Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Billy Update

Bill has been keeping himself quite busy lately, I mean with school gymnastics, reading, trips to the Library and swimming lessons. Hard to find time to sit down and talk with the ol' kindergartner but I caught up with Bill during a down moment in between Zoobumafoo and Sponge Bob and being a squirrel monkey:

Bill takes swimming lessons on Monday morning however not being able to completely read yet and having no appointment book Bill needs to consult periodically which goes something like this;

"Dad do I have swimming on this day?" "Yes Bill you do", " How do you know Dad", " Because it is Monday Bill", "Oh, thanks for telling me Dad,now let's go". He has improved steadily throughout and will move from 201 to 401 next month! 2 whole levels! We are still hoping he'll wnat to join the swim team:)

Bill can also be found on Thursday morning at the gymnastics center doing round offs into cartwheels into the wall. He is getting pretty good and loves the trampoline and the balance beam. He has his friend Jordan in class and the 2 of them are a bundle of energy. He tends to turn most of what he learns at gymnastics into break dancing moves at home. He will be performing at the end of the year program, along with the rest of his class, dates and time to be announced! Should be entertaining in more than one way.

Two or three times a week Bill hits the Library. He must have the busiest Library card of any 6 year old as he checks out 6-10 books every time along with a couple of DVDs. Bill's taste run towards fast moving automobiles and space adventures in his books and for the video portion of his selections he learns towards bugs, specifically pond relate slugs, turtles and the like, he is a 6 year old boy! He loves the pbs computer games and is a pro at the self check out.

Bill has made several new friends this year in class and is finally starting to get some play dates of his own, which are fun. He and his friends tend toward the same activities, Lego's and hot wheels, awesome. Bill has been doing a great deal of reading and brings home " books" to read to Mom and Dad. He also is a good count-er and just the other night he asked " Dad can I have some frozen peas?" (As a side note our kids have somehow been tricked into believing frozen peas are the worlds greatest snack). So in response to Bill we said "sure!" and handed him a bowl. About 10 minutes later he handed us the empty bowl and exclaimed " There were 160 peas in that bowl", "How do you know that Billy?" "I kept count"

I asked Bill " So what's next" He looked at me with determination in his eyes and stated " I need to loose these training wheels!" especially now that Kay is riding without!! Look out world!!

We are proud of you Billy and we love you!

Happy Easter!!

The Bunny was exceptional this year and arrived with eggs, candy, and gum!! The bunny also brought squirt guns, kites and other outdoor goodies as spring is (sort of) here in Minnesota.

As usual Kay climbed into our bed inquiring, " Did the Bunny come?". It was two hours later when Jim and Bill climbed out of bed looking for info regarding the Bunny. Kay was losing her mind having to wait two whole hours for the boys....all the while threatening to go into their room and drag them out. Finally it was downstairs to hunt for eggs. The Bunny is quite smart and put eggs for each of the kids in a different room, leaving a note explaining who's goodies were where, also placing the eggs in the basement prohibits Nikki from getting into them, one smart Bunny. The entire hunt, 45 eggs in all last roughly 1 and a half minuets, give or take a minute. The kids were amped up and had a ball.

We had breakfast and a relaxing morning, well as relaxing as it could be, with three kids loaded up on sugar. It was a super nice day so we decided to wash the cars and the kids really got into it. Now I say super nice, it was still only 55 but the sun was out, so why not stand on a 5 gallon bucket and spray your brothers with cold water from the hose while they try to hind behind an umbrella, screaming " Do it again Kay" ...really. Only in Minnesota.

We put a turkey on the smoker and let it cook all day, got to the gym, a long bike ride, walked Nikki while Billy and Kay rode their bikes and Tom and Jimmy played one on one basketball.

