Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thankful

All month I have been reading Facebook posts from my friends that list the things they are thankful for.  I've been meaning to jump on the daily "Thankful post" bandwagon but haven't so, I'm just going to post my list here.  Enjoy!

1. First and foremost, I am thankful for my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  Without Him, I am nothing.

2. I am thankful for His Will in my life...the things He has done, has not done, will do, and will not do.  His Will is perfect; mine is not.

3. I am thankful for my husband.  He accepts me and loves me unconditionally.  He make me laugh every day and he allows me to indulge in all of my Twilight craziness, even if he rolls his eyes while doing it.

4. I am thankful for my children.  They are, without a doubt, the two best things I've ever had a hand in creating and I thank God for allowing me to care for them while on this earth.

5. I am thankful for my family...the one I was born into and the one I married into.

6. I am thankful for my friends.  I've been blessed with friendships with people from all over the world and I love each and every one of you!

7. I am thankful for Facebook for allowing me to reconnect and keep in touch with my family and friends.

8. I am thankful for Twitter for allowing me to meet so many funny, interesting, and crazy TwiHards!

9. I am thankful for my Bville friends...I'm glad we have each other to vent to! ;-)

10. I am thankful for my good health and that of my family.

11. I am thankful for the talent of singing and the desire to share it with others.

12. I am thankful for my blue jeans still fitting even though I gained back most of the weight I lost last year.

13. I am thankful for our house, cars, and food in the pantry.

14. I am thankful for Apple products.

15. I am thankful for chocolate.  And Diet Coke.

16. I am thankful for Twilight.  Shocker, I know!  The Saga has rekindled my love in books, given me some delicious eye-candy to enjoy in the movies, and lead me to meet some of the best ladies ever!

17. I am thankful for music and movies.

18. I am thankful for my dogs!

19. I am thankful for coffee and, more importantly, Creme Brulee creamer.

20. I am thankful for my country and the freedom that goes along with being a citizen.

21. I am thankful for my part-time job....I get to play with kiddos and make a little extra spending money!

22. I am thankful for LSU football.

23. I am thankful for being a true Southerner.

24. I am thankful for modern medicine.

25. I am thankful for indoor plumbing.

26. I am thankful for pizza, quesadillas, and pumpkin whoopie pies.

27. I am thankful for my two refrigerators.

28. I am thankful for Clorox wipes.

29. I am thankful for the Internet.

30. I am thankful for YOU!!

Have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Thwilla Story - for Dangrdafne

The purpose of this post is to tell my fellow TwiTard and Tweep, Dangrdafne, a story that I meant to share with her while we were in Forks.  If you have zero interest in the 100 Monkeys, you might want to skip this post, unless you like to read stories that poke fun at my husband.  If that is the case...and, really, who DOESN'T like to poke fun at Scott...then by all means, proceed.

Scott and I had the incredible opportunity to see the 100 Monkeys in concert in Dallas this past August.  If you haven't already, feel free to scroll down and read my post about it later.  :-)

On the 100 Monkeys' latest CD, Liquid Zoo, there is a song called The Sound.  It is a very catchy song with a nice groove and Scott and I both love it.  In the middle of the song, for reasons I cannot for the life of me explain, there is a rap.  Yes, a rap.  It is my least favorite part of the song but, even still, it is catchy. The guy who does this rap is not an actual member of the group.  His name is William but also goes by "Thwilla".  I guess that is his "rap" name.  Thwilla travels with the band, doing PR stuff and probably anything else that is needed, so I am hoping that he is not wanting to venture into the rap music business full-time.  *collective sigh of relief*

Some of the lyrics (I think the "catchiest") of Thwilla's rap are:

'Cause you're bad
You know this
Your Dad
He noticed

Let me interject some information for those who don't already know Scott or myself very well: my husband is 7 years older than I am, which makes him *cough* 40-something *cough*.  NOT that he looks "old" or anything....he really doesn't.  In fact, he still gets carded at Buffalo Wild Wings.  I just feel it is important to know this before I finish the story.  A little foreshadowing perhaps??

Sooooo, we are in Dallas, having a blast at the show, when they start playing The Sound.  Scott and I were both happy because we like the song so much but we were also giggling because we knew the stupid rap was coming up.  I was standing in the second row, dead-center, in front of the stage, which is where Thwilla was doing most of his rap.  Scott was standing directly behind me.  Thwilla gets to the "Your DAD, He noticed" part and...wait for it...POINTS DIRECTLY TO SCOTT!!  I don't know if he thought Scott was my dad or some other chick's dad or if he just could tell that he most likely is a dad but it was still freaking funny!  At least, I thought it was funny the next day when Scott finally admitted what happened.  He, of course, did NOT think it was funny and he STILL doesn't think it is funny!  Which makes it even more funny to me!

That's it!  That's the Thwilla Story, Dangrdafne!  I told you it probably wouldn't live up to the suspense and it is probably more entertaining when told in person but, at least, I finally told you!  I hope you were able to giggle a little bit while reading. ;-)

For the record, I totally missed the pointing by Thwilla because I was fixated on Ben G and his beautiful solo that gets trampled by the rap!



