Sick Days

Some bug has got me in its clutches and won’t let go. I’m not a good sick person and tend to live by the “mind over matter”mantra. This results in my body periodically turning on itself- and I find myself completely out of commission.

Here’s my list of essentials that are getting me through:

  • Hot tea
  • Favorite fuzzy pink blanket
  • Comfy clothes
  • New Girl marathon on Netflix
  • Lots of yarn to roll into balls for next project
  • Pinerest
  • And when I feel the least bit curious about what’s happening on social media- MORE Pinterest
  • Phone on “Do Not Disturb”
  • Chicken noodle soup
  • Fully charged Kindle

I’m on DAY 3- if I have any say in this, I will be back on my feet and participating in the real world tomorrow!!!

Take care!!!

-Kat

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Ari’s Care and Keeping of Pups….er…Babies

Hi, it’s me, Ari, stopping in. While Kat’s busy getting Andrew settled back at home (he’s home- my boy is home!!!!! wag, wag, wag!!!), I decided to revive Kat’s 10 Things feature with my own 10 tips for caring for pups….er, I mean, babies.

We have a new baby in our family. My oldest boy, Michael, and his wife had a baby about 6 months ago. (It seems like a lot longer.) I love Michael. He lays down on the floor and roughhouses with me. He also puts me through a rigorous exercise program jumping over him, back and forth, through endless repetitions. And when he was living at home, we would take naps together when he came home from working 24 hour shifts. Those naps were the best!

So now, there’s this baby- Beej- and it was apparent early on that these people do not know how to care properly for a human baby. As far as I can see, human babies are just bald puppies. Spending these past 6 months with the baby has awakened my maternal instincts and I would like to share my parenting tips with you:

1. Upon arrival, it is important to inspect the baby to confirm that he is intact. Sometimes the parents will need encouragement to leave in the form of some gentle barks……progressing to herding them out the door with short, insistent barks if they are slow to respond. ari and beej

2. When suspecting the baby is need of a diaper change, one good sniff is all you need. It’s unnecessary to pull the diaper leg open, peeking in and then cautiously poking a finger in to investigate. Your nose will never fail you.

3. When it comes to cleaning spit up and smeared baby food, there’s no need to wipe ’em down. A thorough licking will get the job done!

clean up4. Get down on their level. Get on the floor and play with them. Babies get tired of looking at people’s feet and legs all the time and it’s a LONG way to look up when you’re standing right next to them.

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5. Babies like walks. Lots and lots of walks. Especially if they have their dog to lead the way!

6. Sometimes babies just cry. Learn to tell the difference between a real cry and a simple “I’m bored” cry. It’s easy if you just listen.

close7. Sleep when the baby sleeps. This is KEY. When they are awake, they are a full-time job and constantly being on call can be exhausting.

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8. Have patience. Babies are very curious and they like to explore and experiment.tail9. A good game of tug of war never hurts!tug of war10. Babies need love. Lots and lots of love, in the form of licks. loveAnd there you have it! If you follow these tips, your pup- er….baby will grow up just fine!

On a personal note, I think I make a fantastic mother to Beej and hopefully my careful and thoughtful role modeling will set a good example for these people and they will catch onto the proper way to do it!

Meanwhile, Baby Beej has been sitting up on his own, rolling over both ways and scooting. I keep hearing talk about when he will begin crawling. No one told me he would be mobile?!!??!

Ten Things of Thankful- #3

Soooo, I’m off to a less than auspicious beginning in my participation in Ten Things of Thankful but I’m hoping to improve on that! This past week wasn’t the greatest but I still had a lot to be thankful for——-

1. I have been sick this past week- not sick enough to incapacitate me but enough to slow me down, which I apparently needed because 7 days later, I’m still not at 100%. It might seem odd to be thankful but it caused me to slow down and I needed that.

2. The wonder of Face Time! This week I have enjoyed many sessions with my grandsons on Face Time. There’s nothing like talking to a 3 month old who is cooing and grabbing the phone. I am so thankful for my daughter-in-law for taking the time to do this!

