Tag Archives: TV

Where Have You Done It?

It’s tough to do it after you have kids.

You know how it is, right? Before kids, MJ and I did it all the time. Constantly. We couldn’t get enough and we’d spend all night doing it. In our bed, on the couch — didn’t matter. We did it and we didn’t care who else saw.

But now that we have three boys, it’s not so simple.

First of all, we don’t do it together nearly as often. It seems there’s always a kid around who needs attention, so getting on the same page to do it is nearly impossible. Also, and this is tough to admit, but we just don’t seem to share the same preferences. MJ likes romance but I like action because I want to get right to it. I know she likes to take her time and relax, but I like to do it in short bursts. Sometimes I need a snack or a bathroom break in between doing it, but I’m usually pretty good about getting right back on the horse.

Lately though, MJ hasn’t really wanted to do it. Which means, well, I’ve started to do it alone.

I felt really bad about that at first. After all, we did it together for so long and it was great. I very much prefer doing it with her, but if I have to choose between doing it alone or not doing it at all — I’m going to choose to go solo. And if I’m being honest, sometimes that’s nice. All alone, late at night, lights off and everyone else sleeping. After a few touches it suddenly comes to life and BOOM — I’m revved up and in business.

But there’s a certain amount of shame involved, no question.

Sometimes I’ll hear MJ or the kids stirring while I’m right in the middle of doing it, and I panic. I never want to stop doing it after I’ve started, so I’ll get up and go somewhere else. Yeah, I know. Sick, right? I’ve done it in the bathroom. In the kitchen. In the closet. One time I did it outside and the neighbors were none too pleased. Hell, sometimes I find a way to do it on the train, which is tough with all those people around let me tell you. Another time, Will caught me while I was in the middle of doing it. That was a tough one to explain.

But hey, I’ll do what it takes to make sure I can do it until I reach completion. Otherwise I’ll be totally unsatisfied and grumpy.

Yup. Watching Netflix sure can be tough after you have kids.

The Netflix Sneak

Hey everyone, don’t forget the newest season of Orange is the New Black has dropped and is ready for binge-watching!

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***I received free Netflix for a year and SmartTV for joining the #StreamTeam and writing a monthly Netflix post.

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There’s a Ep(isode) for That on Netflix

vintageTVWhile I don’t use TV as a babysitter, it does help me parent from time to time.

I know, I know. Blasphemy, right? The current thinking is NO TV UNTIL 2 BECAUSE SCREEN TIME IS THE DEVIL!!!!! I just don’t buy it. Maybe it’s because I love TV and I want my kids to love it too, but I’ve found the things they watch often have life lessons that sink in better than when I try to impart them. Does that sting admitting Netflix can reach my kids better than I can at times? A little. But you know what? If it gets the job done and the message across, I’m OK with whatever works.

The truth is, Netflix has some great shows with ever better messages. I’m not saying let Netflix do all the work, but use these episodes as conversation starters that plant seeds of discussion. For example:

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Sofia from the show Sofia the First is on the left. She’s Princess Sofia now, but before her days of wearing tiaras she and her mom were just regular, common folks. With common friends. But in Season 1, Episode 2 when she invites her common friends to a sleepover in the castle, Sofia’s snotty new sister, Princess Amber, doesn’t approve of the girls who were plucked from poverty. Not wanting to rock the boat, Sofia asks her old friends to conform to her sister’s snotty ways.

I showed Will this episode when he said one of his first friends at kindergarten didn’t like new friends he had made. While it’s important to make new friends, I told Will it’s important not to forget about your old friends, and never exclude them or ask them to be who they’re not just because it’s inconvenient for you.

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In Season 1, Episode 7 of Dragons: Race to the Edge, my kids learned an even more important lesson — sometimes your friends act like idiots. When Ruffnut & Tuffnut find out they are the owners of the Dragon Riders’ island, they become — well, jerks. They’re arrogant and bossy and they treat their friends like crap. And they don’t realize how awful they were being until it’s almost too late.

I tell Will sometimes he’ll have to deal with friends like this, and sometimes HE’LL be the one doing this. That’s why it’s important to always think of how your words and actions are affecting the people around you.

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One of my new favorite shows since last year is DinoTrux. Mainly because it has a lesson in every episode for younger kids.

I’ve started showing this one to Sam, almost 3, because it stresses teamwork constantly. As a rambunctious almost-3-year-old who doesn’t exactly like to share or play nice with his brothers, I’m letting Ty the T-Trucks and Revvit the Reptool show him things always work better when you team up with friends. Like in Season 1, Episode 4 when Scraptors take Ton-Ton and the group can only save him if they work together to come up with a plan.

