Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Whadda You Want?

TD!  What's that?  TOUCHDOWN!

Offense Ovierview

First let me say that this offense has the potential to be one of the greatest we have seen in AU history. They have the potential to gain more yards and score more points than any other team in the country. Unfortunately potential doesn’t always equal results especially in the SEC. To think that we will be moving the ball more and trying to rack up yards and points instead of our traditional “3 yards and a cloud of dust” is very exciting. Overall I think the offense is an upgrade from last year but I have broken it down by position.

QuarterbackImproved. I have to rely on potential and athleticism here. I think that Cam Newton may be the most athletic looking quarterback with the best stats in the SEC. 6’6”, 250 lbs, and a 4.5 40 means he should scare opposing defenses just by walking onto the field. However the bottom line is that no one knows what to expect. I see improvement because Chris Todd got the job done last year but adding in the ability to run and a cannon for an arm should have Gus Malzahn’s wheels turning. Additionally for the first time since 1995 I am comfortable with the depth at QB.

Running BackWorse. Losing one of the best running backs in AU history means that we have downgraded at the RB position. The potential is there with Mario Fannin, Onterio McCalleb, and Mike Dyer. However, Mario has not really “Wowed” anyone in 4 years, McCalleb is coming off an ankle injury and despite all the stars, Mike Dyer is still a true freshman. McCalleb is the key here. Last year the offense clicked for 5 games with him in the game. He gets injured and then the offense sputters and loses to KY. Just sayin’.

Wide ReceiverImproved. WOW!! Amazing athletes, potential, and great coaching has me excited about AU receivers for the first time in a long time. Add in a QB who supposedly has a cannon and we may be poised to rack up the yards through the air. Adams is solid and Zachery has the touch on the end around. Trovon Reed is just a freshman but this guy could be a game changer. The comparisons to Percy Harvin have me real excited about Reed and the opportunity for this guy to play any receiver position as well as the “wildcat” spot must have Malzahn smiling at night.

Tight EndImproved. Can spell his last name but Phillip Lutz is a solid player. Probably the best hands on the team. He has also added size and improved with his blocking. Overall I think we are definitely improved here. Look for Malzahn to put him in situations where he can definitely be utilized in the passing game.

Offensive lineImproved. This is where our true strength may lie. 4 seniors and about a million starts means we have experience on the line. No substitute for experience. If Ziemba plays up to his potential and we reduce the penalties Cam Newton will have plenty of time to find open receivers. You can’t win in the SEC without a strong offensive and defensive line and if this group plays up to potential we definitely have the opportunity to be special.

Overall this offense has potential. I want to see what Cam Newton can do before we get too crazy with predictions for the year. Additionally, we must stay healthy at running back and Mario Fannin needs to step up and fill in for Ben Tate. If we get lucky and have very few injuries, we have some real potential on offense if Cam Newton is the playmaker we think he can be. If everything clicks then I think this offense will be the most potent since 2004.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Most Wonderful Time of the Year

The other morning I let the dogs out early and there it was. An ever so slight chill is in the air and then that smell. It was so familiar and yet gave me goose bumps. What was it? It was the first sign that fall is on the way and that College Football is almost here! I love the fall and for me the first Saturday in September is like Christmas.

This is Brad. I’m going to be a new addition to this blog this fall with some thoughts on football and a lot about Auburn football. I hope to be very objective throughout the season and will start with some posts about predictions for the upcoming year. During the season I will try to comment on each game.

What should we expect from our Tigers this fall? If you listen to the experts you will see predictions from 11-1 to 7-5. So who is right? I will try to clear that up here.

First off though let me add that this is a very exciting football season for me. Why? It is my daughter’s first football season. Only 18 more until she graces the sidelines of Pat Dye Field as an Auburn cheerleader!

