Friday, March 28, 2014

A week of Movies and Shows

Besides playing a few card games with my kiddos, there's not a lot that I can do during this hibernation/asthma imposed bed rest. During and after breathing treatments my hands are so shaky that reading a book gets to frustrating so instead I turn to one of my other favorite things - watching movies. Thank goodness for Netflix where scores of options are available. From comedies to TV shows to documentaries, I've been watching a lot. Here's a list of what I've wasted/spent my time on so far.

But before I mention Netflix, we went and picked up this little movie the day it came out . . .


And we may be obsessed with it and we may have already watched it three times in a span of a few days. I would put this on the "best Disney movie ever made" list and if you haven't seen it yet, what rock have you been living under?

I digress . . . onto the Netflix reviews.


I have watched lots of weddings that David Tutera transforms into an incredible magical amazing experience no matter how ridiculous the bride's original dress, venue or theme was. It's fun and entertaining and it is on my "continue to watch more episodes" list.

Happy is a documentary exploring what makes people . . . well . . . happy. I found it fascinating and fantastic and I'd definitely recommend it!! It truly makes you think about your priorities and choices. (one quick warning - a woman in the film talks about a traumatic experience with a car accident and it shows some disturbing images of the damage done - wish I'd had the heads up!) I'd put this on the "you should really watch this" list.

This interesting documentary goes behind the scenes on a place unknown and a bit secretive shedding light on tradition and daily life. I really enjoyed it and felt like they did a great job of honoring the traditions and history while educating the rest of us of what we don't know. I'd put this on the "watch it if the topic interests you" list.

This heart warming documentary is about a couple both with downs syndrom who are getting married. It is filled with love for each other, their families and life. It was so endearing and precious and amazing and I'd put it on the "sweet love story that would teach you a lot about love" list.

This documentary (wow - I got stuck on a documentary theme?!) shows the history of one of our family's favorite food. It also shows the progression of what the over fishing for the good of the meal is doing to the ocean. I would put it on the "not my favorite but I learned why they serve wasabi" list. (Won't make you watch the whole thing to answer your questions - it instantly kills e-coli and bacteria so back in the day when refrigeration and clean water were not as readily available, wasabi helped keep everyone healthy. There. Now you can say you learned something new.)

This series follows a husband and wife who own an event planning business and create ridiclous over the top expensive weddings and parties. I'd put it on the "weddings and parties end up amazing but the way they show their process of planning stresses me out" list.


In honor of the two new nephews I have arriving in the next couple weeks, it was only appropriate that I watched a birth movie. Although both sisters are having completely different experiences - Bonnie (my sister-in-law) is planning a home birth and Melissa (my sister) is having a planned c-section for medical reasons, my greatest prayer is for very very very healthy mommies and very very very healthy babies. I'd put this movie on the "interesting look at the history of giving birth and why many women are choosing alternative options" list. 


This romantic comedy I somehow missed  is a touching and funny look at love and family and who we are in spite of or because of where we came from. It made me laugh out loud at times, get teary eyed at times and melt at the sweet romance at times. I'd put this movie on the "watch it if you like romantic comedies" list.

Oh Jane Austin. Where did you get the uncanny and amazing gift to pen words onto paper that capture the heart and the imagination while taking the reader (or watcher) into another world? Although Mansfield Park is not quite as fluffy as Emma or the sorts, it does not dissapoint in satisfying the marvel of an Austin tale. I'd put this movie on the "glad I'm watching Austin movies again" list. (And for some reason I find myself writing this with a bit of a British accent . . . )


This equal part riveting and terrifying documentary follows orca whales in captivity and tells the story of the trainer who was killed while preforming a show. I know I am so guilty of living in my own little bubble and I have been to Sea World many times as a kid and with my kids. After watching this and the history of care and cover ups about multiple injuries to the trainers and the whales, I'd put this on the "think twice about going to Sea World and instead share the beauty of whales in nature  with my kids instead" list.

