Jude Landry Store

Monday, September 27, 2010

Momma Memories

Not sure why, but I've been feeling a bit nostalgic lately and was reminiscing about my Momma. I know it's no where near Mother's Day, but I thought I'd still dedicate a small blog post to one great Linda Ann Chachere Guilbeaux.

First, I know she'll be laughing all the way through this post - probably with her head tilted back, hand covering her mouth, and eyes shut so tightly she can't see... (was I right, Momma?) She has one of the most boisterous laughs you'll ever hear. It's beautiful.

More favorite things: She uses the rear view mirror to put her lipstick on - which she applies right after backing out of the driveway. If she knows the song you're singing, watch out, because she'll join in without an invite. She gets to the kitchen by running and sliding down our hall way. She's incapable of sitting through an entire movie at home - too many things to finish up around the house.  We can't make it through the grocery store without her saying to someone, "I used to take care of you when you were younger..." She picks up a Eunice, LA accent when she's with her sisters and the only words she gets out during a phone conversation with her mom are, "Well... yeah... I know, Momma... Well... yeah... I know, Momma." She quotes Robin Williams in Mrs. Doubtfire, "Don't make me get the hose." She likes to practice self-defense with us.  She grits her teeth when she's mad (and now so do I). She lets me eat the first spoonful of steaming rice from the rice cooker because I like it that way. She eats Lean Cuisines because she "likes the taste." She gives the best massages. When you try to pay her back for something she purchased, she says, "Well, we'll figure that all out later" which means you won't be able to give her a dime. She's the last one to leave the building after Mass (yes, even after the priest...).

And speaking of a few of my favorite things, I can't hear or see The Sound of Music without thinking of her.

Some of my non-favorites, but still classic Linda:
She calls me "Alish - ee - anna." I will always hear, "Yes - what?" when I've forgotten to say "yes ma'am." She cooks a brisket which everyone on the planet adores but me (It's ok Momma, I love your pork!). She can make anyone behave during Mass with using only two fingers pressed firmly on the shoulder. She didn't allow us to watch The Simpsons, Friends, or Rugrats (and I'm sure there were more...).

I could go on more - and who couldn't - about my mom. I haven't even mentioned any of the spiritual lessons and memories she's given me (that'll take an entire post on its own). Or the fact that she knows me so well and forgives me in spite of myself (I'm predictably critical, finicky, and a micro-manager). Thank God she can overlook that stuff and see the beautiful child of God she helped raise.

I want to make the same great memories for my girls, too (though, I don't think I'll be baking again with Joan anytime soon...). Take a look at the photos and videos to see what we've been doing and if you know my mom and see her, pat her on the back for a job well done! And don't worry, I'll have something about John Guilbeaux in the near future...

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And this is for my other Momma-in-law

Friday, September 24, 2010

Prayer for James

My friend Bonnie and her family are in need of your prayers, please. Their son James Fulton was born September 16th with no heartbeat. He has been in the NICU for over a week now. You can follow his story on their blog, here.

We are asking for the complete healing of James through this intercessory prayer:

Eternal Father, You alone grant us every blessing in Heaven and on earth, through the redemptive mission of Your Divine Son, Jesus Christ, and by the working of the Holy Spirit. 

If it be according to Your Will, glorify Your servant, Fulton J. Sheen, by granting the favor I now request through his prayerful intercession - that James Fulton's organs heal and function normally and that he is spared any brain damage. I make this prayer confidently through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen

As many of my posts recently mention, we are the body of Christ and it's time now to lift our hearts up for these members.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

A clean home, a happy soul

Maybe you're like me. You keep your house picked up as best you can. We might have piles of stuff that need to be organized or dealt with, but we don't live in filth, nor would you find us on the next episode of Hoarders (don't hate, I'd watch it if we had cable...)

But the second I know we're expecting company, I run through the house sweeping up cookie crumbs, wiping off tiny fingerprints, and putting away the entire box of puzzle pieces. And you'd be amazed by the things crammed into our laundry room sometimes. It's crazy the motivation I suddenly get to start cleaning up our home. I guess that's why accountability works so well.

When I know someone is watching me or I'm going to have to explain myself to someone, I do a much better job of keeping my actions tidy. Even Joan's lunch looks different if I'm bringing it to the park where other moms will be feeding their children carrots and all natural granola...

