Disney Cruise, Disney Fantasy, Movies

Dead Men Tell No Tales: My Review of the fifth Pirates of the Caribbean Film 

Yesterday I had the pleasure of re-living my teenage years as I enjoyed the latest Pirates installment.  I went in super excited because they were finally bringing back Will and Elizabeth! My two favorite characters, and the cinematic couple that set the bar high for all subsequent film kisses and couple chemistry.

Pirates, Ye Be Warned: There be spoilers ahead!  I’ll try to keep the spoilers to a minimum, and put them further down this post after a quick review of the plot:

There are several intertwined plots to PotC 5, the most important of which is Will and Elizabeth’s son, Henry Turner, has dedicated his life to finding a way to release his father from his curse so that Will can come on dry land whenever he wishes and not be covered in barnacles, a look that only Orlando Bloom can pull off successfully.  Henry gets in trouble with the law for saving a bunch of uppity naval officer’s lives, runs into a pretty girl who is looking for the same magical artifact he is to break the curse, and together they wind up helping Jack Sparrow escape dead men and Barbossa find the greatest treasure of his life.

Overall, I give the movie a 5/10.  Fun, piratey, a good flashback to my growing-up years, and Barbossa’s character is fleshed out so well that he is now one of my favorite characters in the series, as far as character development goes. Definitely go see it if you’re a PotC superfan.

Okay, leave NOW if you want no spoilers.  If you don’t mind them, read on!

I went into this movie with fairly low expectations, figuring it would be fun, and probably just as bad or worse than the last three movies were.  Because I watched the first one just a few weeks ago, and I saw how good this franchise started out.   Back when Jack wasn’t a drunk idiot, though he enjoyed his rum; he was always clever, lucky, and played the fool often in order to achieve his goals through trickery.  (See the clip below for a refresher.)

The second and third movie weren’t quite as good, but Jack had already begun to devolve into a caricature of himself, with extra waving arms, bulging eyes, and talking gibberish.  Alas, that is all he is in the latest film.  In fact, other than the main “bad guy” having a vendetta against Jack that motivates him to become the villain, the film would happen almost the same way whether or not Jack was in it.   Jack spent most of the film drunk, stupid, and being completely useless to the characters around him.  In fact, I’d say his main contribution was playing matchmaker between the two new young characters.

I kept waiting for there to be a major turning point for Jack, waiting for his “Aha!” moment.  Perhaps when he realized who Henry was, he would get excited about saving Will from his curse, since it’s Jack’s fault for causing the curse that ultimately spared Will’s life (one of Jack’s better moments of character, I think).

Nope.

Jack spends the movie caring about saving himself from the ghostly Captain Salazar (excellently played by Javier Bardem, who delivered one of four main character performances I actually bought as genuine).  I will give the writers credit for showing Jack’s origin story, and reflecting back on his days as a clever sailor, but once that flashback is done, we are left seeing a Jack that’s merely a shadow of his genius character from 2003.

It was a joy to see Will Turner come back, and I was reminded how much I love Orlando Bloom as an actor.  His performance is so heartfelt and genuine that you can’t help but spend the entire movie rooting for him to be released from his curse, even though he’s got under five minutes of screen time.  At least it’s better than what we got of Kiera Knightly’s return as Elizabeth – she wasn’t even allowed to speak one word during her (maybe) one minute of screen time.

The newcomers of the film, Henry and Carina, are fine.  They acted the part that was written for them, and despite the “I’m a scientist and a woman, hear me roar” jargon that Carina was forced to spew every five minutes, the two of them were a decent addition to the cast.  I think they would have been better left as being best buddies after this movie, as there is zero chemistry between the two as a romantic couple, but hey, I guess it’s a pirate story.  The hero needs to get the girl, yada yada.  And it works well enough.

My favorite part of the movie is actually Barbossa’s storyline.  From the beginning of The Curse of the Black Pearl, we know that Barbossa is your standard pirate, obsessed with treasure, having his own fleet, and holding enough power on the sea to stay out of trouble with the Navy (or buying them off).  He’s faced curses, switched sides as it was most convenient for him, and even though he’s often been the bad/indifferent guy, he’s always the character you can’t help but like.  Even in the first movie when he’s the only true villain, you can’t help but feel bad for Barbossa.  He really just wants to eat his apple, not turn into a skeleton, and keep his ship.  His methods are definitely not morally acceptable, but the guy has obviously been through a lot and he still manages to keep a gentlemanly demeanor and attitude towards the people around him, especially Elizabeth.

