Tuesday, March 31, 2009

New Look!

Thanks to a little inspiration, I redesigned my blog. I'm still working out the kinks... but I'd love to know any thoughts/ideas!

The Cookie Smile

Warm, gooey, chocolate-chip cookies right out of the oven always make me smile. But Jaiden came up with her own version of this as she munched on a homemade cookie for dessert the other night. After a few bites, she held up the cookie to her face and said, "Look! A cookie smile!" (Funny how that cookie looks bigger than her head in this photo!)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

From Caterpillars to Chrysalides...

Sean and I got Jaiden a "butterfly treehouse" for Christmas, and right before Spring Break, we received our order of caterpillar larvae in the U.S. mail! (Forget snail mail, right?!?) A little cardboard box with a little plastic cup arrived with 5 teensy-tiny caterpillars inside.

On day one at the Alcazar house, the caterpillars were about the size of grains of rice. The next day, they were twice that long. The day after that, they were twice their size again... but this time twice as fat!
They grew more and more every day until three days ago when they crawled to the top of their little cup and hung upside-down like little letter "J's." That's when the first part of the transformation began. The little guys swung and shook and turned their little caterpillar bodies into hard, irridescent chrysalides. It was amazing to watch!
Today, Jaiden and I moved the 5 little chrysalides into their butterfly tree house. In about a week, we should see the immergence of painted lady butterflies.

We're pretty excited. Actually, I think I may be the most excited of all. It's SOOOOOOO cool! And I plan to document more as the excitement continues. So check back for butterfly updates!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Pottery, new friends, ketchup spills and Celtic Woman

Yesterday was quite a day!
I had a fun (and entertaining) lunch with a bloggy friend, Rachel, who met me IRL (that's "in real life"... haven't you seen "The Net" with Sandra Bullock?) to give me the beautiful pottery that I won during her bloggy anniversary contests! As you can see in the photo, below, the set has a place of honor on my hutch... and is just about the only splash of color on that thing. (Hmmm. I may need more Earthborn pottery!)
(BTW -- thanks, again, Rachel!!!!!)

During lunch, Rachel's daughter, Ali, had a bit too much fun with her "dip-dip." In this case, the "dip-dip" was none other than kecthup, and we all know that ketchup makes for some lovely laundering challenges! (I "stole" this picture from Rachel so you could witness the clean-up efforts. "Stole," as in: I snapped the shot, but it was not with my camera!)

Later on, Sean and I met mom and dad for dinner at our favorite Mexican restaurant. YUM! That was a "pit stop" on our way to see the Celtic Woman concert. This was my second time to see them in person, but I was not prepared to be on the second row, right next to the stage (as in, I could touch the stage from my seat... if I stretched out my legs all the way... and reached really far with my feet)!

We aren't suppsoed to take pictures, but since I had my phone with me, I got away with a few quick, blurry shots of the stage and us before the show.... and, man! What a show! It was so incredible. But I must admit, it was a bit odd to be close enough to see their eyes... the hair on their arms...the sweat on their brow. When the performers made eye contact, I felt kind of dumb... like, "Hey! Here I am. Watching you. And you're now watching me watching you. So. That's weird. Ummm...I'll just smile and look at my shoes now... and maybe try to reach out and touch the stage."

Friday, March 27, 2009

When Dogs Barf

Rowdy barfed this morning. He is very prone to barfing. I mean, this dog has the weakest stomach of any dog I have owned. So sad. What's worse... he barfed UNDER the bed. Eeeew. It was a chunky puddle under the bed, toward the middle. So.... Sean and I had to heave the massive king-size bed out of the way and crawl back there to clean everything up. Then I dumped baking soda back there and vacuumed the whole area a bit later.
Funny, with me and my obsessive cleaning habits, I was actually thinking about cleaning under the bed at some point. So I guess I can't be too upset with Rowdy. He gave me the perfect opportunity to get back there. Now that's sad!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Random surprise flowers... just because!

