Sunday, December 20, 2009

Christmas cards! Golden Globes!

Favorite thing I saw this week (1 of 2)
My talented friend Alice Allen designed our Christmas card this year. It turned out great! My mother-in-law took the fabulous picture. Snapfish printed them. (I addressed the envelopes and put the stamps on them!)




Favorite thing I saw this week (2 of 2)
So excited about the Golden Globe nominations. Hooray for The Hurt Locker! Hooray for Modern Family! Hooray for (500) Days of Summer! And what about The Hangover earning a nomination for Best Motion Picture - Comedy or Musical. I know it won't win, but I like that such a screwball comedy is nominated. Hooray for no nominations for New Moon!


Favorite thing AM did (didn't do) this week
We had great intentions of going to see Santa on Friday afternoon. We got to the mall, rode the "moving stairs" (AM's favorite part of the mall), and proceeded to Santa's area. We had to wait for him to come back from his break. When he did, AM promptly said "no, no, no," demanded to be held, and wouldn't even look in St. Nick's direction. We waited through one family to go through the process, and showed her the kids--all smiles, no tears. She still would only say "no, no, no," and was stiff as a board. We decided there was no use in waiting in the line for her to completely melt down, and left. Maybe next year, Santa.


Favorite thing I ate this week
I snacked all week on leftover cheese and sausage balls. They're the best; cold or hot. And they are so easy...1 lb sausage, 1 lb shredded cheddar, 3 cups Bisquick, dash of tabasco, dash of water. Mix together and bake at 350 'til bubbly and brown. I might even make another batch before Christmas...

Friday, December 11, 2009

1, 2, 3, Boppalo!

Favorite thing AM did this week

Somewhere along the way AM has picked up counting in Spanish. We didn't teach her, so I am guessing it was that bilingual little Dora the Explorer that gave AM this useful skill. However, I am not sure what has happened to the number quatro (that's 4 for those of you who took French in high school). Everytime she counts she says, "uno, dos, tres, boppalo, cinco, seis." Yes, "boppalo." It used to be "buffalo," but morphed into "boppalo" somewhere along the way.
I have tried to upload a video, but can't get blogger to accept it. Why must it be so difficult?

Favorite thing I read this week
With all this cooking, shopping, decorating, and Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer-watching, there isn't much time for reading. Aside from the final exams from my ARH 101 class. In the identification portion of the test, I asked them to id Andy Warhol's Marilyn Diptych. See image below. One of my student's response to this was Dipstick Marilyn. Andy W. would probably actually be proud.





Favorite thing I watched this week
Matthew and I are slowly catching up with Sons of Anarchy on FX. In Entertainment Weekly, Stephen King recently called this show one of his favorites of the year, and said it was like The Sopranos on motorcycles. I can't attest to that, because I never watched much of Tony Soprano and his motley crew. I can say however, that the Sons crew is totally engrossing. It doesn't exactly make you want to be in a motorcycle gang, but it definitely makes you want to have them on your side. It's a bit violent, but it's so well-acted, you get used to it. That's bad, I know.

Favorite thing I ate this week
This is a good (quick & easy) recipe for us right now. We get tired of chicken and beef, so sausage is a good switch. Plus, I'm still craving anything tomato-y.
Quick Skillet Sausage & Tortellini
1 lb of link sausage (We use the turkey kind), sliced
1 green pepper, sliced
1/2 onion, sliced
1 jar of seasoned tomato sauce (I use most of a jar of Bertolli pasta sauce)
2 small packages (or 1 large pkg) of refrigerated cheese ravioli, cooked & hot
dash of basil, oregano, or whatever you use to dress up jarred pasta sauce
grated Parmesan cheese

Cook sausage in a large non-stick skillet until browned and cooked through. Add tomato sauce, peppers, and onion. Bring to a simmer, stirring frequently. Add spices and pasta. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 5 minutes or so. Serve in bowls; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Report Card!

Favorite thing AM did this week

AM got her first "report card" earlier this month. Hilarious! At her "school" (3 days a week, Mother's Day Out program) the 2 year olds get an assessment in October and March. AM did pretty good. They actually grade them on about 40 things. The grades are as follows: C = I Can Do It!, or a T = I'm Still Trying. Apparently AM is still trying to "respond well to discipline" (I did not need an assessment to tell me that), "take responsibility for personal items, i.e. lunch, trash, putting toys away," and (my favorite!) "staying in assigned center." So she's a rebellious, messy, busy body. What 2 year-old isn't?

In the Cognitive/Language Development area, AM received a T in "draws a face (no arms, legs, or proportion required)." Okay, maybe she's no Michelangelo yet, but she comes pretty close to famed American Abstract Expressionist Clyfford Still. See a comparison below.
AM's chalk on board Untitled (2009):



Clyfford Still's 1957-D, No. 1 (1957):


I know, as an art history teacher, I shouldn't encourage a comparison between kiddie art and the real thing, but you can't deny there is a similarity in the lines, no?

Finally, AM's last T came in "Hops on one foot." Seriously? I really want to meet the 2 year-old that can do this successfully. And I don't mean just standing on one foot, and shaking the other one in the air (as AM now does when we ask her to jump on one foot--not that we're pushing her to gain this skill).

One of my favorite Cs that she received was in "Knows that God made him/her." How cute is that? I know you will all be waiting with bated (baited?) breath to see how she does in March.