This is a pic of Thwilla from the Tulsa show.  Scott wasn't there but I texted him this pic and told him Thwilla was looking for him!  I'm so mean!!

FOOORKS2011!!

I know, I know.  I've been home from Forks for 3 weeks and I am just now blogging about it!  Sorry!

I've been trying to decide how I want to approach this post.  Do I spill the beans on everything that was said and done while I was in Twilight Heaven?  Do I keep all the juicy details to myself and let you squirm until you completely forget about me and my trip?  Decisions, decisions....

Ok, enough squirming!  I'm not THAT mean...usually.  I think I'll just give you a brief review, since most of you follow me on Facebook and/or Twitter and were bombarded by posts and pics as the trip happened anyway.  My next post will be tips and advice for those of you who plan on taking your own trip to Forks one of these days!

What can I say?  My trip to Forks was simply amazing.  I still can't wrap my brain around the fact that I have traveled, not only to Forks, Washington, but to the beautiful Pacific Northwest.  It is unlike anywhere I have ever been and, if you haven't been there, you should plan a trip ASAP!

We (my most-awesomest roomies, JK & M, and I) started our trip in Seattle.  We were only there for one evening and half the next day but we filled that time with as much fun as we possibly could.  We saw the Space Needle (from a distance), some really cool buildings, and Pike Place Market.  We took pictures of, what we thought was, the very first Starbucks.  Then, we took pictures of the REAL very first Starbucks!  And, to make that achievement even better, we realized we were there on National Coffee Day!  How perfect?  Seattle truly is a beautiful place and I would love to go back with my family and spend more time there.



JK & I enjoying our National Coffee Day iced coffee from the REAL original Starbucks!


From Seattle, we rode the ferry to Bainbridge Island.  Riding a ferry was a first for JK and M, which I thought was funny but I'll admit, this ferry ride is much prettier than the one to Galveston.  I'm just sayin....  During our 3 hour drive to Forks, we passed through Port Angeles and stopped to take pictures of Crescent Lake.  My words and pictures simply do not do the scenery justice.  It is just like the Twilight books describe but even better.  Everything really is covered in green and moss and ferns really cover the ground like grass.  I was not a listed driver on our rental car agreement, so I was able to sit in the back seat and look out the windows and into the woods whenever I wanted.  I could almost swear that I saw a vamp or two running through the forest but that could also have been the car sickness I experienced throughout the trip. ;-)



HWY 101 and Crescent Lake...breathtaking..


The girls and I were beyond excited about arriving in Forks.  So much so, that every (and I mean EVERY) sign we passed that had the word "Forks" on it elicited a scream from us that could almost break glass.  Finally, in the distance we could see THE sign.  Yes, the "Welcome To Forks" sign.  The sign that made it sink in that, yes, we were in the Twilight Heartland FOR REALIES.  There may have been a tear or two or, at the very least, some moist eyes... *insert scream!*  See?  It still has that effect on me.  Ok, I'm better now, I promise...maybe.


 Getting closer...

 ...and closer...

...and I'm finally in Forks!!


While in Forks, we did everything a TwiHard should do: we shopped, we visited all of the Twilight-themed attractions, we took pictures, and we even reenacted some of our favorite scenes from the movie.  We also were able to spend some fun times with other Twilight fans at the Elks Lodge when we attended the TwiTarded parties.  It was absolutely incredible to meet so many people from the fandom that, until this trip, I had only talked to through Twitter and blogging.  I met fans from all over the country and even a few from England and Sweden!  These women (and a few husbands) are all ages, races, sizes, etc but when you meet them, it's like you've known them forever.  I've never experienced any thing like it, including my time in my sorority.  I love these ladies hard and I wish we could see each other more often!

In addition to doing all of the touristy things in Forks, we drove back to Port A and had dinner at Bella Italia one evening.  The mushroom ravioli is a must and I'm not just saying that because it is what Bella orders in the book and movie.  It really is delicious!  We also saw a bit of the Hoh Rainforest, LaPush, and Third and Second Beaches.  We never made it to First Beach.  Believe it or not, we ran out of time...in Forks!  Crazy but it's true!


 Bella's truck from the movie!

 Mushroom Ravioli from Bella Italia!

 A moss-covered tree from the Hoh Rainforest!

The Roomies and I on a driftwood tree at Second Beach!


This trip was an incredible experience.  I met awesome people, bonded even more with my new besties, and saw the places that inspired some of my favorite books.  And I cannot wait to do it again!

I know this post is brief...for me, anyway...but if you'd like to see more, check out my fb page!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

TwiHard and Proud!

I am a HUGE fan of the Twilight Saga.  Most of you already know this about me.  For those of you who do know this or do not realize the extent of my obsession love, I'm writing this blog to try and explain.

Let me start by saying I have been a "fangirl" pretty much all of my life.  I was "fangirling" waaay before "fangirling" was even a word.  Can I stop using the quotes now?  K, thanks!

I first started being a hardcore, obsessive fan (aka fangirl) when I discovered Duran Duran at the age of 9.  I literally referred to myself as a "Duranie", if that gives you any idea how far my love for those stylish Brits went.  From there, I went on to love many bands, actors, books, and movies, specifically The Beatles, Queen, Poison, Kiefer Sutherland, Viggo Mortensen, Harry Potter, The Lost Boys, and The Lord of the Rings.  Nothing, though, prepared me for the world of The Twilight Saga.

