Monthly Archives: January 2014

All 617 Tiny Little Pieces

I wouldn’t say I’m a neat freak. But I do like things to be organized. And complete.

That said, B has a variety of toys. Many of these toys come in sets. Like a set of 8 stacking cups, or 12 books…or 75 plastic food items. (I saw that at Target for $10 and had to get it for him.)

Sometimes we do a quick clean-up at night, and just kind of collect everything in his toy drawer unit. But sometimes I have to sit down and put things back into their actual sets (and sometime their actual boxes) and see if all the pieces are, in fact, there.

I do this with varying success.

photo (10)1. From the top…the 75-piece food set. Once we got it open, we realized how much, shall we say, brand influence there was on this set. There’s some Hamburger Helper and a Betty Crocker cake mix and some Progresso soup. I still really like this set though, although the last couple days when B has pulled this out and looked at me hopefully, I’ve surveyed the soup of other small toy pieces on the living room floor…and redirected his attention.

2. Wooden alphabet blocks. I love them so much. Although do NOT step on one, it is SO painful. I’m not even sure how many there are in the set, but I counted 40 back in the bag, which sounds right.

3. Noah’s Ark set. This isn’t even fair because they don’t all fit into the ark. So it’s tricky.

4. Disney baby animal books. As soon as B sees any of them in the box they come in, he has to dump them out. But he loves these books. I don’t know when was the last time I saw all 12 books together.

5. While I was assessing the various sets of toys, I spotted these blocks and went to see if all 13 were actually accounted for. Which was a mistake, because then B was like OH YEAH I LOVE THOSE BLOCKS WHY ARE THEY CONSOLIDATED IN THAT CARRYING COMPARTMENT.

6. I love this train. But I find the pieces everywhere. Lately I’ve started putting it all back together whenever I get a chance. I had finally, finally found the last pieces right before I took that picture – I was actually saying to Drew, “Hold him for a sec, just a sec, hold him back–” while I was trying to grab my phone and turn on the camera, while B was crawling maniacally playfully toward the train to reclaim the smokestack for his own.

This is just scratching the surface. If anyone ever tells you that your child will accumulate a lot of stuff…they’re not kidding. People cannot resist giving toys to kids. And I totally get it. But I think I will start looking for nice, 1-piece toys to give to my friends’ kids from now on.

On the other hand…this weekend he started picking up his Duplos from the ground and putting them BACK in the box…which could open up a whole new world for us.

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Disney Project 2014: Pinocchio

Movie: Pinocchio

Release year: 1940

My reaction: How could I have forgotten that this is, hands down, the scariest Disney movie? Kidnapping (multiple instances); slavery (multiple instances); boys turning into donkeys and being sold to the salt mines; Monstro…this movie would never be made in 2014.

This guy might be the scariest thing I’ve ever seen:

Pinocchio-disneyscreencaps_com-5906

Please note: I deliberately resized this picture so it’d be smaller (less scary), and I didn’t use the screen grab of the really terrible face (“They never come back…as BOYS!”) because I didn’t want myself to have to see that whenever I scroll down. This was practically the only part of the movie where B plopped down in my lap, and I totally covered his eyes for this scene.

Aside from being scary, some other things we found jarring were:

  • Geppetto is a weird guy. Like, he is so co-dependent on Figaro, and when he goes to find his “son,” he takes his goldfish with him. Strange.
  • PS. He’s only known that son for about 12 hours.
  • Pleasure Island all around. Like, they’re all drinking beer and there are giant Indian statues hurling handfuls of cigars out to all the “stupid little boys.”
  • You could never use the phrase “stupid little boys” like that in a move anymore.

B’s reaction: We watched in the morning this time, instead of the evening, so he was way more playful and active. He paid less attention to this one than to Snow White. Of course, given how scary Pinocchio is, that’s probably best. I’m ready to get into some harmless, fluffy, song-and-dance Disney movies. So, what’s next?…oh. Dumbo? Okay.

pinocchio

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10 Books That Are Important To Me

This thing was going around on Facebook, and One Classy Dame tagged me to do it, but I felt like it deserved slightly more space and thought than just a Facebook status or note.

