Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Happy New Year! (and a movie review)

Let me just start out by saying that 2018 went by way too quickly. And I keep hearing from so many different sources that the older you get the quicker time flies. I definitely hope that is not the case for 2019, but I have a feeling it may be the fastest yet with all we have to look forward to this year!

I have so many things going on in January alone - trying Whole 30 again, starting a new One Little Word project, the Yoga with Adriene 30 day challenge, subbing in classrooms, basketball practices and games for my daughter, drum performances for my son, and my husband's out of town project ends soon so he will be home more (yay!)

But for my first blog post of the new year, I want to share my thoughts about the newest Mary Poppins movie which we went to see on New Year's Eve. (all images found on the internet) *And if you haven't seen it yet, there may be spoilers*

I will be honest - I am a huge fan of the original Mary Poppins movie with Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke. I thought they were perfection, and I loved the way Walt Disney and crew brought the book to life. I was definitely excited to see another story turned into a movie, and was so glad they weren't just doing a reboot of the original one.
I was a little afraid to get my hopes up that this one would be as good as the original. Emily Blunt has huge shoes to fill when it comes to portraying the character of Mary Poppins.
I went in with an open mind though. And to be frank, at first I felt she was just "playing" the character of Mary Poppins. Julie Andrews IS Mary Poppins. But by the second half of the movie I think Emily had won me over and achieved the right feel for the character. She has a lovely voice and I can't imagine anyone else playing the part in this movie now.

Which brings me to the songs. They were fine, but I didn't feel they had the same uniqueness as the original Mary Poppins movie. They actually seemed pretty generic. The only one that really caught my attention was The Place Where Lost Things Go. It was pretty moving during the scene in which she first sang it. And without giving too much away, I thought it was even more moving when the children sang it to their father in a reprise towards the end.
As for the rest of the songs, like I said they were ok, but I can't really remember too many of them today so I don't feel I really connected with any of them. On the other hand, I could sing most of the lyrics from the original songs right now if you wanted :). I didn't see the first movie until a long time after it was released, so I don't know if the songs were as loved or as known back then as they are today by so many. I guess time will tell if the same will be true of the new movie. I just don't think that will be the case though.

Another area of Mary Poppins Returns that wasn't as magical was the animation scene. In the original, they jump into a chalk drawing of an English countryside which leads to a merry go round and horse race. The new movie had a little bit of a more adult theme to it and ended a little darker and with nightmares.
The one thing I really did love about this new animation scene were the costumes Mary, Jack and the children wore. I loved the faux animation details so much!
One of my favorite parts of the original Mary Poppins, was when they went up on the roof tops with the chimney sweeps! They had a similar scene in Mary Poppins Returns, but it started out with them going downwards into a sewer. All I could think was really, we are going to the sewers.

But in truth, it was a pretty great song and dance number. And when you first come across the lamplighters, it's an impressive visual. I think it was one of my favorite numbers in the movie.

As for the other characters, I really did enjoy Lin-Manuel Miranda's performance. He also had big shoes to fill, but I like they he had a completely different character. The children also did a pretty great job. I loved that we were able to see what happened to Jane and Michael after they had grown up, but I couldn't help wondering where their parents, Mr. and Mrs. Banks were. They definitely were not so old in the original movie that they would no longer be around. And I will confess, I have not read the book so maybe more was explained there.

All in all, I did enjoy the new movie. I thought it was great that Dick Van Dyke had a cameo at the end. And I will admit that I may have teared up a little for sentimental reasons. (lol) Mary Poppins will always be one of my favorite characters and movies, so I'm glad another generation will be able to enjoy a new story.

I give this movie 4 out of 5 stars!

Which reminds me - my husband and I also watched Game Night with Jason Bateman and The Bird Box with Sandra Bullock. I would give Game Night 4 out of 5 stars and The Bird Box 3 out of 5.

Did you see any new movies over the holiday break?

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Frisco, Colorado - Day 1 and 2

The next part of our trip took us to Frisco, Colorado. Mike picked it out because it was only an hour away from Denver and had lots of great bike trails that he could ride on between places like Breckenridge and Keystone.
What I loved most about Frisco is that it is a much smaller town than Denver, so it gave us a different feel for what Colorado is like.
Plus, I loved the main street! With the mountain backdrop and rustic feel, it was one of my favorite spots to hang out!
When we arrived into town, we drove straight to Main Street to have lunch. I had read about the Butterhorn Cafe online, and it had good reviews. It did not disappoint. I would definitely recommend having a meal there if you are ever in Frisco.

Then we walked down to the Frisco Museum which is FREE.
 Part of the museum is housed in the original schoolhouse which Erin loved.
But what she really loved the most was the area behind the schoolhouse, where they had some of the actual original buildings set up like a town.