3. My baby (19 years old) initiated texts with me throughout the week! He is away at college and I miss him so much! I can’t wait to see him when he comes home. 🙂

4. I had an anxiety attack- my first in nearly 10 years. It caught me off guard, in a public place, where there was no where to hide and a few witnesses. I am so thankful that my friend, John, was there, munching on his bag of chips and helping me find a level of calm with his steady, unflappable presence.

5. I’ve had an unexpected few days of solitude. It has been heavenly to be able to “just be” without constant limited interruptions. Snow

6. Grey’s Anatomy- Where have I been for the last 10 years?

7. We got snow. I am just so glad that it was only a few inches…..and it was light and fluffy, not the wet and messy stuff.

8. The day after tomorrow I am going away with my friend, Steph! Vera BradleyIt’s only overnight but it doesn’t matter. We haven’t gotten away in a few years. It will be so nice to shop (Vera Bradley Outlet), eat and talk….. I know it’s not from last week but knowing it was coming was a bright spot for me this past week.

9. I finally finished Baby Beej’s Back up Blanket! (say that 10 times fast) I made him one, with the intention of making a spare just in case his was forgotten at home. Well, before I could complete the spare, I found myself with a baby without his blanket. blanket

10. Photo Challenges- I’m addicted! Even if I forget to post the photos, I am having fun looking for the perfect shots.

There it is-my Ten Things of Thankful! What are you thankful for?

Ten Things of Thankful

Ten Things of Thankful- Week 2

So, this week was/is a rough one. Finding those 10 things is not quite as easy. I’m feeling kind of stretched so instead of a list, I’m going with photos.

Thank you to Considerings for creating this awesome event! 1ed57-tenthingsbanner

I hope you had a lot to be thankful for this week!

Kat

Ten Things of Thankful- Week 1 (hopefully!)

I have decided that in my quest to work on my word of 2015- FOCUS– it wouldn’t hurt (and would most definitely help) if I take time out to really think about those thankful things in my life. I have chosen to participate in the Ten Things of Thankful at Considerings, which takes place on weekends. The task is to list 10 things that I was thankful for this past week.

Here are some things that I have been thankful for over the past week- in no particular order. 🙂

1. I am thankful for best friends who remain a part of my life despite my many ups and downs, flakiness, mood swings…… I’m not sure if I could have stuck it out with me and there are still times when I want to take a break from myself.

2. I am thankful to have the privilege to work with respectful, caring and funny guys who have nothing but patience and understanding when I’m tongue-tied. (They make up for the asshole.)

3. I am thankful that my “baby” still needs me at 19 and isn’t too old to text Mom when he can’t sleep.

4. I am thankful for little boys- especially those around the ages of 5 years and 2 months- who make me smile. These two little guys are the brightest spots in my days.

5. I am thankful for a dog who lives the most dramatic life I have ever seen in an animal who rarely leaves the block. She makes me laugh and reminds me daily that I’m never alone as long as she’s there. (Please note, I think Ari is waiting for her opportunity to post. She has so much to say and she’s really jealous of Toby, Hugh’s dog, who gets to put his own stuff out there.)

6. I am thankful that everywhere I went was less than 10 minutes away on those days when I was low on gas and didn’t feel like filling up the car.

7. I am thankful that the temperature remained about 30F this week so I wasn’t freezing when I did venture out.

8. I am thankful that while I was listening to music on my phone that songs from that darn U2 album only play 3-4 times during an hour period. I have nothing against U2, they are just not on my playlist……Thanks, U2!

9. I am thankful that Glee was on Netflix when I went looking. I’ve been in a funk and beginning back at Season 1 has been the boost that I needed. I love the songs and it makes me laugh.

10. I am thankful for a husband who jumped on the idea of heading out of town this weekend when I brought it up. This break from my life is just what the doctor ordered.

What are you thankful for this week?

Happy Saturday!

Kat

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2014- Oh, What a Year it Was!

