Monday, September 19, 2011

Craftiness, Part 1

Last week, I had an itch to make something. Something I could start and complete in one sitting. That’s huge for me right now. With a three month old (and a three year old and a seven year old), I can start a lot of things, but completing something anything is a whole ‘nother story.

Anyway, we have a little table and mirror in our foyer that I’ve always thought needed a little something extra on it. So, I figured a wreath would do the trick. But could I easily make a wreath in one sitting?

Enter Pinterest, also known as “The Biggest Time Suck in My Life Right Now”. I searched for wreaths, and sure enough, in a matter of seconds, I came across this little ditty.

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Image from Pinterest

Surely, I could handle that.

A trip to Hobby Lobby and roughly thirty minutes later, this is what I came up with…

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The most noticeable differences (other than it really looks nothing like the original) are: It’s red, it’s not as full as the inspiration one, and it’s not nearly as neat.

There’s a good reason for that. Try as I might, I could not get my strips of ribbon close enough together for the white foam to not show through. So, I made the executive decision to wrap the foam in the ribbon first. I did not take that extra yardage into consideration when buying the ribbon, therefore it’s not as full as it could be. I’ll take less fullness over white showing through any day. Lesser of two evils in my opinion. And as far as the neatness goes… Well, that’s a pretty good representation of my life, so I just left it like that.

Anyway, for thirty minutes of my time and $12, I’m pretty happy with it. I think it’s a nice compliment to our Alabama helmet that resides on that table. Here’s a picture of the whole set-up. Incidentally, it’s very difficult to take a picture of a mirror without showing up in the mirror, but it can be done.

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Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Lazy Days of Summer

Wow, is it August already? And does school really start back next week? Craziness! Where did the summer go?

Well, I have some idea where it went.

We’ve watched some reality TV. While I am slightly embarrassed to admit to watching CMT, I am loving Sweet Home Alabama and Texas Women. Neither are exactly rocket science, but they make for some great 4 A.M. viewings while feeding a baby. And then of course, there have been the old favorites, Food Network Star (Go Vic!), Celebrity Rehab, The Bachelorette (Woo-hoo, JP!) and Teen Mom. And why exactly I would be embarrassed to admit that I’ve been watching CMT, but not embarrassed to publish this laundry list of bad reality shows that I happily watch, even DVR to be certain I don’t miss anything, I’m not sure. But that’s just how I roll. The reality shows? They just suck me in.

We’ve gotten hooked on Friday Night Lights on Netflix. We are currently deep into season two, and let me just say… BEST. SHOW. EVER. MADE. Seriously. I want to be friends with Eric and Tammy Taylor. I think they would be awesome to hang out with and play Catchphrase. And I want to pull Tim Riggins aside and tell him that he really needs to learn to like himself a little more. He has so much potential. Same thing with Tyra Collette. Wasted potential. And is it just me or does Landry look a lot like Maci’s boyfriend, Kyle on Teen Mom? Or maybe I just watch too much TV. In my defense, I have spent a lot of time on the couch this summer. But for good reason.

Because I birthed this awesomely sweet baby boy in June.

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Finn’s young life, as captured by my iPhone…

Day 1

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Week 1

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Week 2…sporting the “Old Man forehead”

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Week 3

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Week 4

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Week 5

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And all 3 kids in week 6…

Take 1…

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Take 2…

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Third times a charm…

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So, yeah. I guess I do know where the summer’s gone. And I’ve been kinda busy…

Friday, June 3, 2011

36 Weeks

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Pregnancy Highlights

How Far Along: 36 Weeks…Let the countdown commence! 12 days and counting until eviction day!

Size of baby: 6 lbs and 18 1/2 inches long. Okay, let’s face it… If history repeats itself, my baby surpassed the six pound mark a few weeks ago. But we’ll go with what the books say.

Maternity Clothes: Yep, except for stretchy pants and t-shirts, and t-shirts are getting a big snug.

Gender: Boy! John Finley Lane, AKA Finn

Movement: He’s still pretty active, in an almost uncomfortable way that I never experienced with the other two. I found out yesterday that he is still breech, so I’m guessing that explains the difference.

Sleep: Not so much. It’s pretty difficult to get comfortable these days. But when I do sleep, I sleep hard.

What I miss: I kinda miss seeing my feet, and having energy to do anything. I also miss being able to walk from one end of the house to the other without getting winded.

Cravings: Coke Icees are pretty tasty, especially in this heat!

Symptoms: So. Tired. All. The. Time. And the usual aches and pains that accompany the last few weeks of pregnancy

Best moment of the week: Getting all the baby stuff ready for Finn… I can’t wait to see him in all the cute little outfits! Including these onesies that I whipped up for him…

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Thursday, May 19, 2011

American Idol, Top 3

I’ve really lost a lot of interest in American Idol this season. Partly because everyone I really liked is gone, and mostly because I have discovered The Voice and thus far, it is far superior to AI. I think AI and I might be headed for a break-up.

That, however, was not the reason that I didn’t recap last week’s episode. That was the unfortunate side effect of Grayson having an ear infection so bad that it prevented him from sleeping for more than 15 minutes at a time. I’m pretty sure he and I didn’t get much more than an hour’s sleep total last Wednesday night. That doesn’t bode well for stringing any coherent thoughts together in a post.

Anyway, all is well now and here goes a quick recap of last night’s show.

Scotty McCreery - “Amazed”, “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not”, “She Believes in Me” – Is there anyone still under the illusion that Scotty doesn’t have this in the bag? I’m fairly certain if he doesn’t win, he’ll demand a recount, ‘cause he’s looking pretty darn sure himself. That being said, I still have not bought into the Scotty hoopla. He sounds exactly the same every single week. He has not stepped out of his comfort zone or pushed himself to try something anything new. And he’s no Kenny Rogers. Did I really just say that? And, of course, I’m talking about the Kenny Rogers of The Gambler days, not the Kenny Rogers of today that has had so much plastic surgery that he can’t blink properly. Although, clearly Scotty is not that Kenny either.

Lauren Alaina - “Wild One”, “If I Die Young”, “I Hope You Dance” – I like Lauren, as opposed to disliking her. I don’t think we’ve seen a whole lot of growth from her throughout the season. She is pretty much exactly where she was when the competition started. She still doesn’t have the confidence to command the stage, she’s still timid when not hitting the high notes that I’m pretty sure she can hit. She sang well last night, but still was just shy of that moment that has alluded her all season.

Haley Reinhart – “What Is and What Should Never Be”, “Rhiannon”, “You Oughta Know”- Who would’ve thought that I would be saying this after all the grief I’ve given Haley this season, but she was by far my favorite last night. She certainly wins the award for most varied performances in one night. From Led Zeppelin to Stevie Nicks to Alanis Morrisette. Hands down, she is the most improved contestant this season. That might have something to do with the fact that she is the only contestant the judges have given any sort of criticism to. But what do I know? The only thing that still gets me about Haley is the flailing arm. But, I can handle the flailing arm far better than Scotty’s one-sided smirk and attempt at smoldering eyes.

Who’s going home? Does it even matter? I’m gonna go out on a limb and say it won’t be Scotty. This is really setting up to be the most anti-climactic finale ever on American Idol.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

33 Weeks

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Pregnancy Highlights

How Far Along: 33 Weeks…in the home stretch now!

Size of baby: He weighs a little over 4 pounds and is over 17 inches long, about the size of a large pineapple. And I am feeling every ounce and inch now!

Maternity Clothes: Yep, except for stretchy pants and t-shirts

Gender: Boy! John Finley Lane, AKA Finn

Movement: Good gravy, this child is always on the move, especially at night after supper. I feel like he’s trying to bust out! I don’t remember the movements being quite so intense with Abby and Grayson, but I didn’t carry either of them this high, so maybe that’s it.

Sleep: I’m not sleeping so well at this point. Breathing has become a little difficult. Plus, I am so thirsty all that time. And of course, the more I drink, the more times I have to get up in the night to go to the bathroom. Vicious cycle.

