Monday, December 22, 2008

Merry Christmas from The Farm!

Thought y'all might want to see the Christmas e-card we sent out this year from the FarmLinks "herd!" It's quite a "moooooving" experience. An "udder" joy....really. ;) Just click on the title, and have fun!
(The link will take you to the video part of our e-card. Sorry you can't see the "front" of the card, too!)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Christmas -- first grade style

Jaiden's class performed last week in their annual Christmas program. She was just about the only child wearing GREEN instead of RED, so it's pretty easy to spot her!
And MUCH thanks go to my very sweet neighbor for letting us borrow all that GREEN stuff!
It was on my way home the night of the program -- while fighting a migraine -- when I realized that Jaiden's Christmas clothes were either too small, too dirty, too absent from our house (AKA: MIA) or too "busy." (They could not wear anything with pictures, images or other "stuff" on it!) So, I shared my pathetic story with my neighbor... who graciously let us borrow a very nice GREEN sweater and bow!
Of course, in my haste to get to the program in time, I did not realize that the way I positioned the big GREEN bow on Jaiden's head very much resembled a Christmas package. Oopsie! Was my face RED!?!
Hey -- I guess it was just one more way to find my child in the sea of first graders....
Just look for the little girl who's wrapped up like a gift!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Christmas Cookie Swap -- PART 4

Once again, I must say that a Christmas cookie swap party is pretty rockin' cool!
This year (the 4th annual cookie swap) was the biggest group ever, despite busy schedules and complaints about baking so many treats! Ha-ha! ;) Everyone took home loads of delicious cookies -- including, but not limited to: some Christmas tree cookies, chocolate truffles, coconut macaroons and "snowman poop."
Merry Christmas ... and happy munching, everyone!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Twirly Girl

Jaiden has been taking baton this year with some of her friends and has had a really good time learning to twirl! Recently, her little group of twirlers (or should I say group of little twirlers?!?) were asked to be in a Christmas lighting parade. Jaiden did a very good job! Of course, we never actually saw her twirl -- nor did we witness the twirlers do the routine they have been practicing for MONTHS now -- but Jaiden waved as she walked by. And she was quite the waver. Ha-ha! At any rate, it was a fun time for all... and the fireworks afterward were the icing on the cake!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Our first family portrait!?

Here is the very first photo of ALL us Alcazars! ;)

Monday, December 1, 2008

Heeeeeeeeere's TEDDY!

A few weeks ago, we adopted another sweet little dog (AKA "furry, four-legged child"). His name is Teddy, and he's a 6-year-old purebred Yorkshire Terrier. Yep. A teeny, weeny Yorkie!
We rescued Teddy (full name Theodore Alcazar... ha-ha!) from a family who could just not give him the love and care he deserved, and we are very happy that he's now a part of our family!
Rowdy (our 6-year-old Yorkie mix) has behaved very well with the new addition, and it seems that (after a few weeks of trial and error) they are getting along nicely! They play with each other and run around, and sometimes they even cuddle -- just a bit! A very wee bit. It's VERY cute!
Funny things about Teddy... well, he's a stinky little guy (must be a skin issue), but he loves tummy rubs, sometimes sleeps on his back with his legs sticking out everywhere, wheezes when he barks, turns his head to one side or the other when you talk to him and often can be found poking out the tip of his tongue -- while awake or asleep!
At any rate, here's Teddy! We look forward to discovering more of his quirks and oddities... and just having fun with the newest Alcazar.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Did I mention Fran was here!?

Since I seem to be talented at NOT posting things in a sensible, timely manner, I figured it would be fitting to blog a little about Fran's recent visit to Birmingham (recent, as in three months ago!).
To fill in some details, briefly: Fran and I have been best friends for over 22 years... and most of that friendship has taken place over hundreds of miles, since she moved to Connecticut about a year or so after we met! Over these few decades, we have been through mini golf madness, late-night conversations, hysterical laughter, weird sicknesses, travels, births, deaths, scary movies, marriages, divorces, broken "boom boxes," dog barfing incidents... wow -- let's just say a LOT of stuff (and not necessarily in that order)! And it's always so much fun to get together and pick back up wherever we left off the last time!
Fran was here most recently to take photos at FarmLinks Golf Club. She is an amazing photographer, and this was a unique opportunity to get her to take some shots where I work! But it was also a great opportunity for us to get updates, eat out at fun places, watch dumb things on TV, laugh until we cry and just have fun being friends.

