Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Happy National Doctors' Day



It's National Doctors' Day today.

There are a lot of misconceptions out there about doctors.
We have often thought about writing a post about them.

It's a grueling job - mentally, physically, and emotionally.
It's often a thankless profession.

The word "Doctor" can evoke
looks of respect
or looks of disdain.

The common social supposition for many
when they find out that someone is a doctor
is to automatically assume that that person
is extremely wealthy
(or, in some cases, that they want to see their rash).

It's a scary job --
they pretty much terrify you in med school
about the possibility of getting sued.

And it takes many, many, many years
of education and loans and work and debt
to become a doctor.

It can also a rewarding job--
people tend to be very grateful for helping them
(if they're not blaming you for hurting them).

See, I think the TV show Scrubs
really captured it best -- it's a total mix
of both hard and wonderful emotions.

We have countless stories from our own experiences
with med school, residency, and post-residency life --
grueling stories about the journey itself,
amazing stories about healing,
sad stories about hurts and heartaches,
heart warming stories about kindness,
funny stories about patients of all kinds.

9 years ago today,
a physician performed open heart surgery on my Dad.
It was one of the scariest
and most difficult days of my life
as my father teetered on the edge
of life and death.

Thankfully, he lived so we could enjoy 5 1/2 more years
with him here with us.

I know first hand, as the wife of a physician,
it's not one bit an easy path.

It's one of those things that you simply don't understand
unless you've been there yourself --
that goes for the physician's spouse as well as the physician,
as many of our friends can attest.

I cannot begin to list the hours of work and study
that Mark has put in to get to where he is
and I cannot begin to list the hours he puts in now that he's there.

The years of work and debt involved
make you question and second guess its worth.

I know that often there are many other things
he'd probably rather be doing,
but I know that he also enjoys what he does.

And either way, I know he does it all for us.
The beautiful life we have for our family
is what it is in large part because of Mark's hard work
and love for us.

----------

So, today, on National Doctors' Day,
I want to pay tribute to my favorite doctor
in the whole world.

Because I know there are times he wonders
about having chosen this profession.

Because I know we often question this career path.

Because I know we often stress
about our student loans to get here.

Because I know we often talk about
the overhead we pay to even have
the privilege of working as a doctor.

But I also know that we wouldn't have the
freedom, flexibility, and time together
that we have if it weren't for this path.

I know that this is part of our journey as a family
and that it shapes us in many ways.

I know that he is wonderful at what he does.

I know that he has the courage to take a different path
than what's expected and carve out our own way in this.

I know that he has the smarts and creativity necessary
to run our own clinic and his own consulting practice.

I know that he has the work ethic to pick up
extra moonlighting gigs to help us in our financial goals.

I know that he has the balance to enjoy what he does
but always put our family first.

I know that he's a pro at managing his work
so that we don't ever feel slighted as a family.

And I know that his courage to think outside the box
is what has made so much difference
in our living authentically and congruently
with who we are as individuals and as a family.

I know that even with the recognition, honors, and praise
he receives from the community, patients, and colleagues,
he probably doesn't get enough thank yous
and kudos for the work he does.

So, happy National Doctors' Day!

And, thank you, Sweetie, for everything.

American Idol Recap (and I'm not holding back)

Okay, so I didn't blog AI reviews at all this past week because I was more excited about enjoying our house guests. :)

Here's my mini recap of the results from the week before (yeah, didn't do those either, because I was having a very blah and down week and, lucky girl that I am, I have a dear friend who could tell and so she showed up at our house around 11pm with a box of donuts and stayed up with me until 2am -- how awesome is that?). Sorry, that trumps blogging, too.

So, results from 2 weeks ago in a nutshell:

Why was Jacob grabbing his crotch while singing in that horrible group number that made me wonder if this is the Worst Top 12 ever??

AI got all "Oprah" with CDs under the chairs.

Ryan has lost his mojo. He just doesn't care. He should've gone with Cowell to X Factor.

I love the funny clips about all the idols. Nice touch this year.

After the commercial break, Ryan says, "Here comes the tough part," to which my husband says, "I thought the group number was the tough part."

Ryan asks the judges what the contestants can do about pitch. Uh, is "Sing well" too simplistic?

Steven Tyler is wearing my mom's shiny purple top. The one she saves for weddings.

Haley, in turn, is wearing Steven's feather necklaces and earrings.

And I kid you not, dear readers, this is straight from my notes (Yes, I take notes. Shut it.):

"This stupid save makes me wish the good singers were in the bottom 3. As if it's not tedious enough to hear them the first night they suck, we have to do it again."

I also wrote this:

"The stupid save is stupid anyway. The truly good (read: potential winners) are never at risk of going home. It doesn't work."

All right, I'll say it. I have no problem admitting when I'm mistaken. I WAS WRONG. But back to the previous week . . .

Pia means "sink" in Portuguese.

