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Boyhood

2014 December 16
by Mia

I’ve been wanting to see Boyhood since it’s release this past summer.  Finally — with a quiet night, kids tucked in early, a traveling husband, and a good rainstorm outside — I downloaded this long awaited treat.  And I wasn’t disappointed.

For those of you unfamiliar with Boyhood — cameras follow a loosely scripted story following the journey of the same boy from age 6 to 18 as he travels through childhood.  That’s TWELVE YEARS OF FILMING!  Sibling rivalry, parental struggles, first love and break ups, bullying, divorce, drugs, family moves —  are all interwoven in this personal story about growing up in Texas.

Just take a glimpse of the young star as he develops from boy to man. To see a twelve year childhood condensed to three hours will make any mother feel emotional. Those eyes and features at age 6 are the same ones that you see again at age 18 — which makes me pause as I look at my own daughters and identify glimpses of their 18 year old selves.

images-1A dear friend has a college-aged son who holds this movie in cult status.  As she explained, this was his childhood —  star wars, video games, giant MAC computers, Harry Potter book releases at midnight, shaggy hair battles.

And if you need more convincing to see this movie, apparently Chicago critics just picked Boyhood to be the best film of 2014.

Have you seen Boyhood?  Any other must-see movies of 2014?

 

 

The Gift of Sensitivity

2014 December 11
by Mia

This past summer, someone in my inner circle pulled me aside after a tense interaction and declared that I was too sensitive.  This person went on to say that my sensitivity made me too emotional and as a result, I was difficult to be around at times. I’ve let that comment sit with me for months, not sure what to do with it.  Sensitivity has been my shadow for all of my life. And here I was at age 42, hearing the same broken record — I needed toughen up and develop thicker skin.

And yet, I look at my immediate family and it is clear that we all have sensitivity running through our veins.  My husband’s sensitivity gives him the gift to listen and really hear what people are saying.  My oldest daughter’s sensitivity gives her a strong sense of self as she amazingly knows how to take care of her emotional needs at age ten.  And my youngest daughter’s sensitivity gives her the most empathetic heart as she wants to stand up for all friends and strangers who can’t stand up for themselves.  Sensitivity allows us to see and feel. 

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It’s taken me years, but I now see sensitivity as a beautiful gift.  It allows me to spot the quieter kids at the park who need a friend.  It encourages me to feel moody as the as the winter landscape of black and grey sets in.  It allows me to be shed a few tears when the kids outgrow another pair of shoes and reach another milestone.  And it allows me to feel — really feel and appreciate– the daily minutia and rituals that define my life.

So to the person who claimed I am too sensitive —  you betcha.  In the words of the very bright Glennon Melton Doyle:

The opposite of sensitive isn’t tough — it’s insensitive.  

Amen, sister.

Whirlwind of a Season

2014 December 9
by Mia

I’ve started this blog post about seven times, but easily get distracted by my holiday To Do list.  I’m finding Christmas 2014 to be a bit more of a juggling act with 15 Nutcracker performances in the city, parents that need some extra help with their holiday planning and out-of-town visitors.

The longer the To Do list, the more I’ve been procrastinating the past few days.  I’m a planner, so this world of procrastinating is new to me.  It doesn’t take much for me to get off task….like today….when I started to order our holiday cards and ended up looking at cats on glass.   Don’t ask how this happened….but doesn’t it make you laugh?

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So back online I go to order those cards….stay focused, Mia!

 

 

Serial

2014 December 8
by Wendy

Have you heard of Serial? Are you listening to Serial? If no, you need to. It’s good. Like, REALLY good.

Here’s the scoop. Serial is a podcast series (series, thus the name “Serial”) by an NPR “This American Life” veteran reporter and editing and production team. Ten 40-minutes episodes in, and with new episodes released each Thursday, it is fast becoming a much talked-about and lauded program. A true story, it gives the narrative of the murder of a high school student in January, 1999 and subsequent conviction of the victim’s ex-boyfriend. The impetus was a letter the reporter received from a friend of the convicted ex-boyfriend. The friend is a lawyer and has spent the past 15 years looking at the case with a strong feeling that the investigation and trial had errors and that the convict is actually innocent. The reporter has spent a year delving into this case, digging through the evidence, and interviewing the real-life characters. She takes the listener along the journey, one in which she even admits she doesn’t know exactly where it will end (the episodes aren’t stacked up, they are apparently created and produced each week based on the mountains of reporting she has done) .