PLEASE DON’T READ THE NEXT PART UNLESS YOU WANT THE ENDING SPOILER OF THE FILM.  

LAST WARNING.  

DON’T COMPLAIN IF YOU KEEP READING AND FIND OUT SOMETHING YOU DIDN’T WANT SPOILED.

Spoiler alert:

Through the course of the movie Carina’s motivation is following the map her unknown father left for her.  We find out before she does that Barbossa is her father, and that her mother died when Carina was only a baby.  Barbossa knew he wasn’t a good guy and couldn’t provide a decent life for his child, so he left Carina at an orphanage with her book map and a jewel to pay for things in the future.

Up until this point in the movie, we see Barbossa living the dream life of a pirate: he’s got his own fleet, a gilded command ship with gorgeous stained glass and his own personal chamber ensemble, loyal crews, sway over the Royal Navy, his own magician/witch,  and the loyal Monkey Jack by his side.  He’s not one to give up his hat; if there’s a chance to wear a fancy coat, fluffy hat, and gilded peg-leg, he will do it.
I did the math, and we can reasonably assume that he had to leave Carina a short time after the events of Curse of the Black Pearl, after being revived by Tia Dalma.  This would explain his need to always accumulate, whether it be treasure, ships, or fame: Barbossa was filling the void left by his daughter with pirate treasure.  In the end, he not only sheds all of his showy clothes and plumed hat so that he can save his daughter from peril, he also calmly sacrifices his own life to save hers.

Of all the things this movie did, Barbossa was one of the few it got right.  His character arc is so wonderfully constant through the series and now given a reason for being the treasure-obsessed pirate he is, and perfectly completed by not only shedding all of his beautiful earthly belongings in order to save his daughter from peril, but his total sacrifice for his child.
(Let me tell you, this mama bear had a hard time keeping it together in the theater at that moment.  I had a severe case of the sniffles.)

Dead Men Tell No Tales is worth a watch if you’re a die-hard Pirates fan, for Barbossa’s storyline alone.  Will and Elizabeth’s (too-short) comeback is also worth a watch.   Just make sure you stay until the end of the credits for an endearing scene… with just a hint of foreshadowing.  (Because why would you let a franchise die after only fourteen years?)

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What would a PotC post be without a shot of myself and the Smuggler meeting Captain Sparrow on the Disney Fantasy?

 

 

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Family, Pregnancy

Pregnancy confession: I just want to sleep

(Yup, blogging about being pregnant again.  And I’m not sorry, since it’s a little hard to ignore my quickly-expanding midsection!  I would like to note that this was written in one of my sleepy-but-not-ready-to-sleep-can’t-settle-down states of mind.  So it’s very, very honest.  You’ve been warned!)

38 weeks! If you make it to the end of the post, you'll find a photo from yesterday, 39 weeks & 3 days.
38 weeks! If you make it to the end of the post, you’ll find a photo from yesterday, 39 weeks & 3 days.

When you’re pregnant, people first congratulate you.  Everyone gets excited.  It’s a big deal, there’s talk of babies and showers and cute little stuffed animals – yay!

Then they turn around and tell you how difficult everything is going to be, how tough babies are, and how tired you’re going to be.
Um… gee, thanks, I wanted to hear all of that negative stuff right now.  It’s not like I’m dreading shoving a baby out of my body through a hole it really shouldn’t fit through or anything, just pile on the rest of the crappy parts while I’m focused on that!

Today, though, I just want to focus on the tired.  Because I’m already tired.  Really tired.  I haven’t even popped out my kid through that tiny hole yet, but making a human being takes a lot out of a woman.

Now, I pulled all-nighters in college, for both fun and for studying.  And those forms of tired at least allowed me to sleep once I get the chance to do so.

Not pregnancy tired.  Pregnancy tired is a whole different world of sleepiness, insomnia, and weird dreams.

