Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I bought into the Frozen hype. Now I want a refund.

I feel like I am the last person to see Frozen, however, if that person is actually you: Warning! Spoilers abound!

I'm a bit ashamed to admit it, but I bought into the Frozen hype.  David and I have been wanting to get our hands on a copy since it came out on DVD, but it's been all but impossible to find at a Redbox until this past weekend.  We were just as excited to watch it ourselves as we were to show it to Lucia.  

Big mistake.  If I had watched it expecting a Disney movie, I probably would have enjoyed it tolerably well, but I was expecting the Disney movie of the year decade century and I was sorely, sorely disappointed.  So much so that as I stayed awake the last few nights with a sick toddler, I couldn't help wondering exactly what I found lacking in the movie. 

1) The "You Can't Marry a Man You Just Met" storyline seemed contrived and a bit too obvious. I heard so many people saying, "Finally! A realistic Disney movie!" Realistic? Might I remind you of the anthropomorphic snowman? Or the character that controls wintery weather? Who watches a Disney movie for realism?  Isn't the whole point of fairy tales (and Disney movies are the fairy tales of modernity) to teach morals through the use of a fantastic story? They are supposed to get kids thinking and analyzing in order to find the moral.  But, apparently, it's much easier these days to just have the sister of the main character say the moral pointblank.  Unless the moral of the story is actually "your older sister knows best".  In addition to feeling like this "fairy tale rewrite" was a little forced in order to please the modern woman, it's also not a consistent message throughout the film (see #2 and #6).

2) Hans must be evil because Kristoff is good. If we're talking about realism, let's talk about this love triangle.  In real life, it's not unusual that a woman might be interested in two men, but rarely is one all good and the other pure evil.  But I guess that's where people stop praising Frozen for being realistic.  As soon as I saw the love match-up between Anna and Kristoff, I knew that Hans would turn out to be the bad guy.  Not because anything in the movie suggested that, but because I knew Disney just wouldn't make a female character choose between two good guys. You can't marry a man you just met, but you still have to marry your one true love.  I was hoping that Anna would actually have to make a choice and that there would indeed be a new and exciting departure from the classic Disney princess model.  But apparently the only thing that has changed in princess relationships is a longer dating period.

3) "She's my sister. She'd never hurt me." I saw a meme of this going around facebook a while back with friends tagging their sisters as a sign of the sisterly bond. Did they see the movie? Elsa does in fact hurt Anna, which would be somewhat understandable if it were done on accident (the ice in the heart was an accident after all) but she sent a snow monster after her. And then later Elsa was so upset to find out that Anna was dead. Well, it very well could have been that snow monster!  Anyway, this movie is touted as so new and unique because it's sisterly love and not true love's kiss that saved Anna, but that ending was pretty obvious from early on in the movie though, wasn't it?

4) The bipolar snow queen was too much for me. One minute, Elsa is running away from her kingdom in tears because she revealed her powers, scared her subjects, and could have killed them. A moment later, she "let[s] it go" and changes herself from a modestly dressed princess to a sexy snow goddess complete with a slit up the leg.  She spends her childhood hiding from her kingdom and the sister she loves in order to protect them, then quickly changes into an angry, bitter witch.  Then at the end the movie, she is back in her kingdom frolicking with others - even though she was just enjoying herself living free in isolation.  The mood swings are a bit too drastic.  Even if I don't care that Disney movies are realistic, the emotions of the characters should still make sense for the fantastic situations they are in.

5) The trolls seemed unnecessary. The role of comic relief was already taken by Olaf. And Kristoff. And Sven. And they seemed to undermine the whole "You Can't Marry a Man You Just Met" moral as "love experts" who wanted Kristoff and Anna to marry right away. I did agree with their advice that you can't change a person and that no one is perfect, but that was just another romantic love lesson that was being shoved into this movie that was primarily about sororal love. 

6) We rented Turbo last week and it got more play in our house than Frozen. Lucia just didn't like it. She didn't ask to rewatch it once, whereas we kept Turbo for days because she was thrilled to watch it over and over.  They are different types of movies, but Lucia enjoys the traditional Disney princess movies - one of her current favorites is Sleeping Beauty - and some more story driven cartoon movies like The Prince of Egypt. Frozen just did not keep her interest. 

