A Blind Guy, a Robot, and Darth Vader Walk Into a Movie…

Guys, Netflix has SO much awesome stuff right now. I have already talked to you about my love for Moana (well, the boys love it too, but mine is a deeper kind of love. I’m in a serious relationship with the song “You’re Welcome.” It especially makes me happy when the occasion merits an actual “You’re welcome” and I get to break into song. My children so love this. It’s like when they fight and I start with the “Let it Go” business. Big showstopper, that one.)

And then, there’s Sing, and I’m humming, “I’m Still Standing” on the daily as well. It’s a good Mom song. By about five pm, we moms all feel a bit triumphant that we’re still vertical.

There’s so much singing going on over here. I’m a regular Julie Andrews, I tell you. But, shouting “I’m SHINY!!” tends not bring my children in concert with me, with matching outfits and Austrian accents. In fact, most times when I start crooning they sort of sidle away with a pained expression, muttering, “Always with the singing.”  But, you know, one day they might join me and we will enter a contest and climb some mountains to flee the Nazis. Don’t even get me started on this possibility.

Anyhow. This month, I am going to give you a non-singing option to dial up for  movie night because OH MY GOODNESS IT IS REALLY GOOD.

I am a total Star Wars snob, ok? The first rule of Star Wars is that we don’t talk about the Star Wars prequels. When Jar Jar speaks we turn away.

And, we actually straight up sobbed in the theater when Han died. (By “we” I do mean me – but third person sounds cooler.) My husband actually had to put his arm around me. And then, I couldn’t speak of it for two days afterwards.

Trust me, the Star Wars is strong with this one.

So, when Rogue One came out, as a “Star Wars story,” I was skeptical. Would it just be another weak CGI’d mess with whiny characters and costumes that are more interesting than the actors? (Yes, Princess Ami-blah blah. Your hair was better than your acting).

Rogue One is so good. It’s sooooo good. It has STUFF in it that just… is SO GOOD.

Is that not a really good review? “It is so good!” They should have used this in their press release:

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The hubs and I had a movie night. There was popcorn. A blind guy took down nearly twenty storm troopers because he can.

A robot stole all the best lines.

And then, there is Vader.

Chills. People. He’s in there. I might have squealed a little.

The movie has lots of neato Easter egg for the nerds who are always on the prowl about this sort of thing. Not me, of course.

But… doesn’t this look familiar?? I mean, HOW COOL IS THAT! (tiny nerd squeak)

 

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I’m gonna tell it to you true – the good guys get hit hard in this movie. Rogue One has really intense battle scenes and some hard moments when the good guys sacrifice their lives. It’s a hard message. Love, bravery, sacrifice, family, courage. Truth. War. Faith. It’s all in there.

But, the good guys keep trying. They keep fighting the darkness, even when the odds are very high that they won’t make it. Very high.

As a mother of two boys in 2017? I need this message. I really, really do.

Save the rebellion.

Save the dream.

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As a StreamTeam blogger, I get to watch Netflix and chat about it. It’s a great gig.

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More Moana, Please. And a Giveaway!

As it seems my summer plans do not include a trip to Hawaii (sponsored post, Hawaii? Call me!) I can still have this:

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Guys, sometimes I don’t really keep track of all the kids’ movies out there. I mean, sometimes… I am kinda late to the game. I still think Toy Story 5 is playing somewhere, at some movie house, surely?

Is there even a Toy Story 5?

Anyhow. This summer, we have been super busy, so making it out into the heat means getting to the pool, not driving to a movie theater. And yea, I know the theater is air conditioned. Sure. But there is still DRIVING THERE AND LAST TIME I DID THAT MY DASHBOARD MELTED. It’s hot. It’s like Africa hot.

So, thank you Netflix! Friday movie nights have involved lots of popcorn, no driving, and this adorableness:

 

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I mean, seriously. The cuteness.

My family LOVES Moana. Perhaps it’s the water (they are little fish), or the tattoos. Or, you know, the chicken:

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(Oh, that chicken. I can’t help but think we might be related somehow).

This is the princess movie that stole my kids’ hearts. It’s funny. It’s gorgeous to look at. (Did you know they have an entire team of people who just work on the WATER animation? And if anyone watches this and doesn’t want to go swimming in the deep blue sea afterwards, there is something wrong with you).

Oh, and, it has The Rock.

 

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You’re Welcome.

Yes, I’ll admit it. It is just a teensy weensy bit possible that Momsie, in all her literary-ness and English teacherish sophistication, has a big fat celebrity crush on Dwayne Johnson. Could be the muscles. I dunno. Or the blinding white teeth. Or, back to the muscles.

