Wednesday, December 14, 2011

It's December Again!

I haven't had time for blogging lately, but I have time to repost my post from last December! Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Ode to Borders

**I went to my blog to start a parenting/marathon post, but found this one that I started a few weeks ago.  I decided to just finish it and publish this one first.**

I know I'm an MIA blogger!  My life is crazy busy right now.  If I had more time, I'd blog about the fact that I just moved, or that my husband is traveling overseas and I have a renewed appreciation for single parents, or that I'm turning 40 in less than two weeks, or that I'm planning to run a marathon (the day before my 40th birthday), or that soccer is taking over my life, or that parenting a three-year-old who thinks nothing of throwing fits all the time and refuses to potty train is exhausting....

Instead, this post is about my how very sad I am that my neighborhood Borders is closed.  This is my letter (my ode) to Borders!

Dear Borders,

THANK YOU!!  Really, thank you SO MUCH!!  Your presence in my life over the last 7 years can only be described as priceless...truly priceless!

In the early years, parenting two young children was incredibly challenging, to say the least.  There were days when a trip to the children's section of your store is what helped me keep my sanity.  Before the kids could read, I sat on one of the circular stools (you know the ones that can be used individually or pushed all together to form a circle?) while the kids pulled books that looked interesting from the shelves.  We read those books together-- sometimes for an hour or more.  When they became independent readers, we all found books we liked, and enjoyed sitting next to each other and reading to ourselves!!  Those were precious, precious (sometimes sanity-saving) moments.  Thank you!!

Date nights often included a trip to Borders.  My husband and I loved to go out to eat and then go hang out at your coffee shop.  We usually browsed the books (I liked the clearance section best!!), and then settled down with magazines or books and enjoyed time together, doing our own thing! Sometimes we took travel books off the shelves and talked about vacations we might take one day!  The date night that is most significant for me, though, and the one I must thank you for the most is the date night we had the night before I went into labor with my third child, Mary (I wish you could meet her, she loved you too!). I had decided to have Mary naturally (you know, no drugs!), and on that particular night while Gary was on his way to the second floor bathroom of your store, he stumbled across a book called, The Birth Partner -- a book written for him!  He and I spent the rest of date night looking at that book. I read the rest the next day.  He spent the next evening reading the important parts, and that night I went into labor.  Your book changed our experience significantly for the better -- the extent of which we'll never know!  Thank you!!

I can't tell you how many trips I made to your store by myself.  Your coupons came to my email, and gave me a wonderful excuse to come see you!  I bought books, cookbooks, gifts for friends and family, stationary, cards, magazines, coffee and treats....!  I enjoyed myself immensely, believe me!  Thank you!!

I miss you already, Borders!!  I drive by your empty store and feeling the sadness creep over me!  Thank you for the impact that you had on my family and me.  We have some beautiful memories of time spent together, while inside your walls. Goodbye, dear, dear friend!  Thank you!!

Very Gratefully,
Laura Pierson

Friday, July 15, 2011


This is not something you'll hear from me very often: "Parenting: win!", but in this case I think it applies.  I want to share with you my feel-like-a-GOOD-mom story, because I think that I often tend to focus on the situations that could be considered parenting: fail(s)!

This summer I told the kids that for every 100 pages they read, they could choose the menu for one meal.  Gregory read 100 pages in one day, and the next night for dinner we had his favorite -- beef stroganoff.  I had to increase his required reading to 200 pages.  It took Ruthie a few days to reach 100 pages, and I made pizza for her dinner.  Soon, Gregory read 200 more and we had grilled chicken...etc...

Here's the deal, I'm not a great cook!  It would be easy to think of all this requested cooking as a hardship, but it wasn't and here's why: during these meals, the kids gave me all kinds of wonderful loving props for making the food they love.  The compliments were flying!!  Also, the kids were proud of themselves for earning it!  Win-win!!

The clincher, though, was this:  while eating one of his favorite meals, Gregory said, "Our mom has the best summer reading program in all of St. Louis!"

Monday, June 20, 2011

I Survived...

....Birthday season in the Pierson house!!  Between April 19th and June 18th, we had the birthdays of one adult (not me) and three children! That means:

Three special birthday meals at home and one birthday meal at Dewey's Pizza...

One birthday cake and three cookie cakes...

