Tuesday, September 28, 2010

South Carolina Review

The cardiac kids did it again. Honestly Auburn, I can’t take this too many more times this season or I am seriously going to have a heart attack. For once I just want to watch a game without having chest pains in the fourth quarter.

I was wrong last week. I thought USC was going to win this game because of the obvious mismatch in the secondary and I thought they may stop our run game. While that mismatch was obvious USC never was able to take full advantage and this was probably due to the pressure applied by Nick Fairley and the rest of the defensive line. Auburn did a great job of stopping Marcus Lattimore and the USC run game and forced the USC QBs to win it through the air. This resulted in Auburn getting 4 turnovers in the 4th quarter and ultimately the win.

5 Observations:

1. Cam Newton is amazing. Let the Heisman talk begin. He is perhaps the most complete QB Auburn has ever had (my apologies to Pat Sullivan and Dameyune Craig). When he took off from the 7 and landed 2 yards in the endzone I was speechless. It was like the feeling you got when Michael Jordan won the dunk contest by taking off from the free throw line. Seriously though if Cam can dive 9 yards why not just give it to him every 1st down and tell him to dive. 2nd and 1 sound good to anyone? (as a side note, that little dive should have drawn a flag and I hope Malzahn corrects that little issue this week).

2. Remember that little rumor I heard last week at the game, the one about a certain TE? Well turns out we do have a TE and he can catch! 3 catches and 1 touchdown. Time to get this guy the ball more often. I called that TD by the way, but just don’t ask me to spell his last name.

3. The defense is improving each week. Nick Fairley is just amazing and Josh Bynes is obviously a beast in the middle against the run game and is one of the best leaders on the field I have ever seen. I still have lots of worries about the secondary but I have been impressed with the overall improvement by the defense as a whole. Can anyone make half-time adjustments better than Ted Roof and Gene Chizik? Amazing!

4. Turnovers and running backs. While we won the turnover battle overall, the turnovers by the running backs have to stop. I was very impressed with Mike Dyer and the way he shrugged the fumble off and came back to run for 100 yards. He seemed to get stronger as the game went on and he and Cam really put the whole team on their shoulders in the 3rd and 4th quarters. If he continues to improve and can share the carries with OMac we will have our version of “Thunder and Lightning” and combined with Cam will make this run game very difficult to stop. Have we seen the last of Fannin at running back?

5. I’m not sure how I feel about Cam carrying the ball 20+ times. On one hand he just has a knack for getting positive yardage and the first down, but on the other the SEC is a physical league. Seriously, that is a lot of hits on the body in the SEC and I personally would like to see him make it until the end of the season. That being said he is built like a defensive end. Have we found our…Tebow?

Overall a great win for the Tigers. I think the last 3 weeks have been statements for this team. They have shown that they can come back from a first-half deficit and they have shown that they can work together to get it done. Sometimes teams just find a way to win and this team has that ability. Does luck play a part? Yes, but make no mistake, South Carolina, Clemson, and MSU are good teams and you always need a little luck on your side. I was real impressed with the improvements this week and you can just tell that this team responds to the great coaching they receive in practice. I don’t think I’ve ever seen an Auburn team really identify something they will work on and then come out the next week and execute it perfectly like this team has.

If this team can stay humble, keep improving, and keep finding a way to win, then they have a good chance of making that step from “good to great”.

Monday, September 27, 2010


**I got to work this morning and realized I didn't give this post a title.  I can't think of anything good so I am going with a titleless post.

As usual, our weekend passed way too quickly!  Friday night Brad and I got to enjoy a date night while Nana and Papa Joe watched Paige for us.  While we love our sweet baby girl, it was nice to have dinner without worrying about keeping her entertained or occupied.  I think Brad may tell you that the highlight of the evening was going to the grocery store.  Yes, as part of our date I asked that we go on to the grocery store for the week.  I figured it would help us out to go ahead and have it done because we have a busy week ahead, plus we would still get to spend time together (the purpose of a date).