Thia says she's not just a ballad singer. Hmmm. Like they tell writers: Show; don't tell.

I love watching the Black-Eyed Peas. Fergie looks SO different. Has she EVER worn a dress?!?

Hasta la vista, Karen!

-------------------

An even smaller nutshell:

Motown week was, as it usually is, AWESOME for all contestants but the country kid (it's okay -- that happens every year -- he'll be fine). Loved it, loved it.

Here it is, a full week later and what stands out most in my mind is Jacob's AMAZING performance. Oh, and Naima's manic African dancing. WTH??

But overall it was really, really good.

--------------------

Tinier nutshell still - Results of Motown Week:

Casey was the bottom vote. GASP!! Casey got saved. HURRAY! Best use of the save ever.

---------------------

On to tonight's Elton John themed night (no more nutshells) . . .

Scotty - Country Comfort

To my knowledge, I had never heard that song before. It was a little off, but he had a cute shout out to grandma. It was probably the best song he could do and it was just alright and a little dull, but he got heaps of praise anyway. Shrug.

Naima - I'm Still Standing

Damn it, she is. But thank god she's not manically dancing. Why is she still here?? You could tell the producers didn't even like it. I like that they're getting less sugar-coated in their comments. She started by talking in a Jamaican accent, which I found off-putting because, um, she's not Jamaican. I was ready for 4 guys to walk on stage and hit her on the head with a bobsled and remind her that she's from Chicago. That being said, I hate to admit it, but I think it kind of worked (the reggae arrangement, not the accent). It's a good thing Steven is concise because the other two don't shut up and are constantly interrupting each other. Boom chakalaka chakalaka!

Paul - Rocket Man

So smooth. So cool. So great. Love him. The judges turned into an episode of The View (thank you, Mark).

Pia - Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me

How predictable. Another ballad. UGH!! After that intro, I thought she was going to do something really amazing that made us go, "Oh wow. Okay. It's okay that she did another ballad." But nope. She walked out of a giant Acapulco sunset postcard onto the stage and did her usual -- effortless singing of yet another bleepin' ballad. That song is WAY overdone on Idol Yawn. Randy caved to peer pressure and didn't stick to his guns. It's okay, Randy. America agrees with you. She DOES need to sing something else.

Stefano - Tiny Dancer


He reminds me of Joey from Friends. Which is appropriate since this is one of my favorite lines from Friends:





Stefano is keeping his eyes open so now instead of looking asleep, he looks constipated.

And see? I told you his Dad was Howie Mandel!

Lauren - Candle in the Wind

She was off and flat at the beginning, but yet the song overall was sort of nice. Hideous dress, though -- both the one at the photo shoot and the one on stage tonight. Plus she did that weird senior-high-school-girl-in-a-strapless-dress-at-prom-jiggling-up-the-dress-on-the-sides-of-her-breasts move. Yuck. I'll give credit where due -- she at least mixed it up, unlike Pia. But she's weird. Don't interview her.

James - Saturday Night's All Right

Not sure if I liked it. Is he really consummate enough to throw mic stands and jump on baby grand pianos and set things on fire? I don't think so. It had nice parts, but this song is more pop rock than heavy rock so it felt at times karaoke and other times overdone. And in the interview he upset Michael Jackson fans and Coke Sponsors. Nice.

Thia - Daniel

It was way too low for her. I didn't love it. It didn't suit her.

Casey - Your Song

Okay, let me preface this by saying that I truly believe that Elton John's "Your Song" is one of, if not THE greatest and most beautiful love songs ever written (and the Moulin Rouge version is my favorite). I LOVE this song. I was pleased that one of my favorite songs was sung by one of my favorite contestants. I think Paul could've done a wonderful job with it, too. Casey did a nice job. It was lovely, intimate, and well done. The stars all around him were a nice touch. No one doubts that they did the right thing in saving him. Well done.

Jacob - Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word

Love this song, too! OMG. He. Is. Awesome. Fabulous. Awesome. I love how he sounds when he reigns it in a bit. It works! LOVED it!

Stacy's Random Thoughts:

I like Ryan's hair.
Ugly dresses are in!

Haley - Bennie and the Jets

She always seems like she's on a drug that has "drowsiness" as a side effect. Her bluesy voice is really nice, but she's uncomfortable to watch. Something about her smile. I don't know. She did a nice job, though. She should sing bluesy songs for sure. That's where she shines.

The last 3 were the best.

Tomorrow, we get to see the ubiquitous Will.I.Am and watch 2 people get sent home. My guesses? Thia and Stefano.

Super Quick Post

Okay, I've gone back through the past 6 posts and responded to comments. I got very behind these past few weeks.

I have a lot more to post, so hopefully I'll get to that soon!

Oh, and Thing 1 and Thing 2 Revue have some updates that you may or may not have seen -- enjoy!

More to come . . .

Monday, March 28, 2011

SUCH a great visit!

