Friday, October 30, 2009


I just got home from a date with myself to see the Michael Jackson movie, 'This Is It'. It was, in a word, amazing. Michael & Max are both asleep, but I can't sleep yet- I'm still jittery and 'electrified'.

I grew up listening to MJ music and have many happy memories of it. My Mom would often have church-related meetings on Wednesday nights, so it would be Dad and the four of us kids at home. We had the Thriller LP and Dad would blast it at ridonkulous decibels and we'd dance around. The fun of it was that we were 'being bad' by (literally) shaking the house! (And on a school night?! What?!) I remember TONS of laughter. Our favorites were 'Beat It' and 'Thriller' and to this day, I smile whenever I hear them. Our dance parties would often end with Mom driving into the driveway, the stereo being turned off and us running to our rooms and into bed as if nothing out of the ordinary had been going on. But she knew. Oh yes, she knew. So did the neighbors. *tehee*

I'd planned to see the movie with our friend Amanda, but couldn't get ahold of her, so I went by myself. (Don't worry Amanda, I will TOTALLY go again with you! For real!) It was a late night showing and there were 12 people in the theatre including myself. The thing that amazed me the most was that NO ONE moved at all during the whole movie. I completely rocked out the whole time! I guess it's the musician in me- it was impossible to stay still. I was hooked (line and sinker!) within minutes. This was definitely a movie to be seen in Dolby Surround Sound.

Coming from a theatre background, it was like watching an extreme behind the scenes tech rehearsal and it really made me miss my (currently on hiatus) career, but inspired me to get back to it eventually once Max is older. I'm a huge fan of modern rock musical theatre and watching the movie reminded me of one of the most exciting shows I've ever conducted- The Who's Tommy- at a theatre in Boston. We (the six piece rock band) were placed on platforms about 8 or 9 feet in the air onstage and it was the closest thing to a 'rock star moment' I'll ever have. (see pic- I was on the right hand platform with my drummer & bassist) The show starred Jake Simpson (a two time Star Search winner) as Tommy and whoa, could he wail. (He was also an incredibly sweet and humble human being. Bonus.) It was like playing a rock concert every night for a month. THRILLING.

But I digress. One of the things that impressed me most was that it was very obvious that MJ was actually singing during the rehearsals. He did 'mark' to save his voice now and then, but there was none of the tracked lip synching stuff that goes on with so many pop artists these days. He also marked some of the dances, but it was brilliant even when he was doing so. Seeing him marking next to his posse of back-up dancers (who were going full-out) was incredible- he made it look so easy and flawless, even when it wasn't at performance level.

He was quite obviously a perfectionist and though not bossily, coached everyone from his musicians to dancers. One of my favorite 'scenes' was his coaching of his musical director on the intro of 'The Way You Make Me Feel'. He kept telling him to 'lay back' into the beat. It reminded me of an almost identical coaching I received from my mentor in college almost 10 years ago. "Lay back, Ange! Just LAY BACK. Easy!" (Love you, Hoff!) I also thought it was tres cool that he made it very clear to his MD that he wanted everything to sound exactly like the recordings. It's so easy to stray and be all 'artistic', but on songs as iconic as these, heck yeah! As an audience member, I wanted to hear exactly what I've been hearing in my head all these years. (On a side note: he had a kickass female electric guitarist named Orianthi in his band. ROCK, GIRL POWER!)

So in closing, I thought it was a fantastic documentary and would strongly recommend running (not walking!) to see it before it closes in theatres next week. Seeing the footage of 'Smooth Criminal', 'Beat It' and 'Thriller' was worth the price of admission alone, but you get SO much more. It's such a shame that MJ is no longer with us and was unable to present such an incredible work to the masses, but thank goodness this footage exists. It's really special.

P.S. Happy Halloween! Although we're not trick-or-treating, we're dressing Max up as Coach Tanaka (the football coach) from 'Glee'.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Making Progress

Max is currently in a big imitating stage- both with words (kind of) and actions. As you can see above, one of his favorite activities is playing with pots and pans. We've conveniently baby proofed all of the kitchen cupboards, but every now and then I'll open one and let him loose. The other day I found him pretending to 'stir' the pot. Mere minutes later he was stuck in the oven drawer, but still insistent to continue practicing brushing his teeth! (another new hobby)

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Max Attack @ The Gap!

