Friday, June 10, 2011

Beach Time and Good Shopping on 30A

Favorite place(s) I went this week

AM, Otto, and I spent a fun week in South Walton last week with the g'parents. Everyone had a great time, and both kids really warmed up to the sand and surf. Here's a video of AM in the surf (the seaweed was not as bad as it looks), a sand photo of Otto, and a shot of what the weather looked like most of the week!

While down there I found two fabulous new stores at Rosemary Beach. If you're in the area, you must go...Fitz and Emme, is a beautiful, energetic, and very comprehensive children's shop. I bought AM an adorable birthday dress and an "It's My Birthday" sash...let's see if I can wait until August to let her wear them! Additionally, the customer service at Fitz and Emme is outstanding! I bought a jon-jon for Otto, and didn't try it on him until we got back to Bham. It was too small, and I called and asked if I could do an exchange via mail. They said absolutely, and I had the right size in my mailbox in one week!

Almost right next door to F&E is a great bookstore and art gallery called The Hidden Lantern, It's much quieter than Sundog Books down the road in Seaside, and they have a nice selection of art books, and a fun children's section. Plus they do storytime once a week during the summer!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Bon soir!

Favorite thing I watched this week

AM had her very first dance recital this week. She did great, and had so much fun. The performance was at the high school on the stage, which is huge. Additionally, there were probably 300 people in the audience (not exaggerating!). Quite a big debut for a 3 1/2 year old!

In her seat, getting ready for the performance...

Here's a good shot of her on the stage (thanks to my mother-in-law!). Their flags say "Bon Soir." It was a French theme, and her group was the opening act, so they were properly greeting everyone with a "good evening."

And taking a bow...

And if you need to see the entire performance (don't worry, it's only about 2.5 minutes!)...

On a completely different note...

I saw Bridesmaids last weekend, and it is hilarious. When Entertainment Weekly gives a movie (a comedy, at that) an A, it has to be good. I laughed out loud, and will watch it again. The airplane scenes alone are worth the ticket price. Kristen Wiig is our new...Tina Fey? Lucille Ball? Oh, whatever, she's just funny.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Otto is 1!

Favorite things I saw this week

Baby Otto is 1! He had a family birthday dinner last week. He loved his cake and his new Cozy Coupe. The video shows how he has figured out how to honk the horn...not in the traditional way.

Also this week, AM had her Mother's Day performance at school. They sang 5 songs (with hand motions!), "read" music, did the Hokey Pokey in Spanish, and did the Chicken Dance. It was quite a production! Hopefully it will get her warmed up for the dance recital next week.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Good reads

Okay, so from the ravages of the storms must come something good, right? Here are two blogs I read today that I loved. One by a famous newscaster; and one by a friend of mine here, a mother of four, a Tuscaloosa native, and now a mourner for a place that will never be the same. Even if the buildings are rebuilt, the losses that occurred will be a scar forever. Nevertheless, what she writes has some hope. Read what Brian Williams and Kari Kampakis have to say.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

April Fury (as the news calls it)

Not at all a favorite thing...
Alabama is devastated! It's like nothing I have seen, support the Red Cross, send prayers, hug your families, and stay safe!

The day started out with tornado sirens at 5:30 a.m. That early storm missed us by a mile or so. Cahaba Heights just to the south of us is full of fallen trees, ripped roofs, and no power as a result. We thought we were lucky for dodging that one, but had no idea what was to come later that day. We hunkered down in the basement at 6:00 p.m., after watching the coverage of the mile-wide F5 tornado (twister! as AM called it!) tearing through Tuscaloosa. Thankfully, the over-the-mountain neighborhoods were somehow spared. We are nevertheless heartbroken for northwest Birmingham, Pleasant Grove, Tuscaloosa, Dekalb Co, Cullman, Concord, Waverly, Cordova...I could go on and on...but the national news will do that for me.

Now, take a break from storm coverage and enjoy the royal wedding, which if nothing else is a lovely distraction and celebration. It might seem frivilous and extreme, but I think we could all use that now and then!

