Friday, July 30, 2010

I mustache you a question...

Have you figured out the Colyers are crazy yet? Turns out the newest Mrs. Colyer to join the bunch is the craziest one of all. Jon's brother Adam is getting married tomorrow so we had the rehearsal dinner tonight. We've been looking forward to this wedding because, well... I'll let the pictures speak for themselves. I mean, really... who carries spare stick-on mustaches in their purse just in case anyone feels a strong desire to don a 'stache for the evening? Kayla!! That's who. I don't know where her original obsession with them began but it definitely makes for some good laughs. Jon even had both of his grandmas wearing them by night's end. (I was mostly taking pictures so I escaped un-stached. Phew.)
Judie and Uncle Brian (who loved his so much he refused to take it off.):
The Lovely Couple:
And on the normal side of things, rehearsal went smoothly (amazing how 6 months makes a difference...Bennett actually did as he was told--the FIRST time. And I don't even have to worry about him blowing out their unity candle 'cause they aren't having one. They pretty much shunned all stereotypical wedding traditions.) and the rehearsal dinner at Centro was fabulous. Great food, great family and I don't even need to tell you we had fun.

Stay tuned for more shenanigans (most likely involving facial hair) tomorrow.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The AI Experience (for fans of the show only...otherwise you'll be bored with details!)

Thought some of you would like to hear about our spontaneous trip to the American Idol auditions. Jon and I told Claire a while back that we were going to make her audition this year. We pretty much thought she had it in the bag (well...a trip to Hollywood, at least!). So about 3 days beforehand, Jon figured out they were going to be in Milwaukee so we made arrangements to go. Lucky for us we have some close friends who live there so we got to stay the night with them.

Basically, you have to go to the arena to register and get a wrist band during the 2 days prior to auditions. (I decided to audition too, just for the fun of it.) People camp out overnight to get their bands first because this determines your audition order. We decided we didn't want to bother with the lines so we got our bands on Wednesday around 6:00pm. (registration closed at 9:00 that night) There was no one there and we just walked right up the the table at that point. Super easy.

Auditions were Thursday. When we registered, they told us to be at the arena at 5:00am on Thursday. We got the inside scoop from a close friend of ours who had auditioned twice that it was completely unnecessary to get there at 5 unless you just want the chance to be on TV when they're filming the crowds outside. We chose to sleep as late as possible so we showed up at about 7:45. Again, there was no one waiting outside and we just walked right in. Its assigned seating in the arena so its pretty much pointless to show up at 5:00 on audition day.

Since we were late getting our bands, we were one of the last sections to audition. We didn't sing until 7:00pm. So basically you choose to wait a full day outside (in whatever weather conditions you're stuck in) to get your wrist bands, or you skip that line and wait all day inside the arena to audition. Pros and cons to each, I suppose, but since we were doing it more for the fun and experience, I'd definitely choose the latter any day.

For the first couple hours inside the arena, you do all the big crowd shots where they tell you certain things to say altogether. Like, "Welcome to Milwaukee" or "I'm the next American Idol". Danny Gokey was there and then Ryan Secrest came a little later and we filmed more stuff with him. It was cool to see the behind the scenes stuff.


Our view from the very top row of the arena:


Ryan Secrest at the bottom of this shot:


Then auditions start. They set up 12 tables on the floor of the arena, with 2 judges at each table. So basically, you can hear and see all the auditions as they take place. It was this constant cacophony of voices. While we were waiting (for 9 hours...) we'd walk around and listen to everyone practicing out in the corridors. Very entertaining! And it started to sink in how many unbelievable singers were there. You pretty much only heard amazing voices every where you turned. We figured out much later in the afternoon that you could actually leave the arena. We totally could have caught a movie and then came back. Oh well...next time (kidding).