As I told some family & friends in an email earlier this evening, I never thought we'd be 'Those Parents', but yes, we've entered Miracle Max in the Gap Casting Call. *insert amused giggle here* Max & I were at the mall earlier today and I saw the contest website on Gap's window and noted it in my BlackBerry for viewing when we got home.

After checking it out and asking Michael (I wouldn't want us to get into a whole Jon & Kate fiasco- HA! HA!), I thought "What the heck?" and entered him. The kid likes to smile and is pretty photogenic. And without personal bias (okay, who am I kidding- we all know that would *never* be possible!), he's a pretty cute little guy.

Official 'judging' begins Oct. 23. During this time, the Top 20 finalists will be selected and featured in a professional Gap photo shoot. If he was selected to be in this Top 20, voting would continue Dec. 7-21. The top four kids (Baby Boy, Boy, Baby Girl, Girl) will be featured on the windows of BabyGap & Gap Kids in Feb 2010.

And a side note, the winner of this 'Fan Favorite Vote' will win a seven-day/six-night family vacation to either Turks & Caicos or Jamaica from Beaches Resorts - The Luxury Included® Family Vacation. I'll be straight- that would be RIDONKULOUSLY AWESOME. :)

So if you've got a spare minute or two, you can vote for him once daily (starting now!) until Nov. 17. Vote here!

(Max B, Baby Boy Category, ID #648176418)

P.S. Photo credit goes to my Dad, the infamous Stu Fu. Thanks, Dad!

Friday, October 16, 2009

Flying Nightmare

Having flown with Max on multiple flights this summer, I was appalled when I learned of an internet friend's recent run-in with TSA agents while going through a checkpoint with her young son. (Nic's son was taken from her for a security check *out of her view*! Read her account here.)

When preparing for our very first flight together, I read everything possible on the TSA website so I made sure I knew what to expect. I particularly recall reading this and feeling relieved that Max would not be taken from me. I also remember feeling almost comforted, as it sounded like the agents were trained to be sensitive to children.

We were stopped before boarding our last (of six) flights. We were 'randomly' pulled out of line and they used the magic wand on both of us. At the time, I didn't think anything of it when they took Max and stood him on a table to scan him. But that's the difference between my experience and Nic's. They took her son not only away from her, but to a completely different location! I would have gone ape-sh*t had they taken Max.

I understand the need for intense airport security, but just thinking about what happened to Nic makes my blood boil! I've run into plenty of less than friendly TSA agents in my time, but it seems to me that she was treated *particularly* unfairly.

Grrr, TSA. Grrr!
It appears that there may be some discrepancy in Nic's blog/story. The TSA posted a response to her blog last night and included video that may or may not prove that 90% of her story was false. In my own opinion, it's really hard to say. Was the video edited? Perhaps. Does the TSA really have time to do something like that? Probably not. Do I feel duped? Yep. She has since posted a response on her blog, but surprisingly after spending a bulk of the day just plain confused by the whole situation, that was all I needed to move on. It was good to finally hear from HER. I wish you the best, Nic, and give you the benefit of the doubt. I hope that things get straightened out soon so you can move on as well.

The TSA updated their site last night (10/18) with the video in it's entirety from all 9 camera angles. You really can't argue with it. I'm sad that it's come to this.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Dogs, Mr. Roboto & RAJ- oh my!

Attention all theatre lovers, dog lovers, music lovers and RAJ lovers! (That's one of our dearest friends- Robert Anthony Jones- for those of you not in the know!)

Be sure to check out the brand spankin' new 101 Dalmations Musical, now open in Minneapolis at the Orpheum Theatre, then hitting the road on a national tour!

Direction is by theatre great Jerry Zaks, with a brand-new score by Dennis DeYoung (of STYX fame!), and featuring the aforementioned RAJ as Jinx, one of Cruella De Vil's henchmen!

(I'm going to admit something here. It wasn't until *just now* that I realized Cruella's last name spells DEVIL. Hi, I'm a little late to the party!)