As Catholics we're blessed to have the sacrament of confession to receive not only God's forgiveness through our priest, but also great counsel (let us pray that all priests may offer helpful guidance during confession). That's why frequenting the sacrament is so important to our spiritual lives. But couldn't we use more? Maybe we should seek out some other type of accountability (and yeah, I'm pretty much talking to myself here). Great strides in our faith life can be made through using spiritual directors, individual accountability partners in our friends, and women's and men's groups. And maybe it doesn't even have to be official - just being active in our parishes, getting to know the families there and visiting after Mass or at functions will allow us to help one another.

Even I'll admit that it's easier to get to daily Mass when I know some of my friends will be there too. I'd like to say I'm intrinsically motivated when it comes to my spiritual life - but I'm not always (the same is true for housekeeping, right?). They're helping me get there, but God's taking care of the rest.

By nature, we are communal and God intended for us to encourage and challenge one another. That's the beauty of the Church, the Communion of Saints. Let's take advantage of it.

And by the way, can you imagine how clean Heaven will be?!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

All to all

I'm a wife and a mom. And lately I've been working really hard at being better at those. But something happened to me recently that called my role as "friend" into question. I got my feelings hurt a little and when I started to analyze the situation (which I tend to do frequently - hence the blog), I realized I was shifting the focus to me and my needs when it clearly should have been about her. (I can hear my parents and siblings saying, "Alisha? The center of attention? No way...")

I won't bore you with more details, (and wouldn't you like to know...) but they aren't really necessary. The bottom line is, I've been striving to be better at my roles, but not my life.

I can't separate my life into little facets and think that I can behave differently according to my title or situation. We are called to be like Christ to all people, in all circumstances. St. Paul writes in his first letter to the Corinthians, "I have become all things to all, to save at least some. All this I do for the sake of the gospel, so that I too may have a share in it." 1 Cor. 9:22-23

Christ wasn't a different man to different people. His love was constant and unconditional. He was the same to our Blessed Mother as He was to the sinner, regardless of reciprocity (I paused to look up that spelling). Am I?

I can't just work on being a better homemaker - I must work on being a greater disciple, thus fulfilling my role as daughter, sister, wife, mother, friend, parishioner, etc. And where I am called to be a servant here, I am called to be a servant there, humble and sacrificial. Always.

So for the times as your friend or family member when I have been less than perfect in that role, I'm sorry. Thank you for being patient with me and pray for me, that I may bring great honor to the many titles Christ has given me.

Even innocent Joan, as a friend to Tarzan, needs to apologize every now and again...

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

In the dark

I'm sure you've probably heard a million spiritual life metaphors, so this will be no different.

A few days ago, I heard Joan yelling at us from the bathroom. She had shut herself in and couldn't turn the knob well enough to come out. When I went to her aid and opened the door, no lights were on. She was in the pitch black. Surprisingly, she wasn't scared - just a little desperate.

She apparently recognized that she needed to use the restroom so she let herself in, felt around for her potty because the door shuts on its own, lifted the seat, and went. Then she pulled up her pants and tried to get out. All in the dark, all on her own. It wasn't until the end that she asked for help. She must have been quite confident that she could do this without one of us - I'm not sure why, she's never been able to do it before.

How often do we try to do it alone, even after everything in our history proves we can't. Why do we wait until we're in the dark or we've already made a "mess" (Joan only went #1, thankfully...). And most of the time we leave evidence that we tried to do it alone (ok, her pants weren't that bad). Sure, we can get pretty close and she might've eventually managed to make it out herself - but would that have been pleasurable?

Without asking for my help the whole way, she probably wasted a lot of time, missed out on the rewards (princess stickers), and ultimately left a mess for me to clean up. And after all of this, she wasn't even able to find her way out without me.

There are times when we need God to completely take over, when we are so desperate that no part of us is making it through the day. It is by grace alone that we breathe, let alone move. But when our wills have grown in virtue and we live in spiritual abundance, then we can work and move with just His subtle guidance. We can discern and make decisions much more easily. Still, we will never be alone. His Spirit remains and is there when we've once again made a mess. And when things are going well, we know it's only because of Him and can look forward to His company and ultimate reward.