In other news, for those of you outside of the viewing area, or who have not done painstaking research on the internet to find the clip of AM on our local ABC morning show, here is a link to it. She did great...
That's us in the cover shot - red polka-dot pjs, arms in air. Happy hands! The pjs are Hatley brand, so soft, and the embroidered designs at Once Upon A Time (Crestline and Homewood) are adorable!

Favorite thing I saw this week
Dave Matthews' impersonation of Ozzie Osbourne on Saturday Night Live this weekend was too funny. Here's a link to it...http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/clips/the-mellow-show/1178424/ Ozzie appears about half-way through if you want to fast-forward.

Favorite thing I read this week
See "Report Card" section above.
Favorite thing I ate this week
I am loving Blue Bell's Birthday Cake flavor ice cream. Our local Western Grocery sells it in the small party-size containers (12 to a bag), but I'm sure most larger chains carry it too. Our friend Nancy introduced me to it a few months ago, but AM saw it in the store this weekend and insisted we buy some. She hasn't had any yet...gotta love the 2 year-old's short term memory, but I've had a taste or two. According to the website, this is a "rotational flavor," so in other words, buy it when you see it, it might not be there next time!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

okay, last thing...

The show with AM tomorrow is 9-10 a.m. (not 8-9 a.m.) I know you're all feverishly setting your DVRs, so I didn't want you to miss it!

Two plugs

I know, I know, twice in one weekend?! Who am I?

Anyway, this is a special edition, plugging two things happening this week. It's mostly for local folks, but out-of-towners can read on too!
1) AM, along with 3 of her little friends will be on our local ABC 33/40's morning show tomorrow (8-9 a.m.) modeling Christmas pjs from the best baby store in town, Once Upon a Time http://www.onceuponatimellc.com/. AM's pair is made by Hatley (see them here, http://www.hatleystore.com/department.aspx?deptid=222&RD=1) with an adorable appliqué from OUAT. She's done it once before, but it wasn't live. This time it is, so wish us luck!

2) This week is the Jr. League of Birmimgham's annual Market. Read more about it here, http://www.jlbonline.com/?nd=market. It's a fun, festive event, and the shopping is great. Retailers from all over the place coming together with their best merchandise under one roof. And tickets to the The Market support a good cause. Also, instead of being down at the BJCC, as in years past, this year The Market has moved to a shinier location, Cahaba Grand Conference Ctr, on Hwy 280.

Okay, enough promoting for one day!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Disney, Halloween, and Lasagna!

It's been a while since I posted, so this is a long one...

Favorite thing AM did this week

Okay so this is more of a favorite thing that we all did...last week marked our big, family trip to Disney. AM was great 99% of the whole time (just a few temper fits). She wasn't scared of anything (except maybe the characters up close, but they really are a little scary, no?). I think maybe she was a little too young to know to be scared of the ghosts in the Haunted Mansion. As for the movement rides, she loved Goofy's Barnstormer (the kid-sized roller coaster), which even Matthew and I thought was a little rough for a kid coaster.

AM's absolute favorites? Definitely the teacups which she had been discussing for months leading up to the trip (glad they didn't disappoint) and the Buzz Lightyear ride, which she refers to as "Buzz Buzz Right Here." Hilarious. She also loved the Spectro-Magic parade (that's the 21st century's version of the Electric Light Parade, for those of you born before 1990!). Oh, and she also loved the Disney bus. Here's a shot of that...



One more thing to say about Disney...this is the BEST time of year to go. Matthew and I waited 20 minutes to ride Thunder Mtn, and that was our longest wait all weekend. We did use Fast Passes for a few things at EPCOT, but I'm not sure it was completely necessary; the exception is maybe Soarin', which is still pretty new (and awesome). Also, our hotel was great (Saratoga Springs--a Disney property, close to Downtown Disney), and the food was even pretty good everywhere (Disney is not known for culinary experiences!).

Of course, AM just loved being there with so much to do, and so much attention from Mommy, Daddy, Grandmommy, and Grandad-o. And we all really liked it too. Matthew didn't want to leave!

Here are some more of our favorite pictures...


On Cinderella's Golden Carousel

Checking out Aladdin's Magic Carpet Ride
With Daddy and Grandmommy on the famous Teacups.
Playing an energy game with Daddy at EPCOT's Spaceship Earth.

Tired kids and mommies in front of Cinderella's Castle.
Family shot in front of the castle.

Our trip coincided with Halloween, so we spent that evening with our good friends Tom & Robin, Megan & Chris, and their 1-year old, who all live in Orlando. We were joined by our friend Cindy, and her 2-year old, who live just a few hours away. So three toddlers trick-or-treating...it actually went pretty well. Here is a picture of our costumed kiddos: a pirate, a hamburger, and a spider...
And one of AM in the trick-or-treating process...


