Monday, July 28, 2008

Really cool video

My buddy, Don Crane (who just started blogging) sent me this video today and I had to share it with you guys. Pretty cool!!

Happy Monday!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The American Idols in Concert

So, as you know - I saw the American Idols in Concert on Tuesday evening. The top ten contestants from this season's American Idol performed at Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Before we left, I told Hunkahubby that I hoped I would not be disappointed. Oftentimes, things don't come through quite the same way on TV that they do live and in person.

I was right.

But in a good way.

TV did NOT do them justice.

They were AMAZING. Honestly. I was only disappointed with one contestant - which I'll get into in a minute.

During the 'warm-up' before the concert, we were treated to an appearance by POP-TART (Pop-Tarts sponsored the concert).
He was fun. (all pictures by Hunkahubby and IzzyBeth, Copyright, 2008)

Not so sure about the implications of a giant fuzzy Pop-Tart though . . .

Right before the show started, there was a little bit of activity in front of the stage and we realized that Hoosier top 24 contestant Luke Menard was in the audience.
Yes, the picture is fuzzy, but it is him. Several of the contestants pointed him out and one even dedicated a song to him.

The concert started and each performer from 10 to the winner was given the chance to sing at least 3 songs by themselves on stage.

The first performer was the contestant who finished 10th: Chikezie

I was extremely impressed with him. He talked of how blessed he was to be on the stage. He had awesome stage presence and he hit some unbelievable notes. He did not deserve to be 10th. He also did a great job of starting off the show and getting everyone pumped up. After Chikezie performed three songs (for a complete set list, click here) Ramiele Malubay got her turn.

Now I have to admit, that I really liked Ramiele at the beginning of the competition this year. But as time went on - she didn't show much personality. Well, unfortunately - that carried through to this concert. She is a tiny, cute girl - but she was not that great. And she acted bored to be there. I was disappointed in her stage presence and in her voice. :-( And I'm not even sure she knew what city she was in. But anyway - I made it through her 3 songs and cheered loudly when she was done.

Next up . . . a contestant that never should have finished 8th . . . Michael Johns.

During this season - I went back and forth on Michael. He seemed kind of cocky. But he was an amazing performer - and in this concert he did justice to favorites from Queen and Aerosmith. And he dedicated Aerosmith's "Dream On" to Luke Menard. Even Hunkahubby who was not a fan of Michael, said that he redeemed himself. He did a great job. (Plus, who couldn't love his Australian accent?)

Next up - the country girl, Kristy Lee Cook.

She had an on again/off again season and I really think it was nerves. She was often pitchy and I wasn't certain how good she really was. Well, she did a GREAT job performing. I didn't hear any pitchy notes either. And of course - she knows how to get the crowd by performing "God Bless the USA". Kristy is also the first contestant (beyond the top 2) to get a record contract. So look for her country album to come out within the next year!

Next was the performer that Hunkahubby and I were VERY excited to hear live: Carly Smithson!!!

She did NOT disappoint. :-) Go Carly. Carly has a magnificent voice. And she sang some pretty powerful songs. She opened with "Bring Me to Life" by Evanescence. And then she talked in her beautiful Irish lilt for a little bit. Then she caused my husband to drool and sweat a little bit by singing "Crazy on You" by Heart (He LOVES Heart). And she KILLED it. (Killed in a good way, obviously). She finished with Cyndi Lauper's "I Drove All Night." Awesome job Carly. Some idiot had better sign her to a label. She is amazing. (And all those people who are hating on her over the "previous contract controversy" - GIVE HER A BREAK, she was REALLY YOUNG. She's paid her dues. Geesh.)

Next up was finalist number 5 - Brooke White.

Brooke has the Carole King/Carly Simon vibe, which I love. I was a little worried about Brooke during the competition because I was afraid the pressure was going to make her CRACK. But she survived the tv season and did a beautiful job performing for us - including accompanying herself on piano and guitar.

Just before intermission - we were reminded about Idol Gives Back and how we can continue to help. The finalists who had performed so far came together to perform U2's "Pride (In the Name of Love)". Again . . . awesome. (I have to find a new adjective.)