What should we expect this year? Well, I am not expecting the undefeated magical season that some others are predicting. Is it possible? Definitely, however I see Auburn finishing the season at 10-2 or worst case at 9-3 and probably 2nd or 3rd in the SEC West. I think this is a wonderful improvement and accomplishment considering where we were just 2 years ago. Would I be surprised if we go 12-0? No, we have a relatively easy schedule (in SEC terms) and most difficult games are at home. Additionally, if the young talent develops and grows up quickly, this year it is most definitely a possibility and we could definitely win the West and the SEC. Still as of now I see us losing 2 games. That should be good enough to get a great New Year’s Day bowl invitation and some great momentum as we head to National Signing day and another great recruiting class. Unfortunately, the schedule next year gets brutal and we really need that momentum to continue to build SEC caliber depth and talent.

Stay tuned as I highlight my reasoning for the record I have picked and as I break down the team for this year.

Oh, Baby Baby

Saturday we had the honor of hosting a baby shower at our house for a couple, Jason and Kristen, from our small group.  Their sweet baby boy, Gus, will be here in just a few short weeks (September 8th to be exact).

The parents-to-be (this is actually their 2nd child, so they are old pros).  All of the food was so good - I could live off of party food!  Please note the cupcakes on the left.  They are my all time favorite things.  A lady in Mobile makes them and I don't know what she does, but they sure are good!  I was introduced to them at work and we look for any reason to have them.

Our group leader, Michael, and his wife Melissa.  This is one of my favorite punch recipes also (thanks Heather!).  I was able to use greenery and flowers from our yard - yay!  Funny story about the punch.  Last time I made it froze a little in these heart shaped cupcake tins thinking they would float and look cute.  Well, they didn't float and I was somewhat disappointed.  This time I thought since they didn't float it wouldn't matter what I froze some in.  I chose a Glad container and didn't think too much of it, until it started to float!  Oh well, the group is used to me and my goofy self and didn't think too much of a funny shaped ice piece.

We made it a couples/kids thing so everyone could be involved.

All the girls - Melissa, me, Kristen, Amber and Kelly

And of course and post wouldn't be complete without this little munchkin!  She is the lone baby girl of the group - there are 4 other little boys (and one on the way) but she still has a great time!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Everything is Fine

Before we left for Huntsville on Friday, Paige had her 6 month check up.  Our little monkey is just growing so fast!

She weighs 17 lbs 3 oz (70%) and is 26 inches long (55%).  The doctor seemed really excited about her weight and didn't think 70% was bad at all (I was kind of concerned that she may be too big).  She also passed all of her milestone tests - yay!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Good Times and Laughter Too

This post is going to be short and sweet.  I am fighting a small cold and the words are just not coming to me, but I wanted to share a few pics from our weekend.

We ventured up to Huntsville to continue celebrating Brad's birthday.  We ate dinner with Brad's parents and Christina Friday night, finishing up the evening with a homemade cookie cake (thanks Nana!! ).

Saturday night we celebrated with our friends, the Eckley's.  When we lived in Huntsville we traditionally celebrated with them and the Newby's because Brad, Matt and Jennifer all had birthdays within a week of each other.  The Newby's couldn't join us this year but that didn't stop us from having fun.  We went to Rosie's for dinner and Matt and Emily had us back to their house for cake afterwards - so fun!!  You can't go wrong with Rosie's or the Eckley's!!

Kate and Paige sitting next to each other at Rosie's - too stinkin' cute!!  I just loved that they got to sit next to each other.  Our babies are growing so fast! 

Ben is so sweet!  I can't leave him out.  He is always a great source of entertainment and just loves Brad.  Emily told me that he did a happy dance and song when she told him we were coming in town.  The song was all about Brad - I love it!

Emily is my source for baby information.  I go to her for all of my questions, especially when it comes to feeding.  She is a dietician and just knows so much (or is it that I am just that clueless - ha!).  Thank you Emily for answering all of our questions.  Our newest adventure is transistioning to table foods.  Kate is such a good eater and I love learning what all Emily has done to help Kate make the transistion.

