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:

star_wars_anthology__rogue_one_by_dan_zhbanov-d9b0ezn-661x1024.pngA

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.

StreamTeam_Red&White_BlackBackground

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

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Parenting is Hard and Other Gigantic and Colossal Understatements of the Century

 

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So… Colonel Custer.

Yep, that’s where I’m starting today.

Colonel Custer is sitting on his horse, staring up at sixty majillion massively irritated Native Americans that are about to mow him and his men over. And he thinks:

“Huh. This is challenging.”

And Custer’s horse thinks:

“I so do not get paid enough for this.”

Also, I have to wonder if part two of Custer’s thinking went something like this:

“RUN AWAY!!! RUN AWAY! RUN RUN RUNAWAYYYYYYYYYYY!”

Alas, it did not end well for Custer. He had this thing happen to him called a Last Stand? Perhaps you read about it in a text book? He doesn’t get to go down in the history under the heading: Just Barely Squeaked By.

Poor guy.

I think parenting is a lot like Custer’s Last Stand. Minus the arrows and death.

Actually, there are Nerf arrows flying in my version, so there.

So, my boys had a meeting recently about an ongoing project they’ve been working on. The project is largely a covert operation, so I don’t know all the ins and outs. I’ve found a few emails and some printouts entitled “How to Unhinge the Mommey,” so I get the general idea. So far I think they’ve hired Steve the cat as a consultant since he decided to poop in the husband’s closet the other day. I swear I saw him high five the boys after that epic event.

Anyhow. The meeting this time involved something I like to call:

Staring at Mom When She is Mad Is the Way to Make Her Say All the Bad Things.

What I mean by the staring is this special look that only a child can engender, a sort of glazed, slack-jawed eyeballing that exudes a completely wacko denial of responsibility. That, my friends, is a LOOK. It takes skills, and I think they had a training session over it last week. I caught them staring weirdly at the dog, and then he left the room, weeping.

So, at some point last week, Blonde does something Wrong at our house. This could entail a whole number of things, from a minor foul like drawing on the cat, to a Big Huge Infraction. I have lots of examples of Big Huge Infraction, but I won’t list them here to keep you from leaving the room, weeping.

Anyhow, Blonde received some words from me regarding the issue and then, he did this:

He just stood there and stared at me.

I know, guys. There is staring, like I’m zoned out in front of a romantic fireplace, and there is staring like: “Yea. So?” I bet you can guess which type of staring Blonde was dialing up for me.

I asked him a question. He stared some more. I repeated the question, more slowly this time, because I think I actually felt my brain start to sizzle.

And that’s when I saw them. All those angry dudes on horses, shrieking, with their bows and arrows aimed right at me.  And I straightened up in the saddle, and I said:

“You are going to stare? Just stare at me? Staring? REALLY? STARING IS WHAT YOU ARE DOING RIGHT NOW? YOU? STARING? You’re going to STARE AT ME MR. STAREY-PANTS????”  I know. This is like Pulitzer stuff. And, so, to make it all better, I thundered:

“WELL, THEN. I’LL GIVE YOU SOMETHING TO STARE ABOUT!!!!!”

And that, my friends, is how to lose the war.

Both of the savages, I know, were hoping desperately that I would deliver on this whole doing something stare-worthy, I am sure. But, I didn’t. I mustered up what was left of my dignity and mounted my horse and rode off into the sunset.*

The end.

*Translation: I went upstairs, laid on my bed, and ate a Kit-Kat.

But not before I said the best parenting line ever:

“I’LL BE BACK.” (General MacArthur, not Arnold Swarzenegger. But, Arnold works, in a pinch.)

Read the following, and insert “parent” where it says “leader.” We are doing tough work. Never give up. Never surrender.

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Princesses and Pirates and Popcorn.

Ok. I guess you could say I am a Princess kind of person. I don’t necessarily like pink or tea parties or even tiaras (those are fun on birthdays because then people bring you presents) but if I had to choose…

It’s really by process of elimination. I cannot climb ropes. I don’t like high places. I certainly don’t get all this general swashbuckling about. It’s beyond me. I might be able to swash or buckle, but certainly not both at the same time.

I can rock a mean black eyeliner though. And an eye patch. But that’s another post for another day.

Last week I had two extra boys at my house. We were busy. It was a Star Wars day, which meant we were playing Star Wars legos and Star Wars tag and Star Wars bikes and Star Wars pretty much anything as long as there could be a Luke and someone with a blaster. Steve the cat was Chewbacca. I always got to be Leia. That kind of thing.

It was all fun until that dreaded time after lunch where everyone gets Tired of Each Other.

And then, that’s when I decided to snag them with my Secret Weapon: Princesses.

I know. I know it’s a stretch, stay with me.

