Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Green Bay or Bust

Last weekend was MEA (minnesota educational association? not quite sure of the acronym) and the kids had Thursday and Friday off of school. Of course, this is the same weekend that Tom decided to go to Phoenix for a long guys weekend with his high school buddies. Sort of a 'welcome to your 50's' get away. While they were talking about their feelings, drinking wine, eating chocolate, going to the spa and golfing; I decided to take the kids on an adventure. The kids chant became "Green Bay or Bust!"

We had such a great time last year in Green Bay we decided to recreate it, only this time in the fall and with Aunt Sue. Each person got to pick 1 special thing to do. While it would be tempting to say that mine was driving 5 hours with 3 kids and dog all by myself, 1 way ... believe it or not, that wasnt what I picked. We did make the drive and the kids were remarkably good. However, I had equipped them with a PSP, iTouch, Leapfrog, DVD player, DVD's, treat bags and their comfy blankets. Their conversation on the way over was hysterical. BIlly wanted to know "how long would you live if you were born without nostrils" and he and Kay played with their imaginary friends - Isabella, Rudy, Bunco and Shawnee. Little did I know, Isabella and Rudy are in "love".

We landed up at Aunt Sue's house about 10pm and all hell broke loose. Jimmy was determined to watch "Connie Gumper and the Pack" about 50 times and it started Thurs night with 3 viewings. The other 2 (& dog) were running through the house screaming, burning off energy and convincing me something was going to break before the weekend was out.

I should stop to note, Green Bay is Halloween headquarters. Nearly every 3rd house was decorated and ready for Halloween. Not just a few lights, but the whole shebang. Mummies, the living dead, spiders, witches, vampires. This is the real thing!

Friday was gorgeous and the start of our activies. 1st up? Kay's choice, horseback riding. Now if you remember, last winter Jimmy fell asleep on his horse in 30 below weather. The weather was WAY nicer and there was a crowd of people looking to spend some time in the woods, in the fall, on horseback. Billy landed the biggest horse of the bunch. Kay had Cheyenne. JImmy started to fall asleep again and I brought up the rear on Bambi. It was really relaxing and Billy declared "I liked this so much, I LOVED IT!"

We followed this rigorous outdoor activity with a Chinese buffet lunch (yum) before off ot our next activity - Zoo Boo (Billy's choice). I miscalculated this one. Didnt bring a treat bag and forgot (or didnt realize) the kids costumes. I also forgot the camera. The whole place was decorated for Halloween, they had a Freaky Forest ride and a candy trick or treat stop at every animal. It was super fun (and a great way to get loaded up on candy:))Jimmy adored the Freaky Forest and is convinced he's going to work in a place like that when he's in high school (basically, its a hay ride through a forest with high school students dressed uplike the undead pretending to run around and kill each other - nice).

Dinner was my choice - Fish Fry. All I have to say is...there is nothing like a Wisconsin fish fry, eaten at the bar in downtown DePere:)
Saturday we woke up to rain and this presented a BIG problem. Why? Jimmy's choice was the St Norberts football. However, it was 60 degrees and raining, not something I, Sue, Kay or Billy had the slightest interest in venturing out for. Jimmy, on the other hand, "was going to GO"... After a MAJOR fit that got pitched (inclusive of me bribing, offering other options, trying to reason, etc) Sue finally relented and said she'd take him. He lasted 2 quarters "it was boring and I didnt have anyone to cheer for. AND..their "stadium" is smaller than the Hopkins high school field!" He was less than impressed. Sue tried to rectify the situation and took him past Brett Favres old house and to Lambeau field. For those of you that follow football, keep in mind the Packers were playing the Vikings the next day and the tailgaters were already camped out. Jim Taylor (retired Packer) was also there signing autographs. Jimmy was sure to tell him his prediction that the Vikings were going to beat the Pack by 3. Needless to say, Jimmy didnt come home with an autograph.