The girls are 3 months apart and are literally the same size.  It is so funny to me because Paige is the same size as most of our friends' little girls and they were all born before her.  Kate, like the other girls, is just a petite little thing.

We tried to get a picture of all 3 kids together and poor Kate just wanted to go!  She is crawling now and being held by her brother is not on her agenda.

It is weekends like this that make me miss living so close to friends and family!  Thank yall for celebrating with us!!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Sweet as Sugar

Just wanted to share one of Paige's newest things - kisses.  I just absolutely love it!  She just takes your face and lays a slobbery one on you.

She greeted me each evening when I got in with kisses and made sure I got one before she went to bed while we were in Atlanta.

Daddy even got a few on his birthday!

Friday, August 20, 2010

The Big 3-0

Monday Brad turned 30!!  He is getting old! (well, not really, but I love to give him a hard time.)  Our celebration began with breakfast before Paige went to school at Daylight Donuts (it was her first day at her new school and she did great).  YUMMY!!  Once you have one of their iced glazed donuts (yes, a glazed donut with icing), you will know what good is - they are my absolute favorite.

I had to get a close up to show the cute 'P' on her dress.  Thanks Aunt Christina!

Paige wanted a sip of coffee too.  I think she is a little young to start this habit.

We finished off the day with dinner at the Oyster House and an ice cream cake - I love that calories don't count on birthdays - not just for the one with the birthday but for the one(s) celebrating too.

Ellie and Madi wanted to celebrate with Daddy too by eating cake. (Yes, because they get cake so often.  Oh wait, they don't. :)

Happy 30th Birthday Brad!!  We love you!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

I don’t know about Nanny and Paige, but I had a GREAT time in Atlanta!! I couldn’t ask for a better week with my mom and daughter! I am so grateful to Brad for letting us go and spend such good quality time together.

We left Sunday and headed on up. Paige was an angel on trip. I realized while I was driving that it is actually less miles to Atlanta from our house than to Huntsville. The trunk was packed perfectly – Brad always does a fantastic job. It full but I could see out the back (who would have thought that with a larger SUV we would still have to put things in the front seat). We made it to the Westin without getting lost – yea! (I am not into driving in big cities with one way streets that I am not familiar with). Once we pulled up and had to let the bellman get all of our stuff out of the car and told me the luggage would be delivered to our room after we checked in, I realized we were staying at a fancy-schmancy hotel.

Did you know that the Westin is the tallest hotel in the Western Hemisphere (73 stories tall)?

The purpose of the trip was for me attend a training conference about the government travel card. It was at the World Congress Center. Our hotel was in walking distance, maybe just under a mile away, and I love walking. So, Monday I thought I would walk and get registered. The registration desk was at the further-most point of the WCC. Someone asked me on the street how to get there – go through the park, past the Omni Hotel, go in the WCC building A (so you can walk in the A/C), through the hair convention to building B, go down the escalator to building C, then keep on going down 2 more escalators and you’ll see the registration desk. No joke, the registration desk was at the further-most point of the building. After I got done with registration we walked to the Georgia Aquarium.

It was fun to see all the different exhibits. I think Paige’s favorite part was where you got to walk under a huge aquarium. You had fish on 3 sides of you – so neat! We were going to go inside the World of Coke but before we got outside P had fallen fast asleep. We settled for a picture outside with the Coke man instead.

Have to tell a funny story – I am one of “those moms”, you know one of those moms who I would talk about how they didn’t have control over their child. As we were sitting at our table one night at dinner waiting on our check, I was holding Paige and next thing you know the girl has knocked over my full glass of diet coke. It goes all down my legs and all over the floor, barely missing the purse sitting at the table next to us. So, yes, I am now one of those mom’s who doesn’t pay attention to what their child is doing. To top it off, I left my cell phone at the restaurant and had to do go back later that night to get it.

Paige listened as I talked to Brad one night.  She missed her daddy for sure!