Pregnancy tired is yawning all day because you had to get up to pee.  Twice.  Then figure out how to fall back asleep because my thoughts have a new life of their own at 2 a.m.

Pregnancy tired is being exhausted from too-little sleep, going to bed late, and staying up to read for two hours because your brain won’t turn off.

Pregnancy tired is no sleeping position being comfortable except sleeping on your back, which is a huge no-no when pregnant…so really, no sleeping position is fully comfortable.  (Hubby cuddles are definitely the closest I can find to “comfortable” so far, but I think that’s just because I like his big comforting hugs, not the sleeping position itself.  I lay down and roll over as gracefully as a beached manatee.)

Pregnancy tired is falling sound asleep sitting up during your favorite TV show, then transferring to your much more comfortable bed and being wide awake for an hour because you just had an awesome nap.

Pregnancy tired is making it to bed at a reasonable hour, falling asleep easily, and waking up from a baby-related nightmare that is so terrifying you’re afraid to close your eyes, let alone go back to sleep.

Pregnancy tired is having your hormones suddenly unite against you at the very, very wrong times.
Just when you feel peaceful and ready to drift off, you suddenly burst into tears because HOLY CRAP I’M HAVING A BABY, WHEN DID THIS HAPPEN, WHY ARE MY BOOBS SO FREAKING HUGE ALREADY, THAT STUFFED ANIMAL WAS CUTE I SHOULD HAVE BOUGHT IT, I JUST WANT TO BE ABLE TO ROLL OVER IN BED WITHOUT THINKING ABOUT HOW TO MANEUVER, WHO THOUGHT THIS WAS A GOOD IDEA , I’M GOING TO BE A TERRIBLE MOTHER, I LOVE MY BABY, WHAT IF SOMETHING GOES WRONG, I JUST WANT TO SLEEP, I BET THIS LITTLE GUY IS GOING TO BE ADORABLE, C-SECTIONS ARE SCARY CAN WE NOT EVEN DISCUSS THE OPTION, WE NEED TO BUY MORE BABY STUFF LET ME GO GRAB A PEN AND PAPER AND WE CAN MAKE THE LIST RIGHT NOW. (Thankfully, this has only happened twice.  Both times, Hubby was very kind, woke up, talked me down and made me laugh, and hugged me until I stopped crying and fell asleep.)

Pregnancy tired is falling asleep with all blankets on because it’s cozy, and waking up in a hot, humid sweat so you have to turn up the fan, turn down the a.c… and get up again a few hours later to turn the fan back down and retrieve the blankets back from the Hubby (who always likes it when I throw my side of the blankets in his direction).

There is one perk to pregnancy tired:

If you yawn, say you’re tired, say you need a break from standing and walking, need a nap, need to take a break from life and do nothing but sit and watch that new episode of Doctor Who (or a whole season on Netflix)…

Everyone is okay with you taking that break.  Napping, TV watching, sitting with feet up browsing pinterest working on your blog….  It’s all okay, and encouraged.  Everyone expects you to be tired.  Everyone wants you to be healthy and well-rested.  (If anyone tells you otherwise, they’re a jerk and should be ignored.  Or given a tongue-lashing, depending on how those hormones are behaving at the moment.)

But you wanna know a secret?

I’m happy I’m so tired.

I’m tired because I’m pregnant.  My baby is healthy.  He’s probably going to be adorable, and is already very well-loved.  If tired is the price to pay for making a human being, so be it.  If everyone could just stop reminding me how much more tired I’ll be once the baby is here, that would be lovely.  I’m happy I’m a tired mama.  I’ll probably be a happily tired mama for at least the next 18 years, and I couldn’t be more excited.  Bring on the sleepiness, and the sleepless nights.  If it means I get to be my baby’s mommy, then I can’t wait.

Besides, I’ll just keep reading Game of Thrones until I fall asleep (which is easier when I hit the boring chapters… Yes, I’m talking about you, Bran.  You’re my sleepytime hero.)

Congrats! You made it to the end of the post. As promised, me at 39 weeks & 3 days. WAY bigger than I was just one week ago!
Congrats! You made it to the end of the post. As promised, me at 39 weeks & 3 days. WAY bigger than I was just one week ago!
Family, Husband, Moving, Pregnancy

Permission to rest? Granted.