Serial is compelling, smart, engaging, engrossing, honest, and downright addictive; I binge-listened to 10 episodes between 8pm Friday night at 1pm Saturday morning and can hardly wait until episode 11 is released on Thursday.

Have you listened? Please, let me know your thoughts. Do you love it? Do you think Adnan did it? What about Jay? So many questions…

Giving Tuesday

2014 December 2
by Wendy

After the culinary gluttony of Thanksgiving and the barrage of Black Friday and Cyber Monday advertising, I am so happy to embrace Giving Tuesday – the global day of giving back – today. A donation to my favorite charity, some extra hugs, a few extra smiles, and a heaping dose of zen and patience on this very rainy day should help to ease the guilt and over-consumption of the past few days and make today a little better for those around me.

Sending you all a giant virtual hug, the simplest form of giving on this day.

Ten

2014 November 26
by Mia

Today is a lot of things to a lot of people. Longest lines at the grocery store. Busiest airport day. Big hoopla in the kitchen.

To us, it’s an extra-special day….the day our Oldest is officially ten years old.

Hard to imagine the colicky, pimply, cross-eyed baby from ten years ago has grown into this beautiful young lady who really has a strong sense of self for her age.

Ten is:

  • an 8:20pm bedtime even though she doesn’t fall asleep until 9:00pm most nights.
  • a more adventurous eater who know prefers tuna salad sandwiches to PB&J.
  • a book in each hand as she toggles between “fun” books like The Saturdays vs. “deeper” reads like Harry a Potter.
  • an playful Big Sister.  She continues to bring Little Sister into her make-believe world since she was two.
  • opinionated about her outfits and appearance.  No longer do we wear what I lay out — instead, she carefully choses what she wants to wear which is driven by comfort.  Leggings will always overrule tights.
  • is starting to keep secrets.  I’ll see her fervently writing in her diary after emotional days.
  • extremely loyal to her closest friends.  Her friendships run deep and are long lasting.
  • quick with words and thoughts.  She is constantly negotiating for a slumber party, ears pierced or phone chats with friends.
  • serious, sensitive, thoughtful, observant….a thinker.

May all of your wishes come true, sweetie pea.

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A Tale of a Tween

2014 November 24
by Mia

It was supposed to be a big deal — a Friday night dinner date at a friend’s house. Usually our Friday nights entail pajamas and a movie. Yet my Oldest had an invitation to join another family at their home for pizza and she could not be more excited to be the big kid heading out on a Friday night.

When I arrived at 8pm to pick her up, I was bracing myself for the usual plea for “five more minutes, please, please, please!!!” Instead, she graciously thanked the hostess and quickly ran to the car where she explained that she was tired and ready to go home.

Apparently she tried to call me, but was told there was no need as I would be picking her up soon enough. I praised her for taking the initiative to remove herself from a situation that was uncomfortable — but realized that she needed another tool to be able to reach me….and it wasn’t an iPhone (much to her dismay).

She needed a code phrase that would not hurt a guest’s feelings, but that would signal to me that it was time for pick up. She wanted to use “I forgot to feed the porcupine”, but we finally agreed on “my stomach hurts”.

The situation on Friday was a benign one — she was overtired and in hindsight I should have insisted she stay home and enjoy some downtime.  However, I could not help but think to 6-7 years from now when she is in a situation that is out of her comfort zone. The bad date. The party out of control. The mean friend. And when she calls with her code phrase, I’ll be there for her. Right after I feed the porcupine. :-)

Eleven

2014 November 19
by Wendy
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July, 2009

Today my eldest turns eleven. Seems like just yesterday he was born, filling our world with more love and joy than we ever could have expected. And now he is eleven, over five feet tall, feet the same size as mine, no more baby teeth, and a very man-sized appetite.