Saturday we ventured up to Auburn and we had a great time as usual.  We went by the bookstore and got lots of cute stuff; I love the bookstore!!  We always end up spending way more than we need to while we are there.  After the bookstore, we met up with Justin, Christina and Boz (a friend of their's).  Paige and I did not go to the game; I think I am over the late kickoffs.  I would like to think that Paige and I would go if kickoff was earlier in the day but then you get into the whole heat factor.  What do you think?

Sunday I had to go to work.  In an attempt to make up for it a little, I sat in the backseat with Paige.  We had a great time playing together.  She has now started playing peek-a-boo on her own - too cute!

Now on for the super busy work week!!  This is the week I am reminded of how great Brad is - as if I didn't already know this!

Friday, September 24, 2010

South Carolina Preview

South Carolina Preview

Auburn returns to SEC play Saturday when South Carolina comes to town. This will be the toughest test the team has faced thus far this season. South Carolina is coming off a win over Furman as well as a big win over Georgia. This Steve Spurrier coached team doesn’t act like a typical Spurrier coached team. This team has been really good running the football while somewhat questionable through the air. They have a really good running back in true freshman Marcus Lattimore. He is really good, especially for a freshman and plays very physical. South Carolina also has some really good, and really tall, receivers. I have never been impressed with their QB however he is experienced. Finally, their defense is much improved and held Georgia when the game was on the line.

 Keys to the game:

• Auburn must stop Lattimore and the USC rushing attack. I think Auburn should be able to do this. If Nick Fairley and the rest of the line play up to their potential, we may be able to limit the number of rushing yards and force them to pass. I’d rather put the game in the QB Garcia’s hands, however…

• USC receivers are really big, tall and talented. This worries me A LOT. Our secondary has had its share of problems this year and will not match up well with these big receivers. In order to limit their effectiveness we must get a rush on the QB.

• The Auburn offense must step up and store some points. We must establish the run, however USC is really good at stopping the run (1st in the SEC at stopping the run) and stopped Georgia’s run game effectively. Cam must complete those short-intermediate passes and look for the open receiver.

• Atmosphere – This is USC’s first away game and the first for Marcus Lattimore. Auburn must take advantage of the crowd and “protect our house”. I’d also like to show Lattimore what he missed in not coming to AU.

Overall this will be a tough game. South Carolina is looking to make a statement in the SEC East and I expect Spurrier to have them ready to play. The Auburn coaches have put extra emphasis this week on playing tough, physical football and this will be a big test for this coaching staff. I think this week we find out how good they are. They have to get the team focused after a hard-fought, physical, and emotional game. They also have to find a way to get everyone going in the first quarter and then make adjustments on the fly. A win Saturday will be huge for this staff and the confidence of this team.

I would like to say that Auburn wins Saturday, however as of now I see the USC receivers vs AU secondary potentially being too much of a mismatch for Auburn, especially given the coach on the other sideline is Steve Spurrier. If USC is able to exploit this mismatch then I see USC winning a very close game.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Too Cute Not to Share

Sunday we had dinner at Cracker Barrel.  While there we caught Paige doing some of the cutest things.  I love seeing her little personality come out.

Hmm, what looks good tonight?

Let me get comfortable here...

Other news on the Paige front - no crawling yet, her main mode of transportation is rolling, rolling everywhere.  She also has started talking more - mama was her 2nd word and I come running anytime I hear it!

Good to Great

Last Wednesday I had the privilege of spending some “face time” with our Commanding General for our Division (I work at the Mobile District and we are part of the South Atlantic Division). This next fiscal year I am participating in the Mobile Leadership Development Program and they asked for a volunteer from the LDP to ride with the General to and from the Pensacola airport.

I had never met a General before so I was kind of nervous but excited. It turned out to be a great experience. He sat in the back seat with me and talked the whole way from Pensacola to Mobile. It was kind of funny because the LTC told me that this General would talk a little bit then play on his blackberry. That was not the case this time! As I said, he talked the entire time with and sat in the back seat. On the way back to Pensacola he sat up front and visited with the LTC. Another funny from the trip was that we rode in a Nissan Versa. Have you seen this car? They are tiny, I mean tiny. Luckily no one was Brad’s size. I felt like we were in a clown car and it was funny to watch the 4 of us pile out (the 4th person was the General’s aide).