I had not heard any thing about the Twilight books until the first movie was about to be released.  I remember seeing the trailer for Twilight and realizing that "Cedric Diggory" was in another movie and I was so happy to see his gorgeous face on the big screen again.  I soon found out many of my friends had been reading the books and loved them, so I immediately asked for the book set for Christmas!

Because my husband and mother love me so much, they each gave me the set...one on Kindle and the other in the hardback form.  Because the hardback set was on back order, I started with the Kindle books and was instantly hooked!  I read the first book within a couple of days and HAD to see the movie.  Lucky for me, it was still showing in my hometown on New Year's Eve, so I "made" Scott take me to see it for our anniversary!  Romantic, right?  Yes, for me...not so much for Scott.  *Love you, Honey!*


This is one of my favorite scenes!


I finished the series within a few days and my life was forever changed.  I know that sounds so dramatic but that was how I felt.  I didn't want the stories to end.  I wanted MORE.  So, I did what every other Twi-fan did, I read the books again....and again.

Fast forward a few months and my mom and I were adding fuel to our Twi-fire by attending the first TwiCon in Dallas.  Not only were we able to meet many of the stars of the movies, but we also met other fans.  This was a big deal to me because I realized, outside of my mom (who is also a huge fan now), I had no one else to share my love and devotion for all things-Twi.  Yes, I had friends who had read and loved the books but that was where it stopped for them.  Sitting with my new Twi-friends in Dallas, discussing the books and movie (this was before New Moon was released) in great detail, I felt relief...I felt free.  Free to embrace my inner TwiHard and wave my Twi-flag proudly.


Me (in my Team Rathbone shirt, of course) and some new TwiHard friends at TwiCon!


Believe it or not, it is NOT all about the movies and stars for me.  First and foremost, I love the books.  I think the story is original and wonderful with amazing characters and settings.  I love that it does not follow the usual vampire lore with garlic and coffins and such and I love that it is a story that can be enjoyed by people of all ages.  Notice, I said "people" not just women.  In fact, after my TwiCon weekend, Scott read the books to see "what the fuss was all about" and he admitted that he liked them, too.  By the way, he's Team Alice.

Having said all that, I also love the movies...mostly.  I have quite a few problems, gripes, and opinions with the movies (I probably need to save that for another post) and so I keep them separate from the books in my mind.  They are not perfect but I love them for what they are.  I also love the actors in the movie...mostly.  And I'll just leave it there. ;-)

So, now it's almost 3 years later and I am way deep into the fandom.  Thanks to Twitter, I have made friends with other TwiHards all around the world and it is amazing to be able to call these women "friends."  In fact, I am meeting quite a few of these new friends in less than 2 weeks when we all travel to Forks, Washington (where the stories take place) to see where the author, Stephenie Meyer, got her inspiration.  My new bestie, JennyKate, is traveling with me and our other roomie, Michelle, has promised to have bail money set aside for us.  Not that it will be necessary or anything.....right, JK? Although, it would be funny to say we got to ride in the Forks Police Chief's cruiser...but I digress.


Nope, no bail money needed for us in Forks!

I promise to keep you updated with our Twi-adventures on all of the usual forms of social media and, if you want a postcard from Forks, you still have a few days to get me your mailing address!

Monday, September 5, 2011

My 2 Nights with 100 Monkeys

I love 100 Monkeys.

This statement may confuse some of you.  You might be thinking "But, Jennifer, I thought you collected ladybugs?" or "Why 100 monkeys?  Why not just 1 or 2?"  Let me explain.

100 Monkeys is a band.  Specifically, they are a band of incredibly talented and passionate musicians who  also happen to be sweet, funny, and down-to-earth guys.  Oh, and they are very easy on the eyes, I must add.  It is nearly impossible to describe their music because it covers almost every style imaginable from rock to funk to blues to country.  When explaining their sound to others, I tend to simplify it and call it "good time party music" but it is so much more than that.  Their songs are fun and quirky but also serious and melancholy.

The first time I heard of 100 Monkeys was 2 years ago while I was online purchasing my ticket for TwiCon in Dallas.  For those of you who don't know, Jackson Rathbone, who plays "Jasper" in the Twilight Saga movies, is also in 100 Monkeys and the band was playing a concert at TwiCon.  This lead me to visit their website and check out their music.  I only listened to snippets of a couple of songs but I could tell that it was different to what I normally listened to, so I decided to wait and see how their concert was.

In short, it was, well, short.  I think they only played 4 or 5 songs but it was great all the same.  What impressed me the most was, what the band refers to as, "The Monkey Switcheroo."  These guys can each play multiple instruments, so they switch or change instruments depending on what song they are performing.  It is incredible.  It keeps things fresh and entertaining and it is so much fun to watch.  They also take suggestions from the audience for an "improv" song every night!  Needless to say, I instantly became a fan and even skipped the "Volturi Ball" at TwiCon to see them perform at a local Dallas club and then again at the after-party.

I've been a fan for 2 years now, following their website, facebook pages, and Twitter accounts, as well as buying all of the music they have released.  They have only gotten better over the past couple of years, with their music and style gelling into a perfect eclectic sound, and I have been chomping at the bit to see them live again.

