Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Elf On The Shelf

My mom has this really scary looking Christmas elf. . . My guess is that it's from the 60s, and it always comes out with the Christmas decorations. . . and it's always made me just a little bit nervous. . .

Look at that face!!

BUT, I saw this
on the internet the other day, and it reminded me of the scary elf (though slightly less scary). . . and I thought to myself. . . we need more TRADITIONS in our house. And the scary elf is something that was ALWAYS there in our house. . . so why not get one of my own?

This one comes with a story book that explains how Santa sends his little elf helpers to watch over kids and make sure they're being good. . .

we're considering leaving him up all year long as a form of motivation for Nolan. . .

(If you need one, their website has a list of stores that carry them)

Monday, November 24, 2008

Movies and TV Catch Up

Feast Of Love
Good cast. Not good writing. The cast did what they could with it, but it was just. . . bad. I was hoping to like it, but I really really didn't. I watched this so long ago that I really can't some up with anything else to say about it. . . I don't suggest getting this one. . .

Charlie Bartlett
This one, on the other hand, I DID like. And I wasn't at all sure I would. The script is surprisingly clever, and Anton Yelchin, that plays Charlie, carries the movie brilliantly. Hope Davis' character was pretty contrived and silly, but Yelchin and Robert Downey Jr were so honest, that the movie was great, overall.

Purple Violets
I liked this movie a little. . . There were some huge and glaring things about it that really bugged me, though, to the point that I couldn't REALLY like it. #1-- Selma Blair. I don't think she can act, but also, I think she's annoying and hard to watch. (I know this is contrary to popular opinion, but it's just how I feel) #2-- Who decided Donal Logue should play British? He did it BADLY. Not a good call Edward Burns. . .

But on that point, the rest of the cast was good. . . even Edward Burns, who usually annoys me as well, and I generally think should not act in his own movies. He was good. And the plot, though predictable, was not bad.

I just couldn't REALLY like it.
(and there was apparently no poster made for it)

Because I Said So
OK, this one is SERIOUSLY BAD. And the thing is, with this cast, there is no excuse. The script (if there was one) and the direction are just AWFUL. Most of the movie feels like a 1st year improv class. And my guess is, the director told them to "have more energy! Be more frenetic!" the whole time. It's bad. REALLY bad. Even for a chick flick.

Beauty Shop
I wanted to hate it. I can't like movies like this. . . I'm smarter than that. . . But it was really quite sweet. And Queen Latifa is just so GOOD. At everything. And granted, it was a quiet Sunday afternoon, and I had just finished watching Because I Said So. . . but I think both Ben & I really enjoyed this. . . silly though it may be. If you see it coming on TV, it's worth the time.. .

Margot At The Wedding
Yeah. . . I am officially NOT a fan of Noah Baumbach. I couldn't sit still through this movie, in much the same way I couldn't through The Squid & The Whale (which he also wrote and directed). I know there are people with whom his style and rhythm resonates. . . but I'm not one of them. I call movies like this "Mumbler Movies". I just wanted to tell them all to enunciate!! I didn't like it. . . but that doesn't mean you wouldn't. . .

And a few (lots of) points on TV. . .

We care enough to be caught up on:
Pushing Daisies-- it's being cancelled, and that makes me sad. Granted, I am less enamored with this season than I was last, but it's SUCH a great show. . .
Big Bang Theory-- yes, this is a slightly unexpected joy to us. Maybe the sitcom ISN'T dead! Although I could still do without the ridiculously loud laugh track
How I Met Your Mother-- again. . . giving me hope for sitcoms. I know, I'm late to the party. . . But I like this one.
Ugly Betty-- Oh my WORD, I'm so glad it recovered from last season. I was about to give up. But it's BACK!
Grey's Anatomy-- OK, I am pretty certain it officially jumped the shark this past week. UGH. I loved Denny too. . . but seriously?! I will still keep watching, though. I'm a sucker for it.
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition-- we cry every week. It's amazing and one of our absolute favorites.

Partially caught up on:
Heroes-- mostly caught up. . . and while it's better than last season (OK, that's not saying much) I am still not thrilled with the writing. COME ON, people!
Biggest Loser-- Really wish it wasn't the long, drawn out, 2 hour affair that it is every week. They could do it in 1. . . and all the dramatics and repeated clips are making us lose interest. . .which is sad, because we really liked it. . .

We are SOO far behind on, and trying to care about:
Private Practice-- I'm more caught up than Ben is, but it's just getting SO overly dramatic. I know this is silly from someone that likes Grey's, and I LOVE the cast. . . but the writing is just not doing it for me this season. . .
House-- I actually took this off the schedule. . . not because I don't like it, but because it's syndicated all over the place and I'm not up on any sort of PLOT anyway, so it's not worth the DVR space.
Fringe-- I love JJ, but this one may end up getting deleted too. It just didn't draw us in. We'll see if we get caught up soon and have time for it. . .

