I think the answer is yes.
Yesterday we took Frankie to his first arts festival, in Historic College Park. It's one of our favorite neighborhoods in Atlanta, and in fact, we're still thinking about buying the fixer-upper house in the neighborhood. It's a fantastic community with a lot of families and great old houses with loads of character. We're not buying the house yet; we're waiting it out a bit longer on the advice of Clark Howard. Anyway, back to the festival.
This one is from earlier in the day, waiting around to go out!
We had fun watching the kids & pets parade; we really should've dressed Bridget in costume and joined in! Next year, right? We also walked around and talked with some of the local artists, signed petitions for the proposed charter school in our community, and visited a fire engine!
Frankie with MJ Villanueva (aka Mark) - friend, artist, and neighbor extraordinaire!
Frankie and Anna, taking in the sights.
Frankie meets a puggle, which we found out actually belongs to some other people in our ward.
We stopped at the playground just before leaving for naptime.
So it was my birthday today. I'm gettin' old. The pictures are proof of that, especially since they were taken in the morning, after staying out way too late last night at the movies. (By the way, we saw "Across the Universe," which we really liked, although it's definitely not for everyone. I'm not even that big of a Beatles fan, but I am a huge Evan Rachel Wood fan.) So here I am with my new Lily Allen CD - she's a cheeky British pop singer:
And here I am with my new sun hat, which goes along with my trip to Hawaii in January! Wooooo happy birthday! It was almost like I'd won some sort of prize when I found out. I'm really excited to go, even if taking me is part of an incentive to get Juston to go there for a work trip. At least the company is putting Juston up in a five star hotel, which I get to stay at for free! Hooray for a whole week basically by myself at the beach! I guess it's time to start the 'beach body' diet. If only I actually believed in dieting....with that hat, I don't think anyone is going to pay attention to anything else!
Frankie and Emery finally got together in their matching t-shirts. These two little BYU buddies are both the byproducts of BYU alumni parents. Trust me, they are such busybodies that getting this photo was not easy. Check out Emery's blog at http://cantgeteneff.blogspot.com
The official end of summer happened last Friday when I bought my last watermelon. I've had luck with watermelons and the Farmer's Market this summer; I paid the most I'd paid for any watermelons last Friday, and that price was a whopping $2.50 each. Oh watermelon, we will miss you. We salute you and your deliciousness.
Today Frankie and I went to the Kid's Gym at the Conley Hills Rec Center in College Park. It's FREE and it's every Wednesday from 11-noon and it's AWESOME. Basically, it's the gymnastics equipment set free for all of the infants and toddlers that show up. I spent awhile throwing Frankie in the foam block pit, which he loved. They also had trampolines, bars, balance beams, mats, and excercise balls. If you have an active kid, and it's not too far, I'd highly recommend Kid's Gym. It's about a five minute drive from my house down Main Street in Historic College Park. It's also about two minutes from the airport. You should go!
Now that it's the end of September, the conversation is all about 'what is your kid going to be for Halloween?' Almost everyone I've asked at least has an answer, if not a costume, already. I'm still floundering in the land of uncertainty. For the last two years, we've talked about dressing Frankie as an intern from The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou. The costume is simple because it really only requires a red beanie and a shirt that says "Team Zissou" on one side and "Intern #1" on the back. The biggest drawback is that not many people, at least at the church party, will understand the costume. The good news is that, if we can get Frankie to keep on a hat, it's a really easy, fairly close to regular clothes costume, so it won't bug him all night. If I decide to do this, I've got to hurry and order the red beanie.
But I'm also kicking around several other ideas. What about making Bridget and Frankie matching spiders with legs made out of tube socks? (We are going to PugFest this year....) The main problem I forsee there is that he'll have trouble sitting in his stroller if it gets to that, especially at Trick or Treat on Turner Street. Or what about matching bee costumes (probably purchased, I'm not that good.) Or what if we just forego costumes? I'm so indecisive.
Juston's going to be Shaun from Shaun of the Dead and I'm going to be Rosie the Riveter, just in case you were wondering. Or maybe we should all just be members of "Team Zissou" for a family costume. Even Bridget could pull that one off.
Juston's so proud of his wrapped car. When his work asked for volunteers, he didn't hesitate for a second. He got $50 and a free car wash - can't beat that! The wrap stays on until mid-October and until then, it's quite the conversation starter, beloved by pre-teen boys everywhere. If you see us driving down the road, feel free to honk and wave! You can't miss us.
From the title alone, you know it's going to be bad. Two different days, exact same scenario. Put spaghetti on a toddler's high chair tray and expect most of it to go everywhere except into his mouth. If you have kids, you have the same pictures, just with your kids instead of mine. Laura P, I need to learn how to make those tea towel bibs because there's no stopping this kid!