After my last session on Thursday we found a mall close by (thanks to the conceirge).  Along the way we stopped and grabbed a bite to eat the Varsity - yum!  I couldn't resist getting Paige a hat.  I think it is a little big, but still way too cute.

Thank you Nanny for going with us to Atlanta; Paige and I both had a great time!
Hugs and Kisses, xoxo!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Sweet Memories

No one said being a parent would be easy.  We had to make a really tough decision for our sweet little girl.  If you remember, back in January I went searching for a daycare.  I found The Neighborhood School (where I got up at 3 am and stood in line for a few hours to ensure Paige got a spot) and Christ the Kind Early Childhood Development Center.  TNS couldn't take Paige until August so we decided Paige could go to CTK for the months before. 

I never imgained I would want her to stay, but then we got the CTK and they were wonderful.  They took care of me and my baby on my first day back at work (and every day there after).  Paige came home so happy and it was such a relief to know she was in good hands.  So, what I thought would be easy became one of the hardest things ever.  Brad and I just avoided the conversation whenever we could until we couldn't anymore.  With out going into the details, we decided to go ahead and switch her to TNS.  This past Friday was Paige's last day and her sweet teachers prepare this card for her.

The front of the card was Paige's footprint.

The inside was a note from the teachers and footprints from her classmates (needless to say, I left in tears...which is very ironic since I came in in tears).

We love you Ms. Melissa, Ms. Heather and Ms. Anna!  Thank you for taking care of our Little P, we will miss you!!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

6 Months!

Paige, you are 6 months old!

Sweet baby, we could not get the picture I wanted this month.  You are absolutely adorable so it is not you at all!  The lighting looks off and you did not want to sit back along the bumper.  Oh well, this just shows what you are up to now!

* You started eating baby food and you absolutely love it - except for green beans.  We have developed a routine of eating cereal in the morning and cereal with a veggie or fruit in the evening.  We will add a fruit to the morning and keep on going.  I love how you want to "help" feed yourself.  You grab our hands and direct the spoon to your mouth.  I also love the mess you make.  I know that the wet washcloth MUST be close by.  You normally take 4 bottles a day, one of which is formula.

* You are on the border for size 2 and 3 diapers, along with 3/6 month and 6/9 month clothes.  I can't wait for your doctor's appointment next week to see how much you weigh and how long you are.

* You are so, so, so sweet.  You love to give hugs and just love to giggle.  Your laugh is just so contagious.  I think we could sit back and giggle with each other for hours!

* Your "trick" of the month is blowing your tongue and lips (I guess that is what you call it).  The whole thing cracks me up and you seem to do it at the best times, like while you are eating (can you see the sweet potatoes going everywhere?).  You also love jewelry.  Look out - if you are wearing a little bling P wants it.  She likes to look at my rings, as if she is inspecting them, and loves necklaces and of course earrings (what baby doesn't want to pull on earrings).

* You sleep great and Daddy and I feel so lucky.  You normally go to bed between 7 and 9 and get up around 6:30 or 7 am.

* I almost forgot something very important - you started sitting up on your own!  It started out more "tripod" but you are sitting up straighter with each passing day.

Happy Half Birthday Sweet Baby Girl!!  We love you!!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

HOTlanta Here We Come

This week I have been at a conference in Atlanta.  When I found out I was going I asked Brad if Paige and Nanny could tag along (after confirming he couldn't go).  Being the great husband he is, he said yes even though it meant he would be without his baby girl for a week.  So, Nanny flew into PNS and rode with me to Atlanta, or "Hotlanta" as I like to call it (please tell me you call it this too so that I am not the only weird one, kind of like Huntsville = Huntsvegas).

Before we left we made a trip to Sea n Suds for a yummy shrimp sandwich (they have the best in my opinion).  As you know, I like to give a beach update.  I am pleased to say that the beach was full.  The restaurant was pretty full too.  We didn't have to wait but when we left there was a wait.  Since it was the weekend before school started, I think it was a great turnout.

