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. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZoozPAJPlA

And Otto LOVES Elmo. He tries to dance with our Hokey-pokey Elmo, but his inability to dance holds him back a bit. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=COxmSSMZCd4

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, http://www.landofnod.com/family.aspx?c=10575&f=4819, 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, http://www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=42228219047)!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Weekend in Albany (not New York)

Last weekend we drove down to Albany, Georgia, for my cousin's wedding. It was beautiful! They had it outside, which was risky in late November, but it turned out great. Of course, AM had a great time running around with her cousin Frances, who is 2 1/2. We couldn't get too many pictures of them because they stayed in almost constant motion, as evidenced by these final pictures...

Also, while we were in Albany, we all took AM (and Otto, though he stayed in the pumpkin seat) to a park on the Flint River. It was a fabulous park, and the playground was perfect for AM. The park is adjacent to the Riverquarium, so the "theme" of the park is turtles. In addition to the very large turtle to climb on, there are also river/turtle-themed mosaics throughout. Also, there are bigger-than-life xylophones that AM and her daddy enjoyed...nothing like making music for the entire park to hear!
Giant turtle! Groovy mosaics!
Jungle gym! A roller-slide!
Giant xylophones!
Favorite thing that happened this week
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! We had a great Thanksgiving "feast" as AM called it with lots of family. AM was pretty good about trying lots of different things, but by far her favorite thing was deviled eggs. I think it's pretty strange that a three-year-old likes deviled eggs, but since then she has even asked for them for breakfast! Ick.

Friday, November 19, 2010

It's been a long while!

I don't know why I have ignored the blog for (ahem) 6 months or so, but I am now back with a vow to be a better blogger. First thing's first, here are some recent photos. The first ones are of AM's Thanksgiving play at school. Her part was one of the "cookers," as she told me. The other pictures are just some I took of Otto in his walker the other day. He was being especially smiley, as he usually is when in his walker.

Favorite thing AM is now doing

I am loving two new things recently introduced to 3-year-old AM -- drop-off birthday parties and playdates. As I type this, AM has a little friend over. They are busying themselves by ridding the house of the Big Bad Wolf, and I am free to do whatever it is that I do. What a huge help to moms!

Favorite thing Otto is now doing

I am amazed at how fast Otto has turned from a stationary baby to a mover. He is practically crawling (not in a traditional sense, but he definitely gets from point A to point B), and loves to pull up to standing. He's six and a half months old, so I think I will have an early walker. Unless, of course, he becomes content to simply crawl.

Happy early Thanksgiving to everyone!

Sunday, June 6, 2010


A New Favorite
On May 4, 2010, we welcomed our newest addition...baby Otto! He came in weighing 6 lbs, 12 oz, but at one month is already up to 9 lbs, 6.5 oz--that's a weigh gain of almost 2 oz a day! In addition to eating like a champ, Otto is a sweet, sweet baby. He sleeps like a rock, just not for 12 consecutive hours yet. Last night he went 5 hours though, so we are hopeful that an 8 hour night is on the horizon. Here are some photos...

Favorite thing AM did this week
AM really does love her baby brother, and relishes her all-important role as big sister. I think her favorite thing to do (and my favorite to watch her do) is get right up in Otto's face and say, "You are a cutie, Otto, yes you are!" I guess she's heard us say that, or someone say it, and she says it to him all the time. I need to get it on video.

In an unrelated note, perhaps we watch too much TV in our house as evidenced by this tale. Matthew and I were talking about something (can't remember what), and I made the statement, "That's smart." AM heard this, and piped up, "That's K-mart smart!" in imitation of the ubiquitous commercials for the blue-light bargain superstore. Maybe we should shut the TV down for a while. Hmmm, just to be realistic, that's probably not going to happen.

Favorite thing I saw this week
In exchange for an afternoon of golf Saturday, Matthew kept both kids on Sunday while I went to see Get Him to the Greek with Kristi. And again, I must comment on other people's odd theatre etiquette. We were the first ones in the theatre, and as we're waiting for the movie to start a couple comes in and sits right behind us. I mean the entire theatre was empty--why would you want to sit directly behind the only two people there?! But regarding the movie, it was funnier than we expected it to be. Russell Brand was his usual obnoxious self, but Jonah Hill was exeptionally funny.