What I miss: Good sleep, but this is good preparation for all the sleepless nights to come!

Cravings: I just drink all the time! Sonic has been getting a lot of business from me lately.

Symptoms: Just the usual third trimester stuff…

Best moment of the week: It wasn’t this week, but since the last time I updated, we’ve set the date! Finn will be here June 15! Five weeks and counting…

And here are some outtakes while trying to get that picture…
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And finally, Grayson showing off the baby in his belly….

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

American Idol, Top 5

So, I’m bitter. Bitter with a capital B. First, Paul gets sent home way before his time, and then Casey goes last week. Quite honestly, at this point, let’s just hand the title to Scotty, since that appears to be who the ‘tweens have already crowned the winner, call it a day and go watch The Voice. In case you can’t tell, this will not be a glowing review of last night’s show full of bubbles and giggles. ‘Cause I’m bitter. Make that Bitter.

I’m not really sure what it says about me that I was far more familiar with the “then” portion of the show, rather than the “now”. Other than I’m getting old.

James Durbin – “Closer to the Edge” – Yeah, I’ve never heard this song. While I am a huge rock fan, 30 Seconds to Mars is not on my iPod, although I do know who Jared Leto is. My So-Called Life… does that date me? Anyway, even if I have never heard the song, I could tell that most of this performance was not on-key. At all. Painful even, at times. Yet the judges loved it. This would seem to be a recurring theme last night: High praise from the judges for off-key performances.

‘Without You” – This is another one of those songs that should be banned from AI. Again, horribly off-key. Yes, he got emotional, but I’m not sure it would have mattered if he wasn’t. James was badly off his game last night and he might pay for it tonight. But, hey, the judges loved him.

Jacob Lusk – “No Air” – I have officially jumped off the Jacob bandwagon. It is past time for him to go. This whole performance proved it. Let’s break it down a bit. This is a duet, and he tried to sing both parts. But here’s the thing, even if you can technically sing both parts, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should. This came across sounding a bit like Jacob had a split personality. And then when you add in the “dancing” that he attempted on stage (some of those moves were NOT family appropriate), well, it was just a big ol’ mess.

"Love Hurts” – This didn’t get any better. Yes, he hit some ridiculously high notes, but it was all tainted by that horrendous first performance. This should seal the deal, and Jacob should take his rightful place in the voted- out section.

Scotty McCreery – “Gone” - I know I sound like a broken record when it comes to Scotty, but I just don’t get it. I’m quite sure it has something to do with the fact that I am 33 and not 13, but I don’t really think I would have been that into him at 13. Mainly because he is not a member of the New Kids on the Block, and that was all I cared about at 13. Anyway, here goes the broken record, I’ve never heard this song, and quite frankly, if I had not heard it last night, I’d have been just fine. I’m not sure why the judges thought this was breaking out of his comfort zone, because it was, after all, still country.

“Always on My Mind” – I couldn’t bear to watch this. I did listen, but I just couldn’t watch him squint, hold the mic to the side and sing out of the side of his mouth. Again, nothing really new here. But hey, it’s worked for him so far, so why change?

Lauren Alaina - “Flat on the Floor” – It should come as no shock to anyone that I have never heard of this song. I thought she sang it well, seeing as I had nothing to compare it to. But again, there was no wow factor. I’m pretty sure it’s got something to do with her age. If she had waited a few years, I think she would have a little better command of the stage.

“Unchained Melody” – Another one for the banned list. This could’ve been her wow moment, but alas, it was not. It was a wee bit boring. Not her best performance.

Lest you think I have nothing good to say about anybody…

Haley Reinhart - “You and I” – An unreleased Lady Gaga song…you would think that would have scored her some points on the “chance taking” scale with the judges. Unfortunately, it did not. I thought they were unnecessarily harsh on her. She sang on key, people, which is WAY MORE than the majority did last night. That in itself should have won her high praise.

“House of the Rising Sun” – This was her wow moment. This was, BY FAR, the best performance of the night, and Haley’s best performance to date. I am officially on the Haley bandwagon. Which, judging by my track record this season, will probably mean that she will be voted out this week. Apparently, my like of someone is the kiss of death.

So, obviously, my choice to be going home this week would be Jacob. And I’ll try to get over my bitterness by next week.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Boys’ Room

Our house only has three bedrooms, so when we decided to expand our brood, we knew somebody would be sharing a bedroom. It actually works out great that the new baby is a boy, since Grayson, at 3, could really care less whether or not he shares a room. Abby on the other hand, at 7, values her privacy. Or at least values being able to lock herself and her toys in her room so that grubby little brother hands can’t get to them. Either way, sharing a room with an infant would probably have led to lots of drama on her part.

Part of the way we sold the whole room sharing thing was to tell the kids that whoever had to share a room would get new bunk beds. Grayson was really excited to trade in his full bed for bunk beds. And he was all for sleeping in the top bunk until the bunk beds were actually in the room, and then he decided he liked the bottom bunk just fine. And that is quite all right with me. I prefer not to deal with a busted head or any broken bones from falling off the top bunk for a few more years.

Other than the bed switcheroo, not a whole lot else has changed in the room.

Here's what it looked like before, at least the bed…

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And here’s what it looks like now…

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The bunks…Is there some trick to making bunk beds that I’m not privy to? Right now no one is allowed on the top bunk because there is no way this pregnant belly will allow me to get up there to change those sheets. Changing the bottom ones are hard enough. I welcome any and all tips.

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And the crib

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And a close-up of my boys’ art… I hope they love sharing a room! Or at least tolerate it well.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

He Is



I’ve posted this before, but you know what? It’s no less true today than it was last year, or the year before, or the very first Easter. Do you know Him?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

American Idol, Top 7

Well, I’m bummed. Paul is gone. But wait, he’s not! He’s on stage singing Pink’s “So What” with the eliminated girls. WHAT? That was horrible. Bad. HORRIBLY BAD. If anyone questioned why these people were voted out, well, I think you have your answer. Except Paul. In what alternate universe would he ever be doing a cover of a Pink song? That is a prime example of why American Idol was not for him. He shouldn’t be singing covers, he should be in a band. I never expected him to win, but I thought he should have outlasted some of the others. Cough, Stefano, cough.

The theme of the night is 21st century songs. I run the risk of not knowing some of these songs, because, let’s face it, I’m not really up on current music. If they haven’t done it on Glee, chances are good that I haven’t heard of it.

Scotty McCreery - “Swingin’” – Swingin’? Really? That is soooo not a 21st century song! I’m calling foul! You have 11 whole years worth of songs to pick from and you pick a 80’s John Anderson tune? I don’t care if LeAnn Rimes did cover it…it was a cover and that is an 80’s song, not a 21st century song. And not even a good 80’s song. That’s all I’ve got to say about that.

James Durbin - “Uprising” – I’ll admit that I don’t know a great deal about Muse, but I have heard this song before, and James sounded a lot like the lead singer until he started screeching at the end. And he kept the 80’s throwback alive by dressing a little like Mad Max! The drummers were a nice touch, and I have a feeling this performance was WAY better live than it translated on TV. And it was pretty good on TV.

Haley Reinhart - “Rolling in the Deep” – Okay, so, I liked it. I wouldn’t necessarily classify myself as a Haley fan just yet… I think the other contestants calling her out on the growling and flailing arms was great… but this was a solid performance. Any Adele song would’ve been a great choice for her, and she looked really cute in the red dress. AND she doesn’t like Stefano much either, so I might transform into a Haley fan yet!

Jacob Lusk - “Dance with My Father” - Okay, so, I didn’t like it. I am apparently in that alternate universe where Paul McDonald would cover a Pink song. I liked Haley, and I didn’t like Jacob. I think some people were under the mistaken impression that he was choked up at the beginning of the song. He was not, somebody flubbed up. Be it him losing the melody or the band screwing up…something went wrong. I don’t really think he did himself any favors by blaming the sound people at the end of the performance. It might have been their fault, but it made it seem like he was trying to save face by throwing somebody else under the bus. Never attractive.

