Wednesday, April 29, 2009

ONE YEAR IN SWEENEYVILLE

It was exactly one year ago today that I started Sweeneyville. Hard to believe it has been that long already! And since the traditional gift for a one year anniversary happens to be paper, I am now in the process of publishing my blog into an actual book I can keep on my shelf. So, I am using a website called blurb.com and a program called BookSmart (that you download on your computer) to edit and set up my entire blog into book format. I am sure it will be eleventy twelve zillion dollars to print it, but in the end I think it will be worth it. The ultimate journal, you might say. So two things in honor of this being my one year mark....

1. I would be remiss if I did not give a shout out to Jen Barnes, my former BYU roomie who conned me into this whole blogging thing anyway. If not for her, Sweeneyville would never exist. Thanks Jen! We met when we were roommates at Deseret Towers in the Commons Room; (which was the the makeshift housing cubicle with no windows set aside for slackers that didn't sign up for housing in time). Anyway, we had some hilarious times in there. Truly, those are some of the BEST memories I have- freshman year with Jen and Amy. Stay tuned, because I am defnitely going to have to blog some more about those 9 months...(although I need a scanner if I am really going to do it justice. I got some great pics...)

2. As I have been editing my blog on that computer program, I have had a chance to re-read all of my posts. So if you want to know my favorite entries for the past year, here are my top 5:

5. Story of the Dead Bird
4. It's Cindy's World, I Just Live In It
3. Once there was An Elephant
2. Sprint Triathlon Results
1. Pardon the Interruption, but...

So there you have it. I love milestones! I hope next April 29th I will be working on publishing my second year in Sweeneyville (and that you will still be bored enough to keep reading this :)

And on a completely different note, Jacob gave Luke a sweet new summer haircut last night, so here he is in all his glory...

Saturday, April 25, 2009

See what happens when you start reading those Twilight books!?

Yeah, I am on Breaking Dawn now about halfway through. Anyway, time has been in an absolute trance all week and wham! Before I had time to realize, it has been about 4 days since my last blog entry. Blasphemy! I think these books actually turn you into a Vampire when you read them because you hardly sleep or eat until you finish them....

But I did pull it together long enough for Luke's Birthday on Thursday. He is TWO! Holy cow, such a big boy already! This is about the age that I just start to LOVE watching them learn to talk and grow. So much fun. Cindy had an Elmo cake when she was two also.

So Luke, when you look back and read this blog one day, here is how you spent your time on the day you turned two:

I made you pancakes in the shape of a two. You were still adjusting to the light of day and did not want any photos of you at this point...



Then we went to visit Rosa and give her some hay.



Watched a little Elmo....(which happened to be about Dinosaurs AND Sesame Street was brought to you by the Number 2 that morning. How appropriate!)



Ate some macaroni and cheese...



Had popsicles with your "girlfriends" :)


Finally that night, it was time to open some gifts.





Dad, I mean, you got some sweet Star Trek toys from the new movie! Whoo-hoo!







The sock monkey was a big hit :)


And we decided that just having two sets of Grandparents at the party was not enough, so we had GREAT Grandparents there too! Great Grandma Nadine and Great Grandpa Rufus came and we were so happy they got to celebrate with us :)



The color of the frosting was originally pink (couldn't quite get enough red food coloring in the white frosting to make it truly red.) I knew I was in trouble when after I frosted it the first time Cindy said, "Oh, this cake is SOOO beautiful!!!" So I got out my red frosting spray and took care of any remaining feminimity right then and there. I hope you appreciate my efforts.

We used the last two trick candles I had left. You got to blow out these candles a few times.





You love yourself some cake and ice cream.

And I do follow cake directions like nobody's business, so it was mighty tasty.





Then it was back to business.... You are totally excited about your first Big Wheel!!!


















Dad was thrilled you got your own soccer goal and ball...the legacy continues!!


Here you are in your new Superman pajamas (complete with cape!), standing on your new train table holding your Star Trek communicator. Awesome.

And what would be a Birthday without some new threads. Stylin'!


I look really weird in this picture, must be the angle because Cindy took it. My smile was turning to a grimace and why am I looking up? Ahhh, but here is pictoral proof I was there. Anyhow, you had a great day and every boy should be so lucky to be surrounded by family when he turns 2 years old :)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What? This?


Jacob made this giant A out of some black styro-board and gave it giant eyes. He took it to school and put it in his classroom. Then it goes something like this:

Student: Mr. Sweeney, what is the big A for?
Mr. Sweeney: What? That? That's the grade you could be making if you studied.

