My Favorite Things

It was the only thing I wanted for Mother's Day, and I gave them plenty of notice:  I wanted the whole family to watch The Sound of Music together.

And I mean the real one, not the shortened-for-television version, in which they atrociously chop up my favorite scene: Maria singing "I Have Confidence" from the abbey to the VonTrapp mansion, stopping fearfully at the gates, summoning her courage with a deep breath, then belting out the last "me-e-e-e-e-e-e" while she sprints to the front door.

But I digress.

My sons had never seen the entire movie, a fact that makes me hang my head in shame.  But Sunday we would remedy that.  I just knew we would sit quietly on the couch, their freshly-washed heads on my shoulder.  I would bask in their gentle affection for me, while they would smile serenely at the greatest cinematic musical of all time.  Perhaps we might all yodel along together in perfect, four-part harmony. 

It's all about keeping the expectations realistic.

The reality, of course, was that when I informed them of our movie-watching plans, there was wailing and gnashing of teeth.  "A musical?" they groaned.  "Where there's…[insert disgusted pause]…kissing and singing?"

Oh yes, my children.  Kissing and singing.  At the SAME TIME, if you'll remember the "Something Good" scene in the gazebo.  And thou shalt sit through the whole three hours with me, because it's Mother's Day, and I gave birth to you and cleaned up your barf, and anyway, you LOVE ME.

I attempted to silence the groans with a pep talk about how much they'd love the movie.  "There are kids who put frogs in pockets," I offered.  "And puppets!  There are puppets!"

They still looked skeptical, so I played my ace card:  "AND there are angry German soldiers with guns."  A brief wave of hope flickered across their faces.

So Sunday evening, we turned off the lights and loaded up the DVD player, but not before I presented the children a brief tutorial on Catholicism, nunhood, and the German occupation of Europe in the late 1930's.  I am so much fun on a date.

To their great surprise (and my own, too, I'll confess), the kids loved it.  Their attention never faltered for a second, proving that the magic of this great movie runs deep.  Oh, they offered plenty of their own cheeky commentary, of course.   During Maria's wedding scene, the 11 year old wanted to know who the "dude in the funny hat" was.  Hubs explained it was probably a bishop.  "Oh," Adam said.  "Can he only move around diagonally?"  Cheeky.

I thought we might have lost the ten year old during the "Something Good" gazebo scene:  "When are the angry Germans going to show up?" he asked, hopefully.  Thankfully, he settled back in quickly, after I may or may not have bribed him with a pop tart (very un-Maria-ish, I know).

I love that movie.  I love it.  I have seen it, quite easily, over 100 times, and I love it more with every viewing.  It is all the more precious to me now that I have shared it with my children.  I love that they took to heart its powerful message of hope.

And also?  On a week in which I've been especially busy and barky, I love that I look so nice compared to Captain VonTrapp.  I may nag them about table manners, but at least I don't use a whistle.  Yet.

92 thoughts on “My Favorite Things

  1. SimplySara says:

    Would you believe I’ve never seen The Sound of Music? I know! Backing away slowly, hanging my head in shame….I promise it’ll be the next movie I rent!
    Sounds like a great family night πŸ™‚

  2. BriAnna says:

    What a great idea!! I think I might make that a mother’s day tradition in my house… I just have one little girl right now, so maybe if I start early she will love it too and it will stick =)
    Loved this post!!

  3. Sally says:

    Love that movie so much. Really had to fight all my deepest held desires to replicate Maria’s dress and find the oldest chapel on the planet with a looooong aisle when I got married. So, so great. Glad you had a great time!

  4. Lori says:

    Great movie! Can’t wait for my girls to get a little older so I can pass on my love for it. I see many sing-a-longs and movie nights in our future… πŸ™‚

  5. Mich says:

    I love that movie. It was my parent’s favorite movie when they were first married and then when I was a child we would watch it every Christmas.
    I had the record of the music and would play it on my little red and white box record player.
    Great memories.

  6. AmberLee says:

    love that this was your wish. and the part about the angry Germans, too perfect. we’ve somehow gotten my 4 and 6-year-old to love this one and Fiddler on the Roof. i never expected it but they find Tevia hilarious.

  7. Dorci says:

    ROTFL! Having two boys myself, your dream-like expectation of what your Mother’s Day evening would look like was all-too familiar. I’m glad yours went so well!

