Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Prom 2019

With all the other things going on in our busy lives we took a moment to interject a fun-filled day with Jimmy, Melanie, her mom and dad and a few of Jimmy and Melanie's  friends.

Will who also was on Spring Break with us, his date Rachel, Mario who also was on Spring break with and his date Margo and Cole, who was not on Spring break, and his date Sydney all meet at the Rose Garden along with about a 1000,kids from other local area High Schools for pictures.

There was photo foolishness, moments of corsage malfunctions, weird socks all around and generally a laugh out loud couple of hours. Jimmy graced us with getting his picture taken with us and we had a lot of fun with the other parents of these really centered, good natured, fun loving group of high School kids #impressed!

The kids headed off to A'More a restaurant in uptown, the parents headed off to Bunny's in SLP to compare stories and bond over the fun loving kids.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Belated Easter post - holy cow, April got away from

April has been quite the month. Nothing bad, just lots of taking care of ourselves.

Tom had sinus/deviated septum surgery. I was scared to death with all the horror stories of recovery but...he was amazing! They didnt pack his sinus's so he was almost back to normal in a few days.

I had my 1st colonoscopy and...similar to the above, was terrified of the prep. But, it wasnt bad at all. Trying to figure out if it was a worthwhile weight loss plan though.

Billy had 2 taekwondo tournaments, 1 in Brainerd and 1 in Kansas City.  We pawned him off on another family for KC because...

Jimmy had 3 junior day football college recruiting visits (Moorhead, Drake and Mankato) and I just couldn't handle being gone for another weekend of driving.

Kay is doing better in some ways (we got her on meds and she's actually taking them plus she's doing well in 2 of her classes) but much worse in others (sneaking out, vaping, trying to cheat on a test). We knew her teenage years were going to be challenging but ... holy cow. We are in for a ride.  I've been going to therapy to get parenting advice and she's tried it twice (convinced the therapist she was fine) and then we had the ever intimidating joint session. I think it went well. At the very least, both our therapists see our dynamic and now her therapist has some good material to work with (sort of like a disfunctional comedian).  Fingers crossed she can help find ways to make better choices when she's feeling overwhelmed.

Maui is "almost" potty trained in his kennel (indoors) but still won't "go" when he's on a walk. He comes inside after the walk, runs right to his kennel and does his business.  Sort of like Jim F, he doesnt like to poo in public.

Nikki is a doll, she and Maui play for hours and she's so gentle with him.  I think he's good for her but... she's showing her age, moving slower and her hips seem to bother her.

So, Easter ended up being a bright spot in the month. The kids (Kay) insisted on eggs, candy and baskets. Unfortunately, years ago we started a tradition of a scavenger hunt for their "big" present.  I was at a loss but managed to pull it out at the last minute.  Tom, Jimmy, Billy and I went to church with Jimmy. It was fun and Billy (my introvert) seems a bit overwhelmed. Kay slept through it of course.  "The Hunt" was post lunch and the kids all claimed that the bunny FINALLY brought good candy.  Then we called Grandma H and wished her a "Happy Easter! Bunny." Our favorite joke of the year.

So...whew.  Tomorrow is May. Another crazy month but .... we wouldn't have it any other way....

Snow in April, on the day of Tom's surgery

The PT's at the hospital made a snowman


Silly man, I didnt take an 'after' shot of my colonoscopy. Your welcome.

Brained team TKD water park.

Billy ROCKED it in Brainerd. Best sparring match of the year 

These two. they are constantly playing 

1st bike ride of the season!! (once the snow melted)

Jimmys friends slept the WHOLE way to Morehead

So did Jimmy. It  was a boring drive for me. Both ways

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Happy Gotcha Day Jimmy!

This week we celebrated Jimmy's 16th gotcha day. 16 years ago, this week, he came home.

Wow, its been a crazy journey! This year has been especially eventful with Jimmy finding his 1st "real" girlfriend (yes, they are in love), finding his faith (getting water baptized), exploring colleges (wants to do football, political science and jazz), becoming politically aware (starting a conservative club at school and speaking about civil discourse in front of the Hopkins District), killing it in football and basically being a great kid.

Over dinner, we talked about when we met for the 1st time in Seoul, meeting his birth mom, the flight home and the 1st few weeks when we were blessed to start to get to know him.

He was a happy, talkative and social baby. He loved music of any kind and LOVED being around people.

