Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Mom's gone wild

Ok, not really ... but, we did have a great time!!

My LONG time friend Michelle and I have been threatening our husbands that we wanted to do a girls weekend to Austin TX for about the last 8 years. But, as you can imagine, 5 kids between us, work, travel, family (and India) came in our way. As Kay says 'dreams do come true' and we finally DID IT!

In mid-Feb I found frequent fliers to Austin, Michelle booked a hotel room and we promptly "forgot" about it. No pre-planning, no booking of tickets, no itnerary, in fact ... we settled on when and how we were going to get to the airport the night before. It was glorious to know that we were going on trip where every last detail DIDNT need to be planned because we werent going with kids (or husbands) we could do what we wanted and decide when we got there. That's a vacation! It was awesome to just hang with a friend & talk; kids, husbands, work, being female, getting old, gossip magazines, movies, tv, books, etc....

Day 1 - pedicures, shopping, walking along the river, tex mex food, plenty of margaritas and a Breast Cancer benefit with "The Donna's". They were awesome! We also learned (or reememberd) a major lesson in going "out". Nothing starts until 10pm. AND, as a female, you need to wear as few as clothes as possible. We had forgotten in our "mom-dom". But, we did make it until showtime and had a gas. (fully clothed and probably sticking out like sore thumbs in our conservative dress).

"The Donnas are an American all-female rock band from Palo Alto, California.[1] They draw inspiration from The Ramones, AC/DC, and Kiss.[1][2] Rolling Stone has stated that "the Donnas offer a guileless take on adolescent alienation; they traffic in kicks, not catharsis, fun rather than rage".[1] MTV has stated that the band offers "nothing more than a good old-fashioned rock & roll party". After gathering a cult following in the punk scene since their 1993 debut, the band achieved major label commercial success in the early 2000s and afterward.[2]"

Day 2 - Moving slightly slowly, we ventured to investigate the work out room, ate some great seafood and hung out on the capital lawn for an afternoon of gospel and folk music to raise awareness of the issues with Malaria (Imagine No Malaria). Then it was off to a quick dinner and the Steve Martin & his banjo concert with Steepe Canyon players (bluegrass).

"Stephen Glenn "Steve" Martin (born August 14, 1945) is an American actor, comedian, writer, playwright, producer, musician, and composer. Martin was born in Waco, Texas, and raised in Southern California, where his early influences were working at Disneyland and Knott's Berry Farm and working magic and comedy acts at these and other smaller venues in the area. His ascent to fame picked up when he became a writer for the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, and later became a frequent guest on The Tonight Show. In the 1970s, Martin performed his offbeat, absurdist comedy routines before packed houses on national tours. Since the 1980s, having branched away from stand-up comedy, he became a successful actor, playwright, pianist, banjo player, and juggler, and eventually earned him his Emmy, Grammy, and American Comedy awards."

He was amazing, funny, great banjo player and they even finished the night with King Tut.

After that, who wouldnt be on the look out for a blues open mike night?! That was our next stop.... Local musicians wandered in/out of the bar, would get on stage, play a few songs, mix up the musicians, etc. Pretty cool local music.

Day 3 - We nearly sprung out of bed (compared to Day 2), workout, sat by the pool and then shopped. Austin has many many high end, artist furniture, jewerly and clothing boutique stores. Fun to look at but way out of our mom price range with $600+ skirts. We made it to the airport in time for 1 last beer, bought the most recent copies of People/US Weekly and settled into our seats for the trip home.

I highly suggest Austin but more importanlty, I suggest a nice weekend away with a good friend:)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Boy Scout Overnight

This past weekend the Scouts of Den 2, Pack 306, gathered at Baker Park Reserve for the annual overnight. Jimmy along with 60 other Scouts were prepared to pass one more test in the goal of yet another badge. The main focus of the trip, a simulated survival test.

The Scouts gathered pitched their tents and proceeded to compare who had the best snacks and more importantly, who had the coolest pocket knife. Ground rule one no sharing of pocket knives and number two no using the pocket knife outside of the base camp. Speaking of rules if you go into the woods you must have a buddy and two adults no exceptions.

The troop headed over to the main Lodge for the survival test orientation. The leader Betty described the details and goals of the experiment and teams were formed. The Scouts were given the choice of cool names or gross names, these being 6-10 year old boys you know the outcome, Jimmy and I were part of "Team Constipation". There are 7 items that you must have to survive, according to the experts one is oxygen,one is PMA, a positive mental attitude. Given the choice our group chose the following four items: matches, map, tarp and a campus. The experts say that the four items you need, besides the previously mentioned two are matches, map, pan and a trap.

We headed off into the woods to try and survive the afternoon heat humidity and the obnoxious behavior of teams constipation, zit, fart and barf. We made a lean to with the trap, started a fire with our matches, using the map as a starter and boiled water with the pot. We all managed to survive and astoundingly, according to Betty we were the only group she has ever lead that each team started a fire and boiled water.!
Back to camp for snacks, pocket knife play and relaxation. The scouts went on a snipe hike while the adults played washer toss. It is a combination of horseshoes and yard darts without having anything in common with either, quite fun. Dinner was made by the Webelo's being they needed to get a merit badge. If I were to be asked the merit badge would not have been given. Two cold hot dogs, some luke warm lemonade and a half of bag of chips does not count as a meal. The smores were awesome however and the boys all got a kick out of the ghost stories around the fire.

