Friday, December 26, 2008

Happy Boxing Day!

Juston is fired from making our annual Christmas card since it didn't happen this year. And since I'm not going to hire anyone else to make one, there won't be one. So instead of one day late season's cheer, check out the pictures of our trip - so far.

Okay, so this one is from our house, pooped from all of the pre-Christmas madness.

In the airport, snacking on some pizza during our layover in Phoenix.

While helping my brother-in-law pick out gifts for my sister-in-law, Frankie chose to entertain himself by playing hide-and-seek in the ladies's pants.

That quickly devolved into Juston dropping quarters into the 'fun bus' and other assorted rides to entertain Frankie and his cousin Charlianne just outside of the store.

It's snowed - a lot - since we arrived a week ago. One afternoon, we took Frankie out in full-on snow regalia to ride the 4-wheelers and pet Grandpa's horses.

You'll notice the timidity, but he is actually *touching* the horse.

We built our very own Frosty the Snowman! And it was cold outside, can ya tell?

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Much love to all, XOXO.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Hair surprise

Don't worry mom, it's not permanent. But you must admit, it's festive!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Forgotten Photos

Jumps with See-yer (that's what Frankie calls his bud.)

Festivities - Church Par-tay

It's been a long day of traveling, so don't expect much in the banter department. Although I'm in Utah and it's a reasonable 10:45 PM, my body aches because it thinks it's almost 1 AM and we got up at 5:30 AM to catch our flight. So take it for what it is.

Last Saturday night was our Ward Christmas Party. For those of you not in the know, Mormons have congregations called 'wards' which are composed of people within a certain geographical area. Our ward happens to include the inner city of Atlanta, along with a couple of southern suburbs and up north a bit into midtown. It's an interesting mix. Every year we have a Christmas party that is a sort of potluck/talent show/Santa fest and this year was no exception. The food was good (although it's always kind of a 'pray for the loaves and fishes miracle' at our potlucks), the talent was adequate (I decided to branch out and sing something out of character - probably not a good idea, but hey, a couple of the kids were diggin' it), and Santa was a South American man. There must've been something to that, because Frankie actually liked this Santa and now asks for Santa all the time. I think we may have some trouble weaning him off of Santa and Frosty once the holidays are over and I can't take it anymore.

Eating and staving off hunger as well as the momarazzi (or poparazzi, in this case. Yes, a lame joke.)

Santa, bring Frankie a fire engine!

Eating the requisite candy cane.

I hope that everyone out there has a Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays or Winter Solstice or whatever you choose to celebrate. I'll be huddled up inside, trying to avoid the snow (I walked out of the airport and remembered why I moved south - it's too cold!) I'll also be enjoying the family, eating too much and loving every minute of it, last-minute shopping, trying to hit a couple of movies while we have lots of willing babysitters, and reading my semi-trashy novels.

Oh and I have a hair surprise once I take a photo. Don't stay up at night wondering, but it was a sudden and unexpected change that I allowed yesterday in the stylist's chair. That's your teaser.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Festivities - Botanical Gardens Style

Last weekend, we thought it would be a good idea to take Frankie to the 'reindog parade' at the Atlanta Botanical Gardens. It was a good idea, but as usual, the execution was a bit sloppy. Frankie was acting quite the grump, especially when it came to Santa Claus. We managed to walk through the gates just as Santa opened up for daily business, so we walked right up and tried to plop Frankie on the big man's lap. Santa thought Frankie was a girl (surfer-punk hair starting to backfire?) and Frankie wanted nothing to do with him. I ended up in all but one photograph, as if my presence would somehow coax cooperation from the tot.

Trying to get away from Daddy, amongst the poinsettias.

The 'reindog parade' was actually a costume contest for pooches dressed in Christmas finery. This little wiener dog was our favorite.

Frankie had a bit of fun with the dog agility course.

After making Frankie suffer through dogs on parade, we took him to the children's garden, where we watched a kid poke his eye out somehow on the slide. Of course, Frankie then spent the next thirty minutes going down said danger slide and came up with both eyes in tact at the end. Whew!

After all of that fun, we were all beat and needed some food. After a delicious lunch at Dakota Blue (a restaurant that wisely provides half-broken toys for children to throw while waiting for the meal,) we all took two-plus-hour naps. Success!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Fake Snow

Every night at 7 PM, the magical outdoor mall (Atlantic Station) blows magical fake snow (teeny tiny bubble clusters) into its courtyard. We just happen to be there quite often at 7 PM since I attend a couple of 5:45 PM aerobics classes each week at the gym, which also happens to be at the outdoor mall. Frankie loves the snow, asks for it, and last time we were there he asked me to take his picture, but since I was all sweaty like a pig from too many turn steps and lots of painful tricep dips and hadn't planned for snow bubbles, I didn't bring the camera. These photos are from the Tuesday night before Thanksgiving and are courtesy of Juston's iPhone camera.

