HIMYM Finale: Major Disappointment?

himym_radnor_wedding_a_l

All right, you guys. We have to talk about this. We’re a week two weeks past the series finale of How I Met Your Mother. General consensus has been NOT GREAT. Even after critics have panned the past several seasons and this final, gimmicky one in particular, almost every recap and review I read screamed disappointment.

Major disappointment! {Major Disappointment! *salute!*}

Much as I love TV critics (because, HELLO, DREAM JOB!), I don’t completely agree. I didn’t hate the HIMYM finale, and I actually loved parts of it.

Now, angry fans, don’t start throwing popcorn at me (or, you know, your screens)! OBVIOUSLY the show and its ending had a ton o’problems. But like Lily said to Robin at the beginning of the finale, “Once you’re in [our gang], you’re in for life!”

I’ve quit shows before, I have. Not many, but a few. (So sorry, Grey’s Anatomy. It’s not me, it’s you.) But for the most part, once I start watching a show, I’m in for life. Through the ups and downs, the Emmys and the internet hate-watching. Once I declare a show “mine,” there’s no separating us.

Unlike Barney and Robin, apparently. We’ll get THERE in a minute.

So I love my shows, and I will watch Every. Single. Episode. to the very bitter or sweet end. Then add to that the fact that I LOVE FINALES? As in, I will start – or re-start – watching a show when I hear it’s on its last legs? Well, despite all the foreshadowing and predictions and low, low expectations? I was ALL IN for this final episode with Ted, Marshal, Lily, Barney and Robin.

HIMYM finale cast

I’ve been trying to write this for several days now and I’m actually watching the finale again as I write now. And while my feelings about the show and its finale run deep, my thoughts are so scattered I think I’d better just stick to bullet points. Here goes…

The things I loved:

  • All the callbacks to past seasons – the cockamouse, the Halloween party and Ted’s hanging chad costume, robot wrestling, “Murder Train” playing during robot wrestling, the blue French horn (NOT the circumstances, just the fact that it was brought back), Marshall paying Lily for their bet over whether Ted and Robin would end up together.
  • Ted’s salt and pepper hair (Although, it’s weird. Usually as men and women age – especially on TV – the men get better looking while the women get older looking. Not so much in the case of, well, Marshall. Sorry, Judge Fudge, but time was not kind! Robin, on the other hand? Looked AMAZING – and so did Lily and The Mother.)
  • Ted wanting to get married in a castle, but doing it in the courthouse instead. [Edited to add: Okay, I remember on a second watch that it wasn't technically the courthouse. But it was short notice and basically the same concept. So the bullet point stays.]
  • The tired new parents! (Of course.)
  • Barney meeting his baby (Barney may be totally gross, but NPH nailed this scene.)
  • The Mother convincing Robin to come to their wedding
  • Not dwelling on The Mother’s disease and death. Those details weren’t the point, and I was fine with it being vague.
  • Remembering the episode where Ted breaks down about how he wished he would have met The Mother just 45 days sooner. It killed me then, even when I was unsure what it meant for The Mother’s future (and lifespan). It kills me even more now.
  • Ted finishing the story with, “And that, kids, is how I met your mother.” (If only it had ended there…)

What totally killed me:

  • “We have to be here for the Big Moments!” THIS. Lily’s increasingly desperate attempts to keep the gang together rang true to me. These characters who I’ve watched nearly every week (and certainly every episode and sometimes multiple times a night once reruns began airing) for the past nine years, they were so different than me – and yet, not so different. They are almost the exact same age I am, and they faced a whole lot of the same things I have in those same past nine years: job frustrations, weddings, new babies, dealing with friends who breakup, loss of loved ones, home-buying woes. I may never set foot in an Irish bar in Manhattan, but still, HIMYM got me and my life. Still, nothing lasts forever. So…
  • “It’s never going to be how it was. It can’t be.” Shut up, Robin. I know, but I like to pretend it’s not true.
  • “It’s great…great….great…great…” Who hasn’t tried to convince themselves and their friends that their marriage, their job, their LIFE is just GREAT when it’s not-so-much?
  • “Much of what I do does not make me cry.” Oh, Marshall. I have been there, and it sucks. So glad your phone finally rang!
  • “It’s not a business, Barney. It’s a blog!” Hmph. Whatevs.

What I hated:

ARE YOU KIDDING ME WITH THAT ENDING??? After we forced ourselves to be okay with the BIZARRO way Ted let go of Balloon Robin just a few weeks ago? After we swallowed the last-minute jitters that made Robin temporarily decide she should be with Ted after all – and TED SAID NO THANKS? After all the back and forth, after you convinced us Barney had changed, after you made us fall in love (SO MUCH LOVE!!!) with the adorable, funny, killer musician and Renaissance faire fan Mother?