  8. Amanda says:

    We watched The Sound of Music this week too! Oddly enough it was my 12 yr old boy who stuck it in. It’s a family favorite. I did some baking, cooking and kitchen clean up during a lot of it. It’s a great movie to stick in and sing along with while you’re working. Your post was just too funny!

  9. elise says:

    I LOVE that movie, and got my daughter addicted to it at a young impressionable age. She used to ask me “mom, can i watch the film with ahhhhhh?” (in dutch, this sounds cute!)
    My son however… nope. And I won’t even talk about my husband, who turns puce even talking about the movie 😦

  10. Valerie says:

    It’s a classic! I am surprised (but I don’t know why) that when I use the ‘mountaintop singing lesson’ scene with Do Re Mi – how many of my students (I teach music in a public elementary school) jump for joy shouting, ” I love that movie”. The memories of growing up with that movie, bring tears to my eyes. First time I saw it was at the drive in!

  11. Jo@Mylestones says:

    What a perfect mom’s day gift! So fun!
    This is definitely one of my favorite things too….Growing up, my sisters and I would sing song after song while we did our chores, fighting over who got to be Liesl singing 16 going on 17. And we never tired of pulling out “So Long, Farewell” when my parents sent us off to bed. It’s possible THEY tired of it, though. πŸ™‚

  12. Melene says:

    This is my all time favorite, too! When I was kindergarten, our church did a production of it and I played the part of Gretel! In college, our all female choir was asked to be the Nun chorus for a local production. Both were thrilling for me!

  13. christine munn says:

    I love the movie, too and LOVE “I have confidence”! Have you seen the recent picture circulating on the internet of the kids from the movie–all grown up? Great post, thanks!

  14. Liz says:

    Apparently we are sisters separated at birth. I, too, have seen the movie many, many, many times! I tell my kids that seeing it so much is impressive considering that back then you had to see it in the theater and it didn’t ‘come out on dvd’! I’m so glad your kids loved it! What a great day!

  15. prasti says:

    the hiiiiilllls are alive….with the sound of muuuuuuusic.
    i like that movie too, but even my husband refuses to sit through it. well, he probably would, for me, but then sleep through the entire thing.
    glad you got to enjoy that movie with your whole family :).

  16. MemeGRL says:

    You are a genius. I am totally asking for that next year. I’m sure my boys will be thrilled–fake before,hopefully really and truly after.

  17. Denise says:

    Awe! I am so very glad you had the Mother’s Day/Sound of Music experience. You deserve it – and so does your family.
    (Also, move diagonally – that’s one awesome kid you have there!)

  18. Suzie says:

    My DVD has the Sing-A-Long version. AA bunch of ladies from church and I spent the night singing through the entire movie. Definitely love that movie!

  19. rrmama says:

    I feel exactly the same way. I love that movie and my dad bought it for me on DVD a few years back, I wore out the VHS tape, and I had the family sit down and watch it one weekend. They loved it too. Now when ever we can’t decided what movie to watch on family movie night, we watch The Sound of Music! And a little bribery goes a long way!!!

  20. Only Daughter says:

    LOVE the movie. My all-time favorite. I introduced to my then 2, now 7 yr. old Daughter on a road trip from Oklahoma to Kentucky. She and I belted out the tunes all the way there and back. Only Husband, he’s not so very fond of it.
    Glad you had a wonderful Mother’s Day.

  21. Judy S. says:

    I love that movie too. I can’t even count how many times I have seen it. I still get really nervous when they are hiding from the soldiers at the end, wondering if they will make it out. I have to remind myself every time that yes, they get out. πŸ˜‰

  22. Anna says:

    When they chopped up the movie for TV, my favorite missing part is the extended gazebo scene between Lizel and Rolf. LOTS more dancing!

  23. KimC says:

    You probably knew that the movie was based on a true story, but did you know that the Von Trapps are still singing today?
    They live in Vermont (I think) and 3 great-grandchildren of the Captain and Maria still travel and sing beautiful renditions of the same old folk songs.
    They even wear authentic costumes handed down through the generations!
    You can buy their music on CD or probably download from iTunes, too. My girls do an absolutely haunting copy of their “Wayfaring Stranger.”