In this very cheesy movie, an ex con tries to rebuild a relationship with his daughter by chaperoning her middle school field trip. In a very 'Home Alone' type twist, two of his crime friends find him and begin to chase the field trip around town. I'd put this on the "don't waste your time on this definitely-won't-win-an-Oscar film" list.


Amazing. So many moments of goose bumps - when those angelic voices hit just the right combination. The interviews are great, the spirits of the women incredible and I'd put this on the "totally know why it won an Oscar and you should watch it" list.


This simple yet endearing little movie is about two kids who find a commonality as picked on kids at camp. Instead of putting up with any more, they decide to run away. I'd put this on the "not a total waste of time" list.

This startling documentary is about the "two Indias" and the paths available to young woman. From the crazy lengths they go to to compete in pageants (skin whitening, botox, etc) which is much like our country's crazy lengths but with the risk of literally being pelted by stones for participating in the swim suit part of the competition (held behind closed doors to hide girls identities from the public) to the terrifying "Hindu extremists camps" in which girls learn their role in culture including the ability to fight and kill any Muslim or Christian that attempts to impede upon their religion I'd put this on the "I'm so thankful to live in America but my heart is sad for young girls in other countries" list.

Oh how I adore this movie and everything about it. It makes me laugh, makes me smile, and overall just makes me plain happy. I love the story, the costumes, the twists and turns of the plot and Gwyneth Paltrow at her finest. I'd definitely put this on the "must see or see again" list.

Most second graders get up just in time to get ready for school. Some second graders get up at 5am in the morning to start practicing for the Jr. World Golf Championship. This movie follows a few highly talented kids in their race for the win. I'd put this on the "I'm glad my kids are "normal" but fun to see some amazing kids in their area of interest" list.


Yup - its a retro throw back. A big old marathon starting from episode 1. It takes me way back to my tween days. Sarah - remember taping them on your VCR so we could watch them all again later? I didn't remember that Hayley Mills was the home room teacher all through season one?! But then, I don't think I noticed much but Zack Morris those days. Oh the joys of scrunchies, shoulder pads, trapper keepers, bad perms, canned laughter and bizarre saxophone interlude transitions? I'd put this on the "hilarious time machine" list.

Because I think she is one of the most beautiful actresses there is, I went a little old school with Gwyneth. Although I've seen it before, I'd put this on the "quite endearing, silly and fun" list.

I love cooking shows and am a sucker for empowering teenagers to reach their goals and aim for things they could never imagine. This documentary follows a culinary school program in the inner city of Philadelphia and the scholarship competition they train for. As incredible as it was to fall in love with and admire the kids, it was the passionate teacher who loved each student as her own showing them toughness at times but a tender heart beyond all understanding to want to see them succeeded. I'd put this on the "teachers are not given enough credit for all they do so watch this movie and be inspired" list.

Set in Scotland, this cute little chick flick tells the story of a famous actress and her attempt at marrying her fiance away from the tabloid photographers. I'd put this on the "darling little movie you should watch" list.

Another throw back. Filled with ridiculousness, I'd put this on the "must watch as every American should know where the ironic catch phrase 'as is' came from" list.


I'm not a fan of many reality shows. I don't understand why people watch the Kardashians or Jersey Shore or Real Housewives. I don't understand the appeal of watching people fight with each other as they go through ridiculous situations. I do, however, enjoy watching family shows. I adore 19 Kids and Counting and have learned sooo much. I really love watching The Little Couple and following their journey so I thought I'd give TLC another chance to watch a family dynamic so different from ours. I watched a few episodes. I do not in the least agree with their choices to live the way that they do - but I can't deny that they have a lot of love in their home for all their children. And I can't deny that there would be days where it'd be nice to have another female friend around to help with all the daily chores of a home. I'm not going to move to Utah and I'm not going to become a full time viewer and I'm not going the increase our family in such an over the top way but I'd put this on the "interesting and respectful look into the home of someone else that I don't understand" list.

