Today my girls started school. It was kind of a big day for us since it meant that our baby (M) is now in Kindergarten. Sniff. Em was also starting a new school; she had been at the same wonderful private preschool and school since she was three. Thankfully, the new school means that both M and Em now go to the same school. We can walk them to school in the morning after having breakfast as a family. So, lots of changes. I was anxious, not because I worried that the girls couldn't handle the changes. I knew they'd be fine. But, because of my concerns- would my girls meet any mean girls, would the kids accept Em since she is the "new" kid, would it overwhelm them to have so much new at one time, would they adjust to "normal" teaching (they've only been exposed to Montessori for the last 3.5 years), etc.
My love for Target designer collaborations combines my love for fashion and saving money (and Target). Unlike Orla Kiely and Liberty of London (previous Target collaborations), I do not own anything from Missoni. Although I regularly drool over their line. I love the designs and merging of colors and shapes. Unfortunately buying an entire closet full of Missoni doesn't jibe with my daily life or budget. I first heard Target was teaming up with Missoni a few months ago and anxiously awaited the result. I saw the first sneak peek at T&Lo's site and squealed with Glee. I want it ALL. I love it. (OK, really just the sweater and clutch in this outfit-that's a bit much).
Is there any more to say about the Wonder Woman party?
We have 16 days before College Football starts, which means that its time to start talking about and obsessing over conference realignment. Woo-hoo! I love conference realignment talk almost as much as a Buffy marathon, shark swim, Tim Gunn meeting, and Kate Spade shoe sale combined. Almost. Last year there was a lot of chatter about Texas A&M moving to the SEC. A little over a year later, the chatter has increased. As of today, it looks like the move is imminent-though halted. *I recommend reading articles from Frank the Tank, Sports Illustrated, Kirk Bohls, and espn for more in-depth analysis.
Why are the Aggies thinking about moving?- In my opinion, the biggest reason behind the most recent rumors of a move to the SEC is the Longhorn Network. Maybe not directly, but indirectly. Once again Texas has something the Aggies don't and it doesn't make them happy. Not only is the Network a huge financial jackpot for Texas, it is a recruiting dream. (And, oh YES, I LOVE it!) Since the Longhorns aren't about to give up the Network, A&M is going to make it as uncomfortable for the rest of the BIG 12 as possible. Ultimately though, it's all about the money. (Not a dig against A&M, every major college football decision in the last 20 years has been about the money.)
Money, recruits & the future-there's more of it in the SEC. If the SEC accepts A&M to the conference, they can renegotiate their TV deal and probably make the most lucrative deal to date. A&M will have more money, which is good, because they'll need it. They will need to make A&M more attractive to a higher level of recruits; either in sports facilities or professors, etc. A&M's recruiting has fallen off in the last decade compared to the great classes snagged by Mack Brown and Bob Stoops. SEC schools have great recruiting classes because they have so much to offer recruits. A&M will be able to offer its recruits the chance to play on a stronger stage and wider audience. However, that stage will have a higher caliber of team and A&M will need to rise to meet the SEC.
What does it mean for A&M? -My perspective is that A&M will likely be right where they are now. Occasionally they get a high ranking, but almost always end up around a .500 season, only one conference championship and one BCS Bowl. Examining the bowls they have played in results in a 5 bowl losing streak (3 of the 5 losses were against SEC teams). And, that’s OK. Not everyone can win a National Championship (multiple times) or have Heisman candidates, but they will have money. *I should clarify here that this might be OK for the Aggies, but it most certainly would NOT be OK for Texas. I could barely handle one bad season, multiple seasons of less than 10 wins-NO.* The SEC is a strong conference. As much as it kills me to say this, they are the strongest football conference. The rest of the SEC's sports are pretty impressive as well. I think A&M will be at the bottom, or near the bottom of the SEC in most sports for quite some time. A&M isn't that strong in basketball (no conference championship, only one sweet 16 appearance in the past 15 years), while the rest of the SEC is pretty good. The SEC is even better as baseball, which is usually a pretty good sport for A&M. However, in a few years, the recruiting might be stronger for A&M than it is now, not because A&M will necessarily win more but because they will be playing at a higher level and on a stronger field. Clearly A&M is not going to make the move to the SEC because they think they can immediately win the conference.
What about the State?- This is where I think the deal gets held up a bit. A&M is a state supported school and, as such, has always had significant strings to what it can and can't do. The fact of the matter is that Texas and A&M have been a package deal since, well...the beginning. The only reason that the Big 12 exists as it does is because the state mandated that Texas and A&M make sure a couple of the smaller schools (Tech and Baylor) got taken care of. I don't see the Legislature allowing A&M to make a sweet deal for itself that leaves Tech swinging in the wind. Not without repercussions. A&M may be able to smooth some feathers by bringing in the SEC money and reducing the amount of appropriations they need from the state. That could work. Or, negotiating with the SEC to invite Tech, that could work too. Bear in mind that A&M is dealing with state elected officials who are probably getting pressure from constituents to maintain the Texas-A&M rivalry, so A&M needs to make sure that the Legislature at least feels like they are exerting some control over the situation. That said, A&M has never gotten the lion's share of appropriations before, so maybe they don't mind if their share is reduced. Maybe they think that there will be enough SEC cash flowing in to off-set the reduction.