Favorite thing I saw this week
Christmas decorations! I know plenty of people complain about Christmas decor coming too close on the heals of Halloween, but I LOVE it. And I am quite unapologetic about it too. To add to my premature Christmas joy, I was thrilled to find that one of our local stations (Magic 96.5) has already begun their 24-hour Christmas music celebration. They used to only do holiday music on the weekends during November, but I guess Christmas fanatics like me convinced them it should be a 7 day/week thing for this month and next. Also, for those of you tuned in to Pandora online (Love this site..should blog about that later) they have special holiday personalized stations. So Christmas is already playing throughout my house...AM can already identify "Jingle Bells" and "Jingle Bell Rock," but I'm trying to steer her clear of the obnoxious "Santa Baby."
Favorite thing I read this week
I started reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. http://www.amazon.com/Guernsey-Literary-Potato-Society-Readers/dp/0385341008/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1258153160&sr=8-1. The best word for this book so far is charming! Even though it takes place in England (Guernsey and London) immediately following the devastation of WWII, it's surprisingly upbeat, and it moves very quickly. It definitely makes me want to stay on the bike at the gym just a bit longer!

Favorite thing I ate this week
I was craving (yes, I am in craving mode now) lasagna this week, but didn't really have a night when I would have the time to put it together, bake it, etc. SO, I found this recipe for slow-cooker lasagna, and it was great. Also, since I forgot to buy ricotta cheese, I omitted that, and we didn't miss it at all, making it ever-so-slightly healthier...
Slow-Cooker Lasagna
1 lb. ground round (or ground turkey)
2 tsp. minced garlic
1 tsp. dried Italian seasoning (I improvised with my own mixture, probably used more than a tsp. worth)
1 (26 oz) jar of chunky garden-style pasta sauce (I used Ragu, and I am normally NOT a jarred sauce girl, but for something like this, it worked fine and made it all the easier)
1/3 cup water
8 uncooked lasagna noodles
Cooking spray
1 (4 1/2 oz.) jar sliced mushrooms, undrained (fresh work too, but you might need to add a few tsps of water)
1 (15 oz.) carton part-skim ricotta cheese (or not)
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese (I probably used a little more)
Cook beef, garlic, and Italian seasoning in a skillet until browned, stirring to crumble. Drain, set aside.
Combine pasta sauce and water, set aside
Spray bottom and sides of slow cooker with cooking spray. Place 4 noodles on the bottom, breaking to fit. Layer with half each of beef mixture, pasta sauce mixture, and mushrooms. Spread ricotta cheese over mushrooms. Sprinkle with 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Layer with remaining noodles, meat, pasta sauce mixture, and mushrooms. Sprinkle with remaining mozzarella cheese.
Cover and cook on HIGH setting for 1 hour.
Reduce to LOW and cook for 5 hours (Mine cooked faster than this, about 4 hours).
Easy, easy, easy!











Sunday, October 25, 2009

Halloween, etc.

Favorite thing AM did this week

Last Friday we went to our local Boo at the Zoo with our friends the McDs for an early celebration of all things Halloween. AM was decked out in her hamburger costume, which she loves, her friend Q was a lion. Here are the adorable results. (Thanks to Natalie, who remembered her camera, unlike me!)


On the carousel, which goes backwards during Boo at the Zoo. Natalie and I had to sit this one out.





Having her Reese's Pieces treat!



After the hayride.


Favorite thing I watched this week

One more new show to tout this week, Modern Family. Okay, I watched the first episode of Modern Family a few weeks ago, and thought it was so-so. Seemed like it was trying too hard. But, you should never judge a sitcom by its pilot (a rule we should all observe). This week, I noticed that 3 episodes of Family had stacked up in the DVR, so I needed to take action. Matthew actually volunteered to watch an episode with me because he had read good things about it on, of all things, TiderInsider.com (the website for all things 'Bama). Well, we were laughing out loud. If you haven't watched an episode, we recommend #2 (about the bike), and #4 (which features, gasp!, Shelley Long of Cheers fame), which are available on http://www.abc.com/. In short, Modern Family is a little bit of Arrested Development (RIP, Bluth Family) and a little bit of The Office, but is definitely its own original show.


Favorite thing I read this week

AM informed me before bedtime one night this week that she wanted to read books from "up there." This refers to the shelf above her bed that holds the "nice books" (i.e. Mother Goose Treasury, A Light in the Attic, The Tales of Peter Rabbit, etc.). Without paying much attention to what I pulled down, I grabbed The Giving Tree. Ack, I forgot what a tearjerker that book is! Sweet? Most definitely! But I really had to go wipe my eyes after that storytime session. Needless to say, as much as I love this book, and its sweet message, The Giving Tree is back "up there."
Favorite thing I ate this week
Cookies. There's nothing better than a perfect cookie. A friend of mine and her husband have recently opened Icing on the Cookie, here in Bham. We sampled some of their beautiful cookies, and they are absolutely delicious too. Here is the website, www.icingonthecookie.net. Enjoy looking at the tons of fun patterns for various special occasions. They ship anywhere in the US, and for local orders they have a storefront right here in Homewood (Central Ave., right by my dentist's office, ironically). I had the chocolate chip, and let me tell you the package came with three large cookies. I ate one immediately, and hid the other two so no one else in the house would get to them. AM had a Roll Tide elephant, and ate the entire, gorgeous, frosted thing! She then proceeded to talk about her elephant cookie for several days. Can't wait for my next special occasion, so I can order some cookies!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Favorite thing AM did this week
We finally bit the bullet this week and converted AM's crib to a "toddler bed." Basically all this means is that the railing from one side of the crib is gone. But, to AM, this is a "big girl bed."
She did great the first 2 nights--went to sleep very fast in it, stayed in it all night, no tears. Last night I did hear her beating a path down the hall to our room at around 2am. She was soothed pretty fast though, and back to sleep within 10 minutes or so. Wish I could say the same for myself!

