Review of King Kong

March 31, 2006 Categories: Movies , Reviews | 4 Comments  

(King Kong was provided to me free of charge by Special Ops Media for the purpose of review.)

King Kong DVD

The kids and I just watched King Kong tonight. Whew! Long movie and kept you on the edge of your seat the entire time. Personally, I think some of the longer chase and action scenes could’ve been cut down and about an hour of the movie could’ve been cut out without losing anything. But the special effects were absolutely incredible, and my boys loved those scenes the most, so it was probably just me.

The actors were all incredible, especially Adrien Brody. I’ve thought he was fascinating every since he planted that smacker on Halle Berry at the Oscars. Then I watched The Village and was amazed at his talent. He gave the best performance of the movie, in my opinion.

I was also pleasantly surprised by Jack Black. I had a hard time believing he could play anything other than a sarcastic slacker like in School of Rock but he was very believable as a glory-mad movie director willing to place his crew and companions in danger to get one more reel of footage.

I’m sure most of you know the story of King Kong and it delivered in the emotional area as well. Natalie and I were both wiping away tears at the end.

I will say that I was surprised by how violent and graphic some of the scenes were for a PG-13. I let the kids watch it on the recommendation of my parents, but I think they must have forgotten some of the scarier scenes. Natalie watched several parts with her hands covering her eyes and me describing what happened so that she didn’t have to watch. It wasn’t enough to make her not want to finish it, though.

The DVD is a 2-disc edition and the special features include an introduction by director Peter Jackson, post-production diaries of the cast and crew, and in-depth looks at the two main settings: Skull Island and New York City in 1933. I’m looking forward to watching those tomorrow.

You can view a trailer of the movie here and pre-order your own copy here.

Friendship

Categories: Books , Commonplace Book | 2 Comments  

“Now friendship in those days was a bit different from what it is today; friends did not have to agree on everything and often agreed on practically nothing. They were people with whom you could argue all day and yet never get irritated or angry at all. In today’s world we seem to have lost the real meaning of friendship. If someone disagrees with us, it is fashionable today to dislike them for it. This is silly and robs us of the best kind of friends we could find, for if we are always agreed with, we can never really have a serious conversation; we cannot learn from someone who agrees with what we say.”

from Jack’s Life: A Memory of C.S. Lewis by Douglas H. Gresham

Noah’s Reading – March 2006

Categories: Books , Kid Stuff | Comments Off  

Aliens for Breakfast by Jonathan Etra
Garfield Eats Crow by Jim Davis
The Animal Rescue Club by John Himmelman

Natalie’s Reading – March 2006

Categories: Books , Kid Stuff | Comments Off  

Anastasia Krupnik by Lois Lowry
Anastasia Again by Lois Lowry
Joy Sparton and the Vacation Mix-Up by Ruth Johnson
The Case of the Mystery Mark by Angela Hunt
Aliens for Breakfast by Jonathan Etra

Read Alouds for March 2006

Categories: Books , Kid Stuff | Comments Off  

Do Penguins Get Frostbite? by Melvin and Gilda Berger
How I Spent My Summer Vacation by Mark Teague
Hairy Maclary and Zachary Quack by Lynley Dodd
I Stink! by Kate McMullan
Oswald by Dan Yaccarino
Poppleton in Winter by Cynthia Rylant
Goin’ Someplace Special by Patricia C. McKissack
!The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister
Dream Dancer by Jill Newsome
The Best Time of Day by Eileen Spinelli
Do Not Open This Book! by Michaela Muntean
Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. by Doreen Rappaport
Who Hops? by Katie Davis
There’s a Zoo in Room 22 by Judy Sierra
Not Me! by Nigel McMullen
Duck and Goose by Tad Hills
Carry Me! by Rosemary Wells
Ben Franklin and His First Kite by Stephen Krensky
Nattie’s Good Luck Lamb by Lisa Campbell Ernst
Cowboy Baby by Sue Heap
My Cats Nick and Nora by Isabelle Harper
Happy Birthday, Sam by Pat Hutchins
There’s a Nightmare in My Closet by Mercer Mayer
Wash Your Hands by Tony Ross
Marvelous Mattie: How Margaret E. Knight Became an Inventor by Emily Arnold McCully
The Adventures of Taxi Dog by Debra Barracca
Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes
The Wild Woods by Simon James
Petey’s Bedtime Story by Beverly Cleary
Paul Needs Specs by Bernard Cohen
A Baby Sister For Frances by Russell Hoban
I Want to Be a Cowgirl by Jeanne Willis
Fancy Nancy by Jane O’Connor
Enemy Pie by Derek Munson
Another Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown
Cowboy Kid by Max Eilenberg
The Library Dragon by Carman Agra Deedy

