Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Healthy Child Healthy World Update

We have been mostly done with the HCHW videos for a long time. I've been putting off sharing them with everyone, though, because I hate to show stuff that's not finished. Other than minor changes we've been making, the thing we've been waiting on is the voice over. A certain multi-time Oscar winner was supposed to do the VO in November, but now that 2007 is winding to a close, our client has just about given up on her. He's reaching out to another multi-time Oscar winner, but who knows how long it's going to take. SO...I've decided to share the videos with everyone even though the VO scratch track is my annoying voice.

You can watch Part One of the video here.

And you can watch Part Two here.

These two videos will be shown together or separate depending on the occasion. And Part One will eventually be cut down into shorter, commerical length versions to be broadcast on TV.

Thank you to all of our friends who helped out on these videos. I will get you a copy when the final voice over is finished. In case you were wondering, the shot of all the babies in a row on the grass is on the cutting room floor because our client just wasn't into it. I can't believe we dressed all those adorable babies up and sweated buckets for that shot, and it didn't make it. We tried to keep it in, but sadly it was not meant to be. Maybe we'll get to use it for something else in the future. BTW, it is on my long to do list to get everyone copies of the photos that were taken at the shoot. I'm going to try to do this during the Christmas break.

I hope you enjoy!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

This is dedicated to Jonna

Jackson likes singing this song from that old show Hee Haw, and so I recorded this one day last week. I really had no intention of ever posting it, but as I completed my daily ritual of checking Jonna's blog it seemed appropriate. Jonna, where are you?!? It's been over a month. Your fans are getting restless...

Friday, December 14, 2007

Christmas Pageant

Last Friday night Westover Christian Preschool had its annual fundraiser and Christmas pageant. The kids have been practicing their songs for weeks, and we were very excited to see the performance. The nursery classes were little sheep with cotton glued to their shirts. :-) The two year olds were shepherds, the three year olds were angels, and the four year olds were stars. They were all very cute. Jackson did such a good job too! He behaved very well onstage, sang every word, and performed all the motions with the songs. The three year old's big musical number was "Hark the Herald Angels Sing" which is pretty hard for that age! But they were great. Here are some pictures:

The stage with the entire cast.

Jackson and his buddies Nema and Charlie.

Nema and his mom Noosha. (Remember the smoothie story?)

Sweet little lamb.

Mischievious little angels.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Luke looking at pics of Mommy, Grammy, and Papa

We need to work on getting him to say the rest of his grandparents' names on camera. Lately every time we get out the camera all he will say is "CHEESE." But I'll keep trying...

Sunday, December 9, 2007

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Jackson's Music

Jackson has always loved music ever since he was a little baby. I remember driving to Dallas with him by myself one time where we literally had to listen to "Down in the River to Pray" from the "O Brother Where Art Thou" soundtrack the entire way. He would cry if I played anything else. When he learned to talk and say "no" specifically, we went through a period where all he would let us listen to in the car was cheesy kids music. We got really sick of "Baa Baa Black Sheep."

Eventually, he became interested in what we like. If fact, one day we were riding in the car and Mat was lecturing him about Prog Rock music and how it wasn't appreciated in the 70's, and Rolling Stone magazine always gave bands like Genesis and Yes bad reviews. Then in the 80's when members of the great prog bands got together and re-formed as supergroups like Asia, they got panned again by the critics for trying to be pop and not staying true to their prog roots. ETC. I had to interupt and say, "He's 3 years old! Do you really think he's interested in what Rolling Stone magazine has to say about prog rock!?!?" Jackson quickly interupted with: "Mommy be quiet! Daddy was talking to ME!"

Nowadays he's really interested in lyrics. Several weeks ago I was listening to the "Walk the Line" soundtrack which is mostly Johnny Cash music. He made me play "Ring of Fire" over and over for a week. If you pay attention to the lyrics you'll see why:
I Fell Into A Burning Ring Of Fire
I Went Down, Down, Down
And The Flames Went Higher

And It Burns, Burns, Burns
The Ring Of Fire
The Ring Of Fire

I mean what little boy wouldn't want to sing about FIRE! There is also a song called "Army" by Ben Folds Five that he likes because it has a Chick-Fil-A reference in the lyrics. The song is about a guy who drops out of college, grows a moustache and a mullet, and gets a job at Chick-Fil-A. Jackson loves it. Then, there's the Thomas Dolby song that Mat has on an 80's mix CD called "One of Our Submarines." Jackson thought the lyrics to that were cool, and we went through a submarine phase.