Four dozen sugar cookies for classroom celebrations...

Three kids' birthday parties, complete with two dozen cupcakes (each)...

And lots and lots of planning, shopping, wrapping, preparing and cleaning up!!


Friday, June 17, 2011

Thankful for Mary

Three months
Yesterday was Mary's 3rd birthday.  I don't even know where to start when it comes to describing Mary.  She's so different than my other kids.  She is just her own person!  Gregory is so much like me, and Ruthie is so much like Gary, and Mary is just so much... well, like Mary!!  She's energetic and out-going.  She's independent and stubborn.  And she's funny!  She is seriously so funny!  Gary likes to describe her as, "the star of her own show".  I'll give you a few examples:
One year

* When Gregory and Ruthie were in a school performance, they were on stage with a huge group of kids.  Mary couldn't find them on stage.  She turned to me, very worried, and said, "Oh No!  Our kids are missing!"

*Mary and I went to Gary's office to meet him for lunch.  On the way, we talked about what we were doing, but when we got off the elevator, Gary walked toward us, and Mary said to him, "Hey!  What are YOU doing here?"

*We met a dog at the local coffee shop.  Mary said, "Hi Doggie.  Do you do tricks?  Because I do tricks." She then proceeded to spend the next 5 minutes showing the dog all her tricks!

*Her favorite expression is, "What the heck?"  I have to tell you, it's so funny, coming from a 2 year old.  Sometimes now she shortens it to "What the...?" and that's even funnier!
Two years

*When we ask her to do things (like give us hugs) and she doesn't feel like it, she says, "No, I can't.  My batteries are broken."

*When the sun is in her eyes, or water from the bath gets in them, she'll squeeze her eyes tight and scream, "I can't see my eyes!  I can't see my eyes!"

*Yesterday she wanted to go to McDonald's for dinner, and she said, "Can we got to Old McDonald had a farm?"

Mary's a hoot and we all adore her!  I'm so thankful that she is the child who completed our family!

Almost three years

Happy Birthday, Mare-zee Pie!  You make my heart swell!

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Thankful for Ruthie

Six Months
Two Years

(May 23rd was Ruthie's 8th birthday.  I was having trouble with this blog, so just today I'm posting my gratitude post from last Friday.)

Monday was Ruthie's birthday, and I'm so thankful that the Lord saw fit to give her to me!!  I'm not sure if you read my post about Gregory, but as much as Gregory is like me, Ruthie is not.  Ruthie takes after Gary to an unbelievable degree!  She's quiet and pensive.  She's long and lanky.  She prefers vanilla over chocolate, and she calls Mary "honey", just liker her dad and grandpa! She's also as low maintenance as the day is long (a good balance to the other two!!)!  She's a beauty in every sense of the word, and I am so blessed. 

Happy Birthday, dear sweet Ruthie!!  I love you!!

Eight Years
Five Years

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Wisdom from Oprah

Today I watched the final episode of the Oprah Winfrey Show.   You can say what you will about Oprah – this post is not about whether she is a national treasure or a mountain of hype!  This post is my opportunity to share with you some things I’ve taken from her show that pertain to my parenting. 
Today, while watching Oprah, these thoughts and questions came to me regarding my children:
*I have the great privilege of being Mom to Gregory, Ruthie and Mary, AND
*The greatest gift I can give them is my love, SO
*Do I make them feel loved, and worthy, and smart, and pretty?
*Do my eyes light up when they enter the room?
*Do I bring positive energy to my family? AND
*Do I constantly communicate these important encouragements to my 3 precious kids:
  “I SEE you!  I HEAR you! Who you are, and what you say, MATTER to me!”

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday's Gratitude

Gary was gone this week from Sunday morning to Wednesday night.  The last time he was gone for that long, I realized when he got back that I hadn't had a meaningful, face-to-face conversation with another adult the entire time he was gone!!  Those of you who know me, know that not having real conversations with people regularly is just not ok.

This week was different, though.  I enjoyed meaningful conversations with friends over coffee or lunch every day this week!  What a blessing, especially for this interaction-starved stay-at-home mom!  Today I am thankful for friends, and for precious time spent with them!

Friday, May 13, 2011

It's Friday, and I'm Thankful

I'm trying to keep up with blogging about gratitude on Fridays.  I haven't had time until now to sit and write, so I'll make it brief.