CLASSIC! I am so proud to call Jacob my husband :)
(Consequently, all the other teachers are borrowing it because it is so awesome :)

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Weenie

Welcome back to the wonderful and wacky world of Bingham Family traditions. Today we will tackle: The Weenie. This one is a classic, so classic, in fact, that I am not sure I even know its correct origins. Here is what I do know- the Weenie is a little plastic figurine of Robin (from the original Batman and Robin TV series) that measures about 3 inches high. One of us bought him somewhere and gave it someone else in the family as a present, a very strange, goofy present. His name is The Weenie, because, well, look at him, I mean, he is Robin- totally useless, feminine, fairy costume, horrible name- The Weenie just makes sense, right? Anyway, after that first gift exchange, it was decreed that The Weenie would be passed around each birthday in one of the presents, until the next birthday, where the previous 'owner' would get to pass it on yet again. So for a span of about 5 years there, you were less excited about what you actually got in the presents you opened and more concerned with where and how The Weenie would make an appearance. Finally, The Weenie disappeared and we had no idea where he went, until one day, I believe Dave found him (somewhere) and since it was Mom's birthday next- she got him. I even have sweet video footage of it! (This was approximately 2 years or so ago?) Background you need to know: Mom had been opening The Weenie for several minutes before I started this video. It is a long-standing tradition between Brian and my Mom to wrap and re-wrap and re-wrap and re-wrap and re-wrap and wrap again the presents they give to each other. Thus, in this particular instance, The Weenie actually started in a large box and by this point his is just about quintuple wrapped in paper. The reaction to the re-emergence of the Weenie is classic. So here you go....

video

Also, I could not take a close up picture of The Weenie because, alas, he is in Spain! Yup, we sent him to Brian for his birthday two months ago. We take this very seriously! :)

Saturday, April 18, 2009

They must get this from their Dad...



Sorry, you are going to have to indulge me for this post- Cindy and Luke have just been making me laugh a lot as of late, so I have to document a few moments today.






First off, Cindy had to have her Kindergarten shots the other day. Yup, a finger stick and 4 vaccines- it was not going to be fun. Her appointment was at 3pm, so I told her at about 2pm that she had to go to the doctor. She immediately got very worried and asked me right away, "Do I have to get shots??" I told her I didn't know, so we would just go and find out. She was begging me to call the doctor and find out right then. I thought that was silly and I asked her, "Why do you want to know right now?" And she said, "Because if I do then I can start crying!" Oh, poor girl. :) Well, she did great and made it through the trauma. And Dunkin' Donuts afterward helped induce the amnesia I knew would come.

Also concerning Cindy...The other night she was begging me to let her watch a movie as she was going to sleep. That is not an option for her on a school night, so I said No. She was very mad at me and finally after I told her No for the third time, she put her hand on her hip, cocked her head with some serious "oh-no-you-just-didn't" attitude and said to me, "Well, you don't have the fruits of the spirit right now- Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self-Control!" Hmmmph! And she snorted and went off to her bedroom to go to sleep. I stood there in shock, she did not miss a beat on that one. I had just been Biblically rebuked by a 5-year-old. What planet am I on?

And finally, last Thursday while Jacob and I were doing our taxes, the kids were just staying up and playing quite nice together. Cindy eventually pulled up two of our bar stools to the edge of the TV room and she sat on one while Luke sat on the other. The channel was still on PBS after Dragon Tales got over and it was a nature special about snakes. You would think this would creep Cindy out, but it was like a car accident she could not look away from. Luke on the other hand, sat next and watched, but the whole time he was groaning and yelling "EWWWWW! GROSS!!! SNAKE!!! EWWWW!!!!"
But yet he sat there content to be with his big sister. Funny kids!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Experiences Numbers 6 & 7

So I crossed off two more experiences this past weekend. So without further ado, here they are:

Experience #6: Hear the Star Wars Theme Song Performed Live

A couple weeks ago Jacob sent me a link from school about how the Tampa Orchestra was doing a concert comprised of songs all composed by John Williams. The concert was that night and sold out, but he just sent me the link and said it would have been cool to have seen it. Awh, shucks! So I did some Googling and voila! I found that the same show was being done by the Orlando Philharmonic this past weekend. Cha-ching! So we splurged on the cheap seats ($13/each got us the upper center balcony) and had a great time! Not only did we get to hear the theme from Star Wars (which was completey awesome, truly a thrilling moment), we also got the themes from Superman, E.T., Raiders of the Lost Ark, Jurassic Park, Saving Private Ryan, and Harry Potter as well as the theme from NBC Nightly News, the Olympic fanfare, and a sweet arrangement he did of the songs of Fiddler on the Roof. Totally awesome! There is nothing like hearing live music, especially when it is so familiar. It was truly amazing to watch the conductor command all those instruments, sounds and voices to make gorgeous music. I know, my picture is horrible, but considering I was not even supposed to have taken a picture, it isn't too bad. Jacob and I were the youngest people in our section by about 20 years, easily, but we felt terribly cultured, and proud of it! I highly recommend the symphony when it comes to movie music. You just can't go wrong with John Williams.