I’m not good at giving myself a break.

When attacking a task or project, I’ve always preferred to tackle the entire thing, beginning-to-end, in one go.  Even if it’s a fun painting project, having to wait for layers of paint to dry frustrates me to no end!

Tackling a project before I was pregnant did not include taking breaks, unless it was for a quick meal or snack, or using the restroom, or getting some water, something fast before I would get back to work.

And now that I’m almost ready to pop, what is everyone reminding me to do?

“Take it easy, make sure you’re not doing too much since you’re super pregnant!”

“Don’t forget to take a break!”

“Rest a lot, both you and the baby need it!”

I’ve read a lot of mommy-blogs about “Things pregnant mommies want to hear.”  Apparently, “Rest up” is something all of those other mamas want someone to tell them.

Not me.

“Rest” is the one thing people keep telling me that keeps really ticking me off.

I want to yell back “You think I have time to sit before this baby comes?!  I need to unpack, get baby’s room ready, clean baby’s clothes, keep up with everyday house maintenance, take care of my dog, grocery shop, cook, and do laundry.  Oh, and I just freaking moved across the country to where I know almost no one, so I can’t phone a friend to come over to help in exchange for coffee and food.  So how about you fly over here and help clean and unpack if my resting is so important to you!?”

Of course, I don’t yell that, because I know everyone means well and wants what is best for me and the baby, and to yell all of that back would be rather unkind and unloving of me!

I have been trying to be good.  In between tasks, I make sure to take a break and sit for a little while, something Netflix and Game of Thrones books has made a little less annoying. But every time I’m resting, even when I can tell I need to take a break from unpacking, organizing, and cleaning, I find myself feeling guilty.

Can you believe it?  Guilty.  Like I’m doing something wrong.  Like I should be able to handle accomplishing ten tasks in a row, all of which require a lot of bending, picking up, moving, and being on my feet, despite carrying around an almost-full-term baby in my belly.  Even resting with my Hubby in the evenings after dinner, watching one of our favorite shows, I feel like I’m doing something wrong for not still cleaning, even if I’ve had a productive day and I’m having a good time relaxing with the love of my life!

My only explanation is that it’s nesting instinct gone into overdrive.  I was starting to think that the “Nesting Instinct” was just a rumor, but it is very real!  And for me, I’m pretty sure that instinct is being pushed along by the desire to not have anything left to do once the baby is here except heal, nurse, and give snuggles.  So until all of my nesting tasks are done, I feel guilty about leaving an important, pre-baby task undone!  How could I dare to bring that child here without every little thing in its proper place?!  (Yes, that’s the unreasonable pregnancy hormones talking.)

Hubby has been really diligent about helping me, and really trying to help me relax.  And I think he figured out the secret: on his days off, we get a TON of housework, unpacking, and projects done around the house, with me being project manager and him being muscle; me doing smaller, mostly-sitting tasks and him doing the lift-and-moving tasks.  And it’s been helping!  Our house is more open, cleaner, and more organized than it has been since we moved in, and it’s largely thanks to him telling me “Here’s what we’re getting done, and you’re going to do it while sitting.

But two straight weeks of “nesting, nesting, NESTING” finally pooped me out.

So after a weekend of tackling projects around the house, I was tired.  So tired that even after a full 9 hours of sleep (making a human bean makes you extra sleepy), I woke up tired.

So yesterday, after yet another OB appointment was finished and Hubby was safely off to work, do you know what I did?

I gave myself permission to have a day off.  It took some debating with myself, but I was pooped.  I had no motivation to get anything around the house done.

So I rested.  And it was good.

I made easy meals.  I cleaned up after them.  I took care of my puppy and played with her, let her in and out of the house so she could run around outside.  I did do one load of laundry, but only because we were completely out of socks.  (Oops.)  I unpacked nothing, all afternoon.

The rest of my day was made up of Netflix, a couch, crocheting, some research about baby things around the internet, and this blog.

And it was good.