1) Mary: I'm thankful that in the midst of all her feisty stubbornness, she still makes me laugh on a regular basis.  This week she looked at me and said, "Mama, Are you thinking what I'm thinking?"  The thing is, Mary can't say the "th" sound, so it actually sounded like this, "Mama, Are you finkin' what I'm finkin'?"  It took me a minute to figure out what she was saying, but when I did, I laughed!  Who knows where she gets this stuff??

2) Gary:  This is going to be an expression of gratitude that comes in through the back door, so just bear with me.  Gary was gone Thursday night until pretty late.  I got the kids from school, quickly made dinner and got them out the door for soccer practice.  Came home from practice, got them all showered and pj'ed and tucked in bed.  I was exhausted!  That's when I thought about how very thankful I am for Gary!!  There are many reasons, but this week I was reminded of how great it is that he comes home almost every night, eats with us, plays with the kids, and then gets them all to bed.  Sometimes it takes having to do all that myself to remind me how blessed I am to have Gary helping me along on this journey called parenthood!

3) Caren:  My dear friend, Caren, and I went to the movies this week.  It was such a nice, unusual thing to be out at night with her, going to the movies!!  Words cannot express all the ways in which I am thankful for Caren!!  I also probably can't express (in words that would make sense to you) how much I love the movies!!  Thanks, Caren!  (And thanks, Water for Elephants!)

4) The Cupid Shuffle:  One of my favorite moments this week (maybe this month) was watching Gregory and Ruthie teach Mary the Cupid Shuffle.  They learned it at school.  After they taught Mary, the three of them sang and danced together until I made them go to bed.  I loved every precious minute of it!  "To the right, to the right..... to the left, to the left.... now kick, now kick..... now walk it by yourself, now walk it by yourself...."

What are you thankful for this week???

Friday, May 06, 2011

Thankful for Gregory

3 months
In case you missed it, last week I blogged that I was dedicating Fridays to being thankful.  Today is Gregory's 10th birthday, so today I'm expressing my gratitude for him! (I know what you're thinking... I can hardly believe I'm old enough to have a 10 year old, too!!)

Gregory is the child who made me a mother!  Although there are days when I don't exactly embrace that title, there is nothing else I would rather be called!  Gregory and I are so much alike!  Everything from our slightly irrational (at times) anxiety to our love of all things chocolate.

2 years
6 months
Gregory challenges me all the time. From about 4 months old, he had me feeling like maybe I was in over my head.  That has not changed!  I still feel like I have to stay one step ahead of him!  He wants to know more.  He wants to do more.  He sings more.  He talks more.  He needs more attention.  Yes, he challenges me.  He also makes me laugh -- a lot, and he teaches me things.  He remembers everything!  I love to cheer him up and cheer him on.  I'm proud to be the one he talks to, snuggles with, and comes to when he's upset.

8 years
Gregory is smart, funny, athletic and empathetic!  What makes him so challenging is also what makes him so enduring!  I love him so much! I'm so proud of the boy he is, and I'm looking forward to the man he will become!  Happy Birthday, Sweet Boy, I thank God for you everyday!!

10 years

Friday, April 29, 2011

Expressing Gratitude

Lately I've been struggling some -- for a variety reasons, about a variety of things.  I'm working on finding peace, and living there.  I know I am blessed, and I hesitate to complain about anything.  Still, though, sometimes I feel dispirited.  In response to this, I've decided to put more focus on the things for which I am thankful.  So... I hereby declare Fridays as the days when I express my gratitude.  I would love to hear from you, too, if you'd like to share your own gratitude list!

1. Sunday was Easter, so above all else this week, I have to say that I'm truly thankful that God sent his Son to earth to live among us and die for us!  That sacrifice is one for which I will never be deserving, but will always be grateful!

2. Also regarding Easter, I'm very thankful for a day spent with family and dear friends.  My brother and sister-in-law, Jim and Ann, are amazingly generous hosts, and continually show love to my family and me! Spending time with the Schmidts and the Valentins is a blessing all its own!

3. Monday, Gary took me to lunch!  Mary was at the sitter, so we enjoyed some time to talk in the middle of the day.  I sure like him a lot!! :)

3. This week I was so thankful to see the sun on Thursday, after so many days in a row of rain.  Thursday evening we saw a rainbow, and Gregory said, "That rainbow is a promise from God."

