Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Movie Review: Kung Fu Panda 2

It was so incredibly hot and humid Monday, we were glad to get into a nicely air conditioned theater to see a movie with the family.

We saw the original when it first came out and were pleasantly surprised that despite cast members such as Jack Black, who is not known for family friendly fare, Dreamworks was able to produce a quality family friendly flick.

Once again, the furious five are called upon to save China from evil. Shen, the peacock is bent on dominating China and destroying Kung Fu for good and if the inhabitants won't cooperate, he will use his fire power to bring them all to submission. Can Po overcome his unknown past, achieve inner peace, and defeat Shen, as it is suggested is his destiny?

Like the original film, this sequel boasts beautifully stylized animation. It was our family's consensus this film was almost as good as the original. We felt the storyline was well thought out and the quality of the production from original to sequel did not suffer in the least, as often is the case. Once again, Dreamworks managed to create a very fun family film with a bare minimum of crude humor. Animated violence may be a bit too intense for more sensitive children and you may want to consider that before taking your younger kiddos. The USSCB has yet to give Kung Fu Panda 2 a rating.
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Thursday, May 26, 2011

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real} 5/26/2011

round button chicken


Pretty ballerinas practicing arabesque at the barre.


My mom made this colorful quilt for Lil' Lamb. He loves it and is happy to do his tummy time when set upon it.


My two little boys were making me laugh this morning. They are both so funny.


Peonies don't bloom very long. These were featured as my {Pretty} last week. Beauty is too often fleeting.
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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What's Up

We are finishing up the school year here. It's been a disappointing year. I wasn't able to meet all the goals I had for the year for many reasons, but thankfully there is always next year. Most everyone is finished with the exception of a few odds and ends. Oleander and JayP are finishing up their respective Kolbe science curricula. JayP has several weeks of history and religion left (that's what happens when books are misplaced for weeks on end). Special K has about 15 lessons left in math, but we've set that aside to work on memorizing the multiplication tables. I put a lovely little program on my iPad for her that helps her drill, memorize, and pick up speed. When she has her facts down pat, we'll do a couple lessons a week in math over the summer until the book is completed. Really, this is a great idea as she won't lose skills over the summer because she'll be practicing them off and on over those three months.

I'll likely be homeschooling two fewer students next year. Karate Kid is heading to college and we are almost certainly sending Oleander to an aspirancy school run by the Sister Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matará. Oleander feels she needs to take these next four years of high school and spend them in discernment. She's feeling a very strong pull toward the consecrated life. The aspirancy school is designed just for that purpose; prayer and discernment, free from all the distractions of a modern teenage life. This is what she desires. We're here to support her as needed.

Wingnut is rapidly approaching retirement from the Air Force, so he's been hard at work tweaking his resumé and filling out applications. We're trying to stay close, especially with our two older girls in school within two hours of where we live now. The thought of having to get the house ready for a move and having to move from our friends and parish here sends me into a panic. The best option would be for Wingnut to get a corporate flying job that will allow him to commute. That way we can take our time selling the house, if so desired, and we can hopefully choose our dream location down the road, so to speak.

Lil' Lamb continues to pack on the pounds and the personality. He has a really wonderful disposition. He's begun grabbing at objects and he's constantly "talking" to anyone that will listen. I wish I could find diapers that will contain him, especially at night. I wake most mornings to a soaked baby, a soaked me, and a soaked bed. I finally broke down and put his big bum in size 3 diapers to see if that might help. Oh, he still hates the car seat. It makes for pretty miserable driving conditions.

Lil' Wingnut has a friend over for the day, never mind the 4 year age difference. They are having a blast playing wiffle ball. He's ecstatic to finally have a "good" pitcher. I think there are plans for a bit 'o Wii play later in the day.

You'll notice I've figured out how to put accents in words using my keyboard. That brings a smile to my face. It drives me crazy when I find or have pointed out errors in spelling, grammar, or punctuation on the blog. I very rarely get real computer time and I often can't correct errors from my phone or iPad, so they just stay there, mocking me until I can run one of the teens off Cityville. My worst offenses lately: "mellow drama" for "melodrama" and placing commas after "is". Annoying!

Well I'm off. Lil' Lamb has had a containment issue! Print Friendly and PDF

Monday, May 23, 2011

Movie Review: Thor

Funny, my younger girls and I had just finished studying Norse Myths alongside our history lesson just prior to this movie's release. While the movie/comic book hero is loosely based on Norse mythology, it was fun to see the nordic gods, goddess, ice giants, Asgard and Jotunland come to life under the vision of director Kenneth Brannagh.

I won't go into a deep summary of the plot, except to say: Flawed, over-proud, god-like super hero is banished to modern day earth and left to figure out his own way home, meets pretty scientist with whom he strikes up a very mild romance, engages in lots of action and violence both in the mythological world and on earth.

