Big Hero 6 – Mommy Review

Big Hero 6, Big hero 6 movie, Disney, Hiro, BaymaxThis past weekend our family enjoyed watching Disney’s Big Hero 6.  It’s an action-packed, animated film based on a lesser-known superhero comic.  It is the story of Hiro, a 14-year-old boy of exceptional intelligence and how the events in his life change his path.  The story also deals with grief, loss and the importance of friendship.  It is emotional and hilarious.  I think all age kids would enjoy this movie because the story is mature but the antics are amusing.  The only concern would be for a young child who might be sensitive to the death of a character but that is not new for Disney movies.

It is also more geared around boys, as most action comics are, however there are decent female characters too.  I think the humor would appeal to all genders.  I really loved this movie and so did my husband so I think it is great for the family and not something the parents must be dragged to.  The robot character Baymax is very endearing.  He is built to heal and not hurt which is a nice message.  He is also very funny as this mix of action hero meets loving nurse.

I was also, as a parent, happy that they showed the characters working hard to achieve goals and not giving up.  I’m always looking for a teaching point with my kids and this gave me a good one.  Keep trying and you can do great things!  This was one of the best kid’s movies I’ve seen in a long time. Check it out!

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Interstellar- A Mommy Review

Interstellar movie, Interstellar, Kid appropriate, review, sci-fiAs a big fan of Christopher Nolan’s movies, I made sure to go see Interstellar this past weekend and I was not disappointed.  We watched it in IMAX which made it even more visually spectacular..  I thought Matthew McConaughey did a great job, along with the rest of the impressive cast of Nolan favorites, like Anne Hathaway and Michael Caine.  It was a long movie of 2 hours and 49 minutes but none of it dragged.  The concept was so big actually, that some parts were rushed through.  They didn’t have time to show us astronaut training or further develop certain relationships.  Regardless, it came together very well.

I took my 10-year-old son with us to this movie.  I can’t say that there was anything I regret him seeing even though it was PG-13 but he definitely didn’t appreciate the movie as an adult would.  He enjoyed watching it since the space scenes were cool and he liked the characters and the robots.  However, there was a lot of science, even quantum physics that he and even many adults would not understand.  I did my best to explain what was going on but on a deeper scientific level, even I was at a loss.  I was impressed that this movie did have a lot of real scientific basis and the Nolans even hired renowned physicist Kip Thorne to consult.  It was still science fiction though, so one had to be flexible with their imaginations and not get caught up in every detail of the believable science.  Just relax your mind and believe in wormholes and time/space travel for 3 hours.

The thing I liked most about this movie was that it was very thought-provoking.  It shows a dismal view of Earth, one that is running out of food and becoming uninhabitable.  It shows the government controlling people’s education and jobs based on what they feel the planet needs.  NASA is a hidden organization since their work wouldn’t be seen as necessary to feeding the starving population.  It is a scary world and though fictional, it really makes you think because until now, we have been taking from our planet without any thought to how we might damage the Earth.  There are still so many entitled people who deny the future consequences of our treatment of the planet.  The majority of humans are not thinking about what could happen with excessive pollution and population, climate change, or dwindling fossil fuels.  We are still in a place where money is the driving force and concern for the environment is a hassle.  There is growing environmental awareness now but hopefully things improve and people become more responsible.  We need to keep our home healthy for many future generations.

The bleak and scary view of the planet was another thing that I think wasn’t something you really want to have your children see.  However, I don’t think it had the same impact on my 10-year-old that it had on me.  I think kids at that age generally see things on the surface while an adult will feel what is going on because they can analyze the deeper meaning.  I didn’t want my son to see that the people on Earth could die but I think he just saw it for what it was, a science fiction movie about a fake Earth.  Meanwhile, I was much more shaken because of the parallels that I mentioned above.  In any case, I don’t think this is an inappropriate movie for kids but my son enjoyed Big Hero 6 more.  As for the adults, I thought it was a great movie and I recommend watching it!