That night we had a MAJOR debate on where to do for dinner - the boys wanted pizza and Kay wanted nachos. Not many places cater to both such refined tastes. Our solution, a fond childhood memory of mine...Happy Joes. Its a pizzeria type, arcade, salad bar, kind of place. It was crowded and loud and had free refills on soda. Sue and I have 2 beers and wished their had free refills on that as well. In fact, Sue commented "now I know why you dont like to take them out to eat". 'nough said.

Sunday was a lazy morning (still raining) with reading, the newspaper, coffee, homework and a final viewing of Connie Gumper before we headed off on our 5 hour trip back to MPLS. The ride home was relatively uneventful with the exception of the fact that we passed no less than 15 buses heading to Lambeau from Minneapolis AND the kids insisted on KFC for lunch. I drove around Chippewa Falls aimlessly for 15 min's before I found it (keep in mind, its hard to get lost in Chippewa Falls). The kids were so excited, they insisted on a photo with the Cornel (just so that you dont think I am one of those mom's that takes their kids photo with every creepy cardboard cut out, they really did insist...)

We got home in time to unpack and relax before Daddy arrived toting gifts and before the kick off of the big game. Once again, we were a house divided with Jimmy in his Favre vikings jersey and Kay in her Packer cheerleading outfit. No matter the outcome of the game, 1/2 the house was either going to be happy or mad.

So it it goes....

(THANK YOU SUE! for your hospitality, taking 4 Loudamericans and their dog and for your infinite patience with chaos. We love you!)

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sue cheers on Jimmy's last game

It is hard to believe the 3rd grade football season has drawn to an end. It was quite amazing to watch over the 8 weeks as these boys poured their hearts and souls into their team.
The season started with complaining about teammates and positions. The season ended with theses boys coming together to become Hopkins Blue Crush finishing 4-3-1 and compared to the 3rd grade team of last season which ended 0-8. Tracy and I, along with 19 other sets of parents, are nothing but proud of these boys and this team. Watch this video if you need more proof:

The final game was a combined effort and on the receiving end was St. Louis Park, final score Blue Crush 34 St. Louis Park 6 - look out next year!. Jimmy got a couple of tackles, a sack and grabbed the running back by his shirt sleeve and threw him to the ground, nothing but steak and potatoes for our boy!
Sue could not believe the determination and team work the boys showed. She kept saying "I have been to a lot of grade school games where kids are not really aware of the score or who's ball it is and Jimmy's team was awesome"!.

Side note: Kay will not give Jimmy the spotlight for more than a couple of minutes and as we were congratulating him on the season she came out dressed as th Wicked Witch of the East, you know the one that the house dropped on! (she has the hat, dress, socks and ruby slippers - its the whole 9 yards)

Jimmy was given the award for most team spirit and being the kid that REALLY does not like to lose. As a first time football parent and for the most part first time football participant, I am impressed and proud of our son Jimmy. He gave his all on every play in every game, cried when he won and balled when he lost. His devotion and dedication is something we all can learn from.

We will forever remember Jimmy's first year in football and we look forward to many more.
To get his team mates ready for the games Jimmy invented the cheer in the video at the beginning of the blog and here is one of his last plays of this year:

It is important to note that Jimmy's cousin Ben was the person who first got Jimmy into football and now the two of them are on the same team and the same squad, Jimmy plays on the line and Ben plays as QB and the two of together are priceless.

Thanks for a great season and GO BLUE CRUSH!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Football Update

The 2010 season is drawing to a close. The Hopkins 3rd grade Team Blue Crush has been playing their hearts out and have been coming up empty handed. The record is now4 and 3.

Jimmy has been driving off the line and creating holes for Ja'Corrian and the team has been running into opposition with as much heart as Blue Crush. The battle on the field as always intense and the commitment of the players is awesome. Blue Crush lost a tough battle against Minnetonka losing 35 to 30. This Minnetonka team is the best of the 6 teams fielded by the Skippers this season and the Skippers Coach was quoted as saying " The Hopkins team is the only to team score on us this year" and " Blue Crush was one play away for handing us our first loss"

Blue Crush came off the tough loss to face the first of two St. Louis Park teams. This past Saturday as the team gathered on the home turf to do battle there was one addition normally not needed in October football in Minnesota, sunscreen. Game time temperature of near 80 degrees! The boys were soaking wet in sweat by the end.