During intermission there was a Guitar Hero: World Tour commercial featuring the idols - but I was busy standing in the horrendously long women's restroom line. But I searched for it on YouTube and was able to see most of it. (I won't post a link here, because none of the videos are great quality).

Hunkahubby and I got something to drink to help our parched throats (yes, we scream) and got back to our seats - and were graced with Mr. Pop-Tart's presence for a few more minutes. Then - BACK TO THE SHOW WITH . . . Jason Castro!

I love Jason Castro. He was always really laid back, and just a little bit awkward. But you could not deny that he was talented. He also did my favorite song of his from the season - Israel Kamakawiwo'ole's version of "Over the Rainbow." With a ukulele no less. :-)

The next contestant is a stunning girl and has a beautiful voice - but I wish she'd worn a little bit more clothes. Holy cow Syesha Mercado!

Syesha sang very well, and knew her way around the stage - but I wasn't DAZZLED the way I was with some of the other performers. Maybe I was too busy watching the security guy who thought he needed to police how far people's toes stuck out into the aisle. Or listening to the four adults who had way too much to drink in the rows behind us. (You couldn't NOT hear them, unfortunately.)

After this - the high pitched scary screaming started. The pre-teens were IN THE HOUSE. And they were there for David Archuleta.

Here is another one where I cannot deny this kid's talent. He has an incredible voice for a 17-year-old. He seems very comfortable "working" the stage - but when he stops to talk - he still seems really nervous and completely blown away that everyone is screaming for him.

David Archuleta (or "Archie") got to sing 4 songs, and my favorite was the last one where he sang Josh Groban's version of "When You Say You Love Me."

Now - the moment I had been waiting for . . . Yes - I am a "Cookie". I loved this contestant from almost the very beginning of last season. He was consistently good - and always did something unique with his songs. (And it doesn't hurt that he seems to be a genuine nice guy - AND has family from Indiana!) Yes - it was finally time for - DAVID COOK!

He was BEYOND amazing. He did a great job - and he was so REAL. During one part, he realized that his pants were coming 'un-tied' -- I think it was more on the side than anything that would have caused embarrassment. But after a song, he sat down and said he was going to fix it (and everyone booed) and he said "I can't believe you guys would BOO safety!"

He also talked about his guitar and that he bought it in Indiana. And that his Dad and some other family members were in the audience. (He made his Daddy proud!)

David got to sing five songs including:

His version of "Hello" by Lionel Richie.
His first official single - "The Time of My Life"
Aerosmith's "I Don't Wanna Miss a Thing"
The Foo Fighters' "My Hero" which he dedicated to his brother Adam (from Terre Haute, Indiana) who is battling brain cancer.
And Chris Cornell's version of Michael Jackson's "Billie Jean".

Hello and Billie Jean were definitely my favorites.

Everyone screamed the loudest for the 2 Davids (Carly, Castro, and Michael Johns got a lot of love as well.) And I thought the coolest thing was this gray-haired lady a few rows in front of me who tried to stand on her chair to get a better look at David Cook. When you've won over the Grandmas AND the teenagers - well, what else could you want??

All of the idols came out for one last song - Rihanna's version of "Please don't stop the music". Again . . . amazing. (heard that word enough?)

Oh - and I almost forgot to mention the fact that at the very end streamers shot out of the ceiling and I GOT TO KEEP A PIECE. (I'm weird, I know.) Hunkahubby is working on a collage for our wall from our AI Concert experience and the shiny streamer will just make it that much cooler.

It was a great evening and I didn't want it to end. I wanted to stay after to see if I could meet some of the idols - but Hunkahubby thought we should get home before it got too late. ::sighs:: OH WELL. I got some great pictures - and hopefully several of these people make it big and I can say I knew them when.

And the best part? An evening with Hunkahubby all to myself. I am so blessed.

Happy Thursday - TOMORROW IS FRIDAY!!!!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

We were in the 18th row . . .

And it was awesome . . .

A sneak peek:

(Photo by IzzyBeth, 2008).

Here David Cook is pointing to the AC on his guitar that stands for his brothers Adam and Andrew Cook.

I'll try and update more tomorrow!!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I am so excited . . .

Because tonight, Hunkahubby and I are going to Conseco Fieldhouse in Indianapolis to see . . .