This is what I call 'smug.'
Chrys orderd us this lovely plush blanket while I was in Utah. I picked the most neutral color because I was afraid that none of the available colors would match anything in my bedroom. Turns out, this lovely taupe blanket matches the dog perfectly! Nice choice!
"Poke some holes in the side, mom. I'm ready to get out of this place - ship me to Grandma's!
This is the next installment in my "free movies" critiques.
Oh the absurdity! What appeared on the surface to be a good-natured, very 1980's movie about the dangers of consumption turns into a buddy movie between a three-inch tall woman and a man in an ape suit.
The plot? A woman, Pat Kramer (Lily Tomlin), who is married to an advertiser, has all kinds of strange new (aka untested) products in her home for advertising research. She comes into contact with a strange combination of said products and begins to shrink uncontrollably. The movie never delves into the evils of consumerism or advertising, for all of its lame attempts at trying to lambast them. It seems to want to say that advertising is evil, that it will get us to buy anything, but in reality its the products that are toxic, and advertising is let off the hook. The film can't quite get up the guts to say that advertising can affect the way we think, feel, and buy. It never even really criticizes the products; instead it deals with them in more of an 'oh well, that's too bad' sort of way. The opportunity to make a statement completely gets lost in this film, even though it seems to teeter on the verge of a desire to do so.
The main bad guys in the film are part of some covert organization called The Society for World Domination (or something else like that.) They want to use the properties of Pat Kramer's blood to shrink the entire population so that they will achieve world domination! How sinister. They capture the 'incredible shrinking woman', put her in a lab across from a caged man in a gorilla suit named Sydney, and madness ensues. Of course she escapes and becomes normal sized again, but not until she gets the chance to lecture the good citizens of Tasty Meadows about the need to love others.
What about Pat's family, you might ask? The non-English speaking housekeeper seems to do a pretty good job with the kids, and Dad's biggest problem is his newfound lack of sex life. Once she begins shrinking, her husband is seen reading a book titled 'The Sexless Marriage', because naturally that's the biggest problem with a wife that shrinks - no sex. Nevermind how she might feel, shrinking. Pat is always a good sport, happy, putting on a brave face even when she's put into a hamster's cage. Talk about the woman, the mother, being a martyr. Her job is to please and to take care of others, and once she shrinks, she is basically worthless and is easily replaced. Heck, the movie could've even taken a different route and explored how women often 'dissapear' from the public sphere (hence so many female superheroes have the superpower of invisibility, IMHO.) She literally loses herself, literally shrinking. Oddly enough, her shrinking gains her favor with the world. As she sacrifices herself, people notice the cute, good natured, little woman. I wonder how the public would've reacted if she wasn't such an endearing and cute little person, embodying the characteristics of a devoted wife and mother. Is the film an analogy of the far-reaching effects of womanly love and sacrifice? Nope, that's way too deep for a movie with a man in a gorilla suit. Again, the opportunity to create meaning completely missed.
Verdict? Skip it. This morning I was about 3/4 of the way through my body works class before I even remembered that I'd watched it last night. That makes it pretty forgettable in my book. And some of you might say, well Mary, you expect way too much out of your movies! And I would say, yes, well, if they act like they want to say something, and have the opportunity to say something, then they probably should!
We have a MAJOR mushroom problem in our front yard. We had a dying tree removed earlier this year (like in April) and apparently mushrooms feed on dead/dying tree root systems. It seems like every day I pick hundreds of little mushrooms out of the front yard, and the next morning they mock me by coming back again. Does anyone know anything about mushrooms? How do we get rid of the nasty little things? If I leave them alone, will they go away? (Please say yes.) I think we might post photos of some of the more 'impressive' ones soon, since Juston seems to be fascinated by them and pulls out his camera when they reach a certain size.
This past week, Frankie and I went to Utah to visit in-laws. My mother-in-law recently had surgery, so we went to help and had a great time. Frankie saw his first horse AND his first buffalo, all while cutting his top two front teeth. I don't have a picture of the teeth yet, so you'll have to settle for a picture of the horse and the buffalo. And as a fair warning, there is baby nudity ahead.
Frankie and Jesse take a ride on Jason's horse, Laredo. That's a lot of names to keep straight.
Frankie takes a ride on the four wheeler.
Frankie and I take our chances with the buffalo. They're huge!
And again, buffalo.
More buffalo; there was one very brave one that came right up the fence and stared at us the whole time. Frankie thought they were pretty cool, although he wasn't about to show it to the camera.
Frankie with Grandma Chrys.