Favorite thing I watched this week
New shows continue to dominate my tv-time. Finally, this week brought the return of 30 Rock! It did not disappoint with an appearance by Steve Buschemi, and Tracy Jordan trying to get back in touch with his roots. Love him trying to talk to the custodian. This show deserves to win the Emmy every year.

Favorite thing read this week
Carl Hiaasen, who I briefly mentioned last week, is my current book obsession. We're not talking about any Pulitzer Prize literature here, but you can read his books fast, they are laugh-out-loud funny, and stocked with incredibly outlandish characters. I'm reading Skin Tight right now, but also recently finished Skinny Dip. Both hilarious and highly entertaining.
Also, in anticipation for our trip to Disney World, I've been perusing the local libraries for the best guidebooks. A few months back I checked out the one that lists the scare factors of all of the rides. But alas, it's now checked out when I need it most. This might call for a trip to Books-A-Million.

And now a new feature...
Favorite thing I ate this week
Let's face it, while pregnant, I am insatiable! Never full and always on the cusp of nausea--food seems to be the best cure. However, with this hunger comes great responsibility. So while pregnant (and perhaps beyond), I will pass along the best culinary treats I encounter each week.
This week, AM and I were running errands in Cahaba Heights. It was about 4pm, and we needed a snack, so we stopped in the new Yogurt Mountain. http://www.yogurtmountain.com/
This place is the BEST. Not only is the yogurt good, but it's all self-serve (or mommy-serve). You fill our own cup, choose your own toppings (everything from crushed oreos, fresh strawberries, whole pecans--my favorite), and then the cashiers weigh your cup. You pay 45¢/oz., and AM and I both got decent-sized servings for less than $5. We will definitely be back!

Wish us luck in our continued transition to the "big girl bed"!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

I'm Back...But Where Have I Been?

There is no good reason for no blog entry in three (almost four) weeks, other than I am a bit tired. I can blame this on a cranky, anti-sleeping toddler. You can also read more about said tiredness in the "Favorite thing I read"section below.


Favorite Thing AM Did This Week


Well, my least favorite thing AM has done this week is just about completely stop taking a nap! Argh! This is not good. We are trying to implement "quiet time" in place of the nap, but she's not real big on sitting in one place. On to more positive things...


This morning AM picked her own clothes out for school. She chose her favorite skirt (or dress as she calls it) from her Aunt Ann, her pigeon shirt from Auntie d & Uncle Drew, her black cat Halloween socks (from Grandmommy), and brown and pink sneakers. Quite an ensemble...see evidence below.

I am not sure if we will continue to choose our own clothes before school, but if she does I have a feeling I will be washing this skirt and shirt a lot.



Favorite Thing I Watched This Week


Where to begin?! New shows! Returning shows! DVR capacity at 95%! Being a TV junkie, Fall is my favorite time of year. As for returning shows, The Office has not disappointed, and I am eagerly awaiting tonight's "Wedding" episode.


As for new shows, I have two favorites, The Middle and Cougar Town. I'm a sucker for a sitcom, what can I say. Below is a clip from Cougar Town, in which Jules, a 40-something, newly single, real estate agent has reluctantly agreed to go out on the town with her 20-something friends. The cell phone photo montage makes me laugh everytime. Say what you want to about Friends, Courteney Cox is a comic genius. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gOK5H2y69BY



Favorite Thing I Read This Week


In addition to two (yes, two) highly amusing Carl Hiaasen books, I also happened to read the following...

That's two (yes, two) lines. And that equals pregnant. So it looks like AM will have a little sibling sometime next year (early May). Wish us lots of luck!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Fall is in the air...

Favorite thing AM did this week

For AM's birthday last month, we got her a life-size stuffed dog. She loves dogs, but our unfenced yard, and other factors (i.e. Daddy doesn't want one) prevent us from having one. We thought this would be a decent substitute, at least for a few years. Anyway, the pup is a Husky, and when we told AM this, she promptly named him "Busky."

I cannot tell you how much she loves Busky...she sleeps with him in her crib, talks to him, drags him around the house by his ears, and gets right in his face to say, "Busky, you're a good dog. I love you, Busky." Here are some pictures of her loving Busky:
Favorite thing I read this week
Fall is in the air, so that means new television shows are on the air. I eagerly read my Fall TV Preview issue of Entertainment Weekly to celebrate this exciting event. Next week starts most of the new shows, and my DVR is ready to go! The Office, 30 Rock, and How I Met Your Mother--oh, how I've missed you.
Favorite thing I saw this week
When driving AM to school today I saw a key sign of fall...literally. While sitting at a stop light, I saw at least four leaves fall from a nearby tree. And I don't think it was a sick tree--just a tree ready to embrace fall and forget the heat of summer. Hooray!


Saturday, August 29, 2009

Birthday Party!