Blasted hilarious. Like laugh out loud hilarious. It's so refreshing to have a comedian that is not off color or crude but makes fun of all the little things we all go through ever day. I'd put this on the "watch it!! You won't be sorry" list.

And thus concludes week one with 'Nebber'knezzer (thanks Luna) AKA Gus Tee (thanks Pete). Let the viewing (and the convalescing reviewing) continue.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Mud Slide

It's all over the news and even more live, all over our community. A natural disaster happened . . . 15 mins from our home. Over 24 people have already lost their lives and there is still a list of over 100 missing. FEMA, Red Cross, Governors, Mayors and the National Guard are in our little town being interviewed in front of our little post office and helping with the rescue/recovery efforts. We have friends who have had to evacuate their homes as the river was quickly approaching their homes as well and know friends who are fire fighters who have been working tirelessly around the clock out in the elements risking their own lives for the lives of others. But we are not on the front lines. It's very surreal to see this all unfolding in our little town . . . but I read a blog post that explains our feelings better than I could put into words . . . the author even lives in the same part of town as us.

We're not Oso but we know who is . . .

Pray for our community. Pray for the families who have lost everything. Pray for the families that have been separated by death. Pray for the families who are on the front lines helping with everything they've got. Pray for the after math of such a devastating disaster. Pray for the people of Oso and all those touched by this unbelievable tragedy.

Sunday, March 23, 2014


Back in the saddle of the asthma flare. Travis so wisely pointed out yesterday that I spend a lot of time hating this . . . so I'm trying to work on that. It's a common theme through trials that we focus on "coping." There are so many ways to "cope" - so many not healthy or helpful. But yet, we trudge along "coping." What if, instead of coping, we embrace. That is not a novel idea to some but to me, it seems unnatural. It seems ridiculous. It seems like being happy about what's happening. But I'll freely admit I think I'm missing the point of the definition. I don't think embracing always means happy - that would be faking. I think, perhaps, embracing means to stop fighting so hard against what is happening. To stop wasting so much energy on hating it and instead be in the moment. Listen to the girls laughing at some ridiculous silly thing they found to do in their rooms and instead of pout about how I'm not in the middle of every great situation with them but instead smile and appreciate that they are able to entertain themselves and are bonding as sisters. I can open the blinds in my room and instead of frowning over the fact that I can't go sit on my deck as everyone is mowing their grass and enjoy the view of our lovely backyard saying a quick pray of thanks for our beautiful home. Instead of looking ahead on the calendar and wistfully mourning all the event's I'm going to miss over the coming days and weeks, stop in the moment and be thankful for this moment and this breath and this family and this life. Easy to change these thoughts and stop hating this #@%* asthma, NOPE. Easy to refocus on all the little things that are good instead of the big things that are bad, NOPE. Completely necessary for my sanity, YUP. So, my dear astute husband, I will make a concerted effort not to spend so much time hating and instead embrace. Wish me luck.

(Ironically, I just checked my inbox and found an article from one of my favorite authors - Jill Savage - titled LOVE YOUR NOW) 
She says, " What kind of statement is that? How does one love their "now?" And if we can wrap our brain around the concept, sometimes it doesn't seem like there's a lot to love about our "now." 
God's been teaching me, however, that when I don't love my now, I miss so much.  In fact, in mourning "what isn't" I miss "what is." Our days are filled with interruptions. Our dreams are dashed by reality. Our expectations are burst like a balloon that comes in contact with a sharp pin.  But what if we could embrace "what is" instead of ruminating on "what could have been?" If you and I can learn to do that more often, we'll learn to love our now and we'll help our family love their now, too.  The Bible says, "A God-like life gives us much, when we are happy for what we have." (I Timothy 6:6 NLV) When we love our now, contentment increases, joy expands, and peace prevails.  This is what we gain! I know I want that kind of "gain" in my life more than anything else!"

