Monday, January 26, 2009

The Little Musician

I am doing a small test run with the new camera and the new (temporary) software. It's just a brief blip, but I thought it might be kind of fun to share, while I work on putting something bigger and better together.

This was Nolan playing the Xylophone one random afternoon a couple of weeks ago. He was so proud of himself, I just had to capture it.

video

Sundance, Day 3 (2009)

This was Ben's first Sundance experience. . . and while I still think it's not really his bag (nor would it be anyone's who doesn't like to roll the dice on the kind of movie they're going to be seeing on a given night), I don't think he hated it. . . and that's better than I was hoping for, frankly.

On a side note, get the tamales at the Broadway the next time you're there! They are really tasty, for movie food. And we want them to keep stocking them.

Against The Current
A film about a man swimming down a river. . . It suffered a great deal from writer/director syndrome. There was a lot about it that could have been left on shore, as it were. But, at the same time, it was nice to see a film whose characters had a sense of humor. A film that didn't take itself so very seriously. That's a novelty at Sundance, and a lot of the movie's issues were made up for by this fact, I think. It's a sad movie. . . a movie about loss. . . But it was also interesting enough to keep my attention and not bore me too much. . . and as movie #3 in 2 days, that's saying something.


Moon
This was a much slicker film than the others we saw. . . obviously one that had more money behind it for effects and sets and such. . . I have to preface by saying that I'm not usually much of a Sam Rockwell fan. He kind of bugs me. Probably because he tends to play characters that are weird or creepy and don't have a lot to relate to or redeem them. . . This character(s) is different. And I think you'll like it. I won't give away the twists, but if you like 2001, and don't mind a little sci-fi. . . try this out (though be warned there is some language). I'm fairly certain you'll see it either in a theater, or at least in Netflix, in the nearish future.

Sundance, Day 2 (2009)

Rudo Y Cursi
I wanted to like this movie more than I did. . . In theory, it was a good idea. 2 guys who work on a banana plantation in Mexico are discovered playing a back lot game of soccer and make the big time. A Cinderella story, of sorts, right? But this is a long and rambling story, that pretty much makes you want to smack both of the main characters across their faces. And if you can't like the protagonists, then what's the point? The message of the movie had to do with a person's passion being in one place, while his talent was in another. . . and it was an interesting message. . . I just didn't like the execution of it. I'd have to give this one a whole hearted "Meh".



Five Minutes of Heaven
I have to admit to going in to this movie a little bit hesitantly. As a rule, I find IRA movies (or movies about any particular group of revolutionaries) to be particularly hard to watch. Generally, these movies are less about the characters, and more about the cause. And though this movie had Liam Neeson headlining, I was pretty sure that's what we were in for again. But I was pleasantly surprised. It was a VERY character driven piece. It was also painfully slow and suspenseful in places. . . more than it needed to be. . . and definitely had some script issues (which is interesting, because it won the World Cinema Screenwriting Award as well as the World Cinema Directing Award). . . . but I liked it very much. As Melissa pointed out, it was amazing if JUST for the one shot of the 2 guys going out the window. . .

I would have liked it more in another theater (the Tower is not known for it's comfortable seating), and without a migraine. . . but you take what you can get. . .

(Oh, and we took pictures of ourselves. . . sort of. . . at the first movie. . . but they were just NOT good. So I'm saving us AND YOU from seeing them. You're welcome)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Friends

What? It annoys you that I don't post for a week and then post 3 (or 8) times in one day? Get over it. I do what I can with the time I have, OK?

Just kidding. I love you all. I didn't mean to snap.

Back to the point. . . the other night, for FHE, our friends the Chandlers, with one of their daughters (the other was off at her grandparent's house for a sleepover) came over to play. Erica is a month older than Nolan, and it was awesome to watch them play together. They were surprisingly good together. AND, miracle of miracles, Nolan DIDN'T tackle her! I know, it's amazing.

Here are a couple of my favorite moments from the evening:

playing along just fine. . .

Until he notices she's there. . . Then he's not so very sure.