Experience #7- Eat at a true "Waffle House"

IHOP, Denny's, Village Inn, yeah, I have been to all of those. But I had never eaten in one of those hideous yellow and black true "Waffle House" restaurants and I just have to be able to say I have had the experience. So on the way home from the symphony, we stopped in Davenport at the Hwy. 27 exit to sample the Waffle House fare. Now, I was not expecting anything amazing or mind-blowing, and rightly so. We were actually the only ones in the whole place, I almost doubted the truthfulness of their claim of "open 24 hours" when we pulled into the parking lot. But they were open and we had quite a breakfast spread. Yes, I did eat waffles :) with chocolate chips even! Also some omelette, toast, hashbrowns, sausage- all my favorite things. Our server, Miracle (as in, it's a miracle this place needs more than one employee) was pretty good and we walked out with two take out boxes and very full bellies. Ultimately, I think the Waffle House is a little overpriced. I think I will stick with Denny's in the future. But they do serve a 5 pork chop dinner (??) there AND they have the counter seating you only see in the movies- so when it comes to nostalgia, they got it. Until next time, blog readers!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Were we alone in our principles?

As I have been talking to friends and family, it has come to my attention that most people don't hide the Easter basket they give to their children (and consequently make them find it somewhere in the house). I have to say that as kids we always had to hunt for our basket. I was certain everyone did this, but maybe not! In fact, I distinctly remember Brian having to hunt for his Easter basket the Easter before he left on his mission, all the while me, Jacob, Misty, Dave, Chris and Molly were mocking him and how old he was, as he moved from room to room 'hunting' it down. Ahhh, having older siblings is so awesome :) So I must take this moment to say, Props to you, Mom! for making Easter all the more fun for us!

Anyway, we did our basket hunt back on Thursday before Easter. Luke was excited about the candy and especially the Scooby-doo fruit snacks. The peeps: not so much. Sorry to Great Grandpa Bingham :) And of course Luke turned out his trademark chocolate drool in a matter of minutes... Cindy LOVED her My Little Pony- complete with rabbit ears- they are getting so clever with all the Easter stuff you can buy nowadays.


















I also have really cute video of them finding their baskets and was going to publish it here for you to see, but my Windows Movie Maker program is malfunctioning at the moment and putting horrible green flashing throughout the video. D'oh! I'll have to have my chief engineer get on that one ASAP.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

My Official Twilight Review

So I finally did it. I broke down and went to the Redbox and rented Twilight. On purpose. I believe that being one of only 17 people left on the planet who has not seen the movie or read the books was turning me into somewhat of a weirdo. And speaking of weirdos, how about that Edward Cullen, eh? Wow, I don't even know where to start with this guy! Actually, let me start with what tidbits of information I already knew going into the movie:

1. There is a guy named Edward
2. He is a vampire
3. There are other people in the movie
4. I have no idea who any of them are

As you can see, I was a fountain of Twilight knowledge. Pretty good for never reading the book! In the end I thought the movie was interesting, (I did not fall asleep!) yet it was also kind of cheesy. Once again, a list of pros and cons would be in order:

Pros:
1. I finally at least understand the plot line of the series now; the forbidden vampire/human love story vs. the possibility that Bella could become a vampire and live forever with Edward. (Is that right? I was a little hazy on that part.)
2. They really did end up tearing that James guy in pieces and burning him! I kinda thought that was just a figure of speech until they did it. Nice follow through!
3. Totally thought that Carlisle, the father, was way cuter than Edward.
4. The movie wasn't really about some awful family situation with Bella's parents. For the most part her parents were nice and they got along. And Bella doesn't get Punk'd at school all through the movie either. Kind of a nice change.

Cons:
1. Bella becomes totally in love with Edward for pretty much no apparent reason. I kind of missed why she even likes him, really. Besides some fatal attraction thing. The movie just put in ethereal music and long gazes but kind of lacked the reasoning behind it all.
2. Edward was WAY too pale and creepy looking. I get the whole, hot brooding teenager look, but he was so intense and so odd looking in some scenes, it was a little over the top. He's a weirdo, we get it.
3. Vampires playing baseball because they need thunder to hide the noise? Okay, I guess they get bored like the rest of us?
4. We get to the very dramatic scene where Edward kidnaps Bella up into the mountains and reveals to her the awful sight of a Vampire in the sun!!! No, don't look! I've....become...SPARKLY! Mu-ha-ha-ha-ha-huh? No worries, Edward, you are beautiful.

Okay, so I forced Jacob to watch this movie with me and it was at the part where Bella and Edward are laying in the grass in the mountains (after she puts 2 and 2 together) that Jacob sat up and threatened to leave. But he persevered with me and at the end he proudly declared, "WOW, I need to do something really masculine now." (He played some PS2 Football, in case you were wondering...)