Ok - not at all ironic. There is not a lot of irony in God's plan. It's incredible and sometimes down right ridiculous how a reoccurring theme crops up in your life that you need to work on. So there it is. Loving my now (or starting to try).

Tuesday, March 18, 2014


Hannah will turn eleven in June. Eleven. This is her last year in elementary school. She is definitely growing up. I am so grateful, however, that she is not growing up to fast. She's currently up in her room with a good friend giggling her head off while singing Mandisa in a hairbrush microphone.

We've started listening to Mandisa's song Good Morning in the car on our way to school. Love when great positive things get stuck in my head. And love watching my growing up girl still act like a silly little girl!

Now, go grab a cup of coffee and have a good morning!!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Glimpse into the Past

I found an old journal this morning and was scanning the pages. Within it are tons of stories of "a day in the life" back in the day. It was the blog before there was such a thing as a blog. This made me crack up and I had to share . . .

Tuesday November 6, 2006

        I feel myself changing for the better lately as a woman and a mother. Two recent things happened that would have sent the old me off the deep end. My new reaction pleasantly surprised me. One day while Travis was gone to Minnesota for a leadership convention, Buddy (our old dog who we had for a very short time due to his insanity) pooped on the floor. Not nice . . . but not new. I quickly scooped the girls up to the table (Haley in high chair and Hannah in big girl chair) and gave them a snack. Then, using my patent pending baggie technique, I cleaned up the poo and took Buddy outside. I waited about 1 minute for him to sniff around then tried to get back inside. Hannah had locked the door. I started talking through the motions of unlocking but instead, she locked the dead bolt. She really started to panic saying, "Mommy . . . come help me - I can't!" To which I calmly explained was impossible given the current situation. Finally, grace be to God, she got the door open. At which point I hear Haley screaming and Hannah says sheepishly, "Mommy, come look what happened!!" My mind instantly imagined Haley's high chair flipped over trapping her tiny body. I bolted into the dining room to discover (Haley's fine) Hannah had opened the whole container of snack puffs and EXPLODED them everywhere like a 4th of July fire cracker. It took me a split second to snap out of my stunned stupor to realize Buddy is chowing down. I quickly locked him in his kennel, told Hannah to stay at the table, scooped up a crying baby, pulled out the vacuum, cleaned up the puffs, put away the vacuum, bounced the baby, entertained the toddler, and took a sigh . . . who said this job was easy?! But, I didn't panic, I didn't cry, I didn't get overwhelmed, I just took each little task one by one as it came and I think I succeeded!
        Last night, we invited the Marsh family over to watch the Seahawks game and eat pizza. At half time, the power went out which woke up the baby. She was entertained for a while until the novelty of no power wore off. I opened the fridge to get out a bottle and heard a crash. In a split second the door shelf broke hurtling the ketchup bottle to it's demise - it shattered on the kitchen floor causing a volcanic eruption of sweet tomato sauce to spew forth on my recently cleaned floor. That same instance, an uncontrollable laughter grew inside me that I could not hide. I laughed and laughed and laughed. I have no idea what the rest of our family though of my reaction by I felt so free and full of joy. Who cares that the power went off in the middle of the football game and we had a house full of family eating pizza in the dark, a baby up way past her bed time and a kitchen full of ketchup - life is full of moments of hilarity and what a blessing to experience them free from anxiety and stress!!

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Go Jump in a Lake

Or sit beside it with a cup of coffee and a great girlfriend. Bliss.

Friday, March 14, 2014

MUST read

I love keeping track of all the books I've read each year. My type-A list maker self enjoys seeing the growing list looking back fondly (and sometimes not so fondly) at what I've completed. I guess being a mom doesn't have a lot of opportunities to "finish" anything. You do the sink full of dishes, cook one meal, turn around and the sink is full. You do copious amounts of laundry, fold, put away, turn around and the laundry baskets are overfilling. The point is, to actually finish something feels good.

