I love this time of the year! Thanksgiving is the kickoff to the wonderful holiday season!
One of the neat things about having Paige in school now is that she gets to do fun crafts and sweet little things for Momma and Daddy. They dressed her in the onesie the Wednesday before Thanksgiving - too cute!
Thursday we got to visit with Grandad and Dede for lunch.
And we got to eat dinner with Brad's family. All the food was so yummy! I think I could eat all of the sides, forget the meat! Who doesn't love dressing, sweet potato casserole, green bean/corn casserole, and pumpkin pie (no Thanksgiving is complete without a pumpkin pie)?!?
Friday we headed to the Iron Bowl, just the 2 of us. It felt funny to not have Paige with me. She and I have been game buddies all season long. During the first half I started to think she and I needed to watch the game together in order to win. I am glad that was not the case. Paige had a great time watching the game with Nana and Papa Joe. She was probably in better hands with them than with her unhappy Momma and Daddy.
I think one of the highlights for Paige was getting to visit with Brad's grandparents. She loves the way PaPaw plays with her. Look at this cute little, come-and-get-me smile!
Is there any better rivalry in all of college football? Sorry Michigan and Ohio State. All apologies to Texas vs Oklahama and apparently Nevada vs Boise St. There may be good rivalries out there but there are none that come even close to the battle for bragging rights in the state of Alabama. (I will add that if you press me I will admit that Army vs. Navy is really awesome and may be a better rivalry). People from outside the state of Alabama don’t seem to understand that this really is a 365 day a year rivalry. I LOVE IT!!
On Black Friday Auburn will travel to Bryant-Denny Stadium to finish off a perfect season and try to prevent Alabama from winning 3 in a row. Auburn is playing for championships and Alabama is not. That is what scares me because Alabama comes in with nothing to lose and can play like it. If you don’t think that matters then go back and watch last years’ Iron Bowl. Auburn has to stay focused despite all the distractions from Cam-gate and it seems to me that Coach Chizik has been able to keep them focused.
Las Vegas has Bama as a 4 point favorite. Interesting. Not often does the number 2 team in the nation go into their last game as a 4 point underdog. I think this says a lot about the advantage of playing at home in this rivalry. Auburn needs to come out early and score. That is a key to winning this game. Take the crowd out of the game and get the momentum. If Bama gets on top early then it may be a long day for Auburn. No offense to Coach Chizik but I’m afraid no amount of stereos during practice can stimulate the noise our guys will hear on the first drive of the game.
What is really the key to this game? Easy – Cam Newton. If he can keep the Bama defense on their heels and guessing, Auburn can keep the ball, score, and control the game. On the other hand if Auburn has a lot of 3 and outs on offense this will allow Bama to control the game with their ground game. Bama will try to control the clock, making it even more important for Auburn to score on almost every possession. This also means the defense must come up with some stops early despite being down 2 lineman in the first half.
Can Auburn win this game? I think they can and I think they will. I think this Auburn offense is playing their best and although Saban will have some new schemes for Cam, I think Cam will still be able to direct the offense. I look for him to run the ball and run it a lot. Look for a big game from Phillip Lutzenkirchen as well as Darvin Adams and company will be covered and covered well. I also look for Gus Malzahn to open it all up and there will be some new looks to this offense. In the end however, the combo of Dyer, OMac and Cam running the ball will prove too much especially with the passing attack is opened up with guys like Lutz making big catches in the clutch.
My prediction – this will be a VERY close game. May come down to who scores last. I still give the edge to Auburn with a final score of 38-34.
I have started a new blog for our small group, http://www.cotes242group.blogspot.com/. We thought it would be a fun way to keep up with group happenings. If you get a chance go check it out. I don't really know what all we are going to have out there on it, but it should be fun.
Our sister-in-law, Christina, is very crafty and has started doing some monogramming as a little side business. She can monogram anything and it is so cute!! Back at Easter she sold these adorable Easter baskets, like the ones you get a Pottery Barn, but cheaper (wahoo!). For Christmas she is monogramming shopping bags and they are super cute!
