21 December 2008

It's starting!

Yikes, Christmas is three days away! In Walgreen's today, I was a little surprised to hear a young boy repeating this over and over to himself: "Christmas is in three days, yep, Christmas in three days." My first thought was, "This kid is a little too excited; Christmas isn't until next week." Then I realized it is next week! Yay! I'm so excited to get to see so much of our family this week! I'm getting up at the crack tomorrow to try to beat the Wal-Mart crowds and so that Claire can stay home with Daddy before he leaves for work.

Bad news, folks. You knew it would happen: Claire got my cold. I'm sure many of you moms know this as well, but NONE of those children's cold and cough meds can be taken by kids under six! That's what the pharmacist at Walgreen's told me anyway. He said the FDA allows saline spray and baby Tylenol only. SO I'm hoping I can get our doc to call in some cold medicine she prescribed Claire probably a year ago without me having to take her to the dr. office in this bitter cold!

Speaking of which, I posted on Facebook and Twitter that we had a magical snow last week: it only happened in a very small area which included us! I'm not sure how far west and north it went, but the snow stopped about half a mile from our house and didn't fall in town at all! It was strange! Claire and I were both suffering from some major cabin fever at this point, me having been too sick to go out much the previous two days, so we bundled up and went outside to run around a little. This wasn't technically Claire's first snow; we had some some pretty deep snow this March , but Claire couldn't really enjoy it(Strange to think that then, snow made for nothing but stress for me!). This time, she said snow, which sounded just like "no," clapped her hands in delight, and ran around the yard. Unfortunately, I still don't have any gloves for her, so we didn't stay out very long.


I finished my Christmas shopping Friday with my sister! Yay! I'm so glad I don't have to face the crowds in Sherman this week. The area where we do most of our shopping is poorly designed and even on a typical Saturday, has terrible traffic jams around the exit ramp and in the parking lots. Makes it hard to be merry and bright!

Quick list of things I'm excited about this week:
  1. Claire's first Christmas to kind of know what's going on! We have three or four Christmas books, a couple stuffed Santa Clauses, and of course, the ill-fated meeting with jolly old Saint Nick himself in the mall (we got one of those hilarious kid-crying-in-Santa's lap pics!). We opened our gifts from Paul and Diane today, and she was thrilled, dancing and bouncing and laughing like crazy!
  2. Seeing The Tale of Despereaux with Mom, Tyler, and maybe Claire.
  3. Making lots of sweet treats, including strawberry pretzel salad, chocolate-and-caramel drizzled potato chips, french toast casserole, and peanut butter cup cheesecake. (I don't get so excited about broccoli cheese casserole.)
  4. Christmas Eve at Dad's house with the sibs and Grandma: For the people on my list who have everything: pictures of their darling granddaughter!
  5. Christmas morning at Mom's house: Last year, it was a marathon of Rock Band in our pj's. We'll see what this year holds.
  6. Friday night with the Mauck sibs and fams: Cutting down on the usual mountain of gifts with Paul and Diane giving each son's family their gifts separately. With all of us watching each person open each gift, that one can go way past the kids' bedtimes!
  7. Saturday with Diane's extended fam AND my mom's extended fam (Yep, they're on the same day!). I just hope we're able to get in some quality time with the Dallas and Mississippi-based branch of our family without being despised by all the children at the Pannells by holding up their gift distribution!

I doubt I post again before Christmas, so I hope all you lovely readers have a holiday filled with comfort and joy!

15 December 2008

Stats of my cold

Symptoms: Persistent dry cough, runny nose, sneezing, sinus headache

Movies watched since Friday: Emma, The Goonies, Footloose, Overboard, Pride & Prejudice (1.5 hours of the BBC version), and Caddyshack.

Workouts since Friday: 0

Diet: steady stream of hot tea, cough drops, and crackers

This sounds like the couch potato's dream, but it ain't all it's cracked up to be. YUCK! Claire has taken up the amusing habit of blowing her nose on tissues and throwing them in the "tash." See what she's been seeing mommy doing the past few days?

13 December 2008

Footloose Fun Facts!

(Culled from my sick night home alone watching the special features on my Collector's Edition of Footloose)
  1. The movie was inspired by events in Elmore City, Oklahoma (just west of I-35 south of Pauls Valley)! The writer of Fame and writer of Footloose saw a newspaper article about this small town's first prom in 95 years because public dancing had been outlawed. He traveled there, talked to people involved, visited the churches and high school, and wrote the film!
  2. Zac Efron is going to make a GREAT Ren McCormick in 2010!!

12 December 2008

Christmas shopping + 19-month-old - Stroller = NIGHTMARE!

Dividends of the above equation:
  1. A broken glass jar at Hobby Lobby: She stayed in the cart the entire time, until I was checking out and let her down for a minute, and this is what happens.
  2. Jewelry case as ice skate: While I was perusing jewelry in Dillard's, Claire found a padded leather jewelry drawer organizer conveniently located on a low shelf, pulled it down, and stuck her foot in it for some one-legged carpet-skating.
  3. Rearrangement of Dillard's shoe display
And the grand finale, folks.....drum roll, if you please...

4. Claire and me as new parts of the Victoria's Secret display window: You know those pink spotted dogs Victoria's Secret has in its PINK display windows? Yeah, Claire darted through a rack of PINK sweats, climbed up on top of the 2-foot platform in the display window, and was patting the dog when I found her, and laughing maniacally when she realized she'd been found.

11 December 2008

Christmas hullabaloo!

Sorry about the lag in posting. Even though I do live the luxurious life of a SAHM, I still get busy! Or I just prefer spending off-time playing with Claire to posting to my blog.

Here's a vid of Claire reading. I had the sheets thrown back to air them out yesterday morning, and Claire gathered up three of her favorite books and went and cozied up on top of the pillows and sheets and started reading!




Anyway, after finishing up a writing assignment this week, I realized I only have a few short weeks to prep my curriculum and syllabus for my SOSU class, so I've been working on that everyday, with frequent breaks for last-minute online shopping of course.

Here's Claire, enjoying an afternoon cookie after coming in from outside, which explains her flyaway hair! She pulled herself and the saucer up on the couch all by herself! Reminds me of myself, enjoying a cookie in comfort!



Claire makes her funny face while riding "Minga," named after a horse on Sesame Street.

01 December 2008

Thanksgiving Fun!

Well we're back and rested up from our fun weekend in Kansas. The Maucks have lots of fun traditions that I've enjoyed getting to be a part of in the last four years. There's four-wheeling the kids around, and pulling a big group of them in a trailer, all ages, from 1 to 13.

















The men always go bird-hunting (except for Jay, who is all buck), and sometimes gigging (I'm still not entirely sure what this entails). We of course have a HUGE meal on Thursday, with melt-in-your-mouth Kansas corn, homemade rolls, smoked ham, and Diane's great dressing. I made two Paula Deen recipes that were quite delicious, if I do say so myself: pumpkin cheesecake, pecan-toffee tassies, and a quick and easy sugar cookies (from a mix) with raspberry jam thumbprints.

















Abby is always a favorite of the babies and kids. This is Logan, Katelyn, and Claire Mauck! Claire has started saying Katelyn's name, "Tatie." She loves her!



















Claire and Lauren were having a lot of fun climbing from the mini-trampoline to the couch. Claire kept trying to love on her, but Lauren was having none of it! Zack was keeping an eye on them.

Friday is for shopping, although I'm not as hard-core as some. One group always leaves around six, while I go with the later group around eight. I got four or five Christmas gifts, and probably almost matched that number in clothes for me! But I got some good deals. Jay likes to say I usually match Christmas gifts in stuff for me, but I don't think it's quite that bad!

Jay and I went out on a long four-wheeler ride Friday afternoon while Claire was sleeping, along with four other Maucks. Uncle Don cut a whole bunch of trails through his woods, with some thrilling drops, tight turns, and creek crossings. It was super-fun!