Our conversation mainly revolved around work. We talked about the definition of success and leadership. He believes that success is measured by metrics, believes in the book "Good to Great," and that leaders need to look at the strategic goals. I really related to one of his analogies. He said, “where do you see yourself when you are 70 and what are you doing to get there?” It really made me think about my personal life (more than my work life, which is what he was really relating it to). He also made an analogy with our time. He related spending time everyday towards the big goals to an automatic savings plan, pay yourself first.

I also had the privilege of sitting in on the meeting he was leading with the senior leaders in our District. I have always enjoyed these higher level meetings because it puts my work into perspective; I get to see how my little job fits into the big picture. The meeting was centered on budgeting issues for future years.

I thought about taking my camera and asking for a picture, but thought that might be a little unprofessional. So, a picture of Paige will have to do (nothing wrong with that!).

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Clemson Review

Another week and another win….barely. But a win is a win and what we will most likely find is that Clemson is a formidable out-of-conference opponent. If you saw the broadcast on tv you are aware that this was a physical game as that was said at least 1 gazillion times. Even from my perch, high in the north endzone, I could feel some of the hits in this game.

I really like the way this team responded to adversity. They looked just plain bad in the first half, yet came out in the 2nd half and responded with 24 unanswered points. It would have been just as easy to continue playing flat in the 2nd half, especially given how physical Clemson was. However, they stood up to the challenge and showed that they can’t be counted out. We have a lot of things to address on both sides of the ball, although there seem to now be more problems with the offense, however any time a team responds like that and comes back to win you have to give them credit. That kind of attitude can take you from “good-to-great”.

This team, as hard as they played and as bad as they looked at times, has been lucky. Two weeks in a row good QBs can’t hit open receivers. Sometimes you have luck on your side and this team has for the first 3 games. I’m afraid that won’t last the rest of the season. At some point we are going to need to flat out beat somebody, however all great teams have some luck during the season (don’t believe me? See Alabama 2009 National Championship team and watch the Tennessee game, see the entire 1993 Auburn season, and see 2004 AU vs. LSU). I think this team knows that, but also understands that as you go from “good to great” you will need luck on your side at times and also be able to respond positively to that bad luck when it occurs.

I was told to be short so here are 5 observations from this week:

1. Cam Newton occasionally forgets his Superman cape. He is human, although a very talented human. He made mistakes Saturday night and it cost the team. He misread several plays (If he hits TZac on 3rd down in OT we could watch TZac crawl in the endzone untouched). If we really want to see the QB and the leader he is as well as whether he can go from “good to great” we will see how he responds and how he learns from his mistakes.

2. Defense – A lot has been said about this Defense and a lot has been negative. I am torn on what this defense can do this year. Let me break it down. DLine – Best player on this team resides here. Nick Fairley is a beast and maybe the best Dlinemen at Auburn since his position coach, Tracy Rocker, played 25 years ago (it may be too early to call this, however I will throw it out there). At times he has another motor and another gear that just allows him to run over opposing teams. That being said, the rest of the line is good but not up to his level. If he had a supporting cast, he would be just nasty. LBs – Josh Bynes is a leader and it shows on the field. This guy is a huge asset for this team, both through his athletic ability and his leadership. Just watch any given play and how he directs the defense. The other linebackers have not impressed me yet and Craig Stevens is obviously rusty at this point. Secondary – Ouch!! I’m going to just say we need to work on some things and continue to develop a consistent pass rush to help them out.

3. I heard a rumor at the game. This is super-secret! I heard we have a tight end on this team!! I know at this point that is purely speculative but it is what I have been told. Now can anyone find this very-talented guy with incredible hands who has not seen a ball thrown his way this year? Maybe we don’t throw it to him b/c the media relations folks don’t want to have to spell out his name in the box score every Sunday.

