Friday, November 30, 2012

Weekly Wrap-Up (11.30.12)

Movie Marathon
I love going to the movies over Thanksgiving weekend. After the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade; a delicious meal of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, and pecan pie; and plenty of college and professional football games, there's nothing I enjoy more than spending a little time in a dark, quiet theater with my husband and/or my kids.

This year we saw Wreck-It Ralph earlier in November and Argo over Thanksgiving weekend (in between watching all of the Twilight movies on DVD, of course), and I'd STRONGLY recommend both.

I know that the month of December will be crazy busy, but I'm really hoping that we can fit in a few more of the movies on my must-watch list either on the weekends before Christmas or perhaps during Christmas vacation. Here's what's on my list:

Silver Linings Playbook
The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2
Rise of the Guardians
Life of Pi
Playing for Keeps
This is 40
Les Miserables
The Hobbit
Zero Dark Thirty

What are you looking forward to watching this holiday season?

Survival Tips for Men: How to Ask a Woman a Question
I figure that pictures or images that makes me laugh out loud should be posted here so that the rest of you (in this case, "you" probably just refers to women of dating/marrying age) can laugh out loud as well. Enjoy!

Ugly Sweater Party 'Do
I came across this picture on Pinterest, and was horrified that anyone would actually 1) style their hair like this, 2) go outside with their hair styled like this, and 3) proudly post a picture of the look on Pinterest. And then I read the caption - "perfect for an Ugly Sweater Party" - and it all made sense. So in case you're looking for a way to complete your Ugly Sweater Party ensemble, consider going this route:

The Christmas Season
The countdown is on!  Thanksgiving is over (my recap of the holiday is here), Christmas is less than a month away, and as of tomorrow my children's advent calendars will provide me with a daily freak-out reminder of how little time I have left to turn in my holiday writing assignments; shop for, wrap, and ship gifts; organize two classroom Christmas parties; write and mail our Christmas letter and cards; and finalize details for our Christmas travels.

I don't imagine this saying was originally written about the Christmas season, but when I came across it the other day I immediately thought of how we often lose ourselves in the chaos of preparing for Christmas. There is lots to done between now and Christmas Day, but I've made a promise to myself that no matter how busy or overwhelmed I get, I won't just "survive" this holiday season.  I will not tread water.  I will not, as the saying says, forget how much I have always loved to swim.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Johnny Football

If you pay even the slightest bit of attention to college football, you've most likely seen or heard of Johnny Manziel, the TAMU freshman quarterback who's been taking the SEC - and the entire NCAA football league - by storm. After last weekend's upsets of two of the top three teams, Johnny (or Johnny Football as he's affectionately known by all Aggie and most college football fans these days) is the frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy.

Johnny is having the season of a lifetime - check out these stats:
- First freshmen, first SEC player, and only fifth FBS player ever to pass for 3,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in a single season. (And he did it in the fewest games.)
- Holds the SEC record for total yards in a season (4,600 yards in 12 games, compared to Cam Newton's 4,327 yards in 14 games and Tim Tebow's 4,181 yards in 13 games).
- Holds the SEC record for total yards in a game (576).
- His 383.3 yards/game ranks second nationally and is more than 41 FBS football PROGRAMS average.
- First player in FBS history to pass for 300 yards and run for 100 yards in the same game three times in his career. (Keep in mind that he's only nine games into his career.)
- Nine-time SEC Freshman of the Week.
- First player since Tim Tebow to pass for two TDs and run for two TDs six times in the same season.
- Three-time SEC Offensive Player of the Week.
- Three-time AT&T All-America Player of the Week.
- Two-time Walter Camp Player of the Week.
- One: number of kittens Johnny Football has saved on Wellborn Road in front of Kyle Field.

Tom and I are both pretty high on Johnny Football...Not only is he fun and exciting to watch, but he's turned the Aggies into a team to be reckoned with (after most experts predicted they wouldn't be able to hold their own in the SEC). And when the Aggies are winning, College Station is a pretty awesome place to spend your days.