I love recommending good books to friends and have a few great book buddies who do the same for me. So let me be your book buddy and recommend the best book I've read so far this year.

They say you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover but the second I laid eyes on this beautiful book, I was captivated. Let me back up and tell you how I got this book. It was recommended by one of my book buddies who said, "This book truly changed my life!" Then the next morning, when I came downstairs to make a cup of coffee, I found this book laid on top of this beautiful journal right next to my coffee maker.


After she reassured me she wasn't a stalker and had given it all to Hannah who placed it there on her way out the door, I couldn't wait to dig in. I am always hesitant when someone says it changed their life because I don't want to be disappointed plus I know from experience that sometimes you have to be in a certain place or a certain mood for something to "change your life."

One chapter in, it was already changing my life. That sounds so hokey and cheesy as I type that but I'm not kidding. And part of it was because I was in one of those places in which I needed an attitude adjustment and a shake up. But part of it was because it's a beautifully written, honest, inspiring, incredible book. I don't want to give it all away because you must must must read it . . . but the premise is that the author gets challenged by a friend to write 1000 gifts in a thankful journal/notebook. She starts on day one hesitating to even come up with two or three. As the days progress though, she starts to see the little things all around her that are actually gifts and soon her pen is flying with.

I started writing the first day taking the challenge on myself. I also found great hesitation in coming up with something to say. As I continued to read about Ann's journey however, I was able to recognize all the amazing "little" things around me. I only allowed myself to read one chapter a night as there were sooo much insightful things I didn't want to rush past anything. And I marked a million passages with one of my favorite things; post-it sticky tabs. I wrote down the passages in a little notebook I keep by my bed to record things from books that inspire me, encourage me, challenge me or make me laugh so I can go back later and read the highlights. That little notebook is now quite filled with great bits from this book.

You MUST read this book. It may not "change your life" but it is sure to make you think about the way to look at life - and don't we all need that reminder sometimes?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Quite a catch up . . .

Because I haven't blogged in so long, there are many milestones I haven't included in this family "diary." Let the review begin . . .

Over the summer, Haley and I canned pickles. It was so much fun to work on a project together and it's oh so rewarding to watch the counter fill with fruit (or veggies) from our labor.

After they sat in our pantry for a while it was finally time to pull them out and sample our wares. I'd love to lie and say they were the best pickles ever . . . but I have to be honest and say, they were so salty it wasn't even funny. I have no idea what went wrong as we followed a recipe to a "t" but we'll try again next year.

Skipping ahead a few months  . . . Halloween brought along some fun costumes for the whole family. We went to "The Farm" in Snohomish which has to be one of the coolest places in our area for the fall. They have animals, hay rides, trackers to play on, corn kernels to jump in, yummy foods (corn on the cob, hot apple cider etc.) and of course, great pumpkins. This year, we took Mandy, one our most favoritest cousins with us which only added to the fun!!

And we all jumped on the dress up wagon . . . cause it's fun!!

We had a blast walking around our neighborhood!

November brought a long anticipated and saved for vacation to DISNEYLAND!!!!!

The last time we had flown on a plane, both girls were pretty little so even the plane ride was fantastic. The night before we actually entered the park was sooooo hard to sleep as we knew bright and early the next day, we'd be in Disneyland for real!!! All the saving and planning and dreaming came to fruition . . .

After a true welcome from some well loved characters, we were off to explore the park, ride some rides and experience one of the best weeks our family has ever had.

We split our time equally between Disneyland and California Adventure and got favorites in each park. Because it was the first weekend of November, the crowds were unbelievably small. We hardly waited in a single line and were able to ride tons and tons and tons of rides.

In Disneyland, we found the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique in which the girls were transformed into beautiful princesses.

In seven days, we saw everything possible to see, rode everything possible to ride, ate every Mickey thing possible to eat, watched every possible show and parade, met every character possible to meet, and made more memories that I'd ever thought possible. We will NEVER forget this vacation!

