He recruited his younger brother and sister as actors, and asked me to shoot them making a movie. I’m sure it’s something that kids in lots of homes have done at that age. I showed him some basic editing skills in iMovie, added sound effects and some special effects, and he had his first movie, “Dr. Cortex’s Magic Plan.”
It was a crazy screen play that involved inspiration from Narnia, a plan to destroy the world and lots of random costumes.
For the next few years, I served as my son’s video editor and producer as he came up with script ideas, recruited actors and begged me to point the camera in his direction.
By the time he was in fifth grade, his grandparents had given him a flip camera so he could shoot his movies without having to wait for his mom to fit it into her schedule. Any kid that has been a friend of Andrew’s over the last decade has been recruited at some point to become an actor in one of his films.
At age 10, he filmed his first series, “Old Grandpa.” Then, he and his brother created the characters, “CJ Watermelon and Bub Franklin.” Many of his projects have involved some kind of music video element, starting with “Turkey in the Straw”, our first attempt at using a green screen when he was about 9, and my all-time favorite, “Thanks, Mom.”
Over the years, my role has diminished from movie editor to editing consultant to the person who asks my son for editing advice. We both started with iMovie, then graduated to Final Cut Pro. The summer after fifth grade, he invited groups of friends to come over, assigned them roles, filmed their movies and then conducted a class to show them how to use iMovie. A few summers ago, he mowed lawns weekly, then spent all of his savings on special effects packages.
In the past ten years, this kid has created 76 movie projects of his own. Not bad for someone who is 17.
These are the kinds of things I think about when I sit and watch his latest short film being played on a screen at the local high school as part of the annual Film Fest. These moments are the compilations of years of investing in a child’s interests, offering advice and supporting every new idea and endeavor. I think about all of the times he’s come running in the door, exclaiming, “Mom! I have an idea for a movie!” It’s been amazing to see a kid so passionate about something, and then invest so much time and energy into pursuing what he loves.
Sometimes, he has irritated people with his style of using cinematography to create a film that looks deadly serious, only to find out he was being sarcastic the whole time, as in the short film devoted to a man’s obsession with “Pudding” or the guy who wouldn’t die in his western “Bulletproof.” There’s no hiding the humor in his series devoted to making fun of his crazy younger brother in the series, “Day in the Life of Matt” or his take on “The Office,” played out in his own series, “Picnic.”
He was so blessed his sophomore year of high school to get to take two broadcast journalism classes with a teacher who really invested in his interest. This teacher started a Film Fest at the school to give students a format to display their creative work. He learned a lot from his entry last year, which ended up taking second place.
This year, Andrew asked two friends he met from participating in school plays to be the actors in his short film. His actors are hilarious, and he had so much fun working with them on his entry, which had to fall into the theme of “friendship.”
Both years of the film fest, another student has walked away with first place. Although the students are heavily judged by professionals in the industry on the writing of their screen play and plot development, the other student has taken her script from the Internet both years. The organizers of the event have given her permission to submit a film that isn’t an original work, but we are hoping that at some point, they will consider creating a separate category for films that weren’t actually written by the students.
Anyway, that disparity has taken some of the joy out of the Film Fest competition. It’s probably hard to imagine how much time and energy go into creating a story, filming it, working with actors and then all of the editing and production. We can rest in the way Andrew handles himself with so much dignity and humility. We’ve encouraged our son to learn from the judge’s comments and enjoy the reaction of a room full of people, laughing along with his original work.
These days, I often find myself in a bit of a role reversal from back in the days of Dr. Cortex, Old Grandpa and CJ Watermelon. I’m always in need of video producers to help me create content at my job, and often end up begging my son to work one of my projects into his schedule.
