes made to look like all sorts of cool things, including a school bus she made for my brother Mark's birthday one year (sadly I do not have this photograph to share). It had strips of Wrigley's Doublemint gum cut in half to make the windshield and windows, thin ropes of black licorice for the windshield wipers, Oreos for the wheels, and Red Hots for the taillights. I chose a watermelon cake for my seventh birthday, as you can see here. I invited three close friends to go swimming and sleep over. I got a Cabbage Patch Kid that year, which I promptly named "Holly."

Birthdays are exciting for me because my parents helped make them so much fun while we were growing up. I hope to do the same for my daughters. And maybe, just maybe, I can get more creative with the cake baking!!

obsessing just a wee bit...

over this Boden skirt. I love it in the brown & green (although the slate/black is more my usual speed), but worry I wouldn't know what would go with it. The model is wearing a darling fuchsia top with it, whereas I'd be more inclined to pair it with something brown or green! She also has a cute green scarf paired with it. I have brown boots I could wear with it....but I'm just so not good at matching/coordinating things. If you haven't already, check out http://www.bodenusa.com/. I love their clothes!



This just arrived at my house. Does Similac know something I don't?!?!?


You-have-to-try-this Banana Cake

Professional food photographer I am not, but you wanted pics...so here they are!

Cake ingredients:
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1 tsp. vanilla
16 oz. sour cream
3 cups flour
2 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder

Filling/topping ingredients:
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup chopped pecans
12 oz. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 9 x 13 pan with Pam.

Blend sugar, butter, and eggs in a large bowl. Add mashed bananas, sour cream, and vanilla. Mix well. Sift dry ingredients (I actually forgot to sift them and it turned out fine) together, add to batter, and blend.

Pour 1/2 the batter into the greased pan. In a small bowl mix together the topping ingredients and spread 1/2 of this over the batter. Cover with remaining batter and spread the remaining topping over the top. Bake for 45-60 minutes. Cool before cutting.


20 questions (or more)

My girls' favorite pastime of late is asking questions. They don't stop. Half the time they already know the answers. Or the answers are too long/complicated and I'm too tired to bother with them. At any rate, I decided to keep a running log of all the questions from one hour this afternoon. Bear in mind I have two daughters, so this list is a combination of both girls' questions. Please note that Izzy asked most of the first round of questions since she did not take a nap but her sister did. Also note that many questions begin with "Mommy," which is part of what drives me so batty. I shouldn't complain since there was a lengthy period of time when I wasn't sure I'd be able to become a mommy at all....nevertheless, here we go:

  1. Mommy, can I have my snack now? (not, not yet, not until Abby wakes up from her nap)

  2. Mommy, can I have my snack as soon as Abby wakes up?

  3. Mommy, can you put on some cartoons?

  4. Mommy, can I have some water? Can I bring it in the living room?

  5. Mommy, what are you doing?

  6. Mommy, where's Monster (our mini Poodle)?

  7. Mommy, can I have more water?
  8. Mommy, why does the water come out of the door on the fridge?

  9. Mommy, does Abby wear panties at nap time? (yes, and she already knows this. Izzy does not yet)

  10. Mommy, after Pinky Dinky Doo is over are more cartoons coming on?

  11. Mommy, when's Abby going to be awake?

  12. Mom, are you happy?

  13. Mom, are Abby & Izzy still 3 years old?

  14. Mommy, is your birthday still coming up soon?

  15. Mommy, what are bits? Are they little pieces?

  16. Tonight is somebody going to babysit for us?

  17. Mom, what are we going to have for dinner? (chicken)

  18. Mom, do you mean chicken nuggets? (NO!)

  19. Mommy, can I have a turn next? (we are baking banana cake together)

  20. Mommy, which way do we crack the eggs?

  21. Mommy, can I have another turn to mix it?

  22. Mommy, can I have a taste of it when it's done baking?

  23. Mom, when's it going to be done baking?

  24. Mom, is it 45 minutes yet?

  25. Mom, can you help me draw a big "I?"

  26. Mommy, do big girls write all their letters all by themselves?

  27. Mommy, are we big girls?

  28. Mom, are you so impressed?

  29. Mommy, do ted and red rhyme?

  30. Mommy, did I do a good job?

  31. Where are the peanut butter chips? (I'm cleaning up from our baking adventure)

  32. Mommy, will you play fairytale with me and you pretend to be the princess' dad, ok?

  33. Mom, is that new?

  34. Mom, can we take Monster for a walk now?

  35. Mommy, is the cake still baking?

  36. Mommy, when can I have some cake?
  37. Mom, why are you putting that knife in the cake? Are you cutting me some pieces?
  38. Mommy, do I have to eat all of my dinner before I can have some of that cake?
  39. Mommy, why are you doing that?
  40. Mom, when is Daddy going to be home?
  41. Mommy, why are your legs scratchy?
  42. Mom, do we get to skip a bath tonight?
  43. Mom, is it 45 minutes yet?
  44. Mom, are you and Daddy married?
  45. Mommy, did the doctor cut your tummy to get me and Abby out?
  46. Mom, did Abby come out first? Is Abby my big sister?
  47. Mommy, do you have a baby in your tummy right now?
  48. Mom, do I have a baby in my tummy?
  49. Mommy, can I see the boo boo on your tummy?
  50. Mom, will you help me put my sock back on?

This was over an hour. So what is that, like almost one question per minute? Some of them, as you can tell, are rapid fire and came out in a rush all at once....so perhaps they should've counted as one question. Anyway, when I write this list out perhaps it's easy to see why I often lose my patience and occasionally ask my daughters for five minutes of peace and quiet.

But they don't get that. And then they just ask, "Mom, is five minutes over yet?"


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