And each building had a stamp press where she could get an embossed stamp for her little Passport book that the museum provides.
After our visit to the museum, the boys decided to hike up Mount Royal, which is the mountain on the left there right behind the museum. I knew Erin would not be able to handle that climb, so we decided to explore Main Street.
It was a good decision, because they were gone almost three hours on their hike!

We started at this cute little bookstore...
and made our way towards the mountains. We stopped at several little shops...
checked out this adorable little art studio where we made plans to return to when the boys had their day of fly fishing.
Then we finished off with drinks here.
Loved the street signs!
Then we headed to our condo. Too funny that this is the only photo I have of our condo there. I took tons of pictures of the one in Denver, but somehow didn't get any in Frisco. Oh well, it was cute. Not as big as the one in Denver which was two stories. But it was big enough with a master bedroom and bath, plus one smaller bedroom for Erin. Evan had to use the pullout sofa in the living room. It was only one mile from main street and the lake, and right across the road from the grocery store and other shopping spots.

The next morning, I went for a went for a walk for exercise. I was determined to stay on track with it even while on vacation.
The view was pretty spectacular.

After working out, my husband went for a nice, long bike ride and my son actually wanted to do some more hiking. The previous day they had hiked that first mountain you see in the above picture, which is Mount Royal. Next to it is Mount Victoria, and the one after that with the snowier top is actually called Peak One. His goal was to get to the top of Mount Victoria. A pretty popular hiking trail connects the three mountains, which you can read about it in this article Best hiking trails in Colorado: A Guide to Mountain Royal and Peak One in Frisco Colorado. 
It took him about four hours to get to the top and back.

While we were waiting, Erin and I headed to a nearby playground with another beautiful view!
Then we went back to the condo for lunch and to rest while waiting for the boys to finish.

That night we drove to Breckenridge to check it out. Kind of weird that once again I did not take any photos. I guess I was just enjoying the moment and not wanting to keep pulling out my phone.

Mike had biked into Breckenridge earlier that afternoon, so he was familiar with it. We ate dinner at a place he had seen called Blue Stag Saloon which was just ok. Afterwards we enjoyed walking around for a bit. It's more touristy than Frisco, but still a pretty little town.

And that was it for our first two days in Frisco! We still have two more to go, but that will have to wait until after the New Year!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Colorado Trip Part 3 - Mount Evans

This was the big day! It was a long, but exciting one. It's not every day that your husband tries to bike up a mountain with over 14000 feet of elevation! I have over 100 photos from that day, but I promise I won't share them all here. Just a few favorites that help tell the story.

We woke up at around 6am and drove to Idaho Springs which was going to be Mike's starting point.
The kids and I had planned to drive up to the Echo lake area so Evan could fish for a little bit.
And then we would drive from there up the mountain offering Mike support as we went.
Echo Lake! It was so pretty up there.

Mountains, trees and a lake in every direction. Loved it!
One of the best decisions I made, was to turn over our smaller Sony camera to her and I used my phone and the DSLR. She took so many photos while I was driving, and there were some really good ones in there.
He tried a little fishing, but didn't have much luck.

The Echo Lake Lodge was a short walk up the road from the lake.
Our red truck parked down there on the left side of the picture was around the halfway point between the lodge sign and the lake. Erin and I had decided to walk up to check it out at one point and discovered it had a gift shop and restaurant.
Mike arrived and took a short break before we all started the next part of his ride.
The kids drove in the truck and would ride ahead of him for a bit to find a good place to park and wait. You can see how narrow the road is and how there is no guardrail on the side. It made me a little nervous at times.
Of course we had to make a few stops on the way to look around and take photos.
Mike would catch up to us and either stop for a break or keep going depending on how he was feeling. All I can say is that he had some major hills to climb throughout the day!
This was one of our main stops where we took a break and waited for Mike.
Mountains for miles.
The higher we climbed, the rockier and less green it became.
Summit Lake was the next big stop for us. I have to say, pictures just can't do it justice. It was a pretty cool spot, and I wish we could have hung out there a little bit longer. But there was a pretty big hill for Mike to climb just past this lake, and we wanted to give him a little more support.
This sign is no joke! Once we passed Summit Lake, it was a little scary in some parts.
I mean he looks like he's going to ride right off the edge of the mountain. I was driving in the middle of the road at this point to get around him. (Photo courtesy of my son. So glad he snapped this shot!)

 And then he made it! So proud and happy for him!

Afterwards, I drove us back down to Echo Lake lodge where we had lunch to celebrate.
Such an amazing experience! Can't wait to see where his next big ride will take us.