She has them in the pattern you see below (black and white), along with brown and green, brown and blue, and one that looks a little more Christmasy. They would be great for when you do your Christmas shopping. You can put your multiple department store bags into your one cute bag! They really would be great anytime you need a tote. If you are interested, they are $18 and you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As you can see, it is large bag, made out of an "eco-friendly" material.
Don't you just love long weekends?!? I was able to enjoy a 4 day weekend with Veterans' Day and my regular day off - yay! I stayed pretty busy the entire time I was off between cleaning (like real cleaning with the carpet cleaner), going to the doctor for Paige's 9 month check up and going to Auburn for our last time this football season.
Brad and I thought it would be fun to take Paige to this game since it was at the same time as LSU and since we all had a great experience at the LSU game. While the outcome of the game was the same (war eagle!), our experience was totally different. I won't really go into here on the blog, but if you want to know the whole story, email me and I will give you the details. I will say that I used to like Georgia, it was on my approved lists of law schools for Paige, but now not so much and it is not because of the scuffle between the teams at the end...I will say that getting whiskey and coke spilled in your hair and down your right side during the first few minutes is not a way to start the game (and that isn't even all that happened).
This has been such a fun month and full of adventures!
We went to the doctor today and she said you look great! You weigh 19 lbs, 5 oz and are 27 3/4 inches long. This puts you in the 60th percentile for weight and heighth.
You are wearing 6 - 9 month clothes but that is not going to last too much longer. The dress I took your picture in may look better with some leggings - ha! Socks and shoes have been added to your wardrobe. We were the bad parents before who didn't have you wear them. Now that it is colder socks and shoes are a must.
You still love to eat and you love feeding yourself. Cheerios and puffs are a favorite because you can feed yourself. Here recently you have tried things like real carrots, real pears, waffles, and even a turkey sandwich. You take 3 bottles a day and we are working on the sippy cup. You are starting to like it with water. You have not warmed up to juice yet - we have tried but you don't seem to like it. The big excitement for the month was you got your first 2 teeth. The bottom 2 front teeth came in at the exact same time!
You have not met a stranger! Everywhere you go you greet everyone with a big smile and start talking. You love kids the most. When a child walks by you reach out like you want to hug them and you start talking. It is so sweet to see you interact with the kids at school. Funny story – we were at Wings last weekend for the Auburn game. Everyone in the restaurant would cheer when Auburn scored. In the past, Paige would look at us when we were doing crazy things like cheering. Not this time around. There was a little boy sitting behind and Paige was more interested in seeing if he was cheering. I guess we, Momma and Daddy, have already lost our coolness.
You have started pulling up and love standing. We now find you in the mornings standing in your crib. Gone are the days of putting the paci back in to catch a little more sleep. You have also figured out how to sit on your own; the army crawl is now your main mode of transportation.
The one not so fun part of this month was that you got your first stomach bug. You were out of school for 3 1/2 days. Not fun!!!
I have written and rewritten a blog post discussing the Cam Newton saga. I just can’t seem to finish it because I get to angry or because new mud is slinging so fast I can’t stay on top of it. Until I get to the point that I can finish it, these are the thoughts that keep coming to my head.
Cam Newton had some legal issues at UF regarding a laptop. The charges were ultimately dropped and Cam has admitted this mistake, even openly discussing it in the media which in my opinion took a lot of courage. Since that issue was resolved at UF he has transferred to Blinn College. He states that this was because of his role on the team. New reports today cite “sources” at UF stating he was in academic difficulty. After Blinn he was recruited by Auburn and MSU. He ultimately arrived at Auburn. Allegations have arisen that a former MSU player asked MSU for money in return for Cam’s agreement to play for MSU. No one has accused Auburn or Cam Newton of any wrongdoing in relation to his recruitment.
The above are the facts as we know them. I do not know if the reports regarding academic difficulty are true. I do not know if the MSU allegations are true. I do not know what his academic record at UF has to do with anything of any relevance in November 2010. I do know this - I work every day with college students. I was once a college student. College students make mistakes and are often given 2nd chances. I believe that young people deserve a 2nd chance IF they are willing to learn from their mistakes and move forward with integrity.
