Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

We've had a wonderful Christmas in our new home. I was neglectful today and didn't take enough pictures as we opened gifts and visited with family - a sign that I was really enjoying myself. If I remember to get the camera out, it usually means I'm bored. But I did take a lot of pictures of our decorations a few days ago, aren't you excited? Here's our tree in the day...

....and at night.
and closer up.

And the tree in our front room. We bought this artificial tree a few years back, but every year I can't resist buying a real one, so we end up with two trees.

Stockings hung by the chimney, and a sleepy dog in the corner.

The entry.

Sawyer was so excited this morning to find a basketball hoop from Grandma and Grandpa Watts.
He shoots...
and he scores!

We opened gifts (Eric: Battlestar Gallactica Blu-ray box set, Wii console; Me: food processor, Wii Fit; Sawyer: board games, V-Tech laptop, fort building set from Grandma Toone, books from SueSue and Granddad) and around 11:30 Erin, Robbie, Megan, Ryan, Caroline and Mary Grace came over. We had brunch together (egg casserole, cheese grits and monkey muffins) and then exchanged MORE presents. We were sad my grandfather couldn't make it - he had planned on coming but wasn't feeling well. After all the gift giving and visiting we were all tired so we put on a movie for Sawyer and Caroline upstairs and the grownups watched Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince. I say "watched", but really everyone but Eric and me fell asleep within the first 20 minutes. I got a cute shot of Ryan and MG:
Even Penny joined in on the napping. Once I took off her Christmas pajamas, that is. She was too humiliated to sleep while she had them on.

Pretty soon it was time for dinner.

We had standing rib roast with port gravy, garlic mashed potatoes, haricots verts, homemade rolls with creamed honey, and cranberry apple Jello salad. Dessert was my dad's famous ice cream pie (Ben and Jerry's New York Super Fudge Chunk ice cream smooshed into premade Oreo cookie crusts.) I meant to get a picture of all of us eating, but of course I forgot. But I think everyone enjoyed it, and we had a great time chatting and being together. I'm so glad we had family members close this year and we could spend time with them, especially Robbie who came all the way from Miami. We missed my parents and Tori and Tanne a lot, and Eric's family too - it's always hard that we can't see everyone every year.

The past year has brought lots of changes for our little family, and many new opportunities. Tonight I'm feeling very grateful for all I have - especially the people I love the most. Merry Christmas everyone!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Snow! Snow! and even more snow!

Last Saturday we had kind of a big snow storm. Kind of big as in the biggest storm in decades. The report for our area said we got 19", but because it was so windy we had drifts much deeper than that. Church was canceled, and the last two days of school before Christmas break were called off. They even shut down the federal government on Monday, although to be fair they have shut down the government for much less. I sure hope terrorists never figure out how to control the weather, because all it takes is a few inches of snow to bring us to our knees.

Here's our front yard as the snow was still falling. That dark figure in the background is Eric, shoveling our driveway for the third time that day.

This is what I found when I opened the front door. Our hiding front stoop (around 2.5 feet high) had just about disappeared.

This is what our deck looked like the next morning.

And here's a little boy who was very happy to get out of the house by Monday morning.

And a dog who hates the snow so much that she refused to go outside even to relieve herself. That was not fun. Thankfully, once we dug a path for her onto the deck she relented.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Favorites and Not-So-Favorites

It's that time of the year again, when everywhere you go stores are playing Christmas music. Or holiday music, if you're more inclined to celebrate Hannukah or Kwanzaa or Festivus (anyone know any Festivus carols?) I love most Christmas music, but if I really want to get in the mood (the Christmas mood, get your mind out of the gutter!) I'll listen to traditional hymns and carols. This one might be my all-time favorite.

Or this:

Lest you think I am a fuddy-duddy (did I really just type "fuddy-duddy"?) I do like some of the more modern offerings, like this:

And this:

And even this:

Now for the question I was thinking of as I started this post: If you could eliminate any Christmas song, completely get rid of it and never hear it again, which one would you choose?

I don't need to think about this one for very long; it would definitely be "The Little Drummer Boy." It is ridiculously repetitive and contains far too much onomatopoeia (although if I'm being honest, the only good onomatopoeia is NO onomatopoeia.) The only rendition that does it justice is Dwight Schrute's.

