Friday, April 25, 2014

What would Netfix do Without Me?

Netflix . . . oh how you continue to entertain me and for that I am grateful. Here continues my homage to your many offerings.

Amazing. Incredible. Powerful. Spanning over 192 countries, hundreds of people and thousands of hours of video footage, this documentary shows what's happening on the earth in one day. It's edited together masterfully going from sun up to sun down and everything in between. Showing simple breakfast eating to the birth of a baby to a teenager's first shave, it strips away any "differences" we may have and leaves a beautiful picture of our similarities as humans. Watch it. It's a subtle yet wonderful movie.


This 8 episode "Downton Abbey" type soap opera follows the dynamic between the "shop girls" and the glamorous people who own and frequent this old English department store. It's a bit of a coming of age as well as a look at the transition that takes place once small businesses begin to be taken over by the first "franchise" of sorts. Fun. Silly. Interesting. Pointless. All rolled into one.

The song we danced to at our wedding almost 13 years ago was the Tony Bennett version of "The Way You Look Tonight." And one of the greatest concerts I've ever been to was when I took my dad (and mom and hubby) to see Tony with Natalie Cole. He epitomizes smooth and jazz and classic and special and I was not disappointed to watch this movie which followed him around recording another record at the age of 85 full of duets of some of the most famous names in music. He crosses all generations and truly has a gift. There is not a whole lot of "real" in music today with all the pre-laid tracks and computer modifications to voices after recording so it was a treat to witness a man who still records with a live band and accepts and appreciates the flaws that come out as to what makes it special. He loves art and painting and sketching and finds joy in beauty and has an amazing philosophy that life is a gift - not a burden and should be lived as such. An inspiring man with a fascinating story and another gentle paced movie to enjoy.

This absolutely beautiful movie of a teenage girl who learns about life from an anonymous letter that mysteriously shows up in her mailbox is a true inspiration. It teaches much about relationship and giving and purpose and won't disappoint. (And may in fact inspire you to write a letter or two!)


How a black and white movie can be so colorful is beyond me but this fun little movie of an escaped princess dying for some freedom stars one of the most timeless beauties, Audrey Hepburn, so you can't go wrong.


With the potential to be extremely bizarre and offbeat, this surprisingly beautiful movie featured amazing performances from all involved and was an inspiration and true journey of a film. It may be a tear jerker for some . . . I found myself with more endearing smiles and am so glad I took a chance on this one. It's a fascinating mix of technology and tradition and family and trust and friendship and health and patience all wrapped in one slightly off beat story. Really, truly, enjoyed it.

This is an insider look at the founding and marketing and running of the "Chipotle" business. Yummy . . . and makes me want to eat there for more than just the taste.

A Bloomberg report on one of the biggest diamond distributors showed the ins and outs never seen and I found it quite interesting that which was still not shown and discussed. Wanted to be more intrigued than I was.

While Travis attended Hannah's honor choir concert, Haley and I watched this new (ish) remake of the classic old movie of two big families coming together with a hilarious result. The kids get into the craziest of adventures as they attempt to break apart a marriage they had no say in. We did a lot of giggling and the ultimate message of family togetherness was sweet. Haley, when asked what she thought said, "It was a movie. It had people in it. It was messy and it was clean and that's the end." Well said my child, well said.

I found this series when my girls were just babies and I adored it. It was started by a mom whose oldest daughter was born deaf and when her son was born hearing, realized how easy it could be to teach all their friends and family to sign in a fun way. We learned so many signs and it was amazing how many they could pick up long before they knew how to talk. We continued it all through the preschool years and I learned a ton too. So much so that when we bought our first house, one of the neighbors was deaf and I was able to loosely communicate with her to the point of mutual understanding because of this series. I was thrilled to find it on Netflix and Haley and I started to go through the series again. Its cute and fun and easy to learn and I'm excited to start back at the beginning.


 I can honestly say this was the cheesiest movies I have ever seen. An attempt at an encouraging "faith" movie, the dialogue was ridiculous, the acting was worse, and the culmination of a baby being born in the rain after a "relationship building hike" was enough to make me gag. Wow - there was some wasted time.


Equal parts interesting and disturbing and nauseating look at one of the countries richest families as they build the most expensive biggest home in the country and then begin to lose their wealth with the economic downturn. Some people have waaay to much money and no concept of reality.