Great responses…

Categories: Homeschooling , Kid Stuff | Comments Off  

to those rude questions about having more than two children or about why your kids aren’t in “school” – from Spunky.

I am blessed…

March 30, 2006 Categories: All About Me , Faith | 9 Comments  

….to have so many wonderful sisters (and brothers, Ron!) in Christ who are praying for me and leaving such wonderful notes of encouragement for me. I sat at the computer and cried this morning as I read all of the precious comments. I was encouraged and lifted up to know that so many people are praying for me. The Body of Christ is especially beautiful to me right now. And since we’ve just left our church of nine years, this has spoken to me so clearly of how the Body is not confined to one group of people or one building.

I saw my doctor this morning and feel encouraged that he is taking measures to find out what is going on. He said that the elevated dopamine levels could be from something else, but a tumor is definitely a possibility and we need to check on that right away. His nurse is setting up referrals and appointments for me for a CAT scan of my entire torso, and to see an endocrinologist and gastro-intestinal specialist. I will also go in tomorrow morning before I eat and have some more blood drawn to test levels that are specific to the endocrine system.

I am hoping and praying that it won’t take long to get the necessary referrals from my insurance company and to get the appointments set up. The waiting and wondering is the worst. I’ll feel better emotionally when I know exactly what we’re dealing with and have a plan in place to start fixing things.

On a happier note, Kevin and I are going out tonight to the movies to see Firewall and celebrate our 11th anniversary. It’s actually tomorrow, but our little town only has one theater and tomorrow Ice Age 2 will start and we’ll wait and see that one with the kids – who will appreciate it more.

Thank you again for being such a blessing in my life! I never imagined when I started this blog that God would use the people who read it to build me up and challenge me and to be true friends.

Results

March 28, 2006 Categories: All About Me | 12 Comments  

The nurse called late this afternoon and told me that the dopamine levels in my urine sample were high. I asked her what that meant, and she hedged and said, “The doctor will talk to you when you come in on Thursday.”

When he ordered the test, he said it was because a certain tumor on the adrenal gland can cause increased levels of adrenalin, of which there are three kinds; dopamine is one of the three.

A google search of increased dopamine levels showed three possible causes: schizophrenia (I may be a little crazy, but not that crazy), addiction to drugs like methamphetamines and cocaine (no secret habits here), and pheochromocytoma.

Some research into pheochromocytoma shows these symptoms: feelings of adrenaline surges, nausea, heart palpitations, sweating, anxiety and panic attacks, chest pain. It’s like a laundry list of everything I’ve been experiencing.

I see my doctor on Thursday, and I’m guessing the next step will be an MRI or CAT scan to see if this is what we’re dealing with. The good news is that 90% of these tumors are benign and can be removed with laproscopic surgery instead of major surgery.

I’m scared. I was really expecting this test to come back normal and I still feel kind of in shock. If you feel like praying, these are the areas I would covet your prayers in: peace of mind, that I would be able to sleep, that if this is a tumor it will be easily spotted with a CAT scan or MRI, and that it would be benign and not have spread to any other part of my body. Also pray for Kevin, my husband, who is worried and already deals with anxiety disorder.

Thank you for all of your comments and encouragement. It is such a blessing to know that in addition to my “real-life” friends, I have all of you standing with me.

Fighting the Good Fight

March 27, 2006 Categories: All About Me , Faith | 6 Comments  

First, let me preface this by saying that I am not one of those people who see a demon behind every broken down vehicle, sniffly nose, or crashed computer. I usually shy away from the topic of spiritual warfare, because I believe many people get obsessed with it and forget that our focus is to be Jesus and not our enemy.