My extremely amazing and thoughtful husband totally surprised me just now -- with a beautiful basket of flowers and balloons! For no reason!
A coworker popped by my office and asked if today was a special day for me. Unsure of what she meant, but quite curious, I answered, "No.... It's just a day..... Why?"
That's when the delivery of random surprise flowers arrived.
And the note attached? It reads: "Just because I love you." If you ask me, that's way better than flowers on a "special" day. In fact, it's way better because this sweet gift just made an ordinary, insignificant, average day quite a special occasion!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Silly Teddy

Well.... I couldn't post about one dog without the other. That wouldn't be fair. So... here's Teddy in his silly pose -- with a blue ribbon in his too-long fur!
His expression seems to say, "Really? You had to put that on my head?"

Friday, March 20, 2009

Silly Rowdy

Just had to post this pic. Rowdy looks like he's dressed in some weird blue hat ensemble and about to say (or sing?) something!

(He's actually on my lap, underneath the Snuggie... yes, the weird blanket-you-can-wear thing that you've probably seen on infomercials!)

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

And the winner is..... ME!?!

I discovered early this morning (on my Facebook page, of all things!) that I am the winner of THIS incredibly beautiful dinner set from Earthborn Pottery!!!! WOW! I'm really excited. :)
Thanks so much to Rachel and her fun contest celebrating her first bloggy anniversary! And thank you to Tena Payne who designed -- and donated -- the pottery!

I'm not usually one to win the big giveaways, the random drawings... or the lottery, for that matter. But on a few rare occasions in my life, I've experienced a few lucky streaks!
It may have started on Thanksgiving Day, circa 1989, as I listened to WDJC, hoping for my chance to win Michael W. Smith's new "I 2 Eye" tape. Yes, tape, as in cassette tape.... the little, rectangular plasticy thing with the delicate ribbon of tape that you.... ah, never mind. Not important.
I was listening intently to the radio because the DJ was supposed to play a new "Smitty" song, and whoever was the first to call when it played was the winner. Well, due to my speedy dialing (or the fact that it was Turkey Day, and no one else was likely paying any attention at all to the radio that evening), I won! I jumped around and giggled like a crazy person. My mom and my grandmother thought I'd lost it. They could not believe that I was that excited about a silly little tape. Of course, it was more than that silly little tape.... I was excited that I'd actually won something! I'd never won anything before! I thought, "Wow, maybe my luck has changed, and this is just the beginning of a long streak of big wins!"
Well... I guess my luck wasn't all that great... because it wasn't until February 2007 that I won something again.
Funny enough, it was another radio contest. I was listening to the... uh, was it the Mark and Mack show? Anyway, they had a Valentine's contest running in which you were supposed to e-mail them a letter stating why you'd marry the person you're with all over again. Sean and I had just been married the month before, so this was an easy one for me! So on the very last day of the contest, I sent in a quick, little e-mail. Almost an afterthought....
Since the contest was a random drawing and was NOT based on the creativity or the construction of the letter, I didn't put too much time into it. So when I heard my letter read on air, right after dropping Jaiden off at play school, I was a little dumbfounded. My phone was ringing when I got back to the car, but I ignored it. Had I answered it, I would have been on the air -- LIVE -- hearing about my big win from the radio DJs! I did call the station back a few minutes later, and then I heard my sappy, giddy voice played over and over (and over) again for a few weeks (was it months?) after that....as part of their radio promos.
Oh... and what, exactly, did I win, you may wonder?
I won a bouquet of roses, a Valentine's Day dinner (and show) for two at the StarDome, tickets to the Billy Joel concert (which we gave to my in-laws, since Sean and I were on a work trip out of town), tickets to the Nora Jones concert (which the station promised me but never sent), and a $900 diamond "circle of love" necklace!!!!
Of course, I never wear that necklace. It makes me nervous. The one time I did wear it out in public, I kept thinking that the diamond pendant was going to just fall off, leaving me with a $10 chain. In fact, I don't think anyone even saw the necklace that evening. I had my hand over it the whole time, checking to see if it was still there. Still safely attached.
Don't get me wrong, the necklace is beautiful. But nowadays, I just opt for the $10 copycat version that my mom got me at the women's show!