As he wraps up his junior year of high school and we visit colleges this spring, we are starting to really figure out what it could look like to help our child turn a lifelong passion into a college major or a career. I think I just needed to take a few moments to look back at how far he’s come over the last 10 years. The Film Fest wrapped up a stressful week that also included four days of high school baseball tryouts for our other son, who is a freshman. (Hopefully, I’ll write about that soon, too!… He made it!!!)
Thank you to everyone who has shared in this journey with us, and thanks for reading! Leave me a comment to say, “hello!”
I subscribe to lots of blogs on fashion, lifestyle and home decor in my Bloglovin’ news feed, and everyone has been writing lately about Valentine’s Day. Of course, all of the posts about this heart-filled holiday are loaded with red. Red boots. Red sweaters. Red pillows. Red flowers.
I’m all for filling the world with love. But every year, I have to figure out how to do it without surrounding myself with the color red.
I guess you could say I have some strong feelings about color. I’m slightly obsessed with color, in general. I love, love, love organizing things in rainbow order and bringing as much color as possible into my world.
Just not red. I have a terrible relationship with red.
I think my bad feelings toward red started in college. I had a favorite sweater that was red. It fit me perfectly. I loved the length of the sweater, and it was super warm and cozy. But every time I wore it, people would say things to me like, “Are you feeling OK?” “You don’t look well.” “Are you getting sick?”
Inevitably, by late afternoon, I would come home and change clothes. After a day of wearing red, I actually WAS starting to feel a little ill.
Since then, my negative feelings about red have only increased.
My closet is arranged in order by color, but I don’t have one scrap of clothing from the red, orange and yellow end of the spectrum. I have discovered that I need to stick to the G BIV side of ROY G BIV to look my best. And, boy, do I LOVE green, blue, indigo and violet!
I think other people look GREAT in warm colors. In fact, I totally admire people who can wear red (or orange or yellow or pink for that matter). I, on the other hand, avoid even standing next to people wearing red. You couldn’t pay me enough money to take my photo in front of a red wall. Red scarves and boots are out.
Red clothing has become the gluten of my wardrobe.
When it comes to decorating, even at Valentine’s Day, you will find as little red as possible in my home.
The only red I have in my Valentine’s Day decor are these little hanging hearts. Even the Grinch of Valentine’s Day colors has to make at least one concession.
I do enjoy little hanging hearts enough that I can deal with their scarlet hue.
(It’s kind of hard to find hanging hearts in any color BUT red, so I cope.)
My Valentine’s decor has a very short lifespan in my home, so it’s mainly a transition from all of the winter white.
I like to bring in a little color before I get to go ALL SPRING. The hearts and LOVE letters are a sign that spring is coming, which makes me so, so happy!
In fact, I just noticed that the time will change in one month! Four more weeks until the darkness starts to recede, and we get our lives back!
For now, Valentine’s Day around here is mostly maroon and white, mixed with a little pink. It’s more of a subtle take on the love decor, but at least these colors don’t give me a headache like their evil sister on the color spectrum… RED!
So, how about you? Do you have strong feelings about color? Do you have a color that your can’t go near? Do you like to decorate for Valentine’s Day?
Here’s a little January 2018 fun fact for you. Did you know that we started the month AND ended the month with a full moon?
The full moon setting on the morning of Jan. 2
This doesn’t happen often, which is why it’s called a “blue moon.” The moon wasn’t blue at all this morning. But it’s only “once in a blue moon” that we have two full moons in one month.
Instead of being blue in color, this month’s full moon actually appeared more red in color than usual, which is why it was also a “blood moon.” (Here’s a photo of the last time we had a blue moon, blood moon back in 2015 .)
I ran out quickly this morning to snap a photo, and realized that not only was it a blue moon and a blood moon, I was actually looking at a lunar eclipse. So, there you go. It was a blue moon, blood moon, super moon, lunar eclipse, and I only took this one barely focused photo.
That kind of feels like a description of my entire month, now that I think about it.