Then I forgot about it for a month.

But I remembered. And so I thought I would share with you 10 books that have been important in my life.

Dollanganger01_FlowersInTheAttic1. Flowers in the Attic by VC Andrews. I found a copy of this book in my grandma’s house when I was about 9 years old, and it set me on a course of trashy romance novels, from which I’ve never fully recovered. I’m sure I would have turned out to be an entirely different person, had I not discovered these types of books. I certainly wouldn’t have been the sixth-grader who took them to school so my friends could also read the trashy parts. (Yikes.)

2. Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery / Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. Two wonderful books, particularly for young girls, written by excellent female writers. I was deep in my VC Andrews phase when my parents got me a copy of each of these books for Christmas, and I remember being vaguely disappointed. (I’m really sorry, Mom and Dad!) But then I read the books, and I liked them. I reread both of these books in 2013 and they’re even better than I remembered.

3. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg. The first time I’ve ever liked a book and a movie adaptation, as separate things. It happens rarely…but it happens.

4. The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck. Okay, this is kind of a long story but bear with me. When I was younger, we made a lot of movies. Not exactly home movies, because it wasn’t stuff like birthday parties and Christmas morning. We would make movies for class projects or just for fun. And I remember making some kind of movie, where I – as a middle schooler – was reading The Grapes of Wrath to my little brother, who was at that point maybe…10 years old? I have no idea what this was for. And we kept cutting away to show the clock ticking forward, and I’d be further in the book, and my brother would be more and more bored. And finally by the time I read the last lines, I think he was gone maybe? Or just asleep? I don’t remember. Anyway, at the time of making that movie, I tried to read The Grapes of Wrath, and I was SO BORED. Then, in my junior year of high school, we read it in my English class…and I loved it. I couldn’t understand why, just a few short years before, I hadn’t gotten into it. So, to me, this book is a solid representation of growing up and maturing.

5. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver. It’s held a spot on my favorite books list for the last, like, 15 years. Barbara Kingsolver offered me an eloquent way to express the feelings I was having about faith in high school. I printed out a quote from the book and had it stapled to my wall along with everything else in the world that I thought defined me. (The “it” in the first line is the Bible, by the way.)

photo (7)Thank goodness I had the presence of mind to not print in an artsy font.

6. Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris. My first exposure to nonfiction humor. Before that, I assumed “nonfiction” meant “history book” or “book on how to refinish a dresser.” David Sedaris, a gem in and of himself, opened up an entirely new world of reading to me.

7. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger. The first time I ever cried while reading. You know what I’m talking about.

8. You’re Not You by Michelle Wildgen. I don’t know anyone else who’s read this book, and I don’t remember how I found it, but I’m obsessed with it. The writing is incredible, it’s gorgeous to read, you just know she labored over crafting every sentence. Plus, the plot is enthralling. (I actually just discovered there’s a movie coming out this year, with Emmy Rossum and Hilary Swank, and yes I’ll totally watch it.)

9. Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth MD. I read a bunch of parenting books when I was pregnant, to prepare myself, and then I read a bunch of books on dealing with an infant, when I had an infant. This was the first book that I got partway into…and just had to toss out the window. There was so much BS in it, and I figured I had two choices: I could either throw it all away, or I could go crazy trying to follow all these rules to have the perfect child. This book represents my revelation that you read some books, you talk to some people, you do what works for you. And everything will be all right.