I just think he’s cute, ok? GIVE ME MY CRUSH. I’ll go back to reading Faulkner in a bit.

Also this: I double-crab DARE you to not watch “Shiny” and keep humming it, for days after. It’s catchy.

Enjoy Moana, courtesy of Netflix and stay INSIDE for the last days of summer. Shine on.

Also, if you find yourself sneaking some Dwayne (er, Moana) time on your OWN, Moms, I get you. I really do.

Netflix gets you too. 97% of moms say that they had more time for themselves before motherhood, and now, three-quarters (71%) of moms admit to sneaking in TV “me-time” while juggling a busy schedule, with some even hiding from their kids for just a moment of peace. With moms doing it anywhere and everywhere in the neighborhood when the kids aren’t around, sneaking is the new bingeing.

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Would you like to be a part of the #MomSneak revolution and enter to win a 6-month Netflix subscription giveaway, so your sneaking is covered for the rest of 2017?

To Enter the #MomSneak Giveaway:

  • On a public social media post (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram): share a personal story of how you sneak in your TV shows, or a selfie pic of you sneaking in your TV.  Please don’t forget to add #MomSneak to your post!
  • Copy the URL of your social share and paste it in the comments below.

It’s just that simple. I am here for you Moms. Get your sneaky on.

#MomSneak your way to a little me-time. (By the way? I’m part of the 47%. Thank you, Stranger Things and Gilmore Girls. You are vastly different, with your creepy strangeness vs.your caffeinated banter. Either way, you give a tired mom a break.)

Giveaway ends on July 31 2017 at 11:59 p.m. CST. The 1 winner will be chosen at random and announced on this site. Giveaway is open only to legal residents of the United States (including District of Columbia), who are at least eighteen (18) years old at the time of entry. The 1 Winner will be notified by email and have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen.

Make sure to watch your social media message boards to see if you are the selected winner on August 1!!

Good luck! #MomSneak to your heart’s content!

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As a #NetflixStreamTeam blogger, I get to watch Netflix and then chat about it. It’s a great gig.

Kindred Spirits

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This is the cover of the Anne of Green Gables book I had.She’s a hottie, right?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Y’all. I am very picky.
I don’t like my potato salad unless it is made with Hellman’s mayonnaise. (No, this post was not sponsored by Hellman’s. Call me? Hellman’s?? We can work something out, K?)
I don’t like books that have too many dialogue tags. “They are tedious,” she said, tediously.
I only like spring days that still have a bite of cool in them. Otherwise there’s sneezing. And it’s not the cute, delicate lady-sneezing like a baby bunny. My sneezing is wet-gorilla sneezing.
Apples must be tart. This Red Delicious nonsense is just a dumbing down of apples.
And, classic books don’t translate well into film. In general. I mean, have you SEEN The Scarlet Letter? I’m talking the Demi Moore version. Enough said.
I have read every one of the Anne of Green Gables series, MULTIPLE times. And, yes, I did allow the 1985 television adaptation (with an awesomely cranky Marilla by Colleen Dewhurst).
So, when the great Netflixes informed me that a NEW ANNE was coming… I was skeptical. You know when someone says to you, “Hey! I made some chocolate chip cookies!” and just as you take a bite they add, “Gluten, egg, and dairy free! YOU CAN’T EVEN TELL, CAN YOU.”
You can tell. You can so totally tell.
That’s how I felt about a New Anne.  But, y’all – Netflix has done it right.

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This is a series that is so in tune with my Anne that I nearly cried. Which, as you know, is something a totally dramatic girl would do. This is an Anne that is comical and tragic and gawky,  and at times plain, and at at other times just aglow (when she is least aware of it). She is, in other words, what we girls are. Or me, at least. I do comical and tragic and gawky. I do plain.

I even, every once in a while, glow.
I sat down to start watching this while folding laundry one night because God forbid I ever just watch something without folding laundry. The boys were playing “Smash All the Things” in the other room, but as soon as they heard the television come on, they started sniffing around like the little tv vultures they are.

“Whatcha watchin?” Red asked. “Is it Star Wars? Legos? Something with swords?” I sighed and folded my four hundredth pair of Lego Star Wars underpants. He stared at the screen and then, asked… “Anne of… Green Bagels?”
“No, dear. Shhhhhh. Mommy’s watching. Mommy needs this show.”
We watched, and Blonde, another heat-seeking (i.e. television) missile wandered in, and we all soaked in all the Gables and the Green-ness.

