Tuesday, August 01, 2017

KCC-9th Annual

The greatest week of all ...  Korean Culture Camp !! 5 days of all things Korean, food, taekwando, drumming, dance, self esteem...320 kids, 225 volunteers  means Tom and his kitchen crew cooked home made, from scratch Korean food for 545 people everyday!

This was our 9th year of attending and sadly we had to fly the missing man formation (or in this case woman) because of Kay's gymnastics schedule she could not make the camp :(, that did not mean she missed out on the food!

Jimmy was supposed to be a teen helper in the First grade however when we got to camp the first graders he had last year voted him onto the second grade island and he had all the same kids again this year! He loved it and came home with stories about how big they are getting, how fun it is to see them grow up and how much better behaved they are now that they are a little older. He still looks like Elf with the elves and he's pretty darn cute.

Billy was in his final year as a camper and sadly we will have to deal with that next year, however since Tom is in the kitchen the kids will be able to be teen helpers!  He's really excited to help with taekwondo next year. Let's hope he gets lucky with his teen helper camp placement.

The camp is really about the food here is this years menu:

Monday: Oi Bokgeum & Mandarin Salad
Tuesday: Chicken Wings & Korean Potatoes
Wednesday : Bulgogi & Radish Salad
Thursday: Jahb Chae & Mandarin Salad
Friday; Chicken Bulgogi & Mandu

Everyday we also serve rice, carrots, fruit, Kimchee, cookies along with water and lemonade. Its a blast to get together with the kitchen crew and hammer out the food the look on the kids faces makes all of it worthwhile!

The end of the day is a snack bar full of crazy Korean Snack and miscellaneous food items all for a $1 or 2.

We have life long friends at camp .., Leona, Tom, Ann, ShinBee, Noah, Siri, Becky, Sue, Lucas, Jane, Lucas, the list goes on and on.  Plus every year we recruit new friends to come to camp like Grayce, Beth, Jennifer, Andreas, Gabe, Claire ... Not to mention the new friends we make at camp every year ... Wendy, KimSu, Dave, Julie ...

Camp is a really special place with special kids and people.  We are so blessed that we are part of this legacy that celebrates our kids and their culture & heritage.

Thank you to EVERYONE that makes it possible!!

Monday, July 31, 2017

The official party of the 14 yr old girl

Holy shit. 14 yr old girls are a lot of work.

Kay's been planning her party for  weeks and with each passing hour it got bigger and bolder (and you have seen Kay's parties on this site before, they are EVENTS!)

This year was no exception. It was a luau, movie theme and it came with the typical negotiations about budget, how many people she could invite, sleep over etiquette, etc.   After a fair amount of planning, excitement, meltdowns and finally, execution, the day was upon us.

Tom took prep duty and spent time with Kay on her shopping list, budget and shopping.  They are pretty good deal finders and she managed to get everything she needed (somewhat) within her budget.  It also included supervision of cupcake making (3 different kinds of mini cupcakes - red velvet with mini marshmallows with yellow/white frosting - pineapple upside down, sea salt caramel with mini pretzel garnish)

Then Tracy has execution, basically being Kay's lackey for 36 hours last weekend.

There were 12 girls invited, but only 8 were able to attend.  Here is a break down of the activities....

10am: start setting up tables, kitchen prep, everything laid out, etc.

11am: wake up and feed Kay (she ate a whole mini cupcake and announced she was ready to go..

11:30-1:00: more set up, table decorating, balloon blow up, Popcorn box creation, movie screen set up, coolers out, decorations/signs in place

1:00: actually feed Kay

1:30-3:00: organize food, get games staged, get showered/changed

3:00... guests start arriving...

Kay had 9 activities planned and each activity was to be revealed by popping a balloon with the appropriate # written on the outside, inside was confetti and a clue for the next activity.  I think we'll be finding confetti for years in the house.

The rest of the event is best told in pictures....

The table is set!

The movie is ready to go!

The girls had dinner choices

and more choices

Kays creation

for scale

gifts and cupcake stand

Activity 1 - making lei's

Activity 2 - limbo

Impromptu activity - swimming in Tim & Patricks pool, they are saints and life savers - it bought Wendy and I time to make the girls dinner (to order)

Activity 3 - Dinner

Activity 4 - twister with shaving cream

Activity 4+ - shaving cream fight

Activity 5 - photo booth

THANK YOU WENDY for helping!

Activity 6 - presents and cupcakes

Impromptu activity - hair braiding, french and dutch

Activity 7 - homemade ice cream sundaes

Activity 8 - Pie Face

Activity 9 - the movie Moana

Finally inside for the sleep over

For the record, they did not sleep. At all. They made coffee at 1:30am, I heard them talking to boys on the phone at 4:30am, they went and watched the sunrise at 6:00am, woke up their friend at 7:00am, watched 2 movies (Split and The Shallows) and ate a breakfast of nutella pancake fruit kabobs (yes, all that on one kabob stick) with bacon and fruit.

Then, it was off to the gym for some open gymnastics time.

I picked her back up at 1:00 and she couldn't stop talking about how much fun it was and when can she do it again.  Then she was home and in bed, asleep by 1:30pm.  She woke up at 10pm Sunday night starving.