Favorite thing I read this week
In general, these days I'm a little too sleepy to read too much, but I did finish Grisham's Ford County (the last two stories are the best in the bunch), and started Warren St. John's Outcasts United--in honor of the World Cup! So far, pretty good. http://www.amazon.com/Outcasts-United-American-Refugee-Difference/dp/0385522045/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1275873650&sr=8-1

Other notes...
We have received so many great baby gifts since Otto arrived. We love them all--cute burp cloths, funny stuffed animals, gorgeous daygowns, Trumpette socks, sweet baby clothes, and much more! One of my favorite gifts were these adorable stamps for both Otto and AM. My cousin's wife is a graphic designer for Fontaine Maury, http://www.fontainemaury.com/, which makes incredible things, including these. AM has already stamped her name into some of her books, but I know we'll be using these for much more soon!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Report cards, library ghosts, bad ads, and cute cards

Favorite thing AM did this week

Now that the school year is almost over, AM has received her end-of-the-year assessment (a.k.a. report card). She has made great strides in "staying in her assigned center," "responding well to discipline and guidance," and "hopping on one foot." She still made a T (which translates to "I'm Still Trying") in "Drawing a face (proportion not required)," but as I asked in October, what 2-year-old can draw a face? We're doing good to even get stickers on the right places on a picture of a face, let alone draw it herself. Can't wait to see what the 3-year-old assessment tackles next year!

Favorite thing I read this week

On the cover of the Local section of The Birmingham News this morning was the following headline, "Paranormal group may search library for ghosts." Apparently the Homewood Library, which we frequent, has had reports of "strange occurrences" for several years, and it has even been written about in Stories from the Haunted South by Alan Brown. The voices of old women have been reported, as have flickering lights, and floating metal rods (not sure what a library needs with metal rods). As I said, we go to this library pretty often (including today), and I can't say that I have seen any of the described occurrences. I will say, however, that the pet mice in the children's room are very loud with their digging and such, and the fish in the aquarium are have a shifty look to them.

(Least) Favorite thing I saw this week

It's campaign time in Alabama. And with no less than 7 people running for governor, and an untold number vying for various supporting state roles, the TV ads are in full swing, as only they can be in Alabama.

In reference to these, for those of you who don't live in Alabama or within broadcast range of an Alabama TV station, I apologize for the national attention being given to this ad, and thus you having to watch it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9ohsvJHkbY. For those of you who do live in our great state, or who can see this ad just across the state line, I commiserate with you, for having to suffer through it during what seems like every commercial break on every channel. I don't disagree with Candidate James' point (only give the driver's license exam in English), but I can't stand his delivery. And, the fact that all of these national outlets are picking this up (MSNBC, Yahoo), is just a bit embarassing. The only worse ads that are playing right now are these by the esteemed Roy Moore (scan down his home page, if you can stomach it): http://www.moore2010.com/.

Favorite thing I saw this week

Actually, it was a few weeks ago, but nevertheless...AM received the cutest Easter card from her Aunt Ann. I had to check out the company's other offerings, http://www.driscolldesign.com/. Click on their website to see the adorable cards and paper products they make!

Baby countdown...

Officially I still have 11 days to go, but good old Dr. Sharp has suggested I be induced early (yea!), so it looks like I have more like 6 days to go. I apologize in advance to the ice cream industry in Alabama, as they may notice a dip in sales after my delivery date.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Favorite thing AM did this week
AM is still getting geared up for her little brother's arrival in a few weeks. She likes to watch my stomach move, and sometimes tells me (and others) how her baby in moving her tummy too. Last week, as she was getting her hair cut, she looked down at the cape covering her, and said, "Hey! My baby is moving!" loud enough for half of the salon to hear.