The only good habit I created was listening to the Bible on audio book (almost) everyday. I even gave up on coloring in the little squares to track my habit. I missed a few days on the weekend, and had to catch up the following day. But I’m officially up to date on my plan to read — I mean listen — through the Bible in a year.
My other main goal for the month of January was to stop eating sweeteners. It’s funny that even though I’m still on a strict version of the Paleo diet, I can find ways to overindulge. I don’t eat any refined sugars, but that doesn’t stop me from baking up grain free, dairy free, sugar free breads and puddings made with maple syrup. And I’m completely addicted to my Matcha Green Tea Latte, packed with raw honey and full fat coconut milk.
I gained three pounds over the holidays, which I really wanted to eliminate. I made it back to my goal weight for about 25 seconds, and then I gained FOUR pounds. I think my goal for February will be to stop weighing myself.
Honestly, January was a heartbreaking month. A friend’s husband died unexpectedly, and it really rocked me. At times like this, it seems we should be able to hit a pause button for a few days and just put everything on hold. It feels unkind to go about the daily business of life when someone is in so much pain.
In the whole scheme of life, I realized it didn’t matter if I lost three pounds, made my bed everyday or drank eight glasses of water. I’m thankful for some moments of introspection when I was knocked out of daily task mode and into a realization of how short life really is and what actually matters.
As I sat at my friend’s husband’s funeral, I was amazed at her strength and courage, even though I know how her heart has been shattered. Inevitably, I thought about how I might react in her position. And then I confronted the fact that every single one of us WILL be in that position at some point. We are all going to stand beside someone we love who is no longer living. And at some point, we all will be the person who has gone on to the next life.
I’ve been thinking about a few things I want to do better.
I want to know people and be known at a deeper level. Let’s not wait until a funeral to share the stories of our lives.
I want to let people know how loved they are while they are alive.
I want to take care of the things that matter, even when they are hard. And I want to stop focusing on the things that don’t matter. I know for sure that at the end of my life, I won’t wish I had watched one more show on Netflix or owned one more pair of cute jeans. I want to invest more in people and less in stuff.
I want to trust that even in the darkest moments of life that God is good. He has a plan and a purpose.
It seemed fitting to watch that lunar eclipse this morning. Sometimes life feels so heavy and difficult to bear. Then, you look out in the sky at something as unusual as a “blue moon” that’s also a blood moon and a super moon and at the same time, you see a lunar eclipse. And in that moment, you realize that if the God of the universe can create something that amazing with such perfect timing and accuracy, that you also can trust Him in the daily moments of life.
How did your January go? What did you learn this month? What were the things that really mattered?
It’s one thing to change my own eating habits. It’s quite another to change someone else’s diet, especially when they are teenagers and might not want to make a switch. I’ve finally come to terms with the idea that most of our family dinners will be Paleo. In other words, I serve the whole family the same dinner I am making for myself about 80 percent of the time.
The kids can eat what they want for breakfast. (I still buy cereal and cow’s milk, but they have the option to use almond milk, rice milk or coconut milk and eat a grain free breakfast.) They often purchase hot lunch at school, or I will pack them a lunch that’s either Paleo or Standard American Diet (whichever they prefer).
Our 15-year-old son is the most hilarious. He typically looks at the food and shakes his head with a look of “What happened to my life?!” I imagine him doing the Kramer surprise reaction on the inside. Ironically, he almost always goes back for a big plate of seconds. He’s a hungry boy.
Last week, however, our oldest son took one bite of dinner and exclaimed, “Wow! This is good! I could eat this everyday!”
He was eating a made-up recipe that I created after being inspired by the crustless pizza available at Lou Malnati’s.
I’m sorry about the photo that is to follow. I am discovering that food bloggers have a special process for making food photos look amazing.
Basically, I added some oregano, garlic powder, basil and salt to two pounds of ground pork. I pressed that into the bottom of a large dish and baked it at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes. I topped it with pizza sauce, mushrooms, onions and sliced olives, and then baked the whole thing for another 15 minutes or so. The result was something that reminded us of pizza!
