Hooked On A Feeling {Guardians Of The Galaxy Movie Review}

Alternative Post Title: The Time My 8-Year Learned How To Use Inappropriate Words, Appropriately

Last week I was invited to see a preview screening of Guardians of the Galaxy.

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© Marvel 2014

This movie has been on my radar for a while because B is SUPER into comics and he was given a GOTG Comic last year at the screening of Iron Man. He read that thing until it fell apart and it has been SO excited about seeing it play out in the theater. We watched all of the trailers together and he gave me the back story to every single one of the characters.

Let it be said that my expectations going into this thing were low. I mean, a talking raccoon and a tree? Really? I do love Chris Pratt, but… A TALKING RACCOON AND A TREE?

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© Marvel 2014

I’m going to get a little ahead of myself here and say that I was 100% WRONG about the talking raccoon and tree — and in the meantime, I fell in love with this little ($175 million dollar) movie.

I found the set up a little more complex than other Marvel movies — and since a large part of movie is about how the Guardians get together I won’t go into it. All you really need to know is that it’s about a band of misfits, in space, who are on a mission – of sorts. Sound like a few other movies you know?? While I’ve seen it compared to Star Wars (and Avengers), I feel like there’s more of a Firefly/Serenity vibe. Also, while it’s Marvel and it DOES tie to The Avengers storyline, this is free-standing movie that has nothing to do with any of the other Marvel movies out there.

So, let’s get to that whole talking animal tree thing… Is it just me, or did the commercials/trailers make them seem lame and like a distraction?? Maybe they didn’t want to ruin it, but I actually thought Rocket and Groot (and their relationship) got some of the best laughs and emotional moments. No, really. I completely attribute this to Bradley Cooper doing some stellar voice work, as well as being easily amused by a tree that only says three words.

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As for the others — I thought Zoe Saldana did a fantastic job as Gamora. She doesn’t put up with any BS (yay – more strong female characters) and her fight scenes are legit. Dave Bautista surprised me as Drax. I mean, he’s a WWE wrestler and he pulled off a performance I didn’t expect. Lee Pace (the main dude from Pushing Daisies) plays Ronan (aka – the big bad) and I have to say I didn’t even REALIZE it was Lee Pace until after I got home – mostly because he’s in blue makeup, but also because he is so sinister.

© Marvel 2014

© Marvel 2014

Why so blue?

The real star of this show though is without a doubt Chris Pratt as Star Lord/Peter Quill.

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 Hello ladies…

I might have had a soft spot for Chris since his days on Everwood (watch it… cry…laugh….fall in love with Bright Abbott) and of course he’s one of my favorite parts about Parks and Rec — but this movie is his show and he is FANTASTIC to watch. I’m actually a little mad that now I’m going to have to share him with the WORLD (and I suppose galaxy).

Another aspect of the movie that I loved (and don’t typically pay attention to) was the soundtrack. A big plot point in the movie is Peter’s 1980′s Walkman and mixed tape from his mom – and they did a great job of streamlining it in. Ever thought you’d watch a prison-break scene to the tune of the Piña Colada Song? Yeah, me either.

As far as B’s review… Yeah, he loved it. Was it a little violent? Sure. But no more violent than Star Wars or the Avengers. Were there several jokes that went over his head? Yep. I will warn you that he learned a few new choice words that were not previously in his vocabulary.

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And that’s not the worst of it…

This movie had more profanity in it than the last four Marvel movies combined (I defend my parenting choices here by saying that we did talk about how their is a time and a place for profanity — and at this age, it’s never). There was also a scene in the beginning of the movie that made him (and me) a little sad – regarding Peter’s mom. So parents, be prepared for a few questions.

I did think there are a few weird quirky parts that I just couldn’t get into (I found all of the “Collector” scenes bizarre – perhaps I am not a big enough Marvel fangirl?), but overall it was a highly enjoyable 2-hour summer movie.

So bottom line – Get really to cheer on a bunch of oddballs for movies to come. And Chris Pratt? Welcome to “Top 5 List.”