Casey Abrams - “Harder to Breathe” – I heart Maroon 5. I heart this song. I loved the skat in the middle of it. I loved that the background singers were in total sync. I loved Ryan in the Amish beard. Hands down, my favorite performance of the night. I just love Casey. Like Paul, I don’t really expect him to win. But I sure hope he takes advantage of the opportunities that this will open up for him.

Stefano Lagone - “Closer” – Well, that stunk. Randy hit the nail on the head when he said it was jerky and karaoke, but then he took it back. Clearly, all the judges were still on a high after Casey’s performance, and their ears just weren’t processing well. Surely, Stefano’s time to go is drawing near. Surely.

Lauren Alaina - “Born to Fly” - This was just okay for me. I thought she sang it really well, but to be honest, she’s kind of turning into another Pia for me. We all know she can sing, but she doesn’t really seem to be progressing much as a performer. With Haley clearly trying to improve her game, I think Lauren needs to step it up a bit. She seems to get more timid every week, instead of the other way around.

For me, the bottom three would be Scotty, Jacob and Stefano. Although, I am under no illusion that Scotty will be in the bottom three anytime soon. Apparently young girls find the whole off-balance thing he has going on an attractive trait. Who knows? Haley will probably round out the bottom three, even though she truly doesn’t deserve it this time.

Stefano would be my clear choice to send packing this week. Without a doubt.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

American Idol, Top 8

Movie night! Another great, wide-open theme! And I am pleased to report that no one sang any song from The Bodyguard soundtrack. So, that in itself is a huge success!

Paul McDonald - “Old Time Rock & Roll” – I’m going to be hard on Paul. I love Bob Seger, but I did not love Paul singing Bob Seger. I did, however, love the suit. I’m afraid this song choice coupled with the death blow of going first might land him in the bottom three. I hope he survives because he is better than that.

Lauren Alaina - “The Climb” – I cannot express how much I hate this song. There are just no words. I am sooooo not a Miley Cyrus fan. I thought Lauren’s performance was better than the original. That is not saying much. I did think it was great that Ryan called her mom out on the big hair. ‘Cause Momma had some big hair going on.

Stefano Lagone - “End of the Road” – No, no, no, no, no, no, no. I love Boyz II Men. So, excuse me while I stereotype just a bit. That song requires a soulful flare, not a salsa flare. Please, please let this be the end of the road for Stefano. And please tell me wearing high-tops with no laces is not coming back in style.

Sidenote: Do the judges’ pay get docked if they give any actual criticism this season?

Scotty McCreery – “I Cross My Heart” – Believe it or not, I have actually seen George Strait in concert. There were some dark years in college when I listened to some country music. I hope this doesn’t diminish my street cred any. Anyway, I cannot watch Scotty perform, with the leaning to the side and singing out of the side of his mouth and holding his mic to the side. It’s all just too much. And that steel guitar was just too much as well.

Sidenote: What was up with the background singers?? They are supposed to be IN THE BACKGROUND. Not drowning out the lead singers.

Casey Abrams - “Nature Boy” – I have to say I would’ve LOVED to hear him do Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight”, but I admire him for sticking to his guns. And I really liked the bluesy, jazzy feel of this, with the bass and the piano and the bongos. I think it was very true to who Casey is, and that’s what I love about Casey. He is who he is, and he’s not about to change for American Idol.

Haley Reinhart - “Call Me” – I know the words of this song by heart, and I still couldn’t tell what words were coming out of her mouth. This song was way too big for her. And, need I mention the growling again? Because it was still there, and I still did not like it.

Jacob Lusk - “Bridge Over Troubled Water” – Thank you, Jimmy Iovine, for convincing Jacob to do this song. The gospel vibe of this song was perfect for him. I am no longer going to apologize for liking Jacob. I just do. And that note at the end? I got chills. Beautiful.

James Durbin - “Heavy Metal” – I think James got knocked down a few notches in his session with Jimmy Iovine. That arrogance was what made me dislike him in the early stages of this competition. Why was he the only one to get a special guest guitarist? Not that many people watching AI will probably know who Zakk Wylde is, but still. And let me just clarify something… while J.Lo. may disagree, Sammy Hagar is so NOT heavy metal. So. Not. Heavy. Metal. With that cleared up, he sang this rock song well, but I have a feeling if Simon were still a judge, he would call it indulgent. And he would be right.

So, my bottom three would be Stefano, Haley and as much as it pains me, Paul. I only put Paul in that group because he went first and he should have chosen a better song. Let this be a lesson to you, Paul.

Haley or Stefano should go home, and I really don’t care which one it is.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I Was THAT Woman

It’s been quite a wild past few days in our house. Not that it’s ever really calm around here, but it’s been crazy even for us. Saturday afternoon, Burge discovered water running out from under our outside cellar door, only to open it and find our cellar floor covered in about 2 inches of water. Hello, busted water heater!

Sunday is a bit of a blur, partly because it was so jam-packed with activities and partly because of the ice cold morning shower that I had to take that completely shut down my brain. I drew the line at washing my hair in cold water. Fortunately, I had my hair cut and colored on Saturday, and since I am very much okay with second day hair, I went with it.

Thankfully, we were able to have a new water heater installed on Monday afternoon. Monday nights are usually my weekly grocery store runs because for some reason, after the weekend we are normally out of milk and bread. Well, last night there were some bad storms predicted for our area, and I didn’t really relish the thought of loading my groceries in the car during a thunderstorm. So, after I picked Abby up from school and the new water heater was installed, I decided I would take both kids with me on the grocery run. I also decided to stop in K-Mart to peruse the clearance toys that are 50% off this week. With both kids. By myself.

On the plus side, the kids picked out several birthday and Christmas gifts for themselves that I really hope they forget about by the time their birthdays and Christmas roll around. On the downside, by the time we actually made it to the grocery store, the adrenaline of picking out new toys that they couldn’t immediately play with had worn off and they were cranky and hungry, and their pregnant mama was cranky and hungry. And, let’s keep in mind that I had not had a shower yet, because silly me, I like some at least warm water, and was now on three day hair, which I am not nearly as okay with as second day hair, and no make-up.

And to just get a complete picture of what we really looked like, Abby was still in her school clothes that were not exactly clean, and Grayson had on play shorts, a t-shirt and knee-high Spiderman slipper socks, pulled all the way to his knees, with his ratty play shoes on. There are just some battles not worth fighting, am I right? The Spiderman slipper socks fell into this category. Anyway, we were a motley crew to say the least.

So, we hurried our way through the grocery store and our list, only to be held up at the checkout with a wrong price. Now, I don’t care how hungry and cranky we are, nobody’s going to overcharge me five dollars without an argument. That is a battle worth fighting.

By the time we got back in the car to finally head home, we were well overdue for supper, and all three of us were exhausted. It was only then that I happened to glance down and notice that I had a big old stain on my shirt too. I just sighed as I realized… you know that white trash pregnant woman with umpteen kids who hasn’t brushed her hair and has on ratty, stained clothes that you see in your grocery store? The ones that wind up on that People of Wal-Mart website? Yeah, I was her. Sigh. Oh, well. There’s always tomorrow.

Friday, April 8, 2011

28 Weeks

This is what it was like trying to get a picture for this post…

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And finally…

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But, he’s the best distraction ever.

Pregnancy Highlights

How Far Along: 28 Weeks

Size of baby: 2 and a quarter pounds and 14.8 inches long. Finn is the size of a Chinese cabbage, although I really have no idea what a Chinese cabbage looks like, much less how big it is.

Maternity Clothes: Have you seen me lately?? I am sooooo pregnant. So, yes, except for stretchy pants and t-shirts.

