Friday, May 27, 2011

Friday Favorites

Just to get some posts on this blog more frequently than we do, Kelli and I thought we'd post about some of our favorite things every Friday. First up, our favorite TV shows!

We're both TV junkies and for the most part, have similar taste, yet Kelli has some strange bitterness toward reruns. I could watch my favorite episodes of The Office, or Modern Family, or Community over and over and over. Kelli just cringes.

Kelli's Top 5 Favorite TV Shows:
  1. Cougar Town - This might be the one and only show that Kelli could watch over and over and over.
  2. American Idol - Guilty Pleasure #1.
  3. Modern Family - We both love this one!
  4. Glee - Pushes the envelope a bit too much at times, but overall, very entertaining. Especially the musical numbers.
  5. Mad Love - Very similar to How I Met Your Mother. One of Kelli's favorites, but sadly, has already been canceled.
Kelli's Runners up . . .
Bold and the Beautiful (although lately she's fed up with the storyline so she's giving it a break); and practically any show on HGTV (Divine Design, Sarah's House, House Hunters, Curb Appeal: The Block, Dear Genevieve, and The Outdoor Room with Jamie Durie)

Jordan's Top 5 Favorite TV Shows:
  1. Modern Family - There's not a character on this show I don't like. Each episode is hilarious.
  2. Community - Great characters. Troy and Abed are my new JD and Turk (Scrubs).
  3. Fringe - Awesome mind-bending sci-fi mystery. Everything producer J.J. Abrams (Alias, Lost) touches is gold in my book.
  4. The Killing - Who killed Rosie Larsen? This AMC mystery is more engrossing than the channel's hit show Mad Men.
  5. The Office - Losing Steve Carrell will hurt, but Jim and Pam may be the best couple on TV. And the possibility of James Spader maybe taking over Dunder Mifflin is rather intriguing.
Jordan's Runners up . . .
Chuck, Mad Men, How I Met Your Mother, Friday Night Lights, Parks and Recreation, and PTI (Pardon the Interruption)

Monday, May 23, 2011

On a Plane!

Earlier this year, a fifth grader in my class (who's family has done rather well for themselves) made reference to attending a Sunday night Packers vs. Vikings game in Green Bay. He was in school on Monday so I asked him how this was possible. He replied, "We fly my dad and uncle's plane to all the Vikings games." As if I was an idiot. This is the same child who gave me a Tom Brady football jersey for Christmas!

I wondered what that kind of lifestyle would be like. This boy responded the way he did because he didn't know any better. He was used to attending Vikings football games, regardless of what city they played in (usually) and returning home that same day. How many Twins games would I go to if I only needed to fly 45-60 minutes north instead of driving 3 and a half hours?

Last Thursday my buddy Chris sent me a text message asking me if I wanted to come along with him and his brother to a White Sox game. His brother is a White Sox fan (ugh) and Chris's favorite team, the Dodgers, were in town for an Interleague matchup. Chris's boss owns a small plane so Chris said we'd take that to the game and return just a few hours after the game ended. I love rooting against the White Sox almost as much as rooting for the rotting Twins right now, so the chance to travel this way, was just too cool to pass up.

The plane was like a sportscar with wings. Silver and sleek, seats four comfortably. We flew out of Waterloo at 10 am for a 1 pm game. We made it to Chicago in 80 minutes! Compare that to a six-hour drive! We rented a car (should've taken the train) and got to US Cellular Field in plenty of time to grab a Dos Equis and roam around the stadium.

New Comiskey was built in 1991. In 2003 it was renamed US Cellular Field. A wave of new ballparks swept through the MLB in the years to come, so whereas US Cellular Field was ahead of its time for a bit, it now seems to be lacking in special personal touches that other newer ballparks have worked hard to create. It was a great atmosphere inside the stadium though, sitting in row 2 behind first base, and the open concourse stretching the entire length of the outfield was a neat feature. Overall, the building felt a bit generic, but that's a pretty weak complaint given that a beautiful day spent watching baseball outdoors is about as good as it gets.

The Atlantic airport we flew into is the same airport MLB players use when coming into Chicago. It's also the airport the White Sox players fly out of for road trips. It was pretty cool being shoulder to shoulder with guys like Mark Buehrle (who's truck could pass for a Transformer, or a tank), Alex Rios, Jake Peavy, and Paul Konerko. I resisted the urge to punch Hawk Harrelson in the face and key A.J. Pierzynski's Chevy Tahoe.