We stayed with Jay's cousin Tracy, her hub Kourt, and their two little boys Dylan and Drew. Dylan loves playing with Jay, and Claire loved playing with Dylan, so they had a lot of fun.
Friday night is always steak night, when Don grills steaks over an open fire with bois d'arc wood. It is the best meat I have ever eaten! After din, four of the husbands and one wife put the babies to bed while five of us stayed up and played Nertz. Let me just tell you Pannells, I apologize for the miserable way I represented our family. It was the worst three games of my life! The last game was seriously 20 hands long and I never got out of the negatives! Even though I think I Nertzed twice in that one! Singles nertz is so much harder than doubles! The scores are lower and it goes on forever! It was still fun though.

We left Saturday morning and got home at about four in the afternoon. Claire did not take a single nap on the way home! She was pretty good, though. Between Diane and I, we had a ton of books and movies and other stuff to keep her occupied.

25 November 2008

DWTS: Brookek are the champions!

I love this show. Isn't it strange that this is the only reality show on TV (that I can think of) where the title is just a title, the trophy just a trophy--there is no cash reward or record deal or TV show or anything attached to winning--and yet, the finale is always more satisfying to me than any Survivor or Top Chef. Here's why: this competition puts competitors in a place they never pictured themselves, where most are totally uncomfortable and afraid. We are truly watching people face their fears, performing in a field in which they have little or no background in front of millions of people! That's almost like telling one of us to sing a duet with Celine Dion on national television. Yeah, you can take voice lessons for a few weeks, learn how to let her take the lead and all, but you've still got a mic in your hands! And oh yeah, after accomplishing this seemingly insurmountable task, you're going to be evaluated by a panel of judges. Also on national television. And then, you're going to be put through a popularity contest, AND THEN you have to stand nervously under the bright lights in your ridiculous costume for an hour and wait for your name to be called to validate your worth as a person.

I mean, yes, these people are used to the spotlight, and some are used to performing. But none knew how to do these very difficult dances. The final two in tonight's finale had both never danced before, except for striking poses while a fan blows her hair back sexily, or doing a sack-dance on the field.

So even though it is only a trophy and only a title, tonight's crowning of Brooke and Derek as the new champions was really a lot more. It was a celebration of trying something new--and did I see Miss Gabriella Montez, aka Vanessa Hudgeons in the audience tonight? Coincidence? Or perhaps a reminder that trying something you've never tried before can bring you happiness you never planned on, which, as it turns out, is actually the most satisfying kind of happiness.

And that's why I love this show.

Until March!

24 November 2008

DWTS: It all comes down to this!

As always, the season finale is great fun to watch. For once, this season's off-kilter format served the show well: A group dance with lengthy solos seems appropriate for the finale, and as always, the freestyles are tons of fun, if not also a bit frightening at times.

To me, the freestyles can be more scary than fun if the lifts seem dangerous. This was the case a couple times for me for Brookek and Kym and Warren. And geez, why can't Lancey catch a break? Len gives Kym and Warren a 10 for entertainment--what was Lancey's dance if it wasn't entertaining? Especially if you love to rock out to Tricky, as Len apparently does.

So is anyone else a tad disappointed with this season? I mean, this time last year, Kristi was getting I think her second 60/60, with her dances being knock-your-socks-off fraktastic. She was a season-long leader, but she continued upping her game with every dance. And wasn't Joey from *NSYNC in second? He was such fun to watch! This season, we get the ever-gracious, but somehow not-so-entertaining Brooke, perhaps because she doesn't seem to have gotten much better than she was at the beginning. And then Lance, who is kind of a Cinderella story, but not really, because let's not forget he has probably 10 years of training in choreographed dance! That doesn't make for a very good underdog. Warren would be, but he never has taken his dancing up to a level truly comparable with Lance or Brooke as far as footwork and content.

In short, where's the rise to greatness, the joie de vivre, the X factor? I'm wondering if perhaps the afore-mentioned shaken-up format has something to do with it. Perhaps it's because we haven't been able to compare all the dancers as we used to when the whole group did only two dances per show, one Latin and one ballroom? Did that format help display the dancers' growth and skills better? This season, we've gotten a hodge-podge of dances every performance show, with these stagey smackdown comments between the pair of stars doing the same dance.

I don't know...In any case, something seems to be missing this season, and I can't quite put my finger on it. Suggestions?

This season's DWTS champ: A part of me would like to see Lance defeat Brooke--it would seem like the closet-trapped musical geek beating out Ms. Popular. But then you gotta remember Ms. Popular tried something new here, while the former boy-bander has oodles of experience. In the end, I think it will go to the deserving and delightful Brooke and Derek (really, I'm speaking mostly about the latter, who is quickly approaching Maks as my fave male dancer).

23 November 2008

Excellent weekend!

Okay, everyone who has read Twilight or is thinking about reading it or just likes a great romance/thriller should definitely go out and watch the movie right now! Seriously, stop reading this post, click over to Fandango, and buy your tix! It was a Grade-A movie, and those of you who know me know I am a critical movie-watcher. For example: Ten Things I Hate About You: More like 10 reasons to hate romantic comedies; Pirates of the Caribbean 2 & 3: Curse of the bad writing; and 21: That was definitely not a winner, winner, chicken dinner.

That was really just a Schrute-esque way to show I'm picky; I'm not a total movie snob! I love some cheesy flicks too, like High School Musical (all three, thank you very much!), Stardust, Enchanted--well basically anything with singing or a fairy tale quality to it!

But, back to Twilight: I have read all four books; passed them around to my students at school last year, got our library to order the whole set, discussed the last one in my book club, basically, I'm a Twihard. I went with two girls who are also Twihards, and one who just wanted to go for fun, and we all loved it! We bought tickets to a 10:20 showing on Friday night, and got there an hour early to see that probably 75-100 people were already waiting in line to get in! Good thing we bought our tickets like two weeks ago. (We're hardcore like that.) Dani and I were rocking Team Jacob shirts, and we were not mauled by any crazed Edward fans, thank goodness. I was a little worried; I read one Twilighter actually got trampled at an event with Rob Pattinson, who plays Edward. Yikes!

Like I said, my friend who hadn't read the book loved it, and her hubby, who has read the book, went and watched it with her the next day, and he loved it, too! So initiated or uninitiated to Twilight-mania, male or female, you should definitely go. It was a movie I really can't compare to any other of my fave movies--equal parts romance and thriller! Anyone who would like a more complete review, I would be happy to chat about it, but I know I'm probably boring some readers!

AND big news: Because of this weekend's phenomenal numbers, the sequel, New Moon has already got the green light! Yay! Also, I read that it was the biggest first-weekend box office take ever for a female director! Girl power! Too bad the franchise itself is a bit weak on the girl power, though, imho.

Saturday was a baby shower for my cousin Dave and his wife Liz--their baby Izzie is due December 27! (Family members reading who would like to buy them a gift: they're registered at Wal-Mart and Babies 'R' Us.) And they need to start a blog so we can see the bebe grow! But alas, Saturday night found Jay and I both sick--yuck!

We're all better now, and excited to see a lot of family, eat a lot of great food, play some games, go hunting (Jay), and do some Black Friday shopping (me) this week during the Mauck family Thanksgiving!

18 November 2008

Claire while I was gone!

You guys have got to go over to my SIL's blog to see pics of what Claire was up to last weekend while Kyle, Audrey, Carson, and Kerrigan were visiting. There's a pic of Claire sleeping that is hilarious! Conked out in the middle of the living room, shoes and jacket still on, back at almost 90 degree angle on this huge pillow. That's Daddy's philosophy for ya: Play hard and then pass out wherever you lay still for a minute. I think he's snoring on the couch fully clothed right now!

DWTS-The Kimster is WRONG!

Wow, am I the only one a bit surprised that Cody and Julianne's star power didn't carry them through to the finals? I mean, yeah, Cody's title is "Hannah Montana star," while Warren's is "Super Bowl Champion," but still, Disney is Disney. And those tweens can be quite devoted to their stars! But apparently, they're either not big on DWTS or not big on voting!

But I gotta say, did I call the correct source of Cody's determination or what? Tonight in his post-dance interview from last night, he said, "I just really hope that wasn't my last dance with Julianne." Yeah, that's what I thought. He LOVES her! Too bad she's dating super-cute country singer Chuck Wicks...as of August. Hmmm...wonder if that's the lastest on Ms. Hough's relationship status? Oh, to be friends with her on Facebook...then I would know the TRUTH! Can I just say that this Mormon gal is my fave? Living the pure life in an impure environment--I applaud you, Julianne! Great perf tonight of My Halleluja (sp?).

