Sunday, July 29, 2007

Theater Babies

I was brought up in the theater....literally...sleeping in the costume shop....holding pins in mom is a costume designer and shop manager at Steppenwolf in Chicago. Of course I was interested in theater then...I met my husband in a children's' theater production in 8th grade. We are theater people for sure. Love it! This has rolled over into the next generation. My daughter was just recently in Honk!. Now she was a theater baby too. She, too, was brought along to rehearsals, fittings, meetings, performances starting prenatally. She loves being in theater and seeing it. And she has great theater manners.

Now the boys...there's something different. Because when I had the boys I was a stay-home mom and my husband was no longer directly involved in theater, they had little opportunity to get in on the theater fun. We don't even go the movies that much. Last year I brought them to a performance of fairy tales by the Jr. Performers at Urbana Park District....didn't go too well. But they really wanted to see their sister in her show. We went to Crystal Lake to see the company perform and my 3yo loved it! Cheering and dancing! So, let's try bringing them to the real performance.

We had a back-up plan. I had seen the show several times, so if they couldn't make it, I could leave (and a cookies at intermission was good). But they loved it! The 1yo kept repeating the lines "Honk! Honk! Quack!" so my husband asked me to take him to the back....but then he just screamed "Sit down!" So we sat through the whole show with him dancing, singing, identifying all the scenery, and nursing some to keep him quiet. My 3yo did a running commentary....telling us every time his sister was on stage and asking where she was if she was off. He was very concerned about the ugly duckling "he looks so sad...where did all his friends go?" But overall, they liked it and they weren't loud enough that anyone complained (at least to us). Many thought they were cute. After all, it was children's theater.

So, I think even though they were not exposed to theater in vitro....there may still be a chance for them!

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Movie Review

Hairspray (PG, 1hr 47min)

This is a movie about a musical that is about a movie....but one of my favorites. I love the John Waters movie but haven't seen the musical (although I enjoy the soundtrack). And in this upcoming age of musicals (thank you!)...this is a great one to get people back into the genre. Besides the great music (listen to the hilarious lyrics), dancing (all big Broadway), costumes (actual vintage), sets...the message is great...and the cast will bring in many ages. My 5yo niece loved it...and I can see is mostly all music and dancing.

The story is actually about integration in the 6o's including race and size. And it is a nice one for the younger set to understand what life was like only 45 years ago and what remains of that in current society. Maybe even encourage some activism. But in addition to the social might get them singing and dancing (which is good for lots of things).

The cast is fabulous! Newcomer Nicole Blonsky is amazing and really gives some encouragement to kids to reach for their dreams (ok, I saw her on Oprah). High School Musical's Zac Efron is a great heartthrob (watch out for your pre-teen girls!) and Amanda Bynes is always a joy to watch. Christopher Walken steps out of his usual creepiness to play a really sweet daddy. Michelle Pfeiffer plays the evil former Miss Baltimore Crown with her usual sexy cunning. Queen Latifah is fabulous as always. And of course, John Travolta is SUPER! he plays a perfect insecure yet strong momma (a perfect match to Walken!). There are also a few cameos from stars of the original movie and musical.

If you kids are over is a great family movie (either now in the theater or later for a family movie night).

Friday, July 27, 2007

Happy Birthday La Leche!

La Leche League recently celebrated its 50th Birthday! Congratulations!

Of course, I am a breastfeeding momma (going on 4 yrs straight....our youngest has almost reached the 2 yr mark)...and I am a huge supporter of breastfeeding families. So, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that La Leche was founded in my crazy.

Here's a good article from the Chicago Trib
Give LaLeche a Break

Honestly, I have never gone to a La Leche meeting (the times don't work with our schedule) but I wish I had the time. Their website is very informational and the leaders are warm and welcoming to phone calls and emails. Like it says in the article, La Leche has this breastfeeding-nazi perception however, although this is not always true, this clear and strong message has helped change the way Americans feed their babies.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Honk! for Childrens' Theater

This weekend...the Urbana Park District is presenting Honk! the musical version of the ugly duckling. It is a sweet show with some great performances by our local youth, including my 10yo.