What does it mean for the Texas-Aggie rivalry? -The Texas v A&M rivalry is far less than it was 20 years ago, even less than it was 10 years ago. The fact of the matter is that Texas vs Oklahoma has become far more important a rivalry than A&M. In fact, for many years, the Texas versus Oklahoma game was basically a National Championship. During that time, Texas A&M created a new rivalry with Texas Tech, which makes more sense given their similar playing levels and school composition. This is not a dig because I am a Longhorn and dislike A&M (some of my best friends are Aggies), these are the facts. I would happily debate anyone who still believes that Texas v A&M is THE rivalry it used to be. There are a number of schools that have cross-conference rivalries. I believe that Texas and A&M will always schedule games against each other, whether or not they are in the same conference. We are looking at generations of history, you don't throw away that tradition.
Does it kill the Big 12?-Probably, but we knew that a year ago. Alternately, the Big 12 could expand (back to 12-ha ha!). I don't like that option as much. I'd rather see Texas and Oklahoma go to another conference, or even start their own conference, maybe bring Tech, OSU, Notre Dame...hmmm... that would be fun! It means we can FINALLY write our own ticket. Texas is the pretty girl everybody wants to dance with. Still. Yes, we have our own Network and a lot of conferences won’t want to deal with that. But, that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways around that. Other conferences have regional networks, there's no reason why Texas couldn't bring the Longhorn Network with it to the Pac-10 or Big Ten. The benefits of having Texas in your conference still outweigh Texas with its own network, just ask Dan Beebe. Texas could 1) negotiate with ESPN, 2) Create a new conference from disenfranchised teams tired of their conferences, 3) go to a new super conference of 16 somewhere….the options really are endless.
I LOVE conference realignment talk, so this is all fascinating to me. I wish the Aggies well if they decide to go to the SEC. I don’t think it is the panacea they think it is. And, frankly I think it boils down to whining about what Texas has (EARNED) that they do not have. I would love the creation of four or five super (16 team) conferences. Basically that would create a de facto playoff system. That is very much needed and would be exceedingly entertaining. The drawback to the super-conference idea is the death of the little guys like BYU and SMU. That said, I have LONG maintained that the little guys just do not play consistently at the same level as the big ones; it's not even apples and oranges. If A&M moves to the SEC, it opens the state up to more recruiting pressure from the SEC. I'm OK with that since there are a TON of very talented football players in Texas and it’s big enough for everyone. I also think that there are legions of great football players who are born and bred to love Texas and will sign up to play for Texas because all their life they've dreamed of wearing a Longhorn uniform. It doesn't much matter whether that uniform is in the Big 12, Pac-10, Big Ten, SEC, or any other conference. You play Texas football. It is what it is.
The last decoration I made was a quick and easy garland using a pdf file of Wonder Woman, the number 5, my daughter's name, etc. These button garlands are pretty quick and easy. I probably would have used more of these, but I loved the comic book garland so much more.Add a few stars and balloons here and there, and that was our decor. My favorite was the comic book garland. Or the skyscrapers, or the door signs....it was a Super fun party to decorate!
My daughter's Wonder Woman/Superhero party was Super fun to plan. I had tons of ideas, thanks in part to so many great parties on the Internet. Gotta love google. In case you are plannign a Super Wonderful party, here's my activity plan (and lessons learned!).
Using a Wonder Woman character (from a book), I printed out several "heroes" and hid them all over the living room. Each kid needed to "save" one. If I had to do it over again, I would print out WAY more and hide them everywhere. The kids really loved this game and you could easily turn this into a larger game. It would be fun to assign point values for the characters-like the ones up high are worth x, the ones hidden really well are y, etc. I would also have made this game last through the entire party, so kids could keep "finding" heroes and then you could give prizes at the end.
I Loved this idea- mod podge vintage comics (what I had left over from making the Wonder Woman banner-oooh, need to show you that!) on wooden frames for cute favors. The problem was that the kids got sort of stalled here. They either LOVED it and spent tons of time at the table, or they got really bored and left quickly.
Of course the girls' school has an online supply order form, that I found out about 2 days after the orders were due...Augh. So, I bought what I could and came home to find an invitation from the PTO inviting me to an event WHERE THEY WILL BE SELLING SCHOOL SUPPLIES. Then, my head exploded.
The things we do for our kids. That's Love, man.