4. Clemson fans travel well and were very loud at times. That being said, I love the “blue out” and I thought our fans were loud for most of the game and showed why Jordan-Hare can be a tough place to play. The students brought it for this game and in OT the noise was deafening! I appreciate Coach Chizik and his efforts to get fans and specifically students ready for the game.

5. Penalties. They just have to stop. Stupid penalties lose games; just ask the Clemson long snapper.

This week is South Carolina and it will be tough. More on that later.

Post-Game Thoughts

It’s a God thing…

When interviewed after the Clemson game, Coach Chizik referred to this win as “a God thing”. As any deranged media member would do, the state and national media listening intently to this interview took offense to this statement and newspaper writers and message board flunkies alike have chosen to criticize this statement.

Let me start by saying that if this is what you find wrong with sports today or if this is what you find to complain about then you have some SERIOUS issues. If you are an Auburn fan and have a problem with your coach referring to this win as “a God thing” then go back and rewatch the first half. I’m sure you will find several things to complain about there.

I noticed that Chiz said something similar last week in the locker room. Then the team gathered together, locked arms and sang “Lean on Me”. While not the best rendition I have ever seen or heard (Mike Dyer was off-key and Ryan Pugh… well he can’t dance) I really liked what I saw. I saw a team just less than 2 years away from being torn apart in many directions coming together in the first sign of team unity since 2004. What was even more evident to me is that they were having fun.

I don’t know exactly what he meant when he said those inflammatory words Saturday night but I can speculate as to what I think he meant (Isn’t free speech great!). In that game we saw a team struggle in the first half, look horrible, get beat off the line, and get bruised and banged up by some very physical play. After halftime and 1 more interception they responded to this adversity by scoring 21 unanswered points. After the offense was done they “leaned” on the defense to keep it close and send it to overtime. This team worked together and hung together as the game went on. I think you saw some players mature, some players improve, and some players just learn what it means to dig down and give just a little bit more when you thought you were done. I can’t say what each player’s motivation was but I can say that staring down adversity and finding a way to defeat it is very often “a God thing”.

Monday, September 20, 2010

True Blue

It was another fun filled Saturday for us!  We ventured to Auburn for the game and met Nana and Papa Joe at Buffalo Connection again.  This place is great when the weather is so hot (high of 95)!  They have food, A/C, and tv’s ~ what more could you want on game day?  Speaking of game day, ESPN’s Game Day was in Auburn.  While walking around campus we tried to see the stage, but they had already taken it down.  We were able to stop for a photo-op in front of the Game Day bus.

After relaxing there for a bit, we headed over to campus.  You could tell this was a big game as it was much busier than the first week.  Brad found the perfect parking spot for me.  I didn’t realize how great it was until I was walking back to the car it was so easy for me to get to and easy for me to get of town.  We enjoyed our time before the game by going to the Tiger Walk and meeting up with Justin, Christina and Bethany (Christina’s sister).  Paige was the best little tiger!  We just strolled around and she took in all that was around us.

I decided Paige and I would head on back to our hotel for the game this time.  We headed back to the hotel right at kick off and it was a strange feeling looking back at the stadium as we left.  I am used to sitting in the stadium, cheering on my Tigers.  All though it was kind of strange, I wouldn’t trade for getting to spend time with my sweet baby girl!

From the outside looking in...

The game was a nail-biter until the end. Paige and I were able to celebrate the first touchdown together. The next 2 were celebrated on a smaller scale because Paige was trying to fall asleep. By the time overtime rolled around she was out completely. As the Clemson kicker missed the 2nd field goal, I jumped up and down, waving my arms around, all in silence. Ah, to be a fly on the wall in our room – I am sure I looked like the biggest goober!

Brad will give his analysis of the game I am sure, but I wanted to share a few thoughts. 1) Penalties – what is up with all of the penalties? Those guys need to get with it this week and figure that one out. 2) I was so over hearing about Clemson’s poor quarterback. I am sure it hurt, but if you are hurt that bad you don’t need to be out there. 3) We’ve got our hands full with SC coming up!