And so the judges award the following scores...
Jacob (and most guys in general): 2 out of 5 stars (it got a two for having blood)
Jessica: 3 out of 5 stars (My apologies to all the fanpires out there)

AND, as an added bonus, I have been inspired to treat you to a top ten. Enjoy!

TOP TEN SURPRISES IN THE TWILIGHT MOVIE

10. Cameo by President Monson much shorter than expected
9. Vampires only eat people that don't own all the Twilight books (I'm a gonner!)
8. Even vampires are being watched by the money they could be saving by switching to GEICO
7. Part where Edward saves Bella from Somali pirates was a little contrived
6. Cullen family not actually vampires, just unemployed used car salesmen
5. Over 3,000 people voluntarily live in Forks, Washington
4. Musical number with Teen-Wolf really showed Edward's vocal range
3. Blood Sucking for Dummies a little too vague to really help Bella
2. Original title of "Gee, You're Sparkles Look Terrific!" never it made it to final cut
1. Big Foot's annoying laugh

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Hoppy Easter!

I had been wanting to take Easter pictures of the kids with Rosa, well, pretty much since we got her. I mean, how cute to have a real, live bunny at Easter! It was Rosa's time to shine! Unfortunately, the bunny and the kids were not very cooperative at first. So Cindy took a few hours timeout at Grandma Sweeney's- and of course, she came home in a very good mood. Who wouldn't?? So I tried again and snapped some candids outside and with Rosa and was pretty happy they ended up being something worth saving. One day I promise to learn a little more about the techy stuff of photography, but for now, my little 3-year-old Canon point and shoot digital camera has been very kind to me in making up for my ignorance. Here are some of the better shots:

















Tuesday, April 7, 2009

There's a girl in my bucket, Dear Liza



I came home the other night after being out late with friends and I thought the kids were in bed. Luke was in bed, and, well, technically Cindy was asleep too, just in the living room inside her stuffed animal bucket. Kudos to Jacob for announcing to me first thing that [he] "already took a picture of it." I have trained him well :)

Sunday, April 5, 2009

6th folder, 6th picture

I was tagged by my friend Jen to post the 6th picture from my 6th photo folder and then blog about it. So here it is. Hard to believe that this is Luke, huh? It was taken about 3 weeks after he was born. I took a whole bunch of pictures in hopes that I would get some good ones for some Mother's Day presents. Of course, instead of being able to just enjoy the pictures and think about how cute he was, I remember completely analyzing and dissecting each one of these pictures to see if I thought Luke's face looked asymmetrical. This was taken right in the middle of all his doctor's visits and tests and scans about his right jaw and we were wondering if he really had Goldenhar's Syndrome, as he was first diagnosed in the hospital. So honestly, this photo brings back memories of worry and uncertainty. However, all those tests pointed to his condition being Hemifacial Microsomia- which is a very, very mild condition where one side of the jaw is a little smaller than the other. Not a big deal! Plus, he is so dang cute, who would ever know? This one was my favorite from that photo session, though...

Friday, April 3, 2009

Yard, Yard, Bo Bard

So we have been out and about in the yard this week. It is Spring Break for Jacob and Cindy, so in between all of the TV/Movie watching on our new big screen television (the post about that is coming soon...) we found the time to get caught up on some of our outside projects.

First Jacob took a chainsaw and took down the tree in the backyard. This is the picture I took through the living room window (as I watched from a safe location). I was a little worried fingers would be lost and fences would be toppled, but I have to admit, Jacob is incredibly handy and can do most home improvement projects quite well. Plus, we have wanted that tree out of there for a while, so it was nice to finally make progress on accomplishing that goal.

Then I went out and cleaned out the garden. Whoo-hoo!



I finally moved my pineapples from the underworld next to the shed to the front garden box.




I got everything weeded, de-leafed, and ready for planting.



I blessed these sprouts that, Frucious, the patron saint of grape tomatoes, would watch over them and make thier harvest abundant. (Actually, we tried out a hot tip this year concerning tomato plants, and that is to put rotten banana peels about 6 inches under the soil where you plant them. We did it! I hope it works!)

And in this space I finally decided to let Cindy have her own flower garden. A place where if there are flowers, she is allowed to wear her princess dress, pick them and gather them in a basket while singing, as she is prone to do. I scattered about 8 kinds of seeds in there (seriously) so who knows what will come up. Hopefully at least one or two!


And finally, my irises are blooming! I must have done something right in keeping them alive at least a year. They sure are pretty. Too bad they only last a few days. This is definitely my favorite time of year at my house. The leaves have finally stopped falling, we have raked for the last time, the garden is in and all that is left is to take care of it and enjoy it. To me, that is happiness. :)