Sunday, April 12, 2015

Documentaries That Change You

Do you like documentaries? It's my favorite genre these days. I get very little time to watch TV, which isn't a bad thing at all. I'm actually thankful that our TV doesn't get much use, other than playing PBS shows for the kids. But it is nice to occasionally sit down and watch something in the evening. Perhaps I'm just getting old and cantankerous, but I have little interest or patience for the TV shows that are popular today. I feel like we're offered two poor choices: badly written, silly network shows OR better written, well acted original series that are unfortunately filled with things that we don't care to see on our home TV (gratuitous sex, violence, etc.) So more often than not, I turn to documentaries, because I like to watch things with substance that broaden my view of the world and its people.

In the last month I've seen a few documentaries that have not only broadened my horizons, but that have also affected me deeply inside. I think they're worth sharing,  especially if documentaries are your jam. They can all be found on Netflix right now.

If you see any of these films, please see "Blood Brother." When I first started watching this movie, I was my usual skeptical self - "another awkward documentary about a a clueless American "do-gooder" in an impoverished nation." I'm so glad I kept watching. The movie never mentions Jesus' name, but I can't think of another film where He's so well presented. You'll have to watch it to see what I mean. It's not an easy movie to watch, (you will cry,) but it will challenge you to examine the real meaning of love. Don't miss this one!

Another movie that deals with love: "The Dark Matter of Love" examines the struggles of older institutionalized orphans to bond with their adoptive families. It really opened my eyes and heart to the plight of older orphans who are less frequently adopted, and their desperate need for affection, stability and family. The progress of the children in this film was a really beautiful thing to watch.

I confess, I love anything Stephen Fry. I adored him in "Blackadder" and "Jeeves and Wooster," and I have enjoyed his more recent foray into documentaries. ("Stephen Fry In America" is a great series.) "Wagner and Me" took me completely by surprise, and Matt and I agreed it was one of the best movies we've seen this year. Fry takes an introspective look at the life and music of Richard Wagner, who is beloved by Fry, despite the fact that  Wagner was a raving anti-Semite who was adored by Hitler and Fry is Jewish, with family members murdered during the Holocaust. Filled with fascinating history, and beautiful music (I've loved the Tristan and Isolde prelude ever since seeing "Melancholia" and there is a whole section of the movie devoted to the "Tristan chord." Classical-music-nerds unite!) Even if you're not a classical music nerd, there's much to be gleaned from this one.

I feel like I need to include "Virunga" on this list, even though towards the end we thought it got really dry and hard to follow. If you've ever read Barbara Kingsolver's "The Poisonwood Bible," (I love that book,) you'll be fascinated by "Virunga" which takes place in the politically turbulent Democratic Republic of Congo. The film investigates the many threats to Congo's precious Virunga National Park, and the extremely brave rangers who risk their lives protecting it. Young investigative journalist, Melanie Gouby, really caught my attention. Such a brave young woman working in stressful circumstances. (Disclaimer: this one has quite a bit of language, if you try to avoid that.)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Please Tell Me...

Try to ignore my wonky, double-jointed finger situation. 

Please tell me that my one year old isn't the only one year old who can scale an upright piano before knowing how to walk.

Please tell me that I'm not the only mom who has been changing a diaper, only to have their one year old sneak up behind and grab the dirty diaper and start playing with the diaper's...contents...on top of the "BIG MISTAKE" (which is my pet name for what used to be a white rug.)

Please tell me that your three year old has dumped and tried to flush your favorite makeup in the toilet.

Please tell me that you also have tried to bribe your six year old with ice cream to stop her from asking you to teach her how to sew at 2 pm when you have finally (hopefully) gotten the baby down for a nap after three failed attempts, and have not eaten lunch yet.

Please tell me that your three year old tries to feed your one year old lego blocks the minute you pick up a phone call.

Please tell me that you also start to cry when the rooms you spent an hour cleaning and organizing are undone within 4 minutes, (at least 4 times a day.)

Please tell me you ate most of your kids' Easter candy at night and then blamed it all on your husband, who just happens to be working super long hours last week, this week...and probably next week too. 

I know, I know - none of this happens to you. We're just a special, one-of-a-kind wreck over here! :)

I'm realizing that I have a major Debbie Downer attitude these days, which is so ungrateful and inappropriate. Shame on me.

I'm also realizing that my children must be especially naughty, just based on the facial expressions of those who I relate their antics to. How did I get these hooligans? I was such an easy, awesome kid! 

Right, Mom?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Birthday Week

The first week of April is always one much-looked-forward-to in our household. Olive celebrates her birthday on April 1 and Silas is right behind her on April 3. (We also had the coincidence of Easter falling on April 5 this year, which made the week all the more festive and sugar crazed!) 

We've always been able to mash up both birthdays into one big family celebration, but this year Olive really wanted to have her own day that didn't have to be shared with her brother. So, trying to be understanding parents, we decided to try doing two separate birthdays this year.

Never again, you guys. *Wink.* But seriously, it was a lot of work. I think the kids enjoyed it though, and that was the most important thing. We agreed when Olive was just a newborn that we weren't going to do parties for out kids, but that we'd try to keep birthday celebrations casual and focused more on family time. Of course, we needed some help getting rid of two birthday cakes in one week, so we had friends over both nights to lend a helping hand with that job, and that was really special.

Gosh, time really does fly. I was looking back to the last two years of birthdays with these two and they have changed so much!