Lights out at 9:00 pm was strictly enforced so Jimmy and I headed off to bed. It was real comfy in the tent until the temperature dropped to around 34 degree's and we started to fight for the blankets and ended up at the bottom of the tent in a pile , OH camping. 6:00 am could not come soon enough for Jimmy or the rest of the camp. Scouts from my experience are quite self sufficient and it was made apparent a breakfast when we had pancakes with peanut butter because there was no syrup.
Cumalata Cumalata Cumalata Vista!!!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Ex-Pat Reunion

This past Friday we had the opportunity to re-connect with our Ex-Pat friends; some still living in Bangalore and others, like us, whom have repatriated back to the good Ole U S of A.

Larrie, Allison and their Daughter Jessie along with Stacy and her daughter Elise; Stacy's husband Alex and their son Preston aka Prestonio stayed back in Bangalore.

Jimmy and Jessie are great friends and had a ball hanging out and re-connecting, playing football, rollerblading and just being 8 year old's.

Kay and Elise are also great friends and both into "girly" things had Kay's room in a complete salon and were offering pedicures to all the ladies for the unbelievable price of 10 rupees!

The regular group of Ex-Pat's made the party a well rounded affair. The food was awesome - Mexican, which anyone whom has lived abroad knows you can not get outside of this continent!

The enchilada's, guac, chips and salsa were well received by all, and he margarita's added the perfect finishing touch.

We had great fun catching up with the news from Bangalore, is the bridge done?! How is the new Taco Bell? Is the Metro train running yet? What is the newest restaurant? Has Bryan Adams booked a gig yet? What other 80's rock icons have performed at the Palace rounds?

Wow, makes you want to run back to Bangalore get some Dosa and wait in traffic to get the 3 miles to the corner ice cream place or just stand outside your Villa and wonder, where is my driver?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Happy Gotcha Day

On April 10th we celebrated Jimmy and Hayden's 8th Gotcha Day. It is hard to believe that it has been that long and it is even better to know that we have such great and kind friends.
Jimmy and Hayden came home together and have remained fast friends, sharing their love of Korean food, basketball and now video games. We travelled to Karen and Jeff's for an evening of making Korean Food, Be Bim Bop, Kim Cheee, Mondu and great fun.

The kids had a blast and played and ate and the adults got to have some much needed adult time and conversation.
The tradition of cupcakes was replaced this year with an ice cream cake and let me tell you I like the new tradition! We are truly blessed by our kids and by the friends and family we have the good fortune to have met through this awesome experience known as Adoption.

Happy Gotcha Day Jimmy and Hayden we love you we bless you and we are SUPER glad you have chosen us!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Happy Easter

The coming of Spring, albeit a bit early here in Minnesota, also brings Easter. The holiday that is third behind Christmas and Halloween in the kids minds because of the candy and other goodies 'that rabbit" brings.

The kids were all amped up from the card ride home and could not settle down, we finally got the to bed at 10:30. This was not to bad we thought, as they would sleep in the following day, not so. At 6:00 sharp they were in our room wondering if the "rabbit" came? We managed to to get them to rest until 7:00 and then we were up and at em, so to speak.

The Easter bunny left them a note which they were enthralled by and could not understand how the Easter bunny knew to put the candy and eggs downstairs and how each kids had their eggs in one room? That is a wise old Rabbit. The kids had a grand time collecting the Easter eggs, candy and the presents left by the "rabbit". This year the 'rabbit" seemed to be into outdoor activities and Jimmy got a basketball, Kay a cool water sprinkler and Bill is the proud owner of a Light'n McQueen slip and slide, awesome!.

We spent the rest of the day unpacking, going for a walk getting a workout and quiet family things. We were still tired from the trip and keep the day low key. We made a ham, and scalloped potatoes and our friend the Manderfield's came over for a quiet family dinner.

The night ended with baths and this time an earlier bedtime of 9:00. All in all a nice quiet Easter. We wish everyone a very Happy Easter!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

MS150 - It begins again:)

It's that time again....Weather in the 60's, my bike is out of the shop, our St Pat's day party was a success, they kids had a great Spring Break ~ all signs that its time for me to start training for the MS150!

This year the ride is a week later (a hopefully a bit warmer for our camping in Duluth) June 11-13th. The newest news on the ride is that Clay Walker (the country singer) will be riding with us. It turns out, he has MS and has formed a group called Band Against MS (BAMS). They travel the country riding in the MS rides. He's going to kick off the morning on Saturday with the National Anthem and a mass start. Should be really inspirational (and a bit scary with 3000+ people all starting at the same time). My fundraising goal stays the same: $1000. Last year, you all were incredibly generous and helped me raise my goal. This year, while I know times are tough, I am hoping that you'll set aside some extra $ for this cause.

