Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Movies Catch Up

Revolutionary Road
To this day, I'm not 100% sure how I feel about Revolutionary Road. The acting is beautiful, mostly. The directing is good, mostly. I actually think my issues with it were mostly writing. But there were these random pauses and awkward conversations and pauses. . . that I don't think were supposed to be awkward. . . and this one random character, thrown in, it seemed, to spoon feed us the subtext, that just got to me. And while the subject matter certainly made me think, I don't think I'll ever need to see it again.

He's Just Not That Into You
A big famous cast like this can quite often be a recipe for disaster, frankly. It happens fairly often in a movie like this. But we were pleasantly surprised here. It's not Love Actually, though it was a similar formula. . . but there were definitely interesting characters. . . and I found myself relating to almost all of them in one way or another. Which I suppose is the point. It's a little heavier than your average chick movie. . . but that's probably why Ben didn't hate it.

Nights in Rodanthe
Oh my word, this was badly written. I can totally get behind a movie starring both of these actors. But they couldn't save it. I like sap, in the right amounts, but this wasn't just a chick movie, it was a BAD chick movie. There was no connection. BLECH. Don't watch it. Seriously.

Jesus Camp
This documentary about Christian children was disturbing to me on many many levels. Not because I disagree with teaching children about God from an early age. I think that's great. My church certainly does it. . . but the intensity with which they train them. The guilt the instill so. . . almost violently. It just gave me the heebie jeebies. Not to mention the political aspects of it. . . I felt like I needed to take a shower when it was over. And pray for those kids to grow up with some perspective. . . though I doubt that's really possible.

Vicki Christina Barcelona
We started this movie together one night. . . and it was VERY Woody Allen. And we stopped it early. Ben said "Let me know if it gets better when Penelope Cruz shows up" so I finished it when he was at class one night. And it got a LOT better, and Penelope upped the ante considerably. It turned out to be a very entertaining movie (despite miss Scarlett Johanson, who has just played a ho in too many movies I've seen lately for me to like her right now)

The Painted Veil
I just finished this movie last night. It sat and sat on our entertainment center for weeks. And the first hour of it I thought I might not finish. . . and then the story got more interesting, the characters more rounded. . . and I started to care. And by the end, I was sucked in. The scenery and the music would have made the movie worth it, frankly, but it was also a really well written and well acted movie. You have to be in the mood for something without a lot of action, but it's a good one.

In The Valley of Elah
I liked this movie a lot more than I thought I would. It wasn't a scathing anti-war piece, though it was obvious that it wasn't pro-war. It pointed out the damage that combat does to people, that the military mentality does. . . but it wasn't an "I-hate-George-Bush!" movie. It was about people. The acting was good. The writing was good. It was really powerful. And depressing.

Burn After Reading
I was really excited to see this, with the cast it had. I knew it was Cohen brothers, so I knew it would be odd. . . but it just didn't speak to me. I was just bugged by most of it. The characters had no redeeming qualities. The plot was all. . . crazy and stupid. . . So I didn't care.

Death At A Funeral
Again. . . no redeeming character traits in ANY of the main characters. Everything went wrong the whole time, which is one of my LEAST favorite kinds of movies. They amp up my anxiety way too much. . . So, despite a couple of actors I really like, generally, I could not like the movie.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


We finally took the trip we've been talking about for years (No, I am not being dramatic, we really have been talking about going since about the time we got married. . .)

I am convinced that traveling with a toddler can never accurately be called "vacation", but we did manage to spend some great time with Seattle. Thanks to the wonderful location of our hotel, we could easily see the downtown area on foot. Nolan was a champion city kid, letting us roll him around at top speed up and down the hills. And he got more than one amused look the day it was raining and we put the rain cover on his stroller. He braced both feet and both hands against the plastic as we rolled along and plenty of people thought that was very funny.

We had to take pictures in front of the typical Seattle landmarks, and Nolan was varying degrees of a good sport about THAT. . .(He was DEAD asleep when we got up to Queen Ann hill. . . so he didn't really have a choice about posing for these. Needless to say, most of his naps happened in the car over the 4 days we were there. He's not much of a sleeper away from home.)

We also managed to see MANY of Ben's old friends from the mission days, which was wonderful. Nolan did his best to charm them all, while simultaneously wreaking havoc on their homes. I THINK most of them have forgiven us. . .

AND, we located a wonderful cupcake bakery which ranks at the top of my list as far as bakery frostings go. . . Trophy Cupcakes. Praise heaven, they actually use butter instead of shortening in their frosting. Hallelujah!! And now I'm on a mission to concoct a snickerdoodle cupcake, because the one they made was so darn good. As you can see, Nolan was pretty excited about it too.