  24. Jane Anne says:

    Oh,what a wonderful present! I cannot imagine my 3 boys watching The Sound of Music. It is even more amaazing to think about me getting them to watch along with my husband. (Love the chess comment- that’s awesome!) I really want to get my kids to watch Marry Poppins. They don’t like movies with singing. Maybe I’ll ask for that next Mother’s Day!!
    It is Food Allergy Awareness Week. Read my latest allergy post: True Story Tuesday

  25. Daniele says:

    What a great movie and idea for the family to sit down and see! I haven’t seen it in so long. Maybe once mine are older they will sit down with me and watch it. Sounds like you had a great Mother’s Day! I just read yesterday’s Tulsa World with you in it, I am always a day behind on the paper but who has time these days. It was great to meet you on Mom’s Nite Out! We definitely need to do that more often, I did not get a chance to meet everyone.

  26. Jenni says:

    Adam’s comment cracked me up! What a clever kid…
    And did you know that Captain Von Trapp was Christopher Plummer’s least favorite role, according to an interview I read? Because he had to “be nice” eventually. What a nerd!

  27. Baloney says:

    That is one of the best movies… ever! Your guys are so nice to watch with you. Each and every one of mine refuse to watch with me. In fact, they run from the room screaming.

  28. kimberly says:

    What a great idea….maybe I’ll try that next year for Mother’s Day instead of an all out mud fest for the kids in my parents yard….although it was some awesome fun, I’m thinking it shouldn’t be followed up by a viewing of The Sound of Music. πŸ™‚

  29. KO says:

    For those of you who enjoy the Sound of Music, I think you will get a kick out of this!

    And, yes, the Sound of Music is the best! I will never cease to be overwhelmed by the beauty of the music and lyrics.

  30. Mama Bird says:

    Funny. Think I might try this. My husband is always throwing it in my face that he’s been on the Sound of Music tour in Germany. Bastard. I didn’t know there was one when I was there or I would have gone too! One day…I will drag my boys along too. πŸ™‚

  31. Lainie@ Mishmash Maggie says:

    We love that movie around here (as you can tell from blog names like Leisl, Brigitta, Kurt and The Captain :). The very first read aloud we ever had (prior to homeschooling full time) was Maria by Maria Von Trapp.
    Read it– trust me, you’ll love it!

  32. Stephanie says:

    I have it taped on my DVR and the kids’ favorite scene is in the abbey courtyard/cemetary when the Nazi’s are looking for the family. That part used to scare the bajeezus out of me, but they love it! Good show…good show!g

  33. Mandy says:

    How fabulous! I sat Meg down the other day to watch, “These are a few of my favorite things,” so she wouldn’t have to be afraid during a thunderstorm. She really liked it! I don’t think we’re ready for the whole movie, but give us 9-10 years and maybe we’ll be there. What a great thing to ask for on Mother’s Day. Thanks for the super idea! *Mandy

  34. Faerylandmom says:

    Why didn’t I think of that??? Sound of Music is one of my all-time favorites too.
    And it’s not just because I played Maria my senior year in high school.
    “I Have Confidence” is THE best song of any musical, ever. I will not be moved from that opinion. πŸ™‚

  35. Joy says:

    My all time favorite movie!!! and yes I have tortured my kids a couple times by making them sit through it. That and Pollyanna (the original of course).

  36. Kelly says:

    I KNOW!!! One of my fondest memories is of my children singing along with that movie – they would say “Doe, a deah, a female deah” mimicking Julie Andrews accent. They are 26 and 22 now and I texted them that phrase when the movie was on they both responded with excitement. You’ve made a great memory

  37. Carrie says:

    That’s funny that you feel nice compared to Captain VonTrapp – the last time I watched it, I felt like a terrible mom compared to Maria. πŸ™‚ And I only have one child…I told my hubby that that movie had given me an unrealistic expectation of what parenting would be like – all singing & synchronized dancing…all fun, right? πŸ™‚

  38. BlueCastle says:

    One of the best movies of all times. I think I’ve seen it at least a dozen times. When I was 14 I swooned over the object of Maria’s affection. When I was 20, I hoped that I would not end up unmarried and old, like a nun. When I was 28, I took note of the parenting skills and wondered if I should try the whistle trick. It’s such a timeless, beautiful movie. Glad your kids liked it and that you got your Mother’s Day wish. πŸ™‚

  39. Musings of a Housewife says:

    Awwww, how fun!
    And you’re so cute. “And thou shalt sit through the whole three hours with me, because it’s Mother’s Day, and I gave birth to you and cleaned up your barf, and anyway, you LOVE ME.” AMEN! πŸ™‚
    Sounds like you had a delightful Mother’s Day! I’m so glad to hear it.