Also: Maks and Karina--steamy rumba! Well I suppose the rumba is always steamy, but don't you think Tom did an insinuating little eyebrow wiggle when he said afterward, "Maksim and Karina--What chemistry." A DWTS couple? That's the buzz, people! I didn't find any reputable sources reporting it in my Google search, but there's definitely buzz, is all I'm saying.

17 November 2008

DWTS: Brooke Burke-Don't you just feel sorry for her?

Brooke Burke officially went from "Don't you just hate her?" to "Don't you just pity her?" tonight! Whoa, that was a shocker. For once, the little errors I thought I saw in her dance were actual errors the judges saw! I think I usually just notice little things that aren't that big a deal, while the judges see her beautiful lines and technique and all that. Anyway, I felt so bad for her and Derek during that trashing after her jive. And then I felt sorry for her AGAIN when I saw what those crazy DWTS costumers put her in for their salsa! Those gold fringed pants have got to be the grossest monstrosity I've ever seen on this show, and there have been some deliciously awful costumes, let me tell you. But of course, the salsa was back up to "Don't you just hate her?" standards.

And then on to our little engine that could, Cody. I'm starting to think that the only thing that separates him from The Head is sheer determination and boldness. Cody's fun to watch, but it's a tad painful at the same time. He reminds me a bit of the Texas Giant rollercoaster, known for being the largest remaining wooden rollercoaster. It's good for a few thrills, but it's really very uncomfortable. I'm afraid he really doesn't have much rhythm and I've never seen his hips move well, despite Dancemaster's best efforts.

But then we have Warren, who has all the rhythm in the world, but very little desire to do difficult moves or learn technique. I can see why, with his schedule. It looks like he has the tightest one of anyone. Of the remaining contestants, I would say he's grown the least as a dancer. He was fun to watch in the beginning, and he's still fun to watch. No game-changing surge in confidence like Lance, or fierce energy to stay with his lovely partner as long as possible like Cody, or staggering approach to professional level like Brooke. Just a big man having a good time.

And last, Shoeless Lance Bass. Wow. What can I say? He was pretty freaking awesome tonight. Lacey's choreography was fun and tight, and Lance was workin' that big ol' booty off. The Dancemaster cured him of his pigeon toe with one little tip to turn his thigh out. Their jitterbug was right up there with Derek & Brooke's and Julianne and Cody's. Lacey won the cutest costume of the night with her adorable sailor suit with the red, white, and blue tulle underneath her skirt! (Had to make up for that peacock-booty mini from their mambo!)

My votes went to: Two for Lance and Lacey, two for Cody and Julianne, and one for Brooke and Derek

Encore prediction: Lancey's jitterbug or maybe Brookek's salsa

Ouster prediction: I'm going to say that Warren will be gone, mostly because I think Cody (and possibly Julianne's)'s fans are more fanatical about voting than Warren's.

14 November 2008

I'm live here at Quartz Mountain!

This is Kim reporting live from the beautiful Quartz Mountain Resort in Lone Wolf, Oklahoma! What a beautiful place this is! Right on Lake Altus, surrounded by the red, rocky mountains of eastern Oklahoma, dotted with cacti and sporting fall's showy colors, this place is a fall paradise! I've seen probably 10 deer since I've been here, and I've been inside with no windows for most of the day! Last night, I was outside talking to Jay (not much cell signal out here), and I about freaked out when three does came out of the woods not 20 yards from me! They just went abou their business, snacking and looking beautiful!

I'm having a wonderful time working for hours each day with young adult author Lois Ruby, who's published 14 excellent books. I can't really vouch for all of them; I've only read one, Miriam's Well, which I read as a young adult, but I remember I really enjoyed it! She's been putting us through lots of fun and challenging writing exercises, as well as giving us lots of tips and valuable information about writing and the writing business. We share what we write in class a lot, and there are lots of talented writers in there! They're mostly middle and high school English teachers, who obviously know good writing so thoroughly that of course they're naturals when they actually give themselves the chance! But alas, it is quite difficult to be both a teacher and a writer, as I found out last year. It is truly a blessed life that I have as a mother and writer!

On to the babe: She had a great day with Mamaw and Papaw yesterday and today, but kind of a rough night. What about Daddy you say? Well readers, it's hunting season. And we've just hit a cold snap that has made the deer get a little frisky. That means my hub has to be up in a tree watching them move. He will shoot precisely one of them this fall, maybe, but this takes many many hours of just watching them first. This means that Jay is essentially getting a hunting vacation while I was foolishly hoping that while I was gone, he would get a little taste of what I go through everyday! Anyway, he was supposed to have taken Claire home tonight, so we'll see how that goes. Every few days, maybe once a week, she wakes up crying for me. She will bawl and bawl my name, even with Jay right beside her trying to comfort her. I'm praying they don't go through this this tonight!

I think I'm missing Claire more than she's mising me--except for perhaps at night, I suppose, when she usually wants me. Earlier in the evening, I called to talk to Jay, and he asked Claire if she wanted to talk to mama, and I could hear her shout quite vehemently in the background: "No! Nooooo!" What a little stinker! As I said before, No is her favorite word, even when the answer is really yes (which is what I'm assuring myself her true answer was in this case).

11 November 2008

DWTS: Julianne's back with a vengeance!

Big sigh of relief, everybody! Gosh, after that heart-wrenching, teary lovefest between Cody and Julianne in Dr. Drew's office, I was a wreck hoping they weren't eliminated! I confess to you all that I shed two fat tears during that! Anytime a boy (okay, a MAN, Cody!) cries, I'm generally right there with him! Anyway, when that awful drum started pounding before the final elimination, my heart was beating, "Not Cody, Not Cody, Not Cody." Whew!

And WOW was that the jive of your life that Derek and Julianne gave or what? Absolutely amazing. I just love how goofy and animated both of them are on and offstage, and when they're together on the dance floor, it's nonstop grins from me! Can I just say also, that Derek is hilarious? When he's not speaking on camera, you can just see him constantly thinking of a new way to contort his face to be funny. I loved when the ever-awkward Samantha said something about how Julianne has taught Cody so much "about dancing..." implying the "nothing else, kids!!" and Derek craned his giraffe neck over to stick his head in front of the camera with an "I don't approve of this!" face. Also his crazy little kick when Samantha announced DWTS is up for a People's Choice award. Ah, Derek. I could go on, but I won't. You're welcome.

And please people, replace Samantha! She done pulled her last straw with me, folks! Julianne is back from major surgery, Cody has gone through a terrible time while she's gone, having to deal with dancing with someone new and intimidatingly gorgeous, and here she is, our blond dynamo, back for her first show since recovering, and what is the question Ms. Dimwit-in-a-ballgown asks? "Cody, what's in been like to dance with the two hottest gals on the show?" or something to that effect. It's been terrible, you idiot! NO ONE on this show would have wanted to trade spots with him, no matter how long-legged and sexy Edyta is! That's it, I'm having my people call Drew Lachey's people...

10 November 2008

Introducing Huck!

I'm sure most of you are dying to know all about our new cat, Huckleberry Finn, Huck for short. I named him after one of my favorite literary characters because the cat was about half-wild when we got him, and we're doing our best to civilize him. We had a time catching him! He was one of four half-grown kittens living out in the country in a cat wonderland, at my new stepsister's house. I managed to pick Huck up for a second before he got scared, and then Grant, my mom's husband, grabbed him from me, and oh man did Grant get it! His wrists and hands got scratched up and the cat peed down Grant's jeans, and I thought Grant was going to break the poor cat's back, he was holding him so tight! Anyway, it's taken a few days of Huck hiding out in the garage under a portable clothes closet, us petting him by sticking our arms underneath. But today, he actually came inside and stayed out in the open for a while, not crouching underneath something. And now, when I go into the garage, he comes out to me!

Claire LOVES him, I mean will try to crawl anywhere he does just to try to touch him. And suprisingly enough, she hasn't been scratched yet. She's really pretty gentle, if perhaps a bit sudden in her attacks of gentleness. I tried to capture in this video how excited Claire was to see him--she had just woken up, and it was like she was thrilled to discover he was still at our house. She just followed him around saying "dat" and "mow" (meow) and trying to touch him and doing her happy dance. I kind of caught the tail-end of her excitement here, but you get the idea.

