Year 4 of Movies

Here we are in our fourth year of movie dates with my mom. This year we only managed 10 movies, or 9.5 if you’re my mom.

This is the full list.

January – LaLa Land, which we chose because of the hype. Big mistake. I should know better. It was terrible.

February – nothing, there was not a single movie out we wanted to see.

March – Logan, the final entry of Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, and it was wonderful, we both loved it. We also saw Beauty and the Beast with the kids, which doesn’t count on our date tally, but we did see it.

April – Gifted, starring Chris Evans (you know him as Captain America), and this was amazing. Just loved it. Could have been my favorite of the year.

May – King Arthur. This was my weird pick, only because my mom likes Charlie Hunnam. Did not expect it to be good. Turns out it was great.

June – Wonder Woman. The first female helmed solo superhero film in either universe and it.was.perfect.

July – Spiderman: Homecoming. LOVED this movie. How many Spiderman films have there been? It’s a “nothing new under the sun” and yet, this blew us away.

August – we didn’t see anything this month.

September – American Assassin. This was a film adaptation of a book we both love. It was okay. Not bad, but not as good as we had hoped. (Without mom, but also in September, I saw Kingsman 2 with Lane and it was fantastic and I saw American Made with Kelly and it was AWFUL).

October – we didn’t see anything this month.

November – Kicked off the month with Thor:Ragnarok and this was easily the best of the Thor movies and very high up in the overall pantheon of the MCU. Then, because it came out, we saw Justice League. Mom got sick halfway through and had to leave, which is why she only gets 9.5 credit, but I saw the whole thing and it was okay. DCU is just not hitting them out of the park. Wonder Woman is their only winner.

December – we had it narrowed to two. We chose to see Pitch Perfect 3 over The Greatest Showman and it was a mistake. PP3 was a terrible entry in this beloved series of movies. They should have stopped at 2. So stupid and such a waste to go out on that note. In January, I went myself and saw Greatest Showman and it was AMAZING. I loved every second of it, so it was too bad to go out on a low note, but it happens. They will not all be winners.

As today is January 31, we will not be kicking off 2018 with a movie, but we will pick right back up in February for Year 5!

Year 3 of Movies

We did much better this year! We actually saw 12 movies, but we only saw them in nine months, so that’s a bit odd. Here’s the 2016 recap of our movies.

January – None, there was nothing out we wanted to see, so we started off 0 for 1.

February – We saw Deadpool, which we both really liked, it’s very different for the “superhero” genre and it is NOT FOR CHILDREN, but it is a good flick.

March – This month, we couldn’t find hardly anything we wanted to see, but I wanted to go see a movie ON my birthday, so I ended up picking London Has Fallen with Gerard Butler and Aaron Eckhart, which was better than expected. I do like movies about badass guys, apparently. Mom liked it too. Then, naturally, after my birthday, out came Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. We saw this and it was okay. DC has a long way to go if they are going to catch Marvel,  I vote for them sticking with TV, they’re pretty good at that.

April – In April, we wanted to see different movies, so instead of compromising we just saw both. I chose My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2, which was awesome, easily as adorable as the first. Mom loved it, too. And Mom chose, Doris, which looked far better on spec than in execution. Neither of us liked this much, just okay.

May – Ah, May, the month in which I saw Captain America Civil War. If you know me at all, you know I’m a Cap fanatic, so for about three years I’d been waiting patiently for this movie, the follow up to Winter Soldier, one of the best superhero movies ever made, and, let me tell you, it did not disappoint. It is easily as good as Winter Soldier. Maybe 1% less good. I loved it. Mom loved it. Audiences worldwide loved it. And Captain America wins again. #TeamCap

Also released this month was the newest entry into the X-Men franchise, another favorite of mine, Apocalypse. This was another very good movie. It wasn’t perfect, but super solid. Mom is not into X-Men, but went along and she liked it as well.

June – Me Before You. I had read the book and made Mom read it, too. I don’t think it is integral, and I didn’t love the book, honestly. But I really liked the movie, it was very well executed, one of those rare instances when the movie wins. Mom agreed here.

July – Jason Bourne. Mom and I are both big Jason Bourne fans (again with the badass men thing) so this was a no brainer. It holds up. A very solid entry into this franchise.

