September 30, 2010

Jimmy + Justin = Hilarious

Have y'all seen Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake's history of rap? Two of the cutest, funniest guys on Earth giving us a walk through some of our generation's all-time favorite rap songs? Not a a bad way to wrap up a Thursday afternoon.

Please enjoy the looks on the older audience members' faces at the end. Is it that hard to sing, "New Yooooooooork!" with the rest of the crowd, older guy with too-tight tucked-in polo shirt?

(Side note: I can't hear "Empire State of Mind" anymore without picturing the cast of Glee belting it out... I should totally have started a glee club.)

September 29, 2010

Pop Culture Catch-Up

I may dab my eyes every time I think of Mac's impending birthday, but there comes a time when a girl's gotta stop weeping and start talking about what really matters: Britney Spears and Glee.

Last night's episode was Glee's much-hyped tribute to Brit-Brit and I loved it! (It gave me pause when the glee clubbers said they "grew up" on Britney; I did the math and they've been lip-syncing to our favorite midriff-barer since preschool. Chew on that.)

There wasn't a great deal of character development or plot, but who needs that when you get an hour of singing, dancing, John Stamos, Emma Pilsbury's wardrobe, Mr. Shue and recreations of classic Britney videos? Glee's Brittany can dance like no one's business, so she paid homage to Ms. Spears' moves in a way few could.

(Remember this AMA performance of Beyonce's Single Ladies? That's Heather Morris/Brittany as her backup dancer - just try peeling your eyes off of her mesmerizing hip shaking and hair flipping... The girl's got skills.)

Keep the snake - can I have your abs?

As if I needed further proof of my age, I began to understand last night why Britney seemed so scandalous to our parents - she was! Her school girl outfit didn't bother me a bit in high school; her writhing snake dance only terrified me. Watching "high schoolers" reenact her half-dressed escapades, though, made me realize that I'm more mom than teenager these days. I wanted to cover up those high school tummies and tone down the, shall we say, booty thrusts?

Who doesn't remember this opening?

Regardless, I loved the walk back through Britney's high points - we've seen enough of her lows on tabloid covers. I'll admit that my roommate and I owned Justin and Britney dolls my first year at Clemson; they were mostly a joke and they lived on top of our TV until the sad, sad day the former Mouseketeers' break up was confirmed. What babies they could have had!

In other pop culture news, evidently orange is the "it" color for spring. It's always the "it" color in our house, so perhaps I'll finally be fashionable come March 2011? Go Tigers!

Wordless Wednesday

September 27, 2010

Rest, Rain and Reminiscing

Lately all I can do is compare everything - my life, my bank account, my closet, my backseat, my (significantly less round) belly - to what it looked like a year ago. I feel Mac's first birthday around the corner and am floored, absolutely flummoxed, by what twelve short months can do.

A year ago this week I was on bed rest. I went from the sofa to the bed and back, entertaining visitors with a delightful case of "bed rest hair" that can be recreated only by showering, then immediately lying on one's sopping head of hair for hours on end. It's a look that will be on the cover of Elle the moment heroin chic comes back in style, mark my words.

I was under doctor's orders to "rest," but felt anything but relaxed. Everything in me was counting down to baby time, thanking God that we were full term already and watching the clock as days eased by on their own sweet time. I felt antsy and ready and full of questions. (Mostly: "When?!?")

A year later, I'm lying in bed with the windows open. The weather has finally caught on that September should mean chilly evenings, not triple-digit temperatures. A near-monsoon is setting the perfect backdrop for what I'm hoping will be a delicious night's sleep.

I can't stop thinking about how restful this all is, how blessed we are to have a baby who has slept through the night for ages, how nice it is to shower at will, walk around freely and not have to check my blood pressure every few hours. Just before Mac was born, I slept eleven straight hours to the sound of a September storm like this one. I thought often of that unbelievable night's sleep in the thick of our newborn days, when two-hour stretches were all I got.

I'm sorry to seem so nostalgic tonight, but what's kept me away from blogging is the constant reflection I've been doing as Mac's babyhood wraps up. I hope I'm not the only mom who has ever felt this odd bittersweetness at the close of a wonderful, incomparable, life-changing beyond belief year. (B asked if I'd feel this way at every birthday; waxing sentimental over every last milestone must be a foreign concept to the menfolk.)

I'm going to stop reminiscing about the twelve months that upended my universe in the best possible way. I'm going to focus on how thankful I am for a for a good night's sleep, sans doctor's orders. (If our house washes away in this downpour, I may be singing a different tune... Send help if you haven't heard from us by Homecoming.)