War Eagle!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Clemson Preview

Auburn was really tested last week against MSU. This week Clemson comes to town and along with them comes the Gameday crew. This game will be highly advertised, discussed and will be on prime time TV (in 3D!). This is a good thing for Auburn especially when it comes to recruiting, but it is going to take a good showing from our Tigers.

I don’t know that much about Clemson. They haven’t really played anyone yet this season as they blew out teams like St. Mary’s by the Swamp and Presbyterian Women’s College. What we do know is that they have a really good quarterback with a good arm who was a 1st round draft pick as a pitcher. Although they lost a good running back and all-around player in CJ Spiller, they have 2 pretty good returning running backs. I look for them to really try to spread the ball around with their QB and will try to exploit our secondary that hasn’t been a strongpoint of this defense at least after 2 games. Look for them to continue the trend of trying to move the ball with the little short passes and screens.

They are strong on defense as well and Auburn will have to rely on more than just Cam’s feet. He is going to have to complete some long passes as well as those intermediate passes across the middle. I also look for Mike Dyer to step up with more carries and we are definitely going to need him to get some yards up the middle with OMac mixing in some misdirection and runs around end. Look for Auburn to hopefully open up the offense more and really try to hurry things up this week.

Overall I see the good tigers winning, but again in a close game. Remember if you are going to the game to wear blue and War Eagle!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Summer Nights

At the end of each May, we all become sad as our favorite TV shows take a break over the summer.  We then fill our summers with mindless TV (reality TV shows and reruns) and wonder what is going to happen next.  This year was no different for Brad and me but we decided we would take a different approach to our summer break.  We found Grey’s Anatomy on Lifetime and were able to catch it from the first episode.  We were both hooked after just a few episodes.  We found ourselves coming home and watching countless hours of Seattle’s best interns. 

As you can imagine, we were disappointed to find out that Lifetime only carried seasons 1 – 5.  As our time dwindled down with McDreamy and McSteamy we wondered how we would see season 6.  Then we found Netflix!  Much to our dismay, Netflix would not have season 6 available until TODAY, yes, TODAY.  Today is the day we will be reunited with Meredith, Christina, Izzy, Alex and George (assuming Izzy and George make it…that was season 5’s cliffhanger).  AAHH, we can’t wait!

Sorry for the randomness of this post.  Grey’s Anatomy has become a favorite in our house…just count this as another addition to the “favorite” series.   

Monday, September 13, 2010

AU/MSU Review

Another week and another win. However, again we come out of the game with two conflicting thoughts on the game. The forever optimists look at this game and say, we won on the road in a hostile SEC environment with a new quarterback. The other, louder, group says that while we won, we won ugly with too many turnovers and questionable secondary play. I am torn between these two views. While I would certainly like us to go out and look good in every game in this 3 month beauty pageant we call college football, I must say that a win is a win, especially on the road in the SEC.

Let me start out by giving MSU a lot of credit. As I said last week, this would be a close game (it was too close) and turnovers would decide the game (tied 2-2 there). The bulldogs came to play and the fans in Starkville came ready to help their team. Those at the game have said it was loud and hostile and I give MSU all the credit for making it a great SEC opener. This MSU team WILL beat someone they are not supposed this year and Mullen has them on the right track. They were a play or two from easily winning this game and Mullen will help them learn from mistakes. Watch out for MSU!

5 observations from this week:

1. Cam Newton is a FREAK! WOW! This guy can play ball. He is still making mistakes (turnovers), however I can tell you that the interception did not look to be his fault. Not only is he making plays with his feet, but he is making them at crucial times (3rd and long situations). That is a huge advantage for this team. Also watch him as he approaches defenders. He usually jukes the first one out of his shoes and then lowers his shoulder and runs over 2-3 more defensive backs that he may outweigh by 50 lbs. Expect teams each week to try to diminish his rushing abilities. This is going to force him to throw and if he can complete those intermediate passes we will be fine.

