Saturday, September 27, 2008

Friday Night Movie Night - Pom Poko

Every Friday night for the last few months we've declared it Movie Night and have made our own pizza and picked out a movie to share. We always use either Netflix or our library to borrow movies that we'd all like to see. As you can imagine, it's kind of challenging to find a film that both parents, a fiver year old and a two year old will enjoy.

We've had great luck with most of the Hayao Miyazaki films though. You may have heard of Spirited Away or Howl's moving Castle. Kiki's Delivery Service and Our Neighbor Totoro have been classics in our home for quite some time. So we've been trying to find more recent Miyazaki films but it's not easy; they are hand drawn animated films which means they take a while to make to begin with, then you have to remember that they're Japanese films so they have to be translated into English. There are few films we haven't seen yet but this Friday we watched one we hadn't seen called Pom Poko. First, let me clarify that Pom Poko is not directed by Miyazaki but by Isao Takahata but it is a Studio Ghibli film (Miyazaki's studio).

Here is the brief online summary of the film: Isao Takahata's outré ecological fable Pom Poko was the no. 1 domestic film in Japan in 1994, and the first animated feature to be submitted for the Oscar for Foreign Language Film. In 1967, the raccoons in the Tama Hills find their homes are threatened with destruction when developers turn the rural area into suburbs. Under the leadership of their tribal elders the animals fight back with every resource at their disposal. Raccoons are shape-shifters in Japanese folk tales, and the members of this tribe can transform into objects, other creatures and even humans. Unlike Takahata's deeply moving The Grave of the Fireflies, Pom Poko (the sound made by thumping the tummy of a comfortably full raccoon) is a broad comedy. The raccoons' efforts to understand humans, their evocations of traditional ghost stories to frighten construction crews, and their internecine quarrels offers plenty of laughs. But the story rambles, and the characters lack the depth needed to sustain the audience's interest until the film's belated, downbeat conclusion. The extras include Takahata's storyboards, which are interesting, but lack the magic of Hayao Miyazaki's drawings on other Studio Ghibli discs. Note: male raccoons have prominent testicles, which are shown in Japanese art, including the designs for Pom Poko. When the characters grow desperate, they swell their scrotums to enormous size and use them as weapons. (Rated PG, Parental Guidance Suggested: violence, scary images and thematic elements) --Charles Solomon

Here's what we thought of it:

Ben - The racoons are funny, and lazy and they eat a lot. They're good at tricks.
Nate - Totoro, totoro- he says this whenever he sees the Studio Ghibli logo at the beginning of the films. He also said "they running!" when the racoons ran. All in all, I think that's a thumbs up.
Tim - What is up with the racoon scrotums?
Me - Tim, are you a transforming racoon ? You drink a lot of energy drinks and that's what racoons drink to maintain their stamina when transforming.

It's not bad, but it does leave a lot to be desired. It runs about an hour too long and so the plot that would normally be captivating just leaves you wondering if you're missing something because they're taking a long time to get a simple message across. The message is to be kind to the earth, be aware of how humans impact the world around them. I'd recommend this film if you've seen all of the other Studio Ghibli films and you're craving more. I'd warn against showing it to kids who are sensitive to animals being hurt, (some racoons get hit by cars) there is also a big scene where the racoons transform into scary spirits in an attempt to spook the humans and stop them from developing the forest. Also - this warning is for parents - for some odd reason all of the male racoon's scrotums are drawn in and you can see them. it's odd and a little disturbing. Our kids didn't notice but others might and if you're not ready to answer questions about racoon male genitalia then you might want to skip this one for now.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Fairy House Pics - As Promised

One of many fairy houses.

The boys near a HUGE fairy house - a fairy compound really.

There are fairy houses at the bottom of each of these trees and there are more trees than would fit in the picture. This was in a little cove area of the park and it was just really felt very magical and I'm sure the faieries were quite happy.

One of our favorites!

On the path back to the car. Blurry pic but cute boys.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Merry Mabon!

I love this holiday, but I can't pinpoint why exactly. It's a combination of the lovely autumnal elements coming together, and the parting of summer and the appreciation of the harvest and our good fortune to have food on our table. Tim & I agreed that we've been really slacking about observing the holidays as a family & just in general, we haven't been keeping up with it. So, I daresay that we are attempting to get back on track with Mabon. I feel encouraged after today's activities.

It was pretty cloudy and cold here most of the day so I didn't get the boys outside as I had planned, but we had fun playing inside and they both helped me do some cleaning in the kitchen ~ I don't know how or why this happened, I'm just enjoying the fact that it occured at all.