I know - I already blogged about this show but I'm still watching more episodes and I still love it. I guess that fairy tale princess never left me. I love watching the crazy plans the bride thinks she's gonna pull off and then David's incredible way of bringing the vision to life in a way no one could imagine. And, I love how he pampers and treats all his brides so they feel as special as they should about their big day. I can't help but think about my wedding when I watch this. In July, we'll have been married for 13 years!! Even though I know the wedding is just a day to kick start a life, it was one of the most incredible days of my life. My mom and I put together most of it ourselves from vision to execution and it was such a fun special process to do together. It was grand and amazing and a dream come true. It would have certainly been a lot less work and a lot more "movie-ish" if we'd had thousands of dollars to hire David for our event but I wouldn't trade the experience we had together nor the amazing touches and things we did ourselves to make the day a whole lot more than a day. Now - off to more drooling over weddings . . . (and listen to the word 'opulent' used more times then I ever knew possible)

I finished this series a few weeks ago but I must give it a shout out as to one of the best I've ever watched. It  is fun, fascinating, addicting, well-written and amazing. The new season has started and is currently being DVR'd for me to watch soon. It was/is incredible what nurses do to care for others and in this case, to care for mothers and children. It was before even hospitals were available and yet, the clean, caring, knowledgeable way that these women serve their community is unsurpassed even by today's standards. It is not at all graphic in nature although it does discuss across the board the issues facing women's health and childbirth. It is sweet and you'll fall in love with the characters immediately. As I type, I'm even considering re-watching this one all over again . . . it's truly that good.


This reality show followed four royal princes (from England, Spain and India) as they went under cover in America to try a find a girl who loved them for who they are - not their title or their money. I went into this five episode series expecting a whole lot of cheese and instead I got a super fun show. It was funny and interesting and endearing and I really liked it!!

Another week clocked in. It's been fun discovering new shows, going on adventures to different worlds, learning about different people, laughing at plain craziness, melting to romantic love stories, and being overall distracted while I work through breathing treatments and meds. Thank you once again Netflix for yet another week of rehab.


Last night I was sitting in my room (surprise) when there was a knock at the door. The girls opened it and let my mom in who said she 'forgot something' from her earlier visit. I looked up in time to see my sister carrying my nephew in her arms round the corner and I lost it!! I have pined for this little baby boy in my arms. I have waited by my phone every single day for a picture of his sweet little face and I didn't know when I'd be able to make the trip to see him in person and here he was in my little recovery room!! Of course, I started to cry in amazement and disbelief and mostly gratitude. I was overwhelmed that my sister would make the trip with her sweet new baby and that I was home and well and able to be here with this most amazing blessing. Needless to say, I spent the next few hours in utter baby bliss. I'm sharing these pictures in spite of my swollen face and bruised skin and exhausted body because when I look at them right now, what I see is victory. I am alive and life is good.

He is, of course, even more precious in person than in any picture and my sister is even more patient and endearing as a Mommy than I could have bragged about before. I will never forget this amazing visit and can't wait to see him again soon!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Baby Miller

Just because you haven't seen his face in a few days . . .

This text came with a a description today:

This is apparently kind of how he fit. Ha ha! All scrunched in an uncomfortable looking ball! No wonder he stretches his arms and legs all the time now!! It made me giggle and I thought you might enjoy it as well. Was putting towels away in the bathroom and realized my belly was kinda back!

She is absolutely the cutest momma ever and I love getting these pictures and updates!

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Share-a-Post Wednesday

Now I'm just making up random stuff to call my blog postings and assigning random days to be themed (until I change the theme next week) because it's fun and I like it and at the end of the year I like printing the blog books and reading them. There. Today, I'm dubbing Share-a-Post Wednesday where I will . . . ahem . . . share a post.

My friend Jess introduced me to Jen Hatmaker (autor of 7:an experimental mutiny against excess) which if you haven't heard of, you must look up and must read her book and will definitely laugh at her honesty and realness and sarcasm. She also has a blog which is just as hilarious and I've gone back and read almost every post she's written. She has lots of opinions on lots of issues which she shares with grace and understanding of both sides but always from the angle of a down to earth momma with a real life in her lap. She now has seven kids - some biological and some adopted - but has no qualms about admitting what an insane chore it is (note her reference to only being able to mother 2?!)

In honor of it being the end of April and feeling the end of the year marathon myself, here's a hilarious post I found today. Enjoy. (and find her whole blog at

Worst End of School Year Mom Ever
by Jen Hatmaker on May 30th, 2013

You know the Beginning of School Enthusiasm? When the pencils are fresh and the notebooks are new and the kids’ backpacks don’t look like they lined the den of a pack of filthy hyenas? Moms, remember how you packed innovative and nutritional lunches and laid clothes out the night before and labeled shelves for each child’s work and school correspondence and completed homework in a timely manner?

I am exactly still like that at the end of school, except the opposite.

We are limping, limping across the finish line, folks. I tapped out somewhere in April and at this point, it is a miracle my kids are still even going to school. I haven’t checked homework folders in three weeks, because, well, I just can’t. Cannot. Can. Not. I can’t look at the homework in the folder. Is there homework in the folder? I don’t even know. Are other moms still looking in the homework folder? I don’t even care.
Last signature: April 26th. I'm good at other things.