2014 was a very busy year for my family. It held the MOST milestones. It began on January 4, 2014 with Michael and Jasmine’s wedding and it will end on January 4, 2015 with Michael’s graduation party. It seems fitting that it begins and ends with Michael, like coming full circle.

Here are the top 10:

1. Michael and Jasmine’s wedding- What an incredible way to begin the year! It was a beautiful (although freezing cold) day. The wedding was small with just close family and best friends included.

2. Kris left for the Disney College Program. Leaving him Orlando with major anxiety and depression issues was the most difficult thing I have ever done in my life!

3. Auditions, auditions, auditions. For a month, I spent more time on the east coast than I did here in Illinois while accompanying Andrew on his college auditions.

4. I finally found the nerve to begin my blog and Dandelion Fuzz was created.

5. After a spring of last performances, Andrew graduated from high school.

6. The highlight of the summer was when our family was reunited on a vacation to Disney World.

7. Comings and goings- Kris came home from Orlando, Andrew left for New York.

8. Michael began Fire Academy.

9. Baby BJ (aka Beej) was born!

10. Michael graduated and began his career as a firefighter.

 

 

 

What were the most memorable moments of your year?

10 Favorite Books I Read to My Children When They Were Young

For my son and daughter-in-law’s baby shower, we asked guests to bring one of their favorite books in place of a card. I’ve always given my children books for their birthdays and Christmas and I have continued the tradition with CJ. Choosing the perfect book for the newest little baby was a decision not made lightly. It got me thinking of all the books I read to my kids when they were little and that inspired this post for my 10 Things feature. Reading is one of the my favorite past times and its one I hope I have passed on to my children. I had to laugh when I found out that Michael and Jasmine were letting CJ check out 10 (TEN) books from the library and then they were reading all 10 to him every night! (That didn’t last long. I believe it got cut down to 3 or 4. Much more reasonable.)

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  1. The Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown. I discovered this book quite by accident but I immediately fell in love with the simple lines and the illustrations, also simple but detailed. I gave it to Michael when he was very young and it quickly became a favorite. It tells the story about the big red barn and all the animals around the farm, using great description of their appearance and sounds they make.
  2. Owen by Kevin Henkes. Owen has a yellow blanket that he takes everywhere with him. When it is time for Owen to go to school, he is faced with a dilemma. He doesn’t want to leave his blanket at home. I have a blankie baby myself. Actually I had two but I broke one of his blanket habit and then felt so bad, my second blanket lover took his to college with him.
  3. Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans. Who doesn’t love Madeline? Kris could recite this book from memory by the time he was three years old. I was always drawn to the illustrations- not only the colored pictures but the black and white line drawings, too. My grandson, CJ, enjoys hearing the Madeline books. We have a video of a young Kris sitting with this book open in his lap, appearing to read, “In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines.”
  4. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault. Andrew really liked the repetitive feel of this book. Looking back, this shouldn’t be a big surprise, considering his love of music and his innate sense of rhythm. I had purchased the board book for CJ a few years ago and it was only by accident that I found out that Michael is not a fan of this book. Oops! “A told B and B told C…”IMG_0445
  5. The Monster at the End of this Book by Jon Stone. This book is a favorite of Andrew’s although I did read it to all three children. It chronicles Grover’s growing fear of the monster that he knows is at the end of the book. Grovers antics to prevent the story from ending are very silly and it always makes me smile.
  6. Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson. I resisted this book until Andy came. I was convinced if I read a book about a boy drawing on his walls that my kids would draw all over our own walls. As it was, I had Michael drawing in the door jamb of his bedroom door. Andrew loved the exploits that resulted from Harold’s drawings.
  7. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak. There’s nothing like a good rumpus and a little boy named Max who is behaving badly! One of my children confessed to being slightly scared by this book as a child. I think it might have been Kris.IMG_0449
  8. Dr. Seuss’s ABC by Dr. Seuss. This was always a regular read in our house. I’m convinced that it was the reason Kris knew all of his letters by the time he was 2. I have memories of him writing his ABC’s on the blackboard at Michael’s pre-K when we went to pick him up. I think we all have this book memorized.
  9. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff. All of these books are favorites. The mouse, the moose, the pig. I love the moose making sock puppets and the pig getting sticky from syrup and needing a bath. I’ve heard that there are also a cat and a dog book. I can’t wait to get them to read to CJ and his little sibling!
  10. Where’s My Teddy? by Jez Alborough. Kris has always loved teddy bears. It was his love of bears that caused me to pick up this book and it quickly became a family favorite. Eddie has lost his teddy and he is shocked to see that it has grown incredibly large when he finds it. The illustrations are the perfect complement needed to complete the story.