We're hoping Huck is going to be a good mouser, considering we've got a serious problem with those disgusting little rodents right now. After I bought traps, we caught three mice and a frighteningly huge rat in four days, all of these in our garage and Jay's shop building. And we sometimes hear noises in our pantry that sound like the scritchy-scratchy of a rodent. Chills up my spine!! Mice completely FREAK me out, I mean, almost to the point of tears. I'm really a little ashamed to admit that, but they just seem so dirty and creepy to me!

Shadow has not yet had the pleasure of meeting Huck; we've so far kept the cat strictly in the garage, our house, or in the front yard. We really hope they can learn to be friends, despite the genetic pecking order.

DWTS: They're bringin' crazyback

What a great night of dancing! The solos were a bit overpromoted, considering what they actually came down to, and I prefer not having quite so many different kinds of dances, but all the stars really stepped it up, with the exception, of course, of Brooke "Don't You Just Hate Her?" Burke.

I bet Lance's self-esteem suffered another massive blow, what with Len finally stating the reason Sir Lancealot has trouble looking smooth while he's dancing: he's pigeon-toed! Yikes; that's kind of like Tyra Banks telling an ANTM contestant she's a hunchback! (and no, I don't watch that show...anymore). It's like, you're actually struggling against your biologic make-up to win this competition and defeat all your crippling insecurities.

I don't understand why Julianne's extra week out wasn't even mentioned until after Cody and Edyta's dance, before their scores were revealed. Good grief, when Marie Osmond fainted, that clip was shown a hundred times, and for several eps after, both hosts had to make some kind of comment on it. The only person who mentioned Cody dancing with a new partner was Carrie Ann after their dance. Julianne is just as important to me as any of these stars, and I'll feel really bad for her and Cody if he's eliminated before they get to dance again. Whew, that was tough to say all that without one sarcastic remark!

Warren finally got me back into my turbo-grin mode during his dances. Crazy-fast footwork on the jive, and I can't remember anything about his tango right now except that it was good!

Here's what's annyoing to me about these judges: they give great reviews immediately after the dance; no specific criticism, and then they all give 8's. That seemed to be the case with Cody's foxtrot and both of Maurice's dances! Those boys just can't seem to win! I hate it when it gets to this pointin the show, b/c one of them is going home, and neither one really seem to deserve it!

And then, Miss Perfect gets out there, does a solo in which THE JUDGES CAN'T SEE HER FEET, and almost gets dropped on her head TWICE on those crazy moves Derek gave her, but they just rave about it--except for Len, the voice of reason. The way he stated his reasons sounded a bit unfair, like he was holding her to a higher standard, but I really thought I saw some mess-ups out there, which Carrie Ann and Bruno didn't comment on in all their raptures.

On the solos: I really thought these were not so much a display of the stars' dancing abilities, but a comparison of the pros' choreography skills. Lance's and Cody's looked almost like improv, sloppy and all over the place, while Warren's, Maurice's, and Brooke's were choreographed to really fit into the dance and play to the stars' strengths.

Best solo: Warren, hands down. Although I did enjoy Maurice's, it didn't seem to require much skill.
My votes went to: NO ONE, b/c all of a sudden the ABC website needs Flash for me to vote, and my comp is not taking to Flash for some reason...and I thought I already had that? Anyway, come on ABC! Aren't I an American? Don't I have the right to have my say? I call this technological discrimination!
Encore prediction: Warren and Kym's tango
Ouster prediction: Maurice and Cheryl? I don't know; that's really just my hope, for Julianne's sake.

09 November 2008

Halfway to the terrible twos!


















Claire was 18 months old last Friday, and it kind of passed me by until Audrey commented on it on here! I've been telling people she's 18 months old for a couple weeks now, so it was kind of anti-climactic when it actually came!



Here's an 18-month snapshot of our little girl:

Appearance
Weight
: 22lbs
Length/Height: ? (Haven't been to the doc or measured in a while, will try to post this later)
Eyes: Brown
Hair: light to sandy blonde mullet

Favorites:
Word: NO!
Veggie: Green beans
Foods: Tomato-ranch chips, grilled cheese bread, almost any kind of meat, noodles (spaghetti), almost any fruit, esp. strawberries, blueberries, apples and oranges.
Toys: her new toy kitchen and her "baby," any number of baby dolls she has just started showing an interest in; and a Cadoo game I picked up at Goodwill called Caribou (find the balls under doors you have to open with a simple key--she points and says "ball" until I say "your ball game?" and then she nods.)
Books: New faves are the "tactor" book, which is just an informational kid book on milk cows with some tractor pics; this Goodwill book about Tilly and her tutu; the bear book, an illustrated "Hush Little Baby" book with bears acting out Papa's elaborate gifts. Old faves are Yes Yes, No No! (which she can read half of by herself), Big and Little, Curious George lift-the-flap book
TV/Movies: Harold and the Purple Crayon, Elmo's World, Backyardigans, Dancing with the Stars (well she does dance to the Latin numbers!), and High School Musical (seriously, she is transfixed during all the songs!)
Activities: Our daily afternoon walk with Shadow (she has her snack, "counts" rocks that I put on her tray, names everything around her she can, and then watches Shadow take a dip in the neighbor's pond.); riding the four-wheeler or tractor with Dada or Papaw; just being outside doing whatever; reading her books; wearing mama or dada's shoes.


Pets:
Da-woh (Shadow the black lab mutt) and our new cat, which we all only call "cat" for now. Will do an intro post with pics on this cute little orange, half-tailed tabby later.

Originals
  • The Mamaw-Papaw song: In the sweetest little falsetto, "Mamaw...Papaw...Juice" and repeat.
  • Any fat book is a "Bible," including hymnals at church, which she can usually leaf through for a good ten minutes of each service.

New skills
Naughty face: sticks out her tongue; surprised face: opens her mouth really wide; in addition to old happy face/smile pretty trick of squinching up her eyes and showing her teeth. (We have a book called Funny Face that tells the boy's face with each change of feeling.)

Counting: I've been counting to five on lots of stuff recently, and she will often try to guess the next number, which is usually "two" or "dive". Sometimes I'll hear her "counting" things to herself, usually saying "two, two, two, dive" or mixing them up a little bit more.

Colors: She can consistently identify red, yellow, blue, black, and orange, b/c these are the crayon colors we have left of her bathtub set, which is where we've practiced the most.

Cleaning: Anytime she sees me wiping down a table or sponging off the countertops, she says something like "kee" because she wants to clean, so I give her a dry sponge or a paper towel and she wipes various things down. She also uses this excuse when she gets into her diaper bag wet wipes or antibacterial wipes.

New words
Down, up, "wa-wa" for water, eat, candy, cookie, sucker (whoa that's a lot of sweet words!), movie, milk (where she used to just say bah-bah, but now she's having milk in a cup more often), meat, bread, apple (for all biggish round fruits), orsh (orange), poo-poo (one step closer to potty training!), elmo, abby, sticker (when we enter Wal-Mart, she starts saying this, I'm not kidding!), color (for crayons or other writing utensils), paper (when we get the mail at the end of our walk, she usually requests the paper--a news junkie already!), heh-woh (hello, when playing on the phone), amen (at the end of a prayer, when we've told her we're praying), sun, moon, stars, lots of animal names: horse, cat, dog, cow, duck, bird, mouse, and sounds for elephant, alligator, giraffe, and snake that really only Jay and I can understand.

Even though I'm with her most of her waking
(and a lot of her sleeping!) hours, she still surprises and delights me each day. Life is so much more meaningful and fun with her in it!

05 November 2008

My favorite things!

Inspired by Lissa! I'm only doing things, a la Opera, so only things you can have, too.

