Like almost every week, this has been a week filled to the brim with too much to do, too little time to do it in and a wide range of emotions to boot.  Life of raising three very different kids, and life in general when you think about it.  With the in-laws finishing up their visit, the kids caught up on some much needed R&R, but no day is without it’s own set of surprises, and I’m sure many of you know.

A Sweet Sounds of a Bedtime Story

Still on the mend from the sickness that never wants to leave, the in-laws and I decided to take the kids to the movies.  Paddington 2 surprised all by being the best rated film of all time on Rotten Tomatoes, and so with the fondness of the first installment still lingering (yes, 2014’s Paddington was an absolute delight), we walked in with full expectation of a good time.  We were not disappointed.  In fact, the reports that this sequel outdoes the first film are true (when does this ever happen, really?).  Everything that set Paddington apart from other ‘kid’s movies’ is still here, just richer, and more sure of itself.  Director Paul King, who really has little outside of the Paddington films to his resume, can etch the title ‘visionary’ next to his name (too early?  I think not!) thanks to the way he crafts these films with such artistic and authentic vision.

With hints of Wes Anderson influences, Paddington 2 picks up where the first film left us and centers around a prized book, a mysterious treasure and a master of disguise.

The entire cast is well up to the task, with Hugh Grant delivering a (now Award Winning) performance as the hilariously over-the-top actor turned villain.  But, the acting and even the story (which is genuine and nicely constructed) take a back seat to the way that story is told.  That was what impressed me so much about the original and what further impresses me about it’s successor, and it’s precisely why I called King a visionary.  Watching Paddington feels very much like reading Paddington, in a good way.  The storybook aspect of the source material is not lost in translation; in fact it’s exemplified.  From the cozy scoring to the gorgeously detailed set pieces to the way that King literally transports us inside the books, using the art decoration as a character all it’s own (that pop-up book prison scene is brilliant).

To say the film is ‘spellbinding’ feels like an understatement.

With all the obvious antics that are in play here, it’s worth noting that Paddington never feels like a kid’s film.  I don’t mean that to say that kid’s films are bad or that your kids won’t enjoy this, but there is a maturity and warmth that permeates Paddington, making it feel more honest and more grounded.  There is real emotion in play, and the way that the film flows, even in the midst of chaos, has such a relaxed and calming spirit.  It resembles the feeling a child may get while nestled in the arms of a parent or grandparent, as they are being whispered off to sleep as the words of their favorite storybook float in the air.

Paul King (and company) are reading to us, and we eat up every single word!

A Little Needed Downtime

In-laws left Thursday morning, which meant that we could finally rest.  Loved having them, and the kids had a blast doing as much as they could with them, but all three of them (four if you count my father-in-law) were sick for the entire visit and so it was good to finally have nowhere to go and nothing to do.  So we just did that; nothing…

Let’s be honest though, doing nothing can get boring pretty fast and so Friday they kids were anxious to occupy some time.  My eldest is a bookworm, which I have always been especially proud of (she gets it from her father), but as she gets older finding suitable material for her is hard.  She’s only ten, but she has a mature soul and so she is rapidly growing out of the books I’d like her to read and aching to get her hands on more.

I’m just not ready for that.  Is anyone else having this issue?  I’m an avid reader, but I hesitate to have her read anything off my shelf.  Books have no rating system, no filter, and so even the stuff that should be tame are…less so in written form.  Like with movies these days, everything targeted to that ‘tween’ (I hate that word so much) audience is either saturated in angst (do we have to encourage that?), sex or violence.  Even Nicholas Sparks books have teenagers having sex, and I’m sorry but I’m not going to encourage that in my house.  Language is also an issue.

I scoured my shelf last week and finally found a book I know she’ll love that won’t send me into a parental spiral when she talks about it.  Jane Eyre.  It’s dramatic (she loves her drama), romantic (without crossing lines she’s not ready to see crossed) and even suspenseful.  And it’s so gorgeously written.

As we rounded out the week and entered the weekend, health seems to finally be improved (outside of a few sniffles, which I think are more allergy related than anything else) and so I’m thankful for that.  Sadly, as we mended health-wise, we were hit pretty hard emotionally as I found out that a dear friend passed away Saturday morning.  So, it’s been a rough weekend and will continue to be a rough week/month/year.  Losing a loved one, whether friend or family, is always a difficult thing to process, and I’ve been struggling with that a bit the past few days.  The thing you have to remind yourself is that they were loved and while they are missed, this isn’t the end.

So no matter how dark it seems, I’ll hug my kids a little tighter and look for the light.

The Winning Side of Losing

Despite the looming sadness that permeated most of the weekend, we had plans to attend a little party on Sunday night and so we took the opportunity to try and brighten our spirits.  In case you hadn’t heard, last night was The Super Bowl.  Yeah, you heard, and you probably watched.  Even I, who has never been and never will be an avid sports fan, watched the game.  And boy was it an intense game!  While I’m not a sports fan per se, I have always rooted for The Patriots since I was a kid.  It all stems from one particular evening of watching a game with my family (staunch Packers fans) where The Patriots and Packers faced off and my family was so obnoxious about their Packer-hood that I had to play contrary and root for the other team.  Patriots won (because, duh) and I had my moments of gloating.  Since then I’ve just always identified as a Patriots’ fan, and so watching the game last night was…hard to do, since they played worse than I’ve ever seen them play before.

What happened to Tom Brady?

Anyways, the night was still a blast, especially since our house was divided (we had fans for both teams rooting HARD) and now that I’m older, obnoxious doesn’t always turn me off (I’m pretty obnoxious when I want to be).  The kids were all dolled up and everyone was having a good time.  Even if you aren’t a football fan, Super Bowl parties are always a blast.  Any excuse to drink beer and eat pizza and yell loudly with your friends, right!

And despite what the internet wants you to believe, Timberlake KILLED IT last night.  He used every inch of that field, and then some, and the flow to his medley of songs was easy and worked perfect.  The fact that he got in the stands with the fans and waited patiently for that ‘nervous as all get out’ boy tried to take a selfie says a lot for the respect he has for his celebrity.  He remembers that he’s nothing without the people who love him.  And Timberlake, by nature, is a showman, and it showed in spades last night.  Sure, his woods inspired outfit was gross and he danced more than he sang, but who cares.  He entertained (a lot more than the game was doing up to that point) and while some bitter souls are trying to make it out like Timberlake is a non-commodity at this point (one troll even wrote that no one knows who or cares who Timberlake is…like…lol…where’s his rock), the whole crowd ATE-IT-UP, and rightfully so.

They shelled out $5000+ per ticket to be entertained, and Timberlake did just that!

Song of the Week: Get Out

Yes, this week brought us Justin Timberlake’s latest album, Man of the Woods, but as much as I’ll defend his Halftime Show, I currently can’t defend this sloppy album.  It’s tonally all over the place and feels like The Bee Gees, N.E.R.D., Bob Marley and Sturgill Simpson had a musical baby, and while I love an artist who can blend influences into their own breed of musicality, this album lacks any cohesion and just feels messy.  I’m sure I’ll give it a few more spins and maybe find something to appreciate, but right now it feels like a real miss and a letdown considering that I’ve been a very big fan of his previous records.

But the week wasn’t a complete mess.  Stone Temple Pilots came back with a song that made me feel 15 again, and Madison Beer finally released an EP, but the real story here is the return of CHVRCHES and their fun, and completely lovable Get Out.  That chorus is so catchy, and that bridge is something special, for sure.  I hope this means that we’ll have a new album this year!

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