2. Nick Fairley. Dude came to play and absolutely tore up the MSU offensive line. He brought the nasty that his position coach was known for back in the 80s. SEC Defense Player of the Week this week and if he keeps playing like that and can really stuff the run our D line will be a true strength heading through the SEC schedule.

3. Did I speak to quickly last week on the punt returner? OOPS! Look for him to learn from that and hopefully we see no future fumbles on kick returns.

4. Running back remains a question mark at Running back U. Fannin is talented and no one is denying that. However, would his services be more utilized at the H back position catching passes out of the backfield? Some say yes and I agree. Get this guy in open space and you have a good chance at a touchdown or at least significant yards. Dyer looks to be special and it may be time to unleash his talent and let him and OMac split carries at RB. I remember 9 years ago when a certain Cadillac started slow in the first few games then lit up UGA with something like 45 carries and 200 yards.

5. Clock management. Can someone explain to me the thinking by AU coaches at halftime the last 2 weeks? Both times it looks as though we pulled a Les Miles and ended up with no points.

The good from this game included a defense that stepped up when the game was on the line. Sure MSU receivers dropped their fair share of passes and made the D look good, but a stand like that can really help build confidence. Also on defense the D line really showed some good pass rush. On offense there were some great plays during the first half and as I already said, Cam made some great plays with his feet. OMac continues to look good and I swear he is one shoelace from breaking a long one - would like to see him cut back to the inside a little more often. Wide receivers made some awesome blocks and I heard TZac made Emory Blake buy him a pizza for the block he threw that got Blake into the end zone.

The not so good - secondary, we have to man up this week and get off our blocks - killing us on defense. On offense, someone has to take the load off of Cam. He is special but I just don’t know that we want to test the theory that he can stand up to the bruising hits like a Tebow. I love the shoulder down getting extra yards, but I just don’t know if he will survive the SEC doing that.

Overall, a good performance by the Tigers on the road. We could have played and looked better and sure we left some points on the field, but at the end of the day a win on the road in the SEC is a BIG W.

**Note from LeeAnn:  These pictures are from older MSU games, the final score was NOT 3-2 this year.  I wanted some semi-relevant pictures included.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

7 Months!!

Happy 7 Month Birthday, Paige!!

I can not believe my baby girl is 7 months old!!  These pictures each month keep getting harder and harder to take.  I don't know how my friends with older babies do it.  During our photo shoot Paige thought it would be more fun to play with her bumper and then try to stand up.

Each month continues to be more fun!  This month you started your new "school", The Neighborhood School.  Ms. Melissa is your main teacher and you visit with Ms. Margie in the afternoons.  I think you are adjusting well and like having Myles and Ella there with you.  All of the teachers love you too and they tell me everyday how great you are.

You eat 3 to 4 bottles a day.  This depends on if you are at school (4) or at home (3).   You also each cereal and fruit in the morning and a veggies with puffs or something fun in the evening.  You try most anything and normally finish whatever it is you are eating, especially if you have an audience.  Ms. Melissa says peaches are not a favorite of your's.

You are wearing size 6 to 9 month clothes.  We got an "official" wii weighing and it said you weigh 18 lbs.  I tried to measure you but from everything Daddy and I did you shrunk...we know that is not true, so we are not really sure of your exact measurement.

You are everywhere!!  No crawling yet - your main mode of transportation is rolling from here to there and back again.  You are still mesmerized by the TV and like to play with your toys.  Every where we go people tell me how you are just the happiest baby.  You just see new people and start to smile.  I love it!

Most nights we rock you to sleep and you are good to go.  This month was a little bit more of a challenge, but we believe it was because you had a yucky cold for a few weeks.  I am confident that you will stay on your sleeping track.

During this month you got to go to your first Auburn football game!  You were an angel!!  You also got to spend a week with Nanny and celebrate Daddy's 30th birthday.  Your biggest accomplishment for the month is that you started talking, like for real talking.  Your first word was dada and boy does this make your Daddy feel special!  I would say half the time you know what you are saying.

