Sunday, April 25, 2010

Monsters Vs. Aliens: Level Light Saber

Synopsis: When Susan is hit by a meteorite carrying quantonium and mutates into a giant, she's whisked away to a top-secret prison where the country holds all its monsters prisoner... until aliens attack earth and the army calls on the monsters to deliver them. Susan is thrilled to be released, but is heartbroken to see how her friends and family respond to her and her new monster friends.

Highlights: Susan comes to realize that true friendship is about helping others rather than merely feeling good about yourself, and she selflessly risks her life to save her monster friends, even after losing her own monster powers.

Snags: Several exclamations of "Oh my God!" and some crude humor. Some parts were a little intense for our boys, two of whom needed laps to sit on in order to make it through.

Conclusion: Although the main message is decent and there were a couple laugh-out-loud points, I wasn't hugely impressed with the story or humor overall and won't be watching this one again soon. On the other hand (or cushion), this was Wade's second time watching and he found the message, story and characters to be entertaining and would give it a light saber up, so we average a level light saber for this movie.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Luke's Prayer

As we sat down to lunch, Luke prayed, "Dear God, thank-you for this food and the sunshine. Please be with Daddy at work and help us to beat the castle on seventh level in Mario Brothers. Amen."

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Kung Fu Panda: One Light Saber Up

Our family has gotten into a routine of enjoying a movie while eating our popcorn dinner on Sunday nights. This week's movie was Kung Fu Panda, and this was at least our third watching as a family, so right off the bat it's obvious we give it six thumbs up.

Synopsis: Po, a rotund panda bear who adores the Furious Five Kung Fu masters but has no martial arts skills whatsoever, is accidentally chosen as the all-powerful dragon warrior when he lands himself in the middle of a legendary Kung Fu ceremony. Under the tutelage of master Shifu, Po trains to take on the dreaded Tai Lung who has escaped from prison and threatens to wreak havoc on the village.

Highlights: Characters we can connect and sympathize with, clean humor and a good storyline keep the film entertaining for kids and adults.

Snags: The lesson Po learns is that there is no secret to greatness. He looks at his reflection and realizes that what he sees is what's great in him, not something secret ingredient he's been searching for. From a Christian standpoint, this is a missed opportunity to teach that we are not great in and of ourselves, but only because of Christ in us. However, as a secular movie it does encourage kids (and adults, perhaps) to accept themselves for who they are and not try to become someone else.

There is also a lot of animated violence, but its fanciful nature -- animated animal characters twirling through the sky -- keeps it from becoming objectionable. At least once a character is whacked in the groin, which was unnecessary, I thought.

Conclusion: This is one our whole family has enjoyed repeatedly. Although it may not offer much in the way of life lessons, it is a safe and enjoyable watch for a family. One light-saber up.

Evidence of Spring

Over the past couple weeks, spring has definitely been springing.

The boys and I saw this ringed kingfisher near the spillway at Mirror Lake.

These pansies (or Johnny-jump-ups as they're more often called here) were the first bloomers in our yard.

The daffodils I planted last fall are finally poking through!

Isaac, Levi, Elijah and I had fun building sculptures and throwing rocks near Mirror Lake last week.

Mr. Robin was busy snatching up food. I can't imagine it has a nest with chicks yet, so perhaps this morsel was for himself.

This two-inch-long catfish was warming itself in the shallow water near shore.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010


So while the boys and I were busily enjoying our week in Washington, poor Wade was home all alone with nothing better to do than watch movies... or so I thought.

Check out this bedroom set he BUILT! (try to ignore the computer desk that is temporarily living in our bedroom)

Oh. My. Goodness. Isn't it beautiful?!? Wade built one of the bedside tables several weeks ago, and while we were away he built the other table and the bed, and -- ladies brace yourself, this is almost too much to believe -- bought matching lamps that coordinate with our bedroom colors and MADE THE BED! I'm not sure which I'm more impressed with, the "new" bedroom or the man who made it happen. My jaw is still on the floor.