Friday, February 4, 2011

First Steps-watch

Favorite thing Otto (might be) doing this week

We are offically on First Steps-watch for Otto, meaning we have the video camera ready at all times in case the O-man decides to let go of the precious coffee table, music table, or choo choo train, and take his first solo steps. He's been standing alone for a few weeks now, and pulling up since 6 months, so surely any day those steps will happen.

Incidentally today marks Otto's 3/4 birthday! I should have made him 3/4 of a cake. To see how close he is to walking, despite some well-intended interruptions by AM, see this clip...

Favorite thing AM has done lately

She loves practicing writing her name, as they have been practicing in "3 year old school." Here's some photographic evidence of an attempt this week. There are a lot of letters in her name, bless her heart, so it looks more like how someone being taken in on a DUI might sign their traffic ticket, but she'll get it!

Favorite thing I ate this week

If you live in Birmingham, you need to check out the New York Butcher Shoppe in Cahaba Heights, I braved the early stages of ice yesterday to get some of their chicken and sausage gumbo. It was fabulous! I also picked up a half pint of their chicken salad. Yum!

Favorite thing I saw this week

I would not normally fancy myself a circus lover, a circus fan, or even a circus attendee. All early memories of the circus for me involved an actual tent; in small-town NW Florida there was no "civic center" for the circus to set up shop in for the week, so they held the circus in an actual tent. Even as a child, I saw the danger here--one wrong step by an elephant, one loose flip by an acrobat, a pole gets hit, and wham-o, the whole tent collapses. An evening of crossing my fingers that that didn't happen? Who needs it? Plus, cotton candy grosses me out.

However, on Barnum & Bailey's recent trip to Bham, I felt compelled to take AM. She had gone last year with Matthew and our friends, the McDs. I played the pregnancy card and skipped out, so this year I felt I should experience the "greatest show on earth" with AM. Well, let me first say, there is NO tent. Yahoo. How much cleaner, safer, and less "carn-y" does the circus feel when it takes place in a permanent building? Dare I say, a building with real restrooms? Ah, much better. AM loved it, of course! Our seats were first row, so that helped (Buy tickets through Magic Moments every year-- also enjoy their fun pre-party for kids!)

My one comment...did our country's founding fathers really mean for the American flag to be carried around a by a scantily-clad woman seated atop a miserable elephant while a crowd sings the National Anthem? Probably not, but I'll go with it.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Merry Christmas! or "What is Merry Christmas?"

Favorite thing Otto is doing these days
Little 7-month old Otto is quite the mover. He is crawling, pulling up, and occasionally standing on his own. I think we might have an early walker on our hands. Here's a video of him on the move.

And Otto LOVES Elmo. He tries to dance with our Hokey-pokey Elmo, but his inability to dance holds him back a bit.

Favorite thing AM has done lately

Somewhere along the way, AM picked up the word "expert," and now routinely informs us she is the expert on certain topics. In the last few weeks she has been a "fish expert," a "Spanish expert," and an "expert on everything." It's kind of funny now, but I'm trying to discourage it in the long run!

On another note, AM is really into "projects" as she calls them, or little art projects, lately. So, after I saw this adorable garland in th Land of Nod catalogue,, and decided we could make that ourselves. I let her make a playdate out of it, and had six 3-4 year olds over to assemble their mittens. Here are some finished photos:

AM's (she's continued to add to hers).
Jojo's prominently displayed.
The sample I made!
AM no doubt "instructing" AD on how to do it.

Favorite thing I did this year (non-child related)

Over the course of the last year, when I wasn't giving birth or teaching Art History 101, I apparently passed all of the qualifications to be a contestant on Jeopardy. We flew to L.A. in September for the taping, and voila, it airs next week. So check your local listings and watch the show on Tuesday, December 28. I can honestly say it was one of the most fun things I've ever done in my life. If anyone has any desire to be on a gameshow, go for it. Even just the tryout in New Orleans last June was fun.

And last, but not least, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to everyone!

Here is an image of our 2010 Christmas card. Photos were taken by my mother-in-law, Carolyn Jackson, and the card was designed by my friend, Alice Allen of Fridge Art (see more of her adorable stuff on Facebook,!/group.php?gid=42228219047)!