She thanked me for turning on the lights and letting her out, and maybe next time she'll thank me for just being there in the first place.

And now, a video per Elie's request. But don't look for any relation between the post and the video... there isn't one...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Cauliflower... it's what's for dinner.

It's true. Both Jude and Joan actually enjoyed a dish I made with cauliflower. Now, before you get ahead of yourself - know that it was smothered in creme of mushroom and velveeta cheese and mixed with potato chunks. But who's keeping score? All I know, is that I didn't have to puree it and sneak it into a sauce or something, so this is counting in my book. Joan even asked for seconds, yes, my 20 something pound 2 1/2 year old...

And to celebrate such a momentous occasion, I treated them to smores. Still keeping track? Didn't think so. Don't blame these dishes on me - blame it on my friend Bonnie. I got both ideas from her blogs. She made smashed cauliflower and potatoes which sounded delicious, so I did my take on that tonight. Bonnie's about to go into labor anytime now so please keep her in your prayers!

Our main course was marinated pork chops that Jude put on the grill. He's so great at the grill - definitely got that Landry gene! He doesn't know it yet, but he might be grilling every night until it gets too cold. And you won't hear me complaining about fewer dishes to clean either.

Enjoy these food-related videos. Be sure to watch this first one to the end. It might land us a "Got Milk?" commercial.

Monday, September 13, 2010

A stay-at-home-mom's paycheck

Yeah, I know... we're paid in hugs and kisses, words of gratitude, and hopefully tons of riches in Heaven. But sometimes I feel really guilty about not bringing bacon home every month. Even a little bit extra would go a long way in the Landry house.

To keep me from feeling so helpless, I remind myself that my "job" is to save, not earn. I wash cloth diapers instead of buying them every week. I breast feed instead of buying formula. I keep the lights off and the air off during the day when I can. I buy generic brands and things on sale. I sew all our own clothing (ok, I'm still working on this one - a single skirt and a few hems don't really count.) But you see where I'm going.

And every now and then, I get a nice bonus. Today, after jumping through some hoops, I finally got my labor and delivery bill lowered $478.97 (thanks for the tips, Kaitlin). My vocation calls me to be responsible, resourceful, and diligent, and to not settle when things could be better. ***Side note: a non-medicated birth is way cheaper...***

At the same time I'm patting myself on the back, I need to remember a few things. While putting on a movie, picking up a Happy Meal, and giving in to a fit is easier on me, my standard should be higher. And I'll be the first to say that my parenting is not perfect and that I could be doing even more to save our family money (like growing a garden - though I'd be the only one eating those veggies...). But I'm happy with my work performance for today, and hopefully I'll be a great employee tomorrow, too.

Now, if I could only work out that vacation time with HR...

Here are two dresses that I wish I would have made... My friend Kelly sewed them for the girls - but I picked out the fabric! Great job, Kelly!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Charlotte's Birth

I haven't had time to tell everyone about Charlotte's birth. Some of you know it, but just in case, here it is. The abbreviated version is first and after the asterisk is the detailed birth. Pick your version... I kept it as appropriate as possible, but this is a BIRTHING story, so if you think it's too much info for you, feel free to stop reading now.

Due Date: July 23rd
1:30 am July 24th, water breaks. We stay and labor at home.
7 am, contractions finally start. We stay and labor at home.
8:30 am, my friend Kelly picked Joan up for the day.
12 pm, we arrive at hospital. I'm 5 cm dilated. Contractions are becoming difficult.
4:15 pm, only at 6cm but with strong and close contractions.
4:50 pm, contractions were very painful and I tried to stand up for relief. Charlotte's heart rate dropped and I was immediately given an oxygen mask and hooked up to the IV for fluids. Her heart rate quickly regulated. I was dilated to 8 cm.
5:00 pm, my mom and Jude got dressed for delivery. I started screaming, "I can't do this!" My father arrived at the hospital from LA.
5:15 pm, feeling the urge to push but still only at 8 cm
5:30-5:50 pm I was begging for "something! anything!" I was then about 9 cm but with a little bit of the cervix still there. My nurse had me push and she slipped the rest over her head. She then had to hold Charlotte in until the Dr. could come and "catch" her.
5:55 pm I gave a few pushes and Charlotte was born.
6:00 pm Charlotte immediately began to nurse and the Dr. started me on pitocin to help my uterus contract because I was bleeding more than I should have been. The bleeding finally stopped and we were in the clear!
Around 6:30 pm or so, Jude's parents arrived from LA and Joan was brought back to meet Charlotte.
I had an extremely easy recovery with no tearing and light bleeding afterward so we only stayed at the hospital one night. It was a perfect balance of pain and empowerment, and I could not have done it without the best coaching from Jude and the accommodations of my mom and my nurse. I hope to be able to do it naturally again in the future!