Favorite thing AM did this week

We have had a busy week--lots of visitors, birthday greetings, and finally the 2-year birthday bash yesterday, complete with a Mo Willems Pigeon theme. AM had a great time, and considering we had a lot of toddlers in the house, there were a very limited amount of tantrums from both the kids and the grown-ups Here are some highlights from my camera. My mother-in-law took a lot more pictures, so I hope she has some of the children I missed getting photos of...
Pigeon Party

Favorite thing I read this week

My mom and I poured over the Mini Boden fall/winter catalogue this morning. They are always having great sales (i.e. "Buy 4, Get 1 for $1"), and their clothes are fantastic for little ones--cute, durable, AND easy to take care of. They also have clothes for grown-ups! http://www.bodenusa.com/

Favorite thing I saw this week

I saw (500) Days of Summer last Sunday, and it was great. It's a love story of sorts, but told out of order over the course of 500 days. I loved how it unfolded, and teased you with things to come, and i also thought it was pretty realistic. Plus, the soundtrack was excellent--lots of mopey British '80s stuff, with a little bit of upbeat Hall & Oates thrown in for good measure. Here's a link to my favorite scene (Note: The movie is NOT a musical, this is just Tom's reaction the morning after sleeping with Summer, the object of his affection). http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2seAJsrtIbQ

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Happy Birthday, AM!

Favorite thing AM did this week

It's a big week for AM...she turns 2 today, and it's the first week of school. This year AM goes to school three days a week, instead of last year's two days. And since I only teach two days a week, everyone wins!

We've been talking about her birthday for a little while now. Anytime we say the word, "birthday," AM responds with either "cake!" or "I want cake!" Apparently in all of the birthday parties we have been to in the last few months, the only thing AM remembers about them is that cake was served! We have ordered a Mo Willems' Pigeon-inspired cake for her party next weekend. It's coming from Edgar's, the best bakery in town. I can't wait to see (and taste) it. http://www.edgarsbakery.com/

In other AM news, she LOVES socks. Not her own of course. In fact, she loves Matthew's the most. I was folding laundry the other day, and she pulled 2 of his socks out of the pile and pulled them on. Here is the result...



Favorite thing I read this week

I can't believe it took me so long to start Kathryn Stockett's The Help. I kept hearing friends talk about it, and reading rave reviews, but I had, for some unknown reason, put it off. Well, shame on me, because it is incredible. I read it in about four days. And it's Stockett's first novel, which makes it even better--think about all of the wonderful Southern literature still to come from this UA grad. http://www.amazon.com/Help-Kathryn-Stockett/dp/0399155341/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1250798453&sr=8-1


Favorite thing I saw this week

Instead of something I watched on the TV this week (which was pretty much limited to sports and reruns), I'll show you some shots of Asheville, NC's Biltmore, where Matthew and I visted last weekend. It was a nice long weekend trip for us. Not too long of a drive, and really beautiful scenery. Plus, it was not 90+ degrees, which is always a welcome relief after spending a summer in Birmingham!





Friday, August 7, 2009

Hula hoops! Need I say more....

Favorite thing AM did this week
I have had a hula hoop for years, for the purpose of exercising. AM has recently taken an interest in it. She calls it her "lulaloop!" She doesn't QUITE have the skills of "lulalooping" down yet, but she's trying. Observe...

video

Favorite thing I have read this week

I finished The Art of Mending last week--a fabulous read. Elizabeth Berg's books are always good, but sometimes a little heavy. In other words, I have to take a long time in between her books, because they're a bit emotionally draining. Mending is no different. There are, however, two things that truly stood out to me about this book, 1) I was an English major, and I suppose, will always be one. Therefore the repetitive presence of Kleenex, handkerchiefs, etc. in this book was a lovely symbol for so much of what the book was about on a deeper level. Because of the wonderful professors I had in college (ahem, Dr. Ulrich, Dr. Casey, etc.), I am constantly looking for great symbolism in books I read. Thanks, Eliz. Berg, for keeping this search for symbolism alive within us English majors. 2) In the interview section at the end The Art of Mending, both the writer and interviewer repeatedly referred to the main character/ narrator as "unlikable." Crap. I really liked that character. AND identified with her. AND sympathized with her. Ack, I guess I'll just worry about my own "unlikable" qualities for a bit now.

Favorite thing I watched this week

Thank goodness I have "Weeds" and "Entourage" to get me through these bleak summer months. These are two shows I had pretty much given up on (based on last season's antics), but I kept both in the DVR rotation, just for kicks. Thankfully, neither have disappoionted lately, giving me something to look forward to during these dark days of summer televsion...P.S. Thank goodness once again for "Cheers" reruns--"Weeds" and "Entourage" alone cannot sustain a TV-junkie such as myself.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Hula hoops, old men, and Fraggles (what a combo!)

Favorite thing AM did this week

It's quiet around here since AM has gone to spend a few days with my parents at the beach. Before she left she was thrilled to constantly remind me that Grandmommy and Grandado were in Alaska, seeing whales. I think that might be all she ever associates with the state of Alaska.

In unrelated rambling, AM thinks she has mastered the hula hoop. At the tender age of 23 months, no less. Her version of "hula hooping," however, is holding the hoop up to her waist and spinning herself, rather than the hoop around. It's quite funny, but I have been very slack, and do not have this "skill" on video yet.


Favorite thing I read this week

I love this brief article from today's Birmingham News (originally printed in the Decatur Daily). What an adorable group of old men!



Favorite thing I saw this week

I let AM rent a video from the library last week, and she chose (okay, I chose for her) Fraggle Rock, Season One (Disc 1). I loved this show as a kid, and watching it 25 (or so) years later, it did not disappoint. AM was less amused by the Fraggles, and more amused by the puppet dog, Sprokit, but that's alright. We'll get Disc 2 next week, and I know she will grow to love the Fraggles themselves, just as much as I did.