Manziel for Heisman!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

I haven't gone with a Wordless Wednesday post in quite a while, probably because I usually have quite a bit to say. This week, however, I'm in the process of writing and preparing to give a speech at the American Red Cross Annual Volunteer Recognition Event and I'm a little overwhelmed trying to come up with exactly the "right" things to say to the amazing people who will be in attendance. All of my writing juices are flowing toward this speech, so the words on the blog today are few. Forgive me!  (And now I guess this isn't a wordless post after all...)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

An Apology to the Twihards

On Monday, July 23rd, I wrote:
The last books I'd heard described as young adult fiction were those in the Twilight series. I tried to read the first Twilight book and watch the first Twilight movie (were they both called Twilight? I have no idea), but both made me want to jam a pencil into my eye. I still ponder what I could have done with the hour I lost watching Edward and Bella sulk around their dreary high school cafeteria. Probably something amazing. Like laundry.

On Tuesday, August 21st, I posted:

Two weeks ago I spent the weekend with my mom and sister, and over dinner one night my sister explained to me the entire Twilight saga. From beginning to end, she covered every character's backstory, every plot twist. If I'd planned to read the books or watch the movies, I wouldn't have asked or allowed her to do this, but since I had absolutely no intention of ever again attaching myself to either, Twilight seemed like good dinner conversation.

When dinner was over, I found myself - much to my dismay - completely intrigued. So much so that when I returned home, I mentioned to a Twihard (a diehard Twilight fan = Twihard) friend of mine that I was possibly maybe considering trying to watch the movies. She was beyond excited, and the next day she brought me her copies of the first four movies. This was incredibly generous of her, because next to her children, her Twilight movies are her most prized possession.

I received the movies on the Thursday before Thanksgiving, but didn't have time to start them until Sunday night. By Tuesday night, I'd made it through all four movies, and by the Friday after Thanksgiving just three days later, I'd made it through all four movies a second time.

Tom joined me for bits and pieces of the movies the first time around, and Tom, my sis-in-law, and her boyfriend all joined me - of their own freewill - the second time around. Somehow I became the one explaining the more complex plot twists and answering their questions, and I was shocked when I suddenly cared enough about the story to stand up for Team Edward against my sis-in-law's boyfriend who is 100% Team Jacob.

Even now, I can't believe I just typed Team Edward and Team Jacob. What has become of me?!

I'm headed out to see the final movie in the Twilight Saga - Breaking Dawn Part 2 - next week, and I'm planning to read the books over Christmas vacation. I may not consider myself a Twihard (Hunger Games is still my #1 YA fiction series), but I've definitely become a huge fan despite my best efforts to stay as far away as possible away from Bella, Edward, and Jacob.

So my apologies, Twihards, for all of the mocking comments I've written/said and pictures I've posted. This girl's been changed.

Monday, November 26, 2012

New 'Do

This is a terrible picture, but of the 47 I've taken of myself
since I changed my hair, this is the best one.
I've mentioned before that I dislike change, except when it comes to my hair and the weather. Almost exactly a year ago I cut off nine or so inches of my hair, but since then it's grown quite a few inches and I was itching to do something else drastic.  Since my hair wasn't yet long enough to cut off and donate, I dyed it dark brown.

I don't usually tell anyone in my family that I'm planning to change my hair; instead, I like to catch Tom and the kids off guard and surprise them. I see everyone off in the morning, head to the salon, and then look forward to their reactions when I pick the kids up from school and Tom comes home from work.

Hallie was first. When I walked into her classroom she glanced at my face, smiled, and yelled, "my mommy's here!" But when Hallie's eyes drifted beyond my face...her jaw literally dropped. She stood up slowly and cautiously made her way across the classroom to where I was standing. I knelt down so that we were face-to-face, and she ran her hands through my hair and gently touched my cheeks. Finally she breathed a sigh of relief, her smile returned, and she exclaimed, "it IS my mommy! She just has different hair!"

Will was second. Hallie and I walked to pick him up, and he emerged from the school building, just as he always does, carrying his backpack, lunchbox, jacket, and lots of projects he'd created during the week. He handed them all off to me, gave me a hug, and started telling me about his day. When we were almost home I finally asked him, "Will, do you notice anything different about me?" He stopped, looked me up and down, and said, "no, I don't think so." "Really?" I replied. "Nothing different about my hair?" After another solid look, he guessed, "Well, maybe it's shinier?" Good try, buddy.

Will didn't notice a thing and Hallie thought I was a different person.  Typical male/female reactions, right?

Friday, November 23, 2012

They Say It's My Birthday

Hallie told Tom - all on her own - that he
should get me a Katniss cake for my birthday
Yesterday was Thanksgiving, but it was also my birthday.