5. Mary and I had a tea party this morning and watched the Royal Wedding!  The significance was lost on her, but she enjoyed the scones I made and the water she drank from her Cinderella tea set.  I dressed her in a dress for the occasion, and when I put it on her, she said, "I think I'm a princess."  She's so smart! :)

And, of course, I'll always be grateful for these cutie-patooties (but please don't tell Gregory I called him that!!):

Ruthie, Mary and Gregory

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Put down the candy!!

There's just too much Easter candy around here!

Here's the deal.  Mary is really revving up the tantrums!  She's throwing fits multiple times a day, and she is not very discriminatory as to the place (home, church, Whole Foods... all today!!).  My plantar fasciitis is flaring up big time!!  Running hurts, walking hurts, sitting here hurts!  Ugh! The laundry is piling up, the house is definitely not cleaning itself, my brain is turning to mush, and guess what I'm doing?  Yep! Eating Easter candy.  That's what I'm saying:

There's just too much Easter candy around here!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Potty Training *UGH*

Isn't the third child supposed to potty train herself? Or can't the big kids just do it?  I'm too old for this! Mary will be 3 in June.  She's not even close to losing those diapers!  In fact I don't think she's ever done anything remotely close to peeing or pooping in the potty.  She enjoys playing with the cute little potty I gave her for Christmas, she just doesn't like to use it for its intended purpose.  In fact, yesterday she wanted to watch Ruthie go, and afterwards I said, "Do you want to sit on the potty, Mary?" She responded with, "No thanks." Then after a short pause, she said, "Marys don't sit on potties." See what I'm dealing with?

About a month ago, I realized that Mary was not going to potty train herself and that no one else in the family was at all interested in the job.  So, I ordered a book from Amazon called, "Toilet Training in Less Than a Day" with the byline: "A Tested Method for Teaching Your Child Quickly and Happily".  That sounded perfect for me.  Quick and Easy.  Imagine my disappointment when the book came in the mail and I realized that it was 179 pages of very small print and very few pictures.  Shouldn't a book about toilet training in LESS THAN A DAY take no more than one hour to read?  I guess I envisioned reading the book and then potty training Mary all in the same day!

Needless to say, I haven't read a single chapter of the book, and Mary is no closer to being a regular potty user.  In fact, as of yesterday, she still thought anyone named Mary had no need to do anything except wait for a loving adult to change her diaper, because we all know (don't we?) that "Marys don't sit on potties"!

Any sage words of advice out there?  I know I've potty trained two kids, but for this one, I'd just like a quick fix!

Good thing she's so cute!!

Friday, April 08, 2011

Great Ambitions v Small Success

I recently got a fortune cookie that said, "Do not let great ambitions overshadow small success."  This one made me think.  I thought about both halves.  What are my great ambitions?  What are the small successes?  There are definitely days when I feel neither ambitious nor successful.  I'm not sure which one makes me feel worse.

In thinking about it, though, I realize that I do have some long term goals.  I want to run a marathon.  I would like to have a strong marriage and a good relationship with my kids for the rest of my life.   And I hope to make a significant difference in this world.  These seem like good lifetime goals, that are not easy, but are attainable.  Not really ambitious, though, right?

I've been thinking about the small successes too.  While I don't always feel successful in my roles of wife and mother,  I realize that if I'm paying attention, I can see the successes.  The things that I do each day for my husband and kids are immeasurable in their impact.  When I see and hear about the way my kids interact with each other and with the world around them, I know my work is not in vain.  There are days that feel like just getting to the end of them, without any major problems, is a minor success all its own.  When I think about the relationship that I have with Gary, and I know all the work that we've put into it, I can see the fruits of my labor (and his!).

So, do all the small successes add up to the realization of my great ambitions? Can I settle into the daily grind, celebrating the small things, and knowing that through them,  I'm making a significant difference?  Is it ok to just have attainable ambitions without being particularly ambitious?  Will the recognition of the daily success stories make me feel more successful in general?

When it is all said and done, I hope that what I do each day, will bring me closer to my long term goals -- especially as I strive not to let the worry over my great ambitions overshadow all the small success in my life!