But, I also know that we do have an enemy who desires to keep us from being effective in our ministry – whether that’s being a Mom or a missionary or writer, or whatever. He also wants to prevent us from living the life abundant that Jesus promises us.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the last year or so, and how much physical illness and injury I have had. It started almost exactly a year ago. I know that because the trouble started right around our 10th anniversary last year – and we’ll be celebrating our 11th this Friday. It started with pleurisy and then a heart arrhythmia my doctor noticed for the first time. Test after test revealed – nothing. Reactive airways – which means my airways get irritated a lot from dust, pollen, colds. But the experience was a wake-up call to me that I needed to do something about my weight or else next time it might turn out to be something.

As soon as the pleurisy went away, I made a commitment to myself to start exercising. My daughter wanted to join me, so we made a plan to start doing the Walk Away the Pounds videos every morning. The next day, I sprained my right ankle on an outing at the park.

No exercise for a while, obviously. I felt hopeless and had just about given up on trying to lose weight, when my husband suggested I join Weight Watchers. Some ladies at his work had been having great success with the plan, so I decided, what the heck – I’ll give it a try. On a Tuesday night, I went to my first meeting, and found that I had already lost nine pounds from going swimming with the family. I was encouraged and had hope that this was a plan that could work for me – finally.

Three days later, I sprained my left ankle. I’m not kidding. No exercise again for another few weeks. I couldn’t even swim, because kicking made my ankle scream with pain.

A month later, I was so excited to have lost ten more pounds – my first Weight Watchers goal reached. Then I sprained my ankle – again. I’m not kidding. Anyone else seeing a pattern here?

I made it through the holidays without gaining any weight back – actually losing some, which is a miracle. Four weeks ago, I reached my 10% goal at Weight Watchers. With the 9 pounds I had already lost, that brought my total lost to 42 pounds. (I’ve since lost 6 more.) Two days after getting my 10% key-chain, I had a horrible reaction to an antibiotic. I am still having problems – still waiting on test results to find out what’s going on and if these problems are still a result of the antibiotic or something else. In the meantime, I have been extremely tired and haven’t been able to exercise as much as I was.

To me, this just seems like too much of a coincidence. I know that God wants me at a healthy weight, and that getting there is something He wants me working on. I also know that being heavy has kept me from being all that I could be as a Mom and has been the cause of lost music ministry opportunities. So does Satan have a motive for keeping me overweight and unhealthy? Absolutely. It sure seems that he’s doing all he can to sabotage my weight loss efforts.

In Bible study this quarter, we are studying the book of Nehemiah. The parallels are amazing. Nehemiah went back to Jerusalem from Babylon in order to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem. He knew it was what God wanted done and yet there were attacks from outsiders and from within their own people. Our leader has been asking questions like, “What does re-building the wall mean in your own life? Have their been attacks to keep you from completing the work? What is your response to these attacks? Do you feel like giving up? Do you remember what you’re fighting for?” This has been such a huge encouragement and stretching time for me. I am learning a lot, and yet struggle every day with getting discouraged. And being afraid. Not trusting that “all things work together for good”.

And yet the fact that God has somehow worked out the timing of things so that I’m studying this book right now, at this time, shows me that He has me in His hand. He hasn’t forgotten me. He has a plan, and part of that plan is for me to learn how to fight.

So I won’t give up. I know what I’m fighting for. Whenever I get frustrated and want to quit, I remember the day Natalie asked me, “Will you ever be able to run with us like other moms do?” And I know the answer is yes.

Recommended Viewing

March 25, 2006 Categories: Homeschooling , Movies , Reviews | 1 Comment  

Kevin and I have been watching this documentary on DVD through Netflix. It’s funny how many times Kevin’s said, “I don’t remember ever being taught that!” I don’t usually, either, but I read the book 1776 earlier this year, so more of it is familiar to me. It’s nice to have faces and places to put to the events I had read about. Liberty is very well-done. Actors portraying various historical people recite from letters, journals, and newspaper articles of the time. Definitely a worth-while investment of time – and older students would probably enjoy it, too. I’ll definitely be watching it again with my kids when they’re older.