September 22, 2010

A Few (Belated) Facts About Football

Last week I read a WSJ piece describing South Carolina as a "state of disappointment" when it comes to the passion versus production ratio of our football teams. We rival Texas, Florida and Michigan for filling stadiums and selling tickets, but our ability to win national, and even conference, championships doesn't live up to that level of commitment.

I winced through the article, but the writer has a point. I was more than ready for our Tigers to prove a point last weekend in a much-anticipated meeting with Auburn. Cue SEC/ACC smacktalk.

Saturday night's game very nearly gave me an ulcer. What a rollercoaster ride! I got up at one point during the game to change my clothes and actually wondered if I should refrain. Would it change the team's momentum? Is it bad luck? Should I keep on my orange?

Fact 1: I don't believe in luck, jinxes or superstition.

Fact 2: I have absolutely no bearing on the outcome of any football game, much less one taking place in another state.

Fact 3: Kyle Parker and Dabo Swinney have no idea who I am.

It crossed my mind, but I swapped tops nonetheless.

Mac slept through the injury-filled game, and with every rush of a gurney onto the field I thought of the players' moms. Having a baby really does change the way you look at everything - even college football!

Fact 4: Mac will never play college football. I made that executive decision as the third player was carted off the field.

Sunday morning I broke the news to our boy that his Tigers didn't win.

So the first half was incredible but we didn't pull out a W?

Our long snapper did what?

All in all, I'm very proud of the showing our Tigers made on Saturday. We could (and should) have won, but if nothing else I'm glad we exceeded everyone's expectations.

Coming from an Auburn athletics' perspective, I was intrigued by this analysis.

Fact 5: Jinx or no jinx, next time we're all wearing orange - even our sleeping son. Just in case!

September 17, 2010

Eleven Months Old: Still Our Baby

On Sunday the 5th, our Mac turned 11 months old. I waited to blog about it until I captured the "perfect" shot of him sitting still, but that never happened. This is what you get, folks - welcome to our life!

(If you're interested in the side of Mac's head or his little rump in the air as he crawls away from the camera, I could post those images for days.)

This might also be a subliminal tactic to slow down the last month of Mac's babyhood. I love that it's fall and am glad to share a new season with our little guy, but a year ago things were quite different. In three weeks I won't be able to say, "This time last year I was pregnant!" I'll miss that.

In his eleventh month, Mac finally cut his first tooth. It's taking its sweet time, but he has one pearly little nub on the bottom row. The other bottom tooth may be next, so I'm praying the process hurries up; it hasn't been the most comfortable of months for our little guy. (Or my fingers, when he nabs one to gnaw!)

Otherwise, the last month has been so much fun! Mac is more curious and interactive than ever, getting smarter and cuter every day. He dances and laughs and crawls all over the place. He can find a way to get into anything, especially if you're trying to keep him away. He sings and claps and smiles. He points and gestures and babbles and grumbles and squeals and chats. The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, folks.

He's discovered how fun it is to open and close doors - then reopen, reclose and reopen them, waving "bye bye" all the while. We could kill thirty minutes this way.
He still loves bath time (but has graduated from his baby whale tub - sniffle!) and is entranced by books - upside down, right side up, doesn't matter.

He picks up on so much! If I say "pattycake," "kick," "bounce," or "kiss," even to someone else, he's likely to do it. He'll point to the fan or the dog whenever he hears those words, grinning with pride as he does it. I wonder why he doesn't seem to pick up on "no" when he hears it. Hmm...

Mac is a little sponge soaking up everything he sees and hears, imitating noises, gestures, facial expressions and even our inflection as we talk to him. He speaks his own McLanguage that B and I don't understand yet, but his enthusiasm needs no translation. I love his running narration of each day.

This boy's appetite is still voracious - he eats a full pound of food in addition to milk at all three meals. That's four jars (16 oz.) of baby or table food, plus rice cereal mixed in. Three times a day. It disappears in 7 minutes or less; he's a machine!

He loves the outdoors - walking, rocking on the front porch, peeking through windows, pulling back curtains, giggling at birds. He takes after his daddy that way, and I'm thankful the fall weather will allow us more time outside.

Can we go out there?

As Macky grows, I cherish the compliments we hear about his sweet personality after playdates and as we pick him up from the church or gym nursery. It's mind-boggling that he has interactions and experiences without us, but wonderful to know he is loving even when we're away.

I love Mac's burgeoning sense of humor: he hands me his teddy bear blanky when he's not interested in my request for a kiss. ("Kiss him, Mom.") After I lay one on his unsuspecting lovie, he collapses into giggles and "kisses" the bear himself. I rarely seem to get a smooch out of the deal, but I'm glad he enjoys it.

I am moved by the sparkle in his eye at new activities, the way he smiles and waves at everyone, his determination to get whatever he's after - especially when he shouldn't have it.