We were in the process of getting dinner ready when Jimmy found the movie Titanic on TV. For those of you who follow the blog you know all about the recent trip to Iowa and the Titanic exhibit. For those who do not, long story short.... on our trip to Davenport a few weeks ago we went to the Titanic exhibit, which featured the people who travelled on the fatal voyage. When you go into the exhibit you are given a boarding pass which contains all the information about the travelers, and you get to be one of those people for the tour. The kids were enthralled with this and have been wanting to watch the movie ever since. So we "broke the rules" and moved the TV in place so we could watch the movie while we ate, the kids were very well behaved, and the dinner was fun. The only problem is that the movie is 4 hours long and it was a school night, no matter, break one rule, break em all, so we stayed up and watched the movie until it ended around 10:30. It was fun to watch after having been at the exhibit too, they kept commenting "oh that's me" "I remember ...." etc - glad they were paying attention at the museum!

That was not, however, the end. Both Kay and Jimmy had nightmares and ended up in our bed. Lesson Learned: preview movies about momunental death before you show them to your 9, 7, and 6 year olds.

The day was awesome and a very fun quiet family Easter. We hope Easter was full of love and joy for everyone.

The Loudamericans

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hello Mother Hello Father Here I am at Camp ....

Yes the annual Boy Scouts camp out and spring snow storm have arrived again. This past Saturday morning we woke up to 35 degree weather along with 3 inches of fresh new fallen snow! Perfect timing as Jimmy and I were packing for the Boy Scout overnight, YIPPEE!!!

Seriously this is the second year of two years that the overnight has been plagued by snow, wind, ice and freezing temps, I mean this is the boy Scouts not Seal training. We loaded as many blankets, sleeping bags and long underwear we could carry and it was off to Baker Park, a mere 20 minutes from the house.

The group arrived at high noon, we all set up our tents, arranged them and got the beds set up and then headed off for survival training, well in a sense we went to meet the Docent whom was scheduled to spend the afternoon with us in the woods. The fella we met was one of the smarter of the group when he explained because of the weather and the impending high winds, we would have a shortened afternoon. He taught the boys how to respect the woods, leave no trace and perhaps, at least for this day, how to build a fire. Because of the high winds and potential sleet, we were allowed to use matches instead of the o' tried and true method of rubbing sticks together. I questioned this as the energy produced from rubbing the sticks together would help the numbness in my hands but I was overruled.

The session ended, no one was injured and best off all the woods remained without a trace of our presence, well done boy's!. The rest of the afternoon was spent trying to stay warm as the boy's play football. It is amazing to me as all of us were standing around watching the kids wearing all the clothes we brought, complaining about this and that and in the midst of all this there stands Jimmy in a t-shirt and a pair of jeans sweating and complaining that he is hot.

That evening for dinner each of us brought a "component" of the main meal. the goal was to get the scouts to make their own foil pack dinner and then make one for their parent. I was surprised how well this turned out and jimmy did a great job. I said to him "Hey Jim. Nice job with my foil pack", to which he replied " Come on Dad I know what you like" Wow, never knew he was paying attention. There was a program after dinner called the Arrow of Light, which is a ceremony honoring the Webelo's as they transition to Boy Scouts, due to the highly secretive aspect of the scouts no further information regarding the ceremony can be revealed.

It was lights out and heavy wind on, as we settled into our tents to brace the long night of cold temps and shivering kids. I noticed in the middle of the night (as I headed off to the bathroom), the clouds had cleared making the sky full of beautiful stars and a full moon, which here in Minnesota means only one thing, low 20's. I mentioned earlier that we were only 20 minutes from home, what was keeping us here? I think that fact that Jimmy weighs about 110 lbs and I could not carry him the 100 or so yards to the car.We lasted until about 6:45 am at which time it was up and at 'em. I noticed when we climbed out of the tent that several of the campers had left during the night. The strong winds must have hidden the sound of the cars starting or much more likely the Fellas pushed their cars down the hill jumped in and made a quiet get away so as not to have to endure the ridicule that would be forth coming.
The event for the most part was a success, Jimmy enjoyed himself, received a couple of new badges and we drew a line through another item on the road to becoming a full fledged Boy Scout. They say three is a trend so we will have to wait until next year!