  40. Elaine says:

    This is MY mother’s favorite movie and we would always settle in and watch it with her. It’s just SO wonderful!!
    I’m so glad your children liked it and that you enjoyed your Mother’s Day just the way you wanted to… : )

  41. Lisa says:

    I share your love of it. My daughter does too. My son, too cool at 14, will ONLY watch the puppets and then goes around being annoying twitching his fingers like he’s working a puppet and singing the Yodeling part!

  42. mimi2seven says:

    They liked it?? Ahhh….that’s music to this Mimi’s ears! It’s my all-time favorite movie, and whatever is in 2nd place isn’t even close.

  43. Liesl says:

    I am always amazed at how many men HAVE watched the movie. My name is Liesl and I am quite often asked if it is like “the girl in The Sound of Music”. That is where my parents got the name, BTW.
    Happy Mother’s Day!

  44. Lisa @ Stop and Smell the Chocolates says:

    Sigh. I LOVE that movie!! My son used to watch it with me when he was younger and at one point declared it his favorite. Now, not so much. I haven’t seen the non-TV version in quite some time. Guess I will be needin’ to see that soon.
    Um, I bought a DVD of 4 musicals for myself on Valentine’s Day. Have I been able to convince anyone to watch with me? No, so I haven’t even seen them yet. I must declare a ME movie night soon – LOL!

  45. Sherri E. says:

    The Sound of Music is the film that taught me, at a very young age, that the hottest sparks fly between the most chaste people. The way he looks at her when they dance out on the balcony! My cheeks get hot just thinking about it.

  46. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect says:

    What a GREAT Mother’s Day present! Oh, I love that movie, too. One of my oldest memories is my mom singing “Do, a Deer” to me.
    And my 19-month-old has learned recently how to be naughty…if I thought a whistle would work, I’d be all over that!

  47. Fiddledeedee says:

    My husband uses a whistle. He insists it’s better than yelling. Except that he didn’t take into account a rather high strung wife that has been known to pee when frightened. By an unexpected whistle.
    Just sayin’.
    (I LOVE that movie too.)

  48. Jenn Calling Home says:

    Love this musical. I should dust it off and put it in the DVD player real soon. My mother’s day weekend movie was Giant, one of my all-time favorites. Took 2 nights to watch it (just me and Hubs…nice). And a bonus, I got to see a live performance of Brigadoon on Sat. afternoon…for free.

  49. Marla Taviano says:

    I’ve seen it over 100 times too. More than any other movie ever.
    And, bless the Lord, my girlies have watched the WHOLE thing with me at least 10 times. Maybe more. πŸ™‚

  50. cate tuten says:

    I too watched the Sound of Music on Mother’s Day, loving the movie even more because I know it is a true story. So, being the writer and investigator that I am, I Googled info on the real Von Trapps, the making of the movie, etc. One of the most disappointing things I learned is that Christopher Plumber, who played the Captain, said he hated the movie then and hates it still to this day. I wanted to cry. How could he feel that way? He is wonderful in the movie, and made me fall in love with him, even as a young girl way back in the sixties. And still today, my heart melts with love for him as the Captain. My absolute favorite scene is the gazebo scene where he and Maria sing and declare their love for each other. No! Don’t tell me you hate this movie! I want to believe you are really the Captain, and that goodness and decency and romance exist in you in real life as in the movie. Am I strange for feeling this way? Does any one else ever feel this way- wanting the stars who bring our favorite characters to life to be really and truly like that themselves? How dare they ruin my romantic bubble. However, in real life Maria and the Captain did truly love each other, even though it took Maria several years into the marriage before she realized it. She married him at first (another Google fact based on her book) only for the children. But Hollywood painted it a different way, and I for one want to watch movies to be swept up into the fantasy, so I’ll still enjoy it again and again Hollywoods way, knowing there was a real Maria and Captain who loved each other truly.

  51. turnitupmom says:

    My friend’s mom used to turn off the movie before the angry Germans arrived, so it was all Happy Happy! She didn’t know it any other way. LOVE that movie!