I finally think my Hubby and family are right: mommies-to-be need to rest.  My not-vacuuming didn’t result in the house falling apart.  Everyone had the clothes they needed, even though the laundry wasn’t all sorted out in perfect piles.  And the few organizing tasks that are half-done aren’t any worse off for being ignored for one day; they’re still there, and I can tackle them later today.  Or maybe tackle part of it today, and part of it tomorrow, since I now know that little elves won’t come along in the middle of the night and un-do all of my half-done projects while I sleep.

So this mama-to-be learned her lesson: Resting is good, and even necessary sometimes.  Every day doesn’t have to be a full-on couch potato day, but I’m now okay with taking an hour or two to myself to recharge and relax, especially as I get really close to the due date.  (I have a feeling an hour or two may grow longer as the date gets closer!)

I’m giving myself permission to take breaks.  And it will be good.

Family, Marriage

Our “Normal” Year – Happy Anniversary!

PicMonkey1

366 days.  That’s how long I’ve now been married to the love of my life.  It’s odd to think that it’s been a year now, because it doesn’t feel like a year has passed since our wedding day, despite all of the ups, downs, and changes we have gone through together since we said our vows.

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One year ago.

The one thing people have been telling me a lot this month is “Wow, you two have gone through so much in your first year together!”  To which my response is “Really?  I hadn’t thought about it much.  Life just happens!”  Which is true.  I’m one of those people who tends to get stuck on handling life in the moment I’m in, not a big-picture person.  So imagine my surprise when I finally listed all of the major changes that have happened in our first year of marriage:

  • Get married (obviously)
  • Move several states away from friends and family
  • Hubby started his career (Yay!)
  • Travel so much for work that we didn’t really “settle in” and unpack our first apartment until we (really, just our stuff!) had lived there for three months
  • Get our first puppy
  • Expect our first baby (still healthy and on the way…one month to go!)
  • Move across the country… again!
  • Buy our first home
  • Instantly deal with homeowner things, like buying appliances and DIY upkeep (Hello, subflooring underneath my kitchen tile.  I was hoping to never meet you.)

Even writing that list, I have to take a step back from our lives to realize just how much that really is.  It just seems like everything that any couple would go through in a year of marriage… right?

Well, with how big of a deal friends and family make of these events happening so close together, I started to think, “Maybe this isn’t ‘normal’ for most people.” So I took a look at the big events for our friends who have been married for a year or two so far.  To my surprise, most of our friends’ first years have only a few similarities to our first year!  Across the board, all of us got married, everyone moved (whether just moving to a new place together or to a new state), everyone started a new job…

And that’s about it.  Three things we all have in common from what now seems like our mega list of first-year events.  Of course, there are a few exceptions, such as a few friends expecting their first baby too, or getting a pet… but those are exceptions.  We’re the only ones to really hit all of these big things in one fell swoop.

So then I had to ask myself, “Why does this seem so normal to me?  Why am I so surprised when people react with shock when they realize how busy our year has been?”

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And the only answer I can come up with is this:

I have a fantastic marriage.

I picked a really good man: hardworking, loving, a provider, and a caretaker.  A man who shares my faith and love for God.  A man who just happens to have a fantastic sense of humor, which is definitely needed for getting through the stressful stuff. (He takes great pride in that he can make me laugh even when I’m super angry or really sad.)  Luckily, he decided to pick me to be his woman.  (I’m going to claim a good mix of faith and being cute, funny, and able to cook drew him in, though you’d have to ask him to get the list.)

My really good man and I knew before we got married that we would be a team, one united force in taking on life together, making sure that our vision and goal for our family is a common goal between us.  It’s something that we still bring up on a regular basis.  We make sure we are on the same page about the decisions we have to make in our life, even if it takes a few hours of loquacious arguing logical debate.

No matter what comes up, we both have the attitude of “This is the new normal.”  We allow ourselves a little while to wallow in the “life sucks right now!” mood, but quickly help each other move on to adjusting to our “new normal.” (And we both work really, really hard to keep each other’s spirits up when something unexpected and unwanted happens, big or small!)

And somehow, through dealing with all of our “new normals” this year, our marriage is just as good, if not better, than when it started.  I truly believe it’s because we knew what we wanted our marriage to look like before it began.
Because every day we take the time to make sure we are still sharing the same goal for our marriage and family, even as it changes to fit our “new normal.”
Because every day, each of us finds some way to show each other – in some way, big or small – that we love and appreciate who the other one is, that we are happy the other one picked us to share life with, and that we will do whatever we can to make the other one happy.
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Here’s to our first crazy, busy, “normal” year!  And may there be many, many more “normal” years together.