I explained that I had been asked to review THIS, which I brandished at them with much flair, and Princessey splendour.swan-princess-dvd-754x1024.jpgThere was some silence. And then I offered popcorn, and they shrugged and said, “Ok!”

I know. This doesn’t sound very promising but here’s the deal: I love watching movies with my kids. And I grew up on Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty… and let’s just say those don’t get a lot of play at our house. And this afternoon, my boys sat and watched a princess become a pirate and this was what they did:

 

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They were totally into it, y’all. Total silence. Except for small-boy inhalation-munching of popcorn.

And also this: WHY is there a basket of laundry in EVERY picture I ever take? Curse you, laundry. Diva photo-bomber.

 

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The movie had pirates. It had weird beasties. It had high seas and music and adventures and also some moments where we all got the giggles. I snort-laughed at one point. That is a really, really huge compliment, by the way. It means I am invested in the pirates and beasties, which doesn’t happen all time when watching with my boys. It also means I need to work on my social cues, but that’s another post for another day.

Hey, Swan Princess, who knew?
It was all rather surprising.

Popcorn, a movie, pirates, princesses, and a basic lesson on how we shouldn’t pile on expectations. Done. All in one afternoon.

 

I got your Christmas letter right here.

Greetings:

We have had a great year. Better than most.

Sincerely and Merry Christmas,

Momsie

 

Ok, I know, that’s probably not worth the postage. Here’s the truth of it:

  1. No one was arrested or deported. Steve the cat is always on the cusp, I tell you.
  2. Right now is Christmas “break” which, by its end, will have “broken” me, but for now, we’re still merry. We’re decorating things and listen to a lot of Christmas music. Like, a LOT. We especially love that our Pandora station keeps dialing up Neil Diamond’s Christmas album. Mr. Diamond, I think, is Jewish? So, this makes this even more special?
  3.   My precious cherubs got a hold of my phone.

 

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I like to call this piece Furry Despair

 

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This one is called I Might Kill You

And:

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Title: My Resentment Will Mean I Pee on Something

I know these cat pictures are totally enthralling, but the catch here is that my children took over 100 of these things. I mean, how much furry white anger can you capture with an old iphone?

4. Then, we did this:

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Yes, the second kid is not mine. She’s in there because look at her. She’s adorable. We did the whole “Hark! I bwing great tidings of JOY!” pageant thing and they sang “Away in da Manger” and my head exploded because of the cuteness. For real. Before the pageant started, both boys had me sign a waiver. It was that good.

5. Also, last night at dinner, Red pretended he was a raptor because thank you, Wild Kratts. And then, afterwards, he said, “Mom, I’m full. Can I save my chicken for later? Raptors like chicken.” And I beamed with pride because wrapping up leftovers is My Thing and makes me feel like my mom, and I said, “Sure honey!”

And this is what he did:

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Note: this is not chicken.

Note also: I am leaving it in my fridge even though the shelves are at that “move everything around to just get to that one container in the back” kind of full, because every time I see it I laugh.

And who doesn’t need a good chuckle every time they look in the fridge? I know I do.

6. Also, Blonde would like to ask: Why are there scary ghost stories in the tales of the glories of Christmases long ago? Why? He asks me this, all very Cindy Lou Who, and all I had to relate it to was the Mickey Mouse Christmas where Donald is Scrooge,(Netflix plug!) but still, no comprehendo. So I dialed up my favorite: A Muppet Christmas Carol* and the Marley scene made them both almost burst into tears with total frozen fear, and we now have a therapist on speed dial, thank you. So you’re welcome, children, Christmas is terrifying.

7. Which it is, kind of, when you realize you have to go to the Big Blue store later today for That One Thing You Forgot on the List, and the horror. The horror.

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7. I totally realize this Christmas letter has jumped the shark. But, that’s who I am. A shark jumper.

Merry Christmas, y’all. You are one of my most precious gifts. I love you.

When you find yourself getting buried under all of it – the lists and parties and stocking stuffers and how do we wrap a chainsaw? kind of stuff, remember this:

Jesus didn’t ever rush. He never did. You never read about Him saying, “Come now, apostles! Let us hasten on to the next village! I got a parable presentation at four!”

Jesus took His sweet time.  He knows how precious time is.

Take some of your time, and take a breath, and allow God to bless you this season.

Oh, and also this:

8. I think he got over being mad. I like to call this:

I Will Strangle You With My Love

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God bless us, everyone.

*A Muppet Christmas Carol is wonderful. It really is. I have tried to get my boys to watch it for TWO years now and for some reason… I dunno. It’s the muppets + real people part that gets them. Like, one day, they’re gonna be walking around and shazam! Some muppet creature is going to pop up out of nowhere and start singing at them. They just can’t. They’re little brains get all freaked out and they start backing out of the room. But I will not give up. One day, my pretties. You me, and a bunch of tropical rats are going to have a movie date.