Gender: Boy! John Finley Lane, AKA Finn

Movement: Plenty. The doctor had a hard time getting a good read on his heartbeat at my appointment this week because he keep moving away from him!

Sleep: My only issue with sleep right now is that when I have to get up to go to the bathroom, I have a super hard time going back to sleep, which makes for some long nights and even longer days.

What I miss: Being able to adequately tie my shoes. Thank goodness for warmer weather and flip-flops!

Cravings: I don’t have cravings so much anymore. But Pop Ices are a big hit with me right now, and there’s been nothing that’s tasted better than a tall glass of cold sweet tea this week. Thankfully, I passed my glucose test at the last doctor’s appointment, so I can still enjoy my sweet tea!

Symptoms: I’ve felt pretty good these last few weeks. I hope that will hang on for a few more weeks!

Best moment of the week: Finishing the boys’ room (more on that later), and getting a little better idea of when we will get to meet our little Finn (more on that later too!).

Thursday, April 7, 2011

American Idol, Top 9

Or “The One Where I Have No One to Pick On Because Naima is Gone”. The theme was “Famous Rock and Roll Songs” or “Famous Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll” or something to do with the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I was never really clear to be quite honest. But, whatever it was, it seemed like a wide open category, and I like those. Will. I. Am was the guest mentor, and surprisingly, dude is pretty funny. As opposed to Jimmy Iovine, who is not funny at all. It was an interesting juxtaposition, those two.

Jacob Lusk - “Man in the Mirror” – I know I’m in the minority here, but I like Jacob more and more every week. He seems to have better control every time he performs. I thought this was an awesome song choice, and I loved the way he didn’t over-sing it. I didn’t really care for his “dancing” though, and I use that term very loosely. About as loose as Jacob’s hips. Oh my.

Hailey Reinhart - “Little Piece of My Heart” – Of all the Janis Joplin songs out there, she had to pick the one that has been remade the most. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be. It was actually pretty good. But I have to say it, the growling! It is getting to me. The difference between Hailey and Janis, other than a lot of years, a lot of drugs and a grave, is that Janis Joplin’s voice just sounded like that, while Hailey has to force it. It can get annoying when it’s natural, but it’s really annoying when it’s forced. She did manage to keep her red lipstick on her lips this time, so yay for her.

Casey Abrams - “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” – I love CCR. I love Casey on the upright bass. I loved this performance. It might have been my favorite song of his. There’s just never much I can say about him because really, how do you expound upon awesome? ‘Cause that’s what he is… AWESOME.

Lauren Alaina – “(You Make Me Feel Like a) Natural Woman” – Incidentally, a song from The Big Chill. I didn’t care for her Gwen Stefani make-over. Those of us with larger derrieres should not wear bubble shorts. For an Aretha Franklin song that she could have really blown out of the water, she didn’t take it where it could have gone, and that left me a little disappointed.

Sidenote: What was up with Randy’s pleather jacket? Could that even be classified as pleather or was it just straight-up plastic?

James Durbin - “While My Guitar Weeps” – I think I liked this, but to be quite honest, I was so distracted by the light shining through his big ol’ ears that I can’t be sure. Burge said they looked like big red demon eyes on either side of his head. I don't think that was the look he was going for. It was a nice touch that he wore his tail as a scarf and used it to wipe away his tears at the end. In all seriousness, he did a good job, and I think it was a wise move to show a different side where he’s not setting red pianos on fire.

Scott McCreery – “That’s All Right, Mama “ – How much did they pay those girls to swarm him at the end? If only he had had James’s scarf to flick out into the crowd… They really are trying to sell us hard on Scotty. I’m still not buying. He seems to be getting a little cocky, which is never an attractive trait, but then that could’ve just been him channeling Elvis. And please tell me Gwen Stefani did not endorse the denim-on-denim outfit he was sporting.

Pia Toscano - “River Deep, Mountain High” – Not the most flattering outfit. What else can I say about Pia? She sings great, and she finally did a song that wasn’t a ballad. But, there still seems to be something missing with her. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it might have something to do with her totally rehearsed, pageantry performance style.

Stefano Lagone - “When a Man Loves a Woman” – Another Big Chill song… Again, there is something that is not clicking with me and Stefano. I think part of it is the way he speeds up some lyrics and drags out others. That seems to be the way he “makes a song his own”. That is not so creative, just annoying.

Paul McDonald - “Folsom Prison Blues” – Yay! Paul had a great performance AND he got to close out the show. Where Paul has a leg up on the rest of the competition is that he knows how to work a crowd. It’s obvious that he’s been in a band that has had some stage experience before. This was an excellent song choice, and he rocked it. Big surprise here, but he and Casey tied for my favorite performance of the night.

So, my bottom three would be Hailey (I gave her a week off last week), Stefano and Jacob (only because he opened the show and that appears to be the kiss of death). I really thought they were all on a level playing field this week, so it could really be anyone going. But my pick to leave this week would be Stefano.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

American Idol, Top 11, Take 2

It’s Elton John night. Yay. I have a hard time getting excited about this theme. Not because Elton John doesn’t have great music, or that I don’t like it. On the contrary, I love most of his music. But they do this theme every single season, and there are just so many different ways you can sing “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”.

Scott McCreery - “Country Comfort” – Oh, the dreaded first slot! Is it surprising to anyone that Scott is singing country? The novelty has worn off for me about as fast as that steel guitar got on my nerves. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s steel guitar. Makes my skin crawl. Needless to say, that was not my favorite performance of the evening.

Naima Adedapo – “I’m Still Standing “ – And Naima did reggae. It was weird. She went from the strange African dance last week to Rastafarian this week. If she’s around next week (which I’m hoping is a no), what region will she represent then? In other news, I spelled her name right without having to look it up this week! Yay me!

Paul McDonald - “Rocket Man” – Possibly one of my most favorite Elton John songs. And he brought back the Dwight Yoakum suit. Which I love. I also loved the stripped down version of this. In further justification of my love for Paul, check out his band The Grand Magnolias. Awesomeness.

Pia Toscano - “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me” – Well, there we go. Pia’s picked up the pageant trail that Karen Rodriquez laid down when she left. Pia’s had some dental work done, I noticed. If I could offer her any advice, it would be to practice in front of a mirror so she could hold her head in such a way that would not be showing all of America all of her fillings. But that might be nit-picking.

Sidenote: I love the red piano.

Stefano Lagone - “Tiny Dancer” – Another of my favorite Elton songs. I didn’t love it. But I didn’t hate it either. Not shocking that Jennifer loved it… How I would have loved it if Tony Danza had been in the audience! Hold me closer, Tony Danza, count the headlights on the highway…

Lauren Alaina - “Candle in the Wind”– In her intro, she said she normally takes 10 minutes to get ready. I’m not really buying that with the amount of make-up she wears. I didn’t think I would like this, but I was wrong! This might have been my favorite performance of Lauren’s thus far. She sounded great, and she looked great, it was just great. Great, I tell you.

Sidenote: I love the red piano.

James Durbin - “Saturday Night’s All Right (for Fighting)” - Why was the red piano on fire? Did Elton John play a burning piano at some point that I missed? Not the greatest vocal. Also, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention his ears. God bless him, he should not wear his hair like that, because it just draws attention to the massiveness of his ears. Seriously, he could take flight with those puppies. Now, that would be a stand-out performance! No need to set the red piano a-fire!

Thia Megia – “Daniel” –Of course, Thia would pick the most boring Elton John song ever. What more can I say about that? I’m glad they didn’t burn the only red piano.

Casey Abrams - “Your Song” – I was really hoping he would sing “Levon”. But, I loved the simplicity of this. It was captivating and beautiful. And I do not think the judges wasted their save at all.

Jacob Lusk - “Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word” – Jacob? Over-dramatizing? Why, Jimmy Iovine, whatever are you talking about? Surely, you jest. I shouldn’t like Jacob. He really is over the top. I would never buy his album or pay to see him perform. But yet, I do like him. That last note that he held on to forever? Remarkable.