I've been to Disneyland many times as a kid and even a few times as an adult but this was my most favorite trip in the whole world. Watching the trip through their eyes was amazing!!

Haley lost her first tooth. No - it was not the first tooth to come out but the others have had to be pulled out by the dentist. She's like a shark and keeps getting a second row of teeth behind the baby teeth. It was a big event to actually be able to pull one out herself!!

January brought another asthma flare - the first on in two years. It was so frusting . Logically I know it's a cronic illness but knowing it and then living it are two seperate things. It was so nice to pretend it didn't exist. There had to be much adjustment to family life around the house as mom was out of commission for a month and a half. Through the support of some amazing family members and great friends as well as a very understanding staff, we made it out the other side and have entered the "recovery zone" in which we baby step off some nasty but life saving drugs and wait out the side effects hoping to once again returning to "normal" whatever that means!!

On March 7th, my dad turned 60. The man who taught me how to work hard, take care of those around you and laugh through life, entered the next decade in his journey. We celebrated with a family dinner and enjoyed telling and hearing fun stories of the last  60 years. I can't describe how much I love my Dad. He is like no other and I wouldn't trade him for the world.

Hannah participated in her first ever track meet. She is one well rounded kiddo and is involved in so many great activities. This year she decided to give Runner's Club a try. After weeks of practice and a day of running in the halls, the grand finale was a track meet at the high school including all four elementary schools in our district. All we ever ask of our kids is that they try their best. If they come in last but they tried their best, then we're thrilled. It was Hannah's idea to put in some evenings of practice with her track coach daddy. My favorite part of the whole thing was that it was all her own ideas. We didn't ask her to join. We didn't tell her she needed to practice. It was all her. The big day came and we had a blast watching her run the 400. She came in 8th out of 30. Great! Then came the 4x400 relay. The first girl took off like a shot and quickly ran to the head of the pack with lots of room to spare. Then came Hannah's turn and after a successful handoff, she took off at an even greater speed and widened the gap!! At this point I am screaming like a crazy woman. I was so excited for her! I was amazed at the fact that even when the girl behind her began to close the gap, Hannah stayed her steady pace and focused on her race allowing her to give girl number three a nice leg up. Girl numbered three ran a good race and a few of the other teams caught up with us. And then came the grand finale hand off. I would have been thrilled for Hannah to have felt so proud of her winning lap but I could see the possibility of a group victory and I was off my seat!! Girl number four got the baton and ran like the wind!! Half way around the track, Hannah and the rest of her teammates started jogging along the last little stretch cheering and screaming for their teammate. As she crossed the finish line in first place, the feeling of pride as her momma swelled inside of me and as I saw the sweet Grandma Merry tears, you would have thought Hannah had just won the Olympics!! I would have been just as excited for her to have come in last. It was so cool that she chose an activity that was new to her, stuck it out and tried her best. But man was it fun to see a victory!!!

And last, but certainly not least, my sweet little sister is going to have a baby!! We couldn't be more excited around here to welcome a new nephew/cousin very soon!! I may be bias but I think she's the cutest pregnant lady around!! I went up north on Monday as I had the honor of being at an ultrasound and we added a surprise visit to our grandma. I can't tell you how special it was to see her love on that sweet belly that held her first ever great grandson!!

There it is. The long awaited and much needed catch up of the Marsh family. I am grateful to Hannah and her inspiration to re-start something we love so much. And I am grateful to all those around us who make this life worth blogging about!

We titled this blog "The Years are Short" . . . one of my favorite speakers said, "In life the days seem long but looking back the years are so short." May we take advantage of each day - to capture the good and the bad and the in between in this crazy journey because in spite of the never ending loads of laundry and ever piling sink of dishes and repetitive chores and events and highs and lows and expected and surprising, the years are short and so worth every moment.