When Tim got home we all threw on an extra layer or two (it is fall in Maine after all) and went down to Pierce Island in Portsmouth. There's a great playground there right near the water that we like to visit but the draw tonight was the Fairy Houses. Each year on the weekend before the equinox (sometimes on it) people build elaborate Fairy Houses in this area and you can pay to go on a tour of them. We drove through it yesterday but the parking was ridiculous so we gave up. I thought we had missed them and then thanks to our homsechooling group I got an email today saying that a lot of the houses that people made, especially those made by kids, are still up and you can see them whenever you want. So we drove down and took a look. Ben brought apple slices to leave for the fairies at their homes. He was really into it and so full of praise for every house we saw, and we saw a lot! I'll post pics of it tomorrow or possibly later tonight if Nate falls asleep soon enough. I really want you all to be able to see what we did - it's just beautiful!

We came home and had our traditional Mabon dinner which is just a roasted chicken with root vegetables, some acorn squash and cornbread. The boys feasted mainly on applesauce, raisins and cornbread. At the end of dinner the boys each got to blow out one of the red dinner candles which was very special and important to them. After dinner we finished decorating our altar and lit the candles on it, so as I sit here writing to you all I'm enjoying the lovely glow of the orange, red and yellow candles near me. I really appreciate how this holiday inspires me to observe the many blessings in our lives. It's certainly a blessed Mabon for us. I hope that it is for you and yours too!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Breasts People!

Nevermind the countless studies that have proven that breastfeeding is best for all babies, here's a sad reminder of another reason why formula feeding can be so dangerous.

(Thanks Hilaree for the link and the great title!!!)

The Reason Behind The Waaahhhs....maybe?

Ok, so I've finally just given in to my suspicions. I think I have Thrush. I broke down and pulled out all of my books and looked through them and checked online etc. Pretty sure I have some of the classic symptoms, but they're not the symptoms I usually get when I have it so I kept thinking I was just reading too much into it. Of course it hasn't helped that I've been eating left over birthday cake almost every night this week and making pumpkin bread as if it's all we're allowed to eat this week. I'm sure I've given all those yeasties plenty to live off of for a while. So, I'm off to down some Grapefruit Seed extract and I will do my best to avoid sugar for the next few days. I really should quit the stuff all together but I'm such a wimp. I just can't seem to do it, I love it, I want it, I need it! Ok, maybe I just think I need it, but man I'll tell you when a craving hits it's undeniable. Time to suck it up and cut it out...of course I set out to do this weeks away from Halloween. Have I mentioned that I am notorius for my timing?

wahhhh the hell?

I'm feeling very blah today. I have no idea why, which irritates me and adds to the overall blahness. I've had a good day, the boys hung out with my mom for an hour while I went to an appointment (Nate did not enjoy this and cried 45 of the 60 minutes I was gone), we went to the playground for a while (although there was nasty little girl there and her mom was trying to tella ll of the kids that weren't hers what to do) but we still had fun, just far away from that mom & daughter team. i don't know....I just feel confused. No logic to it really, and no fun story to blog about to explain any of it - it just is. But I feel the need to get it the hopes maybe that it'll make me feel better. I guess we'll see.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Two - Officially A Toddler

Nate at 23 months old. (We would have had amazing pics of him blowing out his candles tonight but the camera batteries died. I did not plan ahead)

Nate a few weeks before his 1st birthday. Real babies play croquet.

(Nate 5 days old)

It's official, as of 8:34 this evening (two minutes from now, probably when this blog goes up) Nate will be two years old! I'm truly amazed at this. Not that I didn't expect it, I mean we all have kids and hope and assume that they'll reach two years old, three and so on. I'm just amazed at how quickly he's become a two year old, this little boy. He still retains a lot of his baby qualities, the baldness and his petite size help to give him the look of a younger kid, but then talks and walks and runs and plays and throws tantrums and eats and whines and hugs just like any good ole two year old should. It's hard not to look back upon his entrance into this world on his birthday. It was a very intense and unexpected experience for all us, Nate especially. He was born at 36 weeks 3 days because I had developed Pre-Eclampsia. He was only 4.13 pounds when he was born and it was fairly terrifying for a little bit there. We were incredibly lucky, he never had to go to the NICU, he latched on and nursed like a champ from the beginning, and other than being small and having jaundice he was perfect. He was so tiny for a looong time and is still smaller for his age but I think he holds his own amongst the toddler crowd.