AM has, despite her protests, begun to potty train. She had an accident last week, and for at least five minutes afterwards repeated, "I can't believe it, I can't believe it," with the most doom-and-gloom in her voice you have ever heard. I didn't fuss at her about the tinkle all over the dining room floor, but she still felt the need to be melancholy over it, to a bit of an extreme. Drama!

Favorite thing I saw this week
The ONB Magic City Art Connection is going on this weekend in Birmingham. http://www.magiccityart.com/ The potential for bad weather has called it off for tomorrow, but they will be back in full swing on Sunday. I went today, and found cute prints for AM's "big girl" room by an artist from New Orleans, Rhonda Corley. http://www.rhondacorley.com/
Her site has images of the prints I bought, check out "Letting Go," and "Big Poofy Dress."

Favorite thing I read this week
I finished Monuments Men, which was excellent, even though a little tedious at points. I started John Grisham's book of short stories, Ford County, which is fine so far. I haven't read a Grisham novel in about 10 years because I felt they were so repetitive. These short stories don't seem to be repetitive so far, and the characters are interesting, but straightforward. It's a fast read though. If I can still make it to the gym this week, I might even finish it on the treadmill.

Favorite thing I ate this week
One word, Dreamcakes. Our friend Jeanne introduced these fabulous cupcakes to us at our friend Dianna's ??th birthday last week. They are incredible. Why, you ask? They are injected with delicious frosting. My children's consignment shop is conveniently located next door to the bakery, so yesterday after getting my consignment check (woohoo!), I stopped in for a treat. I'm not sure that even being 38 weeks pregnant can justify eating that much sugar, but I did not care. Here is their site, with pictures of their adorable store! http://www.dreamcakes-bakery.com/home.html

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Favorite thing AM did this week
AM's imagination is running wild with the impending arrival of her little brother. She pretends to "play" with him all the time, and loves to put him in his bouncy seat. I think this is a good sign of what's to come, but we will see....
One more note, today AM told me she ate all her lunch at school (which she did), and that she "deserved a treat." Not sure if she really knows what "deserve" means, but at least she used it in the correct context.

Favorite thing I saw this week
I've been quite the ebay seller lately, and that has led to numerous trips to the post office. While there last week I saw these nifty new stamps that pay homage to the American Abstract Expressionists of the 1950s or so. Yahoo to the USPS for having some taste! https://shop.usps.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10001&storeId=10052&productId=10006680&langId=-1&parent_category_rn=10000003&top_category=10000003&categoryId=10000068&top=&currentPage=0&sort=&viewAll=N&rn=CategoriesDisplay&WT.ac=10006680

Favorite thing I read this week
The Bham News had a cute article about my friend Blair's family's annual Easter Egg Hunt last week. It focused on Mrs. Goodhew's fabulous cookies, which are as good as the article makes them sound!

Favorite thing I ate this week
I am obsessed with Nature Valley's Sweet & Salty Nut granola bars. Especially the pecan variety. I know as far as being a healthy snack, they really aren't all that great, but they sure taste good...and I'm at the point where taste is pretty important. After the baby is born we'll worry about health, right?


Tuesday, March 9, 2010


Favorite thing AM did this week
AM has suddenly become extremely attached to a very specific 8 of her dolls/stuffed animals. She refers to these 8 as "her babies," and carries them all around the house together (or has me or Matthew carry them together). Amazingly, 99% of the time, all 8 remain together; she rarely has a straggler. The 8 are a random assortment, including a Corduroy Bear, a Baby Huggums, a dollar-store doll with an unfortinate haircut (we refer to her as Baby Choppy), and a Victoria doll that was mine as a baby, among others. She sleeps with all 8 of them, sits them all at the dining room table for breakfast, and insists they all watch TV with her on our bed during her afternoon quiet time. I am dreading having to take all 8 "babies" with us when we go out of town...

Favorite thing I watched this week
1) The Hurt Locker beats up on Avatar at the Oscars. You go, Kathryn Bigelow!
2) Parenthood on NBC. Okay, the pilot was pretty predictable, but the characters were surprisingly likable, and it was pretty fast-paced, which is a must for me in an hour-long show (we all know how I prefer the 30 minute format).