We absolutely LOVED having Scott, Lindsay, and Ada visit us this past week.

Like LOVED it.

Like it went by way too fast.

Like we got choked up when they left.

Like it was so comfortable and easy when they were here that it felt so so so completely natural to have them with us.

Like we knew it would be great and the reality exceeded any and all expectations.

Yes, it was that great. No exaggeration.

Loved it.

Day 1.

They got here late on a Friday night. We picked them up, ordered and picked up a crab pretzel on our way back, got home and ate that and toasted Portuguese sweet bread while we talked and got settled. We showed them around a bit and stayed up talking and then all went to bed.

Day 2.

The next day, the real fun began. We made them a big farm style breakfast (tradition for our guests -- sausage and bacon from our farm-raised pig as well as farm fresh eggs) and then we visited the Amish Country!

As we loaded up the car, this is what I saw right away:

Pretty freaking adorable, if you ask me.

So, our first stop was the Wilbur Chocolate Factory where we sampled and bought DELICIOUS Wilbur Buds and fudge. Yum. I know we're in Hershey land, but WOWZERS is Wilbur good chocolate. We hadn't ever been to the Wilbur Factory, so that was fun. Ironically, we discovered the wonder of Wilbur Buds when Peter was here visiting this past year and he bought some at the Farmer's Market.

I'm pretty proud of my picture taking skills here -- I timed it and got that picture RIGHT between cars passing and there was plenty of traffic that should've made it tricky, so go me!

See them there in front of the building?

Then we went to America's oldest farmer's market (and it's quite large, too!) in Lancaster. Sorry for the blurry picture -- I was taking this one fast. In the background, you can see the Amish quilts at that stand.


We drove around the beautiful Amish Country afterward and even went across this beautiful covered bridge. PA has TONS of these neat covered bridges everywhere.


We went to the Pretzel Factory in Intercourse next. That's where we got this cute video of backseat antics between the cousins -- Ada was getting tired, but she was still pretty giddy; it was a riot:


video


We went in the factory and learned how to twist pretzels during a tour. That was fun! Then we bought pretzels (to eat in the car along with our chocolate). And we took pictures by the famous Intercourse Pretzel Factory sign:

Lindsay, Ada, and Scott

Cousins!

Our family

Next stop, we dropped by an Amish Farm to buy . . .

That stuff is strong sarsaparilla made with real yeast -- delicious!

After the visit to the farm, we tried on some Amish clothing of our own at a local shop:

Father and son

Uncle Scott

Mother and Daughter
(Thing 1 is having serious difficulty keeping her eyes open for pictures that use flash -- we tried to look to the side for this one and it still didn't work!)

The cousins!

After some shopping and sampling of traditional Shoo Fly Pie, we went to Captain Gus's for dinner -- DELICIOUS cheese steak sandwiches!

Ada LOVES her Uncle Mark

Captain Gus is 83 and owns the place -
he took a break from the kitchen to do magic tricks for the kids.
Clearly, I was amazed.

But I was more impressed with the food.
Plus, I was VERY hungry.

We got home and enjoyed an evening of games and relaxation. What day would be complete without some Foley video game competition?

Uncle and Nephew


Day 3

Other stuff we did included lots of cousin play time. I saved a small box of baby toys and I'm so glad! Ada loved them (so did Scout) and I'm so excited that we've saved as much stuff as we have -- VERY handy for those visiting with little ones! Ada used our booster chair, pack-n-play, toys, sippy cups, etc. Very, very handy.

It just occurred to me that we were probably not supposed to let Ada have the binky when she woke up that morning. Oops. Sorry, Linds!

Playing with "Toooys" as Ada says

Watching "GabbaGabbaGabbaGabbaGabba."
(That's "Yo Gabba Gabba" in Ada speak).
See Scout up there? Ada LOVES Scout.

We drove them around town and showed them the beauty of this area. Lindsay's brother is moving here in a few months (yes, to our little town!) and will be teaching at the college down the street, so we took them to and around campus, too.

For lunch we made New England baked fish with bread crumbs (one of our favorites -- we probably make it every week as one of our "go to" meals) and salad and Amish Brown Butter noodles so they could get a local taste of that flavor. YUMMY. Mark also showed Lindsay around our house and barn (Scott had already visited us a couple of summers ago).

Getting Free Rita's Italian Ice on the First Day of Spring!
I'm so short.
We had just all gone to a Benny Goodman tribute concert before that.

We played yet more games that night. Games, games, games, and food, food, food. That was the crux of our visit. For dinner that night, we made Portuguese marinated Pork Meat (another of our favorites), homemade mashed potatoes, homemade Portuguese bread, and sauteed spinach. It was goo-ood.

We all kicked back and watched TiVoed episodes of Amazing Race and America's Next Great Restaurant while eating salami pickles and coconut oil popcorn with French Fry seasoning. Yum!