Family, Husband

Another addition to the family!

Remember back around New Year’s, when this little cutie joined the family?

Aww... All 8 lbs. of her!
Aww… All 8 lbs. of her!

Well, here’s a little visual update on Heidi, now about 6 months old.

Attempted re-creation of the original pic. Just a li'l bigger now!
Attempted re-creation of the original pic. Just a li’l bigger now!

But the really, really REALLY big news is…

Baby announcement 1

…we’re expecting our first child this Fall!

The due date is October 1st, but we’ll see if the newest Mouseketeer waits that long.  (I’m hoping he/she doesn’t get too comfy in there and make a late entrance!)

Of course, my husband and I are super excited! We’ve only bought a few baby things, but the big search is about to begin later this month for strollers, cribs, etc.  Thankfully, I have a wonderful maternity store close to home, so I’ve already bought a few new jeans and two nice Spring/Summer dresses.

Hopefully, this helps explain why there haven’t  been too many posts lately.  Morning sickness and being tired all the time really got in the way! Thankfully, I’m finding the second trimester to be much more comfortable than the first, and I’m going to try to get a lot more posts in before D-Day (at which point we’ll be lucky if I get one little picture post up a week!)

Please keep me and my growing family in your thoughts and prayers as we go through this new chapter in our lives!

Family, Husband

New Year Changes: Our family grew!

I have a very good reason for not writing in the past few weeks.

EXCUSES EVERYWHERE
But…but they’re GOOD excuses.

Of course, there was Christmas, and since its the first Christmas as a married grown-up, there was Christmas cards, mailing packages, and figuring out how exactly to ‘do’ Christmas with two sets of family traditions! (We figured it out pretty well.)

Your tradition is WHAT?
            Donald’s look sums up some of our conversations about tradition combos.

But the most exciting part (and best reason for not writing) is…

WE GOT A PUPPY!!!

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Meet Heidi, the sweetest all-American mutt ever and our first fur-baby!

She likes to cuddle.
She likes to cuddle.

A few times a week, I volunteer to walk dogs at the local no-kill shelter. Of course, they usually have a few litters of sweet puppies up for adoption, in addition to the big dogs.  When my Husband comes with me, we usually take a few minutes to look at the puppies, pet them, and I usually joke about “We could take this one home!” and give him my best puppy dog eyes. (Which never works. I have terrible puppy dog eyes.)

So this time, we got back from a dog walk and saw Heidi with her sister. We took turns holding and playing with her, and I said (teasing!) “We can’t leave her here! We could take the puppy home.”

And there was no response.

No, “No dogs right now.”

No, “Put the puppy down, dear.”

No, “Maybe after our next business trip.”

There was just silence, and a Husband holding the puppy with a serious yet slightly pleased look on his face.

I immediately knew: we were taking that puppy home.

We have had her home for a week now, and it has been a fun ride of ups (like cute cuddling, playing with toys, teaching fetch and seeing huge tail wags when we come home!) and downs (like dear god, how does something so SMALL make such a BIG noise at 2 am?!)

Here are some things we’ve learned about Heidi so far:

She is a professional napper.

2 hour-long naps are not uncommon.
2 hour naps are not uncommon.

She likes to burrow.

Can't tell which side is up?
Can’t tell which side is up?
There's her left front-paw for some perspective.
There’s her left front-paw for some perspective.

She is a hoarder.

All the toys end up on her bed. And all the socks.  And the slippers.
All the toys end up on her bed. And all the socks. And the slippers.

She isn’t too sure about this harness and leash business.

Purple is definitely her color.
But purple is definitely her color.

Also, she loves football.

Also, she loves to cheer on football with her daddy.
Or maybe just cuddling with her papa?  Nah, it’s gotta be the football.

Wish us luck!

P.S. Heidi would like me to inform my readers that she does NOT like it when her mama is typing on the computer instead of playing with her. At all. Even if the majority was written when she was napping.