(Oh, and BTW: be very glad I did not post a photo of Fran and me from those "good ole days." If you're a child of the 80's, you know exactly what I mean... and that's exactly why I'm not going to go there!)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Fall party fun

Jaiden's class had their "fall party" not too long ago, and I stopped by to take a few photos... and eat a few snacks. The class had painted pumpkins, and they passed out lots of goodies, which is just what every child needs when he/she has a load of Halloween candy waiting at home!

Monday, November 10, 2008

There's majesty in simplicity

Ah, coloring. There's not much to it, and yet, it can be such a rewarding experience!
When I was teaching 9th grade English (in another lifetime, eons ago!), I brought a handful of coloring books with me to school. Lo and behold -- several students (guys and girls) wanted to color ... and even sat in my classroom during lunch period to color to their hearts' desire!
There's just something about coloring. It can be quite calming. It can be inspiring. It can be a little escape. I still color with Jaiden. I bet most Mommies do. And I find her, often, in her room, sprawled out on the floor with a rainbow of colors surrounding her. She shows me how she stays in the lines. But I tell her it's ok to scribble, too. And I tell her she can color whatever she wants to.... Sometimes she colors the sky blue. Sometimes she colors the sky pink. And sometimes she leaves the sky blank. Why? Well, as she points out, sometimes it's a cloudy day!

(BTW: Yes, Jaiden IS wearing wings!)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Roller "skating"? (More like roller scooting and roller falling)

I'm not very graceful with things strapped, tied or stuck on my feet.
I can't snorkel, and it's not just because I can't really swim (or because I'm afraid of drowning); I just can't wear those fin things. They don't work on my feet. Instead of acting as helpful water-maneuvering tools, they're more like lead weights, pulling me to my watery grave. That being said, I'm not very talented with skateboards, either. I just wobble around for a few centimeters before I fall down. And I've never even tried skis -- water or snow -- and that's for a very good reason. (Can you picture me with two skinny boards strapped to my feet while racing over liquid H2O tied behind a boat or careening down a frozen mountain? Nothing good can happen there. Trust me.)
But while I am mostly a klutz who should really just stick to non-moving flats, flip flops or sneakers, I will strap on some ice skates or roller skates every now and again... and that "again" happened a few weeks ago when my neighbor, her two kids, Sean, Jaiden and I went roller skating!
It was the first time skating for Jaiden, Colt and Cailyn. And it was the first time I'd tied on those stinky, cardboard-brown roller rentals in over 20 years. How sad is that? I think I went ice skating about 10 years ago... but I haven't been on wheels in two decades!
Needless to say, with three young skating newbies and three very out-of-practice adults, we were definitely a sight to see! Our "war wounds" were also a sight -- bloody heel blisters, sore muscles, deep purple bruises from hip to knee... and quite possibly one cracked coccyx... (AKA tail bone)!
And the verdict? We all had loads of fun! In fact, we'll be at the rink again in a few days. I may dress Jaiden in a padded suit. And I'm bringing some Febreeze....

Monday, November 3, 2008

I'm a TERRIBLE mom!

Yeah... so... it's the first week of November, and my little J has been in school for nearly half the year... And I am just now getting around to posting about her first day of first grade! AGH!
I had to use Mom's camera to take these first-day photos, so I do have a legitimate excuse. The pictures were on her camera. At her house. And I only just yesterday loaded them on my laptop! *sigh... I guess I am still a bad mom. (Or, at the very least, I am a very untimely blogger.)
So. Jaiden is a big first grader now, and she was VERY excited to head out for the first day of school. Since this is year 2, she was very prepared. No fear. Just walked me right to her classroom, waltzed in, found her desk, said "hi" to the other kids and hung up her backpack. I don't recall being quite that self-assured! (And I know I wasn't that well dressed! The early 80s were NOT that kind!)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Laugh 'til I CRY!

I LOVE this commercial. But I always seem to need tissues when I watch it... ;) (For best viewing, pause the music... on the left... first!)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Still no camera...

This is a totally boring post, but for those who have wondered, fretted or inquired, we have NOT selected a new digital camera yet. Well, let me clarify, we have taken into consideration the many folks who have suggested the Canon, but we have yet to drag our bodies out to the store to actually purchase one! ;0
So, for now, the frustration mounts as more and more memorable events take place... and I have no way to capture them! AGH! So how long will I be able to hold out before the insanity completely breaks me down!? Who knows?!? I may actually start drawing "the moments of our lives!"