 

#TBT The Post That Started It All – “A is for Appropriate Dress Required”

The ABC's...

The ABC’s…

 

Ok folks.  Here’s how this all went down.

I’m lying in bed.  It’s morning time.  It feels, sorta, like I am doomed.  And I keep hearing a weird thwacking sound coming from down the hall.

But let’s back up.

I love to sleep.  I mean, REALLY love to sleep.  Sleep is my Ryan Gosling.  It’s my warm chocolate chip cookies.  It’s a warm Ryan Gosling SERVING me chocolate chip cookies…

If you get my drift–sleep is really important to me.  And so our story begins.

As an English teacher, I know for certain every good story needs a worthy antagonist.  I have two.  

Here they are:  MAH BAYBIES.

That flip flop must be really interesting, blond one.

That flip flop must be really interesting, blond one.

 

I know, right?  They are simply adorable.  The wee blond one who seems to be transfixed by footwear is but four.  Red head is three.  They are just cuddly little nuggets of goodness, I tell you.

Except, of course, when they are not.

Case in point:  the adorableness has an expiration date.  Well, rather, it expires at a certain time and that would be any time after Momsie goes to BED.  Need I go over the (rather weak) Ryan Gosling analogy?  The problem here is that the blond one seems to have a problem these days with “bad dweams.”  Last night it was at three in the morning.  A stubby finger poked somewhere into my blessed sleep and a sweet voice quivers, “Mommah?  I hadda bad dweam.”  Momsie tries to lift her head and says something understanding and all good-parenty like, “Oh sweetie.  I am so sorry.  Can you talk about it?”

Oh, so not a good idea.

 

This, it seems, is like telling a physicist to explain string theory.  What followed was a forty-five minute lecture on the subtle details and intricate plot twists involving a kangaroo and some lava.

I am not making this up.

There were numerous plot twists in the kangaroo saga.  At one point, I had drifted off and so had, I thought, the blond…but no.  He was just revving up for part deux of the story in which the kangaroos had stormed da HOUSE!  And der was a lot of JUMPING!  AND… (I’m just going to stop here because it’s not very interesting unless you are four and have issues.)  There was a lot of gesticulating for emphasis, which upset the cat, who responded but clutching me with her claws, and I just had to lay there and stare at the ceiling and pray that I didn’t respond like this: I DON’T GIVE A FLYING FIG FOR MARSUPIALS, AND WE LIVE IN KANSAS!  LAVA?  REALLY?  THINK. IT. THROUGH.  I would also like to state, for the record, that the large blond (the husband) was sleeping peacefully during this whole escapade.  Because, that’s his thing.

Anyhow.  By the time the blond drifted off into de-kangarood sleep, I was now in my own Purgatory.  Quite horrifically, my brain had switched on. And since it was still in that wretched hole of the night called 4 am, my brain was kind of… sputtering.   It was like our old television that we had to smack before it would give us anything besides PBS’s Sit and Be Fit.

Specifically, my 4 a.m. Purgatory is entitled:  I’m Really Tired but for Some Reason I am Now Worrying About Where I Left Our (and then fill in the blank here with some small but annoying object).  I invite myself into this boxy hell about once a month, about the same time as I decide our house is A Total Mess and We Must Fix Everything.    Sometimes I also like to mix it up and add I Really Need to Lose _____  Pounds.  Pair that with I Must Learn How to Mill My Own Wheat and you have an insomnia cocktail.

No. Sleep.

And now here I am.  There is that strange thwacking and a general sense of malaise.  Here’s the rub:  It was my day to post my first amazing entry for my blog!  I had been revving up for this for a whole month!  I was Braveheart ready to rally my troops!  Because!  Mommies!!  (insert heroic music and a thick Scottish accent) They may take our lives, but they’ll never take our frrrreeeeedom!!!!!  UNITE!!! Let’s get a cute kilt and some dreds and storm the castle!!!!  This’ll best blog EVERRRRRR!!

Oh, and (insert sarcasm and drooping spirits here) surely, the great interwebs needs another mommy blog, right?  If somehow I could also insert the sound that a balloon makes when it is pathetically sputtering out of air right now, I would.  Great Scott, I have to be funny today. All I want to do is pull the sheets over my head and surrender. I am fresh out of funny.

And then, the thwacking’s source is revealed.

The red-head enters the room, pulling his Lightning McQueen suitcase behind him.  He stops, expertly snaps the handle down, and casually states: “I am ready to fly on da plane, Mommah.”  He is, of course, completely naked.  We are leaving for our family vacation soon, and I am thinking the kid likes to plan ahead for the TSA.  He has a summer tan that is nut brown, but as he wheels the suitcase out of the room, his tiny little white bottom is a glowing beacon of all things good and adorable.