Jackson's newest phase is that he LOVES all the songs on the Genesis CD "Wind and Wuthering." I cannot tell you how proud this makes Mat. I think he almost wants to cry a little bit every time Jackson requests it. You probably already know this, but Mat loves Genesis a lot. (That is a huge understatement, but if you know him you really don't need me to explain his encyclopedic knowledge of the entire history and musical catalogue of this band that dates back to the late 60's.) So anyway "Wind and Wuthering" was released in 1976. It's filled with really high-brow songs, most of them telling a story about something. To give you an idea...the first track called "The Eleventh Earl of Mar" is about a military battle in England in the 1700's.

Jackson's favorite song from the album is called "All in a Mouse's Night." He knows all the lyrics by heart which I've copied in below. He sings it to himself all the time. All this backstory is to introduce a video Mat happened to capture a couple of weeks ago. He is singing the first verse, and this wasn't staged at all I promise. We realized later that before he starts singing he's humming the instrumental part at the beginning of the song. If any of Mat's old friends out there are reading this, you will be happy to know that the Genesis tradition is successfully being passed down to a new generation...

This time we caught him singing it in the shower.


All In A Mouse's Night Lyrics

(The different verses of the song are told from the perspective of either the loving couple in bed who hears a mouse in their room, the mouse who's trying to sneak out of his hole to find some food, or the cat who tries to kill the mouse.)

Loving Couple:
I can't see you but I know you're there.
Got to get beside you cos it's really cold out here.
Come up close to me you'll soon be warm.
Hold me tightly like we're sheltering from a storm.

Think I might go out for a stroll
Into the night, and out of this hole.
Maybe find me a meal.
Walking along this new shag pile
Presents a problem all the while.
Nearly the door.

Suddenly he bumps into wood, the door is closed.
A voice from the bed, he'll be exposed.
Which way to run, must make for the hole,
The light's been turned on, he's blind as a mole in coal.
Now I can see they're coming at me,
They've blocked off my door, I haven't a chance in at all.

Come on baby let the poor thing go.
I'm not sleeping with that thing around here, no.
Alright then, I'll fetch a box from below,
Guard him carefully, they're very quick you know.

The door's been opened, my chance to escape.
Must run out quick, better sorry than late.
I'm out on the stairs.
They won't catch me now, I've the run of the house now.
I'll make it downstairs and into the breadbin.
That would be nice.

Suddenly he bumps into fur, that's very unwise,
A cat is much quicker than men and their eyes.
The chase that ensues can have only one end,
Unless outside help steps in for our friend in need.
But now the cat comes in for the kill,
His paw is raised, soon blood will spill, yes it will.

Hard luck mouse, this is the end of your road.
The signpost says inside me, let me bear your heavy load.
But it's not to be, that final pounce
Knocks a jar upon his head, and lays him out.
But it's all in a mouse's night
To take on all those who would fight.

Cat's Story:
There I was with my back to the wall,
Then comes this monster mouse, he's ten feet tall,
With teeth and claws to match.
It only took one blow.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Thanksgiving Pictures

I'm finally uploading our recent pictures now that we have a lightening-fast fiberoptic connection at home. This picture of Mat and his mom was taken at Mat's Great Aunt Margie's house.

This is Aunt Margie. She entertained the boys with new remote control trucks.

These pictures were taken at the Black Savage family brunch. (This is not meant to be a derogatory expression. My mom's maiden name is Black and her mom's maiden name was Savage. Therefore, our family get-togethers are attended by Black Savages.)

The whole group. Unfortunately the battery died before Mat found his spot in the shot. (Can someone please email a version of this with Mat in it?)

Aunt Helen and my mom.

Cousin Donice.

Hanging with Grammy and Papa. Luke said my dad's name for the first time which was a big thrill.

Jackson was thrilled to get to visit with my cousin Chris who is a Delta pilot! Every time we see a plane nowadays, he says he thinks Chris is probably flying it to Atlanta.

The Stempel family Thanksgiving / Christmas weekend pictures. Here is Lukey on a walk.

This is Jackson with Mat's cousin Wyatt who lives in Steamboat Springs, CO. Jackson and Wyatt had a ball together playing with Cars cars and watching movies.

A self-portrait.

Wyatt can read!! We were all very impressed.

Making cookies with Christopher and Kirsten.

Mat's family has a long-standing tradition to cut down a Christmas tree together during the Thanksgiving weekend. This is where we went to get the tree.

And here is the tree.

There are lots more Thanksgiving 2007 pictures on our Flickr page.

Coming at you with fiberoptics!!

We have switched from Time Warner Cable to AT&T Uverse. We just got it today, and it is FAST! We're having fun exploring our new TV channels tonight and finally uploading all of our recent pictures. For anyone out there who maybe be using my roadrunner email address, please use my alpheusmedia address from now on.

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