Learning from a Bear

The littles and I have been reading A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond.  In anticipation of the movie, don’t you know.

Because I am THAT parent.  The one who treks all over trying to find a copy of the original book.  (Speak to me of the “movie adaptations,” and I may not be able to look at you the same way–or at all–ever again.  #booksnob)

And the one who has us reading it BEFORE we go see the movie.  After all, that’s what it says to do right there on the cover.


Finding the original was harder than I thought it would be.  The on-line megastore was sold out; they said it would take weeks to deliver.  Our local bookstore sold out every time a copy came in.

We finally saw one behind the cash register as we were checking out at the other bookstore in town, and no one had claimed it.

So we did.

We’ve been reading it a chapter at a time.  We were all excited because there are only 8 chapters.  We thought we could zip on through it.  But the chapters are very long, so it’s taking us a little longer than we anticipated.  We are enjoying our time reading aloud to each other though.  In the car, at home–it’s an amusing story.  And precious.  I laughed out loud over the spelling of “Modom” when the store salesman snootily addressed Mrs. Brown.  I could hear his tone perfectly.

Today it was my turn to read aloud.  Poor Paddington.  He was in quite a pickle.  He just got this new overcoat that he was quite thrilled about, but when he bent over the hood covered up his face.  Only he thought the lights had gone out.  So he headed towards what he believed to be the door and wound up in the window display, knocking everything over.  When he realized what had happened, he said, “Oh dear. I’m in trouble again.”  He realized that some people, most likely a lot of people would be cross.  And then he thought–

“People weren’t very good at having things explained to them, 

and it was going to be difficult explaining how his duffle coat hood had fallen over his head.”*

Bless him.  And he’s right, isn’t he?

How often do I jump to conclusions and start my ranting?  Rarely taking the time to let someone explain…..

Over spilled cups, broken toys, things missing, unlocked doors, locked doors, things not picked up, assignments not done…..

Oh me, Paddington, I’m one of THOSE people.

And I’m sorry.

Tonight I’m thankful for time reading with my littles.  I look forward to seeing the movie with them. I just hope we finish it in time.  It seems like movies come and go so quickly from the theaters these days.

I’m also thankful for books published almost sixty years ago that still have important things to say to us today.  I give thanks for the little bear with the hat that is his best so he doesn’t want a new one, and for my children’s innocent laughter over the things he says and does. (A bear who loves bacon and tucks it in his case to take along for the day?  Who wouldn’t love him, right?)

Most of all, I am grateful for a little bear who touched my heart and softened it a bit today.  I want to be the patient one so very badly.  I want to be one who listens first and reacts second.  I am afraid I have a long way to go though.

Wishing for us all a patient and listening heart and mind…..after all, hoods that fall over faces, that sort of thing could happen to anyone…..

Love to all.


*Love this story by Michael Bond, copyrighted 1958.  To read more about it or order your own copy, click here.

Everything is Awesome…..

We’ve been to see the Lego Movie.

And loved it.

And at least once a day, at home or out in PUBLIC, my littles can be heard singing {loudly} the “Everything is Awesome” song from the movie.

It’s been delightful.  Really.


(And for those of you who have heard it before and now cannot get it out of your head–sorry.  It plays in mine pretty much non-stop these days.)

Cooter and Princess enjoy batting lines from the movie back and forth.  They talk about the different Lego sets that are available in stores from the movie and which ones they are hoping for first.  (Ahhh, Lego, I see what you did there.  Well played, well played.)

Cooter loves his new Lego Movie shirt

Cooter loves his new Lego Movie shirt

Today Cooter woke up and put on his new shirt that he got for his birthday featuring the Lego movie characters.  He loves it.  He had not quite finished dressing, shall we say, when he came into the living room with the rest of us.

“Hey, Mama, can I be the ‘Where’s my Pants?” guy from the movie for Halloween?”  And then he laughed and laughed until he could barely catch his breath.


Ummmm, that would be a negative there, good buddy.  Shirts and pants required for costumes at all times by this Mama.  Shirts and underwear only are not acceptable.