When I was growing up I hated when my birthday fell on Thanksgiving. One of the highlights of birthdays, at least for me, has always been and will always be getting to pick where we go out for dinner, what we eat for dessert, and which movie we go see. I usually choose a restaurant where I can order spaghetti or a cheeseburger, chocolate or carrot cake, and a Harry Potter movie. (Most of the Harry Potter movies have been released around Thanksgiving, which means that I've been able to go see them year after year for my birthday. Obviously the Harry Potter series has concluded, but next year begins a three-year stretch of Hunger Games movies being released on or within two days of my birthday. I can barely contain my excitement.) When my birthday falls on Thanksgiving, I'm "stuck with" turkey, pumpkin pie, and football. And while I really like all of those things, I still want the opportunity to make my birthday choices.

So this year, I decided to celebrate Thanksgiving on Thanksgiving - and really enjoy the turkey, pumpkin pie, and football - and save my birthday for today.

I'm actually not at all bothered by celebrating my birthday a day late; in truth, I'm hoping that doing so will break the "birthday curse" I've been under for the last two years.

Last year, after a wonderful first three months of preschool, Will FLIPPED OUT while playing with a friend at recess and BIT this friend on the cheek. I mean, what?! Who does that?! When Will's teacher called me to tell me what had happened I nearly lost it, and when I arrived to pick Will up (his teacher and I decided that since Will loved school so much, the most appropriate punishment would be for him to have to go home early) I DID lose it. Nothing like spending your birthday crying in the preschool director's office. When we left school that day I was crying out of embarrassment and frustration, Will was crying because he was sorry for what he'd done and knew he was in trouble, and Hallie was crying because I'd picked her up early. As a side note, the fit that Hallie pitched that afternoon was so epic that for the remainder of the year I NEVER again picked her up even one minute before the end of the school day.

The year before, Tom, his dad, and Will went out for breakfast and Tom crashed my car into a pole. The three of them were fine, but the passenger-side door was bent in on itself and couldn't be opened or closed from the inside. It made for an interesting 13-hour drive back to Michigan after Thanksgiving, and an interesting quest to get the door replaced as we were trying to leave Michigan to move to Texas.  Nothing like spending your birthday shelling out hundreds of dollars to be able to get in and out of your car once again.

So will this year's birthday follow the "third time's a charm" saying?  Or the "third strike you're out" saying?  Maybe by celebrating on the 23rd instead of the 22nd I can ditch these crappy events that have darkened my day for the last two years. I'll keep you posted.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Day Off

In honor of the holiday, I'm taking the day off.  Enjoy these two Thanksgiving-related posts on and the National American Red Cross blog!

MomsEveryday: Thankful Children
My article about how I've been helping my children better understand and appreciate Thanksgiving was posted on MomsEveryday this week. Check it out here!

Red Cross: Many Thanks
As disasters always do, Hurricane Sandy reminded me that I have so much - more than I'd originally thought - to be thankful for. This week's Red Cross blog post covers it all, and you can read it here.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

I'm thankful...

For my husband and children, who are the reason I get out of bed in the morning.

For my and Tom's extended families - our parents, siblings and spouses, niece, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins - who support our dreams, cheer us on, and catch us when we fall.

For my old friends (old as in length of friendship, not age - just wanted to be clear), the ones who've known me for years and loved me through my awkward teen and crazy college years. I love that when we're finally able to see each other in person after months or even years apart, it feels like nothing has changed.

For my new friends, the ones who've welcomed me - with open arms, both literally and figuratively - into their lives and helped me make this place my home.

For the roof over my head, the food on my table, the clothes on my back, and the ability to give a little of what we have to those less fortunate.

For the opportunity to reinvent myself professionally.

For the incredible public school system and elementary school in which my son is enrolled, and the equally fantastic private preschool my daughter attends. And for their teachers, who because I know how challenging my children can be, I consider saints.

For my - and my family's - health. It's terribly easy to forget to be thankful for our health, because when we have it, it's the furthest thing from our minds. Lately the four of us have had a few minor health issues (allergies, colds, high BP, high cholesterol, muscle pulls, tendonitis, ligament "problems", and ear and systemic infections), and I'm just so grateful we haven't had to deal with anything more serious.

And on a slightly lighter note, and though these are slightly ridiculous, I'm thankful...

For the public library, which surprisingly continues to loan books to my family.

For my drink (extra) refrigerator, without which I would have nowhere to store extra desserts, decorator frosting, Tom's pickled peppers, and my Blue Moon beers.