Sunday, March 06, 2011

Post-Oscar Post

Here are my thoughts on the Oscar results. (If you haven't read my other Oscar posts and want to, you can here and here). There were no surprises this year (in the major categories).  While it can be exciting for someone unexpected to win, I always find myself feeling really badly for the person who is considered the shoe-in, and then doesn't win.  The Nominated always talk about how they try not to listen to the press, or how they know that anyone could win at any given awards show, but I suspect that it's a different kind of disappointment when you're the "favorite" but not the winner.

The best picture win for The King's Speech made me really happy.  I really loved that movie. (Right?  You know that!).   It's certainly Oscar bait, as they say, but I thought it was an amazing movie - definitely deserving of an Oscar. Colin Firth won best actor (yay!), but I do kind of wish Geoffrey Rush had won for best supporting (an "upset" that would've been ok with me, contrary to my previous paragraph!)  While we're on the subject, I think I would've preferred an upset in the supporting actress category also.  I picked Hailee  Steinfeld, but I also loved the performance of Amy Adams. (Melissa Leo won.  Maybe I need to change my stance on no surprises at the Oscars!)  Natalie Portman was beyond amazing in the best actress category, and I'm really glad she won.

Ok, a few words on the Oscar telecast.  There's been a lot of talk about the evening's hosts: Anne Hathaway and James Franco, and most of it is negative.  I'm not really one to criticize, and this is no exception.  Anne Hathaway's energy level was definitely about double James Franco's, but that seemed in keeping with their personalities. (This is off-topic, but I really enjoyed the fact that James Franco wore a huge cardigan sweater over his tux at the Independent Spirit Awards that were televised the night before the Oscars!! Did you see that?)  I loved the movie montage that Anne and James did in the beginning, inserting themselves in to scenes from the best picture nominees (especially the True Grit part)!  If you didn't see it, you can watch it on youtube.  I will say, though, the Back to the Future part at the end was a little lame.

Since it's the thing to do, I'll also say a few words about the Oscar 2011 dresses!!  If you would like to see's picks for best dressed, click here. I had a hard time finding a worst dressed list, and maybe that should've been my cue to stick with the my claim of not being one to criticize (see above paragraph).  I persevered, though, just in case you'd be disappointed in incomplete coverage of Oscar fashion!  So, here's your list! Enjoy!  I think it's funny that there are some dresses on both lists.  My favorites were those dresses worn by Halle Berry, Hailee Steinfeld, and Nicole Kidman (Nicole's, btw, was on the worst list).  I have to say that Natalie Portman (pregnant) and Penelope Cruz (just gave birth) looked fantabulous!!  (I will only celebrate them and not spew mean/jealous words...).  I thought it was a great year for fashion.  In my opinion, there were no disasters, but my least favorite dresses were those worn by Melissa Leo and Cate Blanchett (Cate's, btw, was on People's best list).

The Adjustment BureauWhile I'm sure the celebrities (especially those nominated) are happy that the award season is over, I'm a little sad.  I'll admit to a very small bout with post-Oscar depression.  It's gone now, though, and I'm thinking I'd like to go see The Adjustment Bureau. Have any of you seen it?? I read a review that said that LOST fans would like it!!

I'd love to hear your post-Oscar thoughts!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Oscar Preview Addendum

Winter's BoneI'm writing a quick addendum to my Oscar Preview post, because last night I watched Winter's Bone.  Jennifer Lawrence gave a convincing performance as Ree, a poor rural Missouri teenager, caring for her younger siblings and sick mother, while trying to find her missing father, who has put their family home in jeopardy. (whew!) This movie is lead by mostly little-known actors, and includes several inexperienced actors from the rural Missouri town where the movie was filmed.  While I was impressed with the performances, I was a little confused by the story (both the plausibility and the flow).  I'm really glad I saw this intriguing movie, but in my opinion, it doesn't quite stand up to the other films on the list.   John Hawkes is nominated in the supporting actor category for his role as Ree's uncle.  While I have a soft place in my heart for him because of his LOST days, and I enjoyed his performance, I'm still only torn between Christian Bale and Geoffrey Rush. (BTW, I'm leaning toward Rush).

I'd still love to hear your thoughts, and the Oscar coverage starts in 1 hour!! Woo Hoo!