Then, you guessed it, we played more Settlers!

Day 4

The next day, we started the morning with a run for fresh donuts at a local donut shop. OH, were they good!! I'm so glad that Lindsay and I are both suckers for donuts. THAT was a good breakfast treat! Lindsay's idea and I'm so glad.

We went out to Harrisburg and ate an an Indian buffet on the banks of the Susquehanna River and then we visited Hershey's Chocolate World. We have a million of these kinds of pictures since we take all of our guests there. It's tradition.

Lindsay took this one

I love this picture - Ada LOVES her Uncle Mark!
She just lights up when she sees him
and insists that he hold her by saying,
"Ah hold!" (I hold?) meaning "Hold me!"

Look at her face! Chocolate AND relatives?!?
Life is good!


Here's one of Mark with Scott's Family

The kids got to be Factory Workers and wear cool hats!

We went home after Chocolate World and Mark took Thing 1 to her violin lesson while we kicked back at home and I got these pictures:

They were worried that Ada might be scared of Scout.
Turns out, it was the other way around. :P

This was really cute --
Ada totally made her way to the couch
and scooted her way right on to Maxim's lap
and they snuggled for a while.

Uncle Scott went with me and Thing 1 to her group violin lesson after that. Mark and Lindsay stayed home with Ada and Thing 2 while Lindsay made us a delicious soup and rolls for dinner. What a treat that they cooked for us! I loved it!! AWESOME house guests, I'm telling you!!

There was yet more game playing and general hanging out. It was SO comfortable and so so much fun. Have I mentioned that we loved having them here? SUCH a great visit. Really.


Day 5

The next day, we did a bunch of fun stuff yet again. We played outside in the backyard even though it was a little chilly. Scout might be running from Ada there. Or toward her in a circle. Ada's coat apparently reminded Scout of some kind of chewy toy.


Backyard Fun
(Thing 2 is way back there by the shed).

Our kids voluntarily gave up going to an event/class with a bunch of their friends that day because they wanted to spend time with family visitors in town. So sweet! And who could blame them? Have I mentioned it was a really great visit?

Ada took a VERY long nap, so
we played A LOT of Settlers of Catan:
Cities and Knights version
SO. MUCH. FUN.
And yes, there was some trash talking going on.
But just a little.

At the coffee shop getting half-price
sandwiches and paninis
YUM!

Then to the Creamery for dessert!
Homemade ice cream at a Mennonite Farm.
YUM!

The brothers eating ice cream
(Sorry, Scott -- both pictures I took
had you licking your lips in some way)
It just illustrates how good the ice cream is there. :)

The cousins feeding the goats at the farm!

Mark took Thing 2 to Scouts while the rest of us kicked back at home. That night, we ate a bunch of food and stayed up really, really late to play more games. :) It became akin to an addiction.


Day 6

We enjoyed a kick-back morning at home playing with "toooys" and hanging out. We took our time and then ate leftovers for lunch. Then, we proceeded to spend the day playing more games.


See? This picture was taken at 10:30 AM.
Notice everyone in their jammies.

I think I got in the shower some time that afternoon. Good times. The kids also played their instruments for Scott and Lindsay and they enjoyed a chance to share their music.

Yep, there we are playing games at 3:30 in the afternoon.
12 hours later, some of us were still up!
(Mark, Scott, and I got to bed around 3:30 in the morning).
I don't think any of us wanted the visit to end.

That night, they got to watch the kids in their Tae Kwon Do class. Mark's had a horrible cold/cough/sinus something or other that has lasted for several weeks, so he still wasn't up to exercising (really, he couldn't without inducing massive coughing fits). It was SO fun to have them there watching the class, though, and the kids really showed off their moves!

For those of us in the spectator section, Ada was putting on a show of her own which entertained us greatly. See, she kept singing the "Baby, Baby" song she knows from Yo Gabba Gabba and smiling at us with a big, cheesy smile. Something in the room was making her think of Yo Gabba Gabba. We couldn't figure out what it was . . . and then we figured it out! That's all I'm going to say about that. Those of you familiar with the show will figure it out. Here's a hint:

Isn't that a great picture?? LOL!
Yes, we were busting up laughing.

Later, after class, we went back home and made a SCRUMPTIOUS traditional Portuguese Steak dinner. It's one of those meals where everything has to be timed to be served together warm and ready to enjoy -- Portuguese steaks made in all the right seasonings and marinades, Portuguese rice, french fries, a red pepper strip, salad, and a fried egg on top for those who want them, all served with Portuguese bread and delicious Portuguese soda. So so YUMMY!

Dinner time!

And more game playing -- this was at 11pm.
Homeschooling is grand.
Oh, we also made Toll House Pie
to eat while staying up and playing.
With ice cream.
Sleep deprivation is always better with food.

And this is responsible parenting at its finest -
1:45 AM. Yep!
Scott said it was important uncle-nephew time.
I agree.

