Sunday, June 18, 2017

Happy Fathers Day!

Happy Fathers Day to all the men we know that nature, love, care and support kids. They could be friends, dads, grandpas, coaches, teachers, neighbors, uncles, brothers, cousins, husbands, godfathers or sons.

Thank you for being positive role models for kids in all you do!

A special thank you to the Dads in our life; Tom = who's mission is to make sure our kids and the kids he cares for have the best possible childhood.  Jim = aka My Good Man, who is always encouraging, a great sport and loves to see the kids compete.  Jerry = who has been the rock for the family through Kay's cancer scare and puts family 1st, always.   Jeff = who is Tom comrade in arms and puts up with us 3 sisters.

A photo tribute!! We love you so very very much....





















Sunday, June 11, 2017

Take THAT MS! Hail, heat, rain, lightening and wind can NOT stop us!!

Well, we finished. No flat tires, no road rash, no broken bones … we are all in one piece and had a banner year in terms of fundraising.  Let’s start there …  the good news …

Fundraising – WOW, you all blew me away!! I raised $3,450 on a goal of $3,000!!! Woo hoo!! And, Ned, Wendy and I were a power house team in many ways.  Ned raised over $5,400 and Wendy raised over $1,000 – Take THAT MS!!  There were 3,900 people signed up and 3,200 showed up to ride. I am really hoping they had their best fundraising year ever. We all earned it!!

The Ride - My 23rd MS150 ride…. Where do I start?!  I am sure many of you watched and/or experienced the weather this weekend and yes, it did suck.

Day 1 – This was the worst first day EVER. There was a crazy thunderstorm at 4am with a pretty amazing light show.  The good news was, the rain cleared. The bad news … it brought with it 20 mph headwinds (with gusts up to 30 mph) and heat/humidity.  Fortunately the 1st day is on the Munger Trail and so is relatively shaded and we didn’t need to worry about traffic.  It was hot, sweaty and a major mental feat to stay focused pedaling.  I would say, it was a good lesson in ‘being in the moment’ since moment to moment the ride was fine, difficult, fine, hard, hot, frustrating, fine, hot, etc….  THEN .. when we finally made it to camp, we learned that the shower trucks and sleeping tents were about a ½ mile walk from the team tents and food tent.  I’m not kidding, a ½ mile away. Thank god for Polaris and their dedicated fleet of 4x4’s that shuttled everyone back and forth all day.  Yeah Polaris!!  After quenching our thirst with beer and our bellies with pulled pork, pasta, ice cream and pie, we were ready to hit the hay (can anyone say ..9pm and it still 85 degrees???). Luckily riding 75 miles in the heat and wind knocks you out, no matter how hot your tent is.

Day 2 – Now this is MY kind of weather! We woke to low 60’s overcast and no wind. My favorite kind of biking weather. Thanks to the great volunteer masseuses on Saturday, we were feeling good and ready to go! The 1st 2 legs of the ride were wonderful. Then … we watched a thick black wall of clouds coming at us from the east.  No kidding, it was a big front.  We managed to avoid rain until about 35 and then – the storm sirens started going off. Luckily we were near a house with an open garage and a nice man named Steve. He managed to house about 30 of us in his garage while we watched the front come through.  There were gusts of 60 mph winds, a lightning strike within ¼ mile and it was raining sideways.  What did we do before radar weather on our phones?! We tracked the worst of it and after about 20 minutes realized, while still raining, it was safe to get back on our bikes.  We did get wet (and a little cold as it was now 60 degrees) but the worst was behind us!  We managed the rest of the day in relative peace but did bike by tons of down branches, leaves, trees and piles of hail.  Too crazy.  In fact, despite the severe weather issue, this was the easiest second day I can ever remember.

So, there you have it. We experienced all the weather MN has to offer, in 2 days, over 150 miles and on our bikes.

Did I mention I signed up for next year?! J

Thank you all for your support, whether $, prayers or good tidings – they all paid offJ

Peace!

Tracy

Thank GOD we are done, a bit dirty and tired but none's the worse for wear

Bright and chipper on the bus to Duluth to start the ride

Ned and I are top fundraisers

Yummy cake and pie for the top fundraisers - the MS society really knows how to do this thing RIGHT

Saturday, June 03, 2017

Schools Out!!

This last week was a whirlwind of final school activities - tests, projects, field trips, parties, graduation, cleaning lockers and handing in books/homework.  Oh, and did we mention, our 19th wedding anniversary.  All in 3 short days.  We are exhausted!!