This was a truly lighthearted and fun popcorn flick. The actors portraying Thor, Loki, and Heimdall gave outstanding characterizations. Brannagh was an interesting pick as director, but he delivered, even with his characteristic multiculturalism (Heimdall usually known as the whitest of gods was extremely well played by Idris Elba, a British black actor and Hodun was played by rising star Japanese actor, Tadanobu Asano). Humorous and action packed, I would say the biggest flaw in Thor was the casting of Natalie Portman as Thor's earthly love interest. Her role could have been played better by a weaker actress.

What I love best about Thor is I can send my teenagers to see this flick with absolutely no qualms. Very rarely does Hollywood put out a movie truly appropriate for teens. Due to plenty of violence, and one incidence of mild profanity, I would recommend this movie for teens, and adults. The USCCB rates this film A-II, adolescents and adults.

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Friday, May 20, 2011

The Jumping Bean

It's parents' observation week at the ballet studio. On Monday I was able to watch Skoshi A in her class. She was excited for me to see some of her choreography, as each of the girls was allowed to choreograph one routine. She's known to be quite a jumper in ballet. The girls all laugh at her ability to jump higher than anyone else and still be ahead in the music. I was able to get a few shots off with the camera and when I got home I found that nearly 3/4 of the shots had our little jumping bean in the air.

Here is a lovely sissone.

Here is a soubresaut. I love the stretched feet. So pretty.

And battu. Check out the height!

Échappé sauté. I would love if anyone could coach me in how to add French accents into my keyboarding.

Uh oh! I've been caught.
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Thursday, May 19, 2011

{Pretty, Funny, Happy, Real}

round button chicken


Peonies blooming


Happiness is a big ol' mud puddle


Love the face on this one.


Sometimes ballet isn't so pretty when captured on film.
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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Troubling Sign of the Times

Ever since reality TV became the norm for evening programing, I've been a fan. Having a degree in sociology and a minor in psychology, the group and individual dynamics of reality shows has always fascinated me. I caught an episode of a program called "What Would You Do?" this past Friday that I found especially interesting.

This particular program, hosted by John Quinones, has actors portraying particular scenarios in public places and then films the reactions or non-reactions of the unsuspecting public on the scene. They've had actors dress in fat suits to see if there is an obesity prejudice among Americans. In another episode, an apparently attractive person and a not so attractive person with the same resumes and qualifications have applied for the same job to see if attractive people have an advantage in the job market. They've had actors portray an abusive relationship to see if anyone will step in and stop the abuser, stepping up the intrigue by changing the appearance of the actors to portray different races and socioeconomic backgrounds. The show seeks to expose racism, sexism, agism, etc., and then asks, "What would you do in this particular situation?" I find folks behavior during these episodes can be surprising at times and predictable at others.

This past Friday they had a teenage boy approach pharmacy patrons asking if they would purchase condoms for him and his girlfriend, who would like to take their relationship to another level. They then had a teenage girl ask patrons to purchase "Plan B" because she failed to use contraception with her boyfriend. "Plan B" is a controversial contraceptive that prevents implantation, thus making it a potential abortifacient. Amazingly, the boy actually had difficulty in getting people from all different walks of life to help him purchase condoms, but the girl had almost no trouble at all, especially when she asked women. I found this very troubling. Why did folks have qualms about helping in one situation, but had no problem at all in possibly murdering an unborn child? Is it because many have not completely thought out what "Plan B" actually does? Or do folks just have their heads in the sand and refuse to acknowledge that is what "Plan B" does? While I do not agree with contraception of any sort and I applaud those, especially the Catholic college professor, that refused to buy condoms for the boy, it is a truly troubling sign of the times that the girl was so easily helped along in such a morally and physically dangerous way. If thrown into this scenario, what would you do to keep each of these youngsters from moral harm?
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Friday, May 13, 2011

{Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

Blogger is finally back up and running but deleted two of my posts from yesterday. This is a recreation of my post for {Pretty, Happy, Funny, Real}

round button chicken

The irises are blooming

Special K can do this for hours on end. It makes her so happy.

Lil' Wingnut likes to pretend he is his favorite NBA team. His facial expression cracks me up.

Oreos do not last long in this house. I found out 3 of the 8 of us didn't even get a single Oreo from this package. Just keeping it real. Print Friendly and PDF

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Small Successes: May 12, 2011

There's a new host in town for Small Successes. Check out Chocolate for Your Brain and leave your link for your Small Successes this week.

1) Managed to find the time to take my boys for a haircut. JayP has been bugging me for several weeks now. It was nice to have some time with my 3 boys. They had their hair trimmed, I treated them to lunch, and we popped over to Best Buy and bought a birthday gift for JayP's friend.