I hope I don't embarrass him, but I have to say it -- Scott is a GREAT uncle. The kids adore him and I love to see him interact with our kids. I always have. When we visited them in Florida in 2009, at the reunion, when he visited a couple of summers ago (both here and in MA), and again this trip . . . he is a fantastic uncle and has such a sweet, easy manner with them and is soooooo very thoughtful and in tune with what the kids wanted to show him or play with him or whatever! Thing 1 has always been SO drawn to him to snuggle or just hang out and Thing 2 just loves playing games and video games with him. Scott was so patient and kind helping them learn how to play various games, going to their classes to support them, etc.

I can't say enough how much we enjoyed having Scott and his family here. Lindsay was so great to talk, eat, play games, cook us some good food, and be so easy going with everything we did. I can't believe we've only hung out in person a few times. It felt like we'd all been part of the family for forever. And Ada was SO much fun!! What a cute kid and what a personality!! She had us laughing the whole time (well, except maybe some parts of the car rides -- Thing 2 wasn't smiling much for those parts).

Mommy-Daughter-Puppy Cuddles

Okay, I would be really remiss if I didn't post this video even though (UGH!), I think I must've had my finger over the microphone or something. Thing 2 taught Ada this trick and he is VERY proud and we worked REALLY hard to get it on video (seriously, I must've taken 7 or 8 videos to catch it -- my bad, I should've videoed it the first day she did it).

See, Ada sings that "Baby, Baby" song from Yo Gabba Gabba. But, as a joke and for fun, Thing 2 taught her to sing it in response to the question, "Ada, what does Justin Bieber say?" Here's where I got her doing it though you can BARELY hear it. Turn up the volume and watch her lips. And the smile on Thing 2's face. Pure pride.



video


Day 7

Scott and Lindsay were so awesome to make us a DELICIOUS Waffle breakfast with caramel sauce and fresh berries and cream. SO so good. Then we packed up and got them off to the airport. It was so sad to see them go. The trip FLEW by and we loved every minute of it. Maybe, just maybe, with us here and with Lindsay's brother living here, too, they'll want to move up this way. I really can't say enough what a fantastic trip it was. We all were so naturally relaxed and comfortable together and had SUCH a great time. They were fabulous, fabulous house guests. And are even better family members. :) We love them and miss them very much and are so grateful that they came to visit us!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Itinerary

We are so excited to have our first ever "sibling family" visit!
We all want a mix of hanging out at home,
playing games,
and seeing fun, local sites.

And of course, we all love food.
I mean, the name of their blog IS "You're Still Hungry?!"
And we know our family loves food.
So, here's what we've come up with:


DAY 1

Happily pick Scott, Lindsay, and Ada up from the airport at night
Pick up a Duke's Crab Pretzel on the way home
Eat said pretzel and Portuguese Sweet Bread for Bedtime Snack

Hang out, show them around the house, play with Scout and
enjoy being together and then go to bed


DAY 2

Big, Farm Breakfast including farm fresh eggs
and sausage and bacon from our pig
YUM!

Spend the day
visiting the Amish Country

1st stop - Famous (and delicious!) Wilbur Chocolate Factory
where they give out free Wilbur Buds!


2nd stop - Lancaster Central Market --
the country's oldest farmer's market
in the heart of the Amish Country

3rd stop - Intercourse Pretzel Factory
Tour of the Factory and twist your own pretzel
Munch on delicious pretzels
Take picture in front of "intercourse" sign. :P


4th "stop" - wherever we want along the beautiful, scenic Amish roads:
Amish quilt shops, Amish furniture stores, snack factories, covered bridges,
Amish Farms for delicious homemade sarsaparilla (root beer)

5th stop - Dutch Haven
Original Amish crafts store with
distinctive local furniture, jams and jellies, etc.
Also, free samples of America's best shoo fly pie
(local Amish dessert)

Dinner on the way back -
Captian Gus's for the best cheesesteaks in Lancaster!
The owner does magic tricks for the kids, too.
And gives them Tootsie Rolls


Beautiful, Scenic Drive Back
Hang out at home and play games


DAY 3

Low-key morning

Drive around Annville and walk around college campus
where Lindsay's brother will be teaching in the fall,
See the old-fashioned ice cream shop, independent theater,
local coffee shop, beautiful scenery of our town

New England Fish with Bread Crumbs
and salad for lunch

Concert in the afternoon:
A Tribute to Benny Goodman

Dinner:
Delicious Marinated Portuguese Pork Roast,
homemade mashed potatoes, sauteéd spinach,
Homemade Portuguese Bread,
Scrumptious Shrimp Mozambique

Free Rita's Italian Ice for Dessert


Hang out at home and play games,
watch Amazing Race, and snack on our
delicious salami-wrapped pickles


DAY 4

Hang out at Home

Lunch: Chicken Enchilada Soup and Smoothies

Play Games and more hanging out

Dinner: Traditional Portuguese Steak Dinner --
Portuguese Steaks, Portuguese Rice,
French Fries, Salad, Fried Egg, Red Pepper, Salad

All served with delicious Portuguese soda

Group Violin Lesson

Home for more games
and homemade chocolate chip cookies


DAY 5

Hang out at home in the morning

Have lunch at Passage to India's amazing Indian buffet
on the banks of the Susquehanna River

Visit Hershey's Chocolate World!
(We are so excited to take Ada there!)