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Running around... in what?

Before I forget... Jaiden had a "good one" last night.
The setting: Jaiden and Sean were playing "Kung Fu Panda" on the XBox, and Sean was attempting to get Po, the panda character, out of a certain area of the game (a martial arts dojo "training room" that was set up with maze-like levels, catwalks, cages, rope bridges, etc.) He missed the way out of the room and had to move Po around and around the upper level to get back to the correct spot.
The quote: Jaiden laughed at him and said, "PC... you're just running around in squares!"
The result: Sean and I looked over at one another and busted out laughing. She was exactly right!

Goofy is as goofy does...

Until I get a "real" camera... (you can view a previous post for details... What camera? (A call for HELP!) ... and give me your camera suggestion!), I guess I'll have to continue to play around with the camera built into my MacBook! And I will have to continue to use all the fun picture settings...
I can't help it! It's FUN! ;)

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Mickey-roni and cheese?

For those parents (or Disney fans) who haven't yet discovered Heartland's Disney pasta (with fun character shapes like "Mickey & Pals"), let me just say that this stuff is awesome! It looks cute, but it TASTES great, too. (In fact, I like this brand better than most others out there... and it's a "good source of whole grain!")
The reason I bring this up is because last night we had our fun neighbors over for dinner... for Mickey pasta (or Baked Mickeys... or Mickey-roni... whatever you want to call it). YUM! It's an easy recipe, and it's one of those almost-tastes-better-heated-up-as-leftovers kind of dishes.
So I am sharing the simple "recipe" in case you need a fun, easy meal. (This is kind of like a baked ziti recipe... but with Mickey-shaped noodles... oh, you get the point!)

* 1.5 to 2 lbs. ground beef (your choice -- I usually get what's on sale at Winn Dixie!)
* 1 tsp. salt (or to taste)
* 1 tsp. black pepper (or to taste)
* 1 T. oregano (or more, if you'd like)
* shredded mozzarella cheese (oh, about 1-2 cups, depending on how much you like cheese!)
* 1 jar Prego sauce (Prego roasted garlic and herb is my favorite... you can try a different brand or your own sauce, too)
* 1 box Heartland pasta (Disney characters are optional, I suppose! BTW: The only place I've found this pasta thus far is Wal-Mart.)

(You can mix in some garlic, onion, peppers and/or Parmesan cheese as well... depending on what y'all like and what sauce you're using...i.e. if I use the traditional Prego sauce, I often add in a tsp. or so of garlic powder.)

* pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
* brown ground beef (along w/ salt, pepper and oregano) in a pan, chopping to desired size (some like to "hide" the meat, while others prefer more of a meatball-sized chunk)
* cook pasta as directed
* mix browned meat, shredded cheese, sauce and cooked pasta in a large glass baking pan (ungreased)
* bake for 35-45 minutes (the longer you bake it, the more of a "crunch" you'll get to the top and sides... some love this... while others don't, so it's up to you!)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

What camera? (A call for HELP!)

I admit: it's been months now since I've had a camera.
When I changed jobs in July, the amazing (and quite pricey) Canon SLR went back home to Arizona. So I've been borrowing Mom's digital (or even Jaiden's camera-- *yikes!) and "stealing" pictures from my friends... yes, and even from complete strangers on Flickr!
That being said, we're now looking for a fairly simple, not-too-expensive digital camera. But I feel completely lost! (My other cameras are 35mm or advantix film... and the only digital I had in my possession was that $3,500 one!)
So think $200-$300 range for now. Start small. We're throwing around (well, not literally) the Nikon Coolpix, the Canon PowerShot and the Sony Cyber-shot... but I'm open to any thoughts and suggestions!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Peas... and Quiet