Friday, December 04, 2009

Christmas Confession

I am almost 32 years old, and part of me still wants an American Girl doll for Christmas. When I was a kid they only had the historical dolls representing various periods of American history, and I wanted a Kirsten doll something crazy. My friend Ashley had the Samantha doll with all the accessories and I practically boiled with jealousy every time we played with it. My parents never had the budget to get me a Kirsten - actually, I suspect that they could afford one Kirsten doll, but not five, and since I had four sisters it wouldn't really be fair for only me to get one. American Girl retired the Kirsten doll this year, so it's officially too late for my wish to come true.

Don't cry, I'll be OK. I'm getting a Wii.

But if I had a daughter, I would TOTALLY get her an American Girl doll, probably this one, even if she didn't want one, just so I could play with it too.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Let the Renovations Continue!

After taking a break from fixing-upping, I'm back in the saddle. On Saturday Eric installed our new kitchen faucet. We had been planning to wait until we could buy a new cast iron sink, but decided to go ahead with the faucet when the old one started dripping incessantly. Here's the old one (forgive the dirty dishes, I had just made rolls):

The pull-out sprayer was nice, but I've heard from a couple of different sources that they are well known for not being very durable. Here's the new one.

All of the hardware in the kitchen now matches! Yay!

Next up: Figuring out how to get a huge felt board off the wall in Sawyer's room, priming and painting the walls (I still haven't picked out a color, I'm going to Home Depot to pick up samples right now), and installing new baseboards. When that's done, we can move his furniture and toys in and we will finally have our master bedroom back! It's starting to feel ridiculous having our whole family sleep in one room with three empty bedrooms just sitting there. I have an iron wall hanging that will go above the pantry in the kitchen, and one that goes over the back door. I also have more curtains and rods coming for the family room - I decided we needed them on the windows next to the fireplace too. More befores and afters to come!

Monday, November 09, 2009


I'm one of the few that still thinks SNL is really, really funny, mostly because of Andy Samberg's digital shorts. I had to share this one.

Very topical as I just bought my tickets to see Twilight and New Moon next week the night of the premier. I can't wait!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Vegas Baby!

I just got back from a fabulous weekend in Las Vegas. Girls only. No kids. No husbands. No cooking, cleaning, picking up or dropping off. Just girl talk, good food, 85˚ weather, shopping, and less than 8 hours of cumulative sleep. It was amazing.

These are the girls I got to spend time with:

And this was the reason for it all:

This was my fifth time seeing Rob Thomas. It only takes once to realize that the guy is freakishly talented, and he puts everything he's got into each performance. This time was no different. It helped that we had second row seats, and that the Pearl (in the Palms Casino) is an amazing smallish venue. I didn't keep track of the set list, but luckily the lovely Tiburon of Shark Bait did it for me in great detail. She got lots of great video and much better pictures than my iPhone can produce (one of these days I'll get a compact digital camera - my Canon EOS never gets past security, which is a bummer, because I could get some pretty sweet shots with my long-focus lens. Oh well.) Here's the best shot I managed to get, during "Fire on the Mountain."

And another kind of cool one, I think this was during "Sunday Morning New York Blue."

I did get some pretty OK audio, although it takes me a few seconds to start recording so I cut off the beginning of these songs. (Also it took me a while to figure out that it was loud enough that I didn't need to hold my iPhone up to record. Just holding it in my lap while recording worked much better. Duh.)

My favorite moments of the evening were, predictably, the acoustic ones. He covered Tracy Chapman's "Baby Can I Hold You," which was a welcome surprise - I have always loved that song. He more than did it justice. If you listen closely you can hear Tiburon professing her love for Rob, and you can hear me singing along. I like to pretend I was up there on the stage singing with him. I'm weird.

"Baby Can I Hold You"

Rob explained that he had run into a couple that day who told him they got engaged at one of his concerts a couple of years before. They were in Las Vegas on their honeymoon and were at the concert that night. "Ever the Same" was their wedding song, and he dedicated it to them. It's a really sweet version.