He hasn't changed a bit.

Its funny how you are who you are.  Jimmy is Jimmy and we are so blessed to have him in our lives. He was the start of our family and we can't imagine our lives without him.

However, our blessing is others sacrifice and we also honor their choices and pain.

Sending all our love and gratitude to his birth mother, birth family, foster mom, foster family and all the social workers, judges, volunteers and caring hearts that made a place for a (gigantic) baby from Seoul to become ... Jimmy Murphy.


Jimmy with Nikki and Maui

Jimmy with his idol - Kyle Rudolph

Jimmy and Melanie

Date night!

Jimmy, Will and Mario - his besties 

Leaving Seoul

1st photo of Jimmy - love at 1st sight

2nd photo of Jimmy - did they switch kids on us?!

Getting ready for conservative club

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Spring Break - Palm Springs Style

After a failed attempt to book an all inclusive in Mexico, we came up with plan B.  Find a warm place in March and let the kids each bring 1 friend - VRBO style.

Interestingly enough, the warmest place in North America in March is ... (drum roll) Palm Springs!!

We looked into flights (reasonable considering plus we had frequent fliers we could use), VRBO (nice houses, all with pools) and let the kids start asking their friends.

Of course, Jimmy couldn't decide between Will (best friend) and Mario (other good friend and Wills best friend).  Kay 1st chose Lily F (who we all boycotted) and then landed on Ella (who we love).  Billy invited a few friends but.. unfortunately, they all had plans already with their families. In turn Billy fashion, he said - that's ok, Jimmy can have my friend and bring both Will and Mario.  Jimmy was thrilled and once again Billy proves that he's the nicest 14 yr old on the planet. 

We talked to parents, cleared the way and booked our trip. 

Our flight out was on Saturday afternoon with a layover on Seattle. Perfect timing as the Hopkins boys will playing for the state basketball championship (the girls won earlier in the week).  So, the boys streamed the game and were going crazy as we were watching at dinner. Everyone thought they were watching the NCAA tournament so they were confused when the boys would cheer at random times.  The boys won and for the 1st time in forever Hopkins can claim basketball domination.  The icing on the cake? The boys beat Lakeville North. Yes, the dreaded team that kicked our butts in state football.  Karma

airport food and basketball

Our flight landed super late (11:30) so by the time the got to the house, everyone was hungry (again) and tired. 2 extra large pizzas, a set up hammock, stolen lemons and grapefruit from the neighbor and we were ready for bed at the unreasonable time of 2am. Ella commented "this place smells like heaven"

 1st day chilling - Jimmy's 6'2", Mario is 6'6" and Will is 6'3" - not small boys

The 1st day was spent sleeping in, shopping, figuring out the lay of the land and basically dropping into vacation mode.  The house had a pool, hot tub and trampoline. All of which were well used each day.

Mario would get up every morning at 7am, grab his bible, read and relax in his hammock. Except for the 1 day the sprinklers went off and got him soaking wet 

Kay had the boys pull the little tikes play set over so that she could make a water slide.  Everyone went down it.  Not an easy feat.

Our ride, yep - a  12 person child abductor van . What else are you going to put 8 people in when 3 are well over 6ft and all have luggage?

Dinner that night was awesome. Tom had vacuum packed and froze some smoked pork from the St Pats day party.  Will was in heaven.

Day 2 was our 1st adventure ... Joshua Tree National Park. It was a MUCH longer drive than we expected (90 min vs 45) but worth every minute. The park is gorgeous and super accessible. We did an hour long hike and milled around the look out over the San Andreas Fault, Palm Springs and Salton Lake> 

One of the weird rock formations in the park

Checking out the fault line

Our hike

The weather was perfect and sunny but the hike was dusty so it was pool time when we got home along with another amazing meal - homemade Cane's chicken with sauce. Mario thinks its better than the real thing. 

Day 3 was supposed to be the zoo and Lake Cahuilla. But, we learned that you can't swim in the lake so...last minute change of plans - ATV'ing.  I happen to know that ATV'ing was Kay, Billy and Marios favorite part of vacation.  There was a small course to learn on then you had full range to go up and down the bottom 10% of the mountain. Kay managed to tip hers over, landed on her feet and had a huge grin on her face.
The boys at the zoo - Mario was talking to a bird that kept talking back

Sonic for lunch!!