Oh heck yea I can be funny.

A is for “Appropriate Dress Required”

The ABC's...

The ABC’s…

Ok folks.  Here’s how this all went down.

I’m lying in bed.  It’s morning time.  It feels, sorta, like I am doomed.  And I keep hearing a weird thwacking sound coming from down the hall.

But let’s back up.

I love to sleep.  I mean, REALLY love to sleep.  Sleep is my Ryan Gosling.  It’s my warm chocolate chip cookies.  It’s a warm Ryan Gosling SERVING me chocolate chip cookies…

If you get my drift–sleep is really important to me.  And so our story begins.

As an English teacher, I know for certain every good story needs a worthy antagonist.  I have two.  

Here they are:

That flip flop must be really interesting, blond one.

That flip flop must be really interesting, blond one.

MAH BAYBIES.

I know, right?  They are simply adorable.  The wee blond one who seems to be transfixed by footwear is but four.  Red head is three.  They are just cuddly little nuggets of goodness, I tell you.

Except, of course, when they are not.

Case in point:  the adorableness has an expiration date.  Well, rather, it expires at a certain time and that would be any time after Momsie goes to BED.  Need I go over the (rather weak) Ryan Gosling analogy?  The problem here is that the blond one seems to have a problem these days with “bad dweams.”  Last night it was at three in the morning.  A stubby finger poked somewhere into my blessed sleep and a sweet voice quivers, “Mommah?  I hadda bad dweam.”  Momsie tries to lift her head and says something understanding and all good-parenty like, “Oh sweetie.  I am so sorry.  Can you talk about it?”

Oh, so not a good idea.

This, it seems, is like telling a physicist to explain string theory.  What followed was a forty five minute lecture on the subtle details and intricate plot twists involving a kangaroo and some lava.

I am not making this up.

There were numerous plot twists in the kangaroo saga.  At one point, I had drifted off and so had, I thought, the blond…but no.  He was just revving up for part deux of the story in which the kangaroos had stormed da HOUSE!  And der was a lot of JUMPING!  AND… (I’m just going to stop here because it’s not very interesting unless you are four and have issues.)  There was a lot of gesticulating for emphasis, which upset the cat, who responded but clutching me with her claws, and I just had to lay there and stare at the ceiling and pray that I didn’t respond like this: I DON’T GIVE A FLYING FIG FOR MARSUPIALS, AND WE LIVE IN KANSAS!  LAVA?  REALLY?  THINK. IT. THROUGH.  I would also like to state, for the record, that the large blond (the husband) was sleeping peacefully during this whole escapade.  Because, that’s his thing.

Anyhow.  By the time the blond drifted off into de-kangarood sleep, I was now in my own Purgatory.  Quite horrifically, my brain had switched on. And since it was still in that wretched hole of the night called 4 am, my brain was kind of… sputtering.   It was like our old television that we had to smack before it would give us anything besides PBS’s Sit and Be Fit.

Specifically, my 4 a.m. Purgatory is entitled:  I’m Really Tired but for Some Reason I am Now Worrying About Where I Left Our (and then fill in the blank here with some small but annoying object).  I invite myself into this boxy hell about once a month, about the same time as I decide our house is A Total Mess and We Must Fix Everything.    Sometimes I also like to mix it up and add I Really Need to Lose _____  Pounds.  Pair that with I Must Learn How to Mill My Own Wheat and you have an insomnia cocktail.

No. Sleep.

And now here I am.  There is that strange thwacking and a general sense of malaise.  Here’s the rub:  It was my day to post my first amazing entry for my blog!  I had been revving up for this for a whole month!  I was Braveheart ready to rally my troops!  Because!  Mommies!!  (insert heroic music and a thick Scottish accent) They may take our lives, but they’ll never take our frrrreeeeedom!!!!!  UNITE!!! Let’s get a cute kilt and some dreds and storm the castle!!!!  This’ll best blog EVERRRRRR!!

Oh, and (insert sarcasm and drooping spirits here) surely, the great interwebs needs another mommy blog, right?  If somehow I could also insert the sound that a balloon makes when it is pathetically sputtering out of air right now, I would.  Great Scott, I have to be funny today. All I want to do is pull the sheets over my head and surrender. I am fresh out of funny.

And then, the thwacking’s source is revealed.

The red head enters the room, pulling his Lightning McQueen suitcase behind him.  He stops, expertly snaps the handle down, and casually states: “I am ready to fly on da plane, Mommah.”  He is, of course, completely naked.  We are leaving for our family vacation soon, and I am thinking the kid likes to plan ahead for the TSA.  He has a summer tan that is nut brown, but as he wheels the suitcase out of the room, his tiny little white bottom is a glowing beacon of all things good and adorable.

Oh heck yea I can be funny.