Sunday, January 30, 2011

Baby Prep

We've had some interesting things happen over the past month as we finish preparing for the newest addition to the family.

I, of course, have been nesting. Washing, sorting, folding. Everything is pretty set in the house. Diapers ready to go. Nursing items ready. Clothes put away (in a new shelf I bought and assembled). Bassinet and cradle up and waiting. Phone lists are updated. Schedules printed. Game plans done. Pantry stocked, freezer full, Valentine's stuff purchased. I'm actually trying to take it easy...resting, eating, made it through the Bears' playoff game...

For awhile my husband was driving me nuts but not doing anything I asked him please find this and that and organize this, etc. But then after chatting, I realized he was nesting in his own considering whether or not to build an addition on to the house before Feb 10th (just kidding but not by much!). He has all these 'projects' he wants to get done before the baby arrives. And since I don't see these projects as a priority (unless they are actually completed), I didn't get it. But I do nest on Loverbuns!

And then there are the kids.
*The 5yo is just fascinated by the baby and whole process. He is asking lots of fabulous questions and can't wait to be a big brother. He also knows that the baby will bring lots of fun visitors to the house that he can play with.
*The 7y0 is in great denial that the baby is even coming. He is anxious and a bit terrified about this unknown. So, we'll see how this goes.
*The 14yo is pretty indifferent. I think she is excited but she's done it before, so no big deal...especially when I told her there was no reason to take off school the day he is born.
*The cats....I really want to be able to listen to their conversations (that I am sure they are having). Our older cats have been through the baby thing twice before so I want to know what wisdom they are sharing with the look at all these cool things that will be in the house! Be nice to the baby and the humans will let you do anything. Two of the cats have become very protective of of them sleeping on or as near as possible to my belly.

They are all selecting a gift for the baby and writing him a little one to welcome him to the family.

And then there is the name game...everyone has their opinion which doesn't match with anyone else's. He'll have a name, we just don't know what it will be.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Royal Time

The King's Speech (R, 118mins)

This movie is nominated for 12 Academy Awards and has a rating of 95% Fresh on Rotten everyone says its great. Everyone says Black Swan is great too, I strongly disagree. But the King's Speech really is fantastic. What I really like about this movie is how it is an acting movie and the excellent acting is what makes the movie.

Set in England between 1920-40, we follow the Duke of York as he ascends to the throne of England, just as WWII is getting underway. In addition to all the family and political drama, one of his biggest struggles is a stutter he has had since he was 4 years old. So, we see in through his therapy, which helps target not only his speech but his heart.

Colin Firth is just amazing as the Duke and Geoffrey Rush as Lionel Logue, the speech therapist, is wonderful. And it is so refreshing to see Helena Bonham Carter portray a normal person. These performances and the relationships their characters form carry the film, although I found the story very interesting as well. The production is beautiful as well, from the many royal homes to Logue's crumbling office.

I recommend this to all. I don't think people under 18 will find it particularly interesting but it is appropriate (there are some swears but that is about all on the R-rated front). Big screen or little, I would check it out. It is sure to win some golden statues next month.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Is it criminal?

I have one huge interest in my life...crime dramas, in books, movies, and tv. Lately, since I've made myself sit down and chill out from time to time and some pregnancy insomnia, I've become addicted to Criminal Minds. Did you know its on all the time...and if I can't find an episode, Law and Order or CSI usually satisfies. Even a 48hrs Mystery will do it (although I almost always fall asleep before the conclusion...better than a sleeping pill!). I decided I should balance it out with a book or so now and again.... so Robert Parker, James Patterson, Sue Grafton.

My husbands hates these shows so he never watches with me...honestly we don't watch tv together much, we can rarely agree on options. He hates more that our 14yo daughter has succumbed to my addiction as well (I do monitor what she watches and reads).

He always asks me...why do you watch these shows?! I don't know but I am drawn to them. Does this mean that I have some dark and sinister side? Does it make me feel smart if I figure it out before the end? Does it make me feel better that I am safe and alive in my home? Who knows. But should I be concerned that I like this stuff so much?

Sunday, January 16, 2011

The Fighter

In my quest to see lots of movies before baby....

The Fighter (R, 115min)

This film is based on the real life boxing brothers Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) and Dick Eklund (Christian Bale). We follow Micky's rise to boxing fame and Dick's struggle. Along the way, we meet their seven sisters and one crazy momma...all with fabulous 1990's hair and clothing (wow, did we really dress like that?).

