With El Niño at play this year, the weather isn’t as wintery as is typical in Ontario’s lake country.  Of course, the year I’m not commuting to work is the year when travel is best.  This is good for getting around with Finn, but what I’m craving this time of year, as mentioned in my Winter Retreat post, is hibernation (if you haven’t done so yet, you can go back and read my first post on this series here).

Since our first winter together, Joel has come to attribute “comfy-cozy” to me and my desired state.  Contented by curling up with a warm tea, a soft blanket, and a good read or film, winter seems to be my season.  Winter can be counted as a time of extremes; both a time of extreme cold and immense warmth.  A time for braving the harsh cold in search of fun, but also a time to retreat indoors in search of warm comforts and quiet reflection.

Thinking back to our e-Harmony dating profiles, Joel’s stated that he enjoyed reading for knowledge, while I stated in mine that I enjoyed reading … whatever I could get my hands on.  Documentaries have come to be a favourite for Joel and I to share as they appeal to both of our preferences.  They’ve also come to shape a lot of our ideas when it comes to who we are as individuals, how we parent and what sort of life we wish to create for new family.  Then again, some films had an impact for pure entertainment.  After all, winter is long – so are many nursing sessions –  and sometimes we need an escape from the seemingly endless cold.  Grab some snacks, and enjoy!


  • Chasing Ice:  This one chronicles Jame Balog and his Extreme Ice Survey in which cameras are stationed all over the Arctic to record receding glaciers.  The aim of Balog’s project is to provide the world with undeniable evidence of the effects of climate change.  The cinematography of this one is stunning.  For someone who has been craving northern views, this film delivers.  The photographer in this film is dedicated to his project so that when his daughters ask what he did to combat climate change he could say he didn’t sit idle.  That he put his skills to use for the cause.  As an adult concerned with climate change, and more as a parent whose child will come to inherit this world and its problems, this moves me.  Available on Netflix.


  • The Business of Being Born: I first watched this documentary with my sister as she prepared herself for birthing her second child at home.  Ideas gleaned from this film about the business of birth had been simmering for years and when it came time for us to deliberate over our own home birth, it was one of the resources Joel and I turned to.  The film provides some details about the history of birthing in North America as society turned away from birthing in the home with midwives to doing so in hospitals attended by doctors.  It also discussed the commonplace use (and overuse) of pharmaceuticals in birth.  This film was fascinating to us, and inspired us to ask questions of society’s unquestioned practices regarding babies.  Available on iTunes.


  • The Human Experiment: During those hazy early postpartum days, when Joel and I grappled with our identity as new parents, we watched many documentaries detailing various concerns of the day.  This film discusses the devastating consequences of our chemical-laden consumer world.  I was especially moved by the young couple in the film who experience difficulty with fertility, and felt grateful for the baby I snuggled while viewing.  We are already mindful of toxins we could be bringing into our home.  Wherever possible we choose organic clothing, food and personal products, and any alternatives that could reduce the toxins we expose ourselves and Finn to.  While, we surely can’t manage to eliminate all threats, posed by toxins or otherwise, this film inspired us to do what we can.  Available on Netflix or for online streaming here.


  • Fed Up: Again, this film came into our lives during those postpartum days.  We seem to favour documentaries about food (Food Inc., Forks Over Knives, Sick and Nearly Dead), but this one in particular caused us think twice about our food choices as it directly related to health.  So this film presents food as the cause of many illnesses plaguing North American society today.  Particularly the additives, such as sugar, in foods that were manipulated according to food trends, such as low-fat, -carb, -sodium.  This film mostly confirmed for us what our intuition has been telling us, and that is that food can heal or harm depending on your choices.  This reminder to choose whole foods, be mindful when it comes to what we consume, and to look back to earlier times for healthy food practices, such as fermentation (again – shout out to my sister who forged this road ahead of me) came at a good time as we were reimagining our lives to include little ones.  Available on iTunes.


  • Making a Murderer: OK, I had to acknowledge the most watched documentary of the 2015 holiday season.  Joel and I marathon watched this 10-episode series during those sleepy days between Christmas and New Years.  It’s all about an American who is wrongfully-accused for a crime and has you wondering in the end about the justice system and how easy it could be to frame someone.  Just when you think that this poor life couldn’t become muddled enough, it does.  I’m not usually much into crime fiction or non-fiction, but the simple nature of the lives featured in this story are too compelling not to watch.  I also find myself much more empathetic as a mother and I feel for those who suffered in this film.  Available on Netflix.


This list is by no means exhaustive of our favourites or films that have startled us and our preconceived notions.  Having said that, we’re always in search of other films to entertain and inform us.  What are some of your favourites?