Here are a few of my other new favorite Paleo recipes that I tried in January:
(That’s a real food blogger photo!)
This Curried Shepherd’s Pie with Sweet Potato Mash was amazing. I would have never thought to put curry in a shepherd’s pie. (I only used 1 teaspoon, instead of 1 tablespoon.) I cooked my sweet potatoes in an electric pressure cooker and then mashed them for the topping. (I also left out the peas, since they are not Paleo.) So good.
If you haven’t made Kahlua Pig in the electric pressure cooker yet, give it a try! Just a head’s up that it does take a WHILE too cook. Give yourself at least two hours, since it takes 90 minutes just to cook the pork. My kids have discovered they love cooked cabbage! We never have enough. I served this with baked sweet potatoes, which I made in my second electric pressure cooker.
I actually made my kids a real gluteny, dairy filled lasagna to eat, while I ate this amazing Puerto Rican Plantain Lasagna. I don’t eat peppers, so I substituted mushrooms and olives in the filling.
When I find a recipe that I want to try I pin it on my “Meal Planning” board on Pinterest. You can follow this board for other ideas (including lots of recipes from before I went Paleo).
My boys are always starving when they get home from high school at 2:30, so I like to have some filling, healthy snacks for them to grab when they get home. These also made some easy lunches for me to grab on my way to work on those days I don’t want to eat soup!
I substituted canned salmon for the tuna, and omitted the peppers in these (not so) Spicy Tuna Cakes.
My family thought these Curry Turkey Bites had too much of a kick, but I really enjoyed them, especially with the apricot ginger sauce.
My kids gobbled up the Egg Foo Youngish. (That’s a real food blogger photo!) They are kind of like a pancake, but really easy to grab and go on the way out the door.
My husband’s birthday is in January, and I typically make him a cherry pie. He prefers not to eaten gluten these days, so I tried this recipe for Cherry Cobbler. For the filling, I simply used frozen cherries that you can buy in a bag at Costco. This was aMaZiNg and so easy to make!
Since our oldest son can’t have nuts and the cobbler uses almond flour, I also made a Paleo Pumpkin Pie. I make this all of the time without the crust. You just bake the filling at 350 degrees for 65 minutes. It’s so simple, and we all love it! (Sorry again for the bad photo!)
I also can’t believe that I finally found a Paleo Banana Bread recipe that is so easy to make and tastes amazing. I have made this a few times now, without the chocolate chips. It’s SUCH a treat to eat something that tastes like bread.
So, what about you? Have you tried any awesome new recipes lately? Have you made any changes to your diet this year? How’s it going?
How’s your January going so far? As much as I don’t like the cold weather months, I feel like January has been going as well as a super dark, freezing month in which the sun sets way too early and I barely ever go outside can possibly go.
We still have nearly two weeks left in this first month of the year, but I thought I would share a few things that are making it more bearable!
THE AUDIO BIBLE
Every year, I make the same resolution. And almost every single year, I fail to complete it.
I always start off the year with good intentions of reading the entire Bible in a year. Because of this, I have read the book of Genesis at least 35 more times than any other book of the Bible. 🙂 This year, I decided that maybe I need to take the same approach to reading the Bible that I take to other books. It’s very rare these days that I actually read a book. Instead, I listen to them! I actually listened to 17 books last year, which was good, considering my goal was 12.
I assumed that downloading the entire Bible on audiobook would be very expensive. I found the One Year Bible (NLT version) on Audible, and couldn’t believe that the entire thing was only one credit. (It downloads in seven parts.) In fact, to BUY the entire Bible as an Audible member, the price was (hold on to your seat): $5.95. WHAT?!? Can you believe it?