There are so many more- Little Critter books, Clifford, Curious George, Arthur, Thomas the Tank Engine…

What are some of the favorite books you read to your children? Or if you don’t have children, what were some of your favorites as a child?

10 Tidbits About Teenage Kat

I spent my teen years growing up in the Midwest during the late 70’s-early 80’s. I raised my children in the same town I grew up in just a few miles from where I lived as a child. My youngest, Andy, just turned 19 a few weeks ago and it’s hard to believe that after 11 years of teenagers, I am nearing the end. Looking back, I can honestly say that their teen years spanning 2004 through the next year are very different than mine. What a difference a few (okay….more than a few….like 25 or more….) years make!

Here’s me as a teenager circa 1978-81ish:

1. Phones Part 1– We had two phones- both rotary dial and both attached to the wall. Lucky for us, my parents got sick of getting clothes-lined or tripped by the phone cord being stretched to its limits by one of us trying to find privacy and they purchased longer and longer cords. The phone upstairs was in the kitchen and no matter where you tried to stretch the cord there was no private place. I had more luck with the downstairs phone, which reached to my room with enough extra play in the cord for me to close my bedroom door and still have freedom to sit on the floor by my bed.j1981uu

2. Jordache Jeans– Designer jeans were a big deal back then. Jordache were my favorites while my best friend preferred Gloria Vanderbilt. And they had to be skin tight. Seriously tight. So tight we had to lay on our beds and suck in our stomachs to get the zipper zipped tight. Sitting was not fun in these jeans. But it was worth it because we thought we looked so good in those jeans!

3. T-Shirts with provocative sayings– The perfect thing to compliment those skin tight jeans was a t-shirt with a suggestive saying printed on it. My mother actually bought me a t-shirt that said “I only sleep with the best”. Mind you, I did not sleep with anyone. I didn’t have a boyfriend until I was 17 and even then, sleeping with a boy was the farthest thing from my mind. I don’t know what my mother was thinking when she got me that shirt!

4. Black liquid eye-liner– My make up completed the look. I couldn’t leave the house without my face fully made up, black eye-liner and all. When I ran out of the black liquid liner that ringed my eyes, I would light a match and dip my eye-liner pencil in the flame to soften it so I could get that dark look around my eyes. Since I was as blind as a bat and wore thick glasses, no one could really see my sleazy eye make up.seniorpiccrop

5. The HAIR! I wore my hair feathered. Since it is naturally straight as a stick and thin, it took quite some time for me to get it to feather using a curling iron. I lost count of the number of times I burned my forehead or the side of my face with that curling iron! Then, to hold the style, I used tons of hairspray- Aquanet most of the time. I sprayed it until I could lift up the feathered part in one full piece. (Somehow it always fell by the end of the day anyway!)

6. Phones Part 2– We did not have call waiting or an answering machine until the early 80’s. Having 3 girls in the house meant our phone was in use- A LOT! Without call waiting, it’s a wonder our friends ever got a hold of us. On the flip side, I remember trying to reach my best friend for hours on end because her mother was always on the phone. After fighting my sister for control of the phone, it was frustrating to dial my friend’s number only to hear that busy signal on the other end.And without answering machines, if someone wasn’t home to take a message (and remembered to write it down), you never knew when you missed a call. Imagine that!