I will have more about our trip here pretty soon...until then a few pics from dinner.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Run, Run, Run

Paige's school was closed Monday and Tuesday for inservice.  So, Brad took off Monday and I took off Tuesday to stay home with Paige.  It was so much fun for both of us!!  Brad was busy playing with P all day on Monday and didn't get any pictures.  He also was the sweetest husband ever - he let me work late and had dinner ready for me when I got home.

I had a list a mile long of errands to run and I am proud to say that I got them all accomplished.  We were able to get the dogs to the groomer, ran by Target, picked up the blue card from the doctor's office, took registration paperwork by P's new school, got the car worked on, and completed the grocery shopping for the week.  P was an angel!  She is just so good to go with me and let me get these things done.  I was also able to get a little bit of housework done too (not too much, don't worry our still is not up to snuff).

The highlight of my day was when we were at the Toyota dealership getting the car worked on.  I never like waiting and it always seems like it takes forever.  Also, the dealership down here has a huge ego and they just rub me the wrong way.  Paige entertained me the whole time we were there.  She talked and babbled, very loudly might I add, the entire time.  I tried to play up the whole baby and mom waiting thing in an effort to get the car done sooner.  I am not sure that it really helped but I had fun letting Paige be a baby (normally I would consider putting her paci in in a time like this - to let people enjoy their waiting in quite - but not this time!).

I haven't ever posted a video but I thought this might be fun - I hope it works.  While Paige ate her cereal last night she was more interested in playing (blowing her tongue at me).  It was too funny and just made me laugh (while I was telling her that we did not need to play while we were eating dinner.  She just looked at me, smiled, laughed and continued on.).  After we were done we gave her a water bottle to play.  You can see the tongue blowing and the babbling.  This is the mini-version of our Toyota visit.

I have also just realized that you probably think the only thing she does is sit in the bumbo because that is the only pictures we show.  I promise she does more than sit in the bumbo.  She is just too stinkin' cute when she is in it and it gives me the opportunity to take pictures. 

Monday, August 2, 2010

Toes in the Water, Toes in the Sand

Another great weekend for the Wright's!  We took off and headed to the beach with Paige for the first time.  We headed out around lunch time Friday and an hour and a half later we arrived in Fort Walton Beach.  I love living this close! 

As the sunset Friday night we took Paige out for the first time.  We were both pretty excited to see her reaction to the water and the sand.  Well, there was no reaction what so ever.  Oh well!  It was still fun to capture the moment.  Friday night we ate at the Black Pearl and it was so good.  I got shrimp and grits and Brad got some sort of fish that had a little kick to it.  The Black Pearl was right down the road at this neat shopping/dining place called The Boardwalk.  There were all sorts of restaurants over looking the public beach.  We could have walked but it was way too hot for that.

Saturday we hit the beach.  Did I mention it was hot???  We didn't really want to get Paige out in the heat index of 110 degrees so we took turns through out the day relaxing and napping on the beach (I think I took just as many naps as Paige - ha!).  Finally, about 4:00 we brought her out to enjoy the beach.  Brad took her out in the water to rid the waves (what little waves there were).  And no, we did not see any oil.  There was a little bit of seaweed but that was it.  You could see the line of seaweed from the beach and just past that was the pretty water you are used to seeing along the Gulf Coast. 

Saturday evening we ate dinner with Justin, Christina and their friends.  They were sweet to let the old fuddy duddies with a baby tag along (they always have been - we used to do the same thing when Justin was at AU, just minus the baby).

Sunday morning we got up and ate breakfast at the Donut Hole.  It was yummy!  Since we had a late check out we headed to the beach one last time.  We all went because we wouldn't be out long.  Paige got to take her morning nap listening to the crash of the waves. 

May I just say it is a lot of work getting a baby ready for the beach....getting her lathered up in sunscreen, planning it around the temperature and feeding schedule, then packing toys and anything else she may need while down there.  Man, it is enough to wear you out (but totally worth it once we got down there). 

I can't wait for us to go back when Paige can actually play in the water and the sand!