I lost my mucus plug early Wednesday morning, July 21st. My due date was July 23rd. Thursday evening Jude and I did laps around Lowes (the indoor walking track in town is boring).

I went for my 40 week checkup on Friday morning and I wasn't dilated. We scheduled my next appointment for the following Friday.

At 1 am Saturday (24th) morning, my water broke when I went to the bathroom. I wasn't having any contractions so we decided to stay home. We still called the hospital to let the staff know we'd probably be coming in later when contractions got bad. We tried to go back to sleep.

At 2:30 am, the hospital called us back and said that the on-call Dr. really wanted me to come in because my water had broken. I respectfully declined and said that my Dr was ok with me laboring at home even after my water broke.

Around 3 am or so, we couldn't sleep so we began preparing for the hospital - packing our bags and Joan's bags to stay with a friend of ours. My mom helped me wash my hair in the sink and shave my legs standing in the tub (I wasn't allowed to shower or bathe because of the risk of infection).

Jude passed the time by watching Battlestar Galactica on Netflix... I'm a great wife, by the way...

Around 7 am easy contractions finally started to come at around 2-3 minutes apart, but only because I started nipple stimulation (a natural way to bring on contractions). But as soon as I stopped stimulating the nipples, my contractions became irregular and more spaced out.

At 8:30 am or so, my friend Kelly came to get Joan for the day.

At around 10 am I called a friend to make sure I wasn't crazy for not going to the hospital yet... she said I wasn't (she also had a successful home birth two weeks after me).

Around 11 am, my mom picked up Wendy's for her and Jude. I ate a popsicle. Many popsicles. And cups of ice from Sonic.

By noon, my contractions were regular and difficult and I was becoming more concerned about not being monitored since my water had been broken for almost 12 hours. We went to the hospital.

I was 5 cm dilated when I got there and my wonderful nurse, Hannah and the on-call Dr were very accommodating to our wishes for a non-medicated birth. Because I didn't have an IV in and didn't have to wear the monitors for very long,we walked around the hospital to get things moving. I also kept up with the nipple stimulation - this was as good as being on pitocin!

At 4:15 pm, contractions were difficult, but I had only progressed to 6 cm. I was discouraged and debated going on pitocin. Jude encouraged me to not put so much emphasis on dilation and keeping going.

He was right, because in 35 minutes, I progressed to 8 cm. When I stood up to relieve some pain, she dropped more and her heart rate dropped as well. I was immediately given an oxygen mask and IV fluids. Her heart rate regulated and mom and Jude were dressed for delivery. (Hannah knew it wasn't going to take much more time).

I also started screaming, "I can't do this! I CAN NOT do this!" Transition was starting!

At 5:15 pm, I was feeling the urge to push and began squatting on the bed. I was checked, but still at 8 cm. Sometime around here my dad arrived from LA.

Between 5:30-5:50 pm, I begged for "something! anything!" But Hannah, Jude, and my mom talked me through it. I was 9.5 cm with just a sliver of the cervix still showing. Hannah asked me to push and she slipped the rest over Charlotte's head. (Did I mention that Hannah was awesome?!) All the while I'm screaming and breathing heavily and everyone's trying to help me calm down and breathe.

Hannah was holding Charlotte inside until the Dr. came in and with a few pushes she was born. It was the weirdest sensation - I just "knew" she wasn't going to fit through...

5:55 pm, she was born at 7.2 lbs and at 6:00 pm she started nursing. I was bleeding a lot so I was put on pitocin and given an injection of methergine to stop the bleeding. The nurses also had to massage my uterus a lot. But whatever they did worked because my recovery was so amazing. I didn't tear at all

Around 7 pm, Jude's parents arrived from LA and Joan was brought in to meet Charlotte. We stayed that night, Father John brought us communion the next day and were discharged Sunday evening to go home.

