Of Talking Dinosaurs

the good dinosaur poster 1I took the kids to see The Good Dinosaur this afternoon. It was good. I understand that many critics are giving it mediocre reviews. I think this is because they are comparing it to Inside Out, rather than letting it stand on its own merits.

I had talked previously about Ciarán’s fear of a movie theater, and how he tried to, and eventually overcame it. Today would be his first time back in a movie theater since July. As we walked in he said to me he was beginning to freak out, but he held out. We sat in the very back row by the aisle. I put my arm around him a couple of times, but he made it through the whole movie.

The key is to not push him. He wants to overcome this fear, and he will. I’m proud of him for being honest about it.

Back to the movie…

As I watched The Good Dinosaur, I was struck by how much of it did not need  dialogue. Oh sure, it wouldn’t have had the same humor, but the emotional resonance in the film comes without words. What some are complaining about is the lack of character depth and nuanced story, but there are two main characters, and between the two there is plenty of growth. And the animation is fantastic. But that’s not the point. Really, it was how the dialogue was unnecessary to the film to get the story across. I was reminded of Disney’s film Dinosaur from 2000 which also would have benefited from a lack of dialogue. Everything in that film could have been conveyed just as effectively, if not better, without it. The Good Dinosaur might have been a better film had the dialogue been stripped away.

When we get the film on Blu-ray, and I know we will, I am hoping for an audio option that will allow me to hear only the soundtrack and effects.

Are you listening Disney?

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Phamily Foto Phriday 11-27-15

Surprisingly, only a couple of pictures, despite the Thanksgiving holiday.

Earlier this week I caught Tevye “reading”.

nov 27 2015 01

And yesterday I caught him getting the camera off the table.

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Kyle came over for Thanksgiving dinner. This was the only good picture from the whole evening. Every other one was blurry because either people or the camera moved.

nov 27 2015 03

Today I snuck up on August while he practiced his trombone.

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Cooking Timeline

Because there are several items that need to be in the oven simultaneously, there is a bit of coordination that needs to take place in order for them all to be ready at the same time. Thankfully there are two things that help immensely in this regard. The first is many if not most of the items can be placed in the oven at the same temperature. Secondly, we have two ovens.

Here is how it is being planned out. I work backwards.

Serving at 4pm.

Figure 5 minutes to take stuff out and get it to the table.

Stuffing needs to cook for 40 minutes at 350 so it needs to go in oven #1 at 3:15

Green bean casserole needs 30 minutes at 350 – into oven #1 at 3:25

Potatoes bake for 40 minutes covered then 25 minutes uncovered at 400. These  will go into oven #2 starting at 2:50

The torte starts off at 375 for 40 minutes, then down to 350 for another 40 minutes. Oven number 1 starting at 2:35.

Now taking that information I simply transpose it.

In the morning I make the cranberry sauce on the stove, then put it in the refrigerator. As I do that I take out the fillings for the torte that are pre-made to bring them up to room temperature.


While the fillings get to room tempurature I prepare the potatoes and green bean casserole dishes as well as the chopping of items for the stuffing. I assemble the torte and put stuff on the stove to cook for the stuffing. I have allocated 2 hours for this.

2:35 torte goes in oven #1 – temp 375

Cook onion, celery, etc. for stuffing.

2:50 potatoes go into oven #2 – temp 400

3:15 oven #1 temperature down to 350

3:15 stuffing goes into oven #1

3:25 green bean casserole goes into oven #1

3:30 potatoes in oven #1 get uncovered

I hope I have this done correctly. We’ll find out at 4.


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Pie Down

pecan pie stockThis was the year we were going to have three pies. Usually we do two, but this year was going to be different. A big chunk of the day was spent preparing the fillings and working the pie crust from scratch. Yes, that’s right. From scratch. And it was a pain in the … alright, so it wasn’t TOO much trouble, but it was more labor intensive than I had planned on for my day before Thanksgiving. I had hoped to have a couple of hours free to relax.

One pie would be an apple/cranberry pie. A fairly “standard” pie to be made. Then instead of a pumpkin pie we make sweet potato pie – from scratch, with genuine sweet potatoes and not canned filling (if you can find it). The third was a chocolate pecan pie. I love pecan pie. I love chocolate. Oh, it is such a good pie. I mean, really, such a good pie.

I wound up having to go to the store for flour and sugar since we were running low, but wouldn’t need them for today’s pies. I was getting them for other things because the pies would take up the last of the flour and sugar we had. This was fine (despite having to go to the store the day before Thanksgiving – which would be its own blog post if I were a better writer). Oh, we did need a third pie pan.

The only one I could find was glass. This meant, that along with the other two pie pans we already have, there would be three glass pie pans in the house.

I assume you can already tell where this is going.

Two of the pies were done with the third in the oven. It was time to move them off the top of the stove and to a more secure location so as the cats would not be able to get at them.

Apparently not secure from me.

In the process of moving the chocolate pecan pie with oven mitts I managed to burn my hand, drop the pie about 2 inches, break the pie pan and lose the contents of said pie pan.

Destined to have two pies for Thanksgiving.

Lesson learned.