Glasses

I think every little kid is probably fascinated by glasses. Nolan has always been one of them.

His auntie Em has a marvelous pair of fashion glasses that she's incredibly patient with letting him try on. And he loves it. Trying them on. Taking them off. Putting them back on her. He thinks it's a marvelous game.

I don't know if she agrees, but she pretends she does. Because she's a good aunt.


See? Wasn't that fun for you too?


Caramel/Chocolate Dipped Pretzels

I've been going on and on and ON about caramel chocolate covered pretzels. . . I know. . .I apologize to everyone who pays any attention to me on Facebook or Twitter or ELW or worst of all, in REAL LIFE (or all of the above)

But last night, we finally finished the experiment.

And I have to say, it was a huge success, on the taste front.

They could definitely be prettier. And next time (yes, there is MUCH caramel left and PLENTY of pretzels) they will be. . . but for a first try? I'm pretty happy.

Hearts! I was so convinced the knots would look like hearts when they were filled with caramel and dipped, and they DID! they were tricky to dip, though. the caramel kept sticking to the fork. I ended up using my fingers and got very very messy. I needed some kind of chocolate dipping tweezer/tong tool. I'm going to have to find some for next time.

The pretzel rods were much easier to dip. We took a cue from a Christmas gift we got and wrapped the caramel in a spiral pattern around the rod and then dipped it. I love the look it gave them.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Nolan Video Update. . . Sort of

We got a new video camera recently. A really pretty one with all the bells and whistles that a new video camera should have. Unfortunately, the software on my computer hasn't QUITE caught up to the bells and whistles. (don't even get me started. It's a long story) In about a week or so we should be up and running on getting the sweet new videos from THAT camera into the computer. But in the mean time, I had a few straggling videos hanging around on the OLD camera that I hadn't posted. Even the newest of these is from early December, so they aren't the most up to date. . . but actually. . . not a lot has changed where Nolan is concerned. He says a few more words and does a few more tricks. . . but not a LOT more. I think he's hibernating a bit right now. . . and who can blame him?

So hopefully this will satiate the appetite of the far flung friends and family for a little bit until I can upload the new stuff.

Enjoy!

video

Sundance, Day 1 (2009)

Helen
To say this movie was depressing is. . . just not doing it justice. It's ABOUT depression. It's a peek inside the life of a woman with severe and suicidal depression. A woman like you. A woman like me. Happy. Settled. Successful. A wife and mother. And then everything falls apart. Out of the blue. And it is awful. It's awful to WATCH, I can't imagine what it would feel like to be IN it.

Ashley Judd STUNNED me. She is incredible. The rest of the cast is also great. THe subject matter is heavy and intense, but it's also amazing. What a way to begin. . .

Me, Nick & Cortney at the Rose Wagner (via awful iphone photo)

4 more to go this coming weekend!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Movies

As I was writing all of these reviews it occurred to me that for the first time in a long time, I've actually LIKED almost everything I've seen recently. Crazy! But who can argue with that? I have a HUGE wish list of things to see before the Oscars, but most of them aren't going to happen. With Sundance the next two weekends and a CRAZY February, I'll be lucky if I see one or two of the other nominees. But they'll come out on DVD eventually, right? In the meantime, enjoy:

Scoop
It's Woody Allen, but for once he cast himself in a perfect role. I don't really enjoy the rhythm of the dialogue in his movies. . . mostly I feel like everyone is sort of improvising.. . but not in that "this feels really natural way". More like the "I'm uncomfortable improvising" way. That said, it's a fun story, and I did enjoy watching it.

When Did You Last See Your Father
What a great cast! Jim Broadbent, Colin Firth, Juliet Stevenson. It's a slow movie. . . it takes it's time along it's journey, but it's beautifully and honestly done, and definitely worth watching.