We had to place 2 orders

The ATV place was super random, sketch and weird. But..totally safe and really fun. 

Billy had to borrow pants. He looked like a weight loss commercial 

The helmets were a good look


Jimmy! Go Hopkins!


Will - he's a little more skeptical than the rest 



Due to the super late (4pm) lunch, dinner was a light meal of shrimp and chicken on the grill, salads, ceviche and cookies. 

Wednesday the kids asked for another pool day.  But, they did manage to find a bit of energy as the day went on. Billy went on a long hike with me to see the Super Bloom in the desert and Tom, Jimmy and Mario went golfing. Kay didnt feel good and Ella stayed back with her. Will doesnt golf and had to work on his sermon for a fine arts contest he entered in May.  We all had to be back by 3pm because Will's grandma - Robyn - was stopping by to take the boys to an early dinner before they went to youth group.  (Side bar - as we were driving around the 1st day, they spotted a huge Mega church and looked up their youth group program.  Almost the same as theirs so they were determined to go) Robyn spoiled them rotten and then dropped them at youth group. Of course they made immediate and fast friends as Jimmy told stories of the local polar bear near Hopkins High School and other tall tales. They convinced 6 of the kids to go to In-N-Out Burger with them after youth group and made plans to connect again the next night. I'm fairly certain there was a budding romance happening with Will and Abby.  Also, super small world moment.  Robyn is best friends with Tracy's good friends (Annette) mom - Marge.  It was fun to sit by the pool with a glass of wine and have something in common. 

My budding photographer. We counted 200 caterpillars on the way out and an equal amount on the way back.

Blooming caucus

Billy is obviously better shot than me as my finger is in this one.

Yep - those aren't bike lanes silly, they are golf cart lanes!

They found the karaoke machine....

Robyn and Tracy!

Getting ready for church with some warm up music.

The last full day of vacation meant... a hike and ice cream.  We went to Taquitz Canyon as it boasts a 60ft water fall and gorgeous hike. It was amazing! The water freezing (34 degrees) but the boys went in anyway. Tom ran into some kids from Kids and Co and I think he made their trip (Mr Tom !! Mr Tom!!).  Kay and Ella skipped the hike, found a Starbucks and did what 15 yr old girls do.  (giggled, swam, tramped and basically loved that the rest of us were out of the house). Our last supper was steak, grilled peppers, rice pilaf, cucumber salad, etc. YUM!!  The boys got picked up by Abby and headed to another kids house for a pick up game of basketball. Needless to say they won since ... I think the next tallest person was 5'10".  No contest.

FREEZING cold water.

Mr Tom!!

Mr Tom!!


Top of the world!

Super Bloom

Super Bloom

Super Bloom 

Clear blue skies

Ice Cream
Finally it was time to leave. A 6am flight meant a 3:30 wake up call but the kids were total troopers. They all were up, stripped their beds and packed the car.  On the way home, Tracy traveled with the older boys and Tom with the others.  Tom got home an hour in advance and managed to start wash (yeah).  Tracy got home and took Billy to taekwondo and went grocery shopping.  back to the real world....

The Sierra Nevada's on the flight home

Which they all missed because they were sleeping

In re-reading this, we realized we talked more about the boys than the girls but... the boys were all into the "adventure" activities where the girls preferred to hang out at home.  Everyone did get to do what they wanted to do and I think fun was had by all.  Overall a  great trip with great kids....

Now, more photos!!

The backyard - hot tub and pool

The tramp  and hammock 

Lunch by the pool 

This can't end well 

Mario with lefty kids clubs

The golf protege 


They were troupers 

Of course, a selfie in the national park 



I almost forgot! Tracy "made" us go to the new Observatory. Very cool science geek stuff 

Jimmy had to stand up because he was falling asleep 

Their par 3 course 

Had the best conversations with the girls after dinner about boys,  friends, school, gymnastics etc.


its SOOO cold 

more hiking 

that seems unstable 

dessert flora (or is it fauna?)

Suns out, guns out 

Billy exploring 

A Cairn 

A lizard 

1 of 400 caterpillars we saw 

Something has to live in there, right? 

A cool horse sculpture on the way home from the 2nd hike 

heading to the waterfall 

"laugh at the brook as it trips and falls..."

moving fast 


the mountains are all slightly green, a rare rare occasion.