Logan -A Mom’s Review

Logan, Wolverine, movie, ok for kids

This weekend we went to watch Logan, the new Wolverine movie.  This was the first movie that I dared to take my 12 and 14-year-old sons to so I thought I’d share my experience.  It was partly a selfish move because I wanted to go and not wait for a babysitter but it is also my older son’s favorite Marvel character.  We read some reviews and ratings and eventually took the chance after my 12-year-old informed me that all his other friends have seen R-rated movies. (no peer pressure…)

The movie itself was great and the acting was wonderful.  We got to see the Oscar nominated Hugh Jackman show us the depth of his character in addition to his muscles and rage.  Patrick Stewart played the ninety year old Professor Xavier beautifully and showed humor and vulnerability.  The young mutant with adamantium claws, played by Dafne Keen was intense and impressive despite remaining silent most of the movie.  This wasn’t a typical superhero movie.  It had the action but it was more about the aging mutants hiding out in a world where most people like them are no longer.  It’s about Wolverine helping Professor X now that his control over his dangerous and powerful mind has deteriorated.  At the professor’s request, he also ends up helping a young mutant with abilities similar to his own.  Even though there is blood and violence, there is also a lot of focus on family and relationships.

As for the R-rating, I think it was necessary in order to show a Wolverine who is more true to the comics, raw and full of rage.  He curses a lot and the F-bomb is thrown around a lot.  There is one topless scene of a woman that lasts a second.  It wasn’t very relevant to the story but I guess they already had the R-rating so why not.  As for the violence, it is definitely more.  In the other movies they show him slashing and stabbing people but then the camera pans away.  Here the camera would show the claws through the bodies and the severed body parts.  It wasn’t extremely gory in my opinion.  It’s all relative to what your kids have been exposed to though.  I think if they’ve seen tv shows like Gotham and various PG-13 superhero movies, then the violence was not too much more.  It was also not gratuitous gore and violence and everything flowed with the story.  They didn’t zoom in on anything gross just to be shocking.

This movie was more mature than the average superhero flick and it had a mature rating.  I think it was something that people who are not into comic heroes could enjoy and elements anyone could relate to.  It has its emotional scenes and its moments of subtle humor.  I don’t think it is appropriate for a young child but I don’t feel bad about taking my boys to this particular R-rated movie.  I just have to make sure they know not to copy Logan’s potty-mouth.

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2017 Academy Awards

oscarThose who know me know that I get very excited about Oscar night every year since I’m a huge movie buff.  Last night’s event had me glued to the television as well and here are my thoughts.  First, I may as well talk about the biggest shocker…the award mix-up.  Moonlight won the Best picture award but Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway announced La La Land as the winner instead.  Sadly, a few speeches were given before it was corrected and then the Moonlight group was brought on stage to accept.  Everyone handled it pretty well considering this is not something that has happened before.  People were looking for answers and had things to say about the presenters.  However, it seems that PWC who handles the award tallying, keeps two sets of cards for each category and the presenters received a card for Emma Stone who won Best actress for La La Land.  Beatty did look confused but then Dunaway saw the movie name and just announced it.  Oh well…it all worked out and I think Moonlight deserved it.  I enjoyed La La Land and haven’t yet seen Moonlight but from what I’ve seen and heard, it seems like Moonlight was a more powerful movie.

I was also happy to see Viola Davis win and give a beautiful speech.  She seems to do everything well, and even looked great in her red gown.  I thought most of the awards were well deserved and didn’t have any major disagreement with the choices.  The only one I wasn’t sure about was Casey Affleck.  I heard he did a great job in Manchester by the Sea but there’s a scandal looming over him sexually harassing women.  I don’t know to what level this was proven but if it is true then I don’t think he deserved the recognition.

As for hosting, Jimmy Kimmel did a good job.  He was funny and even his political jabs were pretty light and funny.  He used some of his traditional shtick, like the Mean Tweets as well as his ongoing feud with Matt Damon.  The only part I wasn’t crazy about was when he brought in some tourists and surprised them.  It was a cute idea but went on too long as the tourists took their time meeting the stars.  It was already a long show and we could have done without that whole part.

As for the fashion, there was good and bad as always.  I won’t go into details but overall I don’t think it was the best year for Oscar fashion.  I did like that many of the men donned blue or white tuxedos and there was even some velvet.  It was a nice change while still looking dressy and appropriate.  Many of the ladies wore gorgeous diamond jewelry.  I really loved Taraji’s necklace!

It was a fun night overall and now I’ll have to catch up on some of the nominated movies that I missed.  It’s hard to make time to watch the serious dramas when you have kids though.  Now I know which movies to prioritize.  I wish the awards were not on a Sunday so I could do Oscar parties more often.  It’s fun to celebrate the event with some friends, drinks, glitz and glamour but not when you have to get to work the next morning.  Til next year…

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Me and My Teen

Parenting a teen, teenagers, growing pains

I’ve been parenting a teen boy now for a year and it’s been quite interesting.  It’s often a challenge because the struggles seem to make no logical sense.  However, it isn’t all bad.  During the calm hormonal spells, we are able to have provocative discussions and have a friendly relationship.  However when the tide is high, I’m the enemy and all bets are off.