As soon as their summer tour dates for this year were announced, I made arrangements to see them in Dallas and Tulsa, just 3 days apart.  To say I was giddy with excitement is putting it mildly.  I was bringing Scott with me to Dallas but he was less than thrilled.  I "encouraged" him to listen to their CDs but he was still unsure.  I assured him that he would love them once he saw them perform live.




In Dallas, we were fortunate enough to get VIM (Very Important Monkey) tickets that allowed us to attend a "soundcheck party" with the guys.  This "party" included a short acoustic set and the opportunity to take a picture with the band.  We also received a t-shirt and autographed picture.  It was incredible!  There were only a handful of fans there at this time, so it was very intimate and special.  Scott was griping that he was the only guy in the audience but I could tell he was having a great time.

We spoke to the band briefly while we took our pictures and they were so nice.  They loved the fact that Scott was there!  I imagine they don't get a lot of men at their shows, especially ones who will take a picture with them or ask for an autograph!

An hour later, the "real" concert started and it was nothing less than amazing.  Bleeding Horse Express was one of the opening bands and they were great!  If you like gritty, Southern rock music, then you should definitely buy their CD.  Of course, the Monkeys rocked the house and Scott was able to witness me "fangirling" first hand.  I even made some new facebook and Twitter friends in the audience, including some that were at the same TwiCon that I attended 2 years ago!

Having said that, let me clarify that I am not a fan of 100 Monkeys just because Jackson Rathbone is in Twilight.  Being a fan of Twilight lead me to discover 100 Monkeys but I am a fan simply because I love their music.  Seeing them perform live and witnessing their pure talent and love for what they do only makes me love them more.

The night was incredible and Scott even had fun, with the exception of a "Thwilla moment", but I'll save that story for later.  It's best told in person, any way.  We talked with the guys some more after the concert and they autographed a couple of things for us.  I just can't gush enough about them!

Fast forward to 3 nights later..... Scott did not go with me to the Tulsa concert but my friend JennyKate did.  I was so tickled that Scott and JK both saw their first Monkey show with me!!

Again, the show was great even though they didn't seem as energetic as they did in Dallas.  I assumed it was because the Tulsa show was in a smaller venue but it could also be because they were exhausted!  I got their autographs again and spoke to Jackson about being at the Dallas show.  He remembered meeting Scott and even mentioned TwiCon for some reason but there is NO WAY he would have remembered meeting me there 2 years ago.  I think he was just trying to be nice but, who cares??  He could've babbled about anything and I would've been thrilled!  I also talked with Ben Johnson from the band and told him about a Twitter account that was dedicated to the fact that he wears tan pants all of the time.  He laughed and assured me that he does, in fact, have more than one pair of tan pants.  It was a very funny moment which, incidentally, awarded me with many cudoes from other Monkey Junkies and gave me even more facebook and Twitter friends!

It has been almost a month since seeing 100 Monkeys in concert and I miss them so much!  I would watch them perform every night if I could!  It's a good thing there are so many videos of them on YouTube.  In fact, you can watch the 2 videos I posted from the Tulsa show to see the guys and have a giggle at JennyKate!  I also posted the improv song from Dallas.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BI5Ii7DVt08

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmKzUomMpCM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJnNf897zRw

Thanks, again, 100 Monkeys for an incredible tour!  Can't wait to see y'all again!

Please, check out their website at www.100monkeysmusic.com

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Summer Reflections

Now that the kiddos are back in school, I guess it is time to catch you all up on our summer vacation.

This was one of the busiest summers we have had, I think, and that includes the summers in which we moved. We ended up going on 4 road trips this year and the trips were spaced out about every 3 weeks or so. When I say "road trips", I do not mean being in the car for a couple of hours. I mean, we put in some major windshield time. Ok, let me rephrase that: the kids put in some major DSi time, Scott put in windshield and iPad time, and I put in windshield and iPhone time. Clear as mud? I thought so!

Also, to pass the time while traveling, we did what we always do when we are in a car: we counted "Beep-Beeps", aka VW Beetles. So, here is a recount of our travels and, yes, how many Beep-Beeps we saw.

Trip #1 West Virginia/Washington, D.C. 
I've blogged about two exciting events that occurred on this trip, both of which involved my children getting hurt, but we did have fun in other ways, too! We drove through 8 states and D.C., saw so many beautiful places, and got to spend some wonderful, quality time with Scott's parents. You'd think with as much driving as we did on this trip, we would've seen tons of Beep-Beeps but I was disappointed with our total being only 56. Maybe I set my expectations too high.

Trip #2 Louisiana
The kids and I drove down to La. to visit my parents for my dad's birthday and Scott flew in to spend Father's Day weekend with us. We were there for about a week and we had a wonderful time eating, spending time with our family, and more eating. Did I mention we ate a lot? Every time I plan a trip to La, I make a mental list of all the places at which I want to eat. The food is so good in La, I just can't help it! Seriously, though, on this particular trip, I gained 5 pounds...in ONE week! I only gained 2 in DC! And, then I go and gain 5 more in La! I should have walked to Louisiana instead of driving! Anyway, speaking of driving, on this road trip, we saw only 29 Beep-Beeps.