(image from

Yes, we're going to see the American Idols Tour. And I am really excited.

I am interested in hearing how they sound live in comparison to how they sound on TV and in studio recordings. It should be a great show!

I'll update tomorrow!!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

They are growing up so fast!

This was last week at our friend Kim's pool. I wish I could be as brave as they are . . .

And this was just a few minutes ago.

Now all of my babies can ride their bikes without training wheels.

Why do I feel happy and sad at the same time??

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Belated Birthday Post

So - Hunkahubby had a birthday this week.

And I've been too busy to post about it -- so I'll let you see the highlights . . .

Here he is on "party" day. Isn't he handsome??

Opening an ornery gift from my Dad.

the cake

the cheese bread (which accompanied the pizzas)

the brownies (are you hungry now? I am!)

the opening of presents (just for Sandy!)

Grandpa and Grandson (just cause they are so cute with their matching hair)

And a glimpse into what I gave Hunkahubby for his birthday on Monday.

I hope you had a great day honey! I love you so much!!!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Pet . . . Shark??

The Indianapolis Zoo has a pretty cool exhibit right now. When we went last week (in the rain) we visited this exhibit (because it is enclosed!)

In the Oceans section - you have the opportunity to pet a shark! Yes, I just said "pet a shark."

There is a pool of dog sharks, that the guide told me are perfectly harmless and that they would never put something out there that could harm us or our children. (Because zoo animals are so safe . . .) We were asked not to touch the sharks fins or tails, but to use two fingers to pet the back of the shark. I think this was meant to protect the shark, as the fins and tails are really fragile.

Here are the sharks.

And here are the kids attempting to pet the sharks.

Yes, we each got to pet a shark (or two). It took some coaxing for the kids but they finally were brave enough to complete the task. The texture was kind of weird. Not quite slimy, not quite rubbery. Strange would be a good word.

But it was a great experience for the kids and they talked about it the rest of the day.

Me? I can't get the image of this alien looking flower out of my head . . . it gives me the creeps.

(photo by Hunkahubby)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Sleepy Kitty

Willow has definitely won over the cats in the house. She is rambunctious and playful and they had no choice. One of my favorite things about having cats is when they buddy up to each other and sleep together. I just think its so sweet when they trust each other enough to do that.

With every other cat we've ever brought into the house, it has taken at least a week for the older cats to warm up to the new kitten. Well - it hasn't even been a week . . .

And look at this (forgive me, these pictures were taken with my camera phone). . .

Here is our oldest cat, Britney. She is usually the crankiest about adding new kitties to the house. She doesn't seem to mind this one.

And this picture just melts my heart . . .

Our second oldest cat, Cali is also usually pretty grumpy about new kitties. NOT THIS ONE!

Isn't that just the cutest thing?

And why is it that my other cats now look HUGE? :-)

Happy Tuesday everyone.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

I wish you were here . . .

It has been three years. I can't believe it. I really can't.

And even though it has gotten a little easier - it still hurts knowing I can't just call you and get your advice. I would love to hear you say, "Don't worry your pretty little head about it," or "It will be better in the morning," or just have you hug me because that would always make everything feel a little bit better.

When I have issues with my kids, and I feel like I have no clue what I'm doing as a parent - I long for a way to talk to you and ask your advice. But instead, I try to think back and figure out from your example to me - what you would've done. You taught me so much. I don't know if you ever realized how much.

Even now, I can't imagine how you did all that you did. So many children came through your doors and you blessed each and every one of them in some way or another. That one summer when you were watching 5 12-year-old boys, along with lots of other kids - how did you not go crazy? How did you keep your sanity? My kids are still several years away from those teen years . . . but I get scared now just thinking about it! (and I only have 3!!)

The thing is - I really do know how you did it. You knew what was most important. You knew what was worth getting worked up about and what wasn't. And you praised God no matter what the circumstance. You were able to sing in every situation. Even hours before you took your final earthly breath, when your body must have been in so much pain - and you were facing leaving all of your loved ones behind, you were able to put everything aside and do your best to sing along with us as we gathered around your bed and sang all of those old familiar hymns. What a legacy. I just hope I can live up to that.