Anne says,  ““Kindred spirits are not so scarce as I used to think.” Anne and I are kindred spirits. She has the same ideas about classic literature and potato salad, I am sure of it. Watch, you’ll see.

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As a Netflix StreamTeam blogger, I get to watch the awesomeness that is Netflix, and chatter about it on Momsie. It’s a great gig.

 

 

Momsie is a G rated blog. And she’s recommending an (almost) X rated Netflix show.

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WAIT. Just stay with me, here, Ok?

This was me about five minutes prior to posting this:

Me: NO DON’T DO IT. CRAZY SAUCE. WRITE ABOUT PUPPIES.

Y’all. I’m not gonna write about puppies.

With the help of Netflix, I’m going to get serious with you.

I meant to post about some great Netflix shows for kids and teens and other heartening options, because yes, there are many there. I have gobs and gobs of things on Netflix that I watch that warm my soul and make me smile and make my children chortle with laughter…

Today is not such a day.

Today, I am recommending this:maxresdefault.jpg

Guys. This show broke. My. Heart.

Two years ago I spoke at the Whole Women’s Conference – a gathering for women who felt broken, lost, addicted, and all of the above. There, I met Annie Lobert, an ex porn star who had found Jesus, and whose mission is to offer assistance and ministry to women stuck in this industry.

And, yes, “stuck” is the right term.

I think… I think this post is going to upset some of y’all. I am so sorry. I’m going to post it anyway.

In this era of social media, amateur porn is blowing up. Did you know, Twitter still has NO sorts of filters, so basically anyone who has a Twitter account can access porn, free and easy, whenever they like?

The minimum age for a Twitter account is 13. The average age for a person to be exposed to porn? 11.

That’s in three years, for my oldest.

Amateur porn is here, and here’s one of its spokespersons:

“Amateurs come across better on screen. Our customers feel that. Especially by women you can see it. They still feel strong pain.”

So, here’s the deal. This show does not take an easy look at this. It’s not clearly anti-porn or pro. It is fairly unbiased. And for that, I am kind of grateful. Because… the girls’ faces. They don’t need to ask the leaning questions or mess with the dialogue or twist the events or MESS WITH IT AT ALL. THE GIRLS’ FACES.

Nobody really wants this life. And yet, it’s happening.

 

The website Fight the New Drug tells us: The main job for these girls? To look young. “Teen” is one of the top keywords in porn searches.      (http://fightthenewdrug.org/10-porn-stats-that-will-blow-your-mind/)

Guys. The IWF tells us: “Child porn is one of the fastest growing online businesses.”

It. Is. Everywhere.

I’m not a fan.

Maybe… you disagree. Maybe you see it as a choice, as a part of healthy human sexuality, as a part of expression and just being plain honest with ourselves. Maybe it’s empowering.

Maybe. But. Just look at their faces, ok? And, there’s so many of them. These girls. They don’t look like victims. They’re smiling. There’s hundreds of them. Or more. So… how can they be victims if SO many of them are signing up to be a click away for someone?

Just watch Hot Girls Wanted. And, there? Just look at their faces.

I do warn you – there is nudity and all the rest of it here. The film does not show the porn in action, but yes, nudity happens.  It’s not an easy film to watch. But, I did. And I cried. And, then I asked God three things:
I have two boys, and I cannot help but wonder – what will this industry be like when they are 11?
And also,  is there any way I can help those girls? Is there any way I could just hug on them, and tell them, somehow, what they’re worth? What they are really, really worth?
And, God, there are so many. Why? Why did we let this go for so long? Why weren’t we paying attention?
Ok, finally.
I read up on the definition of “exposed.” You know, to reveal, to uncover. To leave cold.
The antonym for exposed is “protect.”
And the final definition? Waaaaaay down the page, at the bottom, where you would miss it unless you’re an English teacher like me and kept reading?
Exposed: to leave a child to die.

Spring Break and Netflix. Oh yes, you bet they go together.

 

 

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Parenting. When what you expect and what actually happens NEVER MATCH.

This also is the case for a lot of our silverware, all of our socks, and my six year old’s fashion choice today.  So, at least we’re consistent.

Last week was Spring Break. I kept thinking I would write THIS post when it WAS actually spring break, because Momsie is so relevant and timely, but good gravy. Spring break nearly broke me.

It all started with the take home math packet.

So, just so you know, I blame it all on my children’s teachers. They are out to get us.