Hailey Reinhart - “Benny and the Jets” – Oh, the growling. The growling is about to get to me like the steel guitar gets to me. Not a positive. This kinda reminded of Michelle Pfifer in The Fabulous Baker Boys until she started trying to get the audience to throw their hands in the air and wave them like you just don’t care. I did not think it was the best performance of the night, unlike Randy. But, I think it was enough, coupled with the fact that she closed out the show, to keep her in the competition.

My bottom three this week would be Naima, Thia and Stefano. I’m giving Hailey a reprieve this week just because she looked so darn proud of herself at the end of her song. I would send Naima (please, oh please) and Thia home.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Extraordinary

Before my current career as a stay at home mom, I worked in several fields all surrounding math. I graduated magna cum laude with a degree in mathematics. I love math. I am a numbers nerd.

The love of math came early for me, partly because I really am just a nerd, and partly because I had an amazing math teacher in high school. Michael Bearden was one of those few people who truly loved what he did. He wasn’t a teacher because of the pay (yeah, I know all you teachers out there are chuckling at that thought!) or the summers off, he did it because he wanted to make a difference in others’ lives. And what a difference he made! He had a passion for what he taught that was contagious. He made you want to learn, and that’s a rare trait. Certainly, for me personally, he introduced me to what would become a life-long passion, and encouraged me to pursue it further after high school. He cared beyond the four walls of a classroom. I can only pray that my kids get to experience a teacher like that at some point in their school years.

Mr. Bearden left this world yesterday, succumbing to cancer. Within a few hours of his passing, word spread through our small community and Facebook lit up with tributes, not only filled with sorrow but also with appreciation of what a great man he was. It was remarkable to see just how many people were affected by the way this man lived his life. To touch one life like that is truly a blessing. To influence hundreds? That’s nothing short of extraordinary.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

American Idol, Top 11

Or “The One Where I Almost Liked Everybody”. I adore Motown week. I adore Motown music, probably because it is prominently featured in my all-time favorite movie: The Big Chill. I would be a happy camper if all the contestants would pick songs from The Big Chill soundtrack. Or maybe AI should just do a “songs from The Big Chill” night! Never mind that most likely, most of these contestants are too young to have even heard of The Big Chill. How many more times can I mention The Big Chill in this post?

Casey Abrams - “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” - I just love him. This was a great rendition, especially the end. He is so stinkin’ talented. I just can’t wait to hear what he’s going to do next. And, by the way, this song was in The Big Chill.

Thia Megia - “Heat Wave” – She just seems way older than 15. I don’t think that’s necessarily a good thing. She sang it beautifully until she forgot the words at the end…maybe if she had sang it while wearing a brightly colored sweater with numbers all over it, she would have seemed a bit more like a teen. Again, and unfortunately for her, it was just not a very memorable performance.

Jacob Lusk - “You’re All I Need to Get By” – By far, my favorite performance of his to date. It was controlled. And not over-sung. And awesome. Of course, this should have been his night to shine. And shine he did. LOVED it.

Lauren Alaina - “You Keep Me Hanging On” - First of all, she looked awesome. I loved the zebra print dress, and the stylist got a hold of her eye make-up. She looks SO MUCH BETTER with the toned down make-up. She sang it well, although it was not my favorite performance of hers. Overall, I thought her look was better than her song this week.

Stefano Langone - “Hello” – Oh, how I love this song. I didn’t really care for his rendition. Perhaps, it was because he doesn’t have the Lionel Richie hair. Or perhaps, it was like Jennifer said that he wasn’t feeling the song. Or perhaps, it was because he wasn’t singing it to a blind girl who sculpted a bust of him while he was singing. I just don’t know.

Come to think of it, if he had sung it to a blind girl who sculpted a bust of him on-stage while he was singing, I would become a Stefano fan for life. Oh, the missed opportunities.

Haley Reinhart - “You’ve Really Got A Hold on Me” – Kudos to her for navigating the stairs in those stilettos. I didn’t understand the 80’s Designing Women suit jacket with the big shoulder pads. Nor do I understand why she must growl through every song. I’m not really sure that performance was enough to keep her out of the bottom three.

Scott McCreery – “For Once in My Life” - This frightened me just a bit. And for good reason. Not every song should be “country-fied”. In my opinion, few songs should be country-fied, even those that are actually country. But that’s just me. I don’t think this version will be racing up the charts. And did Steven Tyler really compare him to Glen Campbell and think that was a compliment?

Pia Toscano - “All in Love is Fair” – I think, hands down, she is the best female in the competition. I just wish she would do something a little different. She looked awesome and she sounded awesome, just like she does every week. But at some point, she’s going to have to throw a curve ball to keep everyone on their toes.

Paul McDonald - “Tracks of My Tears” – I love this song! Also on The Big Chill soundtrack, I might add. I love that he did his own thing with it. I love that he played the guitar. I loved that he was rocking the bolo tie again. I just love him. I realize he is my controversial pick of the season, but I don’t care. I would buy his album. I would pay money to see him perform. It’s the whole singer-songwriter vibe he’s got going on, I think.

Naima Adedapo - “Dancing in the Street” – I just don’t know what to say about that. I don’t get her. Although, I’m sure many don’t get Paul, so I’ll try not to harp on it. I’ll leave it with she needs to stop with the dancing. Or flailing wildly, as the case may be.

James Durbin - “Living for the City” – Another great song... This guy’s range is just ridiculous, almost as ridiculous as Jacob’s. I did catch a glimpse of something tonight in his performance that reminded me of Dee Snider’s son in the little known (and watched by even fewer) VH1 reality show Rock the Cradle.

I think it might be his whole on-stage persona. Anyway, I’m going to try to ignore that. It wasn’t quite the big show-stopping performance that it could’ve been, but good nonetheless.

It’s a little hard to pick my bottom three because I really did think everyone did so much better this week than the downer that was last week. And keep in mind, this is my bottom three, not necessarily a prediction of who America will pick. Although America and I have been on the same page as of late, that can’t last for long.

My bottom three would be Thia Megia, Haley Rienhart, and Naima Adedapo. Incidentally, these three will perpetually be in my bottom until they go home because I think they are the weakest three. And I think Haley should be heading to the house this week.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Out of the Mouths of Babes

The other day, Abby was commenting on something and she said, “I was hoping it was today.” Then she followed it up with, “But I know hope doesn’t get you anything.” Well, thank you for that ray of sunshine, Little Miss Pessimist.

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Grayson and I were coming in the house from church the other Wednesday night, when he exclaimed, “There’s a bird!” while pointing to the ceiling of the garage. Those who know me well know of my immense dislike of birds and can understand my immediate panic. I turned to look where he was pointing and saw nothing. He was adamant about the bird though and said, “See! It’s right there with the wings! It’s just a baby bird though.” I finally saw what he was referring to: a moth. It wasn’t even a large one. Clearly we need to start some science lessons in the Lane house.

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I saw this hanging on Abby’s wall when I went in to clean the other day.

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I didn’t know she even knew where Chicago was. I wonder when she was planning on filling me in on the big move…

Thursday, March 17, 2011

American Idol, Top 12

Or “The One Where I Really Didn’t Like Anybody.” I’m not sure why, but last night I just wasn’t feeling many of the performances. Maybe it was because several of the contestants were sick, as we were reminded after just about every song. Got to get the sympathy votes going… The judges seemed not to like them either, but then at the end they kept commenting on how this was a real competition now. I dunno… I didn’t quite get that out those performances.

Naima Adedapo - “What’s Love Got to Do With It?” – The curse of going first strikes again! I was majorly distracted by her get-up. What was up that? The leggings, the coin, belly-dancer-ish fringe, the Steven Tyler vest. I’m all about showing off your own style, but that was just bizarre. Thank you to Jennifer and Randy for calling her out on her awfulness. I feel strangely validated.