Monday, July 20, 2009

Knuffle Bunny and then some...

Favorite thing AM did this week

Lately anytime AM says "thank you," she adds a "so much" at the end. I've tried to capture it on video but she usually says it so low that it doesn't turn up on the audio very well. I'll keep trying!

On a totally unrelated topic, AM's giant set of Lego blocks came with one little man figure. We named this guy George many months ago. I cannot remember why. Last month a family friend gave AM a set of 20 (!) little Lego figures. They represent everything from a doctor, a zookeeper, and, I kid you not, a prisoner. Anyway, in response to the original George, AM has named all of these extraneous Lego figures "not-George." Here's a picture of a few of the not-Georges, including prisoner # 62019.


Favorite thing I read this week

AM and I both love reading Mo Willems' books. We started out with his Pigeon series, and then moved to Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale. Last week we checked out Knuffle Bunny Too: A Tale of Mistaken Identity. It is hilarious, and all kids (and mommies, daddies, etc.) should read it. Here's a link to all things Mo Willems, including his funny blog. He's a genius of a kids writer, and there may be a Mo Willems-themed birthday party on the horizon! http://www.mowillems.com/
Favorite thing I watched this week
Summer TV is the pits since I hate reality-television. I have, however, rediscovered the glory of "Cheers," whose reruns play super late on the Hallmark Channel. I DVR them, and they are the perfect show to fall asleep to (with visions of Sam, Diane, and Carla dancing in my head).

Monday, July 13, 2009

Two Faffies!

Favorite thing AM did this week

I tell myself that we are truly trying to break the pacifier (a.k.a. the "faffie") habit, but AM is only growing more attached. She is only allowed to have a faffie in bed, but has lately insisted on "Two faffies!" when she goes to bed. Matthew went to get her from her nap the other day, and discovered she has even invented a way in which she can "hold on" to both faffies while sleeping...
Basically, she hooks the ring of one around the sucky-part of the other. The result looks a little like a pacifier-rhinocerus.
Favorite thing I read this week
Not much reading time this week, but I did manage to make it through an entire Real Simple magazine while on the bike at the gym this morning. I love that magazine, and this month it featured a cute article about a group of 7 friends who take turns planning a "surprise" trip for themselves each year. I love this idea, mostly because I like the idea of making sure you get together with your best girl friends on a regular basis, despite geographical obstacles. The surprise element would make me a little nervous, not because I'm a control freak, but because I love to plan! On the other hand, maybe it would be relaxing to know all details are taken care of (by someone else) ahead of time.
Favorite thing I saw this week
Kristi, my loyal movie-going friend, and I saw The Proposal this week. I'm not always in the mood for a rom-com, but this one was actually very cute. I did not regret splurging on the $9.25 ticket one bit. And Sandra Bullock's clothes in it were great!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

We had a fun 4th weekend at the lake, and then came back in time for me to get some sort of bug. Feeling better now!

Favorite thing AM did this week

We are lucky to have numerous friends who love AM, and whom she loves back. Here's a picture of her doing "flips" with our friend Nicole at the lake. Poor Nicole was probably sore the next day because AM made her do so many of them.
As an aside, my least favorite thing AM did this week was figure out how to crawl out of her crib! And land face first on the floor. No damage done, just a little rugburn to the forehead. I didn't think it was time for a toddler bed yet, but perhaps it is...
Favorite thing I watched this week
From my Sunday morning sickbed I loved watching Federer vs. Roddick at the Wimbledon final. I always cheer for Federer, but I wouldn't have hated it if Roddick had won. I felt bad for him after he played so well for 70+ games. I wish he hadn't cried though.
Favorite thing I read this week
I finished Whistling in the Dark (see last post), and its ending was just as good as I had hoped it would be. Sometimes when I read a book I truly love, I have a hard time starting a new book. I'm trying to fight that by already starting my next read, Lake Wobegon Days. I was craving another small-town, down home, eccentric character-driven story. So far, it's not as good, but I'm hoping it picks up. (P.S. I know that Milwaukee, where Whistling in the Dark took place, is not a small town, but the neighborhood in the story felt like one)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Atlanta edition

We had a fun weekend in Atlanta with my parents. Saw the Braves play on Saturday, and went to Zoo Atlanta on Sunday.
Also, in case you can't tell, I got a new Flip video camera last week. It is fabulous--so easy to use, and the picture quality is great. We used a small fraction of our credit card reward points to "buy" it, and it was well worth it!

Favorite thing AM did this week
AM was very well-behaved at the Braves game, and even did the tomahawk chop several times. Of course, seeing that it was a Red Sox game, the Boston fans outnumbered the Braves fans by about 2 to 1. And they were very insistent on doing their "Let's go Red Sox!" chant, over and over, and AM tried to join in with that as well. I have a video of it here, enjoy!

video

Favorite thing I read this week

I am almost done with Lesley Kagen's Whistling in the Dark, and I must say it is a wondeful book. It's part mystery, part coming-of-age, and part comedy, with a little bit of drama as well. It's told from the perspective of ten-year old Sally O'Malley, and takes place during the summer of 1959 in her wacky Milwaukee neighborhood. I only have about 50 pages left, and I can already tell this is going to be one of those books where I will really miss the characters (especially Sally) when I am finished.

