April 23, 2008

Keepin' It Together

I just spent the day at the natural history museum with my daughter's second grade class. And, for purely scientific purposes, I'm going to share with you my own natural history observations (this is in no way an exhaustive list):

  • Boys and boogies go together like peanut butter and jelly.
  • Eight year olds do not take their movies, particularly Night at the Museum, lightly.
  • A full size grizzly on it's hind legs growling down at you from 10 ft., has the potential to make you pee your pants. (regardless of its living status)
  • I hate sack lunches.
  • And my daughter has already "learned" that:
    1. the earth "is" 4.5 billion years old.
    2. organisms "appeared" about 500 million years after the earth "came into being"
    3. After that, every few hundred million years, things "evolve" a little more until Ta-Da, here we are!

As a mother who nightly prays with/for her daughters, and always makes mention of how thankful she is to their Creator for creating each of them SO SPECIAL and designing each for an amazing purpose, I was disheartened. Not surprised. Not at all surprised. Just disheartened.

And then I watched this video. And after I picked my jaw up off the floor, I once again thanked my Creator for how insanely special he has designed each and every one of us.

Laminin. It does a body good.

Thanks Boomama for the link, it wrapped the day up quite nicely thankyouverymuch!

April 17, 2008

No Trench Coats Allowed At This Party

I wanted to do something fun for his birthday this year. He had a scheduled rehearsal for that evening so I figured we'd just bring the party to him. We called it a flash mob birthday party.

(If the term flash mob gives you a scary visual as to what exactly we did for his birthday, PLEASE GO HERE, and be assured that no birthday suits were involved in this birthday party.)

It was so much better than I had hoped. We had a bunch of people show up and he was totally surprised. It was the quickest party I've ever been to at only about 15 minutes. I've since decided that I think all birthday party should be that short. We sang, we ate yummy cupcakes that were topped with white chocolate storm troopers (Ben had a special, larger cupcake with a darth vader on the top) and to finish off our party we ran a short video that we hoped would both embarrass him and remind him how much we appreciated him all that same time.

Mission Accomplished.

Once I had the idea, So many people picked it up and ran with it. Thanks to EVERYONE who came and helped me carry this plan out. You were the perfect birthday gift!!! Unfortunately, quick party's don't allow much videotaping time, but you can see the video that we put together to surprise him with.

(side note, I would love to tell you that any young ladies you see him with in this video were girlfriends he had before me. Really I would LOVE to be able to tell you that. Let's just say that my Junior prom did not bode well for the ozone layer.)

April 16, 2008

Spring Sprung

The wonderful effects of Spring on my back yard

*contended sigh*

I just love fresh sprouting Greens

My FAVORITE tree in our yard. Pure Bliss.

Wait a minute! What's this? What is that thing crushing my child's toy?

Oh Spring how could you?
I love your effects on the trees, but I hate what you've done to my fence.

The same weather that has given me breathtaking views has also added back-breaking work. Evidently, God in his divine wisdom has decided to use the effects of Spring on my backyard as a perfect metaphor of his hand in my life right now. I often think that the winds of Spring should only bring beauty and peace into my life. However, I forget that the fence was rotting and was in need of replacement. Perhaps this strong spring wind did us a bit of a favor.

So here I sit. Waiting. And trusting the God of the beautiful spring blossom to help me mend my broken fences.

And I mean that statement more metaphorically than literally. Cuz we'll probably have to, you know, hire someone for the fence repair job.

James 1:2-3 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.

April 15, 2008

American Idol the Remaining 7

I'd like it to be noted that I'm more than a little ashamed that my last two posts are about AI. I do have a life, I promise. We've even had some pretty cool things going on around here, but it's so much easier to write out my silly thoughts on AI than it is to write something meaningful. It seems that, over the last three weeks, one or another of us has been sick constantly. In that time span, our little family of five has collectively made roughly 5 bagillion trips to the bathroom. As a rule, I don't generally like to spend that much time with our plumbing. Unfortunately, all that flushing has made me more than a little dizzy. So instead of sharing with you a beautiful story of our little girl's faith journey or a loving tribute to my husband on his birthday, I'm giving you bits of the extra fluff floating in my head. enjoy.

Mariah Carey night. I was unsure when I heard she was the mentor. I don't consider myself a fan of hers, but about halfway through the show after I had said, "Oo, I like this song" for about the third or fourth time, Ben concluded that I'm a closet Mariah Carey fan. I'll try to remember that the next time I want to tease my sis-in-law about her music tastes.