7. Waiting for your favorite movies– Before cable and VCR’s we had to wait for our movies to come to tv. I remember it being a major event when The Sound of Music or Wizard of Oz was on. That usually only happened once a year.

8. Tiger Beat Magazine– I got all of my news about my favorite tv and movie stars from Tiger Beat magazine. I would pull out the pictures of my heart throbs and tape them up on my bedroom walls. Shaun Cassidy was my all time favorite. Leif Garrett and Scott Baio were also in the running back then. I couldn’t wait for the latest issue to come out and I would rush up to the neighborhood drugstore to buy it.

9. Music– I listened to my favorite record albums on a record player. It’s from listening to those albums over and over that I developed my habit of always listening to albums from start to finish. To this day, I have to listen to my CDs that way. In my head, I’m always anticipating the next song to play and that’s what I want to hear! Sometimes records would get scratched and then the needle would skip when it was played. There are songs that to this day, I still expect to hear the skip that was in the album I had as a teen. Silly, huh?

10. Atari– My video game of choice was Pong. To be honest, for a long time, that was the ONLY game I had. I had to laugh at the episode of That 70’s Show when Kelso wanted to make the paddles smaller on Red’s Pong game to make it more challenging. While Pong was addictive, it also lost its challenge after endless hours of play!stories

That was my life as a teenager. The funny thing is that back then my favorite things to do were read, write stories and listen to music. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Here’s a little something to end with- it was released in 1979 and became one of the top hits of 1980- Enjoy!

10 Family Vacation Moments We Hope to Forget…

….but laugh at now…

We have gone on many vacations over the years and like family vacations tend to go, we’ve had our ups and downs. Overall, I’m hoping the kids have fond memories of them but looking back at my childhood family vacations, I’m realistic to know that some less than pleasant moments will linger in the minds…..maybe forever.

Here is a look at my top 10- I have not polled the kids on this one but I plan on doing it soon. It will be interesting to see what their lists contain.

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1. Deer Park, Sandusky Ohio(2000) This was the first vacation we took with all three kids, Michael- almost 10, Kris- 7 and Andrew- 4-1/2. We went with my sister- 7-1/2 months pregnant, my brother-in-law and my nephew- 5. Everyone was very excited about going to Deer Park and feeding the deer. We ignored the weather reports and headed out, also turning a blind eye to the dark heavy clouds that filled the sky. By the time we got out into the park, it began raining and before long it was a torrential downpour with all of us soaked to the skin, mud splattered and huddling under a shelter with hundreds of wet (and hungry) deer.

2. Kings Island, Ohio (2000) Have you been to Kings Island Amusement Park? It’s known for its roller coasters. While my husband, brother-in-law and Michael were having the time of our lives, my sister and I were dragging around a wagon full of hot, crabby kids. My sister couldn’t go on any of the rides because she was pregnant. We were really tired and it wasn’t long before all 5 of us were wandering around grumbling. Someone whined, “Where’s Daddy?”

“If there’s a God in heaven, we will find him soon.” I’m not sure if it was me or my sister that said it.

The crowd parted, I’m pretty sure the sun shined straight down, and there walking toward us were the dads. My sister handed the handle of the wagon to her husband. I turned to my husband and said, “Have fun” and we walked away.

untitled (8)3. Haunted Mansion, Magic Kingdom, Disney World (2002) “We’re scared!” On our first trip to Disney World, (Michael-11, Kris- 8, Andrew- almost 6), we made the kids get in line for the Haunted Mansion. This was before the days of Fast Passes and we were in long for awhile. Kris and Andy did not want to go in. As time passed, their protests turned into crying until we nearly reached the door. Their wails of terror were entertaining everyone in line. We kept reassuring them that they would not be frightened. I’m sure at that point they thought we were the meanest parents ever. (It ended up being one of their favorite rides and one of the memories sure to bring a smile to their faces.)4.