We had to wait for some sketchy weather to pass through Chicago, the same weather that forced Kelli and Charly to spend a little quality time in our basement while I was away, so the idea of returning home shortly after the game ended was shot. But it was still a lot of fun and a great experience. If only I could travel this way more often!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Ashley Schrage Photoshoot

A few weeks ago Ashely Schrage photographed Charly. This was supposed to be a "one-year" shoot but because of weather, we pushed it back and then pushed it back and then pushed it back again!

Finally, the weather cooperated, Charly was able to wear a dress, and we got them done. Charly's not incredibly fond of cameras right now, and as Ashely says on her blog, she was a little "feisty" that day. She needed to be near Kelli at nearly all times and she hated her "jellies" on her feet. She eventually warmed up and Ashely was confident she got plenty of good shots. She was particularly excited about a small patch of bluebells (which only stay bloomed for a month or two) and a rundown house that she'd been itching to photograph for sometime. You can spot both in her blog preview of Charly's pics.

If Charly's blog post on Ashley's site receives 25 comments, we get a free gift thrown in. We need the comments in one week. So if you read this, please follow the link, scroll to the bottom of the page and look for the "Post a Comment" link. You can makeup a name and leave a comment easy. It would be greatly appreciated!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Vote for Haley!

Kelli and I have been American Idol junkies for some time now. Our favorite Idol ever was Kris Allen, who defeated the judges' heavy favorite Adam Lambert in Season 8. We usually like underdogs, especially on a show where the judges often have a difficult time hiding their bias.

This tenth season of the show has been rather interesting, from Kelli and I's perspective. Early on we singled out Haley Reinhart as our favorite, a twenty year-old smoky-sounding songstress. Her big voice has lots of range, lots of edge, and lots of growl.

Throughout the top 12 performances, Haley has been somewhat of a punching bag for the judges, which only fueled our admiration for her. It's not that she's always the best performer and it's not that she's above criticism, it's that the criticism she gets seems to always be the harshest while other performers are given free passes on mistakes made. The judges have essentially written her off on a number of occasions.

Yet for two weeks in a row, she's bounced back from ridiculously off-base critiques to belt out a number that brings the judges to their feet. With performances of "Bennie and the Jets", "Rolling in the Deep", "You and I", "House of the Rising Sun", and "I Who Have Nothing" she's been responsible for some of the more memorable performances this season and it was hard imagining a top 3 without her.

And thankfully last night she sailed through to the top 3, as America sent overrated rocker James Durbin home. Kelli and I were going to be happy enough just to see Haley make it to the top 5. But now that she's in the top 3, we want her to win it all!

So if you're reading this, tune into Idol on Wednesday evening and then call in a few votes for Haley so she can take down the two country kids.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Mothers in My Life

A lot of mothers have played important roles in my life. My dad's mother gave birth to the hardest working man I know, raised him with four other rambunctious children, ran her own business until she was well into her 80s, opened her kitchen (and her griddle) every Sunday morning (still does) to hoards of family members young and old, and filled her house to the brim (literally) with her children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren on holidays creating cramped, but loving memories.

My mother's mother is one of the most kind, honest, and genuine people I know. She loves her children and grandchildren and now great-grandchildren more than anything. She wears the pride they give her and the joy they bring her on her sleeve. She drops everything to play an active role in their lives (and continues to do so), supporting each and every step and misstep they choose to make. She may even very well be my daughter's most favorite person on the planet (besides Kelli and I of course).

My wife's mother is incredibly understanding of people and proudly protective of her own children. She is intelligent and worldly wise and has instilled in her children a drive to succeed and make the most of their life. She's a bit of a free spirit and embraces the company of other people. She's not afraid to strike up a conversation with anyone, usually even random strangers. In fact, she often proves how small our world is by discovering some previously unbeknown connection between them and her! Her children share this likable social trait.

I don't quite think I can adequately describe all that my mother means to me within a mere paragraph of words. She's humble, she's selfless, and she loves her family to pieces. There's not a thing she wouldn't do to support her children and she pours herself wholeheartedly into all of their endeavors. Her children are her world and when we succeed, she succeeds because we are imprints of her magnanimous self. Now she showers our children with love and kindness (and clothes) and we are so undeniably grateful.

And then there's my daughter's mother, who blows me away, more and more each day. Ironically, I see in her a bit of all these women. She shares my grandmothers' hard work ethic and willingness to please. She's determined yet open minded like her own mother and unselfishly generous like mine.

She's always positive and patient, and enjoys every moment she can spend with Charly and me. She's devoted to giving Charly the best childhood she can provide, especially when she's choosing to share herself with a classroom full of 4th graders. No matter how busy of a day she's had, she's never too tired to play blocks with Charly, or fill our driveway with sidewalk chalk artwork, or read her her favorite books over and over and over each night. The most exciting part about our family someday growing, is getting to see this woman shine as a mother.

Hands down, best moms.