No. No. No, no, no, no, no, no, no. [Cue flashback to the episode where Robin and Ted break up after the not-real proposal makes them realize they have an expiration date.]

I don’t mind that The Mother died. Sometimes these things happen, even though we wish they wouldn’t. And while I typically want all happy endings, all the time, this is one show that presented the hard realities of life in such a beautiful way that I didn’t hate it.

But to give us such severe emotional whiplash — first with the season-long build-up to Robin and Barney’s wedding leading to a marriage that ended just minutes into this last episode and then, THEN! with the series-long journey of Ted getting over Robin and finding The Mother ending in the kids and Ted blowing off any sense of grief to run back to Robin (who, BY THE WAY, totally blew off the gang for journalistic fame)?

Unacceptable.

So, I’m choosing to forget those last few minutes (I didn’t watch them the second time around) and remember all the other many, MANY great episodes of one of my favorite shows.

What made it worth it:

  • Every moment of Ted and The Mother together, especially this one:

HIMYM finale


Okay, your turn!
What did YOU think of the HIMYM series finale?


************************

(And in case you want to read what other people thought of the finale [in case you hated the whole thing and need more validation for those feelings than I gave you...], here are a TON of links to articles:

And, finally, Bradley Cooper just wanted a happy ending, you guys.
[Language warning.] {But it’s funny because it’s true.}

What I’m Into :: March 2014

Mainly this:

Adrienne March 2014

and this, too:

Annalyn March 2014

As you can see, we’re not lacking in personality at the Carver house. I don’t know who they get it from. Based on Adrienne’s [ADORABLE] cooing, we’ll never be lacking in words here, either. That girl is going to love talking as much as her sister (and, FINE, her mom and dad)!

One way she IS different than the rest of us is the way Adrienne faces mornings. She just LOVES to wake up. It doesn’t matter how many – or few – hours she’s slept overnight. When we go into her room in the morning, she has The Biggest Grin on her face. She is just THRILLED to greet the day! Not so much the other three people living in this house. So, you know, maybe she’ll make us all pancakes when she’s older.

I’m having a hard time keeping track of time and holding onto moments, which is why posts like this one are a good thing! Here’s a quick roundup of my March:

  • We re-listed our house for sale. We’ve had four showings so far, so I can’t complain. I have high hopes for this new agent and warmer season.
  • In related news I’ve had my house professionally cleaned and staged (the latter courtesy of our agent – how cool is that?!), and yet still, nobody else is offering to clean the cats’ litter box. It’s a hard life.
  • Spring has arrived (in between cold snaps and snow storms, as per the usual March in Missouri), and with it come Big Time Allergies. I’ve lost my voice, Annalyn has suffered from dizzy spells, and Mark has been snuffly. We’re a fun bunch, yo.
  • Medical bills have arrived, too. This, of course, has led me to say repeatedly (in regard to the insurance plan we chose last year when we weren’t sure I’d make it full-term and have my baby in 2014), “I’ve made a huge mistake.”
  • The girls and I attended my mom’s third annual tea party. My brother catered it, and though I remain fully committed to hating scones, the rest of the food was delicious. Even more delicious was letting other people hold my baby girl for a few hours and enjoying adult conversation with friends and family.
  • I returned to my position as Praise Parkway coordinator in my church’s children’s ministry. I missed those kids and was so glad to get back to leading and serving with them!
  • I got a sweet surprise in the mail when I received a copy of ParentLife magazine – with my first article in print!
  • Both my plans for a date night and a girls night out were foiled by a cranky newborn, but thankfully, Adrienne is mostly a content sweetheart. She’s also begun sleeping for several hours in a row at night, which makes a world of difference!

And in the big news department (NO, I’m NOT PREGNANT, shut your mouth!), I was cast in Kansas City’s Listen to Your Mother show, I decided to attend the Orange Conference and host an (in)RL gathering next month, and I talked with a literary agent several times (more on that to come soon!).

I also had more than one emotional breakdown (thank you, hormones and sleep deprivation), spent way more time apologizing for mistakes at work than I ever dreamed possible, decided I’m completely tired of every meal I make and refused to cook (at least for a night or two), struggled mightily with a six-year-old with attitude problems, realized that the diaper blowouts were a result of the baby outgrowing the size 1 diapers – after buying a giant box of them, and hid dishes in my oven before a showing – and forgot when it was time to pre-heat said oven.