4. Colorado Cabin (2004) “Remember the time we were wandering around the mountains…” We rented a cabin in the Rocky Mountains when the kids were 13, 11-1/2 and nearly 9. To reach the cabin, we were supposed to meet the owner at a locked gate at the bottom of the IMGP0501“subdivision” somewhere in the hills. When we finally found our destination, no one was there. We had been driving around lost for hours so while my husband waited for the owner to show up, I took the kids to wander up the road to find the cabin. I left my purse, phone, water….. all in the car and off me and the kids trudged for nearly an hour. I’m not sure what I was thinking. Not the smartest move on either my part or my husband’s.

06a3crop5. Pikes Peak, Colorado (2004) I don’t tolerate any kind of altitude well. Driving up to the top of Pikes Peak, 14,000+ feet almost did me in! As the family enjoyed the view and took tons of photos, I staggered around the gift shop, lurching from a rack of t-shirts to a shelf a souvenirs. Andrew, who was nearly 9, had seen enough and decided he was heading back. Back where? We will never know because when we ask him, he’s not sure. He was just done. That was one of the biggest scares we ever had as parents- losing a kid on Pikes Peak.

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6. Denver/Breckenridge, Colorado (2005) A year later we were back in Colorado on a vacation/business trip. This entire vacation quickly became one we would like to forget because it was an unpleasant combination of my altitude sickness getting worse each day and my husband spending long stretches on his phone, leaving us sitting at one site or another much longer than we would ever want to be. At one point, we were all in a hotel room trying to sleep while my husband was on the phone in the bathroom trying to fix some work related issue at 2am.

7. Magic Kingdom, Disney World (2006)- “The Happiest Place on Earth!” Our second trip to Disney World found us with Michael- almost 16 with a girlfriend, Kris- 13, and Andy- 10-1/2 and along for the ride were my parents. It was Florida and it was June so there was rain but this was the year of the hurricanes and we were lucky to experience the tail end of a bigger one. When it rained, it poured. But that wasn’t what made this vacation memorable. This time we can thank Michael, full of teenage angst. He was full of “piss and vinegar” to quote my father and after a week of his attitude, I was DONE. We were in a gift shop in the Magic Kingdom and I had just spent 10 minutes arguing with Kris over some impossibly overpriced souvenir while a bored bystander, leaning against a nearby display watched in open amusement. After being told to have a “magical day” by a cast member at the register, I was in a foul mood. As our group walked down Main Street, strung out over half a block, I heard Michael mutter, “This is the last vacation I’m going on with this family.”

I spun around and snapped, “Who said we were even going to ask you next time?”IMGP3805(It would be 6 years before Michael took another vacation with us and guess where we went? You got it- Disney World!)

8. Epcot, Disney World- any year “Rain, rain, go away….”june 07 - Epcot 025We went to Disney World a number of times and we expected rain to play a part in our days. What we didn’t expect was that every time we went to Epcot it would pour. But that’s what happened each and every time. And it wasn’t the pleasant sudden rain shower that clears up to sunshine in a few minutes. It was that non-stop downpour where you are soaked to the skin. Every single time. Despite the forecast or even how the day started out. We were finally granted a reprieve this past June when we only had a short sprinkle- it was truly a Disney Miracle!!!

IMG_39719. Niagara Falls, US (2014) Andrew and I spent a lot of time on the road this year while he was auditioning at colleges. On one of our trips we found ourselves with some free time and we were only an hour from Niagara Falls so we decided to head on out to see it. What we did not realize was that it was 20 degrees below the average temp for that time of year and with the wind chill it felt like -10 degrees. I’m not sure we even saw the Falls, to be honest. The ice pellets stung our face and the sun was so bright we were blinded. Our fingers and toes were frozen for hours afterward, not to mention our nerves being frazzled by the treacherous ride back to the hotel in an icy snowstorm.