Favorite thing I read this week
I have started Monuments Men by Robert Edsel. It's about the US and British forces during WWII who went in and recovered artworks looted by the Nazis (or as Brad Pitt would say in Inglorious Basterds, "Nat-Sies"), and worked to preserve tons of buildings damaged by wartime bombs. It's pretty interesting, though long. I expect this one to take me a while. http://www.monumentsmenfoundation.org/

Favorite thing I ate this week
Just like during my other pregnancy, all I want is PB & J. Could eat it 3 meals a day. Even now, though I have had dinner, I could eat a half of a PB & J sandwich. Last time I also craved Cheetos. This time it's Cool Ranch Doritos. Crazy, and a little gross.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Crazy Heart and crazy movie-goers

Favorite thing AM did this week
We've been watching a fair amount of the Olympics lately (Go USA!). AM has gotten pretty efficient at calling out the names of the sports at their basic level (skiing! skating! hockey!). She doesn't quite differentiate between the speed skating and the figure skating, or between moguls and the downhill yet, but that will come. Tonight we were watching snowboarding, which she actually referred to as "flying," and they interviewed Sean White after his run. She looked at him for a while and said, "That woman is a skiier who talks like a man!" I had to explain that men could have long hair (I could just show her a photo of her dad and his friends in high school, but I'll wait; that could be too shocking).

Favorite thing I saw this week
We saw Crazy Heart last weekend, and Jeff Bridges is worthy of all the praise. He is incredible as Bad Blake, the washed-up, drunk country singer-songwriter. Also really good are Maggie Gyllenhaal, Robert Duvall (of course), and Colin Ferrell (his American accent is fine, and his singing is actually pretty good!). The movie itself is good too, but the performances reign. I really hope Jeff Bridges wins the Oscar. If Clooney wins for Up in the Air, I'll throw up.

In a related story, as my friend Kristi and I were enjoying the first 15 minutes of Crazy Heart, this woman walks in the theatre late. Kristi was sitting on the aisle seat (keep in mind that the theatre was not at all empty, I think there were people almost directly in front of and behind us), and this woman stops at Kristi's seat as she's climbing the stairs and asks her what has happened so far. Kristi, too nice to not give her a quick summary, tells her something really fast about Bad Blake showing up for a gig drunk; meanwhile, I'm next to her trying to stifle my laughter. I mean, who asks strangers to summarzie what they missed in movies?!

Favorite thing I read this week
The final sale price of my Wedgwood stickpin on ebay--$66.00! I've never had much luck selling things on ebay, but maybe my luck is changing. Or maybe there's just a larger than I anticipated market for Wedgwood jewelry. Too bad I don't have anymore...

Favorite thing I ate this week
daniel george (www.danielgeorgerestaurant.com), one of our favorite eateries in Birmingham, is now open for lunch. Snow delayed our Valentine lunch we had scheduled for Friday to Monday, but daniel george did not disappoint. So glad Mt. Brook Village has another yummy lunch alternative, especially since the closing of Browdy's (R.I.P.).

Sunday, January 24, 2010

January Madness

Favorite thing AM did this week
In a sign that we watched and read too much Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer this Christmas, AM has decided to name her soon-to-arrive baby brother "Baby Abominable Snow Monster." I'm hoping that by the time May rolls along, she will have forgotten this moniker, but I am not counting on it.

Favorite thing I watched this week
To celebrate our anniversary last weekend, Matthew and I headed to Atlanta to see a Hawks game. We had great seats (stubhub.com), and stayed at the Omni, which is adjacent to Phillips Arena (translation, we didn't even have to walk outside to get from our room to the game). Plus, the game turned out to be excellent. Although we aren't big Hawks fans or anything, it was still fun to cheer for the home team. They were behind most of the 4th quarter, but made a 3-pointer at the buzzer to beat the Suns by 1 point. And the crowd went wild.

