Documentary Pick: Find Me

I find myself watching a lot of documentaries these days, a genre I never had much interest in before becoming a parent.  Perhaps it's just that now movies garnering less press or fanfare are simply more accessible with streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu, among others.

I recently read about the documentary, Find Me on another blog, and my husband and I watched it last night.  It's a film about the varying aspects of Chinese adoption, including three families who have adopted children from China, as well as the foster families who cared for the children, after they were found and placed in orphanages.

One of the concepts focused on in the film is a child's "finding place."  Literally, the location or address where they were surrendered and "found," before being placed in an orphanage.  As I learned, a finding place can have tremendous significance for the family adopting, to actually touch the ground where their now child was surrendered, some commonly abandoned for medical or health related reasons, for example the family being unable to provide adequate care or fund necessary treatments.  

Another aspect of the film focused on the "find me," aspect, how social media is helping many children find families who would otherwise be at risk of aging out of the Chinese orphanage system.  

Ultimately, this film resonated with me in many ways.  One of my close high school friends was adopted from Korea, and I grew up with several friends with younger siblings that were adopted internationally.  I feel humbled and ignorant now, recognizing how little I knew about that experience and what an emotional, transformative journey it likely was for their families.  

On a personal level, while not an adoption persay, my grandfather was an orphan, left on the steps of the New York Foundling Hospital when he was just days old.  He and his younger sister (who were identified as related by handwritten note left upon surrender) bounced through twelve foster homes by the time my grandfather was nine.  Inevitably, they did not find a forever family, and he ran away at sixteen, though he likely would have aged out of the system. 

This film is about the human experience, and it's heartbreaking and both heartwarming in many ways.  Regardless of your position on the subject, I'd recommend this film.  Find Me was a glimpse at a whole world I was not aware of, and has given me with a lot to think about.  

Here is a link to a trailer for the film, as well as another film testimonial by blogger, Shay Shull, who adopted from the same Xi'an, China orphanage in the film. 

This post is part of my partnership with Netflix where I share what my family and I are watching each month on our favorite streaming platform. All thoughts and opinions are my own.  #StreamTeam
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July Favorites (a few days late)

Phew...we have definitely been enjoying our summer days, but I feel like in a blink, it's August already!  For my teacher friends and I, the dawn of August has always been synonymous with one long Sunday night.  Kind of an Eeyore sentiment, I realize, but even so, the association runs deep. August marks the end of this fleeting, lovely summer season, and the brink of school lies just ahead on the horizon.  Thus, now we're full speed ahead to relish what's left of summer!

+ sipping a lot of lacroix sparkling water in coconut and canteloupe-grapefruit, yum!

+ also, trader joe's wine, in particular - vintjs pinot noir rose

+ retiring with this amazing contoured sleep eye mask

+ reading this book has inspired me to imagine a family trip around the world (I recommend the audiobook)

+ enjoying this camera + editing tutorial (I learned a thing or two!)

+ playing with my son's beloved souvenir from Disneyland

+ noshing on ridiculously good (and easy) summer salad

+ loving this children's book about lives of seven families all around the world (speaking of books, do you follow my kids book instagram account yet?)

what are you digging these days?
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Quote of the Week

"Do not educate your children to be rich. Educate to be happy so when they grow up, they will know the value of things, not the price." 
~ Victor Hugo


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Cornwall

 Have you ever been to Cornwall, England?  This is a region of England I wasn't too familiar with, and truth be told, was never much on my travel radar until this article in Bon Appetit magazine.  And now, after reading this article, in addition to rereading Joanna Goddard's nostalgic posts about vacationing on the Cornwall coast, I've definitely added it to my "must see" list.  The blustery bluffs, rocky beaches and salty sea, the abundance of fish and chips and English accents, just to name a few of my favorite things!

Ever been?  Doesn't it sound quaint and lovely?

What's a destination that you'd like to visit that was an unexpected addition to your list or somewhere that surprised you?