 

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Tween Parenting

parenting, tweens, parenting tweens, tween behaviorEvery stage of child rearing has its own unique challenges.  I sometimes learn that the hard way.  I’m glad I no longer have to change diapers, carry around a diaper bag and stroller or pull them in and out of car seats.  However, now they have lots of opinions and social plans of their own.  Taking them to run errands interferes with ‘their time’ and ‘their plans’.  It was almost easier when I dragged them around in a stroller.  Now, at ages 10 and 11, there are a lot more arguments and struggles of a different nature.  Oh and the tantrums of the toddler age didn’t go away, they just morphed into ‘tween-trums’ as I call them.

At these ages, there is a lot more going on with school pressure and socially.  They are also trying to assert their independence and push their limits.  With the older one, I think hormonal changes are adding to all of this by making him moodier and harder to understand.  I feel like I need to research and study child psychology just to keep a happy family.  This part was definitely easier when they were babies.  At that age, you just wanted to make sure you didn’t drop them and fed them on time.  Now, you worry that if you don’t say or do the right things, you will damage their psyche for life.  It doesn’t help to watch crime shows that make you believe that people become crazy killers because their parents messed them up!  No pressure…

I try to do all the things that make sense to me.  I am there for them as much as possible to give them a sense of security.  I try to teach them right from wrong to give them a good moral foundation.  I try to stress the importance of hard work since being smart will only get you so far (that one is a challenge).  I try not to overwhelm them with studying and activities, since I believe free time to have fun and be creative is an important part of childhood.  Oh, and I enforce consequences for bad behavior and disrespect.  I know there are a lot of studies that say punishment is not effective at this stage and you need to just maintain a positive relationship with your child.  I agree with trying to keep a good relationship with my kids and make sure they know I’m their biggest fan, but sometimes they do need consequences to learn a lesson.

Some of the struggles I’ve seen are the result of insecurity and building their identity.  I’m sure these will last a while.  All I can do is make sure they know that we are proud of them and that they can work hard to achieve things that seem too tough.  I also want them to not worry too much about what their peers think they should be or wear or like.  They need to have friends but still have an identity of their own and a bit of a thick skin.  It’s so complicated!  We want the best for our kids but we don’t have control over their minds or the various elements in their lives.  Just do the best we can and hope it works out!

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Trick or Treating

Halloween, expensive halloween, trick or treat, costumesIn a few days, it will be Halloween and all the fun and madness that goes with it.  In our town, and most, the celebrations started weeks ago with Halloween nights and parties at the schools and events at the malls.  It has become a much bigger holiday than when I was a kid and it is no longer just for kids.  Grown-ups are throwing lots of Halloween parties as well and many times no kids are invited.  This is no longer a time where most kids had homemade costumes since now there is such a huge industry and sometimes it is easier or cheaper to buy your favorite character costume off the rack.  Though, people still applaud the effort and creativity of an innovative, homemade costume, most parents are too busy to devote the time.  After all, these things are worn once.  Correction, now with the extra parties, they may be worn twice.

It’s a fun time though, even if it does get expensive.  $30 per costume or more and then another $40 on candy in a neighborhood like ours and then all the baked goods and treats you need to buy or make for the schools.  If you decorate your house then add that in as well, not to mention all the elaborate Jack-o-lanterns you must carve.  The kids love it and get away with eating more sweets than you would ever allow.  For half of November I feel like I need to detox the kids (and myself) from all that sugar.  Then of course, Thanksgiving comes and we pig out on pies and a huge meal.  Oh well!