The first half was a defensive battle, Jimmy put two tackles into the records books, one a finger tackle and one a shoestring tackle. He literally had the running back by the finger and pulled him downed, followed by getting his hand on another kids shoestring and bringing him down. It is not pretty but a stat is a stat. Halftime Hopkins 6 Cardinals 7.

The Crush came out strong in the third quarter however the cardinals scored late in the quarter and Blue Crush held them at the line for no extra point score Hopkins 6 Cardinals 13.

No matter to the spirited Hopkins lads as they took control late in the game. Under 2 minuets remaining Jimmy and the Crush Squad took the field. Jimmy laid open a hole for "J" Ben handed off the ball and "J" was gone for a 45 yard run. The ball was on the 5 yard line with first and goal for Hopkins. Three plays later it was 3rd and 25. The tension was thick as Jimmy (now over center) squares up, points his finger to the zone and hikes the Ball to Ben. Ben once again finds his favorite offensive weapon " J" and hand offs the ball. "J" busts through the line following Jimmy who puts an open field hit on the line backer creating and wide open end zone , TOUCHDOWN HOPKINS!

The lads line up with 10 seconds on the clock, controversy from the sidelines - pass for 2 points and the win or run for 1 and the tie? The team lines up again with Jimmy over center, Ben has been moved to left guard, James is on right, Mike is now QB. The hike is made the Cardinals come off fast sweep around James and grab Mike around the shoulders and bring him down - no point, wait.... our savior the yellow flag makes an appearance. Horse collar repeat the down.

The line is set and this time - one gets past the boys, Mike fakes right and goes left into the end zone.... point for Hopkins. The anti savior makes an appearance... yes the yellow flag (funny how the ref is a savior on some plays and the anti savior on others...hmmmm). Holding on Hopkins, loss of down and the game. Coach Condon takes maters into his own hand and disputes the call. Holding on an interior lineman after the game is ludicrous, after further review the call on the field is reversed, Hopkins 13 Cardinals 13.

Jimmy's Stats to date:

1 forced fumble and recovery

8 QB sacks

4 Open Field Sacks

12 assists

0 yards rushing (mainly because he's not allowed to advance the ball at over 90lbs)

0 pass reception

1 Fantastic effort

The Blue Crush take the field for the final game Saturday October 16th, game time 10:30

more to come......

Monday, October 04, 2010

Kays 'Best Day EVER!'

Last night, as Kay was getting tucked in, she exclaimed "today was the BEST DAY EVER!". Now, considering some of the amazing things Kay has done/experienced, that is saying a lot. So, what made yesterday so Kay Wonderful? here's a run down....

Breakfast - Kay talks Mommy into creating breakfast into a "sea" theme. Hot dog cut like an octopus that is swimming in pasta "shells" with veggies that are the fish

Mid Morning - helping Daddy tear down the garden, pick up sticks, bundle them in big piles, rake under the trees and basically get dirty

Lunch -more veggies and grilled cheese with mango juice out on the deck at the picnic table

Afternoon - birthday party at the MN Zoo for Caden. It was another "Under the Sea" theme. They got to play BINGO, decorate a fish craft, learn about and pretend they were dolphins, eat cupcakes and have juice boxes

Late Afternoon - read Billy 2 books (he had to have 3 books read to him as homework and she gladly stepped in), accost Carrie (neighbor across the street) while working in the garden to help her pull horseradish, pluck eggplant and plant tulips. Looked up a recipe for homemade horseradish, rode bikes, baked brownies and (finally) took a long bath

Dinner - chalupas in a hard shell taco (her ALL time favorite she declared)

Family TV - the finale of Americas got Talent

Really, whats not to love. Pretty simple stuff for all of us - helping out, getting dirty, being creative, being in charge (aka bossing people around), learning something new, watching/experience real talent, eating great food ....

Isnt that the perfect day for all of us?!

Kay - you are too cute and wonderful. We love you!