This is the start of a very very long week....

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

1st degree black belt...in the house!!

Straight off of nationals and vacation, Billy had another BIG week - Black Belt testing.

While he got his probationary black belt in October, this is the real deal. His 1st don (or degree).

A few things we learning in this process...
~ you can earn a black belt at any age as long as you pass all the training/testing requirements BUT... your belt will still be 1/2 red 1/2 black until you are 15.  You dont get your official literal black belt in until you are 15.  But, you can keep earning dons and they all carry with you when you turn 15
~ There are 3 dons between the 1st and 2nd degree and you have to wait/train/test for a minimum of 6 months in between (since Billy is now 12, if he keeps at this pace, he'll be a 2nd degree black belt at age 14)
~ I think there are 3 dons between 2nd degree and 3rd degree which would mean he'd be a 3rd degree by 17 and, if the same holds true for 3rd to 4th degree, he'd be a "master" by 20 - yikes!! (a lot of "ifs" though)

For the black belt test they do a series of full team practices and rehearsals, which are like large choreographed performance  - but, in order to get there, you have to practice your butt off for years.  He also needed to write a paper (a reflection on what tkd means to him and his life) and pass a pretty rigors physical test (sprints, weights, conditioning, flexibility, all followed by more sprints)  - Kay was VERY glad that she doesnt have to write a paper to move from level 8 to level 9 but I'd say she has to perform at a very similar athletic level.

The test was Friday night and he was nervous that he'd make a mistake or not pass - when it was all over, you could literally see him exhale.  There was forms, weapons, board breaking, cement breaking and inspirational speeches by the coaches. They also passed out the black uniforms and new belts that are engrave with their names in English and Korean as well as their Grand Masters name.  Pretty cool.  To celebrate we had Greek food (his favorite, go figure)

Then, Saturday was the traditional tea ceremony honoring the newest black belts and sharing what this accomplishment means to them. It was very heartfelt and once again, Billy was intently listening and engaged. The sweetest part was when Master Lemon gave his mom her 3rd degree belt. Too sweet.  And, I should mention it was followed by a killer potluck with bulgogi and korean chicken...

Billy we are so so proud of you!! Very few people have the tenacity, focus and dive to be a black belt AT ALL, in their LIFETIME, and you've done it at 12 with a plan to continue on this path to your 2nd and 3rd degree. We love you so so much!!

Here are some highlights of the week...

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Happy 14th birthday Kay

Kay has turned 14, how did that happen?!

She has had an amazing year ... she grew 2 inches and gained 7 lbs in the last 6 months and the doctor  (& Kay) is thrilled!! She is now up to 4'10" and 88 lbs and its really helped her gymnastics as it's all muscle.  Another 2inches and 6 lbs and she'll be a power house:)

She also won 3rd on beam in regionals (level 8) and 11th overall. This qualified her to move to level 9 where the skills get MUCH harder, scarier (for mom and dad at least) and it'll the 1st year she could qualify for westerns (regionals in MPLS next  year is the qualifier).  She is one of the top 2 gymnasts in her gym and she works here tail off and adores all her friends there. They are definitely her tribe.

For her birthday its been the week of Kay.  Most of her presents were delayed (boo Amazon) but we turned lemons into lemonade and have been giving her 1 gift a day.  The few gifts she did get on her actually birthday she loved (thank you Grandma/pas and Sue). And, she got a Vineyards Vine shirt that was the source of the best line of the night - from Jimmy: Alright Kay, now you are officially whasian (white/asian - as context they call Vineyards Vines 'the white peoples store' since its extremely preppy any they've never seen anyone of color actually wearing their gear). For the late arriving gifts, we decide to make her work for them and either answer a riddle, solve a puzzle, play a game or do a scavenger hunt in order to find her present of the day.  She is LOVING this and I'm a bit worried we've set the bar really high for next year.  In fact, now she's having us wrap and hide normal packages that come in the mail .... errhhh

We haven't had her friends birthday party yet but the planning is definitely underway. A luau with 12 girls including a sleep over and open gym time.  Tom will be at a boys cabin weekend so Tracy is on her own.  God speed and god bless - let's hope we all survive this!!

Kay, you are funny, brave, hardworking, loyal, generous, a good friend, honest, direct and have the entire world of common sense and survival skills in your little pinky. You are creative, an amazing pastry chef and willing to try anything in the kitchen.  You can also be short tempered, annoyed by us (especially Mom) and independent to the point that we worry about you. You are an amazing kid and we are so proud of you. You are on your way to being an amazing adult and are already one of our favorite people in the whole world. We love you Miss Kay (Kay Kay ... Pookarook) with all our hearts, minds and souls.  Thank god for brining you to us and our deepest thanks and awe to your birth parents and foster parents for the incredibly hard choices they made that blessed up. XOXOXO
Kay made her own cake

Fondue and a toast with kid champagne for Kay

She didnt want her picture taken

Happy girl

Loving her presents from Grandma H and Sue 

Happy! (and dang cute)

The final product, a confetti, rainbow, chocolate layer cake with sprinkles and butter cream frosting....a world of art!