Enjoy the ride and eat lots of chocolate
and walk around the shops
(And maybe ride the ride again and eat more chocolate)

Dinner: Leftovers of all the glorious food consumed so far
(We'll probably still be full from the Indian lunch)

Cub Scouts

Hang out at home and play games


DAY 6

Hang out at home in the morning
and play games

Lunch at Queso Dee'As in the city-
Good, Cheap Tex-Mex

Visit Patches Creamery
at local Mennonite Farm
and eat delicious homemade ice cream
(also, pet the baby goats at the farm on the way out)

Tae Kwon Do

Dinner: Scott and Lindsay want to make a meal
YUM! I'm so excited for that!

More playing games and eating snacks


DAY 7

Something fun for breakfast
either here or out

Take Scott, Lindsay, and Ada to the airport
* Sniff *


What say you?
Does it sound good?


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Ballads and more ballads

This week, I'm blogging WHILE watching. New approach.

Ah, we begin by being reminded of the TIMELY exit of Diva Ashton Jones. Good riddance.

Tonight's theme - songs from the year they were born. 1984?!? Dude, I'm old.

Naima - "What's Love Got To Do With It?" (I hate this song!)

HUNDREDS of amazing songs from which to choose and she chose this?!? Holy crap, she's WAY WAY off. She was a waste of a wild card pick anyway. This is a horrible arrangement and it's made even worse by her horribly off-tune singing. On the up side, someone advised her not to dance. It didn't help her singing, but it helped my watching. Does Steven Tyler EVER criticize? Was "sorcerer's apprentice on melody," crazy rocker parlance for "pitchy?" Go Jennifer for keeping it real (though Jennifer doesn't stop once Randy starts. Anyone else notice that? She keeps talking).


Paul - "I Guess That's Why They Call It The Blues"

Paul was a cowboy baby. And at least he knows how to choose a good 80's song. I wish he'd stop talking to the audience before he sings. Is that Quinn from Glee in the back up singers? Whoever advised Naima to stop dancing did not get that memo to Paul. I love his voice, though. And I love Elton John. So it's a good combo. He was a bit off in parts, but nothing near the mess that Naima gave us. Plus he's sick. He's SICK and sounds better than Naima when she's healthy. That says a lot. Um, Dude, he has to stop talking after he sings, too. At least Randy gives him props for "making it his own." I love Paul's smile.


Thia - "Colors of the Wind"

1995?! I was in my 20s when she was born! She looks like Pocahontas in that dress. Think that was on purpose? Hmmmm? She's lovely and she has a beautiful voice, especially for her young age. But when is she going to rock out and do something other than a ballad? The key change didn't go so well, but overall it was okay. A bit sleepy, but okay. It's a little Broadway stage for me. OMIGOSH, I totally said that before Randy did! Let the record show that I am prescient! I like Jennifer's advice about the vibrato, because I had a similar "What is that?" thought.


James - "I'll Be There For You"

Bon Jovi! About freaking time. I was falling asleep. I'm totally awake now that his mom just told everyone AND showed a video of him with his doll. I love that he swore when he found out. His song was off to a really bad start. Did he catch the flu? And what stylist let him use the stupid tail again? He looks like a horse. Having a giant rag hanging out of your back pocket doesn't make you look badass. It makes you look like an auto mechanic. He's a great showman, but he was VERY off through that song. Crap, I had been looking forward to that, too. Hmph. Did he just say that he is going to sing Aerosmith for the finale? Urgh, that's a little cocky. I like him, though. I want others to like him. So when he does stuff like that, I cringe.


Haley - "I'm Your Baby Tonight"

Whitney Houston? Oh, COME ON! This is the TENTH season and they all claim they've been watching since they were 6. Did they NOT hear ALL the judges say, "Don't Sing Whitney!"? And why on earth didn't she sing "Black Velvet" like her mother? Didn't she say she wanted to walk in her footsteps? UGH! She sounds TERRIBLE! They should call this week's theme "Crappy Songs and Even Crappier Performances Of Those Songs From the Year of Their Birth" This show is just not helping my mood. And I have to ask, if the audience stands up for EVERY song, how are we supposed to know when they REALLY like it? Idiots.