For my exterminator, without whom I could not live in Texas. And he's from Iowa, so I like him even more.

For my laptop computer and smart phone, both of which have allowed me to become even more OCD organized than I already was. I honestly don't think I could keep the Ferris Family Ship afloat without them.

For boots, especially my new maroonish-red (a perfect Aggie color!) cowboy boots and black knee-high boots that don't hurt my feet AT ALL.

And lastly, for the cooler fall weather, which incidentally is perfect for boots.  And jeans.  And light-weight sweaters.  And walks outside in the evening.  Fall in Texas is nothing like fall in the Midwest, but I'm thankful that a season other than summer has finally arrived in College Station.

I wish you and yours the happiest of Thanksgivings tomorrow.  May your day be full of that for which you are thankful, and may you be surrounded by those you love.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What Does He Do Again?

People ask me all the time what Tom does for a living. My first answer is always, "he's a professor". If they ask what he teaches, I answer, "engineering", they nod their heads in a way that indicates they don't need/want any additional information, and our conversations end there.

On occasion, someone to whom engineering is not a foreign language (as it is to me) will ask an additional question, usually something like, "in what department does he teach?" I answer, "Industrial and Systems Engineering".

On an even rarer occasion, the person asking all these questions knows what Industrial and Systems Engineering means and inquires about the area in which Tom's research falls. I answer, "Human Factors" or "Cognitive Ergonomics", depending on how I feel that day.

At this point, anyone still listening to me (most people's eyes have glazed over and I can tell by looking at them that they're thinking about what they're going to have for dinner that night) will say, "Oh! Ergonomics! Like comfortable chairs and computer keyboards that don't make my wrists hurt!" And I will reply, "actually, no. That's physical ergonomics. Cognitive ergonomics is more like ergonomics for the brain. Tom designs systems - in operating rooms, intensive care units, cockpits, etc. - that allow humans to use them more effectively, especially in high-stress situations".

"Oh." And that's ALWAYS the end of the conversation. And sometimes the friendship. (Just kidding about the friendship. But not the conversation.)

When it comes down to it, I'm not very good at explaining what Tom does, why it's important, and the potential impact it has on our world. The man who wrote this article, however, IS very good explaining all these things, so if you'd like to know more about how Tom's making a difference, check it out.

Tom makes me proud.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Peter Piper

Remember when I wrote about how we couldn't grow anything in our garden except peppers? (And one salad's worth of spinach.) That's still true - we can't grow anything except peppers - but I think at this point we've moved beyond "growing" peppers to something more intense, like breeding peppers in preparation for the end of the world. These little green vegetables have taken over our garden.
Our third batch of this size.
This would be great news, if I liked peppers even a tiny bit.

Tom is not very comfortable in the kitchen. He makes excellent salsa and guacamole, and does a great job manning the grill, but he doesn't spend a lot of time reading recipes. He decided, however, to give "pickling" a try since even he couldn't eat that huge pile of peppers before they would go bad.

After two hours of grocery and jar shopping and four hours in the kitchen on a Sunday afternoon, Tom emerged with four large jars of peppers, expertly and gorgeously pickled with carrots, cauliflower, and various spices.
I won't be eating any of these peppers, but I can certainly appreciate
the effort Tom put into their pickling and how pretty they look now!
The problem is that since the day of pickling, we've harvested yet another huge crop of peppers.  Any ideas about/suggestions for what Peter Piper can do with them?

Friday, November 16, 2012

Weekly Wrap-Up (11.16.12)

The Island of Misnamed Toys
Until recently, Hallie has given her stuffed animals - at least those who aren't already named when they arrive in her arms - fairly literal names: her pink octopus is named Softy, her honey-colored bear is named Honey Bear, etc. But now Hallie has branched out, and named two recently-acquired giraffes "No One" and "Nowhere". She has no idea why a stuffed animals shouldn't have such a confusing name, and doesn't understand why we don't respond when she exclaims that "No One has the hiccups!"  At least she hasn't gone this far...

You may have already seen this video, as it "made the rounds" earlier this year courtesy of the Rants From Mommyland blog, but if you haven't, it's worth checking out.  I laughed out loud the first time, and maybe the second and third times, I watched it.  This little girl sounds a lot like my Hallie Claire.

In A Perfect World
I love and agree wholeheartedly with this beautifully simply philosophy. The problems are that 1) we can't seem to grow anything except jalapeƱo peppers - which I don't like and off of which I certainly can't survive - in our garden, and 2) my local library is one tantrum away from refusing me entry.