Trip #3 SE Texas
This was the same drive as the trip to La but we were able to stop in the Beaumont, Tx-area, where we celebrated the 85th birthday of Scott's Grandma Cele. This also was a great time, spent with more family members, including a very memorable canoe trip in the rain.

Trip #4 Iowa
This trip was unplanned but wonderful all the same.  Scott's grandmother (his dad's mother) passed away, so we drove to Grinnell, Iowa for the funeral.  Grinnell is a charming town surrounded by beautiful corn fields and we were happy to finally see where Scott's dad grew up, even though we were sad about the reason we were there.  Believe it or not, we did not count Beep-Beeps!

In between Trip #3 and Trip #4, Scott and I had a little weekend get-away to Dallas to see the 100 Monkeys in concert and I'll be blogging about that incredible night soon!

I also wanted to let you know that I will be traveling to Forks, WA at the end of the month!  All of you fellow TwiHards know the significance of this trip and can probably feel the excitement vibes I'm sending right now!!  I can't wait!!  Of course, I'll be blogging, tweeting, and posting pics on facebook but I also wanted to offer to you the opportunity to receive a postcard from Forks!  If you would like for me to send you a postcard from the actual post office of Forks, WA, let me know and send me your addy in the comments, on fb, by email, which ever method you prefer, and I'll make sure you get one!

Hope you all had a fabulous summer!!  Can't wait for Fall!


Sunday, July 31, 2011

My Ben Affleck pics!



Ben is right behind the guy in the brown shirt.



This is the best pic. You can clearly see Ben....he's so cute!!!



I promise Ben is somewhere behind that screen!



I've been asked to post the pictures I took of Ben Affleck while he was here in Bartlesville filming a movie last fall, so here they are!

You must forgive me for two things: First, the pictures are NOT great but they were the best I could do with my iPhone from across the street. Second, I still have not figured out how to put my pictures exactly where I want them on my blog, so they are all at the top of the page! Grrrr!

When I took these pictures, my kids and I were about to leave their karate class, so I was unprepared to take "real" pictures. We spotted the filming taking place and ran to the sidewalk across the street, immediately spotting Ben. He and the other actress in the pictures filmed a scene that had them walking across a side street while talking. We then hopped in the car and drove into a gas station parking lot near by and watched them finish their scene.

I wanted to get better pictures but I'm also a 'fraidy cat and I didn't want to get yelled at by any of the crew. I also believe that actors/actresses should be left alone while they are working.

After the filming of the scene ended, Ben walked into the gas station. Someone said he was "using the facilities", so I wasn't about to bother him then either! The kids and I were excited enough with our amateur ninja skills, so we left the gas station and went home.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

"They're gonna put me in the movies...."

Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that, after moving to Bartlesville, I'd be so close to Hollywood. You might be thinking that being in the 100+ degree heat this summer has finally gotten to me and I've lost my mind but it's true! The part about Hollywood, not me losing my mind...although, if you ask my husband, he'd beg to differ.

Shortly after moving to Bartlesville, a major motion picture (that is still without a title) starring Ben Affleck, Javier Bardem, Rachel Weisz, and Rachel McAdams began filming and locals were clawing at the opportunity to be an extra or help on set. I, of course, was no exception.

I was unable to attend the casting call because we traveled down to Texas that particular weekend but the kids and I were able to watch Ben and another actress film a scene downtown one evening. Yes, we totally stalked him and I have the pictures to prove it!

Fast forward to this past May. A friend of mine who did attend the casting call and was on their email mailing list, received a notice about another motion picture being filmed close-by and that there was a scene being filmed in which they needed about 300 extras. This email also mentioned that the movie was starring Jackson Rathbone and immediately, my friend knew to forward the email to ME.

For those of you who don't know, Jackson plays "Jasper" in the "Twilight Saga" movies. He was also in "The Last Airbender" (as well as other movies), is in a band called 100 Monkeys, and is one of my very favorite celebrities. I've met him a couple of times and I've also seen him in concert. I just simply adore him. So, the idea of being an extra in one of his movies was just too tempting to pass up!

The email said the scenes to be filmed were going to take place at a rodeo and to just show up. Sounded perfect to me....except I've never liked rodeos but I was willing to make an exception for Jackson. Being the awesomely cool mom that I am, I also asked the kids if they'd like to go with me. Not surprisingly, Jack said "No" and Mackenzie said "Yes." It also helped that one of the other stars of the movie was Bailee Madison, who Mac knew from "Wizards of Waverly Place."

We got up and left early on a Sunday morning and drove about 2 hours to where the scenes were being filmed. We were supposed to wear "rodeo" attire, if we had it, but we didn't, so we did the best we could. After waiting for about 30 minutes, the crowd of extras was herded, I mean moved, to the rodeo stands. There were 3 sections of bleachers and we were asked to take a seat in any of the sections. Mac and I found two spots at the top of the first section that I was very happy with because it had a board I could lean up against. We were there for only a few minutes when one of the staff members asked everyone on our row to come back down. He then weeded out those who were wearing "rodeo attire" and placed them back in the stands. Mac and I, along with a few others, were moved all the way over to the third section. I was bummed at first, especially since they focused a lot of the filming on that first section, but, honestly, I was just happy to be there.