Still, March was a good month. A really good month! Here are a few other things I’ve been into:

What I’m Reading:
Well, here’s the thing, friends. I’ve reached the point in this Having-a-Newborn Life where my books must meet two criteria. First, they must be electronic and on my Kindle Fire. Holding a book while feeding a baby (the only time I read these days…which is fine because, well, I do that several times a day) is just too cumbersome. And second, they must be easy reads.

I have several amazing non-fiction books just waiting for my attention span and brain capacity to return. And as soon as they do, I’m going to be all over those books! Until then, though, it’s pretty much all fluff, all the time.

There are exceptions, though! I’ve just started reading Jennifer Dukes Lee’s Love Idol and Lisa-Jo Baker’s Surprised by Motherhood, but both are FANTASTIC. Just lovely, challenging, encouraging, inspiring heart stories.

LJB and JLD books

What I’m Watching:
Say what you will about shows past their prime, it’s a special kind of television torture to have the series finales of both How I Met Your Mother AND Psych air in the same week. *Big. Sad. Sigh.*

Luckily I have American Idol to cheer me up. Because though the contestants are not all that impressive, the judges are just the best. I love them. So much. Except when they perform their own songs and their own song is called, “I Luh Yah, Papi.” C’mon, J-Lo. C’MON!

vmars movie poster

Though I didn’t get to re-watch seasons two and three of Veronica Mars, I did watch the movie. And I loved it!! I read somewhere that it was a love letter to the fans, and it was that. It was a strange thing, though, because it both answered all my questions about what happened to all the characters AND left me wanting so much more. I think it’s because I’m used to the relationship craziness and mysteries taking an entire season to solve, but two hours just wasn’t enough. Guess I’ll just have to console myself by watching the movie again…

What I’m Eating and Cooking:
Like I mentioned earlier, I’m sick of pretty much every meal I cook. However, I am not tired of cookies. Or brownies. Or rice krispy treats. Because those things? I WILL EAT THEM ALL THE DAY LONG.

I think this craving for sweets is a hormone thing (sorry to the three guys who read this blog) and will hopefully take a hike soon. If not, I’ll be returning to Weight Watchers sooner than I anticipated. Because, really, I have No Control when it comes to a pan of anything sweet sitting on my kitchen counter.

In Case You Missed It:

And my favorite video from the past month comes from, of course, Jimmy Fallon. And, fine, it was actually from February. But it’s so good that if you didn’t watch it, you need to see it. Now. You’re welcome. (Email subscribers, click here to see the video of Paul Rudd’s lip sync battle with Jimmy Fallon. Because yesssssssss.)

That’s what I’ve been into. What about you? What were YOU into in March?

This post will be linked up with Leigh’s What I’m Into, and it does include affiliate links.

When All You Want is All the Things

When All You Want is ALL THE THINGS! | via givinguponperfect.com

I was talking to a friend yesterday about the wonders of motherhood. Not really complaining but yes, maybe we were discussing some of the challenges as well as the joys. Such as never having large blocks of time to ourselves.

Since Mark started working evenings (and then nights) and Annalyn went to preschool, I’ve had lots of alone time. Too much, I would have said back then. Even for a half introvert (seriously. I’m 50/50 on every single personality test I take.) being alone too much gets to be, well, too much. But what I didn’t realize at the time is that while it could get lonely, this life of days and evenings to myself allowed me a whole lot of freedom to do All The Things.

I don’t mean that I did everything. (See this post for a reminder of all the things I don’t do!) But when I wanted to binge watch a TV show or mainline an entire series of books, I COULD.

I’m not saying doing ALL THE THINGS in any department is a good idea or a healthy practice. It’s obviously not conducive to being uber successful and productive (unless your secret goal is to the best darned procrastinator on earth and then, well, go for it. though I may give you a run for your money.).

But man, is it fun.

{Also. Educational side note, because NEVER STOP LEARNING. Binge watching TV shows is so popular these days that actual studies are being done about it. It turns out – brace yourselves for these shockers – people enjoy binge watching. I KNOW!! “Despite our hectic, digitally driven lifestyles and 140-character social interactions … we’re actually craving the long narratives that today’s good television can provide. Instead of dealing with the day’s stresses by zoning out, we’d rather become engrossed in an entirely different (and fictional) world.”

So there’s that. (From here.)}

ANYWAY.

For weeks now I’ve been dying to blow through seasons two and three of Veronica Mars. After all, I can’t very well go see the movie without a rewatch of the TV show, can I? (No. Duh. Of course not. Don’t you remind me of how many times I’ve already watched the series. Obviously you don’t understand the depth of my Veronica Mars love!)