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Salad Savvy: Pea Prosciutto Salad

I saw this in Bon Appetit a few months ago and bookmarked it for a later date.  Last week, I finally had the privilege and guys... So. Damn. Good.  I rarely crave a green salad unless it has a ton of stuff in it (nuts, seeds, fruit, cheese, crunchies...the works!).  As a result, I find that unusual salads really appeal to me, perhaps for creative mix of flavors, textures, and ingredients.  This pea, snap pea, prosciutto, and arugula salad was in a word - delightful!  Salty prosciutto, sweet peas and snap peas, bitter arugula, tangy mustard, and sour lemon juice, it may seem like a strange blend of ingredients, but it just works!

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Today Was A Good Day

Today was a good day.

Today there was sunshine.  Endless blue skies, not a raindrop in sight.  Pure, unadulterated spring sunshine.  “Cumulus clouds!” my daughter chirped excitedly.  “No stratus clouds today!”  I smile as I hear her recall snippets of my former first-grade-teacher-self.

“Let’s walk to the library!” I announced triumphantly. Roughly a mile there and back, sky free of stratus clouds, why not?  I was feeling adventurous.  Eager break our afternoon rut and imprint a fond memory onto their tiny brains in lieu of yet another day playing Calico Critters dollhouse or watching a repeat letter of the day announcement on Sesame Street.  

Just past the school we encountered the hill.  My out of shape mommy brain overcompensated the terrain of our expedition, it’s just a little hill I chided myself.  After all, this is a hill that rises and falls effortlessly when traversed by car, I barely register the extra horsepower in my Subaru.  Turns out, not the case by stroller-- correction, double stroller.  Two kids weighing 30 and 35 pounds respectively.  That and the five pounds of granola bars I packed in case of emergency suddenly felt like anchors as we began our ascent.  

“Why are we going so slow?!” she whined.
“Sweetie, this is a big hill,” I breathed, feeling my body comically move to a 90 degree angle against the handlebars in order to push us forward.  
I imagined what passersby vehicles must be thinking.  Oh...come on! Is the stroller really that heavy?  I found myself silently wishing for a honk of encouragement, complimentary or otherwise.
“Keep going Mommy, we’ve got a long way, this hill is still going!”
“Uh huh,” I agreed, gulping in breaths, pushing us steadily upward as we summited our hill.
My son gleefully kicked his dangling feet in the front seat, unperturbed by Mommy’s slow pace.  

Once the hill plateaued, sweat perspiring on my forehead, I felt a surge of energy.  A renewed spirit and lightness of foot, despite my aching legs.  We came upon swarms of fat yellow dandelions sprouting up out of the pavement.  I could’ve kept moving, I could’ve rolled right by, but I felt the urge to stop and savor this moment.  Kicking on the stroller break, I knelt beside them, their eyes wide with curiosity as I gently picked a fluffy stalk for each.  Exhaling a full breath, I showed them how to blow the seeds into the wind and make a wish.  I smiled through staccato bursts of warm breath on my face, their seeds spiralling into the wind and each other's hair while making sweet silent toddler wishes.

We made it to the library, swapped out our books and headed home, traversing the same path downhill and to our little local park.  I resisted the urge to pull out my phone and document,  shelving my desire to snap a photo or capture a brief video clip for my 1 Second Everyday montage.  

Be present.  Be in this moment I reminded myself.  This is the real memory; not the one you captured in a screen. Memorize this, remember this.  The warmth of the sun in the late afternoon stratus-cloud-free sky. The overstuffed bottom compartment of our stroller, bursting with library books selected by sticky, chubby fingers.  The excited purse of little lips and focused faces blowing fuzzy dandelion seeds into the wind.  The delighted giggles as they slid down the slide together, side by side for the first time.

Today was a good day.  

Quote of the Week

"Some old-fashioned things like fresh air and sunshine are hard to beat."
~ Laura Ingalls Wilder 

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