That said, I appreciate that Disney has seemed to revive an interest in making music-filled movies based on classic fairy tales. I just think they would do a bit better if they kept closer to the original story lines like they did in the past. I couldn't see any resemblance of Frozen to it's supposed influence, Hans Christian Andersen's "The Snow Queen".  Other than the snow, of course.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Please excuse me while I kiss the sky throw everything into one post.

Is anyone else looking to Easter with great anticipation?  This Lent has left me exhausted and I'm somewhat nervous to find out what the intensification of Lent through Holy Week will bring.  So will you forgive my lack of blogging prowess and accept this meager recap of some Holy Week resources, favorite links, recent going-ons, answers to Kendra's questions, all set to some lovely photos of our Saturday at the park?  This post might be a bit too busy, just like me.

Holy Week resources:

Favorite Links:
In Defense of Fanny Price: Why You Don't Like Mansfield Park as Much as You Should (Carrots for Michaelmas) - I read Mansfield Park as part of a book group both Haley and I are a part of and after reading this post, found myself liking Fanny (and MP).
What to Say Instead of Praising (Aha! Parenting) - I made a chart out of the "instead of"/"try" phrases and it resides on our fridge. I am so ready to quit with the "Good job!" ad nauseum.
Age-Appropriate Chores for Children (Flanders Family) - I'm quite tickled that "bake cookies" is listed as a chore and that Lucia is old enough to carry firewood.
For when you're having an "I'm not enough" week (Lisa-Jo Baker) - Encouragement for moms in the trenches.
The Bookish Mum: Reading to Feed Your Soul and Intellect (Fountains of Home) - The first post in an exciting new series by Christy. 
Stop Saying God is Good (Miss Elainious) - God's goodness is not conditional. Period.
A Man of Peace: Fr. Fans van der Lugt, SJ (The Jesuit Post) - Lessons from the life of a Jesuit killed while caring for the people of Homs, Syria.
Why You Should Never, Ever, Ever Get a Tattoo (but Having a Baby is Fine) (the ugly volvo) - Your laugh for the week. You're welcome.  (In case your wondering, my formal stance is both pro-tattoo and pro-baby though resoundingly anti-baby tattoos.)

Recent Going-Ons:
Lucia threw a pair of panties into the pew in front of us at Mass yesterday.  So, that happened.  

Lucia always says, "What's this guy?" when asking what anything is. A shoe on the floor: "What's this guy?" Daddy gets home: "What's this guy?" 

She also calls inanimate objects "little guy".  As in, "Don't worry, little guy. I protect you." (said to a wooden spoon)

She calls the one year old I watch twice a week, Mary Margaret, "Little Buddy", "Pal" and even says, "Mary Margaret is my sister. Come here, sister." 

Her favorite new lovey is "sugar bear".  Nope, not a cute nickname, it's an actual clay brown sugar bear pilfered from my kitchen. The success of the enormous toy industry is amazing considering that children rarely play with actual toys.

My parents will be here on Good Friday! They helped us move out here (the first time we moved here in July 2012) and my mom came out here for a week to help me after Lucia was born, so this is the first time they'll be here without being put to work.

We started learning Creighton (a method of NFP) in an attempt to find and fix the causes of our miscarriages a few weeks ago.  It's gone pretty well so far.  I had my first follow-up this week and my instructor thought I seemed to know what I was doing.  There was a little part of me that was afraid of flunking out.  Not like that a possibility but I'm the queen of weird irrational phobias.

1. What time do you prefer to go to Mass? 10:45 on Sunday morning. We get to sleep in late, David usually makes a big breakfast (early enough for us to still have an hour fast before Mass), and Lucia does much better than the Sunday evening Mass. (Panty toss was at the Sunday 5:30pm Mass.)  A fun bonus is that this seems to be the Mass where all the parishioners we know attend.

2. Would you rather be too hot or too cold? I may be one of the only people who thinks living in Phoenix sounds like a good idea.  I love hot hot hot weather.  I HATE being cold.

3. How many brothers and/or sister do you have? I have one brother five years younger than me.  Fun fact: I remember people always telling my parents how cute it was that we called each other "brother" and "sis".  We still do.