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First Place

This past Saturday was the championships for Dela’s gymnastics group. It is a pretty big deal because only two teams from her division were invited to the competition. I think there was something like 10 teams total from the three different branches of the Seattle Gymnastics Academy.


While here other three events may not have been as good, I am certain that no small part of the winning score was my daughter’s performance on the floor routine.

There was a .4 difference between the two teams. Yes, point four. It was close.


And her team came in first.

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Music Monday: The Animaniacs

animaniacs logoEasily one of, if not the best animated series “The Animaniacs” was syndicated from what I remember and broadcast in the afternoons Monday through Friday. While I could easily go on and on about how subversive the humor of the series was (and still is) I want to focus on one of the other aspects thee show featured – it’s music.

Quite often “The Animaniacs” featured musical numbers, sometimes just a couple of lines long, sometimes full-blown songs. Because as part of children’s programming it necessitated a percentage of educational material, sometimes the songs would be decently informative.

Some songs were full of educational material, others, not so much.

It wasn’t just Yakko, Wakko and Dot who got into the act. Heck the show’s creators even had characters specifically for singing with Broadway star Bernadette Peters.

Oh, I’m sorry, did you want more educational material?

There were several albums released of songs from the series. I purchased them on cassette, which I still have. There are like, 4 or 5 of them. I would buy them again on CD or MP3 if they were available.

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Just Another Busy Sunday

Typing this out on my phone because the internet crapped out right before I (finally) sat down to type this post. Ugh.

I wound up sleeping in until 6Am today. Unloaded the disheasher, helped get the kids breakfast, etc. Had to be at the church by 7:45 this morning because I was in charge of the pancake breakfast raising money for the Girl Scouts. It went well, but I did not get home until just about 2.

No real relaxing when I got home. Laura and I worked on our Thanksgiving menu and shopping list. I dropped Xavier off at a birthday party which started at 3, then I went to Feed Meyer to get (most of) our Thanksgiving food. As you can imagine that almost deserves its own blog post. I hate going to the grocery store on Sundays.

After putting the groceries away it was time to pick up Xavier. Since it was alreadyclose to dinner time and we had no plans or time to cook it was decided we would order Chinese.

Of course this was followed by bath and bedtime routines. It is a little after 8pm and now I need to call my internet provider to find out where my internet is.

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First Reconcilliation

crucifix paintingToday was Ciárán’s First Reconciliation.

First Communion will happen in the Spring, but this was a big step in his life. I had been taking this journey with Ciárán, in the same way I did with August and Laura did with Déla (we are trading off the sacramental prep with the kids).

There were a few evening classes, the kids would go over the difference between a mistake and a sin. Parents would get together separately and talk about what the sacraments mean and what the kids are learning, stuff like that. It wasn’t any real inconvenience to our (already) schedule, plus it was an important step in his spiritual development.

Ciárán was nervous. He was worried about what he was going to confess, but more than that he was worried about making mistakes during the process of the confession.

As usual for these types of things there were several priests  to handle the crowd, including two who are regular visiting priests. One, Father Bosso, is August’s favorite priest because he exudes the love of Christ in everything he does. And he is funny.

Luckily Ciárán “got” Father Bosso. We went up, greeted Father, and I said “This is Ciárán, and he is a bit nervous.” Well, Father Bosso’s smile somehow managed to get even wider and more welcoming.

Afterward Ciárán was visibly relieved. I’m sure some of it had to do with confessing, but mostly it was simply getting it behind him. It wasn’t nearly as scary or intimidating as he thought it would be.

One the way home Ciárán said “About a quarter of my sins are gone now. I am going to need to go again.”

Plenty of opportunity for that in the future, Ciárán.

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Phamily Foto Phriday 11/20/15

Just a few pictures this time, since I have already posted several in other blog posts.

Here is Tevye attempting to put on his own pajamas. Actually they are August’s.

nov 20 2015 01

Yesterday was “Grandparents & Special Friends Day” at school. Well, for some of the grades. It is kind of confusing when you have multiple children, which seems odd for a Catholic school, but whatever. Anyway, I was able to make it to Ciárán’s event, which took place before Xavier’s preschool drop off. Here is Xavier eating his lunch then.

nov 20 2015 02

Here is Ciárán eating his before getting up on stage with the other 2nd and 3rd graders to sing some songs.

nov 20 2015 03

Unfortunately I was way too far back to get any good shots or video of Ciárán performing. He probably doesn’t mind.

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Another Placeholder

This is the type of blog post I hate to type up.

I used up what drafts I had during the week without internet. This means I need to come up with a blog post for the day from scratch. The only problem is today is one of those days when I am low on both inspiration as well as time.

So what do I do?

This – one of these dumb placeholder posts where I simply get something posted to keep the NaBloPoMo streak going. I hate doing it, but sometimes it is a necessity.

At least I made it this far without having to punt (figuratively).

I do enjoy participating in National Blog Post Month, and feel it does make me a better blogger. I think the first time I participated I wound up doing a few of these types of posts, and much earlier in the month. The fact that I had no real internet connection for a week and still managed to make it this far should be some sort of testament to how much better of a blogger I am becoming.


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