Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Beloved Coraline

I'm a huge deal hunter and so when I saw that Coraline on Blu-ray was on sale for $10at Amazon I was all over it. It's one of the absolute favorites in our house so I thought I'd check out the reviews and what other folks thought. Most were very positive but the one I cannot get out of my head gave it 1 star because "Not suitable for young audiences. Despite that we consider our self an open-minded couple, we believe that because of the darkness of the plot this film should be rated PG13 not suitable for young kids. My disappointment is because this film is advertized as a cartoon for open audiences." (D. Fernandez "FL, USA")

Reading this my head immediatly goes in a million directions, firing back a hundred reasons why he's wrong. My first thought is that it's not about being open-minded it's about what kind of mind do you want to have? One of the greatest, if not The greatest fantasy is about going to another world, one not far off from the one you live in but about finding a door that leads somewhere other than where you are, and for Neil Gaiman to so artfully create that and for Henry Selick to capture it in the film is thrilling. A child watching such imagination cannot help but wonder where there own mind could take them.
Yes, it is dark, she wants to sew buttons on her eyes, but if you can get past that one note of creepy, there's a great lesson that every kid needs to learn..."There's no place like home." The more you think about it the more unnerving it really is. The Other Mother tries to, in a sense, kidnap Coraline by sewing buttons on her eyes, but how is that any worse than watching Pinocchio on Pleasure Island, or Eric ram a ship through Ursula in the Little Mermaid, or every other Disney movie where the villian somehow dies in the end? Cartoon means nothing, animation, stop motion animation, computer animation; they're all just trying to tell a story. If you're thinking any movie/show that labels itself animated is for kids then you've never watched Adult Swim.

I am not a parent who pays attention to the ratings. I know my kids and what they can and cannot handle and frankly there is subject matter in far too many PG/PG-13 that I'm uncomfortable with. When I was young my parents did the same, what we were told is that we weren't allowed to watch anything stupid, and I do my best to keep stupidity far from my children as well. I suppose that goes back to my initial thought of 'what kind of mind do you want'? I hope that my children, many years from now, leave my house with the ability to think; to not pigeon-hole themselves into whatever the rest of the world is telling them, to be able to have a conversation, to be able to form their own opinions regardless of mine. It's amazing as an adult how many people you meet who cannot think.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Gaming Systems

Growing up our electronic games consisted of a keyboard hooked into the TV that had maybe 3 games, none of which we could ever really figure out. Now there's crazy amounts to choose from and it can be so overwhelming. Not only are the various consoles mind boggling but the mental battle over whether I should give in and pay too much for a toy I'd give them limited access to or forget the whole thing and have them continue to ask and leave me with less "quiet" time.

I gave in. My 5,4,and 2 year olds all have Leapsters. And they are the most wonderful things ever! We use them generally on long car rides, summer nights before bed and when they need some alone time. I've found that setting limits makes me feel a lot better about having them stare at a screen. The games are all educational, and I've definately picked up on various things they've learned from the games. Each unit tracks your childs progress on Leapsters Learning Path website. It's super simple to connect the system straight to your computer and download the info. We don't use this feature; my kids switch their systems up all the time so there would be no telling whose progress was whose.

I have recently been begged for a DS. My prompt response was not until you're 6. So in a few more months I'll be able to blog all about a new system:)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Movie Night

We've started weekend movie night at our house. A few weeks ago my 4 year old son picked "The Ant Bully." I hadn't really remembered ever hearing about it but it was $5 at Walmart so I wasn't complaining. It stars the voice talents of Nicolas Cage, Julia Roberts, Meryl Streep and many more.
It's about a young out of place boy who floods an anthill only for the ants to use a potion to shrink him. His only way to get back home is to "become" an ant. So he learns the way of the ants and befriends them only to remember the exterminator is coming. He helps join the ants with the other bugs to save the colony and get home.

For kids I have to give it 4 out of 5 stars, every one of my children love it. Seriously, I think we've watched it at least 5 times since we bought it and that doesn't count the hundred times they've asked and I've said no.
For parents 3 stars. It's enjoyable enough that I can still watch after 5 times in one month and that for me merits 3 stars. There's a great moral to the story and no violence other than stinging bees. The only thing that really grated me was Julia Roberts; her voice just did not connect to the character, maybe the ant's mouth just wasn't big enough:)