*shaking my head* (while doing a poor job of holding back the laughter)

Tonight I’m thankful for my children who bring me joy.  This little guy who keeps me laughing.   The one who isn’t here who shares her joys, worries, and Harry Potter quotes with me–through e-mails, text messages, Facebook, and phone calls.  I’ll take it any way I can get it.  And the one who brings me dandelion flowers she’s picked and camellias that have fallen to the ground.  Accompanied by the biggest smile a Mama could ask for.

My dandelion and camellia brought in from the yard by my Princess

My dandelion and camellia brought in from the yard by my Princess

“Everything is awesome
Everything is cool when you’re part of a team
Everything is awesome, when we’re living our dream”

                                                                –“Everything Is Awesome,” written by Shawn Patterson, Joshua Bartholomew and Lisa Harriton

Giving thanks for the giggles and the love and for all of my team–love my Zoo Crew.  They’re all pretty amazing, and yes y’all, they’re awesome.  (Well, most of the time anyway.)

Love to all.

Previews…..the hint of good things to come

Sneak Previews

Sneak Previews (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I originally wrote this on 9 August 2008.  Thought I’d dust it off and share it with y’all tonight. 

I had the great joy today of going to the movies.  I haven’t been in over two years, so I was very excited and maybe a bit nervous that I pick just the right one to see, as it could be another two years before I get to go again.  Wow.  Prices have changed, but little else has.  The smell, the lights, the movie posters everywhere.  My friend, who blessed me by asking me to join her, led me to the right popcorn and coke line, where we got our small sizes of each.  We headed to the theater where the lights had already dimmed and the “Please turn off your cell phone” message was playing.  We found our seats and I settled in—here I am—entertain me!

As the previews began, I was mesmerized.  The first movie, hmmm, not so much.  I don’t remember the title.  I just know it won’t even make my “hey, let’s watch this on TV” list.  The next two, though, seemed to be full of energy and action, with plots that would keep one laughing, crying, and wanting more.  I was amazed that the producers could put together just the right clips to make me want to come back for more…..tomorrow…..I don’t want to wait two more months!  As the theater darkened, getting ready for the feature movie, I sighed.  I love the previews.  I could have gone home happy then.  I know so many people who groan and moan about the previews on DVD’s  and how they can’t just skip over them.  I must confess—were it just me watching—I would let them play, taking it all in, even if it was for a movie I’d already seen.  I love the previews.

The movie started, and it hit me how some of the best moments in my life have been previews.  The first time I saw each of my three children—what a preview!  A tiny little tadpole looking critter, whose only indication of life was a microscopic little heartbeat that brought me to tears.  They each had other previews, later sonograms…..and maddeningly enough to some folks, I turned my head during the most crucial time, so I could be surprised when they actually made their opening scene.  Did I mention I really love it when they don’t show all of the best scenes in the previews?  Previews that leave me giddy with anticipation and wondering? Yes please.

When each one took her/his first step, it was a preview of the times they’d run to me with open arms for a hug, turn away from me in frustration, or leave me behind for their very first “all by my big self” adventure.  When each spoke his/her first word, it was a preview of all they would share—the “I love you,” the “I can’t stand you,” the “you’re the best, Mama.”  When each dressed him/herself for the first time, it was a preview of the self-expression that makes each one so unique and precious and treasured.  Each day with each one is a preview of the people they are becoming, with every moment and with every breath.

When I first met the man I would marry and he held my hand, I had a preview of our life together—someone who would listen, someone who would walk beside me and share the journey, someone who would offer a hand—a hand up, a clap to cheer me on, or a hug when I need it.

At our wedding six years ago, I had a preview of a friendship that I would come to treasure.  Never would I have guessed back then that the person whom I had only briefly met, who gave so selflessly and took it upon herself to set up and decorate our reception area would, six years later, be sitting next to me in a dark theater, laughing and literally “rejoicing” with me over a movie that we both so connected with.

Our world gives us previews too.  The first flower that pokes its head up through the soil gives us a glimpse of the spring and summer to come.  The first blossoms on the peach trees leave us anticipating that first bite into the first juicy, ripe, sweet peach of the season.  The first cool morning towards the end of a sweltering summer gives us a preview and a reminder that fall will come.  The clouds and brisk winds brings to mind the precious rain that will fall down and nourish our earth.  Some plots are too good to be improved upon.