Happy 7 Month Birthday sweet baby girl!  Thank you for bringing such joy to our lives!  Your sweet smile continues to melt our heart and light up our lives.  We love you!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

A Little too Close for Comfort

Auburn played Mississippi State last night and boy was it a close game!  Let me back up and say how I am not really sure how I feel about Thursday night games.  On one had it is nice to be able to watch a game at home and have a semi-normal weekend, but then on the other hand it means we may not get to go to the game and the weekend is totally different.  We are so used to going to game on the weekends it is kind of weird to be at home.  We also like to go to the State game with our friends Billy and Rebecca, the best State fans in the world, and we didn't get to go this year.  I told Billy just yesterday morning that we were all going next year no matter what - we will have to take off work if it is on a Thursday night!

We started the day out right in our Auburn gear (well, we all wore orange and blue).  And yes, we were able to get a picture before work because we all woke up late...maybe it was just me who woke up late...thank goodness for comp time!  Waking up late ended up being a good thing since I was able to take my time getting ready and got to spend some time with the family.

Back to the game - we went over to Matt and Jamie's and had a great time visiting with everyone, including Aunt Susie and Uncle Jim.  Myles and Paige were so cute playing together, but it would normally last just for a second and I didn't have my camera ready.  I was able to get a few shots of Paige with Aunt Susie.

Aunt Christina put together Paige's outfit.  It is too cute!! 

I hope we continue to win and next week is not as much of a nailbitter.  War Eagle!!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Pom Pom Flowers

For Jason and Kristen's shower I thought I would get a little creative and try to make some decorations.  I saw these pom pom flowers on another blog and thought they looked like something I could make.

First, you will need tissue paper (I used 4 - 5 large pieces), scissors (maybe), a pipe cleaner, and ribbon.

Next, cut the tissue paper in half, giving you a total of 8 to 10 sheets.
**I read where you could use napkins instead of tissue paper.  I thought that was a neat idea if you could find the color of tissue paper you wanted.

Then you will take your stack fo paper and start to fold it like a fan.

Tie the pipe cleaner around the middle.

And begin to fluff.

I took the pipe cleaner and made a little hook so I could loop the ribbon through.  Depending on where you are going to hang/place these, you could do the same.

Viola, you have a pom pom flower!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Arkansas State Review

Football season is here and week 1 is in the books. It was an exciting week especially considering this was Paige’s first Auburn game. I think she even said “War Eagle DaDa!” while at the game (or something that sounded nothing like that unless you are a proud daddy holding your girl as AU scores a touchdown). Anyway, Paige and LeeAnn have heard my analysis of week 1 but for all those sitting around waiting, here goes.

In week 1, Auburn beat a very feisty and scrappy Arkansas State team. If you are a glass half-full kind of person then you see 52 points and a QB with some ridiculous stats. If you are a glass half-empty kind of person then you see a defense with some significant weaknesses. So which is it? I’ll try to clear that up.

While it is hard to really get a good picture of this team from playing Ark. St. in week 1, I would like to start with 5 observations of this team:

1. We have a QB! Cam Newton is the real deal. His arm strength is ridiculous and he has great speed. Combine this with some great composure in the pocket and you have a great QB. That being said, he will not be able to make those runs against SEC opponents, but I can’t wait to see him try. As a side note, just look at this guy’s size. He may be bigger than ¼ of our DL and LBs.

2. We have a punt returner! Q. Carr is a breath of fresh air returning punts and made some great solid catches and returns. Still room for improvement though as he caught a couple he shouldn’t have and called for a fair catch once when had plenty of running room.

3. I was worried about RB depth. Well, HELLO MIKE DYER! This true freshman will be special if he continues to develop. Deceptively fast and strong. Reminds me of a young Ronnie Brown. Hopefully like Ronnie he will learn to not dance around and instead hit the hole hard.

4. Onterio McCalleb is still very important to this team. Most underrated player on this team in my opinion. If he wore number 24 and an extra 15 pounds I’d probably confuse him with a certain Cadillac. His speed and cuts are amazing and once he gets those shoulders turned up field he is hard to stop. I look for him and Dyer to be the featured backs by the end of the year however we ideally need 4 RBs so Mario will also play a huge role especially with catches out of the backfield.