Chicago Marathon Training – Month 1

I’ve been training for the Chicago Marathon for a month now. So far, I’m hitting my training schedule.

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I actually can’t believe I’ve already hit 18 miles. I still have 14 miles to run the rest of this week – and 10 on Saturday (since I’m not running on Sunday), but I should be able to hit them without a problem. I have to say, I’m pretty impressed about the mileage I did this month – and the consistency of my pace.

18 miles - Done! It wouldn't have been so bad if the heat index wasn't at 95 degrees the last 5-6 miles. It's going to make me stronger, right? #chimarathon #teamrmhc #crazy

Latest Garmin Selfie. That Garmin is just so photogenic.

I have a few rambling thoughts that I’m going to put into somewhat coherent bullets.

**Base training was worth it – adding an extra run each week and longer distances hasn’t been too bad. The longest I ran during base training was 12 miles (once), but for the 3 months I was in base-training mode it was mostly 7 to 8 milers, hitting 20-25 miles a week. I actually felt more aches and pains during this base training than I have since I’ve upped my mileage. Go figure.

**It’s f*cking hot. Ok, so that’s a given because a) it’s the summer and b) I live in Florida, but I don’t think I realized HOW hot it would be. I did this training 3 years ago and mostly avoided the sun because I had people to met at 4:30 in the morning. This time I’m running it on my own (I’m open to running with other though!) and it’s hard to leave the house. I actually get up pretty early (like 4 or 5) but then procrastinate.

**3/1 Long runs are hard (but probably worth it). For my long runs I’ve been running the first 3/4 of the run at a pace between 10-10:15 minute/mile — and then the last 1/4 at race pace – 9:30 (or a little slower if the heat index is 100 degrees). I feel like it serves two purposes – teaches me to reserve my energy AND gets me to run faster on tired feet/legs.

**Running 4 days a week isn’t bad. When training for Savannah, I ran 3 days a week – but ALL of those runs were intense. I did a long run, a tempo run, and speedwork. I did not enjoy a single run. This time around, the runs are less intense, but I’m hitting my tempo run and hitting my mileage. I’m also just enjoying the miles. Some might call them junk miles, but I consider it time on my feet and a great way to get rid of stress.

**Ducks are really the cutest birds ever. Every morning I see ducks, ducks, and more ducks. I would be lying if I said they didn’t make my day. There was one day where I witness the world’s longest duck crossing. Sadly, a car came and broke it up (no ducks were injured – turns out, ducks are pretty smart about cars) – and a few of the ducks left behind were so angry/confused. I’m considering starting duck blog I love these damn ducks so much (not really).

Just out for a jog. #seeonmyrun #ducksofinstagram #hopetheyarentoffendedisaidjog #wooendorphins

Today's run was meh, but at least I felt like the duck posse was cheering me on. #seeonmyrun

**Ice baths hurt a lot less when you’re already sitting IN the bath and then you get “iced.” Yes, it’s taken me 36 years to learn this trick.

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Don’t get me wrong, ice baths are still pure torture, but they are a good kind of torture because I can walk (even run!) the next without issue.

**The best part of running in the middle of the summer in Florida (which is kind of like an oxymoron, right?) is the gorgeous sunrises and sunsets.

So pretty. So f*cking hot. #seeonmyrun #wooendorphins #pardonmyfrench

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Happy Friday! What a peaceful sunrise... balancing out the crappy humidity. #seeonmyrun #wooendorphins #teamrmhc #whyamimarathontraininginthemiddleofthesummer

It never gets old.

**Falling still sucks. I fell during my 2nd long run (at mile 2.75). I managed to shake it off and keep going, but it really sucked and I felt the after effects for a few weeks (the bruising on left hip was pretty bad – as was the scrape on the inner pad of my right hand – I have NO idea how that happened).

Long run #2 and I had a meet up with the pavemen at mile 2.75. I'm banged up pretty bad, but at least I didn't have to get stitches! #chimarathon #teamrmhc #klutz

I also now really paranoid about sidewalks, so I try to run on the road as much as possible. Turns out that not a bad idea because I run faster and more efficiently on the road. Who knew?