I saw a fellow blogger post something about peas... and that got me thinking....
When Jaiden was about 3-ish, I started making very determined attempts to get her to eat her fruits and veggies (both of which she had decided at some point she did NOT like anymore).
SO, thus began a new -- and harried -- feeding routine. I would prepare some chicken nuggets or Spaghettios (VERY nutritious entrees) with a small side of vegetables. When I gave her peas, I usually placed 5 peas on her plate. She would frown and pout while eating her favorite food items first. And then the crying would begin. Not just whimpering. Full-out sobbing... along with the very loud, "I don wanna eat dem... I don wanna....WWWAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH--haaaaaaaaa."
My response? A very calm: "Eat the peas, Jaiden. I'm waiting. We'll sit here all night if we have to."
And often times, we did.
I'm not sure who is more stubborn or determined between the two of us, but I would roll peas at her for hours and tell her to eat them, between loud, angry sobs, of course. (Well, HER loud, angry sobs... not my own!) And -- eventually -- she would kind of squish them into her mouth, while crying, and then kind of gag on them while reaching for the few drops of milk she'd have left in her sippy cup.
It was a 10-step program just to down ONE LITTLE PEA! Kind of like this: 1. pout... 2. pick up pea... 3. squish pea into mouth... 4. hack... 5. cry... 6. gag... 7. sob...8. sniffle...9. gag some more... 10. drink milk...
FIVE hours later (no lie), the peas would be gone. (Yes, do the math: that's one pea per hour!) And my sobbing, red-faced, dribbly-snot-nosed little girl with squashed peas all over her fingers would perk up, grab a toy or a book and smile, contentedly, like nothing had ever happened.
Just a little peas...
and quiet.

(BTW: I did not take that great pea picture... so kudos to the clever photographer!)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

My mustachioed hubby!?!?

Sean doesn’t have a mustache. For one, I’m not a fan.
There’s never been any hairy clumps on the upper lip of my man.

Of course, he doesn’t shave much, but you can blame that on his work.
And a stubbly face every now and again certainly won't make him a jerk.

But when playing with my new computer and taking silly pics,
I came across one photo that nearly made me sick….

What’s growing there so subtly on my adorable hubby’s face?
But a MacBook-produced mustache, so VERY out of place!

That’s when my upset stomach turned into a silly grin....
What’s next for my mustachioed husband? Perhaps something on his chin?

Oh, but wait -- if you look close enough, you can nearly see
he not only has a mustache; he's "grown" a full goatee!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Fall Festival... Fall Fiasco?

I bought our tickets early, so we HAD to go. Well, that, and I couldn't have a disappointed 6-year-old, asking why all her friends were at the Fall Festival... and she wasn't!
Ok -- let me explain... If you haven't already guessed: we just had Fall Festival at Jaiden's school. That was my first Fall Festival at Jaiden's school. Could be my last! (Ha-ha!)
We arrived around 7:30 and pulled the Jeep over a curb to park. Grabbing a flashlight and some light jackets, we made our way down to the insanity below... Sean, Jaiden and I were starving, so the school lunch room was our first stop (after weeding through the crowd of sugar-hyped kids, flustered parents and random teenagers).
Unfortunately, some of the food had already been sold out, and they were completely out of drinks. (Note to self: bring stash of drinks next time.) We finally managed to be at the right place at the right time and grab the few remaining Pepsis... then we made our way back outside to the mob of people. There were people everywhere. People running, screaming, standing in lines, reprimanding their children, clambering for cheap prizes and trying to keep their tickets in order. I got a headache as I tried to balance my purse, the envelope of tickets, the flashlight, the last Pepsi can, a handful of plastic horses and Halloween stickers, a bag of cotton candy AND my daughter, of course! (Note to self: bring a large tote bag or backpack to carry everything.)
Hey -- at least the kids had a blast! Jaiden stuck with our neighbors, Colt and Cailyn, most of the evening as they raced from booth to booth, bowling, jumping in the inflatables, fishing, sack racing, shooting baskets, saying "hi" to friends from school, consuming way too much sugar and getting their hair sprayed wacky colors! (Colt ended up with white hair; Cailyn had bright pink hair; Jaiden had half pink, half purple; and I had green and blue.)
We stayed until the event closed and watched the insanity as people packed away their booths as quickly as possible. We still had tickets left over, so Sean attempted to spend the remainder on food. (Add 4 hot dogs and three baggies of Halloween cookies to the pile of stuff I was carrying!) Then we headed back to the Jeep with our neighbors so we could give them a ride to their car... about a mile away! (Yes, 4 adults and 3 children in a Liberty....) I ended up riding in the back, which wouldn't have been too bad except that I still have a huge box of stuff in there. (Note to self: clean out the Jeep... and don't buy Fall Festival tickets early next year!) ;)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Just thinking back...

Wow. I've been having some of those moments lately... you know, the sad ones where you start looking back at how much your child has grown, and you have a second or two of sheer panic, as your mind shrieks: where has the time gone?!?
That's why I've had to console myself with those photos... you know, the adorable ones that capture moments that seemed so fresh and so clear at the time... and now feel a bit muddled and perhaps a bit too far away to fully grasp.
Some of my friends think I'm having "moments" because I need another one. HA! :) That's probably because some of my friends have teeny tinys of their own right now, and they want me to stop reminiscing about the wonderful baby smiles and the cuddly, velvet onesies (along with the not-so-wonderful diapers and drool, of course) and jump back into it whole-heartedly!