We filmed many scenes of the crowd "reacting" to different rodeo scenarios. The main guy dealing with us (not sure if he was an assistant director or what) would run around the rodeo grounds and give us clues on what we were supposed to be reacting to. He'd run quickly and throw his hands in the air and we'd scream, cheer, clap, stand, whistle, wave our cowboys hats, etc. If he fell, we booed and acted disappointed. There were even times when he pretended that he was doing a dangerous trick and we acted like we were scared for his safety. We also showed our relief when he completed his amazing "trick" safely. It was really fun and I loved seeing so many "regular" people in the crowd getting into character.

On a side note: I did become annoyed with the "AD" once when he was talking to the people in my section. He said, "Hey, did you know that Jasper is in this movie? You know, Jasper...from Twilight?" Dude, the man's name is Jackson, not Jasper! You're working with him; get his name right! But I digress....

Speaking of Jackson, being the Twitter addict that I am, I already knew from Jackson's tweets that morning, that he wasn't on set yet but that he was on his way. I was constantly looking around, trying to see if he was there yet but, unfortunately, he wasn't filming any scenes during the day.

After a couple of hours of filming on one side of the rodeo arena, we were herded to the opposite side to film some more. This time we were treated to a brief show by The Sweethearts of the Rodeo, which was really good. Like I mentioned before, I've never been a fan of the rodeo but I can appreciate the talent that those ladies have when working with their horses and putting on a rodeo show. Also, just to clarify, this movie isn't about bull riding or calf roping or things like that. It's about trick-riding. We also filmed many scenes with Bailee (and her stunt person) doing tricks.

After being there for many hours, Mac and I decided it was time to go home, like most of the extras. A few were staying to shoot some night scenes and we could have too, but Mac had school the next day and we still had 2 more hours of driving ahead of us. After leaving the bleachers, we stood in line to fill out paperwork so that we could get paid. That's right, we got paid for this! Woot! The line was right outside a big tent where the cast and crew were eating their dinner and guess who was there eating! Yep, Mr. Rathbone himself was sitting at one end of a table while James Cromwell, who is also in the movie, was at the other end. I was so excited!

The extras were warned not to take pictures of any kind while on set and to not bother the cast. Being the good girl that I am on most days, I obeyed my instructions and didn't take ONE picture. Not one! I also wasn't about to bother any one while they were eating, celebrity or not. I personally think that is incredibly rude but it didn't stop others from interrupting Jackson's meal and asking for a picture or autograph. Of course, he was gracious and did what the fans asked for, smiling the whole time. I mean, he IS a Southern gentleman after all.

I also knew that I'd be seeing him again soon (which I will blog about in a few weeks), so I was just fine stepping back and observing him do something "normal", like eating.

After we were finished with our paperwork, Mac and I walked to the car and started to leave. I had just put the car in "drive" when I looked up and saw Jackson walking back to his trailer! He was right there in front of us all by himself...a fangirl's dream! Again, though, I behaved myself. My mom couldn't believe I didn't use that opportunity to talk to him but I'm pretty sure he would've started running if he saw my car heading his way, so I drove the other way, leaving the rodeo and Jackson behind.

Mac and I were exhausted, completely sunburned, and my butt hurt for days after sitting in bleachers for 7 hours but it was worth every minute.

The movie we worked on is called "Cowgirls n' Angels" and will be released sometime next year. Whenever you see the rodeo scenes, look for a bright turquoise shirt and a green and blue plaid shirt in the crowd...that's Mackenzie and me!

The Ben Affleck movie is still being called "Untitled Terrence Malick Project" and is also supposed to be released next year. You can read about both movies and see a few pictures on www.imdb.com.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Jack's first day in DC.


This story takes place on our first day (evening, really) in Washington, DC. Please, keep in mind that it takes place the very same day Mackenzie burned her leg. Also, keep in mind that, if you know my son, Jack, at all, the following story would only happen to him.

As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, on our first evening in DC, we took a chauffeured tour to the most famous monuments and memorials in the capital. Jack was especially excited to see the Lincoln Memorial. He played Abe in a school play just a few weeks ago and couldn't wait to see "himself" sitting in that big chair!

We spent some time on the front steps of the Lincoln Memorial and then went inside to view the statue of our 16th president. It is absolutely amazing. I could've stayed there for hours. Any words I use here to describe the memorial will not do it justice. Just know that, if you have not seen this in person, you must do it and soon!

After we were inside for a while, my mother-in-law, told us we should go to the back of the building and look at the columns. Ok, so picture the front of the memorial: many steps leading up to where Lincoln is sitting in his chair, right? Well, there is also a porch that wraps around the building (or most of it) and in the back part of the porch are many beautiful columns. Sounded great to us, so that is where we went next.

On the back porch, there is a really cool-looking ceiling. As I was taking a picture of this ceiling I see Jack out of the corner of my eye holding on to one of the columns. Scott and I both tell him to be careful and he answers that we shouldn't worry because there are steps right below the porch. Are you seeing where this is going yet??