Boy Scout Motto used for this event PMA, Positive Mental Attitude.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Happy Gotcha Day Jimmy!

Mr. Davis, Jimmy's second grade teacher and the parking lot heavy, pulled me aside the other day to inquire" Kay says there is a Korean celebration tonight at your house, what is the celebration?" I replied "Gotcha day!" Mr. Davis, being in charge of the parking lot, can do a mean deer in the headlight look, so I explained "Gotcha Day is a celebration we do for the kids celebrating the day we brought each of them home from Korea" to which he replied " Gotcha", with a big smile.

(Photo of Jimmy at his 1st Cmas with us:))

So it is hard to believe our 'little' Jimmy came home 9 years ago and has not stop growing, eating, talking and providing us love, joy and happiness everyday. His inquisitive mind is swirling with questions, insight and observation and his heart is full, of determination, commitment and care for his friends and love for his family.

Jimmy is just beginning his first baseball season, finishing up this years Boy Scouts, taking the Minnesota Comprehensive Exams at school and building wrestling rings in our front yard. He used some old boxes, bungee cords and tent poles.... watch out WWE. He stated that this is a proto type, he is planning on talking his parents out of one of the mattresses in the house for the mat and using our best towels for turn buckles....

Once again, this year we met Hayden and his family for our traditional celebration, as many of you know Hayden and Jimmy came home together, at Broadway pizza. Jimmy and Hayden continue to be great friends and it appears each year Jimmy is twice as tall as Hayden.

We had a cake, of course made and decorated by Kay, watched videos of Jimmy as a baby and after seeing himself, as a round mound of sound, he laughed, "Hey, look that's me, I was big". The time does fly and the kids grow and change but the one constant is the love and smiles they give us everyday!

Happy Gotcha Day to Jimmy, and kids everywhere! We love you!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Kay Update

Kay has been spending the winter studying up a storm, so much so, that when grades came out last week we were blown away. Kay had changed several marks this report card and posted all A's, yep major good work Kay!

Along with school she has been concentrating on her gymnastics and in the test last week she again jumped a level, that is her third jump this year, IMPRESSIVE!

Kay continues to sharpen her pack rat skills, much to the chagrin of her Mom and Dad, and she maintains inventory control like now one else. If we can not find something all we need to say is ' Kay do you know where... is?' and she gives the precise location. Barbie, Paula Dean and Taylor Swift continue as role models and the oven is getting a serious work out.

This just in, literally. Kay lost another tooth. While getting ready for bed and brushing her teeth, out it came. " Mom , Dad I lost my tooth". A picture is worth a million words!

Last but not least, last Saturday, Kay decided that she was going to learn to ride her bike without training wheels, the video below tells it all! (A major motiviation was learning to do this before her younger -but not so much littler brother- Billy).

Way to go Kay we love you and are very Proud of all you do!

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Davenport or Bust

Spring break arrived and the kids were super excited to head down to Iowa, to Davenport, to see where Sue and Jim, aka, Aunt Sue and Grandpa Jim were born and raised, well.... up to a point.

The trip down was pretty uneventful thanks to full on electronics for each of the kids. One has to ponder then affects of electronics versus conversation or lack there of, I mean the contraptions do keep the kids attention but effect the child's ability to hear. Enough of that, we made the trip in 5 1/2 hours, no stops and arrived in town just in time to hit the kids favorite on the road dinner buffet, Golden Corral. Now I must point of the PSA: not all Golden Corrals are alike. Jimmy was saddened by the lack of quality fried chicken and the limited soda selections, ie; no Dr. Pepper. Kay was in heaven with grits, potato bar, fried fish and a block long dessert bar. Bill can take or leave food at any given point. The grown ups were sorely disappointed in the lack of adult beverages but in the end, that's probably a good thing. The hotel was great and clean and besides locking ourselves out of our own room and having to use a hammer and straight bar to get in...very comfortable.