  1. McDonald's Iced Coffee: large vanilla. So smooth and delicious! Makes me sing and dance down the aisles of Wal-Mart!
  2. Harold and the Purple Crayon DVD for naptime and bedtime.
  3. Reporter's notebooks--the medium-sized ones with the spiral binding on top and yellow pages. I have probably a dozen filled with interview notes that I can't throw away!
  4. Stonyfield organic yogurt. I don't even like yogurt, but this stuff is delicious!
  5. Dole frozen strawberries and blueberries--as good as fresh and keeps longer! Great for smoothies with Stonyfield!
  6. My Nike flip-flops. I see everyone wearing these; love 'em!
  7. My black Juicy sweats. They've got bleach spots and a fraying hem, but I still rock those things every week (only in the house!).
  8. Victoria's Secret PINK lotion. Delicious, mild scent.
  9. Sharpies. Felt-tipped pens and markers.
  10. Panera Cinnamon chip bagels.
  11. Those fuzzy socks you wear around the house.
  12. Baby Name Wizard: I was obsessed with this book when I was pregnant, and I still keep it in the living room to look up names all the time! All the info you need for most names!
  13. I'm with Lissa on Express Editor pants.
  14. High School Musical. Okay I said it. Laugh if you will.
  15. Fiestaware. Every color, vintage and new! Love it!
  16. Pride and Prejudice, the six-hour BBC version starring Colin Firth.
  17. iPod car radio transmitter. I sincerely hope it doesn't ever cause me to wreck.
  18. My star necklace with Claire's birthstone and name--from Etsy!
  19. My hair miracle products: Chi hair straightener and Biosilk spray.
  20. GreenWorks cleaning products from Clorox. Eco-friendly and smells like coconut! You'll have to ask Claire if you want to know if it tastes like it, too. (She didn't drink it or anything; she stuck her finger in it and licked it.)
Looking back at this, I'm so boring. I could go on and on, racking my brain for cooler things I like, but this is me right now. It's fun. Try it!

The Head shall bobble no more

What a gracious loser she was! I'm so glad it wasn't Cody; that would have been totally unfair. Poor Edyta! To take your partner from top half of the leaderboard to dead last in one week flat can't be good for your self-esteem, no matter how hot you are. Although, truthfully, Cody's--along with the rest of Team Cha-Cha--positions were very skewed by the terribleness of Susan.

Edyta and Alec...smokin' rumba (did I get that one right?)!

And loved the shot of Bruno rocking out to Lionel Ritchie. You had to know he's a Lionel fan.

Kenny Mayne is getting a little too full of himself, if you ask me. DanceCenter used to be hilarious; it's getting a little old now. Jerry Rice should take over. Now HE is funny!

Hey, both my predictions were right this week! Go me! Although tonight's decisions were really no-brainers.

03 November 2008

DWTS mayhem!

Ah, DWTS, how I love thee, let me count the ways, in High School Musical style:

  1. Fabulous! The unheard-of level of ridiculousness in costumes (Susan's long fringe that covered her frontal area...weird and a little bit gross).
  2. Getcha head in the game: The intensity with which the stars approach this: someone has gotten injured almost every week (this week, it was Maurice), and yet they continue and dance their hearts out (with the exception of the tragic loss of Misty May and Maks, of course.).
  3. Work this out: The pros and stars always seem so lovey-dovey on the live show, but it's delicious to see the drama that goes into those performances. (Although Lacey was a bit harsh on Lance: Griping at him for being in pain? Ouch.)
  4. We're all in this together: The team dance was actually kind of a fun addition to this cuh-razy season! I like seeing the dancers help each other and have confidence and pride in their team. Although didja see Edyta and Cody and Lance and Lacy watching Tony and Susan rehearse. That didn't look too much like confidence!
  5. Scream!: The judges often make me crazy, but tonight, Len showed that he's not trying to haze Lacey, but she just might be trying to make a name for herself on the show by rebelling at every opportunity. He didn't like her choice to go barefoot (which, I didn't really either, considering it seemed painful for Lance), but he praised their more straightforward cha-cha. Lance and Lacey's whining about the judges not liking "their style" is wearing on my nerves. (I saw Lance on Chelsea Lately the other night, and he said he thought the judges were trying to haze Lacey as the new kid on the block. Whatever...)
Other thoughts:

That group paso was pretty freakin' awesome. But was it really perfect? Or was it just awesome compared to the sloppy-joe cha-cha?

Shouldn't the judges have cut Cody and Edyta some slack? Geez Louise, it wasn't that bad! He was the low scorer of the night, which doesn't really seem fair, considering he had one week to get to know and work with Edyta. Remember that before the show ever begins, the stars and pros rehearsed together for five weeks, and this week, Edyta had to teach Cody two dances!

I kind of agreed with the judges on Warren and Kym's foxtrot. At the beginning of the season, his moves were astoundingly quick and goofy-giggle inducing, but now he just seems a bit slow, a bit more wooden.

The Head remains fragile as the Precious Moments doll she so closely resembles. When Tony dips or twirls her, she looks like she's getting jerked around like a rag doll!

My votes went to: Cody and Edyta (3, not b/c they were the best, but b/c his bottom-of-the-leaderboard ranking was totally unfair), Brooke and Derek (1), Maurice and Cheryl (1), Lance and Lacey (1)

Predicted encore: the team paso

Predicted ouster: The Head, you have bobbled your last.

Since I'm at the bottom of a guilty-pleasure post, I'll go ahead and further shame myself by saying that HSM3 was lots of fun, and I'm super-excited that Twilight tickets went on sale today! November 21, here we come!

Make your own tutu!

In response to Lissa's comment, YES I did make Claire's tutu! It was super easy--no-sew--and I highly recommend it to anyone with a little girl--very fun for dress-up and Halloween! I got my directions here, and Audrey got hers for Kerrigan's super-cute punk-rock one here. Audrey's directions are better, I think, because they call for Velcro on the elastic waistband, which makes it easier to put on. I did a ladybug one with black felt dots fabric-glued to red ribbon. This Etsy seller, where Audrey and I both got our inspiration for our tutus, sells them for $20. Hers are probably neater than Claire's, but mine only cost about $10 to make. Five yards of tulle in your choice of color(s) and elastic for the waistband is the minimum! Then you can add hanging ribbons, a ribbon sash, a flower on the sash, whatever!

01 November 2008

New look!

This is WAY overdue, I know. Picking up on the bird association with our last name and one of my fave poems! Bloglines readers, be sure to click over and see.

Get candy get candy get candy

Claire's first time trick-or-treating was great fun. We went to a grand total of five houses, but this ended up taking three hours! Guess that's what happens when you're really just using Halloween as an excuse to visit friends and family.

We could not get the girl to stand still for a solo pic! We've got pics of her with Tyler (dressed as some obscure Star Wars character from the new Clone Wars movie), her with Mom, and her with me, but none by herself, showing off her mom's rather clumsy handiwork at making a ladybug tutu. Thankfully, Kerri managed to get a few of her in her full regalia at Audrey's house a couple weekends ago. In any event, Mom finally had a reason for calling her Clairebug tonight!


After trick-or-treating, we got to spend some time with family and friends at my Uncle Mike and Aunt Penny's house, including my cousin Cristy and her beautiful daughter Hannah Rose. Claire took right to Cristy, even though we haven't seen her in three months or so. She kept crawling into her lap with a book!















We've also got a great shot here of Claire's current hairdo, which is becoming quite mullet-tastic. YIKES! Talk about karma! Jay and my first date was counting mullets at the Sand Bass Festival in Madill! Now our daughter could be mocked in like manner! Horrors! I don't want to sacrifice her beautiful curls in the back with a premature haircut, so all I know to do is pull it up as often as possible. Pigtails are preferable, but she usually yanks those out within 15 minutes. Bows are also helpful, but she enjoys pulling those out, too. HELP!

30 October 2008

Belated DWTS ouster comment

I apologize, my faithful DWTS readers (all two of you!), for not posting after the uber -boring results show the other night. An encore of the mess of a group dance, some river dance, and the Pussycat Dolls? And the elimination was the least disappointing ever, I thought. I mean, way to go Cloris for making it past the halfway point at age 82, but the fat lady has been singing for you for a while!

And I totally agree with Lissa that Lance was the only non-pro who was making that group dance happen. Maurice and Warren were doing passable jobs, but you could see Lance's years of training in learning hip-hop choreography coming out! Worst dancer in *NSYNC = best dancer on Season 7 of DWTS. Although I'm still a fan of Cody and Julianne, but really, more because of their personalities than anything else.

