Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Movies Make Good Memories

Our children cannot escape media!!

As a mom and a teacher of teens, I have to tell you that most of what media offers is crap—terrifying, humiliating, soul sucking, IQ lowering, demoralizing crap.

Nevertheless, what is on media is also woven throughout the fabric of our lives. Celebrating Independence Day last week helped me realize it’s okay. In fact, it can be celebratory, educational, inspirational, laughter inducing, memory making stuff. You see, while my kids enjoyed blowing stuff up, their celebration was not complete without partaking in our traditional patriotic movie time! 

I first knew my oldest would be an actress when at 4 years old, she berated me consistently for not being able to recite all of the lines correctly from certain scenes of The Wizard of Oz and Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

My second oldest was a sickly toddler. She had sky-high fevers. We would have to cool her down with cold wet rags. It was pretty awful for her, but she was always, without fail, calmed and comforted by one movie—Dumbo. The song Dumbo’s mom sings to comfort him become my baby’s nighttime lullaby.

My third daughter wasn't sickly, but she cried for the first 2 years of her life. Not colicky, just stubborn and serious. Her calming comfort came in the video of the Broadway musical Cats. We’re still not sure if she was terrified or mesmerized at Macavity's red eyes. But, hey, she quit crying for an hour, so…

Looking back, I can’t believe I let my little boy watch Lord of the Rings at 5 years old. That’s pretty violent stuff for a little guy. His dad actually let him miss a day of kindergarten to go see Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith. Yep, that’s the one where Anakin kills all the younglings and then his wife. It was quite a graduation from his first favorite—Toy Story. And by favorite I mean that by age three, he embodied Buzz Lightyear and had a collection of action figures to rival Disneyland.

Even today, as my oldest introduces her toddler to Hollywood, we hold our movie traditions dear. Independence Day can’t happen without a viewing of 1776. Halloween can’t pass without Hocus Pocus. Christmas is decorated with every holiday clay animation film ever made. In fact, not too many dinner table conversations pass without someone quoting Galaxy Quest or The Sword and the Stone or SpongeBob or Indiana Jones or Pirates of the Caribbean, or even (to my deep disappointment) Anchor Man.

So maybe the ubiquitous media isn't all bad. Still, I do very often wish they’d get their faces out of their phones so they can actually experience life, or at least long enough to watch a good movie.

Here's a short movie for you. The clip shows what is probably her 500th viewing a favorite movie. We take our cinema seriously. BTW--we're beautiful criers, aren't we? 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Fighting the Good Food Fight

We try. We really do. We understand our food obsession and we fight against it. And then most of the time, we fail.

I remember when I realized this food issue of ours might be a little more serious than I originally thought. I was watching one of those extreme weight loss shoes. The man on the show simply could not lose the weight. He was sabotaging himself with drive-throughs and doughnuts stores. In the end, they said he had a food addiction. Food addiction, they explained, was characterized by eating even when you're not hungry and continuing to eat past the point when you are full on a regular basis.


In our home when someone answers the question "Do you want something to eat?" with "No, I''m not hungry," it confounds us. Uh, since when do you have to be hungry to eat? And since when do you stop just because you are full?

But we do try.

There was the time I tried the cabbage diet: 7 days of cabbage soup. I like soup.

By Day 2, I was ready to eat my desk, I was so hungry.

So the Quiet and Calculating One thought she'd give it a try. Show mom how it's done, right?

She started on a Monday, which is consequently the day they return from their father's. That evening, she came home starving, with a side of food anger! I told her to have a bowl of her soup. She could eat as much as she wanted. She informed me she hadn't made the soup. Her dad didn't have the ingredients. So she'd eaten nothing all day because she wasn't supposed to eat anything but soup, and she didn't have any soup, so she ate nothing. Then the food anger kicked in, and she ate everything!

She lasted a bit longer when she decided to become a vegetarian because it was healthier. So I was confused when she picked all the veggies off her Jimmy John's veggie sandwich. She explained, she doesn't like veggies on her sandwiches. The next day, it was back to her usual #4 Turkey Tom.

The kid with the longest success rate is my Food Nazi daughter (and former peanut butter addict) who comes home from college and goes through the pantry describing every single noxious chemical in every single food item.She guilts us into eating nothing but bean sprouts and air--as long as the bean sprouts are organic--while she sneaks Jiff by the spoonful behind our backs!

We should all weigh 500 pounds. Luckily, we aren't afraid of exercise--even if we have been known to go the extra mile only so we can eat the extra cookie.

If there is something I've learned through our food trials, it's this: Life is too short to eat only bean sprouts and air, even organic ones. Also, I'm kinda glad there's a doughnut store on the way to the Y. It gives me incentive to go the extra mile!

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