But, we made it!!!  Its the weekend and now we are focused on getting ready for next week. Ian leaves for home (Korea) on Wednesday, Tracy is doing the MS150 next weekend and Tom is taking Billy to Winnipeg for a taekwondo camp next weekend.  Kay and Jimmy get a hall pass and are staying with friends.

A few highlights

Happy 19th!! Holy cow, we were young ... little did we know what was in front of us ... (See previous blog)
Green Acres is the place to be!

So young:)

Billy's card to us, love that the heart is on fire and on the inside he wrote T+T

Kay was being 13 and wrote this on a sticky note during dinner. Love her forethought...

Billy made us a virtual card

The boys doing dishes after our anniversary dinner of roast lamb risotto and 7 layer salad, yum!

Billy's last day of 6th grade - next year he's off to North Jr High!! Tom will be the only one left at Meadowbrook :(  Love that place!!

The girls beat the boys EVERY time in tug of war at the 6th grade picnic, go figure!

 Fun at the picnic

Hula Hoop/musical chairs type game, fun!

Mummy game at the picnic  

Billy makes a good mummy

Billys partner in crime

Ian getting ready for graduation (exchange students are considered 'seniors' regardless of the grade they are in because its their last year at Hopkins)>   Needless to say, watching YouTube to learn to tie a tie doesnt work. Tom wasnt home and Tracy was helpless. We found someone at school to help him.

Ian Yunsung Lee!!

The program, they did a great job of getting 492 kids graduated in 1 hour and 25 minutes. There were also 33 flags representing 33 birth countries and the school moved the start time of graduation to accommodate Ramadan and Sovaut.   LOVE Hopkins!
 
Its a wrap!

LOVE Hopkins

The graduate (even though he still has 2 years of high school left and is only 16)

IAN!!

Front of program

The crowd, TONS of cheering and support from the crowd

The choir and orchestra getting ready

The flag procession

The flags!

Kay went to Valley Fair for the last day of school and came home shot at 10pm. Jimmy slept all day, skipping all field trips and proceeded to announce - am I just going to sleep all summer?!

The kids grades are decent, mostly A's/B's but both Jimmy and Kay got a C in math.  Let's just say...there was additional effort that could have been made earlier in the year - good life lesson for both since they have more capability than a C in math.

The kids all thanked their teachers and wished them a good summer.  Jimmy, in particular, got a photo with each of his favorite teachers (math, english, band and choir) since he's off to the high school next year. If I can get a copy of them, I'll post them.

Now, we need to survive the next week and then move into the summer schedule of sports sports and sports....

Wish us luck!!!


Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Happy 19th Anniversary!!

Holy crap, how can it be 19 years already?

19 years ago I clearly remember waking up to wind and rain and thinking... sh-t, we don't have a back up plan. But then, Tom talked me off the ledge and we decided to put our faith in action and declare that it wasn't going to rain on our wedding day.  (In fact, one of Jim F's favorite memories of the day is me looking him in the eye and saying 'it is NOT going to rain at our wedding").

After a quick trip to town to pick up the porto potties and get some jojo's to snack on, it was back to camp and getting everyone rallied.  Once the sun came out, we were going to get married!

And, it DID come out!  Right at 3:00, the clouds parted, the sun shown and we quickly assembled everyone for pictures and the ceremony.  People sat on blankets, chairs and little kids ran around, it was wonderful.  Then, as we were literally shaking the last hand in the reception line, the skies opened up and it was a torrential downpour. I've never had more fun dancing in the rain than I did that night (despite Jim F and my dad being worried we were going to get electrocuted).

Who would know, that day, what was in store for us the next 19 years?!

~ 3 kids !!! (yeah for Jimmy Kay and Billy!)
~ 1 exchange student (so glad to have Ian for the last year)
~ 2 dogs (RIP Mavis and big hugs to our hairy, zen Nikki)
~ 2 countries (India and Canada were transformational for us as a family)
~ COUNTLESS vacations (especially love the RV trips with the kids)
~ Births, marriages, divorces and deaths (both happy and sad at new beginnings and lives well lived)
~ Sickness (pneumonia and dengue fever being prominent experiences)
~ Braces, glasses, lost teeth, sports, competitions, band, orchestra, lessons, etc .....
~ FRIENDS (too many to count and all of which we count on daily)
~ FAMILY (the chance to connect, vacation, share achievements and disappointments)

We love our life. Its rich, busy, frustrating, fun and full of love.  Despite the ups and downs, we wouldn't have it any other way.

ALL our love and thanks to ALL of you that help us be who we are, together and as individuals.