August – Again with the superhero movies, we saw Suicide Squad. It was okay, not fantastic, but a fairly decent movie. Once again, DC just missed the mark. Mom had no prior knowledge of the characters or anything about the Suicide Squad and she enjoyed it, didn’t love it, but was entertained.

September – Bridget Jones Baby, um was there a world where we don’t go see this? No, there isn’t. And you know what? We loved it. Both of us. It was utterly charming and delightful. A fitting end to this story.

October – I’ve got nothing. I didn’t write anything down, and can’t remember. So either we saw nothing or saw something unremarkable, in which case, it doesn’t bear remarking.

November – Man, this was a good year for superhero films! We saw Doctor Strange. Another excellent entry from Marvel. This was extremely well done. I’m now very invested in the Doctor Strange universe.

December – we ran out of time and didn’t see anything this month, which turned out okay because that landed us at 12. Although Lane and I did go see Assassin’s Creed (see badass men, above, and also because, well, Michael Fassbender). We both liked it a great deal.

There you go. Another year of movies and we continue, already having completed January in 2017. I’ll let you know next year.

Year 2 of Movies

I just realized, yesterday, as we saw our first movie of the year (yep, already behind schedule) that I never posted the results from last year. So, without further ado:

2015:

January: Into the Woods & The Gambler

We knew February was out, so we decided to double up in January. Into the Woods we saw with Lane and I remember not really liking it. But that’s about it. The Gambler was Mark Wahlberg, whom I pretty much always enjoy….but I did not care for this.

February: None because of surgery for my mom.

March: Cinderella

This live action version of the story came out for my birthday and my niece wanted so desperately to see it. When it was over, I said, “that’s the best version of that story I’ve ever seen.” Truly.

April: None because there was nothing we wanted to see.

May: Avengers 2: Age of Ultron, Pitch Perfect 2.

It happened to work out that there were two I desperately wanted to see in May. May is always a good month for movies. Avengers 2? Um…awesome. Not perhaps as delightful as Avengers 1, but still very good. And PP2? Well I adored PP, and made my mom watch it so she could go see this with me. And she and I loved them both.

June: None because of another surgery.

July: Spy & Ant-Man

Well I think Ant-Man was a no-brainer. I see all movies in the MCU. This was enjoyable. I struggle, then and now, buying Paul Rudd as a superhero, but it was still good.

Spy was because we wanted to make up for June, so my mom suggested this. Normally, not something either of us would go see, but it was…terrific! Funny and smart. Loved it.

August: Trainwrecked* & Ricki and the Flash

Trainwrecked was not part of our plan, but my brother Zack wanted to see it. Definitely a movie I would NOT normally see. But it was actually better than expected. Surprising movie. Ricki and the Flash was our pick this month. I enjoyed it, but it is a very slow story.

September: None, again because of surgery.

October: The Intern

Possibly the biggest disappointment on the year. What an utterly stupid movie.

November: Spectre & White Christmas

The new James Bond. No brainer here. It was good. Perhaps not quite as good as the previous movies in the trilogy, but still very James Bond/Daniel Craigish. As a bonus this month, I took Mom to see White Christmas, one of our all-time favorite holiday classics, which was showing on the big screen. Now since it originally came out in 1954 when neither of us was born, we didn’t ever see it on the big screen, so we were super excited. And it did not disappoint. It was glorious on the big screen, and we sang along to the songs, as did most other people in the theater. Possibly my favorite thing I saw last year.

December: Sisters and The Good Dinosaur

We needed one last film for the year and chose extremely unwisely. Sisters is an atrociously awful film. Hated it. Wanted to leave. Luckily, my mom had planned to take my niece to see the latest Pixar release while she was off school. I crashed their date and we pretended this was our actual final film of the year. And in true Pixar fashion, this was adorable and sweet.

So, despite multiple surgeries screwing with our plan, we ended up seeing 14 movies in 12 months. Most were even pretty good. And the plan continues!

A Year of Movies

One year ago, December 2013, my mom and I went to see “Saving Mr. Banks” the story of Mary Poppins. It was terrific. We were both off of work and were talking about how much we love going to movies together. Then we came up with a plan. What if we go to a movie together every single month of the year. I loved this idea. And so we began.

January: “American Hustle” This was probably the worst movie we saw. It was a big deal when it came out and it was terrible. We both wanted to leave before it was over.

February: “Monuments Men” This was in honor of her birthday, she picked the movie. I wasn’t that in to it, but it wasn’t too bad. She really liked it.