I had to include this last one because I found it so amusing. We went out to see Oak Harbor, one of the areas in which Ben served as a missionary, and we took the ferry on the way back. . . It was VERY cold and windy that day, but we got a picture anyway. . .

Doesn't Nolan look thrilled?

Pool, Seattle style

While trying to entertain Nolan in the hotel lounge our first day in Seattle, Ben put some quarters in the pool table and let him have a go with the pool balls. As you can see, he thoroughly enjoyed himself. These are all such perfectly Nolan faces. . . I couldn't narrow it down to less than 5. Forgive me.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Kimono Style

Melissa gave Nolan this sweet little kimono as a gift when he was a newborn, but it was a larger size. . . 12-18 months. So I put it away, knowing that, at some point, it would fit him and he would look like a sweet little Japanese kid in it. (well, a red-head Japanese kid, but you know what I mean)

Today, in looking through his drawer for some post church clothes (an activity that requires a lot of him looking in his drawer with a finger to his lips and saying "hmmmm") he grabbed the kimono. So we decided it was time to try it out. And it fit perfectly! I wanted to capture it, so I tried a trick that my friend Emily often employs, and attached a sheet to the front of my dresser as a back drop.

Great plan, Em. . . if you have a child like yours. But mine? Let's just say he wasn't sitting still. We got out his giraffe chair that Grammy gave him, and that helped. We managed to capture these 2 shots:

But mostly the photos were not so much in focus.

So I tried the old basket trick. . . a laundry basket in this case, with a blanket draped across so you couldn't tell that it was blue plastic. . .

Yeah, still not so much sitting still.

Ironically, the only time he sat still all day, was when I didn't need him to. I turned on Sesame Street while we were getting ready for dinner and he plopped himself down on the couch with Ben's cook book and didn't move for about 10 minutes.

It's not the greatest shot of the outfit, but at least it's in focus.

Thursday, March 05, 2009


I've heard 100 people, if I've heard 1, say that there are days, every once in a while, that you look at your child and they all of a sudden look older. As if they've aged over night. (or while you were at work, in this case)

Today was one of those days.

I left for work, and Nolan was in his PJs, hair all messy (as much as that feathery light hair of his can be) and covered in yogurt from his breakfast. And when I came home, he looked like this:

And I couldn't help but think that somehow, in the 9 hours I was gone, that he'd grown up a little bit. And that made me sad.

It also makes me a little bit excited to know that he's learning so much so quickly!

We got a wonderful little care package yesterday from Ben's older sister Tiffany and her family. I don't know if she knew it, but this was a good week for that in our house. It's been a rough week. Especially for me. So the appearance of a box of Peppermint Joe Joes and a mini-Wii remote that holds candy for Nolan was a wonderful little ray of sunshine in a pretty stressful day yesterday (Thank you, Tiff)

When Nolan and I opened the package together, he pulled out the toy and he exclaimed, very loudly, "WHEEEEE"!!! As if he knew EXACTLY what the remote was.

In reality, he does that whenever he gets excited about something. But earlier in the day, we had opened a book of animals, and he had seen a boa constrictor, and with no prompting from me, he had hissed. . .

And it amazed me! My little boy's head is absorbing constantly! He's learning all the time. I have so much to do to make sure I'm teaching him everything I can while he's so little and can learn so easily.

It's a lot of pressure. . .

But it's a lot of fun too.

Lollipop, Lollipop

So, I made those pretzels for Valentines Day. . . And I had some left over caramel.

And in my web perusings (or possibly the reading of many MANY blogs) I came across a recipe that I thought looked interesting.

A recipe in which one sandwiches caramel between Nilla Wafers, with a lollipop stick, and then dips the whole thing in chocolate.

I had to try it. Except I sort of ignored the recipe, and I suggest you do too. . . because you can't dip stuff in melted chocolate chips. That just doesn't work.

I used my home made caramel, and melting chocolate of the high quality variety, and they were HEAVEN on a stick, I tell you. I prefer them, BY FAR, over the cupcake pops from Christmas. I could eat 5 in a sitting. EASY.

Before dipping. I just spooned a little bit of caramel into the middle to make a sandwich, and stuck a stick on there before I put on the second cookie. They held tight, no problem!

Then I melted some chocolate, dipped them in, and added some sprinkles to make them pretty!

Seriously. . . SO GOOD.


We've been a little under the weather around here lately. . .

Ben brought a bug back from Colorado, and we've all been battling the nasty cold. A lot of the problem is the serious lack of energy that it brings with it. Not to mention the coughing at night that keeps us from getting a good night's sleep.

Tuesday afternoon, Ben and Nolan had had enough, and crashed in the Love Sac for a little nap time. OK. . . Ben was napping. . . Nolan was watching Curious George. but the fact that he sat still long enough for Ben to fall asleep under him was a good indication that he really didn't feel good. . .