Anyway, I don't want to get into the long birth story because it honestly just makes me sad, it was not the birth I had planned or wanted and it was very scary but the ending was the best thing in the world....this child and a huge shift in our family dynamic. Nate's birth and arrival in our family caused me to change everything about the way I lived and parented. It all started out as a means to an end really, we couldn't afford paying for two kids in daycare so I became a stay at home mom, but it's become the best thing I've ever done. I truly believe that no matter what else I may go on to accomplish in my life, my proudest achievement will be being Ben & Nate's mama. So, thank you Natey for being the catalyst who created positive change in our lives and our world and Happy, Happy Birthday!!!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Hair I Am

I finally did it last night - I colored my hair purple. I've been wanting to do this for about a month or so now and was all set to do it last week but then my friend Kristi got it into her head that I would make a good model to feature her beautiful wraps. So, I postponed the dyeing a few days and now that Kristi is done with me as a model, I'm free to change my appearance. So, there it is! I just have stripes now, I didn't do my whole head. I like it but I don't love it....I want more. My plan is to add in some bleached strips too and have it be a kind of blended mixture of shades. I will post pics of the "final product" when it's ready but in the meantime this is it. So, if you see a puple haired mama at the playground say hello, it's just me!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Tis The Season

Everyone is talking about Palin and her issues and skeletons but I'd like to keep it a little more local. This is just an article about my friend Kelly who's running for state senate in NH. Wish I lived in my homestate so I could vote for her myself!

New candidate makes it a two-woman race for District 21 Senate

Article Date: Thursday, June 12, 2008

Kelly Halldorson, Republican candidate for state Senate

DOVER — Her brand of political activism saw her walk from her home to Concord to support a presidential candidate. Now Kelly Halldorson is looking to join the state Senate.

The Dover native plans to file this week as a Republican for the District 21 seat being vacated by three-term Sen. Iris Estabrook, making it a two-woman race with Democrat Amanda Merrill, a former lawmaker who's been working on policy in the House majority office in Concord. The district covers Dover, Durham, Epping, Lee and Rollinsford.

Halldorson wanted to run as an independent, but she learned that left the door open for a Democrat, without a Republican opponent, to find a spot on the ballot under both major parties.

"I'm not a big Washington Republican by any stretch," the 35-year-old mother of three said Monday. "I'm not real thrilled with Bush. I'm anti-war" and she doesn't like it when ex-presidential candidates bash the libertarian Republican movement.

Halldorson gained widespread notoriety after she walked 38 miles from her Silver Street home to Concord to protest the media's treatment of Rep. Ron Paul, the Texas Republican who built an unexpected nationwide following.

But she says the experience didn't inspire her to get more involved.

In fact, she "can't stand politics" — just like she can't stand overregulation or lawmakers not returning a message.

"I really want to get people who want to have that much control over our lives out" of office, she said. "I certainly don't think that's the New Hampshire way. I'm about living free."

Halldorson, who home schools her children, said the Legislature's treatment this year of a home-school bill sponsored by Estabrook caught her attention — first because of attempts to further regulate the industry, second because of the lack of response from legislators. The bill ended "watered down," with a commission set up to examine the state's home-school laws, she said.

"I plan on being one of the most accessible legislators this district has seen," she said. "I will post my cell phone number on my website and promise to respond to every single email I receive from my constituents."

Halldorson said she's not anti-public education, but pro-educational choice. She said she's for local control of schools — not laws like No Child Left Behind that allow schools to be regulated from afar.

Halldorson said her family's struggle to pay heating and medical bills reinforced the need for lawmakers to lower spending. She's also "terrified" at the notion of a sales or income tax.

Halldorson comes to the race with a story rooted in the community. She was raised in a public housing complex primarily by her mother, Ann Grenier, who worked at Portsmouth Naval Shipyard. She entered Dover High School an honors student, but dropped out her junior year feeling "failed" by the system. She returned and graduated the next year, in 1992, before spending the next few years traveling the country. When she got back to New Hampshire, she lived in Somersworth for eight years before returning to Dover in 2004.

A freelance web designer, Halldorson never went to college despite an art scholarship. Throughout the years, she's taken courses in metaphysics, world religions and psychology.

She and her husband, Jeff, a Durham native and self-employed contractor, have three children, Wolf, 13, Griffin, 11, and Zoe, 10.

Contact Info

Kelly Rocks!!!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Our Family Rocks

That's all there is to it. We've had an awesome couple of weeks most notably thanks to an amazing visit from my SIL and my two adorable nephews. (who just happen to be the same ages and B&N) We also had a great bday celebration for Tim, his mom and Nate this past weekend too. It's really wonderful to see three generations all together celebrating their birthdays. Anyway, here are some pics of our visits and adventures as of late. I'll get back to long, rambling somewhat mindless blogs later this week. As summer starts to fade away I wanted to be sure to get these sunny pictures up.

There aren't pics of my nephews because I need to ask my bro and SIL before I just start throwing pics of their kiddos on the web. ;) For the record though, we went to all of the places pictured with them and had a blast!!!