March: “Divergent” I got to pick in honor of my birthday. I had read this book series and really liked it. Mom had never read it, but she enjoyed the movie as well. I thought it was great, a strong retelling of a great book.

April: “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” No doubt in my mind we were seeing this. I’d been looking forward to this movie for two years. (For the record I’m already looking forward to the next installment, due out in April of 2016) Of the Marvel movies, Captain America is my favorite character and my favorite movies. This did not disappoint. It was phenomenal. Best movie of the year, IMO. But mom also wanted to see “Draft Day” and I did, too, so we broke the rules and doubled up in April. Draft Day was pretty good, but it’s hard to go wrong with Kevin Costner, especially in a sports movie.

May: “Maleficent” We both wanted to see this and were glad we did. Much better than anticipated. Arionna’s pick for best movie of the year.

June: “The Fault in Our Stars” Another movie we both wanted to see because the movie looked good. I’d been avoiding the book for a while, but decreed we both had to read it before we went. We both did and we both liked the book. In a rare surprise, I thought the movie was better. Terrific movie.

July: “Jersey Boys” I had zero interest in seeing this, but with no better options, I agreed to go, since Mom really wanted to see it. We brought my sister as she seemed excited to see it. It was better than I expected. Quite enjoyable, really.

Then August hit and we were preparing for family vacation. We didn’t get to a movie. We talked about sneaking out on vacation to see something in Brainerd…but then Mom got sick and that pretty much took care of that. Our year ended in July, which was disappointing, because we were both enjoying it so much. It’s nice to do with someone else, because then you see movies you might not have, otherwise. We have decided, even though she is having her next surgery in February, we are going to do this again this year. Well, attempt it again, I suppose. We’ll just have to get our February movie in before the 17th, and hope she’s feeling well enough to go before the end of March.

I’ll be back next December to report how we did, let’s hope we did better than 9 movies in 7 months. Here’s to another year of movies!

My Favorite Christmas Movies

This is the last of my favorite things. (At least of the Christmas variety, I love making lists, so I will definitely be doing more in the future). Now we’re talking Christmas movies. Truth be told, if you thought I liked books at Christmastime; prepare to be blown away. I’m a cinephile, but only when it comes to holiday-themed movies.

When I used to live with my parents and, you know, had cable, I would just turn on the Hallmark channel and watch whatever horrible, recycled, holiday drama was showing. It did not matter what the plot was, as long as it was a sappy Christmas movie. I’ve seen tons. There is just something about them.

As time passes, I’ve developed favorites, because that’s how I roll. And there are certain movies I watch year after year because it just doesn’t seem like the holidays without them. Don’t get me wrong I still watch my sappy Hallmark and ABC family movies (last year I bought multipacks 6 movies in 1 and 4 movies in 1 at $4 each – that is 10 movies for $8, what a bargain!)

Without further ado, here are my favorite Christmas movies.

1. White Christmas. Since I was a girl. Which may seem odd, but I simply love this movie. I know all the songs and the dialogue and it doesn’t matter. It makes me happy to be able to sing Sisters, sisters, there were never such devoted sisters…. My favorite scene, boy there are a lot, but probably when Phil Davis (Danny Kaye) explains to Bob Wallace (Bing Crosby) that he is always shoving girls at him because he wants him to get married have 9 kids. “And if you only spend 5 minutes a day with each one, that is 45 minutes, I could go get a massage!”

2. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. I actually referenced this one on the holiday songs list. This movie was a tv special in 1964. It has shown annually since then, still to this day. I bought it on DVD a few years ago and a good thing. Kids who visit me have shown a tendency to want to see this, no matter the time of year. I love it when Rudolph, wearing a fake nose that makes him sound like he has a cold, says “She thinks I’m cute, she thinks I’m cuuuute!” and flies for the first time.

3. The Family Stone. I saw this in the theater with my mom, Elena, and I think my sister. I thought it was okay. Then the next year I rented it, I don’t know why, and pretty much loved it. Then the next it was on tv. After that, I bought it and I watch it every Christmas. Often more than once. It’s crazy and unrealistic, but so heartwarming and it feels like a real family. My favorite part is when Meredith (Sarah Jessica Parker), who is meeting the family for the first time, leaves the room, Ben (Luke Wilson) says, “Don’t dilly-dally pretty lady, we’re all going to be down here talking about you.”