So even though I miss you and it hurts more than usual on this day - I will sing. I will praise God. And I won't forget everything you taught me.

Until we meet again, Grandma.

April 19, 1926 - July 6, 2005

Friday, July 4, 2008

Oh no I didn't . . .

Oh yes, I did.

Meet Willow!! :-)

I'm a sucker. I admit it. My husband isn't speaking to me, but I had to do it.
I rescued another kitty.
Which brings our total to (drumroll please . . .)
SIX kitties at home and one kitty at the office.

Seven total.

I know, I'm nuts.

But honestly, how could I resist this little spitfire?

She has already won over all five of our cats,
which is a record in our household.
I guess they've given up on me,
and they're just used to me bringing another fuzzy thing home.

I promise that now I'm done.
No more kittens.

I think.

No - if I want to keep my husband, I have to be done. ::sighs::

(To be honest, he wasn't that upset,
he pretended to be -
but he is just as crazy about the purry furballs as I am.
And I think he's crazy about me too - THANK GOODNESS!)

Happy Independence Day if you are in the US. Happy Day to everyone else!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Lions, Tigers, Bears, and The Chosen Ones

I took today off to take the family to the zoo. And of course, as it has been doing more often than not lately, it rained. A LOT. But we had fun anyway.

We went first thing in hopes to see the lions, as they usually sleep during the middle part of the day. We got to see two female lions, AND a tiger today. It was very exciting. (but it was raining so much, we didn't get a picture).

We also saw this beautiful polar bear . . .

And we couldn't help but snap a picture of this emu and the well placed sign.

But the coolest part of the day (in my opinion) was our visit to the White River Gardens. They have a butterfly conservatory. We spent a lot of time just sitting and watching all the different colors of butterflies flit from flower to flower . . .

. . . and other things!

A large gorgeous butterfly landed on Hunkahubby's back, but of course, he had the camera and I didn't get a picture.

Then this happened . . .

My poor son sat really still for about 10 minutes with his finger stuck out in hopes that a butterfly would land on him - but alas, we were not the chosen ones.

It was a great day, even if it was really wet!

Happy Thursday everyone!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Road to Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

So - we bought Guitar Hero (The Aerosmith Edition).

So, I love it.

So, my arm hurts.

So . . . I DON'T CARE. It is a lot of fun! I've always wanted to play guitar, but my fingers are short and stubby and even though I knew the chords, they only came out as an annoying plunk. So with this game, I can live my dream in some small way. :-)

I now want to buy Rock Band for the Wii for the family for Christmas, but I'm hoping they'll come out with a Disney Edition so the kids will actually know the songs.

And I think my friend Barry and my Uncle Steve need to play Guitar Hero. I would love to put THAT on YouTube. :-)

Happy Wednesday! (I'm off for 4 whole days! WOOHOO!!!)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

My son, the Grandpa

We always call my son "Grandpa" or "Grandma" (depending on how ornery we are being) because he is often SO SLOW. He eats SO SLOW (unless it is chocolate). And if there is a TV on anywhere, you can just forget getting him to pay attention to YOU! But now, since he has NO TEETH - we've really taken to calling him Grandpa . . . but wait until you see the newest reason . . .

This weekend, I took my Dad and SuperStepMom to lunch for their 'make-up' Mothers/Fathers Day lunch. While we were at their house, I asked my Dad if he could give my son the 'summer buzz cut.' I know - many of you are probably cringing. Any guy probably remembers those cuts from his own childhood (and HATED them.) Well the fact is, my son has really fine hair and a huge problem with his hair sticking up in the back. I thought it might help to buzz it all off for the summer (plus - I just wanted he and Grandpa to have a 'memory moment.' :-)

It was so fun to watch and my son giggled the entire time.

Wanna watch with me??

Here he is BEFORE.

(This is where I started to panic . . . what if his head is shaped funny? What if he hates it?)

Awww. He has a cute little head.

And here is where Grandpa got out the vacuum cleaner to sweep the extra hair off his neck . . . oh boy did the giggles happen then!!!

And here we have my 'bald' son. I hope his head doesn't burn!!!

And now I need to do a re-take of this picture - so they'll REALLY look alike!!

Happy Tuesday!!