Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Baby Pictures

Here I am in the ONLY known baby picture in existance of me. I am, alas, the youngest child, and the camera just didn't come out much when I was a wee tot. (Of course, I am only the youngest of two, so I am not sure that my mother's excuse is really that compelling.) Ben just looked at the picture and said "Whoa ... this is from quite a while ago, 'cuz it's in black and white." (which reminds me of Ty's comment a few weeks ago when we were talking about silent movies and he said "are those from the 70's?")

As I work to organize our house, I have a large collection of large moving boxes full of photos and memorabilia. I have great plans to make incredible scrapbooks for each of the boys, and for our family in general. I have each of the boys' "First Year" scrapbooks done, and a couple of random years in the life of our family (maybe 1995 and 1997?) but it will take me weeks ... months ... years? ... to get caught up (and those darn kids keep growing and we keep taking more pictures. Like the 112 from the choir tour last weekend.)

But I believe it is a job worth doing, and once school is done for the summer and I can find a flat surface to spread out on, I hope to really work on the books and make great strides. The few books we do have finished are so much fun to look through and talk about memories and family events. I want the boys to have the books to keep their childhoods alive in their minds, even when they are all grown up.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Ben's Choir Tour

Ben had his annual choir tour this past weekend. The choir, Angelica Cantanti, went to the exciting metropolis of Hector, Minnesota and then on to St. Cloud. In this group picture, Ben is in the middle of the middle row.

Ben had a great time - they did four concerts, visited a history museum, stayed in a hotel with a swimming pool and water slide, and got to eat at Old Country Buffet! Phew, how much excitement can you pack into a single weekend?!

Steve went along as chaperone, and he, too, enjoyed himself and said the boys in his group were very well behaved. He enjoyed being the photographer - he took over 110 photos!

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Flight 93

I've been trying to read what other people think about the movie Flight 93, and it would appear that critics and professional journalists think the movie will be a good thing, but average people (and lots of bloggers) think it is too soon.

Apparently in New York they stopped showing the trailer at some movie theaters after people had the same reaction I did (tears and feelings of it being too soon - some yelled that out at the screen). Enough people complained to the theater management that they pulled the trailer from their previews line-up.

I also learned that rumor has it the production team for the movie personally talked with family members of everyone who has on that airplane (what is not clear is how the families reacted, or if their reactions made a difference). And a percentage of the proceeds from the film's opening day will be donated to charity. (of course my first question would be why only the first day's proceeds?)

It was also pointed out somewhere that Apocolypse Now and The Deer Hunter were both released in under 5 years after the fall of Saigon - that is obviously true, but I don't remember if there was any public backlash, and I also don't know that it is a fair comparison. The events of 9/11 happened in the US, not abroad, and many people who are now expected to pay to see the movie personally knew or were related to the victims of the tragedy.

One blogger says in order for Americans to ever truly understand anything historical we have to see it on the big screen. Wow, I certainly hope that's not the case.

One supporter of the movie actually posits that we are giving in to terrorism if we don't see this movie -- that the terrorists want Americans to be scared, and not seeing the movie is giving them what they want. Umm, no, I don't think that logic would hold up very long under scrutiny.

I am still leaning towards not seeing it. I guess I am hoping it will go the way of Basic Instinct 2 and disappear from theaters almost before it opens. Time will tell.

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Last night the four of us went to see the one-man Star Wars Trilogy Show and it was phenomenal! It was at The Pantages Theater in Minneapolis, and when we arrived there were two storm troopers outside the front door welcoming people, and posing for photos. I was kicking myself for not bringing our camera. Inside, the usher was dressed as a Jedi. The star of the show was incredible. He used no props at all -- simply became each character through changes in his voice, posture, gestures, and attitude. His R2D2 voice was uncanny. His C3PO walk was unmistakable. His Chewbacca attitude was perfect. And his light saber sound effects could not have been better. He had the audience eating out of his hand with his smart and quick wit. He told the story lines of all three movies (the first three made, numbers 4, 5, and 6 in the total sequence) in just over one hour. It was amazing.

The boys beamed through the show - it will become, I believe, one of their favored childhood memories. If you have the opportunity to go see this show, and if you are pretty familiar with the movies (if you aren't, you'd be lost during the show), I highly recommend it.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Commercializing 9/11?

A couple of weeks ago, Steve & I went to a movie (Inside Man, I think - pretty good but required a bit of a stretch to accept some of the situational details). Anyway, before the movie started there was a trailer for the upcoming film "Flight 93" (at least I think that's what it's called.) It's about the flight that the passengers overtook on 9/11 and crashed in Pennsylvania.