I don’t even remember for sure which boy got the math packet. But I do know that when I spied it, all smushed in his R2-D2 backpack, that I felt a little flutter of excitement. It’s that Mom Buzz that I get every time I think I might have a Positive Learning Experience with one of my spawns. “Lo! Here is a math packet!” I crowed. “And, we shall learn all the things over break! This shall be a break from technology! We’ll take nature walks! We’ll work puzzles! I think I might try to learn another language! Besides Pig Latin, which is so big at our house right now!”

And on and on. Momsie went off the rails on the whole Fun and Educational thing.

At about two o’clock Tuesday afternoon, I decided to put a stop to all things educational and considered playing the Quiet Game for the rest of the break.

Anyhow.

What I did instead was realize, as I have so often before, this wonderful nugget of information:

TELEVISON. TELEVISION FIXES EVERYTHING.

Relax Moms. It’s not like we watched it from Tuesday on. But we reveled in the popcorn movie night (as one of Momsie’s favorite thing ever is her couch, and popcorn, and nighttime. They go together like constant fatigue and sweatpants, I tell you.)

And on those movie nights we didn’t watch movies. Nope. We watched… (drumroll)…

Somewhat Educational Stuff.

Which really means I just picked stuff that I like and told the boys it was that or a bath. So, they learned something, AND avoided personal hygiene. Winners all around. (?)

The kids and I watched two gems from the mighty Netflix.

Here’s the first one, that is NARRATED BY A BRITISH GUY AND YOU KNOW HOW I AM ABOUT BRITISH THINGS:

 

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In this series, The British Guy (Kevin McCloud) presents to us a strange breed of people who are “self-builders.” This means, they take strange old buildings, ones that aren’t really supposed to BE homes… and they make them into homes. Like, they “self-build” themselves right into an old movie theater.

Or, aherm, that’s theatre, if you’re British.

And, it’s bloody brilliant.

First of all, the builders usually have about five children and are obviously nutty as a fruitcake to even attempt this. But they DO attempt it, and they do so with that typical British cheerful oblivion to discomfort and mess that we Americans cannot even try to fathom. So, it’s like House Hunters International plus Property Brothers plus The Great British Bake-off when someone’s Victoria sponge slides off the table but no one even bats an eye and …oh you get the idea.

But wait, there’s more.

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Holy smokes, y’all. People are so smart. Did you know this?

Abstract: The Art of Design reminds you that the world is smushed full of really cool, innovative, interesting, creative people.  And you guys? I don’t know about you, but every once in a while, I REALLY NEED TO BE REMINDED OF THIS.

We watched the episode on automative design. And then I sent the cherubs to bed and binged on the one about architecture, and graphic design, and illustration, but had to stop because the husband wasn’t home and I knew this was one of those Family Shows to Watch All Together kind of things. I showed great self-control and watched only two more.

Or three. I lost count after the one about stage design.

Look, I know Netflix is there for you for your guilty pleasure. It’s got your Grey’s Anatomy. It’s got your kids’ Ninjago.

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If you have boys, then you know.

It’s got Santa Clarita Diet which I really want to watch but am also kinda scared. I’ll keep you posted.

 

But, Netflix also has stuff that inspires and makes us dream and imagine, and just zings with creativity. These are the kinds of shows I watch and then, when I’m not watching, I’m thinking about them. They make me… percolate. As a writer, this stuff feeds my soul.

Oh, and back to my children? They’ve been drawing up plans for flying cars for ninjas all week. So, you can thank me later, automotive industry. Two semi-brilliant thinkie types are coming your way.

All because of Netflix. 🙂StreamTeam_Red&White_BlackBackground.png

Honesty, With a Side of Children

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Ok, once when I was still in the amateur division of parenting, my two year old approached me as I was inhaling a bowl of Frosted Flakes. His nose became all quivery, like a sugar-seeking drug dog (I don’t know if that’s a thing, really, but it is in my house. They can hear me open a Snickers bar from four blocks away).

I froze.

You see, we don’t eat sugary cereal at our house.

We eat boring non-sugary healthy stuff that tastes like hay, and we like it, whether we like it or not.

And I realize, I am using the “we” very liberally here. Like, “we” as in, “everyone but me because I am special and craving puffy carbs.”

You see, I happen to love sugary cereal. I adore it. I love Bright Yellow Corn Pops and Frosted Sugar Flakes of Thingies and Honey Coated Chocolate Bits of Puffy Non-Grains… I love ’em all. But, I don’t let my kids eat these things because that would be bad. Therefore, I hide the boxes in the lower cabinet with all the messy  tupperwear that leaps out at you, so they avoid it. And when my two year old comes sniffing around while I’m sneaking a bowl, and asks, “Wats dat?” I say:

“It’s spicy, honey. And it’s broccoli. So… spicy broccoli with milk. You wouldn’t like it.”