As I was taking a picture of all of the columns lined up on the back porch, I heard a high-pitched scream. I immediately ran to the column that Jack had been near and, sure enough, he had fallen down. He had been trying to wrap his little 9 year-old leg around the first column when he slipped and fell onto the first step and then rolled backwards onto the second step. These steps are not like the one in the front of the memorial; they are much bigger. I'll have a reference picture posted on facebook after I post this for you to look at.

As soon as he fell, Jack popped right back up. He never blacked out. In fact, we are quite certain that he didn't hit his head at all, thank You, God! He was, though, immediately sore in his shoulder and lower back. He was also shaken up a bit but, he seemed to be okay. By the way, that high-pitched scream I heard did not come from Jack as he fell. It came from his sister who watched him fall. :-(

Soooo, we leave Lincoln, view the equally-amazing Korean War Veteran's Memorial, and then hop in our "limo" for a quick drive to the White House. As we are walking to the front lawn of the White House, Jack mentions to Scott that he thinks he is going to throw up. Scott immediately associates this with a possible head injury and becomes concerned that Jack might have a concussion. He pulls Jack to the side to look at his pupils and asks Jack if he really thinks he's about to be sick. Jack answers by turning and vomiting right in the grass...of the front lawn....of the WHITE HOUSE. I actually started looking around to see if the Secret Service was going to jump out at us! Did I forget to mention that it was just after 10 PM when this was going on?

After he finally stopped being sick, we called our wonderful driver to come pick us up and he took us to the nearest emergency room. There Scott, Jack and I stayed until 4 AM, when we were finally told what we expected all along: Jack was fine. The doctor didn't even want to do a CT scan because there were no signs of any head trauma and she didn't think it was worth getting zapped with radiation. The only thing we can think happened was, simply, bad timing. Or it could have been bad fish from the sushi place where we had dinner that night...

Anyway, if anyone in my family is going to fall off the Lincoln Memorial and then throw up in the White House front lawn, it will most definitely be Jack! I still can't believe that actually happened but I look forward to a lifetime of reminding him of what he put us through! Actually, I say that for Jack AND Mackenzie because, remember, they both got hurt on the same day! Yes, our first 24 hours in DC consisted of Mac getting burned and Jack....well, Jack being Jack.

It's a good thing Mackenzie loves soy sauce!


As I mentioned in my previous post, we took 2 days to drive to Washington, DC from West Virginia. On our second day we stopped to get gas, as we frequently had to do since we were traveling with 2 Harley riders. During this particular stop my precious angel of a daughter, Mackenzie, hopped out of the truck to go visit with her daddy, who was putting gas in his bike.

Now, Mackenzie has been around motorcycles most of her life and has been told many times to stay away from the motorcycle muffler that gets incredibly hot when the motor is running. The muffler gets so hot, in fact, that it takes quite a while for it to cool off once the bike is turned off. Unfortunately, though, while talking to Scott, she forgot our warnings and got a little too close to the bike. She touched the front of her leg to the hot muffler and received a third degree burn in the process. My poor baby! She was in pain but she handled it well. We had Neosporin and band aids with us but we knew we'd need to get some more supplies for our trip. My mother-in-law declared that we needed Silvadene (not sure I spelled that right) but was not sure we could get it without a prescription. We drove to the nearest Wal Mart Supercenter, where Linda spoke with and, most likely, begged the pharmacist for a dab of the miracle burn salve. The pharmacist could not give her the salve without a prescription but did have a suggestion for us.

SOY SAUCE. Yes, soy sauce. The pharmacist told my mother-in-law to soak Mackenzie's wound in soy sauce a few times a day to draw out the moisture and prevent infection. Sounds crazy, right? Well, guess what! It WORKS!! I kid you not. For the next few days, we soaked her burn in soy sauce and even put some on her bandages for her to wear all day and it looked great the entire time.

We did take Mackenzie to an urgent care facility 5 days later just to make sure we were doing the right thing, even though there were no signs of infection. The physician's assistant said it looked great! She still couldn't give us a prescription for Silvadene because it can't be given to children but we left with another type of ointment and security in knowing Mackenzie's leg will be just fine.

Our Trip to Washington, DC


We just returned from a 9 day trip to the West Virginia/Washington DC area and, man, did we have fun! It has been 5 years since we have taken a family trip like this but this one was so good, I'm ready to plan the next one...and it better happen sooner than 5 years! There are a two stories from this trip that will be shared in their very own blog posts but, in this post, I'll give you the basics of what we did.

We drove, that's what we did. We drove...and drove...and drove some more. Including Oklahoma, from where we started this trip, we drove through 6 states in 1 day. 16 hours in a truck...with two kids, 1 husband, and a lot of electronics....AND we were towing a motorcycle on a trailer...AND it drizzled/rained the entire time. Yep, that pretty much sums up Day 1. It really wasn't as bad as it sounds. Scott and I traded off driving, while the other read or slept. My kids were practically raised in a car, so as long as they had a DVD to watch or a video game to play, they were golden. We arrived safely to my in-laws' house in West Virginia and quickly settled in for our exciting vacation.

Before I go on, I want to encourage all of you to take yourself or your family on a driving vacation. That is, a trip where you drive to and around your destination, instead of flying. I totally understand the convenience of flying but everyone should drive on, at least, one vacation. I promise you will see so many beautiful things.