Watching the trailer, I got tears in my eyes and all I could think of was "this is SO wrong." It's too soon, I don't trust that it won't be sensationalized, I think it's insensitive to the families, I just don't like Hollywood taking something so recent and raw and turning it into a money-making endeavor.

Steve didn't agree, I think (but can't be sure), that he views it more as a way to share the story and bravery of those involved, and to honor the people who gave their lives for their country -- people who were not in the military or who maybe never, ever planned on doing anything heroic.

I tend to be cynical, though, and can't help but think that at the bottom of it all is the desire of some Hollywood mogul to make money on other people's grief. I also worry that seeing it as a movie so soon after it happened will make the event blur in people's minds to a certain extent. What's real and what's Hollywoodized? We obviously can't KNOW what happened on that plane, so now we will be treated to what the Hollywood types want us to think. And I don't want them thinking for me. I also worry that seeing it as a movie will desensitize people. Maybe in a way similar to what is happening with violence in video games. People can disconnect themselves from what is on the screen, and some things need to be real in people's lives - not just on the screen. I also recognize, though, that for some people, maybe seeing it as a movie is the only way they will ever think about it at all, or the only way to process it in their minds.

We saw the movie "Munich" last fall - a Hollywood version of the terrorist situation at the Munich Olympics. I was fine with that movie, and enjoyed it. I learned things I hadn't known about that situation, since I was pretty young when it actually happened. So does that make me a hypocrite? Or is the timing enough of a factor to make "Munich" OK while "Flight 93" is not?

I don't know if I will go see "Flight 93" or not. What do you think? Will you?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

More Basement Updates

You might be wondering why we are posting photos of things like windows and doors. This is the bathroom door from the inside ... these are really for the benefit of our friends who moved to Africa before the work was completed, so they can see how nice everything is looking as the final detail work gets done!

The door in question here has been about 3/4 done for nearly 2 years - it is so nice, now, to have it painted, trimmed, and finished! So humor us for showing off the details of our house. This fresh, clean yellow and white bathroom used to be home to what we fondly called the bomb-shelter-shower. It was made of 6-inch thick brick walls that we had a lot of fun tearing down with sledge hammers and a rented jack-hammer. I'll see if I can find some of the "before" pictures to put here for comparison.

Monday, April 17, 2006

Ty has already discovered the joys of having a wide window sill - he hops right up there and reads by the natural light and looks so cozy!

Easter 2006

We had a wonderful Easter with our traditions of coloring eggs and an early morning Easter Egg Hunt.

Later, family members came for an afternoon of games and a traditional ham dinner. A lot of chocolate was consumed by all :-) and then, in the middle of the night, Ben sleep-walked for what may be the first time ever (if he's done it before we haven't known about it!) Who knows if it was the chocolate causing it, or just coincidence. Thankfully he walked up and down the steps safely; it was just when he began talking that we wondered what in the world was going on. He awoke about 5 minutes later and insisted he had not done anything out of the ordinary - and then laughed when I told him about it! I hope this is not going to be a common occurance - I will find it hard to sleep if I have to worry about him staying safely in bed.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

National Geographic Presents...

Wild Turkeys right outside our window! It's mating season so the male turkeys are putting on quite the show for the ladies. It's so fun to watch - they strut their stuff and preen around trying to look so big and important, while the ladies just continue eating and wandering around, playing hard-to-get and acting very nonchalant.

These photos are from 6:00 this morning (a time of day I don't see too often) but there were so many of them, and they were so loud, that the dog and I couldn't stay in bed while the dance rituals were happening right outside the windows. The pics are a bit foggy because my windows aren't sparkling clean (imagine that!) but you can certainly get the idea. I am amazed at how big the males can make themselves look. It's almost all show - very little substance under the fancy feathers. Hmmm. Is there any meaning hidden in that?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Ta-Da! The window in Ty's room with all the trim put in place! Steve has been working very hard to get the finishing work done in the basement. Ty's room is pretty much completely done now - well, we still have to put the door back on its hinges, and figure out what to do with all his toys. But other than that, it's perfect!!

Here is Ty lying in his bright orange bed ... nice headboard, eh? I don't know that I could sleep with all that intense color surrounding me but he loves it!

Monday, April 10, 2006

Here is Ty heading off to Spanish Camp up north. El Lago del Bosque means "The Lake of the Woods" - an appropriate name given the location! We passed 3 deer and a quail, driving in.

Ty had a great time but didn't learn much Spanish.

Here is our big black dog ... Colby, playing in the snow during the last blizzard of the year (we hope!) He is 2 years old and still acts like a puppy.
This is Ben's Lego Millennium Falcon, showing with the top opened so you can see the interior.

Princess Leia is visible towards the bottom, sitting next to C3PO.


Ta-Da! Here is our first family blog posting!

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