Paul McDonald - “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues” – I was not aware that Paul is from the great state of Alabama when I first proclaimed my love for him. But, hey, one more reason to love him. I thought he killed this. Especially with the bolo tie. It was still identifiable as an Elton John song, but had a new flare to it. And he rocked the bolo tie.

Thia Megia – “Colors of the Wind “ – Yes, she was born the year I graduated from high school. Wow, I’m old. I am so not surprised that she sang a Disney song. As Rachel pointed out, she is clearly auditioning for the next Disney channel star. And that was a very unflattering crocheted, skin-colored dress.

James Durbin – “I’ll Be There For You “ – The tail made it’s return. Not a fan of the tail. And here it is one week after I became a fan, and now I have to diss him. It was totally off key. It started off rough and never got better. Even the scream was off key. He is better than that performance, and he was supposed to be one of the non-sick ones.

Haley Reinhart - “I’m Your Baby Tonight” – To her benefit, she didn’t try to sound like Whitney Houston. That’s about the best thing I can say about it. I was going to say I liked the red lipstick, but then it wound up all over her face. Bless her heart.

Stefano Langone – “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” – It’s hard to improve upon the perfection that is this song. And I assure he did not. I spent the better part of his performance trying to decide if his pants were too short or he had on high-tops. For the record, I think they were high-tops. The judges thought it was the best performance of the night thus far. All I got to say is that ain’t saying much.

Pia Toscano - “Where Do Broken Hearts Go” – Another Whitney song. This one jazzed up with a dance beat. I’m not sure why the producers keep trying to update these songs by making them dance songs, but they need to stop. And she needed to stop with the white 70’s pantsuit. Despite all that, the vocals were amazing.

Scott McCreedy – “Can I Trust You With My Heart “ – Finding out he has a thing for Elvis totally explained why he sings out of the side of his mouth. He sang it well, but it was a bit on the boring side. That’s about all I can say about that.

Karen Rodriguez – “Love Will Lead You Back “ – Well, at least she lost the pageant attire. Unfortunately, she replaced it with some alien garb and a massive PHD (Pentecostal Hair-Do), which I’m fairly certain was never in style, not even in 1989. Once again, she chose a song that was way too big for her voice. I think she should be in trouble.

Casey Abrams - “Smells Like Teen Spirit” – Shut the door. First Nirvana song on Idol ever. Nirvana, electric bass, Casey Abrams. That, my friends, is the trifecta. I have to disagree with Jennifer when she said it needed to be more pleasant. There is nothing pleasant about that song or any Nirvana song for that matter. It was not, by far, the best vocal of the night or Casey’s best vocal, but a stunning vocal is not really the point of that song. Hats off to him for doing something new.

Lauren Alaina – “I’m the Only One “ – What was up with her mother’s outfit during her opening video? That hat and those earrings were too much. Please somebody stop me if I try to dress like I’m trying to be a totally out of style teenager when Abby is a teenager. Stage an intervention. Please. Lauren, however, sounded awesome. Period. I almost typed that she sounded awesome for having the flu. But she sounded better sick than most of the others sounded well.

Jacob Lusk – “Alone“ – I didn’t want to like this. I didn’t like the idea of this. But, shockingly, I didn’t think it was half bad. Who knew you could bring some gospel to Heart? I think he really tried to reign it in a little last night, which might have been why he lost the key in the middle. But, bless his heart, the over-singing is just part of who he is.

So, my bottom three would be Karen Rodriquez, Naima Adedapo, and Haley Reinhart (although Thia Megia would be a close fourth), with Karen singing her swan song. Let’s see what America thinks…

Friday, March 11, 2011

24 Weeks

Instead of a picture of me this week, I have new pictures of Finn! Who really cares what I look like anyway?

Here’s our little guy’s profile…

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Here’s his foot… Apparently I’m growing Bigfoot in my belly. Or maybe a future basketball player. Or Julie, maybe I have the future Bama kicker. Either way, that’s a large foot. Especially when it’s kicking me in the bladder.

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And here’s Finn’s sweet face….

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I can’t wait to meet and hold this little one! Of course, I want him to stay in and bake a while longer, but seeing him on the ultrasound today made me anxious for June to get here!

Pregnancy Highlights

How Far Along: 24 Weeks

Size of baby: Just over a pound and a foot long…he’s about the length of an ear of corn (really? I don’t think I’ve seen too many foot long ears of corn).

Maternity Clothes: Yes, except for stretchy pants and t-shirts.

Gender: Boy! John Finley Lane, AKA Finn

Movement: All the time…he’s an active little guy. I found out from the ultrasound why I’m already having problems bending over. His head is all up in my ribs, and he’s dancing on my bladder.

Sleep: Glorious sleep! I think the sheer exhaustion of all the sickness we’ve been through the past few weeks has helped me to sleep better.

What I miss: Let’s just be honest, I miss my brain. It appears to have taken a leave of absence for the remainder of this pregnancy (and maybe beyond!).

Cravings: I am still loving strawberries, and fruit in general. I branched out to blueberries this week, and grapes and bananas are always staples around our house.

Symptoms: Tired! And pregnancy brain…I have a hard time remembering what I’m doing just going from one end of the house to the other.

Best moment of the week: Seeing Finn on the ultrasound and hearing that he is right on track!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

American Idol, Top 13

It’s time for the real fun to begin! Theme weeks! I personally would like to thank the producers for picking a theme for this first week that allows the contestants to pick a song that they actually know and might actually record something like one day. The theme was “songs from your idol”. Let’s break it down, shall we?

Lauren Alaina - “Any Man of Mine” – Being first out of the gate is rarely a good thing and almost never does you any favors, and that was certainly the case with Lauren. She did a good job on the song, but she did nothing to make it memorable and that’s a problem when you’ve got twelve other people performing after you. Good lesson for her. And I still wish she would tone down the make-up just a tad.

Casey Abrams -“With A Little Help From My Friends” - Going second is a lot like going first when there’s thirteen performances going on, but Casey apparently got the memo about making it memorable. I love me some Joe Cocker, and this song takes me right back to The Wonder Years with Kevin and Winnie. It makes me smile, and Casey makes me smile. He’s just so GOOD. Although I do wish he would trim up the hair so he looks a little less like the unibomber.

Ashthon Jones - “When You Tell Me That You Love Me” – I’m still a little bitter that Ashthon made it into the top thirteen over Kendra, and this performance did nothing to win me over. I could say it was pitchy, her lower register was basically non-existent, and so on. But I’ll leave it at, it was NOT GOOD. I think she’s in trouble.

Paul McDonald - “Come Pick Me Up” – Paul looks like Bradley Cooper and sounds like Rod Stewart, and that is a winning combination. I, like Randy and Steven, hope America “gets” him. Cause I can’t wait to hear what he does next. Plus, he’s quirky, and he’s got some rad dance moves that might be a little reminiscent of Elaine Benes. You be the judge.

Pia Toscano - “All By Myself” – I hope Pia is not peaking too early. She had another really good night with what could have been a disaster of a song choice. Celine is always iffy, but Pia definitely has the voice to pull it off. She proved that last night.

James Durbin - “Maybe I’m Amazed” – I’m a fan now. Clearly, he listened to my advice last week and lost both the tail and the scream. I’m sure the scream (and possibly the tail) will make a comeback, but at least he didn’t try to force it into a song that in no way needed it. That move broke him out of the Adam Lambert mold for me.

Haley Reinhart - “Blue” – She didn’t have any issues hitting the notes on this song, yet still she tried to tramp it up a bit. Which was a little creepy and totally unnecessary since LeAnn Rimes was like 14 when she released that song. Please note that growling is not mandatory in every song.

Jacob Lusk - “I Believe I Can Fly” – He completely oversang this song, which is difficult because this song is over the top to begin with. But you know what? It doesn’t matter, because this boy can sing like nobody’s business. His range is unbelievable. ‘Nuff said.