Do you remember, as I do, watching Bob Ross paint "happy little trees" during art class in elementary school? Back then I was equally fascinated by how simple he made painting look (in less time than it took me to dress Barbie for her wedding to Ken, Bob Ross could create a beautifully intricate work of art), his mesmerizing voice, and his very "full" head of hair. There was something special happenin' up there on that head of his, though I'm not really sure what that something special was...

When I first met Tom's family, his youngest brother, Grant, was only 12 years old. Tom and I have known each other for 13 years, so Grant is of course all grown up now. And as it turns out, Grant grew up to be...Bob Ross.

Red Cross: Make a Plan - Check!
I committed myself publicly (online, in a Red Cross blog post a few weeks ago) to finally putting together an emergency preparedness kit and making an emergency preparedness plan for our family so that I would actually follow through and accomplish both tasks. I posted about putting together our kit about a month ago, and now I've posted about our experience making a plan; check out the process and learn how you can create your own here!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Piano Guys

I've always been a big fan of the piano, not so much as an instrument to which I'd dedicate myself (I took years of lessons and am not even an average pianist), but as an instrument that I like to listen to other talented musicians play. Tom is an incredible piano player, to the point that if the kids or I mention we like a song - say, "Part of That World" from The Little Mermaid (Hallie), the Star Wars theme song (Will), or One Direction's "What Makes You Beautiful" (um, Hallie) - Tom will sit down at the piano and figure out the song so that we can all sing along together. I love that the piano allows us to fill our house with music.

I stumbled upon The Piano Guys while I was looking for another video for another post, and even though some of the videos - see the Star Wars parody below - are a little silly and it weirds me out when the cello player replicates himself, their music is beautiful.

Sit back, relax, and listen to this gorgeous music!

Over the Rainbow/Simple Gifts

What Makes You Beautiful

Pachelbel's Canon in D


Cello Wars (A Star Wars Parody)

More Than Words/Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring

Note: I am not affiliated with The Piano Guys and was not compensated for this post. The opinions expressed here are my own.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Chuck Norris

Hallie takes a weekly gymnastics lesson at a local gym. She loves the class, and I enjoy the 45 minutes I get to spend chatting with two friends of mine whose little girls are in Hallie's class.

A couple of weeks ago, as I got out of my car in the gym parking lot, one of my friends mentioned that she'd just seen a man who looked an awful lot like Chuck Norris walk into the building.

"Do you think it's possible it was really him?" she asked.

"I have no idea - does he live around here? I suppose it's possible..." I replied.

We decided to further scope out this stranger once we got inside.

A few minutes later, once the girls had joined their teachers and classmates on the floor to stretch, Jamie, Erin, and I started our investigation.

First, I walked over to where "Chuck" was sitting and while pretending to watch Hallie stretch, checked him out. He was watching gymnastics with a lovely blond woman, and was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and a baseball cap which unfortunately made it difficult to identify him as Chuck or just a stranger resembling Chuck. I headed back to where Jamie and Erin were sitting and asked if they'd mind if I just yelled "Chuck!" at the top of my lungs to see what played out. They minded a little, so I didn't go that route.

Second, we noticed that "Chuck" was drinking from a Starbucks cup. We figured that the name written on the side of the cup could be our next clue, so we once again pretended to watch the girls stretch until we could read the name on the side of the cup. (For all the pretending to watch the girls we did that day, I didn't see a single minute of Hallie's gymnastics lesson.)


Of all days for "Chuck" to be enjoying his wife's beverage.

But then we realized we had smart phones - smart phones that would allow us to look up information about and images of Chuck on the internet. One of the first pictures we came across was of Chuck at some kind of fundraiser or event, standing next to his wife...a lovely blond woman named Gena.

At that point we were pretty excited, seeing as we were not even 15 feet away from the man who has counted to infinity...twice.

Finally, because we needed to seal the deal, a friend of Jamie's - who was much gutsier than any of us - just walked over to "Chuck" and asked him if he was Chuck. "Chuck" confirmed that he was Chuck. She asked Chuck if she could take his picture, but he said no because he was there watching his grandkids and they don't like it when he draws attention to himself at gymnastics. He shook her hand though. Pretty awesome.

So in conclusion, a family member of Chuck Norris' takes gymnastics with Hallie and he comes to watch. Often. I can't wait until next Monday!