I love everything about this boy - from his crazy bedhead down to his chubby monkey toes. Even the tough, gross, trying and tiring moments of motherhood have enriched my life beyond words. I am deeply, tremendously and daily thankful to be his mom.

We couldn't be more grateful for our healthy, handsome boy. He's a blessing to us every day - and I tell him so.

In October my Mac will turn one. We'll put away our "first year" guidebooks and enter a new chapter. Officially he'll be a toddler, but he'll always be my baby.

A year ago I dreamed of what our son would look like, and even now I can't believe my eyes. What an unspeakable, beautiful gift God has given us in him. And I'm crying as I type this, so I'll stop here...

Oh how we love you, Mac Mac - happy 11 months!

September 14, 2010

Ebates (Enabler) Update

For those of us who aren't Victoria Beckham or Anna Wintour, New York Fashion Week doesn't involve front-row seats or glamorous after parties.

We lowly fashion-lovers who aren't celebrating NYFW with a whirlwind week in Manhattan do have something to celebrate, though.

Ebates is offering double cash back at a few great retailers this week - in addition, there are some fantastic sales and free shipping offers to sweeten the deal.
  • Banana Republic – 15% Cash Back (plus 25% off & free shipping today)
  • Gap - 15% Cash Back
  • Lands’ End – 6% Cash Back
  • Macy‘s – 5% Cash Back
  • Nordstrom - 6% Cash Back
  • Piperlime - 15% Cash Back
  • Victoria’s Secret – 4% Cash Back (plus 20% off boots)

Find all of the Fashion Week Deals here. (Be sure to view the available coupon codes for each store, too!)

If you aren't an Ebates member, you can sign up here to receive $5 extra with your first purchase.

If you're going to shop, you might as well shop smart! Any other deals I should know about? Again, not that I'm shopping...just window shopping with codes in hand. And being an enabler to my shop-happy friends!

September 13, 2010

Trying to Get My Netflix Fix

B and I have loved our Netflix subscription since day one. Typically we're able to get the movies and TV shows we want within days of their release on DVD.

I wrongly presumed the same would be true when Friday Night Lights' fourth season came out a few weeks ago. The discs have been at the top of my queue for a month, sometimes even listed as immediately available, but Netflix has not yet sent them to us.

My solution? Stack the cards in my favor by outsmarting the site's queue algorithms. (Who am I kidding? For all I know they pick a film out of a hat and send it to you.)

Earlier this year I cleared out our queue and left only one title on it: a newly released, super popular movie I really wanted to see. Netflix took pity on my slim pickings and sent me the DVD immediately.

This time around, Netflix seems to have gotten wise to my game. Our queue has looked like this for over a week:

The site warns me daily to add more titles to my queue. I just know that, the moment I have other discs sent to us, FNL will become (very briefly) available and I'll miss my chance. Dramatic? Yes - but also possible.

Netflix is so heartless. First it got me hooked on Friday Night Lights with three seasons of instantly available episodes and now, knowing I'm thoroughly addicted, it refuses to give me another moment of Texas football goodness.

So now I'm cutting off my nose to spite my face: shunning each of the thousands of discs they have in stock on the off chance they'll send me just what I want. I realize how bratty this makes me sound, rest assured.

Netflix, if you send me just one measly little DVD, evidently your only copy, I promise not to fly through it in a Tim Riggins-induced haze. Help me out now and I'll never try to rig your secret system again.

All I need is a little drawlin', brawlin' Dillon-style entertainment. Cross your fingers that my tactic works soon!

(Meanwhile, B still asks me daily what we have on Netflix - then proceeds to roll his eyes at me when I launch into a diatribe about principles and "holding out for what I really want." I think what he really wants is a movie, any movie, for his dollar.)

September 10, 2010

Friday Find: How Do We Feel About This?

It's been a while since I've browsed Etsy, unless you include my recent frenzied searching for party details as Mac's monkey-fest gets closer and closer.

I happened upon this cowl neckwarmer yesterday and am torn. Do I love it or am I just perplexed by it?

I love the cozy look of it, the autumn orange, the fact that it evokes fall in every way.

I love that it's part necklace, part scarf and part cowlneck sweater.

I'm not a fan of the flower, but I can't tell if it's attached or not.

Love the dramatic swoop, as if two dangling scarf end are flying behind you.

I love the handknit appearance; I can only imagine how this feels to the touch.

To be clear, I'm not in the market for any more orange neckwear - or purple, for that matter. Still, I can't make my mind up on this piece.

What do you think?

September 9, 2010

If You're Happy and You Know It...