The story is compelling. I didn't know anything about the story going in, so I was engaged and interested in what the outcome would be. The production design was it was filmed in the actual town it is set including the boxing gym. I can't say that I like watching boxing but the fight scenes are filmed well and tastefully.

But the highlight of the film is the acting. Christian Bale is amazing. His physical transformation into his character is stunning and allows the rest of the character to flow out seemingly effortlessly (he has this talent in all his roles). Mark Walhberg is Mark Walhberg, nothing out of the ordinary for him but it fits the role well. Amy Adams, playing Micky's love interest, is outstanding as well. She plays and feels like a real person. Finally, Melissa Leo as the managerial mother is fantastic.

I would recommend is not something that you have to see on the big screen but it is a good one.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Diapers....Round 4!

As we prepare for the newest baby here, we had to return to the world of diapers. This time around we are going green and doing cloth diapers. Interestingly, it never presented itself as choice before (although, of course, it always was).

Why we are doing it....
1) Expense--up front, it is more expensive to set up your diapering system than stocking for a month of disposables however in the long run (2-3 years of diapers), it is way, way, way cheaper. No comparison.

2) Environment--it is clearly better for the environment to use reusable items than sending things to fill up landfills. Although it will add a laundry load or two to our week, it will not add anything to our garbage load (which we like to keep light---recycling and composting keep us to a bag or two per week).

This is a very big trend and lots of families are choosing to use cloth diapers, at least in some degree. So the products available are abundant.

If you are considering cloth diapers, you do need to educate yourself a bit. There are a few ways to do this.

*Ask around (I put a question to my friends on facebook and asked people who I know do it)
*You Tube (there are tons of videos on how to...)
*The Interweb (again lots of sources, Cotton Babies is a good start)
*Your local green store. Ours, B.Lime Baby, offers classes, rentals, products, etc.

So, I'm sure you will hear from us on how this new adventure goes.

Friday, January 07, 2011

WW Update: the Financial Times

So, we knew that 2011 would be an exciting year for us. A new baby! Our oldest will be entering high school! I have expanded my fitness career with personal training! The 7yo is reading and learning to tie his shoes! The 5yo just might sleep in his own bed one day this year! My husband tested through college algebra and straight into statistics (this was our miracle moment!)!

We also knew that since I will be on maternity leave for a bit, that money would be a bit tight until school starts again in the fall. But we have planned for it and we are no strangers to frugal living.

Enter further complications.....significant cut-backs with my husband's job and changes in health insurance (e.g. increased costs for us) and proposed Illinois tax increases...just put me in a bit of a panic this week.

You just can't plan for such things. However, we are happy to have jobs and health care, healthy and happy kids, friends and family, and a house to live in (which we will be living in for at least another year or two...the baby can sleep in the dining room, right?). And we have done this before when my husband went back to school a few years ago. We can live on a smaller income, pull our resources, and use some assistance (whatever the state doesn't end up cutting later this month).

We can do it, it just sucks that we have to.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

I must have blacked out during Black Swan

Black Swan (R, 108mins)

I think of myself as a pretty intelligent and somewhat 'cultured' person, but I missed something important in this film.

This very dark, psychological thriller starring Natalie Portman seems to follow the story of a ballerina as she prepares for her big principle role as the Swan Queen in Swan Lake for a major ballet company (aka ABT or the like). This I am sure of. What I am so confident is the rest of the movie...what is really happening and not happening, why or why not, and who really exists.

The reviews are overall very positive for this film so I was very optimistic about seeing it (and it has lots of Oscar buzz). I kept waiting for a big twist, a big shock...even holding off a bathroom run as long as possible....nothing came (well, I did make it to the bathroom). I left the theater confused, unsatisfied, and disappointed.

I then tried to read about it as much as I could so I didn't feel so stupid. But it isn't that I missed something, the something really isn't there. The film intentionally presents an open case for the viewer to unravel on her own but too much so, in my opinion. I won't reveal much here since the film wants you to do it on your own. But I would recommend brushing up on your Swan Lake storylines (even stated briefly in the film, I didn't make the connections on my own).

As for the rest of the film, I found Portman's performance, like her character, on one note. All of the characters and their actors are much of the same, very one dimensional and archetypal. The production design is nothing special either.

So, I wouldn't really recommend this film, definitely not spending a night at the theater with it. But it will be nominated for Academy Awards, so if you like to see those films..... I would wait for the free library DVD (with commentary to help explain the film).