10. Disney World Resort Parking Lot (2014) “F-ing Disney World” On our recent family vacation to Disney World, we experienced a few tense moments. Michael and Jasmine were struggling with CJ, who was going through a tough time- testing their patience at every turn. It wasn’t until we were loading up our cars and preparing to leave that “it” happened. Our cars were separated by a few empty spots and my husband and I were sitting in our car when we noticed a commotion over at Michael’s car. We could hear yelling and when we got out of our car, we heard CJ screaming and crying. We looked at each other, not sure if we should step in or not. That had happened a lot over the course of the past week. (It’s a fine line- if you have grandchildren, you know what I mean!) And then as we were still not sure what to do, we got our answer. Michael’s voice carried loud and clear. “I don’t care if it’s f-ing (feel free to fill in the blank with your favorite f-word) Disney World, I’ve f-ing had it!” My husband marched over, snatched CJ from his parents, and buckled him into our car, not saying a word. Disney 2014 (33)

Michael’s brothers were really bummed to have missed him dropping f-bombs all over the place while they were off getting coffee.

But if you ask CJ, he will tell you it was the best vacation ever. (Thank God!)

We really did have fun on these vacations, too! I swear we did!!! But let’s be honest here- anyone who has taken children of any age on vacation will admit there are usually a few of these moments thrown in to mix things up.

What are some of your most memorable….or unmemorable vacation moments?

10 Movies I Forced My Kids to Watch

Welcome to the inaugural post of my “10 Things” feature. I’ve been searching for something that will bring a different perspective to the blog. While Friday Fuzz focuses on transgender and gender issue related topics, our family is more than just the family with the transgender kid. My goal is for people to get to know us better since I’ve been told I’m very guarded. We will see!

10 Movies I Forced My Kids to Watch

Yes, as my children were growing up until as recent as last month, I have forced them to watch movies they otherwise wouldn’t have seen. I wasn’t trying to punish them or anything. I really thought they would enjoy the movies, for one reason or the other. The hidden bonus in making them watch these movies is that they sparked on so many conversations, not just the day of the movie, but for years to come. We talked about pop culture, the way society has changed since their dad and I were growing up, family stories from way back in the 70’s and 80’s, and how things related to their lives now. imagesCFPPVFOZ

1. The Breakfast Club (1985)- I cannot remember the first time we watched this together. I do remember telling them that we did not condone getting high in the school library and destroying school property…..or getting Saturday detentions. This movie is a classic and it truly stands the test of time. My kids immediately embraced it and it has become one of their favorites. Andrew shared it recently with his girlfriend, who to his horror, had never seen it.untitled (3)

2. The Bad News Bears (1976) – Both my husband and I had fond memories of this movie. Apparently our memories were from the point of view of a child and not as a parent because when we sat down to watch it with the kids (the 1976 Walter Matthau/Tatum O’Neal version in all its glory) we had to quickly pause the video to make disclaimers and explain why we thought this was suitable viewing matter for children. They were approximately 12, 9, and 6 around this time. To this day, I’m not sure we adequately explained the suitability factor.

This was when we came up with our own mantra that carries on until today- A-C-T, which stands for Approve, Condone, Tolerate. My kids quickly learned that the minute we began, “We do not approve, condone or tolerate any behavior….”

It was one of their first looks into how different the world was now compared to the 70’s. Kids swear, adults drink and smoke. Yes. But in movies, kids do not swear like that and the responsible baseball coach does not bring his beer to practices. He also does not pile kids into his convertible with no seat belts while drinking his beer as he drives. Do I even have to say it? My kids LOVED it.untitled (4)

3. Mr.Mom (1983)- Michael Keaton and Teri Garr. Taking it for the silliness that it was, it went over really well with the kids. The only touchy part was when the dad had to take away Kenny’s woobie (his blanket). I was afraid my blankie boy, Andrew, would fear that we were going to take his blanket away. We didn’t but that’s a post for another day.