I'd like to leave you today with a few facts about Chuck Norris.

- Chuck Norris has already been to Mars. That's why there are no signs of life there.

- The only mind Edward cannot read is Bella's. That's because Bella only thinks about Chuck Norris.

- Chuck Norris is spelled with a silent "awesome".

- Ghosts sit around the campfire and tell Chuck Norris stories.

- When the Boogeyman goes to sleep every night he checks his closet for Chuck Norris.

- When Chuck Norris does a push-up, he's not pushing himself up, he's pushing the Earth down.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Friday Night Prayer

Back in October the four of us - along with our friends Aaron, Stacey, Kendra, and Logan - spent a warm Friday night doing what just about everyone who lives in Texas does on Friday nights in the fall...cheering from the stands at a high school football game.

We attended the cross-county rivalry game between A&M Consolidated High School and Bryan High School last year, and enjoyed ourselves enough to add this year's game to the calendar three months in advance. And as was the case a year ago, the Friday Night Lights experience delivered.

I love the fanfare, the action, and the elaborate halftime shows.  I especially love football players who are also members of the marching band and who participate in the elaborate halftime shows in their football gear.  These young men always seem to play the tuba...

About 15 minutes into the game the four kids completely lost interest in football.  (We should have seen this coming, as Aaron, Stacey, Tom, and I have taken the kids to baseball, soccer, and football games and they ALWAYS lose interest, especially when they're together.)  Instead of trying to engage them in the game or entertain them or feed them (my go-to solution for Hallie), we just gave up and handed over our phones.   All eight of us enjoyed the evening much more once the phones came out.

But the most memorable moment of the night, at least for me, had nothing to do with football, or the halftime show, or our kids.

Near the end of the first half, one of the A&M Consolidated players was badly injured.  The nature of the player's injury was unclear, which made the several minutes during which he didn't move - at all - incredibly tense.  We watched from the stands as the coaches formed an outer circle around the diligently-working trainers and as the player's parents were called down from the stands and led onto the field. Eventually the EMTs drove out onto the field and loaded the player onto the back of the cart,  and when he raised his hand to show he was alright the entire crowd breathed a collective and audible sigh of relief.

But the injured player wasn't the memorable part. The memorable part was that while the coaches huddled and the trainers worked and the fans held their breath, the players prayed.

I understand why there exists a separation between church and state, and I understand why many people believe that prayer doesn't belong in public schools or at public school sporting events, concerts, etc.  But on that night, prayer belonged on that football field.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Thanking Our Veterans

Veterans Day was technically yesterday - on Sunday, November 11th - but when the holiday falls on a Saturday or Sunday it is observed on the Friday prior or the Monday following. Perhaps it's better when this occurs, as it means we are given an opportunity to celebrate and thank our veterans twice.

Incredible, right?  I especially love that this display was created by my
very own Green Bay Packer fans at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

On this Veterans Day, let us remember the service of our veterans, and let us renew 
our national promise to fulfill our sacred obligations to our veterans and their families 
who have sacrificed so much so that we can live free.
~ Dan Lipinski

Friday, November 9, 2012

You Found Ferris

If you've been following my blog for a while you've probably read about and/or listened to music by my singer/songwriter sis-in-law, Jenna Christine. (If you haven't, click here, here, and here for a quick recap.) She's incredibly talented, and I like keeping all of you in the loop on what she has brewing so that when she "makes it big" you'll be able to say you got in on the ground floor.

First, Jenna has moved on with her professional identity from "Jenna Christine" to "Ferris". If you're interested in following her on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc., check out the links at the bottom of this post.

Second, Jenna's first professional recording - a collaborative effort entitled "Moving On" - was recently released on iTunes. The song was produced by Universal Music's DJ Filipe Guerra, co-written by Jenna and Bernardo Sim, and recorded at Aces Nation Studios.

Moving On was released by Universal Music in Filipe's native Brazil on October 15th (the song rose to #5 on the iTunes Electronic Chart in less than 24 hours) and in the United States on October 23rd. You can preview the song - and purchase it if you'd like - here.

The Moving On video was shot primarily in Orlando, Winter Park, and Smyrna, Florida, but small segments were also shot in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The video is in the editing stages and should be released in less than a month through Universal Music - I'll be sure to share a link to the video once it's available to me.

In the meantime, check out this up-and-coming superstar for yourself!