Friday, February 25, 2011

My Oscar Preview

Metallic Gold Best Costume Halloween Statue TrophyThis year I've seen 9 of the 10 Oscar-nominated Best Picture films.  Since I rarely see more than one or two, I thought I would take the opportunity this year to write my thoughts and predictions.  I hope you'll comment if you would like to join the discussion.  My friend, Caren, told me recently, "Laura, you like to be part of the discourse."  It's so true!  I love to DISCUSS, so let's do it!!

(Let me add that I decided not to distinguish the movie titles with parentheses or underline or bold, because there were so many of them.  They are capitalized, but doing anything else became tedious. I hope that doesn't bother you!)

Best Picture
This year I saw all the Best Picture nominees except Winter's Bone.  I ran out of time, and it was a hard one to find.  My brother, Dave, told me it was his least favorite, and we have similar taste, so I decided not to try very hard.

I honestly enjoyed the remaining nine movies very much.  It was a good year for me to see so many.  Inception and Black Swan were very intriguing, amazingly-filmed movies.  Social Network was of particular interest to me (for obvious reasons), and lived up to my expectations (although I would rank it near the bottom of this list).  Toy Story was nostalgic and a lot of fun.  I love movies like The Fighter, because the  characters are layered - more complicated than the initial impression.  In this case, these real people were played beautifully by the actors who portrayed them.

I was very pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed both True Grit and 127 Hours.  I didn't think I wanted to see either movie at the beginning of Oscar season, but after reading about them and hearing recommendations from others, I decided to see them both.  I'm so glad I did.  True Grit was a beautiful movie, with the scenery seeming like an additional character.  The characters were engaging and the dialogue witty.  127 Hours felt like an experience, more than just watching a movie.  The music, too, was fantastic and really contributed to the experience!

The King's SpeechI have to say, though, that my favorite movie this year is The King's Speech.  I hate to just go with the crowd on this one, and I'm not necessarily drawn to "pearls and fur" movies (as they say), but I was so moved by Colin Firth's portrayal of the stammering prince/king. I found myself so drawn into his relationships.  The King's Speech made me laugh and cry.  I loved loved loved it, so my pick for Best Picture is The King's Speech

Best Actress
I'm at a little bit of a loss in this category, because I didn't see Nicole Kidman (Rabbit Hole), Jennifer Lawrence (Winter's Bone), or Michelle Williams (Blue Valentine).  I probably shouldn't even comment here, but since I am, I will say what I think about the performances of Natalie Portman (Black Swan) and Annette Bening (The Kids Are All Right).  According to the media, the race is really down to these two actresses anyway.

There's been much talk about the fact that Annette Bening has three previous nominations and no wins.  She was nominated for Best Actress in 1999 for American Beauty and in 2004 for Being Julia. (Bening's third nom was Best Supporting Actress in 1990 for The Grifters).  In both 1999 and 2004, she lost to Hilary Swank.  Hilary Swank is not nominated this year, but the question is still, will she lose a third time to a younger actress?

I thought that Natalie Portman's portrayal of a mentally unstable ballerina in Black Swan was amazing.  Really, a-maz-ing!  The movie was a little psycho for me, but she truly pulled off the performance.  She definitely deserves an Academy Award!  On the other hand, Annette Bening really sold the tightly-wound doctor in a sometimes rocky marriage!  BUT, I thought her costar, Julianne Moore, had some of the best scenes. Moore's speech about marriage ("Marriage is a marathon.  It's f*ing hard with a lot of slogging through!" - I paraphrase!) was really really powerful!
Black Swan Movie Poster 11x17 Natalie Portman Vincent Cassel Mila Kunis Poster Print, 11x17 Poster Print, 11x17
I pick Natalie Portman to win.  She truly transformed herself into her character, requiring a lot of physical and mental endurance.  I'll be fine if Annette Bening wins, though, even if it's just because she's already lost twice to actresses in their twenties!  I have Empathy.

Best Actor
Of the five nominated performances, I saw four.  I didn't see Javier Bardem in Biutiful.  Jesse Eisenberg was convincing in the role of Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, but I didn't think The Social Network was as good as some of these others, and wouldn't pick Eisenberg to win.