While it was the hardest thing I've ever done, it was also the most rewarding and empowering and I couldn't have done it without the best coaching from Jude and my mom and my nurse's support. I hope to be able to do it again - just not anytime soon...

Here's me pregnant, by the way. Some of the pictures loaded in a weird spot, but oh well.
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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Yesterday was a challenge

You know how it is. The second you declare you're going to do something, it becomes that much harder. In our last post, I shared about my desire to live out my vocation as a wife and mother better. And then we had a day like yesterday.

Charlotte refused to be content for more than 20 minutes at a time. Joan pooped in her panties twice which got all over me and the bathroom floor. We were hosting friends that night and like the Martha in me (from the New Testament, not Martha Stewart) I wanted my freshly baked cookies to be delicious and my house to be presentable (ok, maybe a little Martha Stewart...). It was all a little overwhelming. And for a second, I forgot. I forgot that the bottoms I wipe and the mouths I feed are not for myself. It wasn't until the girls were in bed and my friends and I were laughing that I remembered this is about community. A community of believers. We are raising our kids to be a part of this Body of Christ, to share in the great gift of salvation. And we gather with our friends in that same spirit.

I was stressed over the very things that I asked for, a big beautiful family and many great friends. I came close to neglecting my duty of joyfully residing at their feet for the lesser task of a clean home - though I'm sure they really appreciate not having poop on the bathroom floor. Today I'm encouraged to enjoy my family's presence and the little treasures hidden in every moment, regardless of its demands.

Now enjoy this video and the hidden treasures within.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Happy Feast of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

I've been really convicted lately about my role in our family as the domestic church. Maybe it's because I have two small ones now, but I find it harder and harder to put the energy into really celebrating our faith at home. It is easy to build church up for Joan on Sundays, reminding her about what Mass is and how to behave during it. But during the week, other than night prayers with her papa and the occasional lesson about why we need to be nice, we're not living the way we're called to.

It's my challenge now to incorporate Christ into our daily lives, or more accurately, to mold our lives after Christ. I'm just thankful that He's only asking me to do what I already do...

Now my baked goods will be in celebration of Feast Days and Holy Days. My songs will be cute Bible songs and hymns. My blog posts will be about our spiritual journey. My nap time stories will be about Jesus and the lives of the saints. Our craft projects will reflect our spiritual life. And with every action in between, from the poopy cloth diaper that needs to be washed immediately to the snotty nose that needs to be wiped, I'll try to do joyfully with a servant's heart. Even now as I type this, which has taken over an hour, I have a fussy nursing newborn who's already spit up on me twice and the laundry needs to be switched to the dryer...

I'm not sure what prompted such a revelation in my life, maybe it was Mary's intercession on her birthday. Whatever the case, I'm thankful and I'll keep you posted on my attempts - as long as you'll keep me accountable and in your prayers. Here's a little video that showcases my efforts. And truly, I post not in vanity - but because my kids are so adorable! God bless you!

And this one's just for kicks!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Life with two

Well, we survived the first 6 weeks! Some of that has been a blur to us, but now things are starting to settle down and we're all getting into a nice little groove. Charlotte Clare was a typical newborn for the first 3 weeks but by the end of the 3rd week she developed severe baby acne - this is why you won't find many photos of her from week 3-5... As that started to clear up, colic decided to join the party. She was unconsolable for a good 2 weeks. But a few days ago, she started to finally be awake and content at the same time. She's also started sleeping 5-6 hours at a time during the night thanks to the Miracle Blanket that my friend Maria sent us. I can't believe we waited so long to try it out!

Jude had to go back to work and fortunately getting 2 girls out of the house hasn't been that hard. It'd be much more of a challenge without our double stroller and our baby wearing Moby Wrap. We still take frequent trips to the park, the library, and the store. We also took a trip to Louisiana for an Oil Leak Poster Exhibit that featured two of Jude's posters and we just learned that he's been accepted to teach in Italy next summer for 5 weeks! Stay tuned for more info on that and on Charlotte's upcoming baptism in October.

I'll let the videos and photos do the rest of the talking, now...

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