Stefano - "If You Don't Know Me By Now"

Shocking. Another ballad. From another waste of a wild card pick. I'M BORED. At least I learned that his father is Howie Mandel. I'm so annoyed. He mentioned three, great, FAST 80's songs and still chose a boring ballad. ARGH. But hey, at least he "brought it into this generation." Apparently, by that, he meant, "Hey look at me. I can sing this song while wearing an untucked, pink shirt and sneakers and no one thinks of it as a threat to my masculinity." Very relevant. Very current. Too bad his final note sucked. Randy is super excited, but I suppose after the crappy performances so far, anything will impress.


Pia - "Where Do Broken Hearts Go"

I actually look forward to her each week. Shaky start. It was good, but not as good as it could've been, especially from her. But again, what a crappy song choice! I have nothing to say about it. Just this. She looks like Rachel's mom on Glee:


That's all I've got.


Scotty - "Can I Trust You With My Heart"

Scotty sang country. Randy dropped names. Shocking. On both counts. At least he's true to what he is, but really? ANOTHER FREAKING BALLAD?? That's eight for eight for those keeping track at home. They will love him in Nashville no matter how he does on this show. They always do. Remember Josh Gracin? I have an idea. Let's send him there sooner! BORED.


Karen - "Love Will Lead You Back"

What the hell is on her head?!? It doesn't move! And how insulting. They subtitled her mother's ENGLISH?? Very PC, Idol. Nicely done. Dopes. Hey, something different! A ballad in Spanglish! Now, THAT is new. No, it's not. Stop smiling and nodding. I was being sarcastic. But hey, Steven liked her ethnic whatitisness, so it's all good.


Casey - "It Smells Like Teen Spirit"

NIRVANA!! NIRVANA!! Way to go, Casey!! Nirvana was HUGE. I'm excited. I hope he doesn't disappoint. He rolled out of bed for his interview again, but he at least dressed up for tonight. Wow, he can screech AND play the electric bass at the same time. He's psycho! He looks less like a computer geek and more like a serial killer tonight. OMG. Like Steven said, "He's crazy and talented and that's the goop that makes great stuff." What more can I possibly add to that?


Lauren - "I'm the Only One"

Anyone else watch Amazing Race? Does she remind anyone else of Mallory? Yep, I'm so bored tonight that I'm stretching for anything to say. Much better song choice for her than this past week (or most anyone else tonight). Hey, it wasn't bad. She's sick and fairly on pitch. That shows up all the others who were not sick and still sounded awful. ARGH, she talked in the middle of the song. Memo to Lauren and Paul -- STOP TALKING AND SING. I wonder why she's wearing brass knuckles.


Jacob - "Alone"

Oh, it's a ballad, but I LOVE THIS SONG!! So, I'll give him a pass. I LOVE HEART!! I like him and I'm hoping tonight wins over my extended family members. Loved his video intro with his mom. Yikes, too much vibrato to start. Yikes, too much pitchiness throughout. WAY oversung. I hate to tell someone to reign in their passion, but Jacob, reign it in a bit. Ugh. He has such potential and he has SO MUCH passion (which I really do love) -- now to know what to do with it. He needs some kind of a memo, too.


Overall, I'm disappointed. I have CRAVED an 80's theme night. I have DESIRED an 80's theme night. Tonight SUCKED. 80's Ballads. What a waste. You know when your local radio station does a flashback lunch hour that is all 80s for the full hour? Do they do Ballads? NO! And if they do, it's the GOOD stuff -- the stuff the rock bands would sing. Not this drivel. Bah. This show actually made me grumpier. No one stood out and I don't care who goes home. I wish I were in bed.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Geez, do I ever post pictures?

I have every intention of posting pictures. I mean, this blog started as a means of keeping in touch with far-away grandparents.

But in scanning over the past several months' worth of posts, there are very few pictures (I don't think I've posted ANY since July--except for the Michael Bublé concert!?!)!

So, let's do a little 2010 in random review, okay?

I'm challenging myself to choose just a few pictures per month or event (brevity is always my challenge. What? You already knew that? Did I ask you? Shut up.) and post a little bit about them.

Grandparents, this is especially for you.


Winter/Spring 2010
(Summer/Fall 2010 post to follow)

There was some celebrating (of love) . . .

Awwwww . . .

We had a little Valentine's celebration with friends.


We did some crafts.
More crafts.

We enjoyed themed party food.

We played Valentine's Tic-Tac-Toe,
watched Charlie Brown's Valentine's special,
and went around saying nice things about each other.

Mark made us a Valentine's breakfast.

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Our labor of love

Me in our clinic on one of my work days

Scout came in to visit me after my clients left --
their dog had given Scout a present!

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Mark led our homeschool group in a dissection class.


Thing 2 looks on as his buddies dissect a frog.

Mark teaching the group.

It was packed!

Thing 1's group got TOTALLY into it.

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We like books.

How sweet is this picture?
These two really got on a
Guiness World Record Book kick!
And snuggling with a puppy while reading?
Awesome.

