Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sue and Nickelodeon Universe

For any of you that know us, you know our Aunt Sue. She is the aunt that visits us in India (TWICE), watches the kids for Tom and my occassional adult weekend away, reads to our kids non stop and is willing to go on ANY ride the kids ask. She's a godsend and she spent 4 days with us last week:)

Last week was parent teacher conferences for us and spring break from preschool for Sue. She arrived late on Wednesday, just in time to help me usher the kids into the car and off to church.

Thursday was an exciting day, including a play date with Caden & Wyatt and dinner with our ex-expat family friends - Caden Wyatt Angela Wade Chandra Grayce and Owen. It was cool to reconnect with our Indian "family" while Sue was in town as she had gotten to know that pretty well during her visits.

We also had teacher conferences and they went well. We were warned that if Kay is ever not at school when Tom goes to pick her up, its because her teacher kidnapped her. She is doing great in class, asserting herself and right in the middle of everything. She does need to work a little on neatness and reading, but her math and art skills are par none. In fact, when asked to do a simple subtraction problem that equaled 1, she chose 17 minus 16. All the other kids chose 5 minus 4 or 2 minus 1. That' s our Kay...

Jimmy's teacher also had great things to say about him. He is reading above his grade level and has made friends with everyone. He is fitting right in and asks a ton of questions like:
When did Benjamin Franklin & his friends die? He needs to work on focusing during quiet time (stop talking) eating his lunch (stop talking) and subtraction (maybe he can get a lesson from Kay). They have both adjusted well and are fitting right in.

BUT, all this good school news aside ...Friday was the BIG DAY. Nickelodeon Universe. This is the amusement park inside Mall of America. You buy a wristband for an exorbadent price and can ride all day. The kids were in heaven, Tom and I fought off car sickness all day and Sue rode which ever ride they wanted. We even ate lunch at McDonalds. Does it get any better than this???

Billy "driving" his own bumper car. I truly think his whole world expanded in that 5 minute period. Our chances of steering him off the race car career path are now effectively 0.

Kay found this "likeness" of her in giant size. Just what we need a giant Kay. Ok, just kidding, its Dora the Explorer but the resemblance is uncanny.

This ride was not a hit. The haunted mansion created angst has hitting the targets with the laser gun is harder than it looks. Oh well, off to better rides.....

The barnyard rollercoaster was "the best" "awesome" "incredible". The kids had their hands in the air and were screaming the whole time.

The day ended with pasta, popcorn and ice cream sandwiches during a movie night with Sue "only". Mom and Dad got a date night out. Perfect!
Saturday was another whirl wind of play dates, tennis and dinner with Leona, Bob, Shinbee, Suni and Paul (ShinBee's grandma and grandpa). We had a traditional thanksgiving dinner (who says you can only be thankful on thanksgiving) and real pumpkin pie. The only bummer was our friend Sandy was too sick to join us.
Sunday was the apex of the excitement. Everyone calling for last minute updates on Sue's departure and if they could see her "real quick" before she left. We had Tim, Patrick and Jim over for lunch and a tour of T/B's house. Their house was the inspiration for our remodel and I have to say, mine still comes up short (by a lot). Jim even announced "this is the house I want to die in" which sort of freaked us all out as thats what you usually say about your own house, not your friends house.
We gave Sue big hugs and sent her on a safe trip back to Green Bay. We were all exhausted but had a fantastic weekend thanks to her visit.
We love you Sue!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Busy Busy Busy

Remember the magician from Frosty the Snowman? Busy Busy Busy ... That's us these last 2 weeks.

After a month of non-events, we have really pushed it into high gear. Recap of last week:

Tom's Mom came into town to celebrate her sisters (Tom's aunt) 60th year as a nun. Very impressive and a proud event for everyone. She stayed with us one night and managed to see all of her kids while she was in town, not bad for a 3 day trip:)

My best friend from high school, Laura and her husband, Pete, and twin 9 yr old boys, Ben & Alex came in late on Friday night for a quick weekend of fun and Star Wars re-enactments. It was awesome. I havent seen her in 3+yrs and it was great to get right back into our comfortable long term friendship. We used to joke that "our kids will be friends and their kids will be friends and their kids will be friends" and its coming true. Jimmy was up early Sat am he was "too excited to sleep" know Ben and Alex were in the house. They (finally) woke up, at 7:30am, and with barely a polite hello, the 3 of them were deep into Star Wars. I think they talked Star Wars for 48 straight hours and this doesnt include the time re-enacting the light saber fights, comparing light sabers, and search YouTube for Star Wars related films. The belly laughs could be heard upstairs. It is too cool to see.

After a rather chaotic breakfast, we were off and out of Tom's hair for a 7 hour excursion to the Science Museum. I hope to go back some day and actually enjoy it myself. My kids must have made some sort of pact with each other before they left that any time I looked like I was calming down a bit, they should all scatter in 3 different directions. I spent most of the day herding cats (or facilititating a goat rodeo - again your chocie of metaphors). But, it IS a really cool place. They saw a human body section, dinosaurs, a real live mummy, a whole exhibit on fear (and snakes), weather stations and experiments, etc.