4. Love Actually. Possibly the greatest romantic comedy every made, IMO. And the fact that it is set at Christmastime just gives me an excuse to watch it every year. Not only to I love the stories (almost all, the Colin story of going to Wisconsin and getting laid is less than impressive) but the way they all come together in the end, interconnected  It’s just beautiful. My favorite scene? Hard one. Toss up between Hugh Grant dancing after telling off Billy Bob Thornton and Colin Firth proposing in seriously bad Portuguese.

5. The Santa Clause. I love this movie. I even like the cheesy sequels. It is such a cute story and the kid who plays the son is beyond adorable. The transformation scenes where Tim Allen is turning into Santa Claus are so funny. My favorite scene is where he goes to his son’s soccer game and the kids just know he’s Santa and suddenly, there’s a line of kids wanting to sit on his lap.

6. Bridget Jones’ Diary. Not actually a Christmas movie, but it starts and ends at Christmastime, one year apart. I’ve seen it, and the sequel (which is awful, but I watch it anyway) dozens of times. I watch it year round, but I especially love it at Christmas. My favorite scene is when Mark (Colin Firth) tells Bridget (Renee Zellweger) “I don’t think you’re an idiot at all. I mean, there are elements of the ridiculous about you. Your mother’s pretty interesting. And you really are an appallingly bad public speaker. And, um, you tend to let whatever’s in your head come out of your mouth without much consideration of the consequences… But the thing is, um, what I’m trying to say, very inarticulately, is that, um, in fact, perhaps despite appearances, I like you, very much. Just as you are.”

7. The Polar Express. My mom bought this for me a couple Christmases ago, because I had never seen it. Then she promptly absconded it for the children. And they love it so much, it’s hard to complain. But it is just a beautiful story that makes me feel Christmassy. Honestly, the only scene I don’t like is the Hot Chocolate scene. Otherwise, can they all be tied for my favorite?

And, while I hate stopping a list at non-listy numbers (7? Instead of 5? Or 10?) I’m going to, because that is all I have for true annual favorites. However, there are several others that I thoroughly enjoy. I don’t watch them regularly, but if I stumble across them this time of year, you better believe I’ll be watching them.

Honorable mentions, in no particular order.

Elf – Ah, Buddy. You are so dratted charming. Even when you eat spaghetti with maple syrup and candy, I can’t get enough. I actually own this, too, but it is another my mother has claimed for the kiddos.

Four Christmases – A newer one. Reese Witherspoon and Vince Vaughn are so funny in this, the Taboo scene cracks me up.

Family Man – This would honestly probably be on the list above, if I owned it on DVD.

Serendipity – My mother’s favorite romantic comedy, it is a cute, if unbelievable story. And who doesn’t like John Cusack?

Home Alone – Who doesn’t like this goofy movie? I bought it for Simon for this Christmas.

Miracle on 34th Street – which I actually used to own, on VHS, and did make the regular rotation, but somewhere along the way, it got bounced, either version is fine, but I’m partial to the newer, with Dylan McDermott, mostly because Mara Wilson is the cutest thing in the world.

It’s a Wonderful Life – the ultimate Christmas classic, some would say. I like it, but it is not my favorite.

A Christmas Carol – Almost any version will do. I like the Jim Carrey version from a few years ago, but I could have done without the 3D.

And lastly, here are a few films that many would be surprised are not on my Christmas movie list.

A Christmas Story. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Scrooged. Die Hard. (Seriously? I looked at a couple lists to make sure I wasn’t missing any, Die Hard was on tons of them. Yes, ok, it takes place in December, but what on earth is Christmassy about that movie? Men. )

There you have it folks. The music, books, and movies that make my holiday season complete. Hopefully you found something new to enjoy. If anyone out there wanted to shoot some of their favorites into the comments, I love hearing other people’s lists!

Happy holiday season!

Captain Awesome

I couldn’t take it anymore. I text Elena in Vegas and asked her to pick the date so at least I’d have something to look forward to. She text back…”go see it when you want, it kind of creeps me out”.

Poor girl.

Therefore, I left work and drove straight to the theater yesterday, to catch the last matinee show. Can I just say, I was shocked at how busy it was? 5:20 on a Monday night? That’s a big movie time, really? I thought it would be dead.

Guess not.

