Raising the spirits with Pixar and George and Martha

I have been in a little bit of a funk the last week or so.  Winter is bringing me down, down, down.  I miss taking the kids for long walks, heading to the park for picnics, and SUN!  The weekends tend to bring much of the same options: indoor swimming, library, McDonald’s Playland, pet store.  I have been trying all sorts of mind games to get me out of the Winter Blues (Jon being home on the weekends is a god-send for some adult conversation and laughs) but I look back at past years and remember this time of year (end of January and February) all the same. 

Before I left work on Friday, an email popped up about a Gateway Family Fest on Saturday.  I typically delete anything from Gateway because 99% of the time it is a promo for a new bar or a band coming to a new bar.  Not my league anymore….  But I opened this one and saw that they were having something for kids from 10-12.  I got up for my run on Saturday morning early enough that I’d be home by 10 and we could head to Gateway.  However, when I got home my homebody kids did not want to budge.  They wanted to stay in their pjs on the couch.  By the time we took away electronics and told them they’d have to find something else to do, which in turn, pushed them to ask for the Gateway event, it was 11:15.  We arrived at the Gateway Theatre at 11:30 am.  Such a bummer because the 45 minutes we had at the Theatre was a blast.  They had a kids band that succeeded in getting even the most sedentary parents up and moving.  They had balloon artists and crafts (unfortunately, they had packed up when we arrived and I diverted Mario’s and Maria’s eyes from it so they wouldn’t be bummed out).  And they had short movies interspersed between musical sets.  The two we saw were Tom & Jerry and a Pixar film called Partly Cloudy.  Maria and Mario squealed when Tom & Jerry came on the big screen – they love that cartoon and have only seen it in my car.  I squealed in delight after the Pixar film because it was absolutely adorable.  The beginning shows storks delivering cute babies and kitties and puppies to houses.   It moves upward to show all of these white clouds making those sweet puppies and kitties and babies.  Then you see a sole grey cloud trying to make cute little things but instead only able to make alligators that bite, porcupines that prick and rams that butt.  The poor stork helping out the grey cloud looks like he has seen better days but he keeps coming back to the grey cloud to pick up the next little present to deliver.  The stork looks longingly to the bright white clouds and eventually flies away from the grey cloud to the white one.  The grey cloud gets angry and sad and cries his heart out.  The stork returns with a beautiful package.  He opens it and puts on his new football helmet and pads – he is ready for the next hard-to-deliver present from his friend, the grey cloud.  It was the sweetest, most genuine five-minute film I have seen.  Well worth the trip (along with the buttered popcorn!).

I left the theatre feeling a tad more uplifted.  I used the opportunity of having the kids in the car to head to one more place – Half Price Books.  I had been wanting to look for some good books for the kids (and me) for a while and Half Price Books is the best.  Maria scored a Junie B book – she loves those books recently.  Mario found a slew of Superhero books for me to read him while we were there (my book searching did not occur).  After finding a handful of kids’ book, we were on our way out when I saw it like a tulip in the weeds.  A collection of George and Martha.  The two cutest hippos ever.  I used to read them to my baby sis and I believe my mom read them to me. I couldn’t resist purchasing it.  We read ten stories tonight (they are mini versions) with the kids trying to guess which ones were my favorites (Split Pea Soup, The Bathtub). 

I write this blog tonight with the kids still up (10 pm) and Jon and his nephew watching a show about Alaska in the other room.  I stare in front of me at the fresh ruby flowers standing upright in their vase.  I eat buttered popcorn and drink a root beer.  I take a deep breath and slowly exhale.  Life ain’t bad, Mary Grace.  Just breathe and read a little George and Martha.

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