This is our library crate.
We typically have over 100 books checked out
at any given time.
This crate helps us not get them mixed up
with our books.

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We have an annual (nerdy) tradition
of celebrating Pi Day (3/14)

Our friend Cristin made this awesome
fruit and veggie platter -- she is so creative:
See how the green fruits and veggies
form the Pi symbol?

Eating Pizza Pies!

Mark is a master with the dough.
And OH is our dough delicious!

Some of the "pies"

And more pies!

We like Pi(e)!

And since we love to eat out with the Salefskis
(and are, apparently, gluttons for punishment),
we went out again later that night.
It was ridiculous -- we were all SO FULL.

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I love when the weather warms up!

Me and Scout in our backyard.

The library asked us to help them out with a really fun project.
Mark led a big group of kids in working on various banners
representing different authors and books.
Look closely and you can see his fingers over the top holding up the banners.

The library used them in their annual gala auction
and now they are permanent parts of the library's display areas!
I'm only showing 2 of them, but we made several.

Dr. Seuss!

Thing 1's first time attending a baby shower!
She was so excited.
Here she is with her BFF.
What's amazing is that this picture
is less than a year old and
they both already look so much older!

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Celebrating St. Patrick's Day!

Irish Pork Medallions

Omigosh, Mark found this amazing recipe
and it was UNBELIEVABLY good!
We're pretty sure the secret was the ingredients. ;)

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Cultural Studies


Thing 1 and her BFF making Portuguese cookies --
think they're having fun?

They're ready for their presentation!

Kirsten's grandma made them skirts and vests
so they could dress in the old, traditional dress style.

Thing 2 presented on South Korea,
country from which Tae Kwon Do originates.
He made a really great lapbook and did a presentation.
He showed everyone some Tae Kwon Do moves.
And he also made and served Kimchi.

A group picture
(The two in togas presented on Rome and Greece)
The one on the left is Jake -- before his cancer diagnosis.
Amazing how different he looks.

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A cute Scout picture

Love this picture of Scout sitting behind Mark in scrubs
while he does some paper work in the office.

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4-H

We've seen this Reptile Rescue guy
present around the community several times.
We never get tired of it.
He's SO interesting to listen to.
It'd be a dream job for our friend Axel.
The guy basically rescues and houses
LOADS of reptiles
and presents about them
and raises awareness about them
and funds for them as well.


Thing 1 is always eager to hold snakes and other creatures.

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Spring has sprung!

We'll be doing gardening again soon!

Finding Easter eggs around the backyard.

Scout likes to help, too.

Their loot!

We planted several cherry trees
around the front of the clinic
and they're LOVELY when they bloom!

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These kids!!

When Mark and I go up to bed,
we aren't ever sure how we're going to find those two.
Sometimes they've built a fort or a tent.
Sometimes they've fallen asleep cuddling in each other's beds.
And sometimes they camp out in the hall.


We had an arts month including a poetry slam,
music day, and art gallery.
This was the music day.
It was a lot of fun and they kids got to share their talents!

I got video of both kids playing piano and violin
and it amazes me how far they've come with that in
the past year, too!

We'll have to get some more current video soon.

--------------------

Thing 1's Webkinz Birthday Party
(Seriously, I didn't even blog about this??)

I'm pretty impressed with my own handiwork on this one!


Webkinz Food, of course!
These are the favorite foods of many of our Webkinz.

That's not soda! That's Gak!

The kids played stuff like Checkers and Connect 4
while everyone gathered.

We also played Balloon Dartz, Zingoz Bounce,
Gem Hunting (in a pile of sand),
and they all pulled their own Webkinz out of a bag.

They earned Kinzcash that they spent in the
W Shop!

Mark leading the kids in one of many Webkinz games--
I think this one was a trivia game
(Quizzy's Corner)!

The birthday girl with her cake!

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WAY cute video of Scout
(and please note how shaggy she is so that
you can better appreciate the next post's video)



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Making our clinic handicap-accessible-
This is the ramp being put in


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Various activities


At Thing 1's skating lessons --
on the day they wrap up each session,
each student is allowed to bring a friend.
Thing 1 brings Thing 2.
She already has a lot of friends in her class.

YMCA weekly homeschool class

Thing 1 and Thing 2 are 1st and 2nd in line
to kick in this game of kickball

Thing 1 reads her winning poem at the reception
for winners of the contest

Scout's toys -- she MUTILATES them.
She hones in on squeakers and does not stop
until she has gutted the toy, pulled out the batting,
and destroyed the plastic squeaker.
It's so much fun to watch.

At the YMCA
with Miss Kathryn
(She's in the middle)

At the YMCA
with "Big Fish"
(he's in the middle, too)

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May Day

Celebrating May Day

Going around the Maypole

Thing 1 and Thing 2
with friends and Scout

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That's all for now.
Another to follow soon.
Oh, and Happy Pi Day, everyone!