The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button
The technical aspects of this movie alone make it amazing. TRULY amazing. The computer animation they use to age Brad Pitt is brilliant! I've always been a fan of David Fincher as a director, and he doesn't disappoint with this, although it is seriously outside of the realm of most of his other movies. There are still touches that are definitely HIM. And beyond that, the acting is great. I can't wrap my brain around having to portray someone from birth to death, over the course of 80 years, but both Cate & Brad do it beautifully. Definitely has best picture potential, despite what the Golden Globes thought. (not that I disagree with the choice THEY made)

The Duchess
Oh MAN the acting is good in this movie. There is a scene out on a road in the middle of a marsh that was honestly the most incredible thing I've ever seen in a long time. I know there are a lot of people that think Kiera can't act. I defy you to watch this movie with an open mind and still say that. Ralph is amazing as usual, as is the rest of the cast. If you're a fan of period drama, please see this one.

Ghost Town
I expected this movie to be silly and slapsticky. . . but in reality, it's kind of a chick movie. And I liked it a lot more than I expected to. Ricky Gervais is almost the straight man, and he does a great job at it. Who knew he had that in him?

My Blueberry Nights
First, I didn't expect Norah Jones to be the LEAD in a movie with a supporting cast of Jude Law, Rachel Weisz, David Strathairn, & Natalie Portman. . . but she held her own. This is a very independent feeling movie, but not a weird one, per say. It's a love story, deep down, and a story of a girl finding herself.. . and while the cinematography is a little bit odd and jarring in spots, it's worth a look.

Slumdog Millionaire
The title of this film really threw me for a loop a couple of months back. I thought it was some sort of gangster film. I was very very wrong. It's actually set in India, refers to the children who live in the slums of Mumbai and tend to be thieves and beggars. . . And tells the story of one of them who goes on to play Who Wants To Be A Millionaire. But beyond all of that, it's a love story. It's about a boy who cannot and will not let go of a girl. And that tenacity leads him on all sorts of adventures. A great deal of the cast of this movie is less than 18, and they are all amazing. I believed every second of it. And after watching it, I wasn't at all disappointed that the Hollywood Foreign press chose to bestow it's highest award on this film. It's brilliant.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I read this amazing Washington Post column that Jen over at "Up On My Soapbox" posted today and I just HAD to share. Click on it to enlarge so you can read it more easily. Seriously. The woman who answered the question hit the nail right on the head, and I'd like to give her a big fat kiss for responding to the question this way.


I have to admit, there were times in my life that I wondered some of the things this girl is wondering. But now, I'll say it again, I think stay at home moms are saints and should be recognized as such.

That is all.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

New Bedroom

It's been 2.5 years since Ben & I got married. We both came in to the marriage with furniture. Lots of furniture, actually. More furniture than could comfortably live in our townhome. And over the 2.5 years we've been married, we have acquired more. And some has had to leave us to accommodate the new things we've purchased. As we have transitioned our furniture, each of our rooms has started to look more and more put together. Adult, if you will. Things match. Most of our furniture is no longer made of pressed board.

The one exception to this has been our bedroom. That room has been a hodge podge of many many things. . . most of them NOT the highest quality pieces. And they certainly didn't MATCH. We have searched high and low, and dreamed many a dream, about the perfect bedroom set. Most of our dreams came with $6000+ price tags. And while we wanted a set of furniture that was permanent and adult. . . that was a little out of our current reach.

Last week, though, we found something amazing. A bedroom that was everything we were looking for, on sale for a ridiculously good price. A price we could afford! So we jumped at the opportunity.

From thrown together crappy furniture, we have now evolved to this:from the doorway

from the closet door

from the corner looking at the far wall

I couldn't be more excited. I now have an itch to get new bedding. . . even though I spent SO much time and money on the quilt we have. . . but that will have to wait a while.

And as much as we hate to say it, we may be real adults now. . . all of our furniture matches.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Yesterday, I Enjoyed Being a Mom

*Wearing Auntie Em's glasses at church 2 weeks ago*

Yesterday was, by all accounts, an accident waiting to happen. I had a VERY long list of things to do, all of which had the potential to go very wrong. My list included working from home, with a 14 month old at my feet, finishing the house cleaning to get ready for a 4:00 appraisal, buy Sundance tickets at 2:00 (which is historically a PAIN), and sometime after 3:00, our new bedroom furniture would be delivered.