4. The Unsinkable Molly Brown (1964)- Molly Brown and the Titanic have always interested me for as long as I can remember. The year we were heading to Denver on vacation, we watched this movie because I really wanted to visit the Molly Brown house and I figured if the kids were familiar with her story they would get on board with the idea. Since Michael was obsessed with the Titanic when he was younger, I hoped his enthusiasm would grab Kris and Andrew. No go. They don’t remember watching the movie. They don’t remember going to the house in Denver. Nothing. Oh well, you win some. You lose some.untitled (2)

5. The Music Man (1962)- While I introduced my kids to some movies because they were favorites of mine, others had a specific reason in mind, such as #4 and this one. Kris and Andrew would attend a musical summer day camp and after the first year when the play was Fiddler on the Roof, I realized that they enjoyed it much more if they were familiar with the story and music. Kris was about 10 and Andrew was 7 or almost 8. Having watched a very young little Ron Howard playing the part of Winthrop, Marian the librarian’s little brother, Andy went into auditions mimicking Winthrop’s lisp instantly earning him the part. He made his performing debut on a stage in front of a packed auditorium and blew us away. That sparked off a string of classical musical watching that continues. The results have been mixed- Oklahoma is a winner where as Carousel got mixed reviews.

6. The Sound of Music (1965)- I had such hopes for this movie and all were unrealistic. I had memories of huddling around the tv set with my sisters and brother and watching this movie. We had to take advantage of the once a year opportunity since this was before the days of VCRS, DVDS and DVRS. I remember the treats we would have and laying on the floor together after fighting over who was laying in the middle and who got stuck on the outside ends. What I didn’t remember was how incredibly long this movie is or if I might be honest here, how slow the 2nd half is. In fact, we had to watch this movie in 2 sittings because the kids were antsy when we hit the halfway mark. As we watched the 2nd half, I didn’t even remember most of it, leaving me to wonder if, as kids, we always fell asleep before the end.untitled (6)

7. The Blue Lagoon (1980)- Have you seen this one? Brooke Shields. Christopher Atkins. Nudity. I’m not sure what I was thinking when I sat down to watch this one with my then 17ish year old daughter (who was actually Kris). Michael and Andrew were not included in this viewing. If you’re not familiar, you need to find some clips on YouTube. I definitely do not remember the underwater scenes where you see the startlingly clear outline of Christopher Atkin’s quite male physic with nothing left to the imagination. Awkward!! The punchline of this one- to this day Kris maintains that it is one of his all time favorite movies!! Go figure. (I still blush at the thought of Christopher Atkins naked.)

8. Beaches (1988)- I don’t know what I was thinking with this one. It was another Mom and Kerri viewing. I honestly thought Kerri would love Bette Midler’s character- CC Bloom. I really do love this movie. What I didn’t count on was how much Barbara Hershey’s character, Hillary, dying would upset Kerri. To this day, Kris is so mad at me for this movie. I learned my lesson about the importance of spoilers with this one.

9. The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)- This would be the time I forced my entire family to watch a movie that I myself had not seen in 20+ years and I probably should have reacquainted myself with it before doing so. I did not realize that my husband had not seen the movie. What was he doing while all the rest of us were going to those midnight shows in the early 80’s? Kris and Andrew were teenagers when I decided we should watch it. Michael was not around for this. As I stated in an earlier post, this is highlighted as one of the two most traumatizing times in Andy’s life. I think it still ranks pretty high in my husband’s list too! Kris, in contrast, loved it. And I did too. Live and learn, right?

10. Last but not least, When Harry Met Sally (1989)- I know it probably wasn’t completely appropriate for them but compared to some of the other movies they were subjected to, this one did no harm and they genuinely enjoyed it. They had been seeing bits and pieces for years because like Pride and Prejudice (which I have not forced on them) I insist on watching it when I see it’s on. I had shared the Sharper Image scene with them years ago because they were doing Oklahoma at summer camp and I thought they would get a kick out of it. They did. And they really did like this movie too. What’s not to love? Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan are the best together! This is one of my all time favorite movies.

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There are so many others- Moonstruck, Dirty Dancing, Pretty in Pink, Sleepless in Seattle….. I would like to think I did more good than harm in making my kids watch these movies. I know I exposed them to bits of the past that they otherwise wouldn’t have encountered. And I see the tradition continuing as Michael recently shared The Brave Little Toaster with CJ for the first time!

Have you “forced” your kids to watch any movies? And if so, what kind of response did you get?