Friday began with the second all you can eat meal. You see we chose carefully grasshopper when we travel and the AmericInn has a hot all you can eat breakfast featuring Belgium waffles!

Once the troops were fortified it was off to see Davenport. When asked " Kids what do you want to do today" The reply in a chant was "we are here for Sue!", which we were but it was nice for the kids to acknowledge the fact. So off to the house were Sue and Grandpa Jim's Grandma and Grandpa live. It was fortunate the the person who now owns the home was there and Sue and Kay went in to look around. Sue says it is just like she remembered, with a few 20th century updates of course. Next we traveled across town to the home where Sue and Jim grew up, which was right around the corner from the grade school. Jimmy was impressed by the size of the school and the several basketball hoops.

Next came a trip to the different cemeteries, where we were unable to locate one set of Grandparents. However not for lack of trying. The caretaker must have thought we were nuts as Jimmy was reading from the medical dictionary as to determine the cause of death, oh some 80 years ago or so. The caretaker did get a small chuckle as we uncovered in the list of attendees that one of them had died from falling in a bread mixer back in 1915! We then headed over to visit the graves of Sue and Jim's mom and dad and the other set of Grandparents and lucked out ... we were able to locate them! The kids stayed in the car as they were being loud and were afraid of waking the dead.

Next up lunch, at Happy Joe's. Yep... all you can eat pizza! they even had an omelet pizza but no one got past the sausage and pepperoni to give it a try. Then we were off to the Titanic exhibit which was really fun. They give you a boarding pass, but no life jacket, and you get to pretend that you are one of the original passengers. The boarding pass gives you all the info about the person, where they were from where they were going, where they stayed on board and like that. When you exit the exhibit there is a board that show who was lost and who was saved. It is really done nicely and we followed up with a movie in the Imax theater about the Titanic. It was somewhat of a let down to the kids as the movie was about the recovery of the artifacts and not so much about the voyage. That night the kids and Sue had take out Korean food, for Davenport Iowa, not bad.... Sue watched the kids and we had a nice quiet dinner out and alone! Ahhh....

Saturday was about green, that is John Deer Green. The John Deer museum was fun and interactive even though we almost lost Bill, several times. Then we headed out to the Amory, which was very cool. All the weapons the army have used over the years are there and they were all made in Davenport. We stopped by the park where Sue and Jim played as kids and of course Jimmy and Bill got into a pick up football game with two other kids, a 12 year old and a 7 year old. Jimmy had the size but not the speed. Bill can take a hit but he is a bit of a bleeder, we will leave the score out it for now.

After the park it was time for the other main attraction, no trip to Davenport is complete without a stop at Maid Rite, world famous loose meat sandwich. This particular establishment is billed as the best in Davenport because they still have the original cast iron cooker, WOW. None of got Dehli belly so they must keep their hygene up appropriately.

Sue took us out to eat at a Ruby Tuesdays which Jimmy exclaimed "the best meal of his life!". I suppose 2 Dr. Peppers, his own Asian chicken wings, an adult chicken sandwich along with his team Butler winning in the final 4 may have influenced the vote.

Sunday we headed home as the final act of spring Break 2011 was about to begin. This long awaited, Parent despised, kid heaven event goes by the name of WRESTLEMANIA! Yes, we rushed home from Iowa only to head over to our friends house for the mecca of wrestling. We had put off the decision to watch as long was we could and falling under pressure of enormous proportions we gave in. In the long run it may have turned out a blessing as the event was awful, from the kids point of view and talk of wrestling has gone down considerably since, coincident? I think not. Thank you to the wrestling gods!!!

Monday was back to reality and school. Sue headed home and we want to say" We are here for Sue!" and were glad to make the trip. It was fun to hear her stories about growing up and actually see the sites. Plus, it just goes to show, the Loudamericans can find fun anywhere:)

We love you Sue!