This year I heard the most elitist letter that has gone viral on the internet regarding Halloween.  A woman in a rich neighborhood complained that kids from other less affluent areas were coming to her area to trick or treat.  She didn’t want to give those kids treats and felt they should stay in their locality.  How rude and ridiculous.  I could understand if the outside children were vandalizing their homes or something.  However there was no such issue.  She simply didn’t want to share her candy with poorer children on a holiday that is all about giving candy to whoever comes to your door.  In my neighborhood we have the opposite dynamic.  Many kids from developments with huge homes come to our development since you can more easily walk from house to house and get more candy.  There are also many more kids in our area so those kids find it more fun to trick or treat away from their mansions.  Should we complain about not wanting to share our middle-class candy with the one-percenters?  I think not!  Just go out and have fun and just hope that your kids are safe.  Unfortunately, there are people more awful than this snooty lady that can try to ruin Halloween.  Send your kids in groups to well lighted areas and check for suspicious candy before they dig in.  Happy Halloween!!!

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Don’t be shy

Originally posted on 4 Shamar (Shaan + Amar):

With all these gadgets and toys it’s easy to hide in the back of a party and immerse yourself into the wallpaper.

Put it down and get involved. Look around and get up. Change your perspective and you might see that you could have a lot more fun living life. Dancing in the middle of the floor like you don’t care. Or just giggling with your friends in the corner.

Don’t be shy to live in the moment.

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‘The Flash’ TV Series is Mom and Kid Friendly

Flash, The Flash tv show, CW, superhero, kid friendlySo I waited until after the second episode to give my review/opinion on the new CW series, The Flash.  My opinion is that it is quite good!  For those of you that enjoy watching sci-fi and superheroes and even those that don’t, I think it’s worth checking out.  My kids (10 & 11 yr olds) have loved watching Arrow and Smallville (re-runs) so I thought they would enjoy this series too.  Well, they did and so did I.  It has a lighter feel than Arrow, with a less tormented hero, so I feel less guilty letting them watch.  However, it isn’t so cheesy and young that adults wouldn’t get into it.  Grant Gustin, the actor who plays Barry Allen is very likeable and does a good job portraying a young man who is struggling with new-found abilities and secrets.  The show delves into the origin of his powers right away and now we get to see what he does with them.

The show has interesting villains who can control weather, multiply themselves and who knows what’s next.  There is also a back story about the mysterious death of Barry’s mom and how his dad is wrongly incarcerated for her murder.  There is also some mystery about Dr. Wells of S.T.A.R. Labs that will unfold over time.  I think they’ve done a good job setting this series up with some cool individual episodes as well as some ongoing storylines to keep you hooked.  There are also enough quality actors to keep adult viewers interested.  In fact the actor who plays Barry’s dad, John Wesley Shipp, played the Flash in a 1990 show.  Tom Cavanagh (of Ed fame) plays the intriguing Dr. Wells and Jesse L. Martin (of Law & Order and Ali McBeal) does a great job as Detective Joe West who is Barry’s guardian.

I think this show has great potential and our family is into it already.  Maybe by next year my son’s will want a Flash costume for Halloween.  But for now, the boys have put the Smallville re-runs on hold in favor of The Flash

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“Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day” Review

movie, family entertainment, kids movie, comedy, alexander and the terrible horrible no good very bad dayWe took my son to see this movie with two of his close friends as part of his 10th birthday celebrations.  This meant that our whole family had to endure it so we hoped it would be good.  I must say I was fully entertained and so were the older and younger kids.  It was barely an hour and a half so there wasn’t time to drag on the story.  Every minute was full of something amusing and it was pretty fast paced.  My only issue with the movie was that we had already seen many of the funny scenes in the preview.  The movie was short so maybe they should have done a shorter preview so as not to ruin the surprises.  Other than that, however, the movie was a great, family friendly comedy.

It was funny and yet had a message.  It was about a boy, Alexander, who has a horrible day but no one in his family seems to sympathize.  Then he makes a wish on his birthday candle that they could understand how he feels.  Suddenly, on his birthday, the whole family seems to be having a very bad day and yet they deal with it as a family.  It’s a fun ride.  It is clean humor and Steve Carell and Jennifer Garner do a great job as the parents.  Steve Carell always has such an endearing way of being hilarious.  If you’re looking for a cute, funny movie then I recommend watching it.

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