At any rate, got there just in time to see the 12 previews…really? Is that necessary? I don’t understand why there must be a half hour of crap before a movie starts? Why can’t they show that stuff during the downtime before the movies begin?

Okay, whatever.

So…I simply have to say, this is a seriously awesome movie. It made me cry, actual tears, not just tearing up or sniffling. Which is especially impressive when you consider that A)it’s a superhero action movie and B) I know how it ends!  But, still, they got me. This one was really well done, smart action, good story, surprisingly funny, touching emotions, it really had everything, the entire package. This whole series they’re doing…the Avengers series, has been amazing (Iron Man, Thor, Captain America). Too bad they screwed up The Incredible Hulk before starting this venture. I think they should redo it…

At any rate, though I loved the first XMen movie, I’m going to have to say that Captain America is the best movie I’ve seen this summer, by the very slimmest of margins over Thor. And honestly, Thor might have won without Natalie Portman. But as they’re part of the same series, it’s probably okay that they’re both vying for the top spot.  I’m so happy that I’ve seen Captain America, I just feel more settled now. And I wish I had a friend who loved these movies as much as me, then we could sit around like dorks and talk about how cool they are.

Lane, sorry, you really missed out on this one. I super-duper heart Captain America.

Kid Party

As a Christmas present to the Humphreys, I volunteered to have Victoria and Christian come and spend the night. I was going to have them over Mark and Kelly’s anniversary, but we didn’t do Christmas early enough (actually, we still haven’t done it, but it is finally scheduled, for the 28th) and Kelly made other plans.

Then, out of the blue, she tells me she needs a sitter for January 22nd. I said I’d love to–and I meant it!

I planned so many special activities, but we ended up mostly just playing.

But, back up a bit. Let’s talk details.

First, it was countless emails with Kelly about what to bring. She was planning on bringing everything but the kitchen sink. I did my best to talk her out of it. I know parents get nervous about making sure the kids have what they need, and I don’t have kids…so that might be an added level of “what will they do if they need _____?” But, I know from experience that very little is actually needed. Next time, Kel will just bring the kids, already in their jammies, and we’ll be set.

The arrived about 4 pm. I was so excited. I think, perhaps, Victoria might have been more excited, but it was a close call. Kelly was normal and Christian and Mark were a little apprehensive. Christian I get, he’s little. Mark–well, let’s just say that before he left his children with me, he made me promise 2 things.

1. The children would still be alive the next day. (Yes, I really promised not to kill his children, on purpose or accidentally).

2. That I wouldn’t let them jump on the couch for fear they might bounce so high as to jump over the railing and fall down the stairs. (I promised this with a straight face and kept it. I didn’t even let them sit on the couch….)

And, then, just before he left, he made me promise to keep my phone on, just in case they wanted to check in. Then he called me–to test that it was on, before he left. (But I think that was a joke?)

He’s really quite cute, worrying so much.

Once they were gone, we started the fun. We checked out where everyone was sleeping, then we jumped on the “bed” I had for Victoria, an air mattress. Since it’s about 4 inches tall, I didn’t worry. They bounced and jumped and played and occasionally I’d pick up one of them and toss them onto the bed. We just laughed and laughed at this. Then they started running from the hall and jumping, once conking their heads together. After that, I made them take turns at running and jumping. (So very few rules at my house).

We then started dinner (by that I mean, I preheated the oven for frozen pizza) and then went out for a walk. I had set up our Mystery Walk, which was a special walk, outside, after dark, carrying flashlights. These kids love Scooby-Do, so I had planned to have us solve a real-life mystery in my neighborhood. We solved “The Mystery of the Flashing Red Light”. There is a red light you can see from far away, slowly blinking, day or night. We set out to find out why.

Before our mystery could commence, there was a car on the street (very, very rare…), I herded the kids back into my driveway, to assist in keeping my promise to Mark. Well, the car stopped right next door, it was my neighbor, Donna, home from an evening out. Donna met the kids and saw their little flashlights, so she asked them to light her way to her front door. Donna’s front walk is really long, like 3x longer than mine, and there aren’t any lights. So they walked her to her door, shining their lights the whole way. Victoria also shined hers on Donna’s locks, to help her get inside. It was so adorable.

Then, we got my mail.

Finally, we did our walk. I wish this had been longer, but it was so cold outside. We just walked down the length of my street toward the light. Less than halfway there, Christian stopped cold and said “it’s a water tower!” and it was! I was so surprised he could tell. You can’t see the shape of the tower at all from where we were, only the light on top. I was impressed. Victoria ran ahead and as she got closer and could see it, she agreed with Christian.