Don’t get me wrong, you still have to parent. But thanks to some great shows on Netflix, you don’t have to do it alone.

***I am part of the Netflix Stream Team and received free Netflix and a SmartTV for my work. As always, all opinions are my own.

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The In-Between

samwill

Will is 8. Sam is 2. They don’t share very much in common and the things that do overlap seem to be disappearing at an alarming rate.

The 8-year-old is proving to be the toughest to gauge right now. I watch with a mixture of amusement, admiration, pity, and sadness as he fluctuates between little kid and young adult. He wants so badly to be grown up some days, but at the same time he’s only 8. He is in that No Man’s Land of wanting more responsibility, but immediately reverting back to being a little kid when it proves too much for him to handle. He rushes boldly out into the land of big kids, only to retreat to shelter of childhood when that older world leaves him longing for the innocence back where he came from.

All of that means it’s been an especially rough time trying to get Will to play nice with Sam.

Will is too cool to play with “babies” most days. He wants to ride his motor scooter, his bike, and practice his Taekwondo. When we ask him to play with his little brother we’re most often met with eye rolls I thought wouldn’t start until he was a tween, and sarcastic remarks that sound disturbingly familiar (the apple didn’t fall far from the tree in that regard).

I know the age difference (5.5 years) is going to make that kind of thing inevitable, but I also want my kids to find more common ground. So how do we accomplish that?

By watching TV.

I know that’s not the new age, popular answer. I know I’m suppose to preach screen-free child-rearing and start opining on how technology and electronics are ruining our kids and blah blah blah. Well I’m sorry, I just don’t buy it.

Our Netflix sessions routinely bridge the gap between Will and Sam right now. Obviously I can’t watch The Avengers with Sam like I can with Will, but thanks to the broad array of programming on Netflix I am able to find things we can all watch as a family.

If you have kids with a fairly big age gap, consider these titles to satisfy both of them.

oscaroasis

Will stumbled on this kooky cartoon a few years ago and he still loves it. Even better, he’s passed that love on to Sam, who also can’t get enough of Oscar, Harchi, Buck, and Popy. It’s a nonverbal cartoon and I can hear the hysterical laughter from upstairs as they happily watch it together.

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All kids love animals no matter their age, and my kids are no exception. Martin and Chris Kratt, the two zoologists featured in this show, have taught my children an AMAZING amount about animals. We went to the zoo recently and I was reading from one of the signs near the exhibit, and Will said, “Dad, I know this already. It was on Wild Kratts.”

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Yeah yeah, I know. Some of you think the Princess Bride is too inappropriate for my 8-year-old, nevermind my 2-year-old. Well you know what? Pipe down and keep your judgment to yourself. This is one of my favorite movies and it is awesome for everyone. It’s fun, adventurous, filled with memorable lines, and hasn’t stopped being entertaining after all these years. It also keeps both of my boys entertained at the same time, even if we do have to skip by the ROUS (Rodent of Unusual Size). So yes, I will have fun storming the castle thankyouverymuch.

What movies/shows do you use to bridge the gap between your kids?

StreamTeamBadgeI was compensated by Netflix for writing this post. Although I did not receive monetary compensation, I received free Netflix for a year and an smart TV. However, as always, my opinions are 100% my own. Check out Netflix on Facebook.

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Netflix Has Helped Perfect the “Night In”

bundypants

A night in in my 20’s meant defeat. It meant I was either being lame, I was too broke to go out, or none of my friends were around to hang out with me. Now, a decade and three kids later, I hold my nights in sacred.

I’m going to be honest with you and I won’t sound like the world’s greatest dad in the process. You ready? My night in only begins when my kids are in bed. Why? Because I love watching TV — binge watching TV to be exact — and that’s impossible with kids around. So when my personal tornado of insane monkeys is finally asleep in their respective cages, only then does my night in begin.

And it is glorious. Like Al Bundy hand firmly in pants while sitting on the couch wonderful.

I love/hate Frank Underwood and simultaneously root for him and curse his name during House of Cards. I laugh uproariously with Kimmy Schmidt. I marvel (see what I did there??) at the superbly choreographed fight scenes in Daredevil, and I hurt with every ordeal that befalls Jessica Jones.

I love Orange is the New Black so much I’m starting to think prison might not be such a terrible place. The gorgeous scenery and ugly family secrets in Bloodline leave me slackjawed, although it does make me feel better about my own family. I laugh at and mock Aziz Ansari in Master of None for all of his Millennial tendencies, until I realize I’m more like him than I care to admit.