"Ever the Same"

He also played "Smooth," which isn't quite as awesome without Santana, but is still one of the sexiest songs ever if you ask me. I like the classical guitar action on this one. (This video is from his Soundstage performance, not the show I was at, but it's almost the same arrangement. He had Zach Filkins, the guitarist from OneRepublic* accompany him.)

And I just have to post this because it highlights his best dance moves: the hip circle, the chest pat, the jump up and down in place, the crouch, and the point at the audience.

Although it is missing the finger twirl, demonstrated here (at around 1:04).

Seriously though, I love his dancing because he puts his entire body into his performance. The amount of passion he exudes is incredible. (I mean passion for music. Ahem.)

Sing to me Rob. Sing in my ear.

Thanks so much for an unbelievable weekend ladies! Thanks especially to the gorgeous Mindi of Word to Your Mother, whom I've never met but who let me have her ticket. I hope your generosity comes back to you in spades. Or in the form of free concert tickets. Or whatever you wish.

*Speaking of OneRepublic, they were the opening band. They were AMAZING. Ryan Tedder, the lead singer, has one of those voices that is even better live than recorded. He was jumping from microphone to keyboards to guitar and back, crooning and belting and generally blowing me away. I will be buying their new album for sure. Check them out, they are way more than just "Apologize."

Friday, September 25, 2009

Now Playing on my iPod...

Like a lot of people, I go through phases with the music I listen to. For the past few weeks I've been solidly in a Weepies phase. They are wonderful. Happy, thoughtful, wistful, melodic folk/pop. Here are a few of my favorites.

The first Weepies song I heard, which I still think is one of their best.

Here's the song I wish we had danced to at our wedding. (And in case you're curious, here's the song we actually danced to. I know, SO cheesy, but it's meaningful to us from our high school days, and it hit the radio waves in 1993, the year we met. Please don't judge me.)

And one more for good measure - I sing this one all day long. It's Eric's favorite.

Now it's your turn. What are you listening to these days?

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Babies and Daddies

Waiting for the bus yesterday:

Sawyer: Look, Mama, look at all the baby lions!

Me: mean dandelions?

Sawyer: Yeah, Daddy lions!

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

First Day of School

At 10:15 this morning Sawyer climbed on the school bus for the very first time. He's attending an ECSE (early childhood special education) preschool class that meets at an elementary school. We were nervous about how he would take to the bus since he sometimes has a hard time separating from mom, but he did great and didn't cry at all. As he climbed up the steps he proudly told the bus driver "Sawyer's a big boy!" The one moment that had me worried was when he stopped at the top of the steps and turned around to see if I was following him, and when he saw that I wasn't he said "Mama?" and looked crestfallen. But the assistant helped him get buckled into his seat and soon he was telling her all about the chocolate milk in his lunch box. I didn't get any pictures of him actually getting on the bus (I was too focused on keeping myself together until he was gone!) but we took some pictures on the front stoop.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Mario Pepsi

I'm not sure how this is related to Labor Day, but I like it!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Yo Gabba Gabba=Freakiest Show Ever

This is Sawyer while watching Yo Gabba Gabba for the first time.

He had the same expression on his face (disbelief mixed with intrigue mixed with fear) for about five minutes, then he turned to me and said "watch Diego?"

UPDATE: For the past two mornings Sawyer has asked for Yo Gabba Gabba immediately after waking up. He loves it now! I guess it grew on him.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

I love this kid

This got forwarded to me and I had to repost. In about 14 years the clubs won't know what hit them.

By the way, the little girl pretty much looks like me when I'm dancing, only I'm much older and fatter. HOT.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

iPod Song Lyrics Shuffle

I'm a sucker for iPod memes!