We were planning on going tonight (step class!), but since it's pouring rain, we're postponing fake bubble snow until next Monday night, which is probably better anyway because by then I'll have dug myself out from under the pile of essays I've got to grade. You should really come and join us! Oh, and people in Utah, hurry up and order us some REAL snow for Christmas! :)

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Christmas Delectibles

I admit it. We have lowbrow taste. White chocolate gorp is one of our very favorite Christmas treats. We can't get enough and it doesn't last long around here. We (okay, I) make treats for co-workers each year, and if you work with Juston and you're looking at the blog, you now know what you're getting for Christmas.

* 2 pounds white chocolate
* 6 cups crispy rice cereal squares, e.g., Rice Chex
* 3 cups toasted oat cereal
* 2 cups thin pretzel sticks
* 2 cups cashews
* 1 (12 ounce) package mini candy-coated chocolate pieces


Melt chocolate in a large saucepan over low heat or in microwave until just until soft. (We melt white chocolate chips in the microwave.) Stir until melted. Combine all the other ingredients in big roaster pan or bowl. Stir chocolate into mixture. Turn out on waxed paper. Of course anything you like can be added or substituted-but this recipe is a great combination!

Thanksgiving, Part Two: Christmas with Grandma & Grandpa and on to Graceland!

This is our family photo from the trip. If you're not careful, it might end up in your mailbox as a Christmas card, but honestly, I'm not that motivated, so just enjoy it here. P.S. If you're ever in North Little Rock and need to stay in a dive motel for a few hours to get some sleep, whatever you do, do NOT stay at the Motel 6 just off of I-40. Trust me on this one.

We were lucky enough to cross paths with my parents on the day after Thanksgiving. On the way to Branson, Missouri, they stopped in Rogers, Arkansas, to visit Carolyn & Dwayne, my great aunt and her husband who also double as Frankie's #1 fans. We had a lovely dinner with them and then opened Christmas presents so that Grandma and Grandpa could get some priceless reactions. The foam bowling set was the biggest hit of the evening. (Note to Carolyn & Dwayne - we did take some pics of Frankie in his Razorbacks sweatshirt, but the flash did some weird stuff, so you'll have to believe me when I say he looks very cute in it. Next time he wears it I'll be sure to snap one for you.)

(I've spared any photos of Frankie with his grandparents because, mom, I know you'd kill me.)

On to Memphis! This is us on Beale Street, home of the blues!

We didn't plan on visiting Beale St., but we saw these cool concrete balls and had to stop and play for a bit (Beale St. was around the corner.) This was arguably Frankie's favorite part of the trip, although it doesn't show in this picture..

Our little Sisyphus.

Shameless plug for myself.

The back of Graceland, home of Elvis Presley. We didn't get any pictures of the front for some odd reason, nor did we really take that many pictures.

This was only a small sampling of the infamous embroidered and bedazzled jumpsuits on display.

Frankie loved Elvis's airplanes.

My favorite part of the trip? It was Sonic country! We stopped every day for a treat, which meant that Frankie had way too much ice cream. Cherry Dr. Pepper...mmmmmmmm.

That's it for the trip. I'm not sure how much I'll be around this week - my grades are due soon and I've got a lot of papers that I need to grade in the meantime. Of course, I always say that, and then I get bored and come back to blogging. We did see Santa when we went to the Botanical Gardens yesterday (he was scared to death) and we have pictures of Frankie with the fake snow at Atlantic Station, so it's coming.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Our Trip to Wal-Mart Country, Part One

Over Thanksgiving break (meaning that we both had time off of work,) Juston and Frankie and I packed up the Mazda and took our first road trip in a year and a half. We drove about 1,400 miles over five days and visited six states. We had an excellent time visiting with family members (and seeing three cooling towers - I was mesmerized as I don't think I've really ever seen one before!) Thanks to Jacob and Deon for being such great hosts and also thanks to the good people of the oil cartels who have somehow managed to lower gasoline prices to $1.55 a gallon.

Bentonville, Arkansas - the home of Wal-Mart.


Frankie and Brightyn, who is either his second cousin once removed or his third cousin (he's Juston's cousin's kid.) Does anyone actually know how all of that works?

While I don't have any pictures of the actual feast, Thanksgiving dinner was followed by pie for the adults and birthday cupcakes for the kids since the holiday doubled as Brightyn's birthday!

On Black Friday, we ate burgers. Jacob ate *this* burger, which made Frankie actually exclaim 'ewwwwww' when he saw it. I concur, son.

After the burgers, we went to feed the geese before naptime. The geese ate lots of swindled crackers from the burger joint, as well as stale goldfish and freeze-dried bananas.

Juston had the most fun. He wrangled geese, while I only managed to get bitten, if you can get bitten by something that has no teeth.

Frankie really liked Jacob and Deon's birds, but only when they were in their cages. Once we pulled this one out, he wanted nothing to do with it and cried the whole time; that's not a smile on his face, but rather fear that he wears. Ya'd think that being surrounded by geese would be worse than a piddly domesticated bird. (Notice my mad hand-modeling skills.)

You will also please notice how I called this 'part one.' Oh yes, there will be more photographs. I've got to delay the gratification by stretching this out over multiple posts.