Middle School, B.L.A.A.R., and Lessons from Bug

I’d like to thank Click Communications for sending us Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life so that I could share with you my feelings on standardized testing, my Bug’s journey as a square peg, and our feelings in general on this movie.

meltdown

“Rafe has an epic imagination…and a slight problem with authority. Both collide when he transfers to a rule-crazy middle school. Drowning in do’s and don’ts, Rafe and his best friend Leo hatch a plan to expose the principal by breaking every rule in the school’s Code of Conduct. As the principal strikes back, Rafe’s world, at home and at school, explodes into hilarious chaos (both real and imagined) in this laugh-filled family comedy based on James Patterson’s best-selling book series.” 

Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life

When I was first presented with the opportunity to watch Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life, I really had no interest. I mean, for real, I still have kids in elementary school, I’ve watched others of mine go through middle school and high school, I’ve LIVED the drama. Why watch it again, from an author’s/script writer’s standpoint?

But then I thought better of my decision.

You see, Bug is about to enter middle school next year (the HECK you say?) and as you know, she’s pretty much a square peg in our round society so these years, indeed, are the worst years of her life (or so it seems). So, of course I rethought my initial scoff and happily agreed to watch the movie with her, and I’m so glad I did.

The books? Apparently my older kids were too old for these (sigh), and my babies were too young. But the movie, well it hit home in many ways. Where to begin…

The B.L.A.A.R. as they call it in the movie, or standardized (forced) testing as we all know it, is by far the centerpiece of this movie and it’s the very bane of my existence. We, as a society, teach our children these days to learn to pass tests rather than just LEARN. I hate it. I’m vocal about it. I truly feel that standardized testing will be the demise of this nation; and I feel that it has caused a nation (sorry millennials, but have you ever watched yourselves function without technology?) of “kids” that can’t function without a cell phone, a laptop, or their favorite apps. Like, if they were stranded on a deserted island, they’d likely be looking for the answers to A) How can I Google how to survive?, B) How can I call my mom on my cell phone to figure out how to survive?, C) Can Instagram show me how to survive?, or D) HOLY SHIT, none of my crap works anymore…now what?

I have many non-family-friendly terms for how I feel about the B.L.A.A.R. testing that goes on in today’s world that I’ll spare you, but I will say, I’m glad that I actually LEARNED before this was a thing. I’m glad this movie called that out! I’m just going to assume the writers weren’t millennials and leave that at that. (GET OFF MY LAWN!)

Next, the imagination, animation, and general family and friends ties in the movie were moving. Mom kind of lost her way through the first part, as most single moms do, but in the end (spoiler alert), she did what all good moms do and chose her family, her kids, above all else, as she should. Good job and very heart warming.

The personal loss portion of the movie (OMG…another spoiler alert, but near the end, Bug said, ‘DON’T mom, I know that look’ because she knew I was about to lose it) was touching, AND REAL. All of our lives are so full of loss these days, and although my children, thankfully, haven’t had to feel personal loss just yet, I know they, Bug in particular, felt the pain and totally got it.

SO…in a nutshell…this movie is basically a must-see from my perspective as the mom of six. It’s a great combination of present-world frustrations from parents, teachers, and kids alike. It’s funny, it’s heart warming at times, and the imaginative nature of the whole thing is quite entertaining. It’s a great way to show all of the conformists that the square pegs, the “remedials”, can actually rule the world again one day…despite their “failure” on stupid standardized testing.

Einstein was dyslexic. Lincoln had very little formal education. I never graduated college (because I kept having KIDS). None of us ever had to deal with B.L.A.A.R., we all did OK (yes, I just put myself in that company…don’t judge). I loved this movie SO hard. Bug loved it more.

Because we should. And so should you.

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Have you seen it yet? If so, what’s your take? If not, WHAT are you waiting for? The DVD and Blu-ray is available in stores January 3, 2017, and if you have a preteen or tween in your house, you totally want this one in your video library!

