Monday, June 25, 2012

Lazy Days of Summer?


The real reason for the lack of blogging is out and I feel much better.  I really am no good at keeping secrets.  I can do it, but it drives me nuts.

I didn't really mean to do the big reveal and then disappear for a week.  I've gotten interesting reactions, and of course I have a lot of my own thoughts, but I'll delve into that at another time.

For now, I am trying to recoup after a long, busy week and an even busier weekend.  It was someone's birthday on Saturday . . .

Sally's Sixth!

and we had a great time celebrating.

My kids are used to low-key family birthday celebrations, so Rob and I have started letting them direct the festivities for the day.  We let them know if what they ask for is too excessive, but it usually isn't a problem.  Most often, we meet up with my parents for dinner and then have birthday cake.

This year for her birthday, Sally asked if she could get her nails done and hair cut at Sweet and Sassy.  If you've never heard of Sweet and Sassy, you can be thankful.  It's an overpriced salon and spa for little girls, and it looks like a glitter bomb exploded inside.  They even have a pink limo you can rent.

Sally and Mopsy, with a Baby photobomber. 

But Sally is practically made of glitter, so it's her kind of place. She went once for a friend's birthday party, and she nearly had a stroke from the excitement.

Sally got her nails painted and her summer haircut (complete with glitter spray), and as an added birthday treat, she got her ears pierced.  Happily, the salon does a tandem piercing so it's a once and done deal.  After a few tears, she was very happy to see tiny little birthstones sparkling in her ears.

With her cuddly pal after the piercing and primping

On Sunday, the first four and I continued the festive weekend by seeing Pixar's new movie, "Brave."

I was happy to read these two reviews, but I knew I wanted to see it when I read an article in Entertainment Weekly that complained of the heroine basically not being feminist enough.  And of loving her family and trying to please them.  Sounds like my kind of film. 

Plus, it's Scottish, so it was almost a given that my lads and lasses would be going. 

I don't want to give away any plot details, because there are some twists that really make the movie, but we all enjoyed it.  There are some scary/intense action sequences that may be too much for very young/sensitive viewers, but I took the 12, 9, 6, and 4 year olds and they did well.  Sally hid her eyes for a few seconds a couple of times, but other than that the scary parts did not seem to bother them too much.

Let me put it this way: I'd go more by sensitivity than by age.  I never would have taken Francie to this movie at age 4.  She is very, very sensitive to visual images; so much so, that she now censors herself on certain popular movies with strong thematic elements (like "The Hunger Games," which all her friends have seen already). She knows that she is especially affected by a movie in the theater, where it is huge and dark and loud.  She does much better seeing movies at home, on video, with all her comfort items, where she can adjust all the settings and turn the movie off if she wants.  She often waits months for movies to come through Netflix instead of seeing them in the theater.

Bun, on the other hand, is four and sailed right through this movie.  He is just not as sensitive as Francie.  The girls did cry at the end, but it was because of a particularly emotional mother/daughter moment and not out of fear.  The boys, of course, didn't bat an eyelash at the mother/daughter element. 

"Brave" reminds me very much of old fairy tales, the kind they haven't watered down and sanitized, and  there is a lot of thematic content that I found very appealing.  I also recognized some issues parallel to my own stage in life right now, so that made it almost topical for me.

Merida, the heroine, does love her family, but she's a teenager.  She's convinced her mother just nags her and doesn't listen to her dreams.  She bemoans her mother's lack of understanding, and after setting in motion a series of events that threaten her family, her clan, and her life, she still protests, "But it's not my fault!!"   It is her fault, but part of growing up is owning the mistakes and putting things right if you can.

For her part, Merida's mother, Queen Elinor, also misses the mark on communication at times.  Of  course she loves her daughter -- loves her more than her own life and proves it -- but she's also not connecting with her.  In the course of events, she learns to really hear what Merida has learned on her own.  That can be a hard lesson for a parent sometimes.

Other things I loved about the movie were Merida's delightful relationship with her father; her closeness with her brothers, even when exasperated; her parents strong and loving marriage, and the fact that they are still very much in love; and the show of chivalry.  I can't remember the last modern movie I've seen where the men stood up and showed respect when women entered the room.  

Also?  The kids thought it was awesome that Queen Elinor sounded exactly like their Grandma at times.  I've always thought my mother-in-law has a very regal bearing (not stuffy, just regal).

The men in the movie are sometimes clownish, but I think it was more in an effort for slapstick humor than belittling men in general.  Merida's father, and his friends, show up in the clutch.  Not surprisingly, my boys found the mischievous triplet brothers to be hilarious. 

All in all, it was a very nice afternoon at the movies, which is always a relief after spending the GNP of a small nation on tickets and snacks.  I guess that's why we only go for special occasions! 

This week is vacation bible school, so there is no sign of slowing down just yet, but be sure to remind me of this in August, when I have run out of fun ideas and it's hot and we are tired of each other's faces day in and day out.  I might wish for a little busy-ness right about then.


  1. Thanks for your thoughts on the movie. I still can't decide about taking Lily. She sometimes scares easily and other times is not bothered by things I think will freak her out at all. She knows we plan to see the movie, so I don't think I'm going to be able to avoid taking her.

    We had VBS a couple of weeks ago. Happily home and in the slow days now, although there is already some fighting of course. A little summer sickness too, but nothing major.

  2. Brave! yes! I so want to see it, but have not managed to get to the theater yet. I could've gone if I dragged Kaden, who had no interest in watching "that brave girl" NOR would consider wearing his kilt. Sigh. But I'm with you. My early intentions of trying to shield him from commercialism and violence have, well, been blown out of the Florida waters. But every now and then I still draw a line in the sand.... and after a trip on Disney World's Peter Pan flight gave him nightmares (tictock is trying to eat me!), I just couldn't take him. It's definitely on the list, both for me to see now and for him later :)


Go ahead and say it. You know you want to.