And, just for the record, (pun intended?) I still have my "I 2 Eye" tape... somewhere. I practically wore it out in '89... but I don't think I've listened to it -- or to the winning song -- since the early 90's. Luckily, a pottery set will be much more useful! I can't wait to display it in our dining room! Yes, display it. It's just too pretty to put food on!
(Hmmm... maybe I can put my necklace on it?)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Kitchen Dance Party

Jaiden and I have this thing.... We dance. Silly dance. Like no one's watching. Just the two of us being silly girls. Silly Momma and Silly J.

We started this little tradition when she was too young to even remember. I'd set her on my hip and proceed to rock out to CD after CD after CD of homemade mixed tunes. For a time in my life, this activity was very significant. J and I could escape for a while... from everything wrong going on in our lives. It was healing.

Now Jaiden and I dance just because. Because we're happy. Because we're silly. Because we're bored. Because we can.

A few years ago, Jaiden and I were outside our house watching some big spotlights that a new store had up and running to promote their new business. We could see it from our driveway. We could also hear the music. So... we started dancing. And laughing... laughing so hard I had to stop for a moment so I could breathe again. That's when Jaiden said, "Come on, Mommy! It's driveway dance party!"

Now we have "car seat dance party," bedroom dance party," "kitchen dance party"... whatever or wherever we are "dance party." And I cherish every moment of it. I know one day she'll be too old -- too cool -- to dance around with Momma.

So, for now, we just dance....

Monday, March 9, 2009

Fishful Thinking

Sean, J and I were lured outside by the nice weather yesterday, and we decided to try our luck in the lovely little lake that's less than a stone's throw away from our house. But despite our best efforts, our smart fishing tactics and even our undying hopefulness (and our top-notch fishing gear... check out the high-tech SpongeBob SquarePants pole and bobber!), no fish landed on our lines. Ok. So maybe ONE or possibly TWO fish tugged a bit, but both of them got away. So typical. At least we had a nice couple of hours before the mosquitoes came out and started their concentrated attack on me. (Why do they always go after me? No one else gets bugged by them as much as I!) Ah, well... better luck next time! One day I'll get to post about J and her first fish....

Friday, March 6, 2009

My Little Rock Star

This is not a normal school day. I would not dress my daughter like this. Really. (Although, parts of this outfit are reminiscent of the 80's.... which, in and of itself, is kind of sad.)
So why is J all punked out and ready to rock?!?!
Since Jaiden's school has been celebrating books and reading all week long, they have been dressing up each day. Today was "dress like a star" day. And, I guess this is what a star looks like to a 6-year old girl... who loves all things pink... and all things Hannah Montana!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Kid at Heart

In another life, not so terribly long ago... I had a monorail. A miniature version of the official Walt Disney World monorail. It was "monorail red" (AKA a monorail with a red stripe). It was also the first edition monorail to be released.
I loved that monorail.
Monorails are cool. They are fun to ride in real life... and fun to watch in miniature. They silently run on elevated tracks, and the miniature kind looks cool running around the Christmas tree. Plus, monorails provide good memories of Disney and all our amazing vacations.

Sadly, that monorail did not come with me to my new life, and I've been secretly longing for a replacement monorail for the last 5 years or so.

Well....this year, I got a monorail! Sean bought it for me at Disney's Polynesian Resort. It's "monorail orange" (AKA a monorail with an orange stripe). And the doors open up... so you can put tiny little Disney characters in there to ride around the track.
I love this monorail.

I am such a dork!

NOTE: Just an FYI, J and I are playing with the monorail at Orange Lake Country Club in Orlando. I do NOT have powder-blue hotel curtains and navy-blue carpeting in my house! ;)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Woah, snow!

We woke up this morning to an incredible sight for Alabama -- snow, snow, SNOW! A LOT of snow! It was really coming down! We had several hours last night and this morning of non-stop powdery precipitation, giving us about 3-4 inches of the white stuff! When it finally stopped, we bundled up and headed outside to enjoy the fun! We built a HUGE snowman, made a few lop-sided snow angels and just enjoyed the rare wintry wonderland!

(NOTE: Of course, as I write this, the snowman has toppled over, and most of our wonderful snow has melted away. Ah, Alabama. Tornado on Friday. Snow on Sunday. What's the weather supposed to be tomorrow?!?!)