**Bring on the carbs! Actually, my appetite is super weird. Long run days I crave food, but get full really fast. Rest and bootcamp days I eat the most. Is this normal?

**Since I’ve hit 14 miles on my long run, I’ve worn my Nathan Endurance vest on my long runs. I feel like I have a love – hate relationship with this thing.

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This is my trying not to die while foolishly taking a selfie because I’m an idiot face.

I love the ease and accessibility of my fuel/water – and I’ve finally gotten to the point where it actually feels comfortable to wear it – but I hate, hate, HATE the straps touching me while I run. Now I could wrap them up all neatly, but that is SO unrealistic and not going to happen. Instead I spend half of my trying to fix them so I don’t feel them. It is just me?

**I have the best cheerleaders waiting for me at home. Every single time I get home from a run I get cheers and applause. And also sometimes I get this…

Better than a medal any day.

**I need more pop-culturey running shirts.

Just got back from a 5-miler with Castiel. I hope he didn't get any bugs in his mouth like I did. (Thanks @eatwatchrun for the awesome birthday present!) #spn #extraprotein #wooendorphins

Running with Castiel is the best. Thanks to Paula for this fantastic birthday gift.

And that’s pretty much it for the first month.

14 disgustingly humid miles done (I wish that gigantic rain cloud would have just rained!). I met a turtles, gave dirty looks to more than 10 bikers riding on the sidewalk, and didn't fall. #chimarathon #teamrmhc #wooendorphins

TL;DR — I ran a lot, I feel once, I saw a lot of sunrises, sunsets, and ducks, the heat really sucks — but it’s ALLLLLL worth it. Hopefully. Also, 1 month done… 2 more

Favorite pop-culture tee/tank? I might have to get an “I Am Groot” shirt next… more about that in my next post.

Volunteering at Second Harvest

I’ve been saying that I’ve wanted to volunteer with my kids for years now. It comes up, I think about it for a few days, and then I do nothing about it. Part of it is because it’s HARD to find volunteering opportunities for kids and the other part is that I’m just full of excuses about being too busy and too consumed with my own life.

That’s changing.

This week I FINALLY had a chance to volunteer at the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida. Second Harvest collects, stores, and distributes donated food to more than 550 feeding partners in six Central Florida counties. Their food goes to food pantries, daycares, soup kitchens, emergencies shelters, and senior centers (to name a few). Over 50% of their food comes from retail stores – but chances are, when you donate goods in Central Florida, it ends up at Second Harvest.

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Second Harvest has many, many volunteering opportunities for adults, but every other month they offer a “Family Night” where kids from ages 5-9 can volunteer, which is where I went (with B and L) last Wednesday night.

Also joining us was Paula, who, by the way, my kids decided they want as their new mom. #tryingnottobeoffended

My kids decided that @eatwatchrun is their new mom. #coolerthanme

And just think, she only thought she was signing up to volunteer for a few hours!

We got to Second Harvest 5 minutes before 6 (the program ran from 6-8), signed in, and then was sent to the volunteer break room. The whole process was very simple. We waited for about 10 minutes before they raffled off two tickets to Fun Spot (that thankfully we did not win — shhh don’t tell the kids I said that) and then we were directed into the warehouse to sort food.

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And sort food we did! There were 18 pallets of food (about 15,000lbs) that we placed into a variety of bins (cans, dry goods, chemicals, non-food, candy, etc.).

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It was a simple activity, but seeing all of the kids working hard was so fun! B especially got into it, while L made friends with an older boy (seriously) and helped collect the empty boxes.

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Is it too early to lock her up?

We ended up smoking through the pallets (they anticipated 12 pallets taking 2 hours and had to bring in 6 more after 45 minutes – which still wasn’t enough) and finished up a little early.

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Paula and B REALLY wanted to take home the candy, but I’m mean and I said no.