4. If you were faced with a boggart, what would it turn into? Nancy Pelosi? I'm totally not saying that to get political; the pictures of her with her "crazy eyes" that make the rounds on the web give me nightmares.

5. Barbie: thumbs up or thumbs down? Big thumbs up! I had tons as a kid. I'm not opposed to Lucia playng with them if she wants, but the poor girl is going to have to get by hand-me-downs with the misshapen heads. (When  your brother pulls the head off and you try to put them back on, they never look the same. They're always a bit more smooshed and round.) To make up for the weird heads, I do have some neat clothes sewn by one of my grandmothers. She passed away when I was in high school, so she never got to meet Lucia and I think it will be neat to watch Lucia play with the Barbie clothes she made.

6. If someone asked you to give them a random piece of advice, what would you say? Don't talk badly about your spouse to anyone. Just don't.

a birthday party photo bombed us

Finish out Lent strong, my friends. Don't get caught Lent-handed!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Our Song

Originally posted 3/20/12 as part of the link up at NFP and Me. Revived today to link up with Camp Patton's Wedding Song Dance Along (and because the blog's been pretty silent this week).  

What's your song? Share a video if there is one.
My husband and I have two songs.  Neither one is a traditional "love song" if you really listen to the words.  Early on in our dating relationship, our song was "Falling Slowly" by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova (from the movie "Once").  

Our first dance song at our wedding reception, "Use Somebody" by Kings of Leon, has since replaced it as "our song".  

Did you always have a song or did you have to find one?
"Falling Slowly" became our song naturally because we watched "Once" together early in our relationship when it was shown one Friday night as part of my university's independent/foreign film series.  Because the lyrics are more about a breakup than about enduring love (the song ends with "I paid the cost too late, Now you're gone"), we didn't feel it was appropriate for a first dance song.  So we had to find a new one. 

Why did you pick this song?
In short, because it was a little different and a song we both agreed on.  When I realized we needed to find a first dance song, I put together a short list of about five songs I was thinking of using.  Some of the songs I found online in lists of "good first dance songs", like "Fools Rush In".  Others were my personal favorites ("La Pared" acoustic version by Shakira).  "Use Somebody" was playing a lot on the radio at the time and I was very drawn to it every time I heard it.  David ruled some out right away (he didn't want to dance to a song in Spanish because most of our guests wouldn't understand it) and we were left with only a few.  In the end, we picked "Use Somebody" because it wasn't a typical first dance song but still had a beautiful meaning.

What does it mean to you?
It plays on the radio once in a while and it always melts my heart to hear it.  We took a few private dance lessons before the wedding and practiced over and over to that song, so it represents us learning to dance together which was really fun and exciting as we prepared for our big day. It reminds me of being held tight in my husband arms and having him learn to lead me.  Dancing is a really great metaphor for marriage, really. 

How has the meaning changed since you first chose it? 
I think we realize now more than when we first got married how much we need one another in our lives.  Especially now that we have a daughter, there are many moments when the lyrics "I could use somebody right now" rings true.  Somebody to share my life with.  Somebody to share in the happy moments, the difficult time, to split the household chores with.  And David is that perfect somebody for me.  Marriage isn't all about love and romance (although it's about that too), it's often about support and just having someone there next to you. 

Won't you share a picture of you two dancing? (Doesn't have to be a wedding picture!)
I tried to explain the song to our dance instructor before we met her, but she hadn't heard it before.  She seemed a little nervous when we brought it along and she first heard it since it was rather upbeat, but she was able to choreograph a little entrance to it and teach us some basic steps and turns to use.  We really shocked our friends and family that we were doing "fancy" dancing.  I love this picture because you can see the look on David's cousin's face in the background.  Explains it all!

Monday, April 7, 2014

And Jesus wept. (+ Answer Me This!)

I've found a lot of comfort in yesterday's Gospel, the raising of Lazarus (John 11:1-45), especially the simple phrase, "And Jesus wept."  Christ's friend Lazarus died and He wept in mourning, even though He knew that He would soon raise Lazarus, even though there was an afterlife.  After all, death was never part of God's original plan for mankind, but a result of sin.  Like all things, God can still bring great good out of the consequence of sin, but there is still a sadness in it. 