As a reminder, I ride for my Uncle Alan and all the people living with and affected by MS. I am not alone, last year over 3,000 people biked and there were 1,000+ volunteers: everyone united in raising money to find a cure for MS and to help people lead productive lives. (Plus its just a whole bunch of fun!!)

I'll be riding with my long time friend Wendy again AND a new/old group of friends from Target. I think this will be our 16th year riding but I am getting old and starting to lose count. If you want to join us, let me know! I'll get you set up:)

If you want to donate, feel free to check out www.ms150.com - ePledge and look for my name, the ride is 6/11-6/13. Or, you can just make out a check to MS Society and I'll be sure to hand it in for you. If you don't want to donate, no worries, just send thoughts of low 60's, slightly cloudy, a backwind and downhill the whole way:)

Keep an eye out for my training/fundraising emails, feel free to pass this blog along and enjoy Spring!

Friday, April 09, 2010

Over the Hills and through the traffic

To Grandma and Grandpa Hickeys we go!

PSA: Anyone travelling east on 94 watch out when you reach Toma, WI there is a traffic delay and it took us 1.5 hours to go 6 miles.
The trip down to South Carolina was actually quick & nice. We ended up in Bloomington, IL around 10:00 Friday night after leaving the school around 1:45 or so. The kids were enthralled with the story about Simon and the Shadow Forrest, a 6.5 hour book on DVD and let me tell you it was way cool. We had to listen to it twice that is how cool it is.
Saturday morning we left for Gaitlinburg, TN and then over the Smokey Mountains to Salem, SC. Tracy received a couple of loaner gifts from her work friends one the aforementioned DVD and another was a Garmin, you know the directional device you put on your dash, that repetitively tells you to make a u-turn you are going the wrong way. In our case the device was adamant that we take 65 south through Louisville, which prompted the u-turn incident.

The day was nice and sunny and we made it into Gaitlinburg around 7:00 just in time for rush hour, seriously it took forever to drive the 7 mile strip, we finally stopped at a smoke house for dinner. Leave it to Kay to eat a salad at a BBQ joint, I had to make up with the deluxe pulled pork combo, awesome. We pulled into Grandma and Grandpa's around mid-night and woke the entire complex up, there is a reason the blog is named what it is named!
The next few days were full of fun and sun. We went to church on Sunday morning and followed up with basketball and swimming. Jimmy and Grandpa Jim were way into the basketball tournament and talking sports. Grandma and Kay were coloring and drawing up a storm while old Bill was catching up on some needed reading. Tom and Tracy got to work out and enjoy some quiet time. Sunday night we had Gary and Lynn over for cocktails and appy's before sitting down to a slow cooked roast dinner with all the fixing. We all must have enjoyed being there because no one got up on any given day before 10:00 in the morning.

Monday Tom and Grandpa Jim played a round of golf while Tracy and Grandma took the kids to the Leisure trail for roller blading and swimming. Tom was able to keep his score under 100 and only loose one ball, pretty good, Jim shot another 81! We went to the pool again and attempted to wear the kids out, which only worked to wear out the adults. Grandpa and Grandma volunteer at Clemson and Jimmy had to see the place, he is 8 and already scouting which college he wants to attend. The campus was great and the baseball stadium is one if not the best in college. We did of course make it over to watch the football practice. The highlight for me was the awesome ice cream shoppe the school has!Dinner was another grand affair and of course more basketball.
Tuesday Tracy and Grandma went to " book club" while Grandpa and Tom took the kids to the batting cage and to play put-put golf. Dinner was a Hickey family tradition, Chapulas, always a favorite. Instead of watching basketball we played a few games of dirty dog, a family fun card game the Millers taught us. It can be quite competitive , we played four hands and Kay won each one, an amazing feat!.

Thursday we pack up the cars and headed into the mountains for a picnic lunch before the Loudamericans headed back to Gaitlingurg. We found a great park and let the kids run around while the adults visited before saying goodbye.The loudamericans arrived in Gaitlinburg ready to tackle the sites! We each chose which place we wanted to go. Jimmy pick the Gusiness Book of records Museum and tourist trap. It was full of many of the facts he already knows from reading those ever so important record books. Daddy choose more BBQ and instead of eating the all you can eat ribs he went for the Mountain Man Special and by-pass surgery platter! Mommy rounded out the evening with a round of mini-golf complete with Kay hitting her ball over the fence, Billy hitting his somewhere, it is still lost and Jimmy getting a hole in one along with pitching several fits, it was however a good time.

Friday morning was Kay's choice and she took us to the Aquarium and proceeded to engage in being tour guide and event planner until her and Billy got lost and Daddy took over the role. The Aquarium was pretty cool and the kids enjoyed the two plus hours we were there. Billy ended the morning with a trip to the Dinosaurs Museum and Trinket Shop. The kids loved it and it was just the right amount of time and then it was off to lunch. I am unsure why however our kids will devour the Chinese Buffet and we found one. Several trips later and a bathroom break we were on the road again and being told to make a u-turn and head towards 65....
The trip was great and seeing the Grandparents is always fun. The kids made it from Bloomington, IL, home in under 7 hours with only two stops, which is a record. They were motivated because the next day was Easter and that rabbit was coming....