When we got to the end of the street and could see it clearly, we stopped for a photo, to commemorate our successful Mystery Walk.

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Victoria, bless her little heart, wouldn’t stop talking long enough for me to take a picture. She was telling me a Scooby-Doo story about…something. Sorry, I forgot.

And then we walked back home because we were all cold (though in truth, we’d been outside about 6 minutes).

Once we got back inside, I put the pizza in the oven and we selected a movie. Victoria had great fun sorting my movies into piles. “Adult movies” (and that would be movies adults are allowed to watch, not porn) “Kid movies” and “We’ll See”

The “We’ll See” category was developed when she tried to convince me she was old enough to watch “Batman Begins”.

We ended up choosing to watch “Cheaper by the Dozen” with Steve Martin. I’m a firm believer in having kids watch live-action, rather than cartoons, and they seem to enjoy it more. Once the pizza came out, I let it cool while I set the kids up at the table with my laptop. This sparked a HUGE discussion because they were convinced that you cannot watch movies while eating dinner. I tried to explain, but ended up going with, “when you’re at Olivia’s house, you follow Olivia’s rules–Mommy is NOT in charge” and that seemed to work.

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You can see my little chair off to the side. My mother will also note the lack of tablecloth. I had to pull it. Little kids and tablecloths are NOT a good mix. There was pulling and tugging and my computer almost dove off the side of the table. So we went with bare wood and it was fine.

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I love this picture, you can see how much they’re loving this. Christian is pointing out things to Victoria that he noticed in the movie. If you’ve ever seen it, it’s chaotic, lots of things going on at once. And Victoria is just entranced.

However, they ate surprisingly well. Two and a half slices of pizza (triangle slices, not squares) EACH. They were wolfing it down.

Then when the pizza was gone, I asked them and they wanted popcorn right away. So we moved to the cushions in the living room and did popcorn and the rest of the movie.

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Victoria is bouncing on her cushion, I think I caught her mid-bounce. Christian is, as you can see, the happiest boy in the room! He sure likes popcorn. (Maybe even as much as me!)

After the movie ended–and they sat for the entire thing–it was still too early for bed, so we played some more. I have this game called “Pass the Pigs” where you shake two tiny rubber pigs (about the size of dice) and however they land, you score points. We were going to play the game, but I wanted them to expend more energy, which is how I came up with GIANT Pass the Pigs. We took my two stuffed pigs, courtesy of my favorite Aunt Judy, and used them.

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This was one of Victoria’s turns. She tended to throw them one at a time, I think it was tough. When they held both pigs, they were as big as the kids. Christian is watching intently, figuring out how many points she was getting.

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And now, Christian’s turn. You can see how challenging this was for them. But they absolutely loved it! You only scored one or two points per turn, and we played to 10. So it took a while, but after Victoria won the first game, we played a whole other game. I won the second one…but I told Christian he won, as he came in second. And his little face lit up when I said he won, so it was worth it.

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I think this is one of my favorite pictures. He is saying “no more pictures” as I take this. It cracked me up, because if you know his mommy, you can only imagine how sick this little boy gets of having his picture taken!

Next, Christian said he wanted to play baseball. Well, it was January in Minnesota, so that took some thinking to figure out how we could make this work. Plus, I don’t have a bat and a ball. Eventually, I devised this game:

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We put my huge floor cushions out and used them as bases. We used the inflatable fire truck (V’s got it in the picture) as the “ball” because if they threw it, it barely went anywhere and wasn’t strong enough to break anything. So when it was your turn, you stand at “home” (C is next to it) and throw the truck, then run. The other two get the truck and try to tag you with it. If they can’t and you make it all the way around, you get to go again. If you get tagged, the person who tagged you gets to go. No scoring. I get sick of keeping track.

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I love these action shots! And please notice that Christian is running the wrong way. Which was fine. When it was her turn, Victoria would run to first and stop, every time. The concepts were a bit much in this game, but we were silly and they laughed and laughed, so it was fun.

Then I figured I best get a shot of me, so Kelly could see I was playing with her kids and not just supervising, so I set the camera up to take 6 pics in a row and this ONE turned out.