Favorite thing I watched this week

At Zoo Atlanta they have a great exhibit, featuring their family of Giant Pandas. We headed there first yesterday when we got to the zoo. This turned out to be a good move, because two out of the three pandas (the mom and the one-year old baby) were very active. AM loved watching them, and it was neat to see the two animals not only lumbering around, but also interacting with each other. Here's a video:

video

Sunday, June 21, 2009

AM wears her sunglasses at night, and at restaurants, and at the store...



Favorite thing AM did this week
AM loves her sunglasses. Anytime she sees them, she begs to put them on, and then usually proceeds to wear them for at least an hour. This is great when we're out in the sunshine. But when we're at indoor places (including home, see above), it's just funny. Today she wore them through most of Father's Day lunch. Last week we went to Publix, and she insisted on wearing them throughout our extended shopping visit. Of course, it was a Sunday and super-crowded, so naturally we had seen 4 people we knew before we even left the produce department. I am not sure how many times I had to explain, "She won't take them off," before we left the store!

Favorite thing I read this week
There was a nice little commentary piece in our local paper today written by a man from here who was at the Holocaust Museum when that nut went on a shooting spree. The writer had his 9-year-old son with him, trying to teach the unfortunate lesson of human hate. You can all appreciate the horrible irony yourselves, but read Brock Brinkerhoff's piece anyway (scan down to the final story on this linked page) http://www.al.com/opinion/birmingham/.

Favorite thing I saw this week
On a MUCH lighter note...without a doubt, the Indigo Girls' show at Birmingham's City Stages music festival on Friday was the best thing I saw this week. I've seen the Indigo Girls at least 7 times over the last 17 years, and they sound just as good, if not better, than they always have. We had great VIP passes too (thanks, Ann Dial M.), and side-stage / "meet & great"access, which only made the show better, because of the excellent view (and free drinks). I would have gotten the chance to meet the IGs too, but unfortuntely they cancelled their "meet & great." Oh well, what would I have said to them, anyway? "Nice to meet ya. Please play 'Galileo'"? Lame.

AND Happy Father's Day to all, and to all a good night.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Summer is here...

The summer semester is in full-swing, summer Mother's Day Out is up and running, and the HEAT has arrived, so it's safe to say that the summer is officially upon us. We spent this weekend at Lake Wehapa--lots of good food, good company, and good croquet.

Favorite thing AM did this week

Matthew got home from work one day this week, and was greeting AM as she played puzzles in her room. She looked up at him and said, "How's work?" Pretty cute of her, and just another reminder that our 22 month-old is hearing (and repeating!) everything we say these days!

Speaking of AM, she had a great time at the lake--she had friends there to play with, and she loved watching the crazy thunderstorms come across the water. The LOUD thunder didn't scare her too much at all. Here some photos of the aforementioned storms, and some of AM and company AM enjoying the croquet tournament.









AM, Jay, and Jake had their own "croquet" game going while the grown-ups played on the adjacent grass.

Favorite thing I read this week
In honor of summer term starting, I will give a little student anecdote...I have my Art History 101 students do a short assignment at the beginning of the term in which they choose a work of art from the textbook and write about what elements of art and design principles the artist used (i.e. line, color, shape, perspective, etc.). For extra credit they can also choose a work of art NOT in their textbook to write about. I didn't give them any parameters beyond that, and inevitably, one kid wrote about a painting of dogs playing poker, more specifically dogs cheating at poker. I had to give him full credit--it is a "work of art not in the textbook." I look forward to this kid's term paper on Velvet Elvis.

Favorite thing I saw this week
The first time I visted mymessymonkeys.com, I thought their fabulous prices on adorable kids' clothes were part of a special, end-of-the-spring sale. I was wrong! Last month I paid $50 (total) for 3 great smocked dresses for AM. I perused the site again today, and not only is there new merchandise up, but the prices are still remarkably low--most dresses are between $12 & $20. Moms, aunts, grandmommies, and anyone else who shops for kids should definitely visit this site. Plus, it's a Bham business, and I love to support the locals!

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Back in a routine

My summer class started this week, as did AM's summer Mother's Day Out program, so we are back into a somewhat normal routine. Definitely cannot complain about that.

Favorite thing AM did this week
AM loves the dollhouse that my parents gave her for Christmas. (If anyone is in the market for a dollhouse for a 1 - 3 year old, I highly recommend the Fisher Price "My First Dollhouse.") Her latest discovery within the dollhouse is the "doorbell." It doesn't actually ring, but that doesn't stop her from pushing it multiple times, and yelling at the top of her lungs, "Niiiing-noooong," which must be toddler-ese for ding-dong.

The dollhouse doesn't provide good angles for photos, but here are 2 shots of "ning-nong" in progress.
Favorite thing I read this week
Most of my reading this week consisted of reviewing lectures for the week's classes, and reading ahead for the next few month's classes. In a nutshell, not very exciting.
However, I suppose this counts as reading...we had a poker tournament here on Friday night, and reading my cards when I had a 4-of-a-kind was pretty great. We were down to just 2 players, and I think that hand gave me the edge, and I ended up winning the whole thing. Watch out, Annie Duke.
Favorite thing I watched/saw this week
Leading this category all week was Conan's first night on "The Tonight Show," but that was easily overtaken by the hilarious movie, The Hangover (playing now at a theatre near you). It is raunchy and crude, as a bachelor-party movie should be, but I cannot tell you how many times it had me and my friend Kristi laughing out loud. I told Matthew I would even go see it again--in a theatre. That's big-time funny.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Beach Edition



AM and I just got back from a glorious week at the beach with my parents. The weather was great, and AM really enjoyed playing in the pool and at the beach. She even got adventurous and would jump to us from the side of the pool. No fear.