David Archuleta singing 'When You Believe' - (Oo, I like this song, aka OILTS count 1) Loved this song in the movie Prince of Egypt. Such a pretty and moving song. I think it was a great song choice for him or really any of the guys because it didn't have that pop girl feel to it. And, I really think David A did it justice. I loved that in the chorus he let the singers take the melody while he blew the roof. It was pretty, it was moving.

Carly Smithson singing 'Without You' - (OILTS count 2 and also "Mariah covered this song? huh.") First off, Bravo on her dress choice for the evening. Empire waist and A-line. Those two have always been kind to me. No need for spanx with them around. Alright, in the first part of this song it seems that she's thinking it through to much. You can see in her eyes that she's calculating how much volume she needs to let out. She only seems to really enjoy the song when she gets to the middle and really belts it out. Once she let go and began to enjoy the song, I did too.

Syesha Mercado singing 'Vanishing' - (OILTS count 3) I think she definitely gave this song some originality, and for the most part I like what she tried to do with it. At the risk of sounding like Randy, she was pitchy, which given the difficulty level of this song is not at all surprising. Those trills are crazy hard and while it wasn't perfect it was not to shabby. (OK, so I did sound like Randy because he said the same thing.)

So answer me this, as a contestant, if you had to choose between singing a simple and easy tune but totally nailing it, OR attempting something more difficult that you may not get entirely perfect, which would you choose?

Brooke White singing 'Hero' - (OILTS count 4) She starts off pretty good on this song. She seems comfortable, she's interacting with the camera. But about half way through the song I realized she wasn't going to bring anyone in on the performance with her. I think this goes back to the critique she received from the judges a few weeks ago on "Every Breath You Take". They suggested that she should have kept the entire song with just her and the piano. So I think that weighed heavy on her mind when she was making her accompaniment choices for this week. Unfortunately I don't think it was the right choice for a Mariah Carey song. Her voice and piano try to kick it up a notch at the bridge to give it some depth but it's not enough. And it's at that point that she seems over her head. The music gets a little rushed and her voice gets a little shaky. I think if she'd brought in some other vocals and instruments it would've gone a long way in helping her maintain some control on this song.

Side note from Ben (he was sleepy and not feeling well, but because he loves me, he watched with me.) About the time we noticed her curls boinging a little excessively from the sudden onslaught of nerves he said: "She's trying to remember chords and words at the same time." I feel for her, I think she's in just a bit over her head.

Another question: Am I the only one who likes to watch the families faces and see if I can tell what they really thought of their loved ones performance? I could be wrong but it looked to me like one of the guys in the BW posse might be a little concerned for her AI future.

What is this whole burger and toppings discussion?!?

Kristy Lee Cook singing 'Forever' - This was just a'ight for me dog. There's just not a whole lot that stands out for me with Kristy, and this song is no different. At this stage in the competition she should have some sort of nitch, but she doesn't. She can sing well, but so what? Good singers are a dime a dozen. She's gonna need more than just the ability to hold out her notes at the end of a song to win this thing.

David Cook singing 'Always Be My Baby' - HELLO!!! When I think of Mariah Carey, I think of songs like Always Be My Baby, which is probably why I don't consider myself a Mariah fan. yuck. But David's Arrangement? Holy Cow, can we just call this contest now? Seriously! The violins were just perfect with those little staccato notes. Sweet. And on the chorus, he was just AMAZING!!! He is completely in his element up on the stage. He owns that stage. David was the clear winner of the night. Poor Jason Castro having to follow that.

Jason Castro singing 'I Don't Wanna Cry' - This was another time it was good to have Ben watching with me. I was ready to pack it up and call it a night after David C. and I just about wrote Jason off. Ben on the other hand gave him credit for changing the song to suit his own personal style, and said it was a good performance. Not amazing but good nonetheless.

Best of the Night: David Cook (duh!) (I feel like a 14 year old saying the word 'duh!' Or maybe this girl.)
Who SHOULD vamoose - Brooke
Who WILL - Brooke or Kristy

(When I asked my poor sickly husband who he thought should leave, his short answer was "One of the blondes." And there ya have it.)

Can't get enough of AI reviews? Promptly proceed to La Casa de Boo for more armchair Rock-Starring.

April 8, 2008

Top 8 American Idol

My first American Idol re-cap post. The arrival of DVR in our home has allowed me the ability to FINALLY watch AI consistently. YIPEE!!! So I'm gonna throw out my thoughts on tonights show.