I tried to explain to my younger son why his teen brother behaves the way he does by comparing it to Bruce Banner and the Hulk.  I told him that when his teen hormones kick in, he can turn into a rage monster and even he can’t control it.  That helped a little with the sibling issues it was creating.  It also helped me to accept some of the crazy arguments we were having, such as why he needs a coat in sub-freezing weather or why sweats aren’t appropriate party wear.  It’s very hard not to take the fights personally when you feel you’ve been the most loving and understanding parent you could be.  But, you have to step back and realize it’s all part of growing and testing their boundaries.  They want to be independent but still want to be catered to when it suits them.  That makes me crazy since Mr. Know-it-all should certainly be able to remember his chores or give himself a snack.  However, that is not what happens.  It’s a constant tug-of-war between the things I feel he is mature enough to handle and the things he feels he is mature enough to handle.  I want to equip him with life skills and the ability to take responsibility but I also know he’s still a child and needs more guidance than he realizes.

Though these years often leave me missing and romanticizing the sleepless baby and toddler years, it’s not all bad.  Though I can’t completely control my teen or drag him around in a stroller to where I want to go, I’m finding new ways to compromise with him.  Now, I have to reason with him and maybe bargain about going to a store he likes if he comes to the mall with me.  We’re in a new frontier.  As much as the love and trust we gave in the early years was critical, this new ability to communicate and compromise will build an important foundation.  This will help define our relationship as adults one day. No pressure!

I’m nervously laughing to myself as I write because this is all still a work in progress for me and I could very well fail.  But, I think it will be okay.  When he’s not in a defiant mood swing, he will cuddle with me and watch movies or ask for a favorite food.  We will laugh together at our silliness or he will help his brother with homework.  I will hear from his teachers how he is such a wonderful and thoughtful kid.  He will open up to me about his thoughts on politics – within the family or the world.  He teaches me to throw a football and tries to control his laughter when I can’t get a spin on it.  These things give me hope that my wonderful child hasn’t changed but is just going through some growing pains.  Though these pains are painful for me as well, these too shall pass.

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Brain Clogged by the Election

brain clog, election anxiety, writers blockI’ve been asked why I haven’t blogged in so long…well, my brain is clogged by this election.  It’s been so stressful and contentious and it has been hard not to be distracted by all that.  I mean I carry on with life and the things I need to do for family, home and work.  However, my blog is an outlet for my thoughts and interests.  It’s a random conversation about whatever happens to be going on in my mind.

These days…my mind has been cluttered with fear of the future and shock at the things going on in this election.  The nation is so divided and both sides seem strong in their convictions.  I’m pretty openly a Hillary Clinton supporter and have always been a Democrat.  However, I’ve never been terrified of seeing the Republican candidate win until now.  It was just a matter of not agreeing with all the policy ideas but I still had respect for the candidates (except maybe the Palin part).  This time I am not happy about the proposed policies, or the lack thereof, but I am more worried about this volatile and hateful candidate who always thinks he is right.  Trump is a very inexperienced candidate but maybe if he showed he was a team player he wouldn’t be as scary.  Instead he is narcissistic and vows revenge on anyone who doesn’t agree with him.  Our government is a 3 branch system which means they need to work together and seek compromise.

He also scares me with his racism and outright disrespect of women.  The unfortunate part is that almost half the country seems to be able to ignore all that.  Maybe people just want a change and they don’t think his hatred of minority groups is such a big deal.  There are many who have their own prejudices and this is just what they wanted.  While others are choosing to believe that it’s not as bad as the media is making it seem.  How convenient!  Maybe the civil rights he wants to stomp on don’t affect you right now so you can turn a blind eye, but it’s a slippery slope.  You may be included in the targeted group down the road and then it will be too late to complain.

Anyway, I didn’t mean to go into all the issues but this is what has been clogging my brain.  I’ve been shocked and saddened seeing people I know support Trump and wondering how we could be so different in thinking and have been friends.  Political differences never upset me so much about my friends or family in the past, but this time they do.  I am disgusted but don’t want to fight with anyone so I keep it to myself and therefore haven’t been blogging.  I pray for our nation and our future and hope that our country can come together after tomorrow.  I hope to be unclogged and able to write about family and TV and movies and a happy future!  Til then…

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When it Rains it Pours

rains-pours (1)Why is that when you’re feeling down, things often seem to get worse.  I’ve been there before and also heard from many friends when they seem to be having a spree of really bad luck. Lately, I started to notice a pattern to all this misery.  When you’re exhausted, or depressed, or in pain, you are prone to make more mistakes, get hurt or react badly.  It’s the worst time for more grief since you’re already feeling bad, but that’s when things tend to spiral downward.