But despite being pinned to the couch for hours a day as I feed Adrienne, I haven’t been able to find enough blocks of time to accomplish this goal. I returned both seasons to the library over the weekend – a full week after watching the movie and without ever opening the cases to watch my beloved show.

So for now, at least, I’m faced with a life without All The Things. I can’t pin All The Things, I can’t buy All The Things, I can’t read or watch or even listen to All The Things. And while I can occasionally eat All The Things, I’m really trying not to (if you don’t count the cookie dough I bought yesterday or the no-bakes I made last week or…).

I’m learning to make do with a different version of All The Things, though. Just like I pretend shop at Target every once in a while (you know, walk through the store and put everything I want in my cart . . . then walk back through the store and put it all back because who can afford All The Cute Plates And Shirts And Pencil Holders And Baby Tights?), I trick myself.

I put All The Books on my to-read list . . . even if it will be months before I can actually read them.

I set my DVR for All The Shows . . . even if I know full and well I won’t get around to watching them before American Idol results shows demand to take over that space.

I make lists of blog post ideas and recipes to try and festivals to attend . . . someday. And then? I’m okay with that.

I’d tell you that I eat grapes and baby carrots by the handful instead of swallowing an entire pan of Rice Krispy treats. But, really. Who’s gonna believe THAT?!?

Not having chunks of time to write chapters and take naps and read books and watch shows and DO MY TAXES is driving me a bit crazy. Thankfully, my fake All The Things Doing is getting me through.

Much as many of us enjoy binge watching, pinning, reading, etc., it isn’t always feasible (or wise, okay? I KNOW THAT.). So – how do you cope when you can’t Do All The Things – or anything that requires chunks of time?

{Photo by jvoves}

Catching Up is Hard to Do

Baby Adrienne Collage

You guys. Do you even need to ASK what I’ve been into this month?

Seriously, just look at that face. LOOK at it! I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking, Awwww, so cute! And, yes, fine, you’re right. But. BUT. She is a thief, you guys! She has completely stolen my attention span, my ability to think straight in general, and definitely my ability to WRITE ANYTHING DECENT.

I went back to work last week, which is good for me and probably a little questionable for them. But I’m slowly feeling my brain – and {don’t you worry, I’ll spare you the details} my body – return to normal. And just in time, too, because I do hate missing out on What I’m Into posts.

Now, normally I write about what I’m reading, watching, eating and/or cooking, and listening to. Which I’ll do again this year. Of course. But you must know. What I’ve mostly been into is petting my baby’s soft, soft head and scrolling through Facebook on my phone, again. That’s what happens when you spend 8 hours a day feeding [and changing, but who wants to talk about that?] an infant, man.

What I'm Into books - Feb 2014

What I’m Reading:

You might remember I had some lofty reading goals for the weeks following my delivery. As it turns out, I’m not quite coordinated enough to hold an actual book while feeding Adrienne. So I’ve done most of my reading on my Kindle or my phone. I’d like to say that’s because when I’m not feeding her, I’m sleeping when the baby sleeps. But, well, it’s mostly because when I’m not feeding her I’m a little…ah…um…distracted…ooh, look, shiny!

[I said I've lost my attention span!]

All that being said, I’ve managed to make my way through several books on my list (although the stack next to my bed and my list of reserves at the library will try to tell you differently). Here’s what I’ve read in the past month:

  • Evertrue by Brodi Ashton: The last in a YA trilogy based on the myth of Persephone, I wouldn’t say this book – or series – was my favorite for its story or characters. But I can’t deny – and couldn’t resist – how well it was written to pull the reader in and keep you there. And – vague SPOILER – it had a happy ending and no crazy, out-of-nowhere twists, which my addled brain appreciates ohsomuch.
  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer: Well, this is a case of judging a book by its cover – and judging it wrongly. Wrongly? Wrong? I DON’T KNOW. Anyway, this cover put me off even after Jessie told me the book was really good. Look at it up there! It’s creepy, don’t you think? But the book? Well, the whole series so far? I LOVE IT SO MUCH. It’s a YA sci-fi version of fairytales, it involves space travel and robots, and yes, I love it. LOVE. IT. Can’t wait for the next one. Might re-read the first three that I already inhaled. I don’t know, you guys; I just really liked this one.
  • King & Maxwell by David Baldacci: I like political thrillers and spy novels, so I will always read every book by David Baldacci. And I watched his TV show based on this series last summer – and liked it okay. This book, though, wasn’t his best or my favorite. And that’s all I have to say about that.
  • Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi: Okay. I liked the first two books in this series a lot. And I liked the last book, too – but not in relation to the first two. In the time-honored tradition of all young adult trilogies, this one had a pesky love triangle. And in this last book, the two love interests completely changed character. The bad guy became good – POOF! And the good guy? Yep, now he’s bad (or, at least kind of mean and super angry). Again – poof. If I hadn’t read about them for two previous books, I wouldn’t have been bothered. But I did and I was.
  • Someday, Someday, Maybe by Lauren Graham: I don’t actually read a lot of chick lit, so this was definitely a break from the mysteries and fantasy and YA books I normally read. I was a little nervous to read it, actually, afraid I’d be disappointed by Lorelai’s novel. But I wasn’t. The story is about an actress, so of course I wondered the entire time I was reading it how much of the details were biographical, and it was very enjoyable. It didn’t knock me off my feet or anything, but I liked it.
  • Bread & Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes by Shauna Niequist: Yeah, yeah, I know – I’m the last person to read this one! I started it months ago, but didn’t get far into it for some reason. I love what Shauna has to say about hospitality and community, although her stories made me long for the kind of heart-friends she has in her life. Great book (like everyone has already said), but admittedly, my least favorite of her three books. I ADORED her other two collections of essays, so anything coming after them has a lot to live up to!
  • Sparkly Green Earrings: Catching the Light at Every Turn by Melanie Shankle: I don’t know why I hadn’t read this earlier. Again, I’d started it months ago but just didn’t get into it at the time. Now, though? I GOT INTO IT. I got teary-eyed (big surprise for the hormonal post-partum mama, right?!) and literally laughed out loud more than once. Disturbing my sleepy, eating baby – but so worth it.

Right now, I’m reading The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield and On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King.

_MB13915r2_1.jpg

What I’m Watching:

Okay, can we talk about American Idol? Are you all watching it? Because I’m watching it. I haven’t been much of an Idol fan, believe it or not, and the only season I watched completely was the one with Kris Allen. But because watching TV takes less hand-eye coordination while feeding a baby, attention span and – let’s face it – brain power, I’ve had a little extra time.

So I want to know if you all are watching. Because if  you are, we should talk about it. (But if you aren’t, well, I won’t bore you. But c’mon! Harry Connick! J-Lo! Keith Urban! THEY ARE SO GOOD. And, oh yeah, the musicians are good, too.)

Also watching: the usual suspects, Veronica Mars (again, in preparation for the movie), and every funny video Jimmy Fallon makes.

You’re welcome.

I also shared those on my Facebook page, by the way. Because we like to have fun over there. Annnnnd, you all give great advice when a person (um, you know, ME) feels the need to start drinking coffee. Join us there?

So, that’s what I was into in February. What about you? What were YOU into?

This post will be linked up with tons of lovely bloggers at my friend Leigh Kramer’s site. Go ahead – click over there and try (JUST TRY!) not to get lost reading all the awesome updates linked up!

This post includes affiliate links.

Books to Read During Maternity Leave

5022569702_b5eb0f5cdf_z

No, I’m not completely out of my mind. I really do think it’s possible (POSSIBLE! Not probable, okay?) I might have time to read over the next few crazy weeks.

[Wait. I guess seven days with a newborn might have been long enough to drive me crazy. I doubt it, though. That doubt? It's the luxury I have writing this five days before she's scheduled to be delivered...]

In order to get ready for Life with Baby, I scheduled a handful of posts for the blog and took off several weeks from work. Though I realize naps and laundry and holding and rocking and staring into space or gazing into her eyes will likely take up most my time and energy, I also wanted to be prepared with a stack of books to read if and when I found a few minutes here and there.

The problem is that my brain basically shut down a few trimesters ago, and even the most basic decisions (like, which three books to buy or borrow) boggled my poor pregnant mind. Not to mention I had no idea what my post-baby brain would be interested in or able to handle. So like a good Boy Scout (a good, pregnant, indecisive Boy Scout), I am totally prepared with more books than I could possibly read in six weeks.

5584805270_7b4fde7a96_b

Here’s what I’ve got lined up. (P.S. Feel free to notice the abundance of books that EVERYONE ELSE HAS READ but I have not. Better late than never, right?)

Fiction:

Non-Fiction:

Wish List:

Also on Deck:

Veronica Mars, first season (a rewatch to get ready for the MOVIE!!!)

So, what do you think of my list? Is there something lighter, better, more interesting, more hilarious, more encouraging that I should be reading this winter in between diapers and feedings and tummy time and naps?

This post includes affiliate links. Photos by brendan-c and dougbelshaw.