  52. sandy says:

    According to my husband, as the boys get older they do NOT have to watch musicals … at all. LOL. Boy, were my boys glad to hear that. But I used to have the same requests. For a few years I ran the talent show at our kid’s school. It was a big night-time production. The last year attending that school, my daughter and her two friends dressed up like nuns and sang Maria, and I accompanied them on the piano. We have GREAT memories of the Sound of Music!
    Love your writing. I bet you are just he BEST mom!

  53. MrsNehemiah says:

    Your cheeky 11 yod and my cheeky 11yod sound a lot alike.
    my sunday school class of 5th grade girls love Sound of Music. & now I have a great Idea for the end of the year party, and memory tunes.
    Mrs N

  54. Sally says:

    We have Sound of Music on DVD (believe it or not, my husband purchased it.) Our 14-year-old daughter and I watched it Sunday night, too. She loves that movie, buit I suppose it is a bit easier to get a girl to want to watch it than boys. But glad to hear that your boys ended up enjoying it.
    It is a great movie.

  55. Sarah says:

    Oooh! Love it too! And the Sound of Music tour is in Austria… I went on it and loved every second! They show where they filmed all of the scenes. You get to sing and dance and eat Schnitzel with noodles and warm apple struedel at the dinner theater. Much fun πŸ™‚

  56. reed says:

    Your kids should take comfort in the fact that they are NOT the first boys their mother has forced to watch that movie! I have many memories (actually fond) of sitting with you and Mom watching it. The goat-herder song works like a charm at our house – when just about nothing else will. Of course, there IS a lot of pre-estrogen at our house.

  57. Janessa says:

    I love that movie too…but I wonder if I’ve been watching the short or extended version my entire life. Hmmmm. You’ve got me interested now.
    Adam – you card. Bishops only moving diagonally. Hardy har har. Good one!

  58. Amy says:

    I also love The Sound of Music….I was so excited it was on TV Sunday evening because I sing a version of My Favorite Things to my daughter at night to settle her in bed. So it was fun for her to see that part…but her 2 1/2 old attention span didn’t make it through the movie. Not to mention that my husband mocked some of the songs by skipping through the den to the beat of the music every time he made his way into the kitchen….
    But all in all, it was great fun. Glad your boys enjoyed it!

  59. Alisha says:

    COMPLETELY loved this post! I adore this movie as well. Lets be honest, the cheekiness must come from you (keeping expectations real. hahaha. you are hilarious!). But I must say, I laughed out loud about the bishop comment. SO looking forward to my son talking more.

  60. Dave Roller (Home School Dad) says:

    The Confidence in me scene is teriffic cinematically. However there is good reason why I call it the humanist manifest in song. At the end of the song I like after all her “confidence” she realizes she needs a little help from something other than herself. That movie is so awesome!

  61. Rutheee says:

    If you ever get the chance to see the stage version of the Sound of Music please please do! I saw it last week and it was fantastic. The 3d sets would have your sons sitting up and taking notice, it was faithful to the movie but with a few added jokes, and the scene at the talent show was mind blowing because there were huge Nazi flags projected everywhere and you felt like you might get arrested at any second for not clapping for the Nazis when the reality was that the only way you could get in trouble was to try to take a picture.
    I think it’s only on in Toronto right now but it’s good enough that it might get moved into the states so keep your eyes open for it, and glad you had a good mother’s day.

  62. Tina says:

    I love that movie, too! When we lived in Switzerland, we took a weekend trip to Austria and did the Sound of Music tour – it was FABULOUS!!

  63. Tami says:

    LOL on the Bishop comment!!! Love, love the idea and will have to do that next year. I’ve already got my 1st favorite picked out: Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (1972 version of course!). My hubs will sigh with relief when he hears that he won’t be forced to find me a gift. Everyone wins!

  64. Karen P says:

    Ahhh, a kindred spirit. Whenever my daughter (11 yrs) and I (ahem) are in need of a feel good movie, we put in The Sound of Music. I’ve been hinting to hubs and the kids for some time that I *really* need this movie on DVD instead of the ancient vhs tape we have. I mean what are we, in the dark ages??

  65. (((((HUGS))))) sandi says:

    I am very, very impressed. I tried the same thing, but with my darling and “Fireproof”. To this day he has flat out refused to watch it! LOL! Ah well… and truthfully, I really don’t think it’s all that funny! (((((HUGS))))) sandi

  66. Melanie says:

    This is exactly what we did on Mother’s Day! One of my favorites as well. The icing on the cake is that my 7 year old son has been singing Favorite Things in the shower ever since!

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