My mom always tells me that positive attitudes yield positive results (though she uses a lot more words to explain that).  I listen but sometimes get annoyed at the over-simplification since you don’t want your pain dismissed when you’re going through a difficult situation.  However, I think I get it now on a different level.  It isn’t just about always believing in the best results, it’s about being in a positive and healthy state of mind.  Bad things will still happen sometimes even if you try to think they won’t.  But, they will happen more if you’re jittery because you haven’t slept or distracted because you’re sad or you overreact because you’re in pain, etc.  It is in these ‘negative’ states of mind and body when more bad things happen and suddenly you feel like everything is going wrong.

The way to get to the ‘positive’ place is not just to tell yourself everything will be wonderful, since maybe it will or maybe it won’t.  The way is to get the rest you may need so that you’re not so frazzled, or get some medication for what ails you, or eat some healthy food because you might be hungry.  It is to get yourself back to a healthy, strong and more normal you.  This is when you can handle things better and not get overwhelmed by problems.  Sometimes you do need to also talk yourself into being more confident or less worried so that your mind is also at it’s best place.  It often helps to reach out for support as well.

So get yourself to your positive place and it will yield positive results.  Take the ‘me time’ you need to get yourself strong and stable before going forward.  When you don’t and you keep going with a compromised mind and body, things often don’t have the best results.  There is no shame in taking breaks and caring for yourself.  In fact, it’s the only way you will be able to properly take care of everything else!

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Why is ‘Change’ so Difficult?

change, good change, stress, relieving stress, manage changeWhether good or bad, change can be very challenging to handle for many people.  I happen to be one of those many.  This year my family has gone through so many changes and though some of these changes were blessings, it still caused stress.  There is something to be said for stability.  Though it might eventually cause people to feel stuck or bored, before that point it makes you feel secure and comfortable.

This year, I started working after a decade of being a stay-at-home-mom; my husband changed jobs; we moved to a new home and new school district; and we had a death in the family.  I won’t even mention the small changes.  All this upheaval left me feeling stressed and anxious.  I tend to like the comfort of familiarity.  With these changes, I wasn’t sure how I would handle life the same way.  I won’t know anyone in our new neighborhood and I’ll be at work so what will happen to the kids in an emergency?  These kinds of scenarios plagued my thoughts.  I wondered how I would handle the new responsibilities at a job I had never done before.

I tried my best to remember that change can bring growth and happiness as well.  It can help us overcome fears and learn new things.  Though there is uncertainty and risk of failure, trying new things can bring positive growth. I guess life is about constant change.  In fact, I notice that when I resist changing, things around me change and I have no control.  I’m forced to accept it and find the good in it.  We should appreciate our present and enjoy it while it lasts but know that change will come and there may be a positive outcome from that as well.  Enjoy the present and be thankful for it but don’t be scared of the next thing.  Even if you fail, you’ll get up and move on….or it might become something new that you love.  This is all easier said than done for people like me but you have to start somewhere!

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Not Enough Mom-Me Time Anymore

Mom time, mommy time, time-out, parent relaxationSo, parenting is supposed to get easier as the kids grow up right? Nope, I wouldn’t say so.  We tell a new mom to sleep when the baby sleeps and people rally around to give the parents a much needed break.  However, when the kids get a bit older and more self sufficient, people assume it has gotten easier for you.  By the way, by ‘self-sufficient’ I only mean that they can walk and talk and wipe their own butts and feed themselves.  I don’t mean that they will actually get the food themselves or bathe without nagging or do anything they need to some level of assistance.  This is why it changes for a parent, from physically exhausting to mentally draining.  Yet the mentally draining part can leave a parent exhausted.

We also believe that since the kids are ‘self-reliant’, we should add more things to our plates and end up even more tired.  In my case, I started working after being a stay-at-home-mom.  Everyone said, oh now that the kids don’t need you, you can go back to work.  Well, the kids still need a million things and have activities they need to go to.  So, I am juggling a lot more and the only ball I can afford to drop is my ‘Me time’.  I can’t rest when they are at school because I’m at work.  Then I dash out to be a chauffeur, cook, tutor, referee, nurse, homemaker.  There isn’t really any me-time for Mommy without guilt.

When the kids were very young, I felt entitled to Me-time because I took care of the kids all day and deserved a break.  Now, because others see your life as easier with older kids, we tend to see it that way too and don’t feel entitled to that break anymore.  I used to have my mom watch the kids while I got a massage or went on a movie date.  Now I cash in that babysitting time for my doctor’s appointments or when I have one too many things to juggle.  Then, I feel bad asking for more babysitting time and guilty for leaving the kids so I no longer make those pampering Me appointments.  My husband and I have gone from romantic date nights to lunch dates on days when he works from home.  At least we still try to have some couple-time but it’s much more rushed.

Also, the kids now have such busy schedules of their own that you are always planning your life around what they need and where they have to be.  Whereas, before we could put them in the stroller and roam around the mall for ourselves, now there isn’t time.  They are busy with activities and then need to fit in homework and want to meet with their friends.  So in essence, now we are in the stroller and being wheeled around by the kids’ agenda.

Life is busy at every stage and parenting is challenging at every stage.  It just evolves.  I guess we just need to give ourselves credit for all we do and not feel so guilty for making some Me-time.  One day soon I will take my own advice.

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