Next week will likely be another no-brainer elimination: The Head, who we saw this week actually has no rhythm whatsoever. It must be a tribute to her partner, Tony "Glo-Teeth" Dovolani that we somehow haven't noticed that yet!

29 October 2008

Good times!

And Claire rocks her beanie, Brad Pitt style!









27 October 2008

DWTS business

I think Carrie Ann got out her Halloween costume a little too early--the witch is in! Oh no wait a minute, that's Carrie Ann every week! I'm exaggerating I suppose; I just thought her comment to Cloris was AWFUL! I mean, it's one of those, "Everybody's thinking it, but nobody is allowed to say it" kind of things! In case you missed it, Carrie Ann told Cloris, "I just think it's kind of sad that we lost Toni last week, and got that instead." No critique, no overall judgment of the dance, just the elephant-in-the-room comment that she had enough gall to blurt out!

Anyway, my other major impression from this show is, Julianne is SICK! Did you see the way she was hunched over after her dance was finished, like she was hurting? And then there was another time when the camera panned by her, and she looked like she was just gasping for breath. Julianne NEVER looks like that! If she's out of breath, she's grinning and talking right through it! I'm praying for her this week! AND Samantha Harris does it again! Her follow-up question to Julianne announcing she has endometriosis and is undergoing major surgery the next day: "Cody, are you looking forward to dancing with Edyta next week?"

Also, yes Lord of the Dance is a famous dancer, but is he credentialed in any way in ballroom or Latin dances? I thought of him as strictly river and Celtic dancing. I think he pretty much gave the everyman's opinion tonight, in a bit more dignified way than say, me.

General dance comments:

Warren: Finally, New Guy comments on the fact that Warren's dances actually don't have that much dancing in them! Yeah, he's got style, he's got charisma, but can he sustain an entire serious dance (i.e., not the hustle)? I'm not so sure. How dare you compare him to Emmett, Carrie Ann? Yes, he's big, black, and bald, but I don't think he has near the level of skill that Emmett had.

Lance: Listen here, poor, pathetic little boy. Look yourself in the mirror and repeat after me: "I'm good enough. I'm smart enough. And doggone it, people like my dancing." I hope his puppy-dog self-esteem got a lift this week from that awesome jive! I also like how Lacey followed the judges' advice from last week by sitting in the audience for the first 15 seconds of the dance. I thought Lance was going to go solo for a second!

Cody: Love his energy, but I kind of agree with Bruno that there wasn't much hips in that dance for a Latin dance!

Susan: I have become convinced that Susan has no skills when it comes to anything besides ballroom. Give her a dance that doesn't look good when it's stiff and slow, and she does it stiff and slow anyway. Did you see that train wreck in the hip-hop dance?

And speaking of the group dance, that was a train wreck in general! I saw the pros look awesome, and the stars look like they hadn't had enough time to learn the choreography! Every shot I saw of Susan, she looked totally lost! As far as group dances go, not the best. Usually, it has a whole storyline, and lots of crazy lifts, and plenty of chances to see the personalities of all the dancers. Maybe it was the fast camera work, but I didn't get any of that, except for I suppose, Warren's cool little shoulder move and Brooke and Kym's half-hearted catfight. You really need Edtya for a good DWTS catfight. Also, did Cloris even learn the choreography? I'm pretty sure she and Corky stood on the platform by the band the entire time with Corky acting his usual fool and Cloris looking confused.

My votes went to: Everyone but Cloris and Susan. Two each for Lance & Lacey and Cody & Julianne, my faves.

Encore prediction: Lance and Lacey

Ouster: Cloris and Corky (*fingers crossed*) (I can say it, but Carrie Ann, you can't!)

23 October 2008

Claire's Vocab




Claire is learning new words every single day, it seems. Today, she started saying "tractor"! I took her over to Jay's giant lawnmower (we don't really have a tractor) and we sat on it for a while, me reading and her jerking the steering wheel, pulling levers back and forth, and removing and inserting the key. Good times! Then when Daddy got home, she said tractor (tactor) to him, and he took her for a ride on it, and then on the four-wheeler! She went to bed early tonight!

Other words in her vocab:

  • "airplane" (when she hears the rumbling in the sky, or sometimes when she hears a lawnmower)
  • horse ("orse")
  • orange ("orsh")
  • blue, red, yellow (wah-woh) when we practice colors with her crayons
  • attempts at counting to five (she points to things and says "two", "five," "four")
  • apple (all round fruits are apples)
  • Bible
  • Shadow (sounds a lot like yellow--dah-woh)--She's taken to following him anywhere outside--sniffing out mice, out to the edge of the fence to do his business, over to the neighbor's fence to say hello to their dogs. I'll tell her to come back over, and she always responds with "Wah-woh," and points to Shadow, as though he's watching her.
  • lots of names: Stuart, Mary, Cassie, Amber, Gigi
  • Her favorite word is defintely "No." Although her real answer is sometimes "yes."

Yet I still can't get her to say anything but bah-bah for paci. It's a little confusing come naptime or bedtime.

21 October 2008

0 for 2 on DWTS Predictions!

Toni, I hope you can un-break your heart. Isn't that kind of ironic that was the title of her hit song, and then turns out, she has a heart condition? She literally had a broken heart. Deep thoughts with Kim Mauck.

I cannot believe Cloris has such a strong fan base that she wasn't even in the bottom two! I would certainly have put Susan and Toni down as the next two getting the boot after Cloris, but I really thought tonight would be a bygone conclusion, and the fat lady had sung for the old lady.

Also, I re-watched Lance and Lacey and Cheryl and Maurice, and I totally agree with Lissa's comment on my last post that Lance did just as much dancing if not more than Maurice! Lance had several cute solos and that cool little hop thing when he shoved off of Lacey's leg. Maurice's main attraction was that incredible back bend. Although I must say, I wasn't too pleased with Lacey's comment in the hallway that "The judges don't know West Coast Swing." Watch the sass, Miss First-Timer!

And I'm so glad I was wrong about the encore perf! Yay Cody and Julianne! That jitterbug was great! But I'm hoping that wasn't Cody's peak--that dance was perfectly suited to his energy, but I hope he can tame it discipline it and keep it coming!

20 October 2008

Fun times on DWTS and Sweet Deals on Little Tikes!

Okay, first off, for you non-DWTS fans, let me get the personal stuff out of the way. We had a great fall break with family, even though none of us are directly affected by fall break anymore! My almost-14-year-old cousin Holly spent the night with us Thursday night after we, along with my mom, Uncle Mike, and Aunt Betty, went and saw the movie City of Ember. You probably haven't heard of it unless you're familiar with the best-selling YA novel. Well, Mom and I had both read the book and were dying to see it, but were a bit disappointed. Examples of how Hollywood messes up a wonderful story:

  1. A 12-year-old character is played by a real-life 24-year-old.

  2. A giant, man-eating mole is added to the story for no apparent reason. (But at least it gave me the opportunity to movie-whisper "Holy Moley!" and get a good laugh from Mom.)

  3. A narcoleptic old man who served primarily as comedic relief is suddenly The One Who Sacrifices His Life for the Main Characters.

The story was still good, but Hollywood has a weird idea of what it has to do to entertain us.

Friday, Holly, Claire, and I went shopping. Fun times! Toddler girl clothes are so fun to shop for!

Saturday, Mom, Claire and I went to Norman to visit Amanda, and on the way back, we stopped at this swap shop in between Norman and Noble. Wow did we find some sweet deals on Little Tikes stuff! I got Claire a play kitchen, doll carriage (which she likes to ride in, too), toddler trike, and dolphin swing for $50!! After hosing and bleaching them down, they're as good as new! Claire has been having so much fun!

As you can see, she got a lot of satisfaction from moving the baby from the floor to the carriage. For some reason, this baby likes to drink its bottle from the floor.


I moved the kitchen inside after Shadow kept trying to make off with various pots and pans or food items in his mouth. Claire likes to go around with a plastic hamburger patty or hot dog weenie in her mouth, so I didn't think it was a good idea for them to share chew toys.