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As we were leaving B BEGGED to come back (he actually wanted to stay and do more), so I signed up for September as well. As of right now there are still about 25 spots left if you are interested in volunteering with kids!

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And by the way, another event that Second Harvest is involved in is Taste of the Nation Orlando which is coming up on August 9th.

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Taste of the Nation is a HUGE fundraising event for both Second Harvest and the Coalition for the Homeless – raising money together for their No Kid Hungry campaign.

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It also happens to brings together some of the BEST local restaurants (as well as a few chains) where you can eat and drink your little heart out. It’s a one of a kind event where you can feel gluttonous about eating massive amounts of food, while also feeling good about the cause.

You may remember that I went last year as Paula’s date and had a FANTASTIC time. I cannot wait to head back again this year!

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So, long story short – if you’d like to dedicate a few hours of your time check out the Second Harvest Food Bank. If you aren’t local, it’s worth checking out your local food banks.

AND If you are looking for something to do in August, which just so happens to support a fantastic cause, you can buy tickets HEREDo it! It’s for the kids!

My Rock

I was contacted last week by Red Envelope — you know, the awesome site you visit when you need gift ideas? Yeah them. They didn’t contact me to test out a product, or give them rave reviews — but instead to promote their newest campaign — Thank Your Rock. It took me .4 nanoseconds (if that) to decide who MY rock is.

Yes, it’s always and forever this guy.

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I know…It’s an obvious choice. I didn’t just decide to marry him for funsies (although, our wedding WAS fun).

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But in all seriousness I could not do half of what I do without him by my side. He is my equal partner. He cleans, he picks up food, he chauffeurs, he baby wrangles. He tolerates my crazy and supports my early morning wake ups.

We’ve known each other since we were 18. We had a somewhat tumultuous relationship while were in college, because, well, we were in college. We were young, stupid, and naive. Oh the good ‘ol days when I didn’t have bangs and he did.

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As we’ve gotten older and wiser (ha!), we’ve found ways to keep our relationship interesting by traveling, having kids, and participating in key swap parties. (just kidding, just checking to see if you’re still reading).

While our relationship is far from perfect, Dan has always supported my decisions and acted as my sounding board. When I’m stressed out at work or something is bothering me – he listens. When I’m paranoid and anxious, he doesn’t tell me I’m crazy (I’m sure he certainly thinks it) – he make accommodations. To me, these gestures are more important than gifts or affirmations. Of course, my highest ranked”Love Language” is Acts of Services, so I guess I shouldn’t be surprised.

So to Dan… thank you. Thank you for being there, sharing your life with me, and having these adorable kids with me.

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Thank you for supporting my running addiction, for making the coffee, for washing the 8 gazillion pounds of laundry, for not questioning me when I buy more makeup and more workout clothes,  for supporting me when the kids say I’m mean (we both know you’re the “fun” parent!), and for all the little things I recognize, but may never acknowledge.

E feels this way about Edward Cullen too.

Thank you for your friendship, you humor, your commitment to making me laugh every day, for taking pictures of me/us in weird places/at strange times without questioning it, and for doing Zumba in public with a baby on your shoulders.

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In short… Thank you for being my rock.

*you may all vomit in your mouth now*

Who is YOUR rock?

**I hate that I have to write this, but I wasn’t compensated for this post, nor was this post sponsored/affiliated. I just thought it was a really nice campaign that came with the opportunity to gush over a person I truly love.

A Working Mom With Three – One Year Later

A year ago, I went back to work after my (final) maternity leave. E was 9 weeks old. I was tired, stressed, and SO ANGRY. I (obviously) didn’t want to go back so soon, or (at the time) at all. No matter how much self-talk I did, I didn’t want to drop my little guy off at daycare every day. Going back was harder with each kid and with E it felt like complete torture. It sucked that I only got 6 weeks off (with 60% of my pay — I took the extra 3 weeks as vacation), in fact it sucks that the US doesn’t have a maternity option. The only reason I had 6 weeks off is because recovering from childbirth is considered a disability. I’m pretty sure hardest thing I’ve ever had to do is go back to work when I (and the baby) wasn’t physically and mentally prepared.