I have seen some beautiful scenery in my lifetime but the drive from Oklahoma to West Virginia was one of, if not THE, most gorgeous drives I've ever been on. Growing up in Louisiana, I've seen my fair share of trees but that was nothing compared to all of the trees I saw on this drive. There was green everywhere! And hills! REAL hills! I loved to look down and see the little communities and houses nestled in the trees. You read that correctly... I had to look down to see the neighborhoods from the interstate. There were even times where it looked like we were driving into gigantic heads of broccoli! At least, that's what it looked like to me, with all of the trees everywhere. Now, to be truthful, I don't think my kids looked up from their electronic devices once during the drive, so they totally missed all of the green but they can, hopefully, experience it again and appreciate it when they are a bit older.

The second day of our trip involved more road time but this time I was driving the truck with the kids and my mother-in-law, Linda, and Scott and his dad, Jim, rode motorcycles. We did some local sightseeing, including the New River Gorge Bridge, and then stayed the night in a hotel. We drove through even more rain on this day than the day before and our "Harley Guys" were soaked to the bone, so we were all happy to make a stop for the night.

The next day, we visited Manassas, Virginia, where the Battle of Bull Run occurred. For you Civil War buffs out there, 2 battles actually occurred here but the memorial mainly focuses on the first battle because it was the first major land battle of the war. I love American history and was beyond excited to visit this Civil War battleground. There is an enormous statue of Stonewall Jackson on his horse, overlooking the fields where his men fought and died, that gives me chills just thinking about it.

From Manassas, we drove to Washington, DC. That evening we rented a limo, which was really a Suburban SUV with a driver, and toured the mall, where most of the memorials in DC are located. I cannot accurately describe how it felt to finally see these memorials in person. I've wanted to see the mall since I was a kid and to be able to see it and share it with my children was simply amazing. It is my firm belief that every American citizen, history buff or not, should visit DC at least once in their lifetime. It will change you, I promise.

We spent the next 2 days touring DC and didn't even get close to seeing all that we wanted to, so I am now wanting to plan "DC Trip #2" SOON!

After DC, we drove to Maryland and visited the Antietam National Battlefield, where the bloodiest Civil War battle took place. Being on the fields here and in Manassas was so moving. I was standing on the same ground that all of those soldiers and officers and, even President Lincoln, once stood, fought, and died on and, not to sound too hokey, it was like I could feel their presence and the importance of their actions.

We spent the rest of our vacation resting and hanging out with my in-laws in their home and then spent another 15 hours in the truck driving home...this time in complete sunshine so that I could enjoy the view even more.

Welcome back!


Well, hello, there! I cannot believe it has been 7 months since my last post! I am such a bad blogger!! Please don't take my absence personally. I think about blogging all of the time...I even have a list of things to blog about; I just haven't actually sat down and written anything.

I still put too much pressure on myself about writing rather than just DOING it but I hope to change all of that starting today! Yipee!! In fact, I have so much to write about, you may be bombarded with a few updates today. I'll try to pace myself, though. I'll also try not to write a post that is the size of a novel but we all know how I like to ramble....

With all of that being said, I'll give you a quick update on my life from the past 7 months:

1. Christmas was great because, well, Christmas always is great. It was different because we celebrated it at home by ourselves for the first time. It was nice in many ways; lonely in other ways.

2. We experienced our first blizzard! And then the next week, we experienced it again! The second week of snow wasn't technically called a "blizzard" because there wasn't enough wind along with the snow but we received about 20 inches of snow both weeks, which is more than this small family from Louisiana has ever experienced at home! We loved it! School was cancelled, as well as, Scott's work for a few days, so we just stayed home, played in the snow, read by the fire, and drank coffee all day....bliss....

3. Now that we are out of April, everyone in my family is another year older. I was not really looking forward to admitting that I am now 36 years old but, for some reason, whenever people ask me my age, I have to stop myself from saying I'm 37! I am not 37 but that is the number that pops into my head when I am asked. Just the other day Mackenzie corrected me about that. I said something about being 37 and she said, "Uh, Mom? I thought you are 36?" I have no idea why this keeps happening. Maybe it is a sign of old age.... :-)

4. I still want to be Ree Drummond's, a.k.a. The Pioneer Woman, best friend. There, I still admit it. I just want to cook with her and hang out at the ranch. Heck, I'll even help homeschool her kids!

5. I still can't run more than 12 minutes straight but I am trying! I made it through week 7 of my Couch 2 5K app for the second time but then went back to earlier weeks that have more intervals because that is what I prefer. I still want to be able to truly run a 5K but it will just take more time for me to get there. Also, for those of you keeping count, I have officially lost 30 pounds! Before my vacation last week, I'd lost 32 pounds but then I went on vacation and, well, you know..... Any way, it is still a wonderful accomplishment. I'd like to lose about 20-30 more but I'd like to see if I can do it without Jenny Craig's help. There is nothing wrong with JC. I am just tired of relying on her food so much and also paying for it. So, this week, I'll be doing it "alone" and, hopefully, I'll be closer to that 32 pound loss again. I'll keep you posted.

Oh, well, so much for this post not turning into a novel....talk to ya again soon!
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