Anyhoo, I can't say enough about what an amazing performer and friend Robert is- I've had the pleasure of working with him in 'both' capacities and I'm so so SO proud of him. Doing a brand new never-before-seen piece is always a huge rush and for him to get to do it at this scale thrills me to no end. GO SEE HIM! (We unfortunately have to wait until May! Grrr!)

P.S. There's apparently real dalmations in the grand finale! Dogs?! Doing tricks! Boo-ya! :)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Lil' Stinker Strikes Again!

So apparently the baby gate wasn't fully locked earlier today. I specifically 'hide' Bernie's food & water dishes behind the gate so Max can't get to them.

He got them.

I found him full on dunking for apples. It was very wet.

The End.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


We recently realized that Max has a 'sheet preference' and that change in said preference messes with his sleep patterns.

One night last week while I was bathing Max, Michael went to change the sheet in Max's crib. It was white with a speckled dot pattern. As he was changing it, he had an 'Ah-ha!' moment. (This kind of 'Ah-ha!', not this.) He noted aloud that Max had recently started waking up at least once in the middle of the night, which was very unlike him since our hard-earned victory in the Sleep Wars. As a designer, he knows to veer away from using blue, as it lulls people to sleep.

The previous bed sheet had been- you guessed it, BLUE. And Max had been sleeping like a champ... when he was on the BLUE sheet! (Coincidentally, just the previous evening my friend Betty had been talking about how she had the same fiasco with her daughter- changing from a solid pink sheet to pattern.)

So we went back to blue and wouldn't you know it? He's been sleeping like a... well, like a baby ever since! Ta-da!

Thanks for joining us in Adventures in Parenting 101. :)

Monday, October 5, 2009

One Year Ago

One year ago today (and one month to the day of his birth) we said goodbye to the amazing staff at the Geisinger NICU and brought Max home! I'll never forget the feeling of taking him out into the sunshine and actually putting him into the car with us. We enjoyed our first day as a family at home with the guys watching a Steelers game... kind of. Max didn't watch the game last night, but he wore his Steelers gear to bed!

Friday, October 2, 2009

More Proud Mom Ramblings

We're starting to work on using utensils at mealtime. It's messy. REAL messy.

One of Max's favorite shows is the Imagination Movers. I must admit that I've become quite a fan as well. They dance and sing catchy songs- think Teletubbies, only not creepy colored aliens. We originally tuned into them awhile ago because I found that they were a good distraction for when I was trying to change the squirmy worm's diaper. I don't know if it's the bold primary colors or music (probably a combination of both), but he's hooked. Without fail, he'll plant himself in front of the TV and watch until the half hour episode is finished! (see above) The same goes for our other favorite show (Handy Manny), which is really the only other show that we watch with regularity now that I think of it.

We like Manny because he's a fix-it guy (like Michael) and he carries around a toolbox of talking tools. Okay, and I'll fess up- I enjoy it because I always crack up whenever they make reference to the tools. (Because I'm obviously a mature... 12 year old.) "Hola, Manny! Hi, Tools!" See? Admit it- even *you* laughed. :)

The Boy has started giving hugs and kisses, or rather licks. When you ask him for a kiss (provided he's in the mood), he'll either peck his head back and forth and/or lick your cheek. I noticed him playfully licking my leg the other day and when I mentioned that I thought it was a little weird to Michael, he reminded me that it's an affectionate gesture on Max's part.

I'm still job hunting, but I'll admit it- I'm absolutely LOVING my time as a stay at home mom to Max! We have a great daily routine carved out and I'm just super happy and content being with him every day.

On a side note, he had his first of two flu shots earlier today. He was a champ and thankfully, has not had any side effects so far. He and Michael had fun 'rough housing' together after dinner tonight. The house was filled with laughs and squeals- I don't think I've ever heard him laugh that hard! I love to watch them roll around and play together. Michael is the BEST dad.

Being home with my guys = priceless.

P.S. A very happy birthday to our dear friend and Max's 'honorary Godfather', Brian! He gave Max the green shirt you see in the pic above- I couldn't get a good shot of it, but it says 'U of I Am Awesome'. Hilarious! Hope you had a fantastic day, B! We love you!