2) I've been working on taking more time for little conversations with the Lord this week. Lil' Lamb's nap schedule is really helpful in this aspect as I usually take him to my sanctuary/room to nurse and rock him to sleep. I have my Magnificat and other spiritual readings sitting on the table right next to my rocking chair. I've been working my way through a new book on the Ignatian Daily Examen. It's incredibly interesting and I've begun employing some of the aspects of Ignatian prayer into my spiritual life. I've really been desiring to have a more meditative and meaningful prayer life. I can feel the graces at work already.

3) Wingnut has been craving pie lately. I am not in a position right now in which time consuming and labor intensive pie making is really possible, but I can make a quick crisp. Hearing his desire for a strawberry rhubarb pie last evening, and recalling I had some rhubarb in the freezer, I made a slightly over-sweet, but appreciated rhubarb crisp for my love.
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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Movie Review: There Be Dragons

Wingnut and I went to see this movie, even after reading Simcha's review. While it was not the best film we've ever seen, it was far from the worst we've ever seen. Is that rave enough?

Researching the life of controversial Blessed-soon-to-be-Sainted Josemaria Escriva for a book he's been assigned to write, Robert discovers his own father, Manolo, had been in the seminary with Escriva. After being contacted by his estranged son, Manolo sends his writer son a series of cassettes he's recorded documenting his and Escriva's divergent lives during the Spanish Civil War. The better part of the movie then focuses on the parallel lives of the saint and the sinner.

Written and directed by Roland Joffe, of The Mission, one might expect a masterpiece in this story. Unfortunately, bogged down by melodrama and a fictionalized marginal and predictable secondary story, Joffe fails to deliver. Blessedly, the film's treatment of Saint Escriva and the Church was extremely complimentary and respectful. One is left to wonder, why did Joffe bother with the secondary garbage at all, when so much of the story and supposed controversy of Saint Escriva was left untold? Despite it's shortcomings, I would recommend this film for the message it successfully delivers: Forgiveness is a wonderful and powerfully freeing gift.

Language, violence, and adult themes recommends this film to older teens and adults. The USCCB rates this film A-III (adults).

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Monday, May 9, 2011

MCP Project 52: Week 18

I haven't been participating lately for a couple reasons. Sometimes the theme does nothing for me and I can't come up with a good idea. Sometimes I just don't have the time to set up a photo for the week. Sometimes the weather or lighting doesn't cooperate for producing a good shot. But, here we are again. I loved this theme and had several ideas for it, but this shot really did it for me.
"First Thing in the Morning"
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Friday, May 6, 2011

So Proud

Oleander received her final sacrament of initiation last night. It was a beautiful ceremony. She chose an obscure but wonderful Korean martyr saint, Peter Yu Tae Ch'ol, as her patron. Oleander is a lovely girl and absolutely loves her faith. She was so excited for this day and did us all proud by being one of only eight confirmandi that volunteered to answer catechism questions posed by Bishop Holley.

Oleander with Bishop Holley and her confirmation sponsor, the smiling Sister Aeiparthanos

Oleander with Bishop Holley

Oleander's godfather was able to make the trek from Colorado Springs to see her initiation fulfilled. I love this photo of her with her godfather and sponsor. She has had some very devoted prayer warriors praying for her throughout her faith formation. Now, it's all up to her.
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Thursday, May 5, 2011

Small Successes: May 5, 2011

1) Laundry washed, dried, folded, and put away.
2) Another child prepared and ready for her Confirmation this evening. Say a little prayer for Oleander as she receives this marvelous sacrament!
3) Cake ordered, invitations sent, and Confirmation party menu planned for Saturday's reception.
4) Having a free moment to post this list of Small Successes!

Have a blessed day!
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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Lil' Lamb 3 Months

Wingnut and I cannot get over what a good baby Lil' Lamb is. He very rarely cries, the only exceptions are when he's hungry, wants his mommy, or is sick of being in the carseat. He's become very interactive and loves when his brothers and sisters to talk to him. He returns their attention with huge grins and coos. He's sleeping much more peacefully, finally! He's still an early riser, sometimes getting me up at the crack of dawn, but who can be upset when that is the time of day he imparts his sweetest smiles.

Look at that face! It just melts my heart.

I was trying to get some full body shots to show you his rolls, but he is in constant motion and most of my photos were a blur. This one doesn't quite do his rolls justice. He has become so chunky! Print Friendly and PDF

Monday, May 2, 2011

Nine is Fine!

I can't believe my little girl is 9 years old! She had such a special day beginning with seeing eight of her friends receive their First Holy Communion. It was also Divine Mercy Sunday and the Beatification of John Paul II! She had a small luau and invited her BFF and family to her party.

Special K and American Girl of the Year, who just happens to be Hawaiian.

Special K and her BFF

Blowing out 9 candles.


PS We've had two other birthdays since Lil' Lamb arrived and I am very sorry dear daughters 1 and 2 that I missed writing your birthday posts. Hopefully you will not hold my oversight against me?
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