Last night, the boys and I braved the evening traffic to see the advanced screening of Monsters University, a prequel to the popular Monsters Inc. We were the first ones into the theater with our popcorn and sodas and quickly got settled in with our 3D glasses, our booster seats and our anticipation. Being early was probably not the best idea with a 5 and a 7-year-old because by the time the screen flickered on, they were both antsy and bored. Once the movie got started though, they were both enthralled by the 3D technology, leaning forward and reaching out for the images that floated in front of them. Once the “Scaring” officially got started in the meat of the movie, both boys were appropriately scared and the youngest climbed into my lap to bury his face in my neck for a particularly roaring section. Overall, the story was great and the characters endearing. I missed the particularly appealing part of the Monsters Inc story line–the part where the children no longer needed to be scared by monsters. In this earlier part of the Monster story, that particular premise is still firmly in place and the resulting focus on kid-scaring makes this movie… scarier. It still has plenty of sweet moments and the development of Mike and Sullie’s friendship is rich and funny. I think a slightly older kid would love this movie.
Being the powerful blogging parent that I am I get emails on the regular asking me to write about this thing or the other but every once in a while a really great one comes in. Last week one such opportunity did come when the folks at Tillamook asked if the boys would try out their yogurt and let them know what they thought. We were sent some yogurt, a few coupons, and some stickers that have now added to the aesthetic of the inside of my mini-van. While we live on Tillamook Cheddar cheese and have made a couple trips to the factory while visiting the coast we had not tried their yogurt yet. I set the boys up with a couple of spoons, some Tillamook yogurt choices, and a running camera and let them do their thing, below is their review complete with destruction of property, a fight over silly things, and the goofy witticisms we’ve come to expect and love. All and all a typical interaction.
Above is a cool new game/app/software/educational tool called Pixel Press from creator Robin Rath. Basically you can design your own video game levels and then share those level with others. This is such a cool idea and great way to get kids of all ages into game design in a fun and accessible way. Check out the video above and head to their Kickstarter page and help get this project done. There is only about 2 weeks left to get this funded and it really is a great piece of software to teach kids math, art, engineering, and creative expression in dynamic way.
Sometimes while it’s happening you’re not even aware of it until it is almost over. That somehow by recognizing the moment you are hastening it’s decline. That moment when you realize that children are playing nicely in the living room while you make dinner in the kitchen. There is a fire, and rain on the windows. The hiss and pop of wood and Vinyl as music and warmth fills the air. This very scene played out in our house recently and a long time had passed before I knew we were in sweet spot. Beautiful was well into making dinner and I had been picking up the house while the boys played. There was no fighting over toys or even questions of fastest, strongest, or best. There was a cooperative scene fueled by story instead of competition. The moment dawned on me slowly and I was even slower to mention it to Beautiful because I knew that naming it was the first nail in the coffin. She had noticed it too, some time before and had kept it to her self. We slow danced in the kitchen to the quiet and the hiss and the pop and for a moment fully inhabited that sweet spot. It was magical to be fully aware that we were in the good old days right here in this warm kitchen as the rain tapped on the windows. Soon there was a disagreement over story, and the competition came back and the boys were soon fighting over which toy was the best. We smiled at each other, Beautiful and I, and went back to our cleaning and preparation. While that moment had passed we were happy in the knowledge that we had fully seized, examined, and enjoyed it before it fluttered away. There were more moments to come and we would be on the lookout for them as well, but the fire needed tending and the record flipped.
Spring is starting to stretch out into Summer and the nicer days have the boys playing outside a longer. When we were given the chance to try out some new snacks from Planters called NUT-RITION Sustaining Energy Mix it seemed like a good time. We received three boxes, one each of the available flavors Apple Cinnamon, Chocolate Nut, and Honey Nut. I started putting a bag in the boys lunches for them to have as a snack at school and they really enjoyed mix. Their favorite flavor was Chocolate Nut but I didn’t have any fights over which bag was in their lunch.
The portion size is good, the flavor is great, and the mix of granola and nuts makes for a great pick me up snack for the boys. The boys tended to make a mess of things getting the last bits out but that has more to do with the messiness of my kids than anything else.
Here in Portland there are a ton of ways to get kids out and involved in the land around them. Even our Max riding city kids are only a short bike ride away from forests, rivers, and working farms. Zenger Farm is a working urban farm that models, promotes and educates about sustainable food systems, environmental stewardship, community development and access to good food for all. Through out the spring and summer there are Friday work parties where you can get kids into the dirt and learning where their food comes from, how it is produced, and what we can do to help that process. There are other events happening soon that you can check out here, including the opening of their farm stand on June 14th.
The events we are looking forward to are the Summer camps starting June 24th. These week-long themed camps are a great way to get kids some intensive time on the farm having fun while learning. I also think it might be a way for the farm to get some free labor out of the deal but that is all hush-hush.
Devoted readers may have picked up on my slight love of soccer specifically as it relates to the greatest club in all the world, The Portland Timbers Football Club. Well Tuesday night there is an opportunity for you and your family to get in on the action when the Timbers Under 23 team plays the Charleston Battery in the second round of the US Open Cup om Tuesday May 21 at 7:30 PM at Jeld-Wen field in downtown Portland. The tickets are $10 a piece and available at the gate or online and there will be room to roam for the kids.
The Under 23, or U23, team is a collection of college kids getting some high level training and play while on summer break. A number of past U23 players have gone on to play for the Timbers Senior team later like Brent Richards, Jake Gleeson, and Ryan Kawoluk. They play in the PDL against other non-pro teams and this years team is very good.
As for the US Open Cup that is a tournament here in the US that involves teams at nearly every level and this is the 100th year that the cup has been up for grabs. It starts with smaller rec and local club teams playing for a chance to participate. Last week was the first round and the Timbers U23 team played a club team from Sacramento called California Gold. Now there are some higher level teams added and the Saplings have another home game against a USL-Pro team. If they win they go on to play an MLS team in the 3rd round when the highest division is added to the tournament.
If you live in Portland then come out and watch these kids play in this great tournament. My kids love it at the stadium and I think your’s will too.