After my miscarriages, I often heard something along the lines of, "You shouldn't be sad that your children died. You should be happy because your child is in heaven." I've heard that other moms who have experienced pregnancy loss have been told the same.  I understand that those who say that are doing so out of love, but for those of us who are already struggling to find space to grieve in a society that generally doesn't acknowledge our loss, it's hard to be told that we shouldn't be in mourning.  I don't speak for all women who have had a loss and I'm sure there are women who take comfort in those words, I'm just not one of them.  Even if my children are in heaven, a thought that I do find comfort in, I still feel their absence profoundly.  Sadness and happiness are not mutually exclusive emotions.  If Jesus, who is God, wept at the death of a friend, surely I can weep at the death of my child without reproach.

I've found much consolation from the Gospel readings this Lent. The previous Sunday's reading (John 91-41) was very powerful as well:
As Jesus passed by he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “Neither he nor his parents sinned; it is so that the works of God might be made visible through him."
This part was so powerful that I cried!  During the Gospel and during the homily.  I cry often during movies but very, very rarely during Mass.  But this was exactly what my heart needed to hear.  Our losses are not punishment for something we had done.  I've never really believed that they were, but I guess, somewhere, deep down, I still had that doubt.  This Lent has truly been exactly what I've needed for healing.  It makes me wonder if Lent has the ability to become what I need every year and I just haven't paid enough attention to let it.


While I'm here....Kendra started a new weekly link up called "Answer Me This". She started it last week without knowing it but it now has a name and and an image.  I'm answering last week's questions.  You can find this week's for the upcoming Sunday link up here.

1. Where do you live? And why do you live there? I live in Raleigh, NC.  The short answer of why we live here is because my husband got a job here after a year-long job search. We probably would have moved anywhere just for him to have a job, but we lived here previously and loved it.  The more drawn out answer is that a blog reader saw me write a post on how David was possibly interested in teaching high school.  She previously worked at the school, is friends with the Dean and told him about David.  How cool is that?  A blog reader helped my husband get a job! 

2. What are you currently watching and/or reading? Currently reading Mansfield Park, Story of a Soul, Prayer: Our Deepest Longing, Prayer: Does it Make any Difference, and Out of the Silent Planet.

3. What kind of Catholic are you: cradle, or convert? (Or considering?)cradle

4. Can you point to one moment or experience that made you a practicing Catholic? (Or want to be?)I don't know that there was a specific moment though I credit my strong faith to the Catholic school I attended K-3.  The point when I took my faith on as my own decision was sophomore year of high school when I pushed to be put in the Confirmation class with my peers even though I was starting a month late because my family didn't know about the classes since we weren't attending Mass regularly at the time. 

5. How many pairs of shoes do you own? I'll have to count but probably around 20.

6. Are you a good dancer? I'd say I'm decent.  I don't think I'm particularly embarrassing but also not super talented. 

7. Who usually drives, you or your husband? Husband.  Always.  I can't remember the last time I drove when he was in the car.  It's happened maybe a handful of times in our almost four years of marriage.

8. What's your favorite holiday and how do you celebrate it? I've always loves St. Patrick's Day, probably because it's always been lumped in with my birthday (which is the day before).  I also loved that it is a holiday of obvious Catholic origin that is now a part of our American culture.  And I love corned beef and cabbage.  We don't do a ton to celebrate and are still figuring out how we'll celebrate it as a family, but corned beef and cabbage will always be a staple.

9. Which is correct? Left or right? I'm not one who really cares about this debate, but I prefer left.

10. Do you have any scars? Yes, I have a scar from chicken pox on my forehead that gets pointed out a lot.  It gets edited out by most professional photographers which annoys me because it's been part of what I look like since I was nine.  It doesn't bother me anymore.  I should just tell them not to edit it out, but I always forget because I don't even notice it now.

old picture of me on my honeymoon rocking the scar
I also have a faint scar on my cheek from a saber tooth tiger attack. (My dad climbed a tree with me on his back when I was a baby and a branch got me bad. So, logically, when my mom got home, my dad told her that it was the result of a saber tooth tiger attack and he saved me.  I has become a family legend.)  I probably have a ton of other small ones because I'm accident prone and find myself with bruises and scabs all the time with no idea where they came from.