Thia Megia - “Smile” - I didn’t think this was the best song choice for her. I still think she has an amazing voice, but I think she’s going to have to find a little more fun if she’s going to stay very long in this competition.

Stefano Langone - “Lately” – I hated this. More specifically, I hated the interjected dance beat. I think I would have liked this so much more if he had stuck a little closer to the original. I don’t care what some big time producer thought about it, I thought it stunk.

Karen Rodriguez - “I Could Fall In Love” – And it’s round 2 of the Miss American Idol pageant! And this one has the added bonus of being a “design-your-own-costume” round as well. I realize the outfit was inspired by Selena, but no where in the rules did it say that you had to dress like your idol while you were singing their music. Although, I really don’t think an outfit from this decade would have helped this performance any.

Scott McCreery - “The River” – Perfect song choice for this guy. Really cheesy pictures running as the backdrop while he sang, but that wasn’t his fault. Honestly, he could really be bad for a couple of weeks, and it still wouldn’t affect his chances of going far in this competition. The ‘tweens have spoken.

Naima Adedapo - “Umbrella” - I didn’t get this AT ALL. We all know that I am not up on current music. If you didn’t, jump back up to my comments on Casey Abrams' performance and my declaration of love for Joe Cocker. Joe Cocker does not equal current music. However, in my defense, I, unlike J.Lo, do know who Ryan Adams is. So maybe I’m not as out of it as I thought. Anyway, Burge said that “Umbrella” was one of those songs that never sounds good performed live because there was so much mixing done on the original track, it can never be replicated live. I agree. And that rap in the middle and the awkward “choreography”? NOT GOOD. There are reasons artists like J.Lo hire choreographers.

So, I’m not going to give any prediction of who will be in the bottom three and who will be voted off. Because, America? We are a fickle bunch. Who knows what criteria people will use when voting. Instead, I will say who I think should be in the bottom three. And they are… Ashthon Jones, Hailey Reinhart and Karen Rodriguez, with Ashthon Jones going home. Now, let’s see how wrong I am. :)

Friday, March 4, 2011

23 Weeks

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So much for keeping a good photographic record of this pregnancy. However, the three pictures that I have of myself this go-round are more than I have of my other two pregnancies combined. So that’s progress, I guess.

Pregnancy Highlights

How Far Along: 23 Weeks

Size of baby: 11 inches long and about 1 pound…he is the size of a large mango.

Maternity Clothes: Yes, except for stretchy pants and t-shirts.

Gender: Boy! John Finley Lane, AKA Finn

Movement: All the time…he’s an active little guy.

Sleep: Still can’t get enough of it! I’m to the point where it’s difficult to find a comfortable position to sleep in, so I’m not sleeping quite as good at night. That makes me cherish Grayson’s naptime all the more!

What I miss: Sleeping good. And maybe clothes that fit. That’s about it.

Cravings: Strawberries…I’m almost embarrassed by how many I’ve eaten in the past few weeks. Almost. In my defense, at least it’s not ice cream.

Symptoms: A little heartburn, a little acid reflux. I can’t bend over to do anything anymore without some nasty acid reflux side effects. Other than that, I’m feeling good. I’m trying to take advantage of that while it lasts and get as many baby related things marked off my to-do list as I can.

Best moment of the week: I almost said not catching the flu that has been spreading through this county like the plague, but I don’t want to jinx myself. So, I’ll go with feeling Finn move and ordering the bunk beds for the boys’ room!

I have my glucose test coming up this week, as well as another ultrasound that will thoroughly check out Finn’s development. Our first ultrasound was just for fun and to find out that he was a he. I failed the glucose test with Grayson and had to take the three hour one. Not a fun way to spend half a day! We are praying that I pass it this time and that Finn is healthy and developmentally on track!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

American Idol, Top 12 Girls

When the ladies filed out on stage last night in their colorful attire, I though for a moment that it was the parade of states from the Miss America pageant. Alas, there was no Miss Arkansas with her awesome ventriloquism, but there were a few pageant worthy, as well as cringe worthy, moments.

Ta-Tynisa Wilson – I have never heard the song she performed - “Only Girl (In the World)”, so I can’t compare it to the original. I can, however, compare her outfit and hair to Whitney Houston’s in the video for “I Wanna Dance with Somebody”. So, yes, I have little concept of current music, but I have great memories of 80’s music videos. I am, indeed, that old. I didn’t like the performance, and I think she’s probably in trouble.

Naima Adedapo – Seriously, the names this season! I thought her outfit was a little, ahem, bright. Then she said she designed it herself, and I was torn between applauding her for her ingenuity and blessing her heart because they do pay stylists on that show that could help her out with that. Anyway, she sang “Summertime”, and it was jazzy and happy and I don’t really think of that song like that. So, A+ for her craftiness and C- for her performance.

Kendra Chantelle – She was the other half of the “Blackbird” duet with Paul McDonald in Vegas, so I already like her. And I thought her performance of “Impossible” was strong and not overdone. Plus, she was rocking the leather pants, so I applaud her for being able to belt out that song when I feel sure her air supply was rather limited. I hope she sticks around.

Rachel Zevita – Oh, lordy. I love Fiona Apple’s “Criminal”. Love it. I did not love the Broadway version of it that Rachel sang. I didn’t even like it a little bit. I even had to Google it to see if there was an actual show tunes version or if she came up with it all on her own. For the record, it appears she came up with it all on her own. Oh, bless her, it was bad. And a big mistake on her part, unfortunately.

Karen Rodriguez – And now it’s time for the talent portion of our pageant! “Hero” is another one of the songs that should be banned from the idol stage. And Karen had the pageant dress to go with her pageant performance! In her favor, she did mix it up a little with some Spanish thrown in. It was probably good enough to move her on through, but I think she’s gonna have to step it up if she wants to go very far this season.

Lauren Turner – I really like her. And I really liked her performance of “Seven Day Fool”. There is something about her look that makes me think of Cruella DeVille, but I’m trying hard to push that out of my mind. As long as she doesn’t show up with a white streak in her hair and start kidnapping Dalmatian puppies, I think I'll be okay.

Ashthon Jones – She sang “Love Over Me”. Quite honestly, that is all I can remember about her performance. Well, that and she had some big Whitney Houston in the 80’s hair. So, I’m thinking that’s not a good thing for her...

Julie Zorilla – I really liked her throughout the auditions, but somehow she fell apart last night. “Breakaway” was way too big for her. It was awkward and almost painful to watch. She looked super cute though, and I wish she had picked a different night to be so off. I think she’s better than that performance.

Haley ReinhartSide note – I wish there was ONE name this season that I didn’t have to look up the spelling before I type it. Anyhoo, she did a great job on “Fallin’”, even if she did over-sing it and looked incredibly uncomfortable on stage. I’m kind of one the fence with this one. If she stays, I hope she tries to be a little less seductive and a little more comfortable.

Thia Megia – Haley could take some lessons from Thia. What a wee little girl with such a huge voice! And hello, understated performance! How refreshing to see a fifteen year old who knows that it’s okay not to fill up your performance with a lot of runs. It does take a lot of talent to be able to hit a note and hold it without all the extra junk. I am grateful to Thia for realizing that. And yes, if you couldn’t tell, I really liked her version of “Out Here on My Own”.

Lauren Alaina – Okay, so she is the female counterpart of Scott McCreery. She’s incredibly talented and will be an awesome country singer. And she’s totally going to be in the top ten. Although, I would like to see her tone down the make-up a little. She is only sixteen, after all. And I just sounded like my mother. Oy!

Pia ToscanoWhere did she come from?? I love the song, “I’ll Stand By You”, and she tore it up. Outstanding. There is a major flaw in the system if she doesn’t go through.