It is so fun to watch him grow, learn, and thrive. I love the intensity he brings to most everything he does; he always strives to be the best he can be in everything he does. I love that he knows how to be a teammate and a team player, and knows how to encourage his friends and teammates. I love that he is an upstander; he recently stood up for a friend who was being picked on during a soccer game. I love the gentle side of him, the kid who will still hug me at school and say, “I love you” as he gets out of the car. I figure that side may be fleeting as middle school approaches, so I particularly cherish those moments. I love that he looks out for me, always the first one to ask, “are you okay, mom?” when I frequently bump into things. And I love him for everything he brings to my life – greater understanding of myself, greater feelings of love and fulfillment, greater need to be the best person I can be knowing that someone is watching and absorbing.

Happy 11th birthday, T!

Snapshot of November 18th

2014 November 18
by Mia

Here’s what’s happening around here these days….

What I’m Cooking:

I’m smitten with Jessica Seinfeld’s instragram posts as well as her blog for recipes.  She’s whip-smart and knows her way around a kitchen.  I tried this fig salad – first time I’ve ever prepared figs — and loved it. Easy-peasy.  This chicken noodle soup is on rotation each week for the nights when after school activities trump cooking (although I make an easy recipe even easier by using rotisserie chicken).

What I’m Reading:

Room has been sitting on my bedside table for months, along with about 15 other books.  When Big Sister is in the Nutcracker this holiday season, there will be about 10 performances that I am not attending — so I will find myself across the street at the Ritz lobby, sipping some overpriced hot chocolate and reading for two hours.  I cracked open Room this weekend, and plan to read it during those two uninterrupted hours of reading.

Movie I’d Like to See:

I was really curious to see Wild, but after viewing the trailer —  Reese Witherspoon seems so miscast. Giving a girl a pair of hiking books and uncombed hair does NOT make her look like the tough-cookie Cheryl Strayed I envisioned from the book.  Guess I’ll have to see it to find out.

Also at the top of my movie list is The Theory of Everything.  Um, hello? Remember my love for Eddie Redmayne?

What I’m Wearing:

Weather has dipped to cold, cold, cold temps!  Mama needed a new hat, so bought one of the  slouchy pom-pom ones.  Given the low tomorrow is 23 degrees, this hat will definitely serve its purpose as I shepherd children to activities after school!

What I’m Thinking:

Relief!  We had a huge weekend — birthday parties, late night in the city seeing the Broadway production of Annie, nutcracker rehearsals and a fashion show to raise funds for the school.  It was an incredibly fun weekend, but we all fell asleep earlier than usual last night.  I’m embracing a quieter week and upcoming weekend before the chaos of holidays kicks in.  Also prepping my kitchen for the arrival of in-laws, a 10-year old birthday and Thanksgiving.  Just curious, does anyone else have a family that manages their Thanksgiving menu via an excel spreadsheet?

 

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My new winter look.  I haven’t had a pom pom on my hat since I was ten!

The Month of Gratitude

2014 November 13
by Mia

This is the month when headlines, Facebook posts and Instagram photos are full of photos, declarations and hashtags about gratitude.

Some authors cover the big things on their lists — family, friends, health, job.

Others cover the small joys — coffee, pajama mornings, 3 year old hugs and sunsets at the beach.

I love both lists. The recognition that the big rocks in our life bring stability to our everyday. And the celebration of the little rocks that bring surprise and bliss to our everyday.  Although the one thing that is becoming clearer is how hard and uncommon it is for those small and big rocks to be perfectly stacked.

I’ve been warned by my friends in their 50′s that there will be a point where the grapevine is full of tough news.  No longer will be celebrating new marriages and babies, but instead celebratory toasts will be replaced with prayers.  Pray the chemo works.  Pray the marriage can be saved.  Pray drugs and alcohol stay clear of our teens.  Pray the grandparents can still live independently.

I am acutely aware of how good life is today.  That at any moment things can change. And they will change.  But not today.

For today I’m grateful for stability.  That my small and big rocks are perfectly stacked. And when they tumble, which they will, I’ll look back at this time with a full heart of gratitude.

 2014-11-12 08.40.34Completely unrelated — but I love this photo from my run yesterday.  It was a balmy 60 degrees and fog had set in at our neighborhood pond.