What I also know is that this year Cam Newton has been and continues to be an EXCELLENT representative of my alma mater and employer. I do not personally know Cam, but he has admitted mistakes, and has learned from them. He carries himself with class on the field, in the media, and through his actions in the community. I cannot speak to his work in the classroom because this would be a violation of all kind of laws if someone were to tell me this or if I were to repeat anything I do know. Therefore from the evidence I have it seems that Cam Newton has learned from mistakes is moving forward a new man. I have no evidence whatsoever to indicate he has done anything wrong since his time at UF. If evidence is revealed to disprove the above statements I will be the first to admit that I am wrong and will place blame where it is due.
However, given his recent body of work, I believe it is a shame that a young man who has up to this point done what we all ask of people seeking a second chance is seeing his name, his parent’s name, and his university’s name drug through the mud. The perception I have of the latest events is that it would have been better for Cam Newton to not work hard to recover from his past and to simply slip into the unknown. I only wonder as I mentor college students, what I am to say regarding mistakes, recovering from these mistakes, and moving forward to be a professional.
What alternate universe am I living in? Auburn’s offense just scored 51 points on an SEC team on the road and nobody has commented on that and instead has blasted the defense for being horrible.
The Auburn Tigers moved to 9-0 last Saturday beating the Ole Miss Black Bears and their gray unis on the road. I for one was very impressed. The offense was amazing. Ole Miss sold out on stopping Cam and he didn’t flinch. Instead he threw for over 200 yards and just for kicks and giggles caught a touchdown pass. Gus decided that if Cam couldn’t run then this media-described one-dimensional and one-man offense would put up 300 yards rushing, 180+ by freshman Mike Dyer and another 99 by OMac. And just to make sure everyone was involved Cam threw to anyone who could catch and then let Kodi Burns in on the passing fun. This offense is amazing and if Chiz hadn’t slowed them down in the 2nd half they could have easily put up over 60-70 points and Dyer would have had just short of 2 gazillion yards.
The defense struggled early on in Oxford and gave up a big run on the second play of the game. The thing I love about this defense though is they never let that get them down and after that played a good game. We gave up 32 points but come on Ole Miss’s last 14 points came against the waterboy and 10 walk-ons (yes Oregon, it is acceptable to play backups when you are winning big in the 4th quarter). Nick Fairley didn’t have his usual good game but again Ole Miss game-planned him perfectly and triple-teamed him most of the night. Of course this left Zach Clayton open and he made some big plays. Demond Washington played lights out with an amazing interception that really turned the momentum. And not to be left out of the points scoring fun, Demond returned a kickoff for a touchdown. This defense is still not that great but they continue to work together and get a little better each week. If Neiko wakes up and plays to his potential, watch out.
I have started really listening and watching the national media. It gets a little more interesting when Auburn is in the conversations, but it does always make my blood pressure rise and you will see some more posts directed at the things I hear by the national media. Last week, a lot of the bigger talking heads picked us to lose to Ole Miss. They said we would be due for a letdown and I started to agree with them. After winning 2 HUGE games at home it would make sense. However this team responded by playing a great game and throwing in some tricks and treats just for fun (I still can’t get over Cam catching that pass!). That is the sign of a great team and I think it really shows how much fun this team is having. They aren’t concerning themselves with rankings and the national media and are just going out and having fun. Kudos to Coach Chiz and the staff for making that the mindset of this team.
This week is UT-Chattanooga. We are due for this break. I fully expect Auburn to take care of business early and rest the starters. I think Cam might come down with a cough sometime early in the 2nd quarter and need to sit out. Will his Heisman take a hit? Yes, but who cares? His health is more important for Amen corner than impressing somebody at ESPN with highlights over an overmatched team (look for LaMichael James to make up significant ground in this race as he runs all over the stellar Washington Husky defense). It is time for Neil Caudle to get his time in the spotlight and he deserves it. Cam’s time in the game should be spent on polishing the passing game. The defense will most likely not do a whole lot and I hope that Cam gives his cough to Bynes so he can sit down for the first time in 2 years. I look for a big win over an overmatched team that will give us some rest and momentum going in to the UGA game.