Random Notes:

  • Simon must have visited his pharmacologist this week. Hello Mr. Positive.
  • Paula. oh my lands. that dress? No words.
  • And Glory hallelujah, the arm wavers in the front section have finally left the building.

And just a short PSA to all the performers; just because you love the words of the song, and the message really speaks to your heart, it does not mean the song is an automatic slam dunk for you to do. Carly Smithson, a few weeks ago argued that Blackbird was a good song for her, because she understood what it meant to struggle to succeed. Same thing tonight with Michael Johns, he argued that Dream On was a good choice because he understood what it meant to Dream and have your Dreams come true. Free tip for the AI contestants. Loving the lyrics and identifying with the message are what iPod's are for, but if you wanna win this contest, you might want to consider a few other aspects as well.

Alright, on with my thoughts, tell me if you agree.

Michael Johns "Dream On" - First, I think he's trying to recapture the magic of last weeks ascot with the scarf. The scarf didn't work for me and neither did the song. His voice just didn't seem to live up to this song's potential. And those falsy's at the end were not at all tight. Those screeched out 'dream ons' at the end probably made this one of my least favorite performances of the evening. The ability to reach the note is only half the battle, you really have to nail it and I don't think he did.

Syesha Mercado "I Believe"- I really liked this performance, although it was a bit pitchy there near the end. I think I have the benefit of not seeing Fantasia's emotion filled prior performance of it on AI. That seems to have tainted the judge's opinion a bit. For where we're at in the contest, I thought she did very well. There's still a lot of room to grow, but I felt very engaged with the song and her performance.

Jason Castro "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" - I'll admit that from the moment he said he'd be playing it on his Ukulele, I instantly had visions of Tiny Tim. Not a fantastic mental start, but certainly there's nowhere to go but UP from those kind of expectations. That being said, I really, REALLY enjoyed this performance and version of the song. It was a perfect all around song choice for him (style, vocal range, instrumental talents).

Kristy Lee Cook "Anyway" - I've never heard this song, but I instantly recognized the lyrics from one of my favorite poems, often attributed to Mother Teresa, called "Do It Anyway". Maybe it was the lyrics and maybe it was the the choir in the background with her belting it out but I really liked this song.

David Cook "Innocent" - I very much wanted to enjoy this song. But after the last two weeks my expectations were perty high. I'd buy "Billy Jean" and "Sparrow" off iTunes, but not this one. He couldn't seem to pull off the notes in the lower register. That being said, there were moments that he displayed his amazing talents, but on the whole I felt a little let down.

Carly Smithson "Show Must Go On" - This was another of my top four of the night. I thought she did great on this song, although I agree with Simon that it did sound a little angry for an Inspirational theme night. Nonetheless, I thought she carried the whole song well from first note to last. And she looked really good to boot. Hair looked great with the long layers, and the shirt and pants where stylish and flattering. I really thought Carly had a good night.

David Archaleto "Angels" - For me, his voice was just a little to breathy on this song, though that just seems to be the tendency of his voice in general. Even speaking he sounds a little breathy. Really the boy has got some skillz, both vocally and on the keys but this was not one of my favorites. I can't even explain why, but it's my blog so I don't have to. In short he did well, but not one of my top 4 of the evening.

Brooke White "You've got A Friend" - I agree with Simon that there was little originality to this song. I think the factors that she is such a fan of Carole King and James Taylor, that she went retro with her hair and clothing, and that she had previously performed this song for a talent show, all worked against her standing out in any way on this song. I doubt originality was the goal in the talent show, and once you've done a song, it's much harder to think outside of the box on it. Also, Brooke has got to stop working the puppy dog eyes when she doesn't get the feedback from the judges that she's hoping for. I really think that's going to work against her in the voting.

The final analysis: There was no performance that I enjoyed so thoroughly that I was compelled to hit rewind and watch it again. Also, I'm looking forward to the point of the show where pitch problems are more of the exception than the rule.

So my faves for the evening were: Syesha, Jason, Kristy Lee, and Carly.
Who I think will go: Probably Carly. Brooke was possibly my least favorite of the evening, however she has been a contender in the past and has it in her to go much farther with this. I'm gonna say Carly, even though I enjoyed her performance. I just don't see her connecting with the AI audience, and for that I think she'll probably go this week.

If you'd like to read more blog reviews of AI, you've got a plethora of options over at Boo's house.