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We’ve moved past baseball to a baseball/tag/football combo at this point. So C is trying to tackle V, but I grabbed her and started swinging her around. And he’s trying to jump to get the “ball”.

Then I glanced over and noticed it was about 8:45pm. They normally are sleeping at this point. I asked Victoria what time she goes to bed and she said 8:30. I told her we should go do jammies. They didn’t want the fun to end, so I told them they could watch a movie for a bit before bed. Christian picked Scooby-Doo that they had brought.

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They look so darn cute in their jammies. I love, love, love kids in pajamas. They’re always so cuddly.
Within about five minutes of this picture, I sat with them and they were both cuddled up next to me, falling asleep. Victoria had me scratching her back. Then, at a minute or two past nine, I said bedtime.
I swear, Christian looked relieved. He got up and walked in to my room, where his pack-n-play was set up. I walked with V into where she was sleeping. I saw C in my room, just standing still. He was standing in the center of the room, perfectly still, not making a sound. It belatedly hit me that he needed me to put him in the bed. He was just waiting. Once I lifted him in, he dropped down, curled up and closed his eyes. I said, “hey, buddy, you want a pillow?” He shook his head. I laughed and went and grabbed him a blanket, so he’d stay warm. I think he was already sleeping in the 30 seconds it took me to get back.
Meanwhile, V was in the next room, setting up her sleeping bag. There was a huge air mattress for her to sleep on, but when I came back she was in the only available floor space, a 1.5′ x 4′ strip of carpet. I laughed and asked her why she didn’t put her sleeping bag on the bed and sleep there. And she said, “I want to sleep here”. Fine by me.
Then I asked her if she had fun and she said it was lots of fun. Then a moment of silence. I thought she also fell asleep and then she said, “Olivia?”
“What, sweetie?”
“You know what would be super-duper fun?” (I swear, that’s word-for-word)
“What?”
“If me and mommy and daddy and Christian and Cookie lived here with you.” (Cookie is their dog.)
I was laughing so hard I could barely talk but I managed to tell her that I also thought that would be fun and she should ask her mommy about it tomorrow.
It feels good that she had so much fun she wanted to live there…with practically everyone she knows!
Traditional sleeping shots:
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No kidding, that was about 9:15 when I took that. He was sound asleep.
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And you can see how she’s squeezed in among the crap I’ve yet to unpack. I couldn’t even get to her, I am leaned on the desk, with my arm extended as much as possible to take this.
The next morning, they slept in for me until about 7:30. That’s unheard of for them…but everyone sleeps well at my house.
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I took this because it is so rare for me to be up with the sun…I didn’t know it comes right in to my bed!
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Here we’re all cuddled in my bed, with cartoons on in the background. They discovered the pink squish pillow, which is a huge favorite of the little ones. So much so that I just purchased a red one, so I have two squish pillows!
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You can see who REALLY loved it! And I adore how the sunlight is streaming in, making rainbows in the photo.
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She’s proud of herself because she could climb in and out of the crib by herself. Christian said, “No Toria, you can’t be in there. Mommy give you time out!” I cracked up. He was so serious. He really thought she couldn’t be in there. I told him it was okay, but only at my house, because I make the rules.
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The sunlight started getting out of control, but he’s wrestling with the squish pillow.
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She’s showing me her scary faces.
At about 8:15, we went to go have breakfast. Victoria wanted cereal, so, of course, so did Christian. I told them that all I had was Special K and V replied, “Great, I love Special K.”
She must have been telling me the truth because she ate her whole bowl. Christian ate about half of his, but he also ate his entire chocolate pop tart. V only picked at hers. We watched the end of the Scooby movie we started the night before, with our breakfast. Kelly showed up to get them not too long after.
It was delightful, listening to them tell their mommy how much fun they had and all the stories. Before they left, Christian threw and out-and-out tantrum. He did.not.want.to.leave. He had so much fun that he was refusing to leave my house. I kind of felt bad, because that’s not the kid you want to send home, but it was so darn cute. I was pretty flattered that he loved it so much he wanted to stay forever!
They were wonderful little house guests and they are welcome any time. But–before they come again, I call “Adult Party” and I get to go out with their Mommy and Daddy–because it’s been far too long.
And kudos to Kelly, who has been waiting for this blog since that morning and has been so very patient!
Thanks for letting me play with the kids, Kel, we had so much fun. And, Mark, they were safe and sound, as promised!