I have decided that it’s not bad parenting to lie to your child, so you can inhale your bowl of Sugar Frosted Momentary Hope and Carbs in a Bowl, because ultimately, you will be a better parent if you are able to eat it in peace.

It’s the putting on of the oxygen mask, first, mommas. We all know the story – if you’re on an airplane, the steward always tells you – IF WE’RE PLUMMETING TOWARDS EARTH, PUT YOUR OXYGEN MASK ON FIRST, THEN PUT ONE ON YOUR KID. OR YOUR HUSBAND. EITHER WAY, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, YOU FIRST.

It’s the same with Netflix, people.

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Mama needs to watch things before her littles watch them. So, if she happens to binge her way through the entire season of A Series of Unfortunate Events before they can view it…  Look, the show says it’s a SERIES, people. It must be watched as thus. I mean, my children take everything I say literally, so they need to let me do so too, once in while. Especially when it comes to this show. It’s just that good.

Also, cheating might have happened with the husband. Netflix_CheatingGif_TheCrown.gif

Don’t worry. It wasn’t all that serious. And, it wasn’t over The Crown, because, my husband wouldn’t watch a British biopic, however awesome, if it came up, said, “I say, old chap,” and politely whacked him over the head.

Anyhow. A while back? We might have been watching House of Cards together? And we might have stayed up until nearly 1 am one night because we could not stop? And then we finally went to bed? And might have said, “I can’t wait to find out what happens”?

Yea. I finished out the entire season without him the next day.

He still has no idea. I act shocked and appalled at all the right moments, and if all else fails, I make sure there’s lots of popcorn to distract him. This is tough, because I do have a total knack for shouting out, right before the big, bad political thing is about to happen, stuff like,
“HOLY KEVIN SPACEY. THERE’S A BIG BAD POLITICAL KEVIN SPACEY THING ABOUT TO HAPPEN RIGHT NOW. YOU WON’T BELIEVE IT. UM NOT THAT I WOULD KNOW.”

The husband is suspicious, I think. But, I think he’s been totally cheating on me with this:

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He won’t admit to it, but I am sure he is because last weekend he made a Victoria Sponge.

So, we’re even, I guess. But I got the better end of this because: MORE SUGARY CARBS.

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As a #StreamTeam blogger for Netflix, I watch and review Netflix’s many offerings, and then blog about it. It’s a great gig.

Get lots of Netflix and rest, and call me in the morning.

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My friends, lately we have been besieged by the sickness. Also, I have been hiding from social media because everyone is mad and yelling, and so I just want to post pictures of puppies. Here, like this one:

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I would like to make a plea, for my own sanity.

PLEASE, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THINGS, STOP YELLING. I KNOW I’M YELLING WHILE I TELL YOU THIS BUT I AM ALL ABOUT IRONY RIGHT NOW. AND, I’M DESPERATE.

OH,  AND THROWING UP. STOP THAT, TOO.

There are times when life just seems to be twisting around,  full of dark ships circling at night, all malaise and doom and puking and glooooooom.

Here. Have another one of these:

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Sometimes… the best thing to do is hibernate with happy things.

Or, you can hibernate with Netflix and fight the doom and gloom with a series of unfortunate events.

I was hooked on this series of books because they are dark and hilarious and twisty-turny. And, the Netflix adaptation of David Handler’s books is really really REALLY good. Like, dark and funny and so perfectly cast.

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I have to warn you. The events in this series are really, truly unfortunate. And there are moments where there is sadness and true villainy. But, there is heart too. And real empathy.

The show is not for wee ones. It’s for those that find sarcasm and dark humor their love language, so… anyone in middle school, pretty much.

Because middle schoolers know, probably better than anyone, that a twisty-turny world can sometimes only be combated with an equal dose of dark and stormy.

At one point in the introduction, just as in the books, Lemony Snicket warns us to not continue. He warns that any sort of continuation of this sad and gloomy affair will only keep piling on more sad and gloomy. Life is like that. Relentless.

And then he then turns to the camera and says,

“Trouble and strife can cover this world like the dark of night, or like smoke from a suspicious fire.. .and when that happens all good, true, and decent people know that it’s time to volunteer.”

He had me at trouble and strife.

And, volunteer.

Enjoy your dark and gloomy and enjoy the SUPERB cast, and just, you know, enjoy a little twisty-turny. It is a children’s book after all. You know, after a long series of unfortunate events, there will be light at the end of the tunnel. It might be a long tunnel, but I have the time. Last I checked, my evenings are free, except for Lysoling everything in sight.

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