Instagram: YouFoundFerris

Thursday, November 8, 2012

One More Thing...

I wasn't planning on writing anything else election-related, but on the day after the election I came across three things that I felt were worthy of space on this blog.

First, Romney's Concession Speech.
I was moved by the words he spoke - words of thanks to his supporters, unity among all Americans, and support for the President - to his supporters on Tuesday night. I will use Romney as an example as I continue to teach my children to work hard for what they believe in and how to graciously accept defeat when that hard work does not translate into victory.

"At a time like this we can't risk partisan bickering and political posturing. Our leaders have to reach across the aisle to do the people's work, and we citizens also have to rise to the occasion...We're counting on you to invest, to hire, to step forward, and we look to Democrats and Republicans in government at all levels to put the people before the politics.

I believe in America. I believe in the people of America...Like so many of you, Paul and I have left everything on the field. We have given our all to this campaign...I so wish that I had been able to fulfill your hopes to lead the country in a different direction, but the nation chose another leader, and so Ann and I join with you to earnestly pray for him and for this great nation. Thank you and God bless America. You guys are the best. Thank you so much."

Second, Obama's Acceptance Speech.
I didn't stay up late enough to hear either speech live, but I heard the end of Obama's speech while I was huffing and puffing on the treadmill at the gym the morning after. Obama's tone was of course different than Romney's, but his speech included, as Romney's did, words of thanks, unity, and support and made me proud to be an American. This election and Obama's victory will allow me to teach my children that our country's political system is messy and complicated, and that even in times of great controversy and confusion, it's alright to believe that we are one.

"America, I believe we can build on the progress we’ve made and continue to fight for new jobs and new opportunity and new security for the middle class. I believe we can keep the promise of our founders, the idea that if you’re willing to work hard, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from or what you look like or where you love. It doesn’t matter whether you’re black or white or Hispanic or Asian or Native American or young or old or rich or poor, able, disabled, gay or straight, you can make it here in America if you’re willing to try.

I believe we can seize this future together because we are not as divided as our politics suggests. We’re not as cynical as the pundits believe. We are greater than the sum of our individual ambitions, and we remain more than a collection of red states and blue states. We are and forever will be the United States of America.

And together with your help and God’s grace we will continue our journey forward and remind the world just why it is that we live in the greatest nation on Earth. Thank you, America. God bless you. God bless these United States."

And third, A Bad Lip-Reading of the 2012 Debate Highlights.
It's very funny, folks, watch it if you need a good laugh.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

It's Over! On to Something More Fun.

It's over. The election is over, and the emotionally-charged political television commercials, radio advertisements, and Facebook posts that accompany election season have come to an end. Thank goodness.

I had originally planned to say only that (above) about the election, but after reading more than 100 election-related Facebook posts - many of which infuriated me - last night and this morning, I've decided I need to say more.  

Today is a difficult day for some, a wonderful day for others.  RESPECT THAT.  BE KIND.  If your guy lost, respect and be kind those who believe they made the right choice for our country.  If your guy won, respect and be kind to those who believe that our country would have been better off with someone new in the White House.  And now that the decision has been made, PLEASE, let's stand behind the President of the United States in an effort to make the next four years good ones for ourselves, our families, out communities, and our country.

Moving on.

Now, because today seems like a good day to focus on something fun and uplifting and not at all controversial, here are a few pictures of my adorable kids dressed up for Halloween as the gold Power Ranger and Tinkerbell. The Halloween pictures are followed by a few pictures of those same kids, having a bit of fun on the soccer fields of College Station.

First up, Halloween:
The kids with their "carved" pumpkins.
Hallie and the cupcakes I made for her class.
A close-up of a few of the SEVEN DOZEN
cupcakes I baked and decorated.
Tinkerbell and the Gold Power Ranger.
Captain Hook joins the party.
Next up, soccer season:
Playing defense...
...and making a stellar stop.  Take that, boy with blue socks!
Just a quick sprint.
And another one.  I like taking pictures
of my kids running.
Hallie is unbelievably precise about everything
she does, soccer ball kicking included.
Again with the kids and the running.
I love this picture because it looks like Hallie is juking her coach
(who played for the Aggies and could never be juked by a three-year-old).
She's not.  Not even close.
I love this picture because Hallie's coach looks
like she's having the time of her life.
And I love this picture, just because.
In case you're interested, you can read more about our Halloween celebrations here and more about our crazy, sports-driven fall here.

Happy Day After Election Day!