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Cullen and his girlfriend – late 2010

Monday, February 7th, 2011

I’ve obviously been sorting through semi-recent videos and putting them together. This one combines videos from two music sessions in November and December 2010. Cullen loves his music teacher, Nelle! He gets so excited to see her, and he gets upset if he sees her and can’t sit and listen to her music. I love it! He’s only seen shaking his rattle in the first few seconds of the video (in the title frames), but he was shaking it like crazy before I ran to get my camera. Oh well, I included it for our memories of the “shake your rattle” song. We sing that song around the house all the time. Cullen loves it! Click on the post to see the embedded video.

Best of 2008

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

A few of my friends have written summary posts for 2008, so I thought I might do the same. I’ll start by copying my friend Cindy who posted What Was So Great In 2008? (hey, I like how that rhymes!). I’m even going to use her categories (with a few of her categories from last year).

Best Restaurant: This one is very easy, for two reasons. For obvious reasons, we didn’t eat out as often as we have in the past. I did manage to go to a few good places. The winner in this category is hands down Mo’s Diner in downtown Raleigh. Thanks to suggestions from friends, we decided on Mo’s Diner for our anniversary dinner. It was one of the best meals that either of us had had in a long time. I highly recommend this venue for special occasions!

Best Book: This is a much tougher category. First of all, I’m going to stick to the ones that I read for the first time (Jane Eyre and Pillars of the Earth were repeats). I didn’t read as much as I would have liked this year, again for obvious reasons. I still read 17 books, most of them for book club. I believe that my favorite book was probably The Host by Stephenie Meyer. I read several good ones this year. I had a tough time choosing, but Cindy says I have to pick ONE, so that’s my pick. I reserve the right to change my mind at a later date!

Best Vacation: Normally, this would be an excellent category for me, but this year we only took trips to visit family. Only one of them was to a destination that was not someone’s home. By default, that’s my winner. Our trip to Gatlinburg in July wins the award for “best vacation.”

Best Movie Watched: I would say Juno by far was the best movie I watched the whole year! I loved it! I did feel a bit conspicuous being 8-months pregnant in the theatre when we went to see it. If you haven’t seen it, you definitely should give it a try.

Best Movie Released This Year: We saw Juno in the theatre, but technically it was released in 2007. For movies released in 2008, I would pick WALL-E to be my favorite. It wasn’t my favorite Pixar film, but the robots are very cute and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I think that this is one that I appreciate more and more as time passes. This was a tough choice as we went to few movies in 2008 which means we were picky about our selections. I somehow managed to see 6 movies after Maddie was born which is not too shabby considering!

Best Reunion: I almost didn’t use this category from Cindy’s post, but I figured I could come up with something for it. I actually saw many people this year that I had not seen in a while and connected to many through Facebook. I even randomly reconnected with people that I hadn’t seen in a long while at the daycare. My oldest friend (we’ve known each other 30 years!) threw me a baby shower in my hometown, so I saw many friends from the old neighborhood. All of this was great! I was going to change the category a bit to say “Best Reunion Experience” so that I could declare Facebook the winner. Instead, I’m going to declare my visit to my old house as my “best reunion.” My brother-in-law’s parents are friends with the people who bought my parents’ house in Salisbury, and they gave us a tour of the house! It was so neat to see the changes to the old house (and interesting to see the things that were still the same). It brought back great memories, and I loved showing Gabe where I grew up!

Best (Adult) Album: Cindy just had “Best Album,” but I wanted to break it into two categories. I didn’t buy too many albums, but I still had trouble picking one winner. I settled on Metallica’s “Death Magnetic” (the runner-up would be Juno’s Soundtrack which I enjoyed nearly as much as the Garden State soundtrack).

Best (Children’s) Album: Gabe and I tried several kid’s albums that weren’t atrocious for adults. Our favorite so far is the Barenaked Ladies’ album, Snacktime. We are hoping that this will become a family favorite as Maddie gets older.

Kiddie Music Review: Snack Time! by Barenaked Ladies

Friday, August 22nd, 2008

Gabe and I have an interest in finding children’s albums that are also enjoyable for adults. Over the years, I have seen Barenaked Ladies perform a total of 8 times, second only to They Might Be Giants (over 20 times). So when I discovered that they were coming out with a kids’ album, I knew I had to get it! Gabe and Maddie gave it to me for Mother’s Day.

After my first listen, I was pleased! They Might Be Giants have also put out a few kids’ albums, and the last few have been disappointing. Right away, I felt like BNL was putting out a more quality, polished album. Some songs stood out to me after the first listen, and others had to grow on me over time. When I’m listening to the album, I enjoy it without skipping any of the tracks which is usually a good sign.

The songs are catchy and amusing. Several of the songs have silly animated videos on YouTube: Pollywog in a Bog, 7 8 9, and Drawing.

A few notes on songs that stand out for me:
7 8 9: This one isn’t one of my favorites musically, but it has some amusing parts. The song is based on the old joke, “why is 6 afraid of 7? Because 7 8 9.” I am entertained by lines such as Oh the cat’ll have to live with eight lives now and Pluto’s not a planet now, so 8′ll do fine.

The Ninjas: This is probably my favorite song on the album. Who doesn’t like a song about ninjas? The chorus is quite catchy, and I find myself singing it around the house.

The Ninjas are deadly and silent
They’re also unspeakably violent
They speak Japanese; do whatever they please
And sometimes they vacation in Ireland

Pollywog in a Bog: This is one of the songs that had to grow on me a bit. Gabe and I have been singing this one around the house, and Maddie seems to like it when we sing it to her. It’s quite educational and details the journey of a tadpole becoming a frog. This one amuses us! Catchy!

Vegetable Town: I’m not sure why this one appeals to me so much, but I like it. It’s part iii of The Canadian Snacktime Trilogy. Gabe’s not a big fan of part ii, Popcorn, which consists mostly of a ridiculous Pop, pop, pop, pop, pop. Pop pop pop pop pop pop pop, pop, pop, pop. I think it’s growing on him, as I caught him singing along this morning. Vegetable Town is about a town made of vegetables. Every time we hear them sing the line, The roads are paved with sauteed onions, one of us feels compelled to say, “that town must be stinky!”

My Big Sister: This one is short and funny. Gabe said he felt he could relate to this one!

I like my big sister
But I don’t want to wear her coat.
It may be black,
It may fit perfect,
But you and I both know it’s a girl’s coat.

Allergies: Hopefully, Maddie won’t have to deal with too many allergies (and will grow out of this dairy allergy she seems to have currently). If not, maybe she can take solace in this song about allergies. Some of the allergies listed in this song crack me up such as frogs, guitars, and the stars. Of course, many of the allergies are valid as well. This one is rockin’.

Things: This is the shortest track on the album, but it’s sweet. I think I like it because it makes me happy to think of Maddie and Gabe’s relationship. :)

There are things that make me mad
You are not one of them
There are things that make me sad
You are not one of them
There are things that make me Dad
You seem to be all of them

Crazy ABCs: This isn’t one that I like for its singability (uh, I am pretty sure that’s not a word), but it’s clever and funny! And I like it for their wacky, typical banter. They have attempted to list oddball words for each letter of the alphabet – mostly words that don’t sound like they begin with that letter.