In all, I don’t think the girls are quite as strong as the guys this year. It will be interesting to see who makes it through and how the judges' wild cards play into it.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

American Idol, Top 12 Guys

I can’t not blog about American Idol this season. Thus far, I have enjoyed it immensely. I’m loving the new judges, especially Steven Tyler (who’d a thought?), and there are some seriously promising contestants. So, let’s get started, shall we?

Clint Jun Gamboa – Okay, straight out of the gate, I don’t like him. It has nothing to do with his level of talent and everything to do with his diss of the young Jacee during Hollywood week. He sang “Superstition”, which sounded a bit karaoke to me, which is fitting since he is a karaoke DJ!

Jovany Barreto – “I’ll Be” is on the list of songs that should be banned from AI. Can you say over-played? Add to it the fact that he didn’t add anything unique to it, and I think it might be his last performance on the American Idol stage. Unless the shipyard mafia calls in some favors. Is it just me, or does he look like he might be a member of The Family?

Jordan Dorsey – What was that? I believe the word you’re searching for is awkward. And that’s what it was. “OMG” was probably not the best choice of song, and I’d say it sealed his fate when both the judges who liked everybody last night (that would be Steven and Jennifer) didn’t like him.

Tim Halperin – I had no idea who he was before he performed last night. Sadly, I doubt I will have the chance to find out much more about him. I say sadly, because I think I could like him. I didn’t think “Street Corner Symphony” was necessarily a bad choice for him, but it certainly didn’t do much to make him stand out.

Brett Lowenstern – I want to like this kid. I really do. He took up for Jacee during the Clint Jun diss, so I want to be loyal to him. But, I just can’t. His rendition of “Come on Baby Light My Fire” was wrong on so many levels. So. Many. Levels. And the constant hair shaking kind of gave me the heeby-jeebys. Plus, it was almost like the stage swallowed him up. Not a good combination

James Durbin – As opposed to Brett, I didn’t want to like James. He seems a little arrogant to me. And the screaming reminds me of Adam Lambert. And that is not a good thing in my book. However, “You’ve Got Another Thing Coming” was perfectly suited to the well-placed scream. And if he would lose the tail, I believe I could get behind him.

Robbie Rosen – Oh, dear. Let’s add any Sarah McLachlan song to the list of songs banned from AI, okay? Plus, Robbie looks like he walked straight off the set of Welcome Back, Kotter. Don’t believe me? Check this out.

From now on, Robbie Rosen will be also known as Horshack.

Scott McCreery – Okay, I am in no way diminishing this guy’s talent. Clearly, he is a great country singer, if that’s your cup of tea. And, as we all know, it is not mine. Plus, he has the preteen vote locked up, so I don’t think there is any way that he will not sail right on in to the top 10. BUT, what is up with him leaning so far over on that stool and then singing out of the side of his mouth? And, it wasn’t even the opposite side of his mouth from the way he was leaning. It was so off-balance, I had to turn away. Yes, I have issues, and apparently symmetry is one of them.

Stefano Langone – I’m on the fence with this one. I really like the song “Just the Way You Are”, and I thought he did pretty good with the end. The beginning, though, was rough. I think he could garner some of the teen vote, perhaps those who are not familiar with “Baby, lock the door and turn the lights down low…”, and that might save him.

Paul McDonald – I’m a fan of Paul. He won me over with “Blackbird” during Vegas, and then sealed the deal when he wore the awesome Dwight Yoakam suit during his final performance during Hollywood week. Not just anyone can pull off a rose-covered white suit. Also, he clearly has good dental hygiene (did you see how white his teeth are?), which is always a positive. It doesn’t hurt that he owned “Maggie May”. Move over, Rod.

Jacob Lusk – This dude has got pipes. I’m not really sure I can hear him doing anything current though. But, I bet the boy can throw down on some Jesus music.

Casey Abrams – Hands down, my favorite. Now, I know he needs some serious stylist help. Or just some scissors and a razor. But he’s got massive talent. He tore up “I Put a Spell on You” and pretty much stole the show. You never would’ve known he was in the hospital less than 24 hours prior to that performance. That, my friends, is determination. I can’t wait to see what else he’s got up his sleeve.

So, there you go… my take on the top 12 guys. Let’s see how the girls stack up tonight!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Reality TV Round-up

I feel like I need to get some random reality television stuff off my chest today, so here we go in list format. Because I do love a list.

  1. I’m having a hard time getting into The Biggest Loser this season. I’m not sure if it’s the new trainers or that we’ve only been really exposed to the half of the contestants who are training with Bob and Jillian. I find it hard to pull for a contestant, knowing that there are ten other contestants that I don’t know a whole lot about training at some mystery location with some secret trainers. And was I supposed to know who the mystery trainers were? ‘Cause I totally had never heard of them. It was a bit of a letdown when their identities were revealed. So, The Biggest Loser this season? So far, I could take it or leave it.
  2. I’ve got 6 words for you: The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Y’all. Y’all. This is my new favorite reality show. There is something so awesome about a show that makes you simultaneously think, “There cannot be people who actually live like this” and “Oh my goodness, there are people who actually who live like this.” But there is nothing that warms my reality-TV-loving heart more than seeing someone in the gourmet kitchen of their 17,000 square foot mansion breaking out the Wonder bread and Skippy. Because there are some things, like PB&J, that transcend all economic boundaries. LOVE. IT.
  3. No reality television discussion would be complete without a mention of The Bachelor. As much as I want to believe that these ladies are just your average girls next door looking for love, I do realize that there must be a certain level of crazy present to think that you’re going to find love while dating a man who is also dating 24 other women in 6 weeks time with television cameras inches from your face at all times. How’s that for a run-on sentence? That said, I really like Emily. But I cannot be convinced that she had to resort to the Bachelor to find love. Seriously? Even if you take away her above average looks, she’s only 25! That’s hardly old maid age. It just seems to me that there has to be a better way to achieve your fifteen minutes of fame than being on the Bachelor. I guess that means I don’t possess that certain level of crazy. At least, I hope that’s what it means.
  4. I was very skeptical of the new judges on American Idol. Not that I was a huge fan of Ellen or Kara. But I did question whether it could hold up without Simon. So far, I have to say I think it can. I love Steven Tyler as a judge. It does weird me out a little when he hits on contestants that are young enough to be his granddaughters, but he’s a pretty good judge. And Jennifer Lopez has, thus far, refrained from making any ignorant comments, a la Kara. I also love that the judges are not wasting a lot of time arguing with the contestants that stink over whether or not they really stink. They stink, they know they stink, let’s move on.

So as a recap, here’s how I would grade the current shows…

The Biggest Loser - D+

The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills - A++++++++

The Bachelor – C (as in Crazies)

American Idol – A-

Sunday, January 30, 2011

What’s in a name…

As much as I can remember, we had an easy time naming our first two kids. We knew we wanted Abby’s initials to be AKL (Burge’s fraternity at Alabama), so it was just a matter of what fit. Abigail Katherine Lane fit well, and it suits her. We knew before I was even pregnant with Grayson that if our next child was a boy he would be named Grayson. Davis was an easy choice for his middle name since it’s a family name on Burge’s side.

This third child hasn’t been so easy. We just couldn’t come up with a boy name that clicked. We knew if it was a girl, she would be Harper. And after a little discussion, we decided Tait fit as a middle name. I still love that name, but alas there will most likely never be a Harper Tait Lane (at least not from my womb). But that great boy name was just alluding us. I had several options picked out, but none of them were really speaking to Burge. He threw out a couple of suggestions, but I had reasons (and not just because I hadn’t picked them out) that they couldn’t be used.

Finally, after much deliberation, we decided on a name that we love. Well, it’s a name I love and a name that Burge can live with. I kid, he really likes it too (or at least that’s what he’s telling me). So, let me present the latest pictures of Lane 3.0, otherwise known as…

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John Finley Lane, AKA Finn

John is for my maternal grandfather, and Finley, as well as Finn, are just names we really like.

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I believe he’s waving at us in this picture. I think that means he likes his new moniker.