Thursday, June 26, 2008

If less is more, what is more and how much is less enough?

I think we need less. Well, I know we need less, question is how much less is less enough? We've been sorting through toys lately and realizing many of the toys the kids have (with which they were bombarded with at the holidays) don't meet our expectations of acceptable toys. They limit the imagination, are creatively useless, and promote attitudes and behaviors we don't desire our kids to mimic.

A lot of these toys are simply mainstream fads. Now I know when I was a little kid I had some "fad" toys, anyone remember She-ra? Teddy Ruxpin? or how about good ol' Smurfs? Some of the toys of my childhood (early-mid '80's) are making a come back like Strawberry Shortcake and Care Bears. Though these toys and representative movies, to me have less than I remember as a kid.

Sure, society has taken a huge turn towards educationalizing (is that a word?) just about everything out there which can be good but where does creativity come to play? It seems that if it's not almost purely educational it's void of any educationalness (I should start my own dictionary here, or maybe buy one...) , some even morally inept.

I honestly was just flabbergasted over some of the attitudes and behaviors I've seen in these "kiddie" movies. Name calling, bulling and rude manners with no follow-up lesson or correction to the offenses. Some parents may overlook these as just being "entertaining" or an outlet for children as an escape from learning or just being plain fun.

For me, it's much more than that. I find that my children's behavior can be reflective of the outlets I give them whether media or toys. They're not mini-mimics but they are developing a sense of self and experiment with attitudes and personalities while searching for their own.

So, getting off my soap-box and back to less is more...Where do we draw the line? We recently had an excavation of the playroom and unearthed about 20 more Barbie and Barbie type toys than I thought we had, the majority of which were naked. This just wasn't kosher for me. Boxes upon boxes of Barbie's so we (make that I) donated them. I would hate for them to end up in a landfill but keeping such exorbitant levels of toys that really have no significant value creating and developing a childhood just didn't sit right with me.

We're down to one box of Barbie's now and the kids really haven't even noticed. I'm hoping by the holidays we're down to none and the toys I plan to make them would replace these more insignificant ones.

Now comes the daunting task of blending old with new. My son is so technically savvy it will be a challenge melding his desire for technology and mine for simplicity.

An Introduction

I'm a mom. I'm an artist. I'm a woman, a wife, a lover, a child, a reader, a procrastinator, and many other things that make the individual that is me. Just like everyone else.

I'm Crystal. If that were enough to say I'd have an easy job blogging. We're a family. We homeschool and attend Unitarian church when I can get enough energy about at 8am on a Sunday to get all 5 or 6 of us there. I love to create, pretty much anything and everything. If something catches my attention I at least like to try it out. We live in the city though I'd be happier in farm land so we're making our own little oasis in the middle of the hustle and bustle of urban life. I'm trying desperately to find that perfect center between technology and ancestry, the right mix of now and then.

I'm married to a LT in the Nat'l Guard, Rob, who is my better half. We're celebrating 10 years this October though he'll be deployed overseas during it. This will be our first Anniversary and birth we'll be apart for. I have four wonderful little lives I helped bring to this world though I can't imagine how I managed to make such extraordinary beings. I'm also baking another due December 25th, 08.

Alex, my oldest, is 6 and probably my most inspiring (at least right now) and uses his time to read Science Encyclopedias and watch "How It's Made" on the Science Channel sometimes simultaneously, while building amazing Lego models. He's the first born and currently the only grandson.

Olivia, my oldest girl is 5 and we call her our "Glamazon". She's a wonderful reminder of how to NOT take life too seriously. Mainly, because she's always overreacting. She's a strong, tall, beautiful girl that I foresee becoming a strong, tall, beautiful woman. Though later rather than sooner if her father and I have anything to do with it.

Cordelia is the "baby" of the house though she's a big sister almost 2 times over now. She is 3 and quite a precocious little thing. Even when she's being naughty (and she knows when she is too) it's hard not to melt under her huge doe eyes with their almost full inch of lashes.

Amelia is the current baby of the house and is a toddling fool at the age of 14 months. She's a peach in her own right and has taken all my preconceived notions about having and raising babies and thrown them all in the diaper pail.

Our next baby is currently gestating and due to arrive Christmas day. We're not sure if this is it for us or not. We love being a large family, and the kids love having lots of siblings but we're still working out the logistics of it. Either way, Rob will be gone until late 2009 so there won't be any baby making (or serious thinking of baby making) until after he gets back and we settle back into being a family.

I imagine this blog to be about our journey through life. My hopes and dreams for the future. A place to display my art and a reminder that the Solidity of a Rainbow is never certain and to cherish it when it comes.