11. What's the most famous thing you've ever done? I was on the front page of the city newspaper when I was in ninth grade for winning a trophy at the state chess championship.  I was the top female player in the tournament and the trophy was appropriately very pretty.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Seven Ways to Support Kate

Kate Lawhon, blogger at Real Catholic Love and Sex, is raising funds for Creighton FertilityCare training.  Creighton is a method of fertility awareness/natural family planning that can be used to prevent and achieve pregnancy, as well as detect underlying causes of a woman's health issues, including infertility, miscarriage, ovarian cysts, and hormonal imbalances.   It's particularly close to my heart because David and I started working with a Creighton instructor just last week to try to find and treat the causes of my miscarriages.  Kate lives in the Portland/Vancouver area where there is a woeful lack of NFP instructors of any method.  By supporting Kate, you will in turn be providing women in her area with access to complete reproductive healthcare.  

How can you help Kate?  I'm so glad you asked.  Aside from donating directly to Kate through her gofundme page, you can shop from any of the following direct sales/small businesses through April 10th and a portion of your purchase will go to Kate.  To sweeten the pot, you'll also have a chance to win a giveaway with prizes from most of these sponsors - you'll get one entry for each $10 you spend at any of these venders and one winner takes all.  If you'd like to learn more about Kate, Creighton, or any of the products below, join us for a live online party on Facebook tomorrow (Saturday) night at 9pm EST. 

I don't want to harp on this because I talk about being a Lilla Rose independent consultant and the hair accessories often enough, but they truly are beautiful, comfortable, and very easy to use.  There are some really darling styles for girls if you need some more items for the Easter basket, First Communion or Confirmation gifts. 

Shop through the party I've set up for Kate and 30% of all sales will benefit her. If you are a new Lilla Rose customer, you'll get a free item ($16 and under) if you buy any three items.  Purchase your three (or more) items, then email me at with your free item choice.  You do need to sign up as my customer (I'll send you details on how to do so) to get this deal.  I will also be giving one Flexi clip of the winner's choice ($16 and under) and a pair of bobby pins to the giveaway winner. Shop here:

Usborne Book & More consultant Molly Walter will be donating all commission after the first $20. I recently did an Usborne party with her and nothing I say can do justice to the books they have.  Super, super high quality, huge selection, tons of activity books (sticker books, wipe-clean books, etc.).  This picture shows some of my favorites for a baby/toddler Easter basket, but there are tons of book for older kids too. She will be giving away a paperback copy of First Encyclopedia of the Human Body. Shop here:

Mary Kay Beauty Consultant, Michaela Wagner, has skin care, body care, fragrances for men and women! Not to mention an amazing line of color cosmetics. 30% of all sales will be donated to Kate. She will also be giving away one Satin Hands Pampering Set. Shop here:

There will be several styles of rosary bracelets offered by Allicia Faber of  Allicia is a sweet friend of mine and sent me the rosary bracelet above and I wear it every day.  It is beyond lovely.  $5 from each sale will go directly to Kate's fund.  You can see the items available (including the one I have - we can be twinnies!) on the event Facebook page here.

Thirty-One Gifts Independent Consultant, Kristan, is donating 15% of the proceeds from this party to help Kate. Thirty-One has a little bit of everything - purses, thermals, home organization, and more! I'm especially loving the gym bags that are on special this month.  Yes, that above is a gym bag!  (Did I tell you we joined a gym?  No? Well, we did.)  Shop here:

Pampered Chef consultant, Kim Valdez is donating 15% to Kate.  I can browse the Pampered Chef catalog for hours.  I especially love all the garlic tools.  Shop here:

Rosaries by Allison will be donating 10% of all sales in the Etsy shop. Allison's rosary are wonderful - I custom ordered matching ones for David and me as a surprise and he loved it.  She's so great to work with too.  One lucky person will win a pocket rosary with 'Storm' Swarovski bicone crystal beads. Shop here:

 For more Quick Takes, visit Jen. Then order her book. It's totally worth it just for the free ebook for preorders. I'm reading it right now and really enjoying.