Favorite thing AM did this week


This is difficult because she was so animated and fun at the beach. She drew in the sand, sang in her bed, talked constantly to a baby doll that was once mine. But I'll narrow it down here...one thing she started doing that made us all giggle was carrying her various sippy cups between her legs...or trying to. Don't know where this came from, and it was hard to capture on film because it never lasted long.
(And no, I don't normally let my child walk around in only a diaper cover, but she was being elusive during dressing time.)



Also this week, watching AM play in the dancing fountains at Seacrest was funny. Again--no fear.





Favorite thing I read this week


I must say, I get very bored during the 5 hour drive between my house and the beach. Today, I made a point to look at all of the road/street signs that I encounter on my rural route. I found 2 favorites: Sparkleberry Road (What exactly is a sparkleberry, and can I buy some sparkleberry jam?), and Doodles Forest Road (How can you ever be sad if you live on Doodles Forest Road? As Liz Lemon would say, "I want to go to there.").




Favorite thing I watched this week


This is jumping the gun, and perhaps putting a jinx on them, but I HOPE my favorite thing I watch this week is the Denver Nuggets beating the LA Lakers tonight in Game 6 of the NBA West Finals. Go Nuggets! Not looking good right now, Nuggets trail 0-5.



Friday, May 22, 2009


It's been a busy week, but here are some highlights:

Favorite thing AM did this week:
Smiling is a big thing to do (on demand) these days, but somehow in her newly-formed mind, AM has equated closing her eyes (i.e. squinting really hard) with smiling. After many failed attempts, I have finally captured on the camera this smile/squint in all its glory. It cracks us up every time. Above is the photgraphic evidence.
Favorite thing I read this week:
Okay, so it's no literary triumph, but this website is hilarious, and was brought to my attention by my good friend Ashley. Enjoy, and hide those awful family photos before they fall into the wrong hands...http://awkwardfamilyphotos.com/
Favorite thing I saw/watched this week:
Mary Lucier is a fabulous contemporary video artist. Her video "The Plains of Sweet Regret," is both beautiful and haunting. Now on view at the Birmingham Museum of Art, this work gave me the chills, and brought me to tears, as it poetically speaks (with few words) of the abandonment of small towns in the Northern Plains of the US. The installation incorporates an entire room, and is engulfing to say the least. AM was even quiet as we watched!
I can't find the 18 min. video in its entirety on the web, but the North Dakota Museum of Art, http://www.ndmoa.com/temp/index.html has wonderful still images from it, and also includes the haunting music from the first section of the video. At the BMA's site, http://www.artsbma.org/exhibitions/mary-lucier, you can link to a podcast of a lecture by Lucier. The end of this podcast features the second half of the video, which is definitely worth watching online. It is set to--I know this sounds odd--a very dramatic remix of George Strait's "I Can Still Make Cheyenne." I'm no country music fanatic, but the way that this song has been altered, and then matched with the images from a rodeo are truly beautiful.
I could go on and on about this, and since it is up at the BMA until mid-July, I'll be back to view it again. I'll also be making my ARH 101 students see it this summer. Ah, there's nothing like spreading culture to those who are just looking for an easy A!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Okay, here goes...

It seems everyone is blogging these days. Never being one to miss a bandwagon, I've decided to jump on.
Objective 1: Find a theme of said blog. How about "My favorite things?" It's so easy to take things for granted these days, but hopefully, this blog will make me think about specific things each week that make me happy, make me laugh, make me a better person, or, at least, make me take a moment and think!
Objective II: I have always been one to require an outline in order to write anything (even a grocery list). The blog is no exception, so here we go:

I. Favorite thing done by AM this week: AM is in a very "mommy" phase. When Matthew comes home, she has lately been a little shy, a little (drama!) scared, and a little skittish ("no, no, no!" when he reaches for her). It makes him feel terrible, but we all know how toddlers can be. However, today, I was on the phone with Matthew while he was at work. She knew who I was talking to, and starts saying, "Daddy, Daddy!" I give her the phone, and she says, "Hi, Daddy! I lowe you." [translation, "I love you."] It almost brought my manly-man husband to tears to hear that sweet thing. Hence, my favorite thing she has done this week!

II. Favorite thing I read this week: Ok, this is a bit of a stretch since I read it months ago, but because I feel this strongly about it, my favorite thing is The Well and the Mine, by Gin Phillips. Not only is Gin a fellow BSC c/o 1997-er; she is extremely talented and her story reads like butter. I loved her characters, and when I was done with the book, I craved to know more about the people she had created. I am waiting with baited breath for her next book.

III. Favorite thing I saw this week: I need to say nothing further than JT on SNL. If you didn't see it, go to http://www.nbc.com/, and watch the funniest thing that SNL has produced this year. Classic Peg. If you don't get that last reference, just watch the Target sketch from the show.

And this is how it will be, folks. Nothing more, nothing less. Alice's favorite things, in so many words. And occasionally some photos, once I figure out how to do that.