Sometimes I’m in the mood for the wonderful slow burn and steady hand of Longmire, while other times I want the instant hilarity and raucousness of Scrotal Recall. And I’m always up for a martini or two with Don Draper and the rest of the Mad Men.

Although I certainly have a Fuller House than I used to, my TV time is even more sacred which is why my nights in are held in such high regard. I lay on the far side of my sectional couch — remote in one hand and a drink in the other — and I binge. The worries disappear and I’m lost in whichever world I choose for the night.

That my friends, is the real beauty of Netflix when you’re a parent.

StreamTeamBadgeI was compensated by Netflix for writing this post. Although I did not receive monetary compensation, I received free Netflix for a year and an smart TV. However, as always, my opinions are 100% my own. Check out Netflix on Facebook.

 

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My Family’s Netflix Adventures

Croods

A funny thing happened when my family and I were checking out Dawn of the Croods, a recently released Netflix Original.

As my whole family enjoyed a little bit of downtime in between Taekwondo, basketball, and swim lessons, we delighted in the adventures of our favorite prehistoric family (sorry Flintstones). Suddenly I had a thought, and said “Wouldn’t it be awesome to live back in this time and be a cave family?”

The rest of my family thought I was nuts, but I love an adventure. And as the Croods prove, back then just leaving the cave was the adventure of a lifetime. They couldn’t Google everything or use Wikipedia to get a plethora of information at the drop of a hat. They had to experience life and figure it out on their own. When you think about it, it’s the ultimate adventure every single day. A little dangerous? Sure. But that unpredictability just makes it all the more interesting.

Naturally, this started quite the debate as my family members then took turns describing which Netflix world they’d enter if they could have their own imaginative, TV-inspired adventure.

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My wife, MJ, was the first to chime in and she knew exactly where she’d be off to — Berk.

For the uninitiated, that’s the village in the Netflix Original How to Train Your Dragon, Dragons: Race to the Edge. My wife is slightly obsessed with all things HTTYD, and she would love to live in the age of vikings and — more importantly — dragons.

“Are you kidding me? Of course I’d live in Berk. I’d get to fly a dragon and have one as a pet. Who the heck would pass up a chance to fly and own a pet dragon??”

Titanic

My oldest son Will is a little more practical. Don’t get me wrong, he wouldn’t pass up the chance to ride a dragon. However, my analytical 7-year-old is obsessed with documentaries at the moment, and Titanic has his complete focus.

He wants to delve into the Titanic’s Final Mystery documentary and be able to go back in time to April 14, 1912 — the night history’s most infamous passenger ship struck an iceberg and began its slow, deadly descent into the depths of the ocean. Will said he wants to know how the ship hit the iceberg, why it didn’t see it, what the captain and crew were doing at the time, and is interested in the physics of how it actually sank. But he does have one caveat.

“I don’t want to have an adventure on the ship, I want to be on the iceberg. Because I don’t want to die in the cold water.”

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My 2-year-old, Sam, only had one word to describe his most sought after adventure: REVVIT!!

He loves Dinotrux. I mean, LOVES it! And his favorite character by far is Revvit, the tiny “reptool” who fixes the larger dinotrux and is everyone’s favorite little helper. It’s awesome watching Sam get lost in the ridiculously cool world Netflix and DreamWorks brought to life, with dinosaur-machine hybrids roaming the Earth and learning lessons of teamwork and friendship.

makingmurderer

I jokingly asked my 4-month-old Tommy where he’d like to go on his Netflix adventure, not expecting him to answer. But much to my amazement, he gave me one. He didn’t say it out loud or anything — the kid can’t talk, he’s only 4 months old. But I can take a hint.

He looked at me with glazed over eyes, grunted inaudibly, grabbed my car key out of his hand and threw it on the ground, and just then his older brothers farted loudly and blamed it on him. I knew without a doubt that was Tommy’s way of saying he wanted to travel to Manitowoc County in Wisconsin, home to the now infamous Netflix documentary Making a Murderer.

I won’t give you any spoilers or go into detail, except to say you HAVE to see this documentary. It’s insane, and it’ll leave you playing the “Is he guilty or innocent?” game along with the rest of the Internet.

So there you have it, our Netflix inspired adventures for 2016. Where would you and your family choose to go?

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StreamTeamBadgeI was compensated by Netflix for writing this post. Although I did not receive monetary compensation, I received free Netflix for a year and an a smart TV. However, as always, my opinions are 100% my own. Check out Netflix on Facebook.

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