Friday, March 30, 2012


We rewatched this film recently and I totally forgot how good it is, and that Amy Adams was in it.  Meryl Streep, who is always fantastic, and Amy Adams portray nuns who suspect a preist of an inappropriate relationship with a boy at their school.  Streep is certain of his wrongdoing, whereas Adams isn't so sure.  Throughout the film they set out to discover the truth.  Philip Seymour Hoffman is the preist in question and also gives an incredible performance.

I am always impressed by films that take place in very few locations.  I think it really shows what a great story it is.  This film was based on a play, which generally means minimal locations.  I also love films that have unexpected endings.  I'm not always one for a film to end with the guy getting the girl and everyone living happily ever after, not that I refuse to watch these or that they are bad.  I just like when the ending is more unpredictable, or even inconclusive, leaving you to your own thoughts and opinions about it.


Actually, there are several films in minimal locations that are all really amazing, as long as something like that doesn't frustrate you.  Rear Window, Rope, and 12 Angry Men are some of my favorites.  If you like doubt, then check out these films, or vise versa.  They are all great and worth watching.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Park Day

Since it's been so nice, we've tried to take advantage by being outside as much as possible.  Recently, it's been brought to my attention that our community college has a preschool program and a playground that's open to the public any time it's not in use by the school.  The great thing about this particular park is that it's build for toddlers (everything is toddler size) and is completely fenced in.

The kiddos were able to run around as much as they liked, and I didn't have to worry about keeping them contained.  It was a lot more relaxing for me, that's for sure.  And the boys were super tired afterward, which made for an extra long nap.  Another bonus for this mama.  This park may just be our new favorite.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Weekend Wear

This weekend was our once-a-month overnight, so the boys were at Eric's parents from Friday afternoon to Saturday evening.  We try to thoroughly take advantage of these times and do things that are much easier without the kiddos.  So Friday night we decided to hang out and get dinner with some friends.  We are so lucky to have so many great restaurants near us that sometimes it's hard to choose.  This time we opted for Rose's, which is a great place right on a lake.

And, since we were kid-free I had to rock some heels, despite having mud for a road and constant rainfall.

Top: Gap // Tank: Target // Jeans: H&M // Wedges: Burlington Coat Factory (they're ancient)

Saturday morning, like we've done the last couple of times, we got breakfast.  We've been frequenting one particular place that has a delicious hot cocoa and hazelnut coffee blend, topped with whip cream and chocolate syrup.  It's yummy.

If you're a parent and get a kid free day/night, what do you do with it?

Friday, March 23, 2012

The Constant Gardener

This is week two of social justice films.  This one is totally different than The Help, but still gets you thinking about the world around you.  Actually, this film presents issues that surround present day circumstances rather than civil rights history.

We saw this movie when it was first released six years ago and haven't seen it since, so it was pretty much just an impacting as the first time I saw it.  There is a lot of documentary style footage from the slums of Kenya, which pretty much guaranteed a sob-fest on my part.

The story follows a widower, Ralph Fiennes, as he discovers what his wife, Rachel Weisz, was investigating and takes it upon himself to finish what she started.  As he uncovers new information, his safety is threatened and time becomes of the essence.  The end is probably not what you would expect, but I really liked it.  It think it's the most moving way to end the film.

As I said, this movie really made me cry.  This doesn't take much these days, but the story is definitely one that tugs at your emotions.  I think the hardest thing for me is how realistic this film is.  The story is fictional, but it isn't too far from what could take place in a vulnerable African nation.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Summer in March

The weather lately has been so beautiful, and beyond unusual.  The last week or so has been up to and beyond 70 degrees.  I know this is not unusual for California, Arizona, etc but it's definitely very strange for Michigan.  We should still have snow, and yet, somehow we have summer weather.  The boys have been wearing shorts and t-shirts since last week and thankfully I like to buy ahead so they weren't stuck in jeans and sweaters.

This weekend, Eric picked up some top soil for the flower bed in front of our house and decided to put it in on Sunday.  And since Baxter's new favorite thing is helping either Eric or I, he had to get in on the action.  And since Baxter was helping, Atty needed to come too.  So, outside we all went and out come my phone.

Both boys had tons of fun using the shovel, finding sticks and helping dump out bags full of dirt.  I know that not every boy likes to play in dirt and/or mud, but that's not my boys.  They are all about getting their hands dirty and most of the time end up with dirt in their hair too.  I don't expect to keep a clean house this summer if this is any indication of what will be taking place, but I'm alright with that :)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Weekend Wear

Saturday was such a fun day.  First, I met up with some gal-pals and got breakfast at one of our favorite spots.  Then, we spent the rest of the morning and lunchtime thrifting.  Also my favorite.  Then, once the boys woke up from their nap, Eric and I took them over to my brother-in-law's where they were having a cookout.  It was seriously so fun.

I think all this warm weather had something to do with it.  We walked everywhere, hung out outside and didn't once think about having to wear a jacket.  It was truly glorious.  Although, Eric thoroughly believes that we will get more snow before summer truly starts.  I don't know if it's true, but am going to remain in denial about it.