Choosing between the remaining three actors is very hard for me.  I've talked about how much I loved The King's Speech, and I thought Colin Firth's performance was fantastic!  I would like to know how many minutes of the movie, 127 Hours, included only James Franco.  This thoroughly engaging movie was almost completely Franco's gripping performance as a hiker pinned by a rock for 127 hours.  The story, too, was much more than just how he survived his ordeal, and much much more than just the fact that (**spoiler alert -- if you don't know how he escaped and don't want to, don't read the rest of this sentence**) he had to cut off his arm to free himself!

Jeff Bridges is a fantastic actor.  I loved him in last year's Crazy Heart and again this year as a U. S. Marshal in True Grit.  Bridges won last year, beating out Colin Firth, who was nominated for A Single Man.  I'm not sure that Bridges' performance is outstanding enough to win two years in a row.  (The last back-to-back winner was Tom Hanks for Philadelphia - 1993, and Forrest Gump - 1994). Bridges has really hit his stride, though, and I look forward to what's next for him.
127 Hours Poster Movie B (11 x 17 Inches - 28cm x 44cm ) James Franco Kate Mara Amber Tamblyn Sean Bott Koleman Stinger

Ok, now is the time that I have to choose, so I think I'm going to go with Colin Firth. I just loved The Kings Speech so much.  If James Franco wins, though, I will be equally as happy.  

Best Supporting Actress
In this category, I saw four of the five performances.  I didn't watch Jacki Weaver in Animal Kingdom.  You know how I feel about The King's Speech, and Helena Bonham Carter did a lovely job as the (eventual) Queen Mother.  In The Fighter, Amy Adams (as girlfriend) and Melissa Leo (as mother) were really instrumental in the movie's success (of course, we'll get to Christian Bale in a minute).  Of the two, though, I would vote for Adams over Leo, even though Leo seems to be a front runner in this race.
True Grit - Punishment Comes - Coen Bros 11x17 Poster
I honestly think that Hailee Steinfeld is nominated in the wrong category.  She portrays a 14-year-old spitfire, out to revenge her father's death, in True Grit.  She is really the main character in this story, and a commanding performance on her part was essential.  She delivered in a major way, and for that Hailee Steinfeld gets my vote in this category!

Best Supporting Actor
I saw three of the performances in this category.  I didn't see John Hawkes in The Winter's Bone, or Jeremy Renner in The Town (although I really wanted to).  According to things I've read, it seems that this race is pretty  much down to two men: Christian Bale in The Fighter, and Geoffrey Rush in The King's Speech.  Mark Ruffalo is also nominated for his role as the sperm donor in The Kids Are All Right.

I liked Ruffalo's performance, but I didn't think it was nearly as good as the performances of Bale and Rush.  I'm having trouble deciding which actor will get my vote.  Bale really lost himself in the character of Dicky Edlund, the former-boxer-turned-drug-addict who now trains his little brother.  Bale's portrayal of Dicky really shines, in a movie full of great performances.  As the prince/king's speech therapist, Geoffrey Rush goes toe-to-toe with Colin Firth, in what will probably be Firth's Oscar-winning performance.  I loved Rush's character and loved watching the beautiful friendship that developed between the prince and the therapist.
The Fighter - Wahlberg - Bale - Adams - Boxing 11x17 Poster
I think this race may just be too close for me to call right now.  I'll make my pick by Sunday night (not that anyone is holding his/her breath for news of what I decide)!

My Closing Remarks
In light of the fact that this is an Oscar post, I would like to give my own little thank you speech.  I'm elated that I was able to see almost all the best picture movies, and I have some people to thank.  First, I'll thank the Academy for having the Oscars, because it really does make me happy (pathetic? maybe.), and gets me out to the movies!  Next, I would like to thank Alex Schmidt for challenging my assumption that I would never have time to see movies during the day.  I would like to thank Dave and Rachel Zahniser for encouraging me to see 127 Hours, and Caren Wood for taking time out of her day to see it with me.  Thank you to Faye and Clair for babysitting on a couple of Friday afternoons, so I could go see The King's Speech and The Fighter.  Thank you to Steve and Caren Wood for recommending True Grit. And last, but not least, a big thank you to my dear husband, Gary Pierson.  Thank you for working hard and being willing to indulge my Oscar-season movie needs.  I couldn't have done it without your support (or your money! lol).

Thanks for reading, and I would love to hear your thoughts and predictions about the Academy Awards (which air this Sunday, Feb 27 at 7pm Central on abc)!