Previews.  What is to come for us.  The little things that make us come back for more—to seek more–and the delightful surprises that play out when we do.  That’s what is so wonderful and mystical about this life.  We are constantly getting previews of the good things to come.  Sometimes we just have to take a moment to sit quietly and look around.  And then get ready—the best is yet to come!

His Best Day Ever

Tonight my oldest asked our little guy, age 6, when was his best day ever.  He answered, “Today.  Right now.”


pic of Star Wars logo

Because he was finally watching a few minutes of Star Wars.  The actual movie–not the Lego’s version that I hoped would appease him a little longer.  He was so excited he could hardly sit still.  My little guy, Cooter, knows more about Star Wars than a lot of people who have seen all six movies.  He asks a lot of questions and pieces it together in his mind.  He KNOWS this stuff.  All I can say is if he puts this much energy and passion into learning REAL history, we are all set.

While he and his friends were watching, my friends and I talked about movies we watched growing up, which echoed a conversation my husband and I had earlier today.  I realize I am way overprotective of what my children watch.  (I ask folks in doctor’s offices to change the channels–I mean, some of the junk they have on in there is downright ridiculous!)  Today I might have gotten to the heart of the matter.

pic of sleeping beauty

Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty” was one absolutely SCARY movie.  I mean seriously, have you seen the big battle scene between Prince Phillip and Maleficent?  That’s the stuff nightmares are made of people.  I know this.  For.  A.  Fact.  It was made in 1959.  For children.  I guess dancing forest critters and the bumbling sweetness of the fairies, Flora, Fauna, and Merryweather were all supposed to outweigh the darkness that was Maleficent and her curse.  However, when I first watched it about fifteen years after it was made, it made no matter.  I was terrified.  We even had the soundtrack album, and the pictures on the record cover could give me the heebie-jeebies.  She changes, Maleficent does.  Into a horrible, terrifying, HUGE fire-breathing dragon.  Prince Phillip is almost toast.  Literally.  Okay, enough of that.  Too close to bedtime.  Suffice to say, when that movie is in your memory banks, you remember it and try to keep your own little ones away from such as that for as long as you can.

My friends and I talked about other movies and television shows we watched growing up.  Horror movies, soap operas, Love Boat and Fantasy Island were amongst those mentioned. (Yes, we all agreed, Tattoo was a creeper.  He often just hung out, staring.  What was that about?)  I remember my parents picking a weekend, usually in the heat of the summer or over a school break, and going to the video rental store.  For one special price we could rent a Video Disc Player and something like ten movies on video discs, not due back until Monday by noon.  Wow.  We camped out in the living room, all of us together, taking bathroom or snack breaks between the movies.  My spot was lying sideways in the chair that now sits in my Sister’s beautiful room.  We watched so many different movies, I can’t remember them all, but I do know most of those weekends were Western weekends.  People tend to remember Westerns with a nostalgic look on their faces, but let me tell you, they weren’t pretty.  In hindsight I shudder at just how violent some were.  We were partial to John Wayne and the old classic westerns that had great one-liners and funny oddball characters.  They were wholesome, but a lot of folks got shot up.  Does that even sound right?

And so I obsess.  I watched all those movies starting when I was probably 10 or 12.  But my sisters were younger than that.  So, am I being too overprotective with my own children?  Our Princess, eight and a half years old, who wants to watch the newer Disney shows designed for tweens and teens.  Our little guy, Cooter, who desperately wants to watch Star Wars.  Whose best day ever was this one right here when he got to watch 25 minutes of Star Wars, Episode 4.  And who can’t wait to watch the rest.  He keeps assuring me he wasn’t scared and that it was AWESOME.

And now the new Lone Ranger movie has come out.  My little guy sees the pictures on cereal boxes and on Lego’s boxes (thank you for that, oh Lego’s Wise Ones).  He wants to see it.  This one is a “no” (it’s PG-13 for goodness’ sake), but what about the old, original episodes?  Is he old enough to handle them?  Zorro?  Gunsmoke?

So, just wondering, what do you remember watching?  How old were you when you first saw Star Wars?  Sleeping Beauty?  How old were your children or other little ones in your life when they saw these movies?  How old were you or your child or someone you knew before they saw their first PG-13 movie?  The old Westerns–pros and cons?

We get one shot at doing this right, and I’m really trying.  Nobody ever said raising children would be easy, and that’s a good thing.  Because it’s not the least bit easy.  At all.