We rushed home as the girls had a party to go to. My friend Michelle threw herself a 3rd annual 39th birthday bash - girls only, 80's themed, karoke party. 'nof said. It was WAY too fun and my stomach hurt from laughing so hard. The boys, on the other hand, watched basketball (and the kids) and ate themselves into a food coma.

Sunday was heartfelt goodbyes and more Star Wars conversation. Then I powered up and got another 20% more of the sea shipment unpacked, pictures up, all the clothes washed (Tom actually tackled that mountian), etc. So, I think we have another 20% to go. Hoping to tackle 10% this weekend and next.

We capped off the weekend with a nice relaxing dinner with Iqbal, a friend and coworker in town from India. It was nice to get caught up on what is going on in Bangalore.

We all fell into bed exhausted. Too Too Fun of times were had by all:)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Our ship has come in - LITERALLY

We have been tracking the saga of our ocean freight container for the last 10 weeks. It traveled from India, got stuck in Sri Lanka, made the voyage to NY and then through Chicago until it finally landed on our doorstep. TODAY! Originally, we thought it was coming last week. In fact, yesterday morning we thought it was coming next week. Then yesterday afternoon the big surprise "whoops, its here in MPLS, do you want it tomorrow". (somethings are the same in the US or India)

I am fairly certain that Tom forgot all the stuff we brought home with us (aka how much we brought home) and he cheerfully signed on for greeting the movers and unpacking it all himself. I did manage to talk him into taking some kid help from Mary for the day. She picked up Billy and Kay and kept them well occupied for 4 hours (Thank god for Mary!).

Needless to say, it was not the piece of cake that Tom was visuallizing. It was 58 cartons of crap from India that has been traveling in an ocean freight contianer for 10 weeks. What in the world did we bring home? Well, a ton of stuff we had brought with us - kids bikes, computer, pictures, books, toys, sheets, summer clothes, etc. AND a whole bunch of stuff we bought - dining room table, 12 chairs, china cabinet, entertainment center, more toys, more clothes, more books, etc. Thankfully, Tom's mom is also in town and she came over to play with the kids, have dinner and keep them out of our hair. They played passport (a game where you pretend you are in the airport going on a trip, you have to stand in line, give your ticket, have your bags checked and then find your seat. Once you do that, the airline attendent feeds you dinner and you watch a movie. Hmmm wonder where our kids came up with this game....) The house smells like a weird combination of diesel and salt water. Sort of a Jersey beach vibe.

Tom has done a great job (so far) we are probably 50% unpacked and the "big stuff" is all set up. Just in time for the weekend! I am not sure we'll get through the rest of it this weekend or next or even the week after. I am feeling a bit overwhelmed. I was getting used to living in a house with no crap, no furniture and no clutter. I find myself asking ... how did we get so much sh_t?!?

I suspect this will be another adjustment point for me in the whole reaclimation process.

Send us peace in the process.

wearing o' the green

Our apologies for not blogging in a while (almost a month – YIKES!), to be honest, nothing much has been going on so you haven’t missed anything. We have been up to the normal lay low reacclimation “stuff”. Tracy got her hair colored, Tom got an A in school, Jimmy went to Bingo night at school, Kay had a playdate/dinner with her new best friend Ella, Billy has been busy mauling the dog and fighting with Tom about not wanting to go to school (which is funny since he doesn’t go to school), Nicki is adjusting to life with loudamericans and has established herself as a chewer of mittens and pillows, we have had nice quiet nights of dinner with friends, gotten to the club, worked hard, studied harder and basically just existed. Not much to tell.

We changed that rhythm though last week with our Annual Revival St Patricks Day parade. It was an amazing turnout! We had a ball and the kids ran wild. A perfect kegger with kids!! It was a collision of friends from all parts of our lives and an explosion in green. We had friends from church, work, family, school, college, Palm Meadows (yes, 2 other non_Target but MN Palm Meadows families came – Andrea & Jamie and Heather & Brian!), neighbors, friends of friends, mothers of friends, new babies, etc... All in all, I’ll bet we had 100 people.

We also celebrated some old traditions and created some new:

~ Noah took over as keg master (Kay’s role 3 years ago) and helped pump and tap beer all day. He’s 3.
~ The boys chased the girls around the house yelling “boys rule, girls drool”
~ The girls chased the boys around the house yelling “GG – BB” (good girls, bad boys for those of you not in the know)
~ For the 1st time since having kids we fried the keg and had left over food – I think we’ll be eating chili and French bread for months to come
~ Isaiah led the parade with our big green flag
~ Nicki kept all the kids “in line” during the parade and didn’t let them get too far
~ Tim and Patrick helped us close the party and we solved a couple of the worlds problems (you should see a noticeable impact in the days to come)
~ Girl Scout Cookies!
~ The official group photo

As you all know, an invitation is NOT required for this party, its come one come all and the only big party we do each year.

So, mark your calendar for 2010, invite your family and friends and plan on joining us for our 10th annual St Pats Day parade on March 13th 2010 4pm onward.

Erin go braugh!!!