Check it out!


at the Parkland Theater, Champaign

Wednesday, July 25-Saturday, July 28th at 730pm

Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for kids

If you have little ones that might not sit through a big show...check out Down on the Farm on Saturday at 2pm.

Kids perform special and unique versions of nursery rhymes.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Don't Walk...Run!

I know its only mid-July, but according to the retail world, Fall is upon us! Although I hate the idea of buying school supplies and wool sweaters in this heat....I sure do like the clearance sales! Now is the time to pick some great stuff for NEXT summer!

Head out and get a new bathing suit! Buy new ones for the ever-growing children (buy at least 1 size larger)! Sandles too. Pool items are usually a great find this time of year too...saying you can still use them for a bit. Find a cute dress for that upcoming wedding season (I learned last year that you can't buy summer dresses in August).

End-of-season sales are the best...but also don't go crazy of the bat...prices (and selection, however) will go down as the summer comes to and eventual end.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Clean-up Cookies and Puppy Dogs

So, a follow-up on the Mess Control here....

Today I made a batch of Clean-up Cookies!
I started making chocolate chip cookies (really to satisfy my PMS cravings)....when I started I said that anyone who wants a cookie needs to clean up all the toys out in the living and dining the time I am finished baking them.

Well, that worked. My 3yo also cleaned up the porch. This also works with Clean-up Cupcakes or Muffins!

Then...the boys are really into pretending to be puppy I had the puppies fetch all the large Lego pieces (not the small, choking-hazard ones) and put them in the bucket. That worked too.

It all would have been heavenly, had the belt on the vacuum not broken!! Doh!!!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Is it hopeless?

At least once a week...I look around at the end of the day and ask...does it even matter that I clean up...should I just give up?

I do take time every day to clean up all the toys, cups, miscellaneous food items, books, etc. that have been pulled out. And if I do this after the kids go to bed...I can even sit back and enjoy the cleanliness. But...within moments of the kids being awake, it all over again. I look around and say "didn't I just clean all this stuff up?" And always think "someone else better start cleaning this up." None of the stuff is mine. The kids do try to help out, sometimes.

Of course after watching Oprah this week (something I rarely do) about over-cluttered homes, I will never let my house get that bad. And after house is always clean (clean toilets, dusted, and vacuumed (although that task could be done 3 times a day))...but it is rarely perfectly tidy. Oh well...eventually the kids will grow up and they won't even play with all those puzzles that get dumped everyday...the train set will be packed up...the many picture books will be stored one will want to dress up or play tea party...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Movie Review

Two words...Frickin' Awesome!!!

We were having a great time during the previews...we don't go to the movies often, and there are a lot of great kids' films coming out! We were also in a bit of a daze from our buttery popcorn and sugar drinks...

But from the minute the movie has you and keeps you until the end (except for a quick sprint to the bathroom...too much sugary drink). Overall, this movie is one of the best of the series and really focuses on Harry's emotional development. It is a really emotional film...I laughed, I cried (I actually was on the verge of tears several times and finally lost it in the end). Daniel Radcliffe really shines here and shows that he isn't just some kid actor that happen to get the role 7 years ago. And wow! has he gotten handsome! I was also happy to see some scenes that featured the Dursley's (a short one at that), Snape (one of my favorite characters), and Neville (who carries an understated importance throughout the books). However, the film did lack a bit of Ron, Hermoine, Hagrid, and Quidditch.

However, the really brillance of this film (in addition to Harry and his current mission to battle Voldemort) Imelda Staunton (aka Vera Drake) as Dolores Umbridge. She plays this sinister character with such a sweet malice that I would fear her more than Voldemort. She carries herself so perfectly in her wonderfully tailored pink frocks and charming smile. She is just so evil!!!

We also meet Luna Lovegood...and cute but weird younger student. Just going by the movie, I would say that something is up with her and Harry...maybe not necessary romantically but something. And she says something in the end that makes me extra-eager to read the last book...."Things that are lost have a way of coming back to you".