On a normal day of working from home, I'm lucky if I get the dishwasher emptied.

Nolan has been particularly whiny, clingy, and generally needy lately. This is especially true when I am trying desperately to be productive with work projects while he is awake and running around the living room. His toy pile is the equivalent size of a Toys R Us, but he isn't interested in any of those things. His preferences tend toward opening DVD cases and spinning the discs, finding and using the remotes to switch away from his current TV show, and banging kitchen cabinets with child locks on them. All this between bouts of hanging from my legs and whining while signing "Please" over and over again. But even he isn't sure what he wants. When picked up, he enjoys slamming his hands down on my keyboard or closing my laptop. Think he's pleased that mommy is working? Not so much. Not that he pays me any heed when I get down on the floor to play. If I try to actually play with him, it lasts about 30 seconds and then he walks away and proceeds to ignore me until he wants something again. Nap time is a fight every time, and when he DOES go to sleep, it doesn't last very long.

He's a typical 1 year old. I know this. But it doesn't make our days at home a lot easier on me, to be honest. Not that it's really about me.

I went into yesterday fully expecting that it would be a normal day, full of frustrations and my constant need to take deep breaths, calm my voice, and lead him gently to new activities. But he surprised me.

I don't know if the good Lord just KNEW I needed a low key day and did what he could to mellow my child for me or what, but we had a great time!! Nolan sat happily in his high chair and ate breakfast and graham crackers while he watched Curious George. I worked and made my necessary phone calls. Nolan played happily with his toys and fridge magnets without whining to be picked up. I emptied the dishwasher and straightened up downstairs. Nolan started rubbing his eyes and headed for the stairs. I asked if he was sleepy, he said "Yesh". He went down quickly and easily for a long morning nap. I got more work done, and cleaned the bedroom and office. He woke up happy and played in my room, wearing his favorite hat, while I vacuumed. He never once ran for the bathroom to drop something in the toilet. In fact, he never left the room. We met Ben for lunch. Nolan ate his chicken nuggets happily while we finished our meal. He played happily in front of Sesame Street while I got more work done and bought Sundance tickets. . . quickly, easily, and without the usual frustrations of their web site. Then he was ready for another nap. That lasted ANOTHER hour and a half. The appraisal was done, work was finished, and games of peek a boo and tickle fight were played. There was very little whining. Just a happy mom & her baby enjoying the day together.

I hate very much to admit how shocked I was to have a day like this. They are just few and far between right now. I would love to think that it's the start of something great. . . but I know that most people dread the 2s and 3s. . . so I won't get excited just yet.

But yesterday. . . Yesterday I had fun. Yesterday I didn't want to give him away.

(Until bedtime. . . but that's another story)

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

The Pretzel and the Toddler

Apparently born with the same oral fixation as his father, this is how Nolan likes to walk around the house. . .

I know, I know, he'll probably fall and the pretzel will jam down his throat or something. . . I really wish he wouldn't do it. . . but he does. And at least the pretzel is edible, as opposed to the myriad of other things he does this with.

I hope this doesn't mean he'll be a smoker when he grows up.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

Snow Day

Nolan was born in the winter last year, but as he was a wee little thing, he never got to play in the snow. . . This year, I was determined that he would, despite my personal distaste for being cold and wet. Maybe he inherited a bit of that. . .

He couldn't walk in his new snow boots. He was very bundled up. And he wasn't sure he got what the big deal was any way. Why were we all so excited to be out in this stuff?

Dad tried to cheer him up.

Mom & grandma made him go down the big slide. . . which made him a little happier. He kept wanting to do this one again.

And he cracked a big ol' grin after one of our trips down the snow slide onto the trampoline. But only that one time.

oh, all right, maybe it wasn't so bad.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Christmas, part 2

Overwhelmed yet? No? Really?

Fine, I'll keep going.

More Christmas fun. . .

Hanging with Helaina & Isabella on Christmas Eve. We got to spend a few hours with Kim & Marco & their girls before the Webster family party. Nolan gets such a big kick out of his cousins. . . as you can see!

