January 8, 2013

Find me at Your Movie Madness!

In December, the husband of a neighbor and friend who is in the film industry started a Facebook page (soon to be full website) for movie reviews.  Writing for an entertainment website is something I've wanted to do for a long time, so I contacted him to ask if they were looking for reviewers.  After submitting a review, I was able to join the team at Your Movie Madness!

I am very excited about it, and will be writing 2-3 reviews per week and am planning on posting links here, as well as linking to them from my Movies Watched list.  I've seen preliminary designs for the website that will hopefully be up in the next couple of weeks, and it's sleek and clean.  I'll be sure to post a link as soon as it's up.  In the meantime, here are the three I've written so far!

Trouble With the Curve - 7/10
I missed Trouble With the Curve the first time around, but with the opening of a brand new theater in Bellingham I had the chance to see it on the big screen. I generally love a good inspirational sports movie, and I thought it looked like a touching story with some laughs along the way. This movie marks the first directing project for Robert Lorenz, who was the First Assistant Director for Eastwood on Mystic River and Million Dollar Baby. keep reading

This is 40 - 7/10 (10/10 for Soundtrack)
Judd Apatow is on my list. You know the one. The one you keep in your head of directors, writers, and actors whose movies are a given - you WILL be there. He has written and produced some of the funniest movies I’ve seen in the past 10 years, so I was excited when I started seeing previews for This is 40 a few months ago. I went to see it on December 22, the day after it was released in theaters. keep reading

Les Miserables - 7/10
It took me about 10 viewings of the theatrical preview for Les Miserables before I could watch it without crying. I have long been a fan of musicals, and if I could have any job in the world, I’d sing on stage (SO far from reality). Somehow, I hadn’t seen the stage production of Les Miserables until a bit over a year ago when it came to Seattle. Instant love. The film adaptation is directed by Tom Hooper, who won best director in 2011 for The King’s Speech. keep reading

Jack Reacher - 5/10
Truth: I have been really on-the-fence about Tom Cruise for several years now. I have never exactly been a member of his fan club, or one of those women who swoons over him, but some of his behavior has left a bad taste in my mouth. I have friends who won’t watch any of his movies anymore, but I’m still willing depending on the movie. When I saw the previews for Jack Reacher, I was not super excited but figured I’d probably go see it as I am a big fan of police/military type procedural movies. I didn’t realize until after the fact that this movie was directed by Christopher McQuarrie, who won the best screenplay Oscar in 1996 for The Usual Suspects, one of my all time favorite detective mysteries. That would have definitely contributed to my decision to see this one! keep reading

January 7, 2013

What It Takes - Becoming a Birth Boot Camp Instructor

With Donna Damon Ryan (creator of Birth Boot Camp)
and Sarah Clark (board member) after receiving my
Birth Boot Camp Certification.
My fellow Birth Boot Camp Instructor Dani Long - the only other instructor in Washington - wrote this amazing post about what it took for us to get our certification.  She has kindly let several of us share it since she wrote it so well.  For most of us, this process was a labor of love, something we were willing to work hard for because it meant so much to us.  I want to write about my experience getting the certification and the trip to the workshop that made me sad to leave Texas (who knew?!), but for now I want to share this.  So, what IS a Certified Birth Boot Camp Instructor?

Good things take time (My adventure in becoming a certified childbirth educator) 
by Dani Long

 When you sign up to take Birth Boot Camp childbirth classes, or refer one of your clients to me, rest assured that they are not only receiving the best birth education available, they are being taught by an instructor who HAS BEEN THERE.

One thing that makes Birth Boot Camp unique is the extensive list of requirements that an individual needs to meet to be accepted and eventually certified.

I was REQUIRED to have had a NATURAL birth. (I have times 3!)

I was REQUIRED to have breastfed for a continous year. (I have breastfed a total of 50 months and counting…)

I was REQUIRED to attend births.

I was REQUIRED to read a mountain of books on topics including, but not limited to: pregnancy, birth, labor progress, VBACs, postpartum period, breastfeeding, postpartum depression, sexual abuse in childbearing women, baby care and attachment parenting.

I was REQUIRED to compile a massive list of community resources.

I was REQUIRED to write several papers.

I was REQUIRED to complete a very extensive study guide.

I was REQUIRED to attend the near 30 hour, 3 day, instructor training workshop in Dallas, TX.

I was REQUIRED to practice teach at the workshop.

I was REQUIRED to pass a 3 hour written exam. (Closed-book!)

 AND then the wonderful Birth Boot Camp Advisory Board decided if they wanted me – and they did!

Why was I required to do all this? Well because Birth Boot Camp wants to ensure that not only would I have knowledge to teach students about birth and breastfeeding, but that I had EXPERIENCE doing both. This is not some program that is a weekend long workshop you can show up to (without any prerequisites for) and walk away with a certification. (Yes, there actually are programs where no experience is necessary!). Sure, there are faster ways. But faster isn’t always better.

Birth Boot Camp certification is at least a 6 month process – and that’s if you are a fast reader (did I mention the mountain of books?!). It’s recommend that you allow 6-9 months of time to complete all your requirements before you head down for your final certification workshop. The reason so much time and effort is required is because Birth Boot Camp’s founders want my students to be sitting in my class FULLY confident that I am speaking to them from experience and that I know my stuff inside, outside, upside down. Expectant parents need to know that their instructor was committed to her practice, to her education and that she worked HARD to be able to provide them with the most thorough education they could hope for.