The film is visually amazing as well. The costumes are particularly interesting this time around. Just cleverly designed and executed. Sirius' clothes are wonderful. (Ok, can you tell I was raised by a costume designer) The kids' clothes...when not in uniform...are stylish yet give you a sense of the past and add nice splashes of color. The Death Eaters are fabulous....think Greek tragedy. The sets are similar, obviously, to previous movies. But the special effects are better here. The way the adult wizards and witches fly and fight in the final scenes is fantastic! I loved it!

Overall, I highly recommend it to anyone over 10yrs old (and more so to those who have seen or read the previous 4 installments). There is some violence, death, etc. so definitely not for the little ones. And my 10yo, although really enjoyed it, didn't get a lot of the humor or amazing emotional aspects.

I loved it so much...I might even see it again (which is a rarity for see a movie in the theater twice).

Monday, July 09, 2007

I've got the fever!

Yes, we have it here....Harry Potter Fever!!

I thought since it had been wouldn't be so wrong. I think because the movie and book are coming out at the same time....we can't help ourselves. I am trying to run through the older books...skimming 1-5, reading 6 again. Watching all the movies again. I just love this book series and so do so many others.

And we have plans.....pre-bought tickets to the movie for Wednesday. Pre-ordered book (months ago, but confirmed today). And we are going out next Friday! My daughter and I are going at least one of the many Harry Potter Parties around town...and staying out until we have that precious 7th installment in our hands. I figure this is possibly a once-in-a-lifetime event (although I would hope that this much excitement is generated over a book again).

*Note that if you haven't reserved a copy already, most places cannot guarantee a copy for next weekend.

Speaking of...
Here are some parties around town....
All the local libraries are having multiple events as well as most of the bookstores.
See the News-Gazette for listings plus.....

Barnes and Noble
July 14th--A Wizard Trivia Tournament
July 20th--starting at 9pm they will be handing out wristbands and numbers to those who reserved a copy. While we all wait until 12:01am, they will have a costume contest, face painting, games, etc.

July 20th--The Grand Hallows Ball starting at 930pm. They will have The Great Snape Debate, Spelling Bee, costume contest, Candy walk, Bertie Bott's tasting, fortune telling, Guess that Spell, etc.
They will host a party from 11pm-2am including games, etc. and book release.

Thursday, July 05, 2007


I'm not sure if my almost 2yo should be chanting "Fire! Fire! Fire!" on our way to the fireworks last night....but he sure did love them. I have had some bad experiences with fireworks and kids (I remember having to run several blocks with my 3yo daughter one year as she screamed in fear!). But last year the kids loved them. And this year was no different. My 3yo has been talking about them for the past six months...and the parade. I was amazed that he fell asleep in the middle of the show! But there were lots of ooooo's and ahhhh's and boom's to be had by all.

But what I loved about the event...was that we all laid on a blanket in the grass draped over each other for 30 mins and watched with pleasure. This just doesn't happen normally...but maybe it should. Even when we have 'family movie night', we start out sitting together...although usually on separate couches. But by the end, my husband goes off to do something, I decide to make a phone call in the relative quiet, the baby decides to play blocks.... But I think we should make time to just lay out together and enjoy each other!

I hope you all had a great 4th! (I personally had a stomach virus all day....I spent the day catching up on Next Food Network Star....but the family had a great time!

Monday, July 02, 2007


My formerly naked son...has now adopted a new outfit that is worn very frequently...he calls it his superman outfit (including nice green galoshes, a red and yellow cap (e.g. piece of fabric he found and tied around his neck), sunglasses or a mask he made at the library, and sometimes his purple sequin belt). He wore it to the grocery store last week and ran around looking for danger for thoughtful. And then he wore it all day while we drove to a family reunion...and of cours, at the party as well.

I don't care one bit about this. He is happy...he is doesn't hurt anyone else. I really am more interested in the fact that he can select his own clothing and put it on independently.

Additionally, he has taken up photography. So, as he flies around as Superman...he takes photos with our digital camera. He has been interested in this for awhile but lately he has been getting very skilled. We used to have a slew of close-ups of the rug, chair, my butt. But now...he can focus, zoom, and give the subject direction (move over Dad, saw cheese). He has taken some lovely of the best of my husband and I in years!

Maybe his cape gives his super photographic powers!