Frankie with his cousin of some relation, Brightyn. Her mom is Juston's cousin, so I'm not sure what that makes her. Third cousin? First cousin twice removed? I never got all of that stuff straight.
Me with Frankie and Brightyn. I'm like "cool uncle Will, king of the kids", except my name isn't Will and I'm not an Uncle. What's that movie quote?
Frankie and Brightyn in a blackmail-worthy photo moment.
My father-in-law bought a Red Heeler. If you know Ken, you'll know that this is somewhat out of character for him. Strangely enough, he absolutely loves and dotes on "Little Red Bear," (Red for short. His horse is named Blackie. Go figure.) The puppy is pretty adorable.
Jesse introduces Red to the horse Laredo.
Ken and his newest child.
If you've made it to the end, now you get to read a bit more before you're finished for good. Frankie's learned how to balance standing up, and he loves to make a game of trying to take a step. He's got the first step down, but usually bites it when he tries to take the second. At least he can balance, I think that's half the battle for a baby learning to walk. I don't think it's going to be long now. And as I said earlier, he's got two more teeth; the top two front teeth finally broke through, after about three weeks of fits and fevers. One other fun fact is that Frankie's turned part monkey. He absolutely LOVES bananas; if he sees one and doesn't get a bite, he starts crying. If he's sitting in his high chair and the bananas are in his line of sight, he will point and fuss until he gets some. Today at church, Kembe was trying to feed a banana to her kids. Frankie started walking to her, saying 'nana', and pointing and then crying until she had to give in and give him some. The banana love is about to get out of control. Soon he'll be doing a 12-step program to cure his addiction!
If you're like me, you'll hand out anything for free stuff. In this case, it's your name, address, and a couple of survey questions for a free Chick-fil-a sandwich and a Coke. And if you live in Atlanta, Chick-fil-a is ubiquitous, so at some point, you'll be able to redeem said coupon. Go here to get your coupon.
Here's something fun for all of ya: it appears that I somehow landed the job of planning our ward's Halloween carnival this year. We usually have huge turnouts at these things, well, at least for the last three years I've lived here, and everyone has a great time. I was wondering if anyone had any good ideas or advice on this matter - what kinds of activities should we plan? What do your kids like, if you have kids? Even if you don't, what would do you think would be fun? To trunk-or-treat or not? Whaddayathink?
On Labor Day, we were invited to a BBQ at some of friends's apartment complex, where there is a pool. As we all know, Frankie loves swimming, and got to swim with his Dad for the first (and last) time this summer.
He never smiles for the camera, but if you look closely, you can see a smile in this photo.
Frankie's decided that he, like Juston, only wants to drink out of Mommy's water. I used one of my more obscenely large sips yesterday, and it definitely outsized the poor kid's head. And yes, we did manage to empty that thing and we had to add more water when we got home.
Hey Bridget, check out this view! Things sure have changed over at Miss Rita's place...
Dragon*Con is a HUGE sci-fi/fantasy festival held each year in Atlanta over Labor Day weekend. We didn't plan ahead very well, because we thought we'd just be able to walk up and buy tickets the day of the convention. Oh how wrong we were! The rumor is that this festival drew over 30,000 people to our fair city, and the line to get a ticket for one day (Saturday) was at least a four hour wait. Four hours to part with $40 a person? No thanks, I'll get my Dr. Who fanboy fix somewhere else. We did, however, have the good fortune to get off of the train just as the parade was passing by, so we got to see hundreds of people in their sci-fi/fantasy best. We estimate that at least 1 in 3 people were wearing costumes; the actuality might've been closer to 1 in 2. Even though we missed out on the convention, we were very happy that we got to see the parade. I've uploaded a few pictures, but these don't do justice to the massive scale of this thing. We didn't get any shots of all of the people in Anime costumes, Lord of the Rings costumes, any sci-fi/fantasy TV show you can think of, Harry Potter, and even Guitar Hero - yes, people dressed like the guitarists from the video game. Crazy.
Darth Vader announces the arrival of alllllllllll of the Star Wars wannabes.
Some of the more creative types made their Star Wars costumes out of boxes, unlike the hundreds of Storm Troopers plastic. Nothing says an Atlanta summer day like a walk in downtown wearing plastic head to toe.(Also note the cameraman's utilikilt. Lots of men were wearing those outside of the convention.)
This guy's costume was George Lucas. *snigger*
300 - these costumes definitely were more appropriate for Atlanta heat than, say, plastic storm trooper gear.
RoboCop, followed by the Boy Wizard and his legions.
I got sweatier just looking at this poor guy.
Frankie and Daddy on the way back to the MARTA train after failing to get into Dragon*Con.
We even made Frankie a shirt - "Hi-fi, lo-fi, Sci-fi is My-fi!"