At any rate... here are some pictures of my "baby" girl. Back when.

So step back for a moment, and remember with me....

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Tagged... I'm it.

My friend (and former SMCS schoolmate) Amanda Tucker (a fellow blogger at Blessed Beyond Belief "tagged" me, so I will participate in the challenge and follow the blogger etiquette.... for the most part! ;)

Here are the rules:
1) Link to the person who tagged you.
2) Post the rules on your blog (copy and paste 1-6).
3) Write 6 random things about yourself (see below).
4) Tag 6 people at the end of your post and link to them.
5) Let each person know they have been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6) Let the tagger know when your entry is up.


1) I do not like cheese. People think I'm insane, but it's true. I don't like it. I won't eat mac n' cheese. I won't eat most Itallian or Mexican foods. Not in a box. Not with a fox. Not in a house. Not with a mouse. I would not eat cheese here or there. I would not eat cheese anywhere. Wellllll..... almost anywhere. I do like pizza. OK. I LOVE pizza, and for some reason, the mild, salty mozerella is the ONE exception to my cheese aversion.

2) Toe rings bother me. I don't get it. Why would someone want a ring on her toe? To draw attention to her feet? Ewww. Feet aren't all that great in the first place. We walk on them and sometimes stuff them in socks and shoes. Feet get dirty and smelly and calloused. I will paint my toenails in an effort to make my feet more feminine and dainty and more "presentable," but you will never see me sporting a toe ring. I'd rather the ring go on a finger...and the attention be drawn to something else!

3) As horrible as it sounds, I have to admit that I like puppies more than I like babies. I just don't get all ga-ga and gooey about random people's kids... I don't have any urge -- at all -- to smile and coo at a stranger's offpsring. I couldn't care less about those "cute baby" calendars and the Anne Geddes, babies-dressed-as-butterflies-and-bumblebees stuff. But I will melt at the sight of any puppy! Cute widdle puppy-poos! (Just for the record: I do not like puppies more than my own baby. I just like puppies more than random babies.)

4) I may be borderline obsessive compulsive. (Some of you are laughing right now at the words "may be.") I love order. I love organization. And I love clean. So much so (on all three items), that I can rarely sit still. You see... I find that there is always some fuzz to vacuum up, a counter to wipe off, a book to straighten, a rug tassel to smooth down, a picture to dust, a group of pencils to line up, a stack of papers to file, a random news article to edit, a dog to bathe, a pantry of food to organize ... by size, height, type and date of purchase. (You see what I mean!?!?)

5) I'm oddly fascinated by my bumps, scrapes, cuts and bruises. For some reason, I feel compelled to study each injury intensely -- at every angle -- and then proudly show it off and discuss how it happened, the level of pain, the color or texture ...and the amazing fact that my body will heal itself! (Weird. I know. But it IS really cool that our bodies can fix such a wide variety of "boo-boos!")

6) When it comes to everyday social situations, I like to be the wallflower or the center of attention. Either extreme. For me, there is no comfortable middle ground. I'm sure that adds to my long list of quirkiness, but if I could choose my "role" in any given situation, I would like to be completely unnoticed and blend into the background OR be the main event, speaking, performing, entertaining or otherwise.

And because I don't yet have a big enough blog network, I'm going to tag:

(Please don't oust me from blogger world. I know I've killed this end of this thread.... for now!)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Blast from the past?

Ok... I admit it; I tried out the latest internet craze.
I went to and found out that this would possibly have been my yearbook picture... in 1964! ;) And this other lovely shot could have been Sean, circa 1984. HA-ha!

(I think I look like my mom, except for the random blond streak of bangs and the kooky glasses! Sean, however, may look like this one day... if he ever forgets to get a hair cut! Heh-heh!)

Try it out -- you, too, can end up with a really big forehead or a short, lumpy chin -- or both!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I Just Look Like Her

I have a new Mac, and I've been playing around with all the fun features, I mean, RESEARCHING the software... and I stumbled across a silly program that takes photos. So, I took a photo (or two... or five) while sitting here at my desk. And THIS is what I got!
My co-workers asked if this was Cameron Diaz. HA-Ha!