Okay, now for my faithful DWTS readers!! (The rest of you can roll your eyes and move on to something more important.)

Overall, four very lively dances! Definitely a great night of DWTS. Some particulars:

The Head strikes again. All three judges finally comment on the fact that yes, Susan Lucci does get the moves right, but she moves so carefully. Isn't it obvious she has to move carefully to avoid tipping over from the weight of that massive cranium?

I just wanted to cry for Lacey tonight! She is quickly becoming one of my fave pros, and the judges gave her what has got to be the very worst thing for a pro to hear: that they're hogging the spotlight! I don't get this at all! I mean, I can't take my eyes off Julianne or Edyta when they dance for all their whirling and kicking, but Lacey does some tricky West Coast Swing moves, and the judges throw a hissy! They definitely deserved better scores, I thought.

Warren is freaking awesome! What a fun hustle to watch! BUT I don't get how the judges rave about him, don't give him any kind of criticism, and then give him 8's!

Maurice finally got some judge love. He deserves it. And way to speak out on the judges being unfair! No need to take that sitting down (although he was in the rehearsal room).

The jitterbug was totally a cartoon dance, and so much fun to watch. Although it seems very similar to the jive, except crazier. I even noticed some of the same moves (i.e., the ever-popular grab your partner's ankle and twirl while looking out to sea). I'm VERY TICKED though, that Cody and Julianne didn't score at least as high as Miss Perfect (aka Brooke). C&J's routine had way more tricks, jokes, and precision, in my opinion. Brooke and Derek's was great fun, don't get me wrong, but C&J's was the whole package. That Cody Linley is slowly winning my heart! He just seems so earnest and sweet!

Toni, Cloris, what can I say? BO-ring!

My votes went to: C&J (3), B&D (1), Warren and Kym (1), Maurice and Cheryl (1), Lance and Lacey (1)

Encore prediction: Probably B&D, even though I wish it would be C&J

Ouster: Cloris, it is TIME!

14 October 2008

One for two on DWTS predictions (and some family stuff!)

Well, I called the ouster, but missed the mark on the encore. Duh! That's who I would have LIKED to see do the encore--Lance and Lacey's tango literally gave me chills of excitement both times--but for some reason I was hypnotized by Brooke's provacatively dangling golden sequins that she somehow twirled in perfect circles before my eyes...

And I must say most of those political ads were dumb and cheesy, but Cody Linley's was my fave! "He says he's a man...but he's actually a baby!" *cartoon paci pops in his mouth* Which one made you laugh hardest?

And, you know it's hunting season around here when Jay's bow is at the kitchen table. This year, Claire decided he needed some help.


















Also, Claire and I got to hang out with our cousin Allie for a few hours yesterday while her mommy went to the doctor. We made cupcakes, played with toys and watched TV, dug in the rocks in our front "flower bed," had a picnic, and went for a wagon ride. But of course, I got pictures of NONE OF THIS! I do have some good Allie quotes though:

When we were on our wagon ride, Allie was riding with Claire, and a couple times, Allie said, "I think I need to flap my wings a little bit," and then hopped out and jogged beside the wagon, flapping her arms.

When she was eating her applesauce at lunch, and I asked her if she liked it. Her response: "Ummm, it's kind of ooey-gooey." Pause. "What does ooey-gooey mean?"

On our wagon ride, Allie was collecting special things: flowers, rocks, and leaves. Every few feet, she would shout, "I see something special!" and hop out and go get it. A couple times, it looked like she was deciding what was special after she got out of the wagon, and I asked her something like "What did you see, Allie?" While she was deciding what to pick up one time, she said, "There are special things all around. You just have to pick one up!"

When were sitting in the flower bed, I was telling her why there were bits of black paper showing through the pebbles (Ranger dug at it). She said her cat Gizmo sometimes digs things up in the garden, too. She said, "But he digs up weeds, because he's helpful." She used that word helpful several times, and always with special emphasis.

I could probably think of more; she's just a laugh a minute!

13 October 2008

DWTS Costumes

Was it just me, or did costumes take center stage tonight on DWTS?

Cody kept a straight face and frame for an entire dance, except he got tangled in Julianne's gaucho pants repeatedly (have gaucho pants ever looked so sexy, by the way?)

And I can't get over Brooke and Toni's bods, toned and voluptuous enough to pull off the sequins-and-strings costumes regularly (barely) worn by Edyta and Karina. Tonight was a stunning display of their curves and abs, with Brooke's yellow bikini top with sequined strings hanging from her bosoms and Toni's pseudo-strapless ensem with multi-colored strings of pearls being the only accessory separating her from wearing nothing but a teeny bikini.

Then Rocco and Karina take the "go big or go home" mentality on costumes, going for the gimmicky removable ruffles and pulling out John Ratzenberger's "drum the hot girl's stomach" trick--Is Rocco really that bad?

Then we have Lance and Lacey making ballroom goth with the black rose, corset and shredded dress, and eye make-up and purple hair (on Lance!). Except for Lance's make-up and hair, I thought their outfits were fabu though. Lacy actually seems to show a surprising amount of restraint when it comes to showing skin in her costumes. I'm liking her more and more. But does she have Lance brainwashed or what? Ever since the beginning, Lance has talked about "our style". You don't have a ballroom style! You're a choreography-learning puppet, just like back in *NSYNC days! It's Lacey's style that has obviously needed some adjustment, not yours Lance.

And the appearance of our first and second afros with Maurice and Cheryl's super-cute retro dance, that the judges again didn't like for no reason! And I cannot forget Maurice's hilarious impression in the red room, but I'm only vaguely sure he was doing Jackie Brown....anyone? It was funny, whatever it was.

Other notes:

Cloris--too little, too late.

Brooke--finally a little fun to watch

Susan--the tango is the older woman's dance, so obviously her best. I think it's a cougar thing. I would be a little scared if I were Carrie Ann when Susan said, "No one has ever called me timid, in any area of my life." Also, Tony's cameo on All My Children--hilarious!

Samantha, just don't even try! She is obviously not part of the red room hilarity. Every time she tries to join in, she falls flat on her face (as with trying to prompt Derek's gyrations). I want Drew Lachey back for backstage commentary!

My votes went to: Maurice and Cheryl, just b/c I think the judges are being way too hard on him; Lance and Lacey, because they really did step it up a notch on technique this week, I thought; and Brooke and Derek, solely because of Derek's hilarious entrance into the red room. I watched that three times, laughing like a ninny the entire time. That boy cracks me up! It also cracks me up that Juliane was guffawing louder than anyone back there! Gotta love that sibling affection!

Encore prediction: Brooke and Derek

Danced their last: Rocco and Karina

12 October 2008

Family Fun (despite OU loss!)

You just can't keep we Pannells from having lots of fun and eating lots of food when we get together, even if our beloved Sooners can't pull out the win against Texas. Boo. We had a wild weekend going back and forth between here and Coleman, but not near as wild as our Indiana and Kansas Pannells' weekend of two six-hour or 15-hour drives!






Claire discovers she can work the Sit 'n' Spin by herself. Everyone is amazed.












Claire plays school with Ms. Jenny, Mattie, and Tyler during the OSU game later that night. (If you like her adorable maribou feather bow, you can order one from Audrey's Etsy shop, Lady Jane Bowtique!)











Sunday after church, we try in vain to get a pic of all the cute little girls: Molly (four months), Emma (two and a half), Claire, and Allie (three and a half).





Other highlights from this weekend include:
  1. Aunt Michelle's honeybun cake (YUM!).
  2. Watching the first hour and half of the Colin Firth Pride and Prejudice with Dani Rose.
  3. Seeing Claire go to Uncle Matt and Uncle Danny for the first time (In her defense, she's only seen Uncle Danny twice, and Uncle Matt is a bit scary. He was responsible for many of my nightmares as a child, what with his scary stories about a bear eating the head off a child, trying to force me to eat a licorice rat, biting my heels mercilessly, and being accused of stealing his Acutane.)
  4. Learning all the dirt on Barack Obama that FOXNews has dug up, courtesy Uncle Matt, who in turn received a hearty scolding from my mom on his taste for imbalanced media.
  5. Mine and Aunt Penny's caramel corn (YUM!). Will post on coooking blog--it's another Paula recipe, and it's SPECTACULAR.
  6. But my favorite has to be visiting with everyone, especially my long-lost cousin, Lissa, a super-mom, flutist, composer of fantastic musical programs, music teacher, private flute instructor, marathon runner, happy cooker, blogger, and all-around Christian gal!