In keeping with the basketball theme, this weekend, we got to use one of Matthew's Christmas presents--tickets to the Alabama vs. Miss. St. basketball game in Tuscaloosa. Surprisingly, though they were not at all favored, the Tide won. And the crowd went wild.

Because all I've done lately is watch things...
I saw Up in the Air and The Blindside recently (yes, I am feeling the pressure to see the likely Oscar picks). Up in the Air was okay, definitely not as good as I had hoped. I don't get a big kick out of George Clooney, so that might have been part of the problem. However, in supporting roles, Jason Bateman and Vera Farmiga were great.
The Blindside was as expected. Sad, then happy. Sandra is good. Tim McGraw is minor. Football coaches can't act. Especially Ed Orgeron (apparently he's better at cheating, though he doesn't do that in this movie, that came later).

Best thing I saw this week
After we left Atlanta last weekend, we drove up to Mentone, AL, located in the foothills of the Appalachians, along Lookout Mountain. It was beautiful, especially with the ice from all of the cold weather we've been having. Here are a few pictures of nearby Little River Canyon.

Best thing I ate this week
In Mentone we had dinner at the Wildflower Cafe, http://www.mentonewildflower.com/index.html. It was great. Matthew had a piece of prime rib that was at least a foot in diameter. I had a shrimp and pasta dish that was thankfully smaller than the meat dish. Dessert was banana bread with Wright Dairy vanilla ice cream. Love that Wright Dairy. I might have to go for a tour. http://www.wrightdairy.com/

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Happy New Year!

Favorite thing AM did this week(s)

We all had a great Christmas--saw lots of family, ate lots of food, and rested some too. AM was great, and enjoyed everything about it. Of course, she got too many presents, but so far, has not shown any signs of being too spoiled by this.
She loves her new Madeline floor puzzle, and somehow got it in her head that having a spatula (yes, a spatula) really helps when doing puzzles. On Christmas afternoon she asked my mom if she could see her flower spatula (a gift from AM--http://www.crateandbarrel.com/search.aspx?query=flower%20spatula). My mom got it for her, but we didn't know why she needed it. Until she got her puzzle out, and as soon as she found two pieces that went together, she would smack them into place with the spatula. I wish I had gotten a picture of it, but you'll have to use your imagination!
Here are some pictures Matthew snapped on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning...

Leaving milk and cookie (just one, she's stingy) for Santa.

Finding her stocking!

Santa came!

After Christmas we went to the beach for a few days. AM had fun in the (relative) warm weather, and even got in the (heated) pool with her Grandado and Unca Bob.

Favorite thing I read this week
I finished Guernsey over the holiday, and then read one of my Christmas gifts, Wally Lamb's Wishin' and Hopin' (http://www.amazon.com/Wishin-Hopin-Christmas-Wally-Lamb/dp/006194100X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1262810907&sr=1-1) in about 48 hours. That's a record for me! But this short little book was so good, I couldn't stop reading. It revolves around 5th grader Felix Funicello, and takes place in a Connecticut parochial school in the early 1960s. Felix's 3rd cousin Annette is the family's claim to fame, but the book is a coming-of-age tale about Felix. A French substitute teacher, a dirty joke being told on live television, the National Pillsbury Bake-Off, a new Russian student at the height of the Red Scare, and a new take on the school's traditional Christmas program..hilarity ensues.
Favorite thing I watched this week
Hopefully tomorrow night's BCS Championship will be the best...Roll Tide!
Favorite thing I ate this week
Too many things to list them all, but here are some highlights from the holidays...
Aunt Ann's Sweet and Salty Pecans (to die for!)
Poppyseed cake (I like to call this Poppyseed Bread in an effort to make it sound less like dessert, and more like an acceptable breakfast)
Prime Rib with potatoes (twice!)
Mom's / Gramdma's Sugar Cookies
Toblerone (why do I only eat this at Christmastime?)
Blackened Grouper and Panne Chicken from the Red Bar (Grayton Beach)
Prosciutto and Mozzeralla sandwich from Wild Olives (Rosemary Beach)