5. True freshman on the D-line are just ridiculously good. Whitaker (has the body of a NFL lineman) and K. Carter on the interior may be the best 2 linemen we have and with experience will be significant contributors to this team. Lemonier has a sick first step of the line at DE and there is a certain Ark St. right tackle still looking for his shoes after Lemonier put a move on him in the fourth quarter and juked him out of his shoes. Craig Sanders is a very undersized DE and will need to get bigger and stronger. That being said his contributions to the special teams were amazing and it will be hard to keep him off the field.

The Good – In addition to the above, the offense in the Ark. St game was simply amazing. Over 600 yards! 400 of those were by Cam Newton. On the flip side, it was against Ark. St. so I’ll hold Cam’s Heisman till he beats MSU. I highlighted some defensive positives above and would like to add that Savage is a great open field tackler and is an asset in the secondary.

The Bad – Overall defense giving up 23 pts to Ark St. That being said, Ark St is actually pretty good on offense and we played a very vanilla defense. On the other hand our secondary needs to significantly step up this week. Our safeties looked timid at times, but they both are coming off injuries. The corners were giving a lot of ground and overall they all need to play a little stronger and get off blocks better. This was a problem and will continue to be with stronger teams and receivers. Additional worries include the punting, with a 39 yd avg.

The Rest of the Story - The OL could have played better overall and will need to step up this week. However at times they gave Cam Newton about an hour to find an open receiver and opened some big holes. When a defender did come thru the line, Cam usually bought time with his feet and size. He is just going to be hard to bring down. He also had one play where he ran around for like 5 minutes before finally completing the pass.
The wildcat was effective at times and not at others. I look for us to open this up as the season goes on and receivers other than Kodi will get playing time here and I even look for Mario to take a snap or 2.

On Defense we have plenty room to improve and I expect we will. A lot of true freshman saw playing time and they will continue to grow. The true test comes this week with MSU. They put up 49 on Memphis and looked good doing so. We are going to have to pressure the QB and play strong in the secondary to keep them from repeating that point total. Additionally the offense will have to score points and may have to get creative to do so. I hope we get to see T. Reed this week and he may play a significant role.

I am going to pick AU to win on Thursday night in Starkville but I think it will be very high-scoring and VERY close. I think it will come down to turnovers and whoever is positive in that category will win. I honestly see it going either way and I am going to call it that this may be one of the hardest games we play all year. Starkville is not an easy place to play (although a fun place to watch a game!) and MSU is much improved under Mullen. They will make noise this year in the West and will beat someone they are not supposed to this year; I just hope it isn’t us. WAR EAGLE!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Paige's First Game

As Auburn made their debut for the 2010 season, so did Paige!  She got to go to her first, of many, AU games!!!  The whole day was so much fun!!

Normally for the first game it would be 100 degrees outside so we opted to eat at Buffalo Connection.  The weather was nearly as hot as usual but I am glad we stayed inside.  It was perfect for Paige (and we figured there would be plenty of other games where we could tailgate on campus). 

Thank you Aunt Shirley for the adorable AU outfit!!

Nana and Papa Joe gave Paige a cute Auburn cheerleader doll - it was too cute and she really enjoyed playing with it.  We used it to practice our cheers.

Right outside the gate, getting ready to go in to the stadium

Paige after her first Auburn touchdown.  Yes, she fell asleep just as the game started and slept basically through the first quarter. 

Paige was an angel the entire time we were there.  I had been practicing cheers and the fight song with her but didn't know how she would really react with a full stadium doing them too.  I don't know that she even noticed what was really going on.  Everyone around us told me how great she was (of course she was great, right?!?).  I think her favorite part was staring at all of the people.  She would stare them down until they looked at her and smiled.  I can't decide if she and I will be going back to any games, but we will definitely be going back for the food and fun!!

Oh, and I forgot to say that we won - yay!  War Eagle!