Got to see my bub at lunch today #happy

Fake it till you make it.

My days were pretty much a blur. I can’t tell you many details except that I hated pumping, I had absolutely zero schedule, and I didn’t know how I was going to fit anything (running, reading, friend time, husband time, etc) into my life again. I was OK with that though. E was sweet, snuggly, and worth it. I preferred to spend most of my free time with him in my arms and I think he would do anything to be in my arms.

After a fussy night, E is back to his smiley self. Smiling > Shots

Who can resist this??

I was also very, very anxious. I couldn’t define what I was feeling as postpartum depression (though, I don’t doubt I was experiencing it to some small degree), but my postpartum anxiety was fierce, lifesucking, and out of control at times. Looking back, I was in a far deeper hole than I imagined. I never thought I was going do anything to harm anyone, but I constantly thought about all of the horrible things that could happen to everyone that I know. Do you know how stressful that is?

Over time, things have gotten so much better. For starters,  handling all three kids — with very, very different personalities — has gotten easier. Going into all of this, I didn’t realize that L at age 4 was going to be SO dramatic and hard to deal with (although, it was easier than when L was born and B was almost 3). At the same time, I also didn’t realize how amazing B would be with his little brother — so obviously these things balanced themselves out. I think over time the kids have realized that E is here to stay and he’s quite the little charmer. You want things? You go through E.

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A year later things are… the way they are supposed to be. We (kinda) have a routine. I can get to work before 8:30. I’m no longer pumping. I feel like me again. I’m no longer angry. I’m still tired, but mostly because E is still waking up a few times a night (I’m still breastfeeding, so I guess I don’t mind). I don’t have to squeeze workouts in and when I do work out, I don’t feel guilty that I might be needed or missing something.

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As for work – I’m enjoying it again. You know, as much as you can enjoy work. I like getting to my office every day and I like the work I am doing. I’m busy, I feel productive, I’m constantly learning – and when I see my coworkers I’m no longer putting on a happy face. I’m genuinely happy.  I’m reminded that this is WHY I’m a working mom… I truly do love what I do — and the people I work with too!

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Birthday lunch with some of my favorite people. I’m pretty lucky!

I’m still anxious, but it’s lessened immensely. It hits at weird times and I can now attribute it to being overtired or being overwhelmed. I still worry about things I cannot control – but if I take deep breathes and focus on the things I CAN control, it helps. But, for the record… I’ll probably have to live on Xanax when I hit menopause.

It’s amazing to me how much can change in a year. I can’t really pinpoint when these things all clicked, it wasn’t all at once and there was no real “a ha moment” — it’s just when reflecting that I’ve realized how different things are, in a good way! While a baby’s first year is the most amazing, sweetest, and snuggly year imaginable it’s also just plain hard. I’m not going to pretend subsequent years aren’t hard – in fact they are harder, just in different ways and they are FAR less hormonal.

I especially look forward to this next year with Evan. I like to think of it as the year of wonder – when kids are aware of their surrounding, are starting to communicate, and just think everything is AMAZING. I do think each year of childhood contains a little bit of this wonder – but this year between 1 and 2 is the most innocent and gratifying. It reminds you to consider the little things, to enjoy the simple moments, and to be silly — because when it comes down to it, that’s what life is all about.

Birthday lunch. Who says you have to grow up? #beergoggles

So for all of you mamas — whether you’re raising baby #1 or #10 – just remember, this too shall pass. Sometimes you just need a little reminder (or a glass of wine) that things will get back to “normal.” I also caution that if you are feeling completely out of it. See a Dr., find a therapist, or talk to your friends. There’s no shame in admitting that things aren’t perfect or that you don’t feel right. I SHOULD have been more proactive, I think I suffered a lot longer than I should have because I didn’t realize it was abnormal. It’s OKAY to ask for help — and also know, you are NEVER EVER alone.

So basically, things are better and sometimes great, but I still live by my mantra… Parenting is hard, yo.