09 October 2008

Pumpkin Patch Torture Session!
















Claire and I went with the other Kim Mauck, her daughter Katelyn, Kim's sister Krista and her daughter Briley, and two of Krista's friends to a pumpkin patch in Celina on Wednesday. I thought it was fun, but I kinda think Claire thought it was torture. At her age, it's hard to take that much in.
As soon as she got used to the goats...














...it was time to move on to the pumpkin picture sessions, where she thought it was her job to try to steer her way out of the pumpkins blocking her way.

















Then she spied the little tractor, which she loved:


















We tried a photo op with she and Katelyn, but this didn't last long. Claire was so focused on getting a hold on that steering wheel that she was scooting Katelyn off!















We also took a hay ride, which she seemed to enjoy, except she kept trying to jump over the side to get to the pumpkin patch. When we got to the pumpkin patch, she caught sight of the tractor pulling the trailer full of hay and kids, and started fussing and pointing to get back on there! Then, the first pumpkin she sees and walks up to is surrounded in an ant bed! Another mom and I had to rake and rake at her pants, take off her shoes, and roll up her pants to pick every last one off.
But I think Claire enjoyed Chick-Fil-A and Target afterward, as always.

07 October 2008

I watched a whole hour for NOTHING?!

Seriously, did DWTS just wait until the LAST FIVE MINUTES of the elimination show to tell us NO ONE would be eliminated? What the heck? I guess they figured most viewers would be like me, who, although hard-core, would not watch if there wasn't an elimination at the end of the show. Because really, who really needs to see Kool and the Gang perform or a mostly scripted package of what each non-pro thinks his or her special strength is? (Where the heck is Kenny Mayne's DanceCenter?) HOWEVER, I am kind of glad I watched, b/c I did enjoy the Jennifer Hudson/Derek and Julianne duet! Flowed like butt-ah!

Also, how cute was Maks and Edyta's jive? And I've never seen a schoolgirl skirt show butt cleavage, so that was interesting. I have a feeling Edyta had some changes made from Misty May's costume, such as the addition of her new fave kind of leg-warmers, the floaty ones that don't warm her legs at all.

The lowest combined score belonged to Rocco and Karina, the second-lowest on the judges' leaderboard. Not surprising, and even less climactic since he will actually live to see another week of cheesy food analogies (pun intended!).

Thanks to my sister, who alerted me to the fact that Susan "The Head" Lucci (Lissa's nickname, ha!) did NOT have the lowest score. I don't know why I thought she was lowest! Sorry guys, and please correct me when I'm wrong (although I'll try not to be from now on!).

06 October 2008

DWTS Shocker!

Finally, DWTS has actual breaking news, and they drag it out until the end of the show! Because they kept saying Misty May will be here to give us more info, I thought, "Oh, she'll be back next week like Christian did last season with his wrist or they would tell us at the beginning." Nope, it was a bombshell they put off until the end of the show. I guess it might have put a damper on all the other dances. Poor Maks! Actually, no poor me for not getting to watch Maks! However, where the heck was he in the video of Misty struggling with the pain? I'm betting he was telling her to walk it off. Does this mean the season will be one week shorter? It seems like they shouldn't eliminate anyone this week, just to be fair.

However, I wouldn't mind seeing Cloris go. There's a certain degree to which I enjoy seeing an entertainer who is physically incapable of technique almost make up for it with entertainment. Marie Osmond, Adam Corolla, they were passable and good for a laugh. But I really feel more scared than entertained when I watch Cloris dance. What's going to break? What's going to slip? Will there be a wardrobe malfunction? Seriously, with all of Edyta's skimpy outfits, I never feel as frightened of a wardrobe malfunction as I do when I watch Cloris. Tonight, we had one, albeit not a scary one: her wig came off. Also, she showed her bloomers to the world by raising her legs in the air while lying on her back for an unseemly amount of time. But I tell ya, she keeps me laughing with her red-room antics. I loved when she appeared from off-camera when Cody Linley commented that older women have been telling him they liked his rumba.

Okay seriously y'all, is Brooke Burke really that good? The judges drool over her, acting like she's the best non-pro they've ever seen on the show. I don't know, to me, she's lacking the entertainment factor. Kinda like Donald Braswell, a singer who got fourth place on America's Got Talent: yeah, he's got talent, but when he's on stage, I just want to go to sleep!

I'd much rather watch Warren Sapp, who the judges have also adopted as their pet, or even Maurice Greene, who I think the judges are unnecessarily hard on.

Lance and Lacie, coming in this week with the disrespect to the elders! Geez, lay off Len and Cloris already! Is it just me, or are they a little too huggy-kissy? I suppose gay guys think they have license to PDA girls all they want since there's no danger of leading them on.

I still don't see why the judges are so hard on Rocco! I suppose there's a little thing called technique that I can't judge based on my experience of watching the show for five seasons.

Cody, keep your tongue in your mouth.

Susan, make another facial expression beside Stepford-wife smile while you're dancing.

Toni, you're awesome. I, too, was the girl the kids argued over which team had to take her today. Loved the outfit.

New feature of my DWTS write-up: My votes and predictions!

My votes this week: Rocco, Maurice, and Warren
Predicted encore: Brooke and Derek. *head nodding, eyes drooping*
Danced her last DWTS dance: Cloris

I could say so much more, but really, would you read it? And really, aren't I just procrastinating doing more important things? No and yes.

05 October 2008

Great weekend!

We had a great weekend of OU football, family, and relaxation. Saturday we went to Nana and Grandad's house, where we got to see Dani, Luke, and baby Molly! It was so fun!

Dani Rose and I and two friends of ours started an online book club on Yahoo! Groups. We started with Breaking Dawn, the fourth book in the wildly addictive Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer. Unless you've been living under a rock for the past year, you've probably heard of it, since the third book bumped Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows from the Number 1 spot on the bestseller list, the fourth book caused a media frenzy, and a movie version of the first book is coming out in November. Anyway, the Twilight series was what got all of us talking about books and recommending books to each other and stuff, so we decided to start a book club to do it in a more organized fashion. Now we've made the somewhat drastic leap to Pride and Prejudice, but actually, believe it or not (which I actually don't), Stephenie Meyer says P&P actually influenced parts of Twilight. A modern-day, teenage vampire love story and P&P? Not seeing it! Regardless, Dani and I both LOVE Jane Austen, so we're having so much fun talking about it as we read.

Anyway, since we started the book club, every time Dani and I see each other, we end up talking about our book club book and getting way ahead of our online discussion. We're going to begin watching the six-hour BBC version of the book this weekend, maybe--Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy! Swoon!

One of the reasons I love fall is OU football, and not because I'm particularly a football fan, but because my family is! That means most Saturdays, there's some kind of family gathering in Coleman for the game, which for me, means family and food more than it means football! I'm so excited for OU/Texas this weekend, when Pannells from Blanchard, Kansas, and Indiana will be gathering to watch the game!

Claire is learning so much lately! Just this weekend, she started recognizing and saying orange ("orush") and horse ("orse"). I watched Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (a series I'm reading along with the book club books!) the other night, and she actually sat still for any part with a horse onscreen, pointing and saying "orse"! Also in church this morning, she pointed over to a good friend of our family, Ike Miller, saying "Ike"! He was on the other side of church, too! We are working on getting her to be quiet during prayers; she seems to think this is her time to shout one of our names at the top of her lungs.

She is developing a very strong will, and starting to throw some full-fledged temper tantrums! I had to take her out of church the other day b/c she was trying to walk outside the pew, and I pulled her back (gently!) by her arm. You would have thought I snatched candy away from her or something!

Anyway, we love watching her grow and change, and we know this push and pull of our wills is totally normal. It's just a little embarrassing when it directs an entire congregation's eyes to you!

I better hit the sack b/c I'm supposed to be in Calera at 8 a.m. to head down to a pumpkin patch in Texas with Kim Mauck #1 and her sister. Yikes!