Friday, June 4, 2010

The Diaper Dilemma

Diapers are such an annoying expense, but we all know that if you push them before they're ready it normally ends in disaster. So, we suck it up and buy the things. But when you get to the store and stare at all the multitude of decisions it's even more annoying, how are there so many different kinds?
When my daughter was first born we of course used every Pampers Swaddlers we could snag from the hospital cart and after they ran out we went to Luvs. Both seemed to do the job but I eventually switched to Parent's Choice once I saw the crazy price difference. And now 3 boys later we're still using Parent's Choice as our main diaper.
My in-laws supply diapers for our visits and always get either Huggies or Pampers Cruisers so we've really used every possible diaper brand created and here's what I've found.
Every kid is shaped differently and moves differently, whatever diaper you use the most will leak at some point. Whether during beginning mobility stages or growth spurts and your best response is to switch brands, and if your very loyal to your brand go right back and you most likely won't have any issues.
My big hang up is when the diapers pill with all those pee filled beads and then explode, they are such a mess to clean up! I've found that that only happens with the brand names lables, so that's a big reason I stick with my store brands. The name brands do tend to hold up better over night so whenever I get a box from my in-laws I extend it by doing store brand during the day and name brand at night.
What's funny is that it seems to be the exact opposite for pull-ups. Maybe it's just my son, but I'm washing a lot more sheets when we use name brand pull-ups then store brand. And with Goodnights he's sure to wake up wet in the morning.
What experiences have you guys had? Anyone want to back me on supporting the store brands?

I'm back!!

Here we go again! I started my blog without any real vision and that left me after only 3 entries somewhat lost. So I stopped, took a long time thinking about what exactly I wanted to do with this blog, and I figured it out!! I spend most of my computer time filling out surveys for the many opinion sites I'm a member of. And when I'm not on the computer I'm busy giving my "mommy review" to all my mommy friends. So why not share it with all of you! Having 4 kids in 5 years I've pretty much set myself up to be the official tester of all mommy/kid products. I can't wait to share everything I've learned!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Do you know me at all?

I promise this is not a husband bashing blog.

After a wonderful weekend snowstorm, it's Sunday afternoon. The babies are sleeping and the older ones are outside with Dad so I sit down only to find Rebecca just starting no commercials in HD. What a dream way to relax before the coming week of what is inevitably no school and a house full of kids to entertain.
I was full aware that I would not be able to finish the movie, it's a long one, I realize that's asking a lot. About an hour and half into it Dad and the kids all come back inside. After everyone's changed and comfortable, kids are sitting with me and Dad sits down on the floor. "So what's this?" Me- "What do you think, you should know." And I give him props, he actually figured it out! Absolutely no joke, he starts asking, "So what, she's just scared of a woman who's dead? So how did she die?"
Are you kidding me? This is the most irritating thing anyone can do to ruin any movie, but are you really going to sit their and ask questions during my favorite movie? We have been together for 8 years, 8 years....do you know me at all?

I feel like this is a lesson we've been over. It seems so easy to understand: watch the movie to answer your questions and talk at the end. I'll even allow for the sci-fi mid-movie pause to collect your thoughts and make sure you're keeping up.
I do take some fault, he's so annoying to watch any movie that you need to pay attention or has any thought behind it that I prefer to watch them myself, so he does not get adequate practice.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Where's the excitement?

Since moving to Virginia one thing stands out more than any other...school closings. A strange thing to be at the top of the list, but I kid you not, one of the craziest differences between Pa and here. The counties around my area cancel, delay, and dismiss early according to whatever the weatherman or woman says. It's the craziest thing I've ever seen. (Well maybe not the craziest, I still say I saw a kangaroo on the side of the road in Lancaster.)
Back to the snow, here's the thing that gets me the most: the cancellations happen before anything even starts! Today for instance, we reported to have record snowfall this weekend so at 6pm tonight school was cancelled for tomorrow along with every school activity for the entire weekend. It has done nothing yet, nothing! It normally doesn't and mom's take the chance to take their school-age kids to places they don't normally get to during the week.
I love to plan, probably more than most, I keep 4 calendars. But, there is no longer the morning of the snow sitting in front of the TV in your pjs waiting until the last minute possible to get dressed in hopes that your school will pop up. So for me as a mom, the planning aspect is great. But for me remembering those mornings and still feeling that excitement and knowing my kids won't makes me sad.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Mr. Dad

Yet another Monday morning of waking up to nothing in it's place. Find of the morning was the opened applesauce in the pantry. That's where his fault normally lies peanut butter in the fridge, milk in the pantry, eggs in the freezer. You'd think the food would something he could keep straight.
Every impending weekend I sigh and think I have the whole weekend with the hubby home to help and I can really clean-up and get control of everything. It never happens, NEVER! He makes a bigger mess than all 4 kids combined and of course doesn't clean-up after himself. Rather he decides that the one area I can't ever keep clean (the media center) will be his mission and then won't leave me alone asking a million questions; what's this paper, do you need this, why are there pictures over here??? AHHHHHHH!
I can't be alone in this, if I am help me, please!

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Shut-up already!

My girlfriend and I often talk about how annoying baby information talk is. You know what I mean, those moms that can't help but tell you every minute detail of their babies eating, sleeping, and diaper schedules.
I have 4 children all under 5, yet I have no understanding of this; why in the world do you think anyone cares? And why do you even want to talk about the most mundane, irritating parts of parenthood?
Don't get me wrong, I'm all for moms helping other moms, but unless you're seeking advice or I'm looking for some, shut-up already!