I feel like any sort of school energy required at this point is pure oppression, like the universe is trying to destroy me. I’m so tiiiiiiiiired and I have five kids and that is just too many to educate well. I can only handle around two, so I’m going with Sydney and Caleb because they both like to read and the other three are just going to have to enroll in Life Skills Class one day and develop a trade.

Yesterday Remy brought her books to me at bedtime – an hour notable for its propensity to incite rage and trauma – and chirped, “We need to read for 20 minutes!” and a little part of my soul died.

“No, we don’t have to read tonight.”
“We already read.”
“When I talk to you during the day, that’s like reading. You have to listen to the words I am saying and then make sense of them. It’s really hard work for you. It’s called auditory reading. We’ve been practicing all day. I’ll write the minutes down in your log.”

My friend Glennon over at Momastery described nighttime reading like this: “The little one wants to ‘help read’ her book. So, let’s see. It takes her about six minutes to sound out each word, and so if the book is one hundred words, well, I don’t specialize in math but I am telling you that I am stuck in that room FOREVER. It feels like I will be reading that book with Amma until I die.”

UNTIL WE DIE. Children should not be allowed to learn to read until they are already good at it. And why do we have to do this at bedtime when I’m one click away from becoming that scary under-the-bed-mother in “Mama” (GO TO BED OR I AM ACTUALLY GOING TO DIE AND THEN HAUNT YOU FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE AS A TERRIFYING CLOWN). I know having an emerging reader is exciting.  Because of the reading! And the literacy! But at the end of the school year, when I’ve logged approximately 688 million hours with such gripping plots like The mother and the brother went to the store, which takes 12 minutes to decode, then I have to look at the ceiling and sing hymns in my brain to get through it.

Then Ben tells me Tuesday that he needs a Ben Franklin costume for the Living History Museum today, and I’m like what fresh hell is this?? I have no idea how I missed the correspondence on this (because I’m not checking backpacks is just a theory), but Brandon is the Costume and Project Parent and I am the Daily Grinder, which is a division of labor we agreed on to ensure our kids actually graduate one day and move out, but he is out of town on a mancation, so this is on me. I cannot even handle signing a folder in late May; a colonial costume is cause for full, unrestrained despair.

So Ben went to school like this today, and there is no way this will ever not be a part of his childhood. Please note my scarf hanging out the bottom of his vest, as well as the soccer socks stretched over his Adidas pants. Just whatever, man.
"Mom, I should've picked a black character. Like Abraham Lincoln." Bless it.

My shame was somewhat mitigated when I saw a kid wearing a random t-shirt and jeans with a pair of swim goggles around his neck (Michael Phelps) and another girl with a piece of paper taped to her shirt with her character’s name written in marker. I caught the eyes of their moms and was all solidarity, you guys.

Teachers, we need to make a deal that after April testing, we don’t have to do anything else. You don’t. I don’t. I don’t care if you watch movies in class five days a week and take four recesses a day. I mean, Caleb had to bring an About Me poster with five school days left in the year. In September, this might have produced something noteworthy, with pictures perhaps, even some thoughtful components to describe his winning qualities, but as we’ve used up all our bandwidth, we yanked trash out of our actual trash can, glued it to a poster, and called it a day. I am not exaggerating when I tell you this is the very most we can do on May 29th. This is our best work:
Note the caveman labels: DRINK, MOTORCYCLE, GAME, SHOP, FOOD.
End of school hard.

The emails coming in for All Of The Things – class gift, end of year letters, luncheon signup, party supplies, awards ceremonies, pictures for the slide shows, final projects – are like a tsunami of doom. They are endless. I mean, they will never ever end. There is no end of it. I will never finish and turn it all in and get it to the (correct) Room Mom and get it all emailed and I am pretty sure the final week of school will never be over and this is the end for me.


“You don’t have to do all that, you know. Just blow it off.”

Me, staring blankly:

“Well, what a lovely thought you’re having there in your brain. How nice for you to be thinking that thought. I want to live in your imaginary world where my failure to do the School Stuff doesn’t mean our kid is the only one not wearing a purple shirt or didn’t have his pictures in the slideshow or didn’t bring in a handmade card for his teacher like every other student. I’ll just ‘blow it off’ and our kids can work it out with their therapists later.”


“You don’t even know about all this, man.”

So, Mom out there sending Lunchables with your kid, making her wear shoes with holes because we’re.almost.there, practicing “auditory reading” with your 1st grader, I got your back, sister. We were awesome back in October; don’t you forget that. We used to care, and that counts for something. Next year’s teachers will get a fresher version of us in August, and they won’t even know the levels of suckage we will succumb to by May. Hang in there, Mama. Just a few more days until summer, when approximately 19 minutes into our glorious respite from homework, liberated from the crush of it all, ready to party like it’s 1999, our precious children, having whooped and celebrated and “graduated” and squealed all the way home will announce:

“I’m bored.”