Cardi: Target // Tee: H & M // Tank: Target // Jeans: Gap // Sandals: Charlotte Russe

Oh, and do you like my new jeans?  I have been leaning towards buying a pair of colored denim and when I saw these, decided to take the plunge.  Now that I have them, I kind of want to wear them every day.  Maybe this means another pair might just have to make its way into my closet in the somewhat near future.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Help

So far I have seen this film twice, and both times I was both upset and sad.  As you probably all know, this film is about the treatment of African American maids by their white employers in Jackson, Mississippi.  Emma Stone (one of my favorites), plays an aspiring journalists who interviews local maids and compiles their stories into an anonymous book.

Throughout the film there are moments that touch your heart, along with moments that make you feel like you could punch someone.  I mean, that's at least how I felt.  Although, I might feel a little differently because of my boys, but I don't think so.  I think that I would have had pretty much the same reaction whether I was a parent to black children or not.

The second time I watched this, it was with Eric and once it was finished, he declared that it was the best movie he had seen all year.  And by some chance, if you haven't seen it, please do.  It really is spectacular.  There isn't much more you can say other than that.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Happy One Month Post Valentines Day

A couple weeks prior to Valentines Day, my friend/neighbor/cousin Katy asked if we, me and a couple of mama friends, would want to do a Valentines Day themed photo shoot.  I jumped at the opportunity because, really, who wouldn't want to have cute pictures taken of their kids?

And if a kid is going to have his picture taken any time of the year, V Day is the best because it's almost guaranteed to involve some sort of sweet treat.

The first picture is all the "older" kiddos.  We also have three babies around six months that complete our little group.  These four have been play mates since my boys first arrived home.  They get to see each other at least one evening a week, sometimes more.  It has been so great having friends with kids.  I love to see their relationships grow the older they get and play dates are a great excuse to see my girlfriends!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Weekend Wear

This week's weather has been probably the most random, which is saying a lot because this winter has been the craziest to date.  Last week Tuesday and Wednesday, it was over 50, Thursday is snowed, yesterday and today are over 60 and Wednesday will be 70.  70!

I am definitely not complaining, but simply stating the fact that this weather just can't make up its mind.  One day I'm about to pack up all winter attire and the next I'm wearing it.

Now that that rant's over, on to what I wore on said beautiful day.  The coming of spring means I get to break out my blazers again!  I'll wear them during the winter, but hate having to fit a coat over them.  With the weather warming up, I don't have to worry.

Flats: Thrifted // Jeans: Levi's // Tank: Target // Tee: Gap // Blazer: UO

Spring and Fall are definitely my most favorite seasons.  I love a little layering, but really don't like big winter coats.  What your favorite season?  Do you like to bundle up, where shorts and a tank or are you like me and love the in-between?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Blooming Butterflies

This little city we live in is pretty neat.  We have something called Fredrik Meijer Gardens, which is an indoor and outdoor sculture park and garden.  Throughout the year there are several exhibits that come through, but between March and April, the big to-do is see the butterflies.  Beginning March 1st, 60 different species of butterflies are hatched in a little conservatory and by the end, over 6,000 will have been released.

I went with a girlfriend, her two little boys and my mother-in-law.  And a big shout out to my MIL because having an two extra hands made things astronomically easier!

Anyway, back to the butterflies.  The boys all LOVED exploring and seeing all of the brightly colored bugs.  Baxter and Atticus both did really great if I'm allowed to brag a little.  And they loved having a friend along too.  It's so much fun to have friends who are having kids around the same time as we are. It makes outings like this so much more fun than if I went on my own.

Seeing the boys interact and build friendships is pretty much the sweetest thing ever.  Multiple times each week Baxter will ask if we're going to play with his buddy.  I foresee very regular play dates this summer.

This little outing was so much fun, and the outdoor garden for kids is ah-mazing!  We didn't see much of it because it's still pretty cold here, but we'll definitely be back this summer and I have even contemplated getting a membership.  It's so awesome that we have these types of places here.  I love having such unique things to do with the kiddos.  Is there anything fun and unique where you live?

Friday, March 9, 2012


I wasn't too sure about this movie when Eric suggested watching it.  For some reason, I thought it was going to be 28 Days Later-esque, which is more of a thriller/horror film.  Instead, this is a movie that really gets you wondering if something like that could really happen.

The film follows Matt Damon and his daughter, along with several other characters as an illness, similar to the bird flu, rampages the entire globe.  Matt Damon's character is an average person, affected by the disease, Kate Winslet, Lawrence Fishburne and Marion Cotillard are health service workers, Jude Law is a popular blogger and Bryan Cranston is a military personel to list a few of the cast.  The film begins on the second day of infection and shows what happens to the general population, how scientists work to develop a vaccine, the government reacts and medical personal deal with so many people who have a contagious disease.  It's hard to believe that any government or organization could keep everything under control if something like this spread as quickly as it's portrayed in the film.

I'm not sure if any of you have seen Children of Men, but this film reminded me a lot of that.  It's seems like something that could never happen, although when you stop and actually think about it, it very well could.  We aren't protected from a global outbreak, like when scarlet fever, polio or tuberculosis spread prior to vaccinations, but I think that people don't really pay much thought to that.