OK. So, I’m not pretending to be a major Bible scholar here. Listening to the Bible on audiobook is definitely not a deep Bible study. But I totally enjoy reading it this way. The reader is really engaging and I love how he adds drama to many of the stories. (Plus, I don’t have to ponder how to pronounce any names.) There have been several days when I have found myself reacting with, “What?!” or “You have to be kidding!” as he reads the Old Testament stories. I often “read” when I’m driving or putting on my make-up or walking or even emptying the dishwasher.
I’ve also been spending more time on the treadmill this year. As long as I’m feeling well, I either walk or do the Couch to 5K running app every day. In order to do this, I had to break my two-year television fast. Come on! There is no way you can withstand the treadmill without a good TV show.
I recently finished watching, “Travelers,” which I totally enjoyed. I’m so sad that it’s over. Right after Christmas, I also watched the third season of “Broadchurch.” Both shows were just the right mix of mystery and suspense, without it being so over the top that I want to stay up all night on a Netflix binge.
Now that I’ve finished Travelers, I’m desperately trying to find another show to fill the void and help me wrap up week four of the Couch to 5K. Please, pleeeeaaaase give a girl some suggestions! I’m finding NOTHING that I like. (Don’t say, “The Crown.” I’ve tried. I’ve tried. I’ve tried. Can’t.)
I need to write a whole blog post on food. I keep thinking about this time last year when I was barely surviving as I tried to do Whole 30. It’s amazing that I basically did Whole 30 for an entire year! I definitely feel a ton better this year than I did last year!
I didn’t eat processed sugar in 2017 (MOST of the time), but starting last summer, I allowed myself to have raw honey, maple syrup and coconut sugar. This January, I decided to cut out those sweeteners, too, because my sweet tooth was getting out of control, and I gained a few pounds. A few weeks ago, I discovered monk fruit sweetener.
I’m still learning about monk fruit, but from what I’ve read so far, it’s supposed to be a zero-calorie sweetener that actually has health benefits. I don’t love it, but it’s nice to add a tiny bit of sweetener to things once in a while. Since it’s zero calorie, it’s working for me!
Everyone I know has been posting on Facebook about how sick they have been this year with the flu. I know I absolutely should not post this, but so far, I haven’t been sick at all (other than from gluten). I am starting to think that drinking Kombucha everyday really is helping.
One of the health benefits of Kombucha is that it is supposed to improve your immune system. Some people even go so far as to say that it helps prevent cancer.
I’ve been brewing my own Kombucha for about nine months now, and I’ve really gotten the hang of it! I’ve been experimenting with new flavors using fruits and herbs during the second ferment, and the results have been amazing! Maybe I’ll write a whole blog post about this later.
A friend introduced us to the game, “Qwirkle” on New Year’s Eve, and I had to go buy one for our family. It’s one of those games that isn’t too long. It requires some strategy, but not TOO much thinking. It’s great for lots of ages. And we can play with our whole family. (I think the box says up to four players, but you can definitely play with six!)
NATURAL SKIN CARE
January is also the month when our skin takes a beating in the cold weather. I really focused in 2017 on transitioning to skin care products with natural ingredients. I have learned that just as I read the labels on the foods I eat, I also need to read the labels on the products I put ON my skin! I know a LOT of my friends sell all different kinds of skin care products, so I really don’t want to get into recommending anything here. But I’m just happy to have found some great all-natural products that make my skin feel great.
I’m also brushing my teeth with “My Magic Mud” toothpaste (you can use this link to search for it on Thrive), which is made of activated charcoal and bentonite clay. So, there’s that. The toothpaste doesn’t have any fluoride, which many people believe can damage your thyroid. Oh, and just a warning… the toothpaste is black.
If you are interested in learning more about why these things are important, I got a lot of info from the book, Younger by Sara Gottfried.
So, what about you? I would love to hear what’s working for you right now!
This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase a product through a link you clicked on here, I receive a tiny portion of the sale at no additional cost to you. Thank you for supporting everydaymom!