Here's how this one works:

1. Put your iPod/MP3 player on shuffle
2. Write the first line[ish] to the first 25 songs
3. Put an astrix next to it or cross it out when someone guesses one right
4. Put your guesses in a comment.
5. Looking them up on Google (or any other search engine) is CHEATING [but I don't really care if you do, as a last resort. :D ]


1. Well the truth it fell so heavy, like a hammer through the room, that I could choose another over her Ray LaMontagne "Lesson Learned"

2. Worms don't dance, they haven't got the balls, no matter how do you do, it's just you do that's all

3. Sweetness, sweetness I was only joking when I said I'd like to smash every tooth in your head The Smiths "Bigmouth Strikes Again"

4. I went looking for someone I left behind, yeah but no one, just a stranger did I find

5. I can feel the earth begin to move, I hear my needle hit the groove, and spiral through another day

6. Tarzan wasn't a ladies man, he'd just come along and scoop'em under his arm like that

7. There's strange weather in the back of the room, and she's pretty Jessie's spinning the tunes

8. Been up all night staring at you, wondering what's on your mind

9. My friend and me looking through her red box of memories, faded I'm sure, but love seems to stick in her veins you know

10. I can't help my feelings, I'll go out of my mind, these players come to get me 'cause they'd like my behind Weezer "Hash Pipe"

11. I remember it well, the first time that I saw your head 'round the door, cause mine stopped working

12. Come in, come in, come in to my world I've got to show, show, show you

13. Goodbye, goodbye, every day I look across the office floor, there you were, your hair down to your legs and your legs down to the floor Flight of the Conchords, "Leggy Blonde"

14. Galileo's head was on the block, the crime was looking up the truth Indigo Girls "Galileo"

15. Nothing here to fear, I'm just sitting around being foolish when there is work to be done

16. You know and I've been wondering, you know all the way home, whether the world will see I'm a better man than others by far

17. I don't feel as if I know you, you take up all my time, the days are long and the nights will blow you away cause the sun don't shine

18. Paul is making me nervous, Paul is making me scared

19. Those who are dead are not dead, they're just living in my head

20. Take the sky for example, a canvas of a billion suns, but our local hero shines them out by day The Weepies "Hideaway"

21. You say adjust your heels girl, they stick out like an anchor, and don't touch the flowers cause you can't hear them well

22. My life's like a migrant's, there's not a moment of silence, and so I take up my time with you

23. I guess I'm alright, guess I'm alright, I guess I'm doing fine, guess I'm doing fine

24. On the way home, this car hears my confessions, I think tonight I'll take the long way

25. I'm packed and I'm holding, I'm smiling, she's living, she's golden Third Eye Blind "Semi-Charmed Life" (BTW if you don't know all the lyrics to this song, you probably don't want to.)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Overheard in the Ward

I have a new favorite Mormon blog: Overheard in the Ward . It's like the great Overheard in New York but without all the profanity. Enjoy!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Yard Stuff

One thing we learned quickly is that buying a house with a big yard = doing a lot of yard work. We've been spending a lot of time outside. I love it. I can't seem to keep up with the weeds, but I guess we're going for a "natural" look. Yeah, that's it. Anyway, here are some pictures of what we've been doing.

Here's the front flower bed before:
I wish I had remembered to take a picture before we started weeding, because this whole area was completely covered in weeds. You couldn't even see the brick pavers. We couldn't tell what was a weed and what was a "real" plant, so we decided to start from (almost) scratch. At this point we had ripped out pretty much everything except for the hostas and a large bush. Eric is in the process of cutting down a tree that was blocking the front windows.

Here are the flowers I've put in:
In the forefront are vincas (annuals) and behind those are blanket flowers (perennials.)

I repurposed the off-white planters that were on the stoop - you can see one in the first picture, they were pretty shabby looking. I gave them a good scrubbing and painted them black. Here's a closeup of one, surrounded by my container herbs - sage, thyme, basil and parsley. I moved them out front because that way I remember to water them!

And the front stoop from farther back (I should have taken down that flier in the door, whoops.)

Next steps: Replacing the brass lights and house numbers (that's pretty much the theme of all our decorating in this house!) and get a new welcome mat that won't fade in the sun.

This is a before picture that's prettier than the after, because it's not blooming anymore.
Sawyer watering the giant hosta. It's doing great considering it was neglected for a year. I love its blooms. You can see the black-eyed Susan I tried to plant right in front of him but it doesn't look like it's going to make it.

I hung some geraniums in baskets on the pergola in front of the house. I've loved red geraniums ever since my mission - all the houses in French villages have them in their window boxes in the spring.

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