10. The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling. I know…it’s cheating. But these books (all seven of them) feel like family to me. Like, I know there are some minor plot holes. I know that some people have complaints about them. I know they’re totally overexposed. And I DON’T CARE. To me, they are perfect. I have all these memories: of reading The Sorcerer’s Stone for the first time and realizing this was something great; of sitting, waiting for the mail when the fifth book was coming out, and reading it all in a day; of Drew declaring his intention to read them all out loud to me once I was pregnant. (For the record, we are on the seventh book – it’s slower going now, but we’re still making progress.) These books are ingrained in my adolescent and adult life…and I’m proud of that.

HP collectionA set of hardcover for posterity; a set of paperback for actual reading; and some spares.

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Disney Project 2014: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

Frozen is Disney’s 53rd animated feature. We think this is a (slightly mathematically incorrect) sign that we should spend 2014 watching all the Disney movies, in chronological order, one per week (ish). We actually own most of them, and this will be a good excuse to take the shrink wrap off of some of those that are still in mint condition.

So we started tonight.

Movie: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Release year: 1937
My reaction: One time in college, Drew and I were watching this movie, and in the last like 20 minutes of it, we both fell asleep. It felt like we slept for hours, but when we woke up, it was still the part where the Queen is at the top of the mountain right before she falls off (spoiler alert). I don’t know how that happened.
B’s reaction: He spent most of the time wandering around, and only sat down to watch with us a couple times. I’m okay with that. It’ll come in time.

Snow White

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6 Plot Holes in Disney’s “Frozen”

There was A LOT of hype around Disney’s latest film, Frozen. So when Drew and I finally saw it, we were both like, “Oh, okay…I mean, okay.” Some reviewer was running around calling it “The best Disney film since The Lion King,” which…no. And our friends were really talking it up.

But we walked out of the theatre with a lot of questions about a lot of plot holes.

WARNING: There be spoilers ahead.

For instance:

1. Wait, why is Kristoff’s family the trolls? Wasn’t he the son of one of the ice men in the opening number? If he wasn’t someone’s kid, what was he doing there? Where’d he get a sled and a reindeer?

2. I’m not sure I understand why the trolls have to modify Anna’s memory. There’s no other way to fix her? Why do they have to create this big fear in Elsa and her family? (See number 6)

3. At the end. How does Elsa suddenly understand how to thaw everything with love? What the heck does that mean? And how does one project it onto a frozen kingdom?

4. Why do the villagers suddenly accept Elsa and her sorcery, when they were previously so scared of her? But now it’s ok because she made us an ice rink?

5. Okay. So Elsa is a sorceress, Anna takes off after her, and leaves Hans in charge of the kingdom. He rules benevolently, handing out food and blankets to people. And then he mourns Anna when they all believe she is dead. No one in the kingdom knows about his treachery…So why do they all applaud when Anna punches him?

6. Do the trolls have to apologize for ruining so much of Elsa’s life with their fear mongering?

So, like I said, Drew and I both walked out of the theatre a little bit blah. We were both glad that Disney had made this movie, found it enjoyable if not thrilling, happy it’s part of the Disney oeuvre, etc etc.

But then, a crazy thing happened. Over the next 5 days, we must have watched the video of Elsa’s (Idina Menzel’s) coming-of-age song, “Let It Go,” a total of 2000 times. That is only a slight exaggeration. The view count for this video goes up by, like, millions every day. It’s insane.

Here, watch it now:

And now tell me that you’re not like, drooling to see this movie (even if you’ve seen it before). The more I watched that video, the more I was like, “Yeah! I can’t wait to see Frozen again!”

I started spotifying the soundtrack, and making coworkers watch the “Let It Go” video with me.

For our holiday gift exchange at work, someone gave me a CD of the soundtrack. And I wasn’t disappointed.

One night, I just searched out scenes from the movie on YouTube, then watched some behind-the-scenes footage with Kristen Bell and Idina Menzel…then just watched some Kristen Bell videos. (She is adorable, by the way.)

So now, yeah, I’m a fan of Frozen.

But I’d still like to get answers for the questions above.

(Or am I being too picky? Should I just…LET IT GO??)

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