Mac's Mimi taught him to "dance" a few weeks ago, and he's been rocking out every since. When his "Jesus Loves Me" bear sings, it's bouncing time. When I sing him some tunes from our Sunday School class, he starts breaking it down. Every now and then, he dances exclusively out of excitement - no music required.

I caught one such moment on camera and it makes me smile! Babies have a way of finding joy in the simplest things - in this case, the fact that Mac's dad came into the room and was waving at him.

(Please ignore my chatter at the end; I was trying to get Mac to squeeze all his party tricks into one video. Maybe I'll get pattycake and high fives another day!)

September 8, 2010

Hurting for a Haircut

Sporting a longer 'do in Tigertown last weekend.

Are you anything like me when it comes to haircuts? I go beyond the six week standard stylists recommend for trims. It probably doesn't do my 'do any favors, but it's hard for me to make it in that often!

It's been 10 weeks tomorrow since I got my big chop and my once-lovely layers are starting to look just plain shaggy.

It's funny how I'll cruise along for months then BAM - suddenly my hair is in a state of emergency. The moment I look in the mirror and decide it's time for a trim, I'm in crisis mode. "When oh when can I get my hair cut? This is a disaster!"

The situation goes from fine to a four-alarm fire in no time flat! Once I decide it's time for a trim, my hair gets the memo and ceases to cooperate in anyway. No amount of blowdrying, coaxing or fluffing can get it to look presentable. That's when you know you're hurting for a haircut.

So I'm checking my schedule and Bradley's to see when I can sneak away (without missing a tailgate or leaving Mac to fend for himself) for a long overdue trim.

I saw my stylist at a fundraising event two weeks ago and cringed a little at how it must have looked to her. I'm sure she'll be relieved to see my name on her books!

Does your hair go from "doable" to "disaster" in a hurry?

September 7, 2010

Saved by Southern Living

The very day after I asked for tailgate treat suggestions, Southern Living came to my rescue with 22 yummy-looking recipes sent right to my inbox. Ding! Just in the nick of time.

Y'all shared some delicious ideas via email, comments and Twitter, too. I'm excited to try Redneck Caviar and Buffalo Chicken Dip for our next tailgate spread. (This weekend's tailgate group will be a lot smaller, so our menu will be very low key.)

While I'm too picky to enjoy most of the recipes everyone suggested, I'm looking forward to having a few recipes under my belt for the rest of the football-loving crowd. (We can't all live off of chicken tenders, cookies and carrot sticks on such occasions!)

Even I can get on board for most of these game day goodies:

September 6, 2010

Menu Monday and Tailgate Treats

Falling off the meal planning bandwagon never goes well for me; we end up with a pantry full of food but no recipe-ready ingredients for a meal that sounds tasty.

So this week I'm hopping back into meal planning. My stomach (and B's, for sure) is excited to avoid last minute "scrambled eggs and grits" suppers. I love breakfast for dinner, but not three times a week - it's never as much fun out of necessity.

Monday: "Light" Chicken Pot Pie (I add tons of veggies and halve the creamy ingredients, but I still doubt this is considered "light.")

Tuesday: Apricot Pork Chops (Cooking Light)

Wednesday: Garlic Chicken (Cooking Light)

Thursday: Chicken Tacos with Rice

Friday: Leftovers

Saturday: Game Day! (read: tailgate food)

Sunday: Good Old Fashioned Roast and Potatoes (Crazy Sundays = Crockpot Recipes)

Imagine white chocolate outside and orange cake inside. Perfect for Tigertown!

I tried my first batch of cake balls this weekend, thanks to the advice of many of you on Twitter, as well as the Bakerella recipe. I'm hoping to serve some at Mac's first birthday party next month; I also plan to bring some as a sweet treat for our tailgating friends.

I'll load down a tailgate table with cookies and cakes but I'm a cheese hater and a notoriously picky eater, so many dips, sauces and other tailgates foods are lost on me. You'll find me snacking on chips sans salsa or grabbing vegetables from the tray without ranch. Plain's the name of the game.

That said, I'm at a loss when it comes to a traditional tailgate spread. A sweet friend is giving me a recipe for a yummy sausage dip that Bradley adores.

What other go-to recipes do you have for game days? Help a picky eater (or rather, her husband and friends) out!

September 2, 2010

Two Days 'Til Tigertown

My Gamecock friends may be living it up in Columbia tonight, but I'm counting down to something even better: game day in Death Valley!

Less than forty-eight hours and I'll be here:

I'm thankful for a Saturday game (Thursday nights just aren't the same) and a 3:30 kickoff. It'll still be warm, but noon games in early September can include more "glowing" than I care to do in a packed stadium.

Can't wait to celebrate college football with 82,000 of my closest friends.

When does college football start for you? Are you dusting off your tailgate gear and putting up your team flags?


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