New ones we're trying. . . when we find time:
Eleventh Hour-- The previews looked interesting. . . sort of X-Files meets Bones. . . I'm not sure when I'll get to it, though. Or if that's even an accurate description.
Life-- I have watched 2 so far, and I like it. It's definitely on deck.
My Own Worst Enemy-- We watched all of the episodes last night. Couldn't stop watching. We're suckers for spy shows. . . it feels like we're watching Alias all over again. Really well done. WATCH THIS, if you don't already.

Yeah. . . we watch WAY too much TV. Our excuse is that we don't go TO the movies and plays much any more. . . so we have to entertain ourselves. . . but we're also just slaves to the TV.

Done now.

Random (Again) and Wordy

Apparently my new theme is random lists. . . because here I go again. (though I will follow it up with a movie/TV post)

1) We bought our Christmas presents this weekend. . . I know, I know, it's ridiculous for a person who can't even stand to start listening to Christmas carols until Dec. 1st to buy Christmas presents SO far in advance. It is. It's ridiculous. I know this.

Ben and I have gotten into the habit of saving large purchases that we really want for special occasions, for the sake of justifying them. We used our TV purchase for birthdays and anniversary gifts this year. . . and ever since we bought the TV, it's been our secret (and not so secret) wish to have a Blu-Ray player to go with it. . . I mean, HELLO, how can we have an HDTV and NOT have Blu-Ray? Easy, actually. We didn't NEED it. DVDs looked fine. But. . . we wanted one.

SO it's our Christmas gift. And at less than half the price of last year's Christmas (iphones at the old price) I feel pretty good about it. And it LOOKS AMAZING. Wall-E is SO pretty. Planet Earth. I can't even tell you. . . you could PET the polar bears. . .

2) When I went to deposit our aluminum cans in the recycling bin I always use today, I ran into something new and different for American Fork Utah. . . or so I thought. . .

The large trash can for recycling (proceeds go to the handicapped, or so it says) is right next to another can for newspapers. They are in the parking lot of a Smith's grocery store and there is never anyone by them. Dumping my cans through the special hole is usually a solitary affair I do on my lunch break and move on to other errands.

But today, when I pulled into the parking lot, there was a man by the newspaper can, with newspapers EVERYWHERE. A giant circle of papers surrounded him as he looked to be sorting through them. I admit it. I figured he was homeless (even if that's not something you see in AF very often) I don't know if it was the gray hair sticking up through his ear warmer or the older wind breaker he was wearing. . . or just the simple fact that he was kneeling by a couple of trash cans in a grocery store parking lot. . . either way, I have to admit that it gave me pause, pulling up to the cans. . . Not very Christian of me. . . I know.

As soon as I got out and he looked up at me with a bit of a laugh in his eyes I knew I'd been wrong. But I still didn't understand. . . but not to worry. He explained. He talked to me the whole time I was emptying my cans. . . and then a little longer. He told me that he was pulling newspaper clippings to add to scrapbooks he was making for his grandkids. . . He wanted them to remember this year. . .

And it occurred to me that I was judgmental. . . and that he was a freaking COOL grandpa. . . if a bit eccentric. How many grandpas dumpster dive for newspapers to create SCRAPBOOKS for their grandkids? I hope they appreciate it. And I hope I'm that cool some day. (even though there CERTAINLY must have been an easier way to do what he was doing)

3) When I made my hair cut appointment on Saturday they asked if I'd like to have anything waxed while I was at it. . . In order to tell this story, I have to admit something. . . I am 31 years old. A GROWN woman. & I am NOT a fan of hair in places it ought not to be. Which is why I endured the pain of laser hair removal on certain parts of my body. Because besides not enjoying errant hair, I am also lazy. Too lazy for the shaving and the plucking SO much of the time. . . HOWEVER. . . I have made it to the ripe old age of 31 without every having had a part of my body waxed. I hear tales. I wince. . . which is stupid because I KNEW in my brain, that the laser hurt more. . . I've just never done it. SO, when they asked, I thought of my eyebrows. . . SO unkempt. Really quite ridiculous. . . and I said yes.

And it was wonderful.

I now have perfectly shaped brows, with VERY minimal pain, and I will never pluck again.

The End.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thursday Randomness

I am feeling pretty scattered this week. We all have crazy crappy colds and one of the many joyful symptoms is a distinct "medicine head" feeling, despite having taken no medicine. Another symptom is the desire to pass out for the night at 8 pm (or 7:30, as Ben did last night for a half hour snooze)

So today, I have randomness to offer, and that's all I can muster:

A) Trying to pace myself and spread my Christmas shopping out over several weeks makes me want to listen to Christmas music. . . but I am FIRMLY on the side of not turning on the Christmas tunes until Dec. 1st. I will get sick of them, and the whole holiday feeling, if I start earlier. And I have a LOT to be thankful for in the meantime. . .

B) Nolan had his one year old check up at the Dr. on Tuesday. The little man has not grown much. . . a fact that the doctor isn't concerned about, but it has me mildly perplexed. He has not grown ANY taller. Still hanging out at 28.5 inches. He has gained a little bit of weight. . . he's now 22 lbs 4 oz. but that's still less than a lb. . . His height puts him in the 15th percentile right now. . . so bizarre! I always assumed I'd have a kid who was generally tall. . .
And maybe in a couple of weeks he'll sprout up a couple of inches, just because he can. . .