So when you are researching what childbirth class is right for you, find out what was required of your instructor to become certified. Has the person teaching you how to give birth actually given birth? Has the person giving you information about breastfeeding actually breastfed? Did this person have to meet rigorous requirements to be able to get up in front of you to teach? Did this person have to pass a closed book exam? If you are taking Birth Boot Camp – the answer is YES!

January 6, 2013

2012 Book List & Goal - MET!

I met my goal again!

Rachael's Books Read in 2012

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
Alice I Have Been
The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry
Poison Study
Warm Bodies
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
The Birth House
Blood Red Road
Night Road
The Midwife's Confession
The Pledge
The Slap
Winter Garden
Shatter Me

Rachael Heiner's favorite books »

January 5, 2013

2012: In Memorium

Hi, remember me!  I still exist!  The last few months, well, the last year really I haven't been blogging or writing much.  Now, it's a new year and I have a plan.  I'm running 3 blogs now (more on that later), but I have a plan including a schedule and lots of ideas.  Let's start of 2013 with a look back at 2012...  Since I have a list loving problem, this will probably crop up here every year.  You can find 2011's list here.

1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?

Got certified as a Birth Boot Camp Instructor, got separated, experienced single motherhood, lost almost 40 pounds (and gained 10 back... more on that later too), read 58 books, became a working mother, took Sam to his first boy scout meeting, started an amazing website, saw a sex book become a bestseller, started writing reviews for a movie website.

2. Did you keep your New Year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year? 

Last year, I resolved to:
  • Be under 200 pounds by my 32nd birthday
  • Exercise at least 3 times a week.
  • Reconnect with my friends through email, visits, and letters
  • Schedule special time for Sam
  • Learn how to use my camera for real
  • Read 50 books
  • Write at least 50 pages of my novel
  • Improve my marriage
  • Use a budget
  • Be a better pen pal
Last year I only managed to achieve one of my goals.  I did better this year, with 3.  Maybe 3.5.  I missed my weight goal, and with my latest 10 lb gain, I'm at 222.  Oh well.  I did exercise 3 times a week until summer, then Sam was home, then I started working full time.  I did have special time with Sam when Justin was moved out.  I did read 50 books.  I didn't write 50 pages of my novel, but I did start a new book and wrote at least 50 pages, though I haven't written on it months.  I also used a budget successfully for the first time (go envelope system!).

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

My new friend Sarah had her baby a couple of weeks ago.  We're not super close, but I think she's pretty cool!

4. Did anyone close to you die? 


5. What countries did you visit? 


6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012? 

More discipline about running my websites.  Peace.

7. What dates from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? 

June 12 - found out my sister is pregnant, June 19 - explained to Sam that Daddy was moving out, October 1 - became a working Mom, December 14 - Newtown School Shooting.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? 

Last year, I said my biggest achievement was getting through it.  I feel a little like that.  But the achievement I am most proud of is becoming a Birth Boot Camp Instructor.

9. What was your biggest failure? 

I don't feel like I can answer this really.  There are many.  I'd like to leave them behind.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury? 


11. What was the best thing you bought? 

My Birth Boot Camp education, and my laptop.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration? 

My Mom.  She is absolutely amazing and I don't know what I would have done without her this year.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? 

No comment.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Rent, living expenses.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? 

My trip to Dallas for my Birth Boot Camp Instructor workshop (sensing a theme??), my sister's marriage & pregnancy (YAY!).

16. What song will always remind you of 2011? 

Who Says by Selena Gomez.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: a) happier or sadder? b) thinner or fatter? c) richer or poorer?

Happier, but it is not hard to achieve that.  THINNER.  Poorer probably.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of? 

Made time for each of us to spend time with Sam without Danny, worked on my novel, learned more about my camera, taken more photos, posted more on my websites.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of? 

Fought, eaten, been angry, procrastinated.

20. How did you spend Christmas? 

At home with my kids, Mom, her husband, Justin, my sister and her husband.

21. Did you fall in love with 2011? 


22. What was your favorite TV program? 

Really, just one?  I can't choose.  Supernatural, The Walking Dead, Flashpoint.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? 


24. What was the best book you read?

Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Gangnam Style.  HAAAAAAAAAA.

26. What did you want and get?

A new laptop, love from my kids, a Birth Boot Camp teaching certificate.

27. What did you want and not get?


28. What was your favorite film of 2011?


29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?

On my actual birthday I was in Colville at my sister and her husband's farm for Thanksgiving and I just hung out, took care of sick Sam and had a relaxing time.  The first weekend in December I celebrated my birthday with a weekend in Seattle that included seeing Life of Pi & Skyfall and dinner at The Melting Pot with my friends.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept of 2011?

If it fits, wear it.  Wish it fit better.  Add bling, and lots of scarves.

32. What kept you sane?

Booze.  Just kidding.  My Mom.  My friends.  Hope.  Faith.

33. What political issue stirred you the most?

Hm...  the election I suppose.

34. Who did you miss?

My friends in Seattle, especially Brooke.  My sisters and my stepmom.

35. Who was the best new person you met?

Tiffany Burke, Donna Damon Ryan, Sarah, my new co-workers, and all the women in my Birth Boot Camp training.

36. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012.

I am strong.

37. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year.

"You got every right to a beautiful life, come on
 Who says, who says you're not perfect
Who says you're not worth it
Who says you're the only one that's hurting
 Trust me that's the price of beauty
Who says you're not pretty
Who says you're not beautiful, who says?"

-Selena Gomez "Who Says"