It was finally our turn and Claire and I lined up in our row of four. We got assigned to our table and were bummed to find out we were only singing for one judge, not two. Also, her stack of "golden tickets" was still pretty large...she hadn't been letting many people through at all. It was so nerve wracking. I felt beyond awkward when I sang. I knew I needed to connect and make eye contact with this expressionless woman sitting 3 feet in front of me but it was just the weirdest thing ever. Claire did great and said she looked at her the whole time (I have no idea how) and she actually let Claire sing a bit longer than than the 20 second minimum so we thought she had a chance. Then she asks our group of four to step forward and proceeds to tell us, "There were some good voices in the group, but you're not what we're looking for for Season 10. Thanks." And that was it! We stepped behind the table, they cut our bracelets off and we were on our way. Kind of anti-climactic. But it was so fun to be a part of it and we can't wait to watch the Milwaukee auditions air since we got to see all the crazies they let through (be looking for a guy in a sparkly silver suit holding a giant toothbrush and a guy in a civil war uniform...among others). I'd estimate they let somewhere between 100 and 200 through the whole day (good and bad). We definitely don't regret going. It was a blast to be a part of it!

Playing Catch-up

Then:

And now:

So I'm a little behind but here's a review of our staycation with Candy and Ava.
We had so much fun together and Bennett and Ava were instant buddies. Bennett was quite transfixed with Ava's imagination and by mid-week they were making up songs together and playing all kinds of made-up games. I think Ava was a little taken aback by Bennett's wild side and had to get used to his tendency to run around naked after every potty break until I tracked down his shorts and underwear. They were quite the pair.

Ava was overjoyed with these tiny toads they found at my parents'. She kept them in a watering can while she ate dinner and was horrified when Jon asked her if she wanted him to eat one. Unfortunately for the toad, he wasn't joking.

A day at Adventureland (the first time there for ALL of us!)
Ava's expression is priceless :)

Both of them cashed out after we hit the waterpark.

We actually got to do a few things without the kids (the highlights of the week...any parent can understand!). One was the 1st Annual Iowa Improv Festival. Huh-larious. (Those random people in the shot are improvers)

We hit the fountains at West Glen on the last day:
Dawson trying to get in on the action:
A few more things we did that aren't pictured were a trip to the library, a short day at the zoo (until we got caught in a torrential downpour)and Prairie Trail park. The week was wonderful and exhausting :) We definitely made up for the 3 years since we'd seen each other. The kids were definitely ready to have their own spaces back by the last couple days but I could have spent a whole other week with Candy. She and I are dreaming of the day we can take a vacation together sans kiddos. Sounds heavenly.
This was Ava's face on the entire ride to the airport. She didn't want to leave : (
Bennett keeps asking if we're going to see "that new Ava" again. I wish we were...

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Soaking up the sun

Not too much blog-worthy news lately. We've just been enjoying this weather (doesn't get any better than its been this week). We got this pool off of Craigslist after seeing how much Bennett's been loving his cousin, Piper's. But its not a permanent fixture. A) because there's a tiny hole in the top blown-up ring that we have yet to find and B) because we're pretty sure you can't have a pool this big (its probably chest deep on Bennett if it were filled all the way) without a fenced in yard. So anyway, its fine as-is for the time being but we'll probably re-sell it and find a replacement.


In the pool with our neighbor kids-- Bennett gets SO excited when he sees Jack and Sophie (on the right) outside and bolts for the door (usually before I get any clothes on him. Our whole neighborhood has now seen my naked son):

This is Bennett's latest pool progress:
video
I'm so proud of him! Now we just have to get those water wings off.

And Dawson, happy as a clam, with our good friend, Caitlin:
Don't let his smile fool you. He's actually been quite a beast at home lately. Mostly because he's been teething nonstop but he also gets so mad and just yells and yells if he has to wait at all for food. I've desperately been trying to teach him the sign for "more", thinking that'll help! He's a very determined guy already and won't sit still for a second. Bennett freaks out whenever Dawson heads for one of his puzzles he's working on. I've been hearing this a lot lately: "Put him in his saucer, Mom." He's already cruising around furniture and climbing. I found him on top of my sister's coffee table the other day! At this age, Bennett would sit completely in awe for an entire Baby Einstein movie. I tried one once for Dawson and I'm pretty sure he didn't look at the TV for more than 3 seconds. He's exactly like his brother, though, that if we're out of the house, he's perfectly content. Thank the Lord for that.

More to come soon...my best friend, Candy, arrives from CA in 5 days!! We're packing the week full of fun stuff. I cannot wait!