C) I am NOT doing well on the "Fit Friends" challenge we're doing. . . There's no way I will win. . . and for that matter, I'm having a hard time coming up with the energy to even try. Exercise? What's that? Maybe if I could get unsick. . .

D) I am really nervous about the upcoming holiday season. I'm nervous for totally different reasons than I was a year ago. Ever since I got pregnant with Nolan, I have bouts of serious anti-socialness. . . And holidays (and summer) in Provo are all about people, and visiting, and seeing old friends. It's a destination, of sorts, for all of our friends who have abandoned us for places far and wide. . . And that means each and every week includes at least 2 places we need to be, friends to meet for dinner, festive actitivites to participate in. . . And I'm not complaining about that part, really. I love seeing everyone. I truly do. . . but it's exhausting. And my anti-social crap just makes it harder. SO, if you see me this holiday season, and I have a rather blank stare on my face, don't take it personally. I'm just going to my happy place for a few minutes and trying to do some mental yoga. I'll return soon. Promise.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Cupcake Pops

I have been wanting to try these since the very moment I saw them on Bakerella's blog. . . and there were step by step instructions! How easy, right?

Yeah. . . it's true. . . none of the steps were hard. At all. . . but it's definitely something that takes some practice. They tasted great! but they weren't as pretty as hers, that's for sure. . .

Yellow cake and 1 can of cream cheese frosting. . . WAY gooier than I expected. Her tip to rinse your hands every couple of balls is a really good idea. Makes it MUCH easier.

I skipped a few steps in the picture taking. . . this is after we formed the balls, froze them, and used the cookie cutter to shape the bottom. . . and then dipped the bottom half in chocolate and added sticks.

We had to be a little bit tricky after we finished dipping. . . Being the brilliant person that I am, I forgot to get a block of foam. . . This worked, but it was precarious. So, I made Emily do it.

All bagged up.

They went back in the freezer where they stayed until it was time to eat them. They were really yummy cold.

I think next time we'll do plain old balls rather than shaping them. . . that was the part that took forever. . . but it was fun, and I really liked the way they turned out.

And they are especially yummy to eat if you like to eat cake batter. . .

More. . .

A few more of my favorite shots that Lauriann did of Nolan.

There are some cute family ones too, but as we haven't decided on a Christmas card photo yet. . . I'm going to save those. Instead you can have 3 of the adorable babe. . . because honestly, that's why we all come here.

Our awesome photographer was nice enough to let Nolan borrow her son's hat after I asked her about it from a set of photos on her blog. . . I couldn't find one that was equally cute, so that was pretty sweet of her.

The one moment he sat still for 3 seconds when we were trying to get him to pose by the black wall. . . crazy busy kid. . .

And a perfect view of the unique way his teeth are coming in. He has one of those middle ones on top coming in now, so I'm glad we captured his "vampire" stage. I love it.

Muffins. . . Almost As Good. . .

OK. I'm back. . . And it's time to officially catch up.

First. . . a post from Nolan's actual first birthday.

I had grand plans to make cupcakes again and let him smash another one. . . but that morning (a Saturday) I was too tired to be bothered. . . So I made blueberry muffins instead.

Almost as good as cupcakes, right? Even if they were Jiffy mix. . .

Nolan wasn't so sure. . . But eventually he ate it anyway.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Quick Observation From Convention

Some people are detail oriented.

Some are not.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Pumpkin Carving

OK. . . it's convention time, so I am SOO far behind. . . but I have some pumpkin carving photos hanging out on my desktop waiting to be posted, so I'm gettin' it done.

After our trip to the pumpkin patch, we went home to carve, and were joined by many many people. It was a packed house.

Workin' hard

Tanner was a good little helper to Jenny in making a classic jack o lantern

Brian, Jer, & Emily

Darrin & Jessica, and Jessica's clever pumpkin butt

Cortney and Ben

Nick, Nolan and Tanner hangin in the love sac

Jer & Nate jammin' to the new Guitar Hero (together again)

The pumpkin parade on the front porch.
Along with Ben's scary vampire rat in the bottom right corner
That rat scared the little neighbor girl pretty badly
mission accomplished

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Pumpkin Patch

We picked our pumpkins from the patch down the street, as usual. Nolan loved it. It was a lot to juggle with a baby and many pumpkins to procure, but thankfully Jer & Emily came along to help.

Sealing Day

Last weekend Ben, Nolan and I were sealed in the Ogden Temple (if that doesn't make sense to you, there's some great information at this link that can explain it better than I can)

The ceremony was beautiful, and we were so blessed to have so many of our family members there with us. It was a bit of a long day for Nolan, what with a missed nap in the mix, and by the time we left the temple and I tried to let someone else hold him, he let the tears flow. . .

Thankfully, he recovered quickly and the rest of the day was wonderful.


Nolan as a monkey on Halloween night.

We went up to Heritage Halls and did a little trick or treating. . .
Which wasn't all that effective or long lasting. . .

But he did enjoy a banana from the party in the central building.

Fitting, I think.