6 Ways to Fix a Terrible, Horrible, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY (Week)

We’ve had a really bad week and a half. Special thanks to Click Communications for sending us an early release copy of Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY (available on Blu-Ray on 2/10/15) and other fun products to help us get out of our funk and have a great time!

family movie night, family game night, Disney movies

I’m not going to complain about this to you (much), but with cold, flu, and virus season, we pretty much had a terrible, horrible, no good, VERY BAD WEEK last week. As in craptastic. The kids were on again, off again, sick all week long and luckily for me…they took turns! One would be fine in the morning (no fever, no cough, no signs of *shudder* vomit) and they’d head to school. I’d get a call around the end of the day that one of them was sick. Again. So much back and forth to school. So many days keeping them home all together. So much not fun stuff happening. But Friday, they were both feeling great and I wanted to kick this terrible, horrible, no good, VERY BAD WEEK and cheer them up. Oh wait, you’re having the same problem? I’m sorry, but when they’re well, I have the perfect plan for you! Here are 6 ways to help you, and them, get back to having really great days again and a lot of fun while you’re doing it!

family movie night, family game night, Disney Movies

#1 – Head to your favorite retailer and pick up the supplies you’ll need.

You’re going to need a good movie. I highly recommend Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY because it obviously fits my theme, it’s hilarious, and it’s available on Blu-Ray on 2/10/15. I’ve read mixed reviews, but I have to say that people that didn’t like it (sorry, people that didn’t like it) obviously don’t have a sense of humor. This movie made me giggle snort, and giggle snort often. I won’t give anything away in case you didn’t see it in theaters, but Alexander has an obsession with Australia that turns his family’s terrible, horrible, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY into something amazing that made me find hope for the end of some of our worst days and/or weeks. We decided to pick up some Australia-themed games to start out our evening of recovery and fun.

movie night

#2 – Before the movie, let them have fun playing some themed games.

Toss the ring around the alligator’s tail or head. Games help with hand-eye coordination, they’re fun, and they get the kids excited to see your movie of choice.

family game night

#3 – Buy them themed puzzles.

Puzzles are another way to challenge them. They’ll read directions with this 3-D alligator puzzle and they’ll learn to work together (and ask their daddy for help). For the record, read the instructions BEFORE you remove all of the pieces for this puzzle. Removing all of the pieces first only makes it more difficult. Who knew?

family movie night, Disney movies

#4 – Pop in the movie while they’re still playing.

There are a couple of reasons for this one. Children’s attention spans are short. We all know this. They love movies, but they sometimes get bored. If they still have a toy in front of them, they have something to do with their idle hands and minds when they want to turn away from the movie. This step also lets you enjoy the movie when they otherwise might get distracted and ask you to entertain them. You’re welcome for that tip.

family movie night, Disney movies

#5 Turn down the lights and let them watch and enjoy.

We love sitting down to watch a good movie together. I especially love the movies that we all like to watch. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY is about a family going through an awful day. We do that too. The kids in the movie are from high school aged to baby. There’s something everyone can relate to here.

family game night, Disney movies

#6 If time allows after the movie, play more games.

Family games or projects are a great way to bring the family together. We had some Lego fun with this Lego Sydney Opera House that was the perfect way to round out the evening. This daddy-daughter activity turned into some great bonding time that created a shelf-worthy memory from this movie night.

I’m glad my family takes the time for movie nights and I’m super appreciative that Disney puts out awesome movies all the time that we can all enjoy. Have you had a terrible, horrible, NO GOOD, VERY BAD DAY (or week)? We all have them. Watch this movie and you’ll realize that you don’t have it so bad. It’s available at your favorite retailer on 2/10/15 (like TODAY people) so head out and get it and plan your very wonderful, awesome, totally good, amazingly great movie night. That’s what weekends are made for and you know you want to!

Have you seen the movie yet? Did you love it? I think I loved the green marker eating the best, but it’s a toss up with the pirate fire arm scene, or maybe the driver’s test. I don’t know. I’d love to hear your favorite part of this movie if you’ve already seen it. If not, come back after you do and share!

One Night…At SoFabCon…We Got Awkward!

I’ve gotten behind in my posts as of late. I’ve been sick. You’ve heard me whining on Facebook but seriously, I’ve been really sick. I still have so much to share from SoFabCon, including sessions, events, epiphanies, etc. but this just couldn’t wait. 

Awkward Stretching is a Collective Bias “thang”. As members of the Social Fabric community, we do this all of the time through Instagram and Facebook posts jokingly and we make each other laugh (or snort if you’re me). Once we all got together in real life, awkward stretching became a “normal” event during every photo opp. This just so happens to be one of my favorites. We were dressed for 80’s night bowling and who doesn’t need a good awkward stretch before bowling? 

I promise, I’ll be back with all of the other stuff, but in the meantime, I hope this gave you a little giggle (snort). And for the record, I love my friends!

Happy Thursday!