If something like this doesn't freak you out too much, I would definitely recommend watching it.  It definitely got me thinking, especially as a parent.  It makes me wonder what will happen when my children or even my grandchildren are my age.  I imagine that life will be a lot different for them.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Give a Kid a Toy Box

Lately, the newest form of entertainment around here hasn't been a new toy.  It's just the perspective.  Yeah, toys are fun on the floor, but when you situate yourself inside your toy box, there is an endless supply of fun right under your bottom.

And like with a lot things, the more the merrier.  

Whether they are in their toy box, upstairs in their room, reading books or building blocks, I absolutely love to watch them play together.  Yes, the older they get the more often they fight, but they also spend more time playing together.  It just brings joy to my heart as I hear them running around the house, laughing as they go.  I would make it the soundtrack to my day, every day if I could.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012


I did some checking online, and it looks like handedness isn't really determined until a child is 2-3 years old.  But from the looks of it, I think we may have a couple of lefties.  Baxter and Atticus will both use their right and left hands to do things, but we have been noticing how often they favor their left hands, especially when eating.  Every once in a while they will use their right hand, but 90% of the time it's their left.

This doesn't seem like a big deal, and it really isn't.  I just start thinking about how I'm going to teach them to do things left handed, when I am right handed.  Throwing is going to be very awkward, writing with my left hand is almost impossible, and I don't think I even know how to hold a pencil in my left hand properly.  So how I am I supposed to teach them?!

If you stop and think about it, it pretty quickly becomes a bigger deal.  I have heard that many kids become ambidextrous because they are naturally left handed, but are taught by right handed parents and adapt to how they're taught.  I think that may have happened to my brother.  He favors his left hand for some things and his right hand for others.  Or maybe he's just ambidextrous, it's one thing that we'll never know for sure.

So I either traumatize them for making them do things a way that isn't natural for them or I traumatize them for teaching them to do things awkwardly, as a right handed person teaching a left handed one.  Eiher way, they'll probably be somewhat traumatized.  Somewhat traumatizing, maybe that's a new synonym for parenting ;)

Monday, March 5, 2012

I Jumped

On the bandwagon that is.

Mandy, over at Harpers Happenings opened up the 10 Things quiz going around to whoever and I can't help but want to join.  All you do is list 10 random things about yourself and then answer ten questions by the person you're following.

Random Things

1. I absolutely love taking quizzes.  Any kind, obviously.

2. Eric was my first and last real boyfriend.  The three weeks in middle school don't really count.

3. I can't stand spiders.

4. I love school.  At least the learning aspect, not so much the homework part.

5. And if I love learning, it only makes sense that I would also have a love for This American Life and Radiolab, two of my favorite NPR shows.  I would choose to listen to NPR all the time if my kids didn't prefer something with a beat.

6. I can sing almost every Disney song, at the least the movies up until Toy Story.  I rocked out to the Lion King soundtrack on the regular during elementary school.

7. If talent existed, my dream would be to perform on broadway.  Preferably musicals.

8. I could eat roasted vegetables for every meal, I love them that much.

9. I loved watching movies long before I married my film-making husband.

10. I have a pretty addictive personality, so I have had to delete twitter and facebook off my phone.  But I can't give up Instagram, I just love it too much.

Mandy's Questions

1. Have you ever met someone famous?
No, and I'm really okay with that.  I've never been one to get starstruck, except maybe when I was 13 and if the heavens opened and I had met Hanson.  Then maybe.

2. What is your happiest childhood memory?
Oh, I don't think I could pinpoint one, but a very happy memory took place at a baseball game.  My cousin and I were best friends, and it was our dream to be twins.  But you see, I was tall and strawberry blonde and she was short and brunette, so this dream coming true was not in our favor.  But at this particular baseball game, while wearing our matching outfits (we had several), someone asked if we were twins.  Ecstatic wasn't even close to how we felt.  There was running and screaming back to our parents and probably some flailing as we recounted what happened.  It was a pretty great day.

3. Favorite album of all time?
Probably the Grease soundtrack.  I could sing every line and constantly was reenacting scenes from the movie.  And if it comes on, you'll catch me singing along and I'll probably have a goofy grin on my face.

4. Are you a salty or sweet lover?
I love both, but if I had to choose, I'd say sweet.

5. What is your favorite guilty pleasure TV show or movie?
The New Girl with Zooey Deschanel.  I get eye-rolls from Eric any time he catches me watching it, followed by, "you really think this is funny?!"

6. Describe your favorite sandwich.
Oh man.  A local restaurant here makes a grilled cheese of feta, goat cheese and cream cheeses with a drizzle of olive oil and cracked pepper.  Yum!

7. What was your first pet?
A black and white rabbit named Carrot.

8. What is your biggest accomplishment thus far in life?
Adopting my two boys, Baxter and Atticus, from the DRC.

9. What is the first blog you started reading?
Under the Sycamore. I read it long before I even discovered the glorious powers of Google Reader.

10. If you had to choose one dessert for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Ice cream.  I don't think I'd ever get sick of it.