Follow our family as we journey through life.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Easter Eggs

Product Review: Iesodo DVD Productions

Believe EpisodeLove EpisodeFaith Episode
We don't watch a lot of movies around here, and the kids rarely sit down and watch the same movie as an entire family. There are many reasons for this, but one of the reason is that there is such a large span of ages in my house that it is hard to find a movie that would interest both a twelve-year old and a three-year old. When I was contacted about receiving a new faith-based DVD series for free in exchange for an honest review on this blog, I thought I would give it a try to see if it was one of those movies that could be a family fun flick.
Iesodo is pronounced "Ya-Sa-Do" and means "the way of Jesus." This series tells the story of Jesus using animated animals, mainly birds. Animated birds were made popular with my kids recently in a blockbuster hit viewed in my brother's home theater. That and the fact that there were many well-known people voicing the birds sparked my interest as well.
I received two DVD's to review: Love and Faith. Both are available at Walmart, Amazon, and Christian retail stores for around $14.99. At the time of this blog post, amazon is offering them for between $7.50 and $9.49. 
The movies are very well-done and unlike other faith-based productions, they are not "in your face" with religious messages. Frequent readers of this blog remember that I am not one to promote products that are "over the top" with messages of God's love and salvation for us. These movies aren't like that at all. They are the perfect mix of religious message, and fun family humor. Interested in viewing a movie trailer? Click here to see one.
The animation is incredible and that mixed with the humor and wholesome message won approval for these movies for my kids. There are so many little details that just add so much depth to the movie. Each main bird is a significant type and has an important background. For example, one bird named Barry is a Hoopoe, the national bird of Israel and is all about tradition. You can read about all the main bird characters here.
Overall, I thought that these movies are a definite positive addition to our movie library, especially for the younger kids. James and Isaac (ages 12 and 10 respectively) enjoyed the movies, but I really don't see them asking to watch these again. The are at an age where they are less interested in animated movies and would rather watch a sports event or read. Animated movies just don't spark and keep their interest the way they do with the younger ones. Henry (age eight) laughed so hard I would be surprised if he doesn't re-watch the movies on our next car trip. Margaret (age six) LOVED the girl birds (are you really that surprised), so I know she'll be re-watching them. And just yesterday when we mentioned watching a movie Malcolm (three) got all excited and assumed we were watching these again.
It doesn't so much matter to me that the younger kids want to re-watch them because of the humor, the pretty girl birds, or just because they are movie junkies and will literally watch anything. Kids imitate what they view, and it's just fine with me if they are imitating the values of kindness, charity, and friendship they see in these DVDs. So much better than some of the values other "kids" movies portray.
Disclaimer: I received two free IESODO DVDs in exchange for an honest review on this blog. I received no other compensation.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Monday, April 14, 2014

The Season Has Started

Soccer has started again. And with it comes a barge of schedule conflicts, forced organization, meals on the go, and driving all over Western PA for games. One kid goes East, the other needs to go West. Hubby and I are like partners in a covert secret mission. We convey important information in rushed and often low tones as we fist bump each other in the entry room. Car seats are switched in cars for The Littles who are really just along for the ride. And the M & M's we use to bribe their behavior on long game days.

I know some families who just say no to team sports because of the picture I painted above. Families who rave about family sports where everyone, regardless of age and ability, can play together at the same time. Oh! The fairy tale it puts in my mind of a life without the rushed meals and missing practice jerseys. Happiness and peace.

It wouldn't work for us.

No really, it wouldn't.

My older boys need their own thing. They need something that they experience that is independent and separate from the rest of the family, mainly from close-in-age-siblings. Sure, they play the same sport, but the divisions are as different as grape jelly and a car tire. Common, but separate experiences.

They need a place where when there is a story to tell, no one else interrupts to tell the best part. Only they know the outcome.

They need a place where when the game goes extremely well, it is their victory alone that fills our house with excitement. Something they contributed to that we were witness to, but had no part of.

We are still close enough that when things take a turn, like a team mate says, "You suck," they are forced to handle it at that moment on their own, but we are there to talk it over. And to talk about how our own remarks and actions towards others can be hurtful.

Sometimes the game or practice isn't a happy ending. And that's okay. Life is not always about happy endings.

Sometimes you don't make the team with all your friends and that's upsetting. But you make new friends and decide you like the new team more.

Sometimes the team plays poorly and although you won in a shut out last week, this week the other team wins in an embarrassing shut out. And they played dirty with lots of pushes and trips. Hey, not all of life's paths will be green and grassy. Suck it up and get ready for the next game. But if I see you "playing dirty" you will be watching the game from the side lines.

Sometimes even when your team wins 14 to 1, it was you in the goal who let that goal pass and you who took the hurtful comments. Remember, a soccer team is just that: a team. You may have been in the goal box, but it was your team that let the ball get down the field. And look at how many you saved, including the one that bounced off your face before you tackled it.

So although we don't participate in family sports, we still participate as a family in the sports that the kids play. Team sports are a good place for my boys to have limited exposure to the "real world." We protect them and encourage them, build them up when they fall, but sometimes we have to let them a little out of our reach while we still have the ability to pull them close again.

Friday, April 11, 2014

7 Quick Takes/ 5 Random

The Pebble Pond
Want to be inspired? How about a cookbook designed to teach kids how to cook pork?

Tomorrow night is the monthly dance that James goes to with all his pals. Every month is a different theme and tomorrow night is Super Heroes and Super Villains. So what is James going as, you ask?
Spock. James is going as Spock. Because that's how awesome he is.
Did you know that April is National Poetry Month? We attended a poetry event yesterday at the Nature Reserve. It was really well done and the kids had a blast. An added bonus is that the weather was absolutely beautiful.
Learning about Haiku's.

Being inspired by pond life.
Sitting at the Nature Reserve made me realize what a gem of an area we live in. And how little I take advantage of places as awesome as these.
At the Nature Reserve other moms were discussing the summer camp possibilities and signing kids up and stuff. I am so torn about summer camps. I like the idea of my kids getting this totally unique and condensed exposure to a particular thing, but I really like having NOTHING on my schedule for large chunks of time in the summer. We are already planning a drama camp for the older two boys in July, and a shooting/archery camp for maybe all three boys in June. Right there that is two weeks of the summer. Plus, I heard about this fun reading camp that I was thinking about for Margaret. And I am sure there are some Lego adventure camps going on and there is a week-long camp all about the Percy Jackson books, which all my kids adore.
I'm so torn. What do other folks do about summer stuff?
Check out more Quick Takes and Random thoughts!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Malcom's Birthday Party

We had a little party to celebrate Malcolm's third birthday. Allison made the cake, and we made all the kids participate in games designed to make a very special three-year old happy.
First, we made all the kids color a train picture to make into a Birthday Train Book for the birthday boy.

Malcolm shows off his picture.
Toss the Coal in the Hole game. At one point someone was told they were going to get some "coal in their hole." Hmm. Kid humor.

Thomas memory game

Opening presents

This gift was a hit!
Cake Time!

The best part of the day was that when ever anyone said "Happy Birthday" to Malcolm, he would joyfully return the greeting with "Happy Birthday!"

Sunday, April 6, 2014