Nolan and Aubrey had a grand old time playing in the cradle we used for baby Jesus in the pageant. (forgive the color. we were having lighting issues in the house, for which Photoshop cannot compensate. At least under my meager skill set)

Tanner doing his best gangster pose

One of Ben's family traditions is to have tamales for Christmas Eve. We didn't manage to get them made that early, but we had them a couple of days later.

The finished product, ready to go into the steamer.

Dinner also included chips, made by Emily

And sour cream, as displayed here by Aubrey. . . seriously, she will eat it straight out of the container with a spoon. . . and we obviously let her.

Christmas, part 1

Christmas at Grandma & Grandpa Webster's house was crazy and fun. ALL of the Webster kids were in town for the week, which meant lots of crazy running and yelling from all of the kids (including Nolan, who loves to imitate the high pitched shrieking of his elder cousins)

But, in the midst of all that, some good old family Christmas fun was had. . .

I'm going to put things slightly out of order to how they really happened, but it flows better this way. My mom decided that we should start doing a little nativity play every year with the grandkids. . . so costumes were made from grandma's fabric stash and the story was acted out. I was really impressed with how well the kids cooperated with this process.

Nolan got to play the angel. . . but he wanted to help Nathan play some Christmas tunes while everyone got ready.

Aubrey played Mary (with her dolly as baby Jesus), Tanner was Joseph, Ethan and Carter were wise men, and Jer and Jason played Shepherds (we only have 5 grandkids so far, so they had to step up)


All 5 kids after we were done. We had to take a group photo.

And then there was the consumer side. . .

Christmas morning

Nolan walking in to the family room with Ben

He's not 100% sure how he feels about Elmo at first

But he warmed up.

Grandma made all 5 kids BYU PJ pants and got matching shirts for Christmas PJs. Luckily Nathan's undergrad side won out and he let Tanner wear his. :)

To be Continued. . .

Christmas Package Fun

I have some wonderful far away mommy friends that were so generous in their gift giving this Christmas. I can't even begin to explain how much these girls mean to me, and to my sanity. It would be a gushy post that would probably just embarrass everyone. . . so instead, let me share with you their generosity. . . Which I just happen to have captured in pictures. . .

First off was Amelia. This gift was a part of a Christmas Traditions swap that we did on ELW. We were to include things that were traditions in our homes to share with our partner. Amelia sent some amazing stuff. 2 sweet vintage Christmas books, and an awesome idea for Christmas sugar cookies that I would NEVER have come up with on my own. I can't wait to try it.:

She also included some sweet little sweater ornaments for the Christmas tree and Nolan's very own Jayne (from Firefly/Serenity) hat.

As you can see, he totally digs the hat.

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The next awesome package came from Stefanie. She had already thought ahead (WAY ahead) and sent a CD of amazing Christmas tunes at the beginning of December, only to follow it up with this:

A big cozy blanket for Nolan, with bear paw prints all over it. He immediately decided that hanging out under it while watching Sesame Street was a wonderful idea. (& I admit, I've curled up under it on the couch more than once since we got it)

Stef also included 3 treats for mama. She knows me so well. :) A novel for reading in my down time, a "Cup-A-Cake" carrier (I have ALWAYS wanted to try one of these, they are meant to let you take a single cupcake in your lunch box), and a big ol' bottle of Mexican vanilla. YUMMO.

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And last, but certainly not least. . . Emily. This package, in all of it's home made wonderfulness, rocked my world. . . as her packages generally do.

Peppermint Joe Joes (can I please express my love for these cookies?!), calendars for me and for Ben, Christmas music CDs, PJ pants, 2 scrabble tile necklaces, a sweet little notebook from Anthropologie, a bird ornament for the tree, mittens for Nolan, an AMAZING stuffed sock froggie, and a sock monkey t-shirt!!

Of course, I immediately put the t-shirt on Nolan, and he loved it!

Yeah, I have amazing friends. . . I truly do. I love the internet.