Friday, December 28, 2012

Merry Christmas!!

What a great Christmas! I hope you all had as wonderful a holiday as we did!

1st up - cocktails and appetisers at our friends Peggy and Rod for Christmas Eve. Tom made his famous Gorgonzola venison roll and there was enough food/drinks for an army. We met even more neighbors, including "the originals". He's 90, she's 88 and they have lived in their house 50+ years. They were super cute and it was fun to here about the neighborhood and Toronto before it was a big city. The kids had a blast too playing pinball and causing general mayhem. Jimmy got the troops going and declared a family sleep over in Billy's room so that they could all wake up and head down to the tree together on Christmas morning. We also skyped with friends over a glass of wine and fell into bed excited for the next day.

Christmas day was a joy. The kids loved all their presents, were nice to each other and there was really limited fighting so...I got my Christmas wish:)  Kays letter to Santa was classic.."Dear Santa, bring me what I like...Love, Kay"

Highlights included:
Billy - Wii and Skylanders starter kit, in fact, his arm hurt the next day from too much Wii:)
Kay - TONs of make up and cooking/baking sets, we even gave Kay a drawer of her own in the kitchen. Watch out!
Jimmy - an alarm clock that projects on his ceiling (go figure, that was his favorite present) and a basketball hoop. (Took Tom and I 2 days to put together the damn hoop, 1st attempt was about 95% done when we realized it was put together backwards. Have you tried to do this in 30 degree weather?!)
Tom - Bruce Springsteen autobiography and new fondue pot
Tracy - DRUM LESSONS and sticks/practice pad - yep, I'm going to give Jimmy a run for his money, I cant wait! Jimmy, of course, is mortified:)
We lazed around all day, played Wii (Dance Disney and Resorts are our personal favorite right now), ate, read books, and oh...put together a basketball hoop. We were able to chat with all our family and it was nice to at least connect virtually.

Then, Tom got busy with a major FEAST for dinner. Smoked turkey, beef wellington, homemade greek/olive break stuffing, mashed potatoes, beans, salad, dessert, etc etc...  Tom, Danica and their 2 kids (Isaac -8 and Nora -6) along with our neighbors Peter and Wendy and their 2 kids (Isaac -2 and Miles - 8 weeks) ate like kings. It was so so yummy! The kids watched Christmas movies, played Wii and everyone cried when it was time to go home.  Ahhh....

Yesterday was our 1st Boxing Day experience (think Black Friday) and I ventured out with the kids as their Christmas money/gift cards were burning a hole in their pockets.  Holy cow, the stores were wreaked!  It was a mob scene but the kids got what they wanted (Billy = more skylanders, Kay = more make up, Jimmy = Madden 13 for his PS3).  I made homemade turkey soup and Tom did a mean fish fry then we all headed downstairs for a dance competition on Dance Disney Wii. Lets just say Billy's got "the moves like Jagger" and handily beat us all! snowed!! YEAH!!! We got about 6 inches of snow and its just gorgeous. Feels like winter break:). The kids went sledding with the neighbors in a ravine behind the school and had a blast.

Then it was off to the Sound of Music Sing-a-long, what a hoot. The theatre was packed and everyone was way into it, there were people in costumes. The best costumes won prizes, Mr. Maria and a nun with a beard!We all received a bag of props and let's just say that we will never view the movie the same again!

It was an interactive experience, including ...booing at Nazis, cheering Maria, quacking when Nun's are on the screen, waving a swatch of fabric and yelling "look behind you!" when she is in her bedroom asking the Captain for get the picture. Super fun and as JImmy said "I didnt know The Sound of Music was so funny!"  Might become our new holiday tradition while in Toronto...

Tomorrow we are heading to Michigan to hook up with my parents and my sister/her family at my parents cottage. We have 2 days of ski school planned and a birthday party for Georgia at an indoor water park on the schedule. Layer on top of that football, skating, snowshoeing, ice skating and sledding and we have a  really fun winter vacation ahead of us.                 

Until next year!! Hope you ALL were with loved ones, enjoying each other and taking care of yourselves.
Peace, love and Happy New Year:)

Sunday, December 23, 2012

holiday concerts

'Tis the time of year for Christmas/holiday concerts and this year the Murphys were in full force.

To start: Cameron PSS: Kays class sang 2 songs "Happy Christmas" by John Lennon and "Do they know its Christmas" by BareNakedLadies.

Billys class did "Jingle Bells" with a little Gangam style action in the middle (he's flanked by his buddies Misha and William)

Then, at assembly, Kay won an award at school "Student of the Month" for Kindness and Caring. We are so proud of her we could burst. We also wish she'd bring some of that home...

Then, we all headed down to the Distillary District for a traditonal German Christmas street festival. It was REALLY cool but not an original idea and Tom/Tracy decided that next year it would be a date night venture. We saw Santa and Jimmy peppered him with questions on if he was "real" or not. Jimmy probably really believed in Santa until about 6 weeks ago but now, with his Grade 6 buddies, is too cool for all that. The hard part is, being as talkative and extroverted as he is, he's ramping up to ruin it for Kay and Billy. Kay has always had her suspicions (remember Christmas in India when she cried "But why is Santa Daddy!?!" and the boys looked at her like she had a 3rd eye.).  Billy thinks Jimmy is crazy and this is one of those times I'm thankful he lives in his own little world.

Then, it was the piano/drum recital with their music school. I love that 80% of the kids are Asian and so much talent! (the non-Asian kids are russian, greek and Indian - not a north american caucasian in sight except for Tom/Tracy - we LOVE how diverse Toronto is!!)  The kids all did great and Jimmy rocked the house and was the only one on the docket 3 times (piano, drums and a band)

Kay played  San Franciso Trolley
Billy played Jack in the Bean Stalk
Jimmy played  Joshua fought the Battle of Jericho on piano,  an original drum solo and his band played "Girl, I really got you now" by the Kinks..

All in all, they all did great! so proud of their courage to stand up and perform:)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

And now the rest of the story...

Billy's Birthday part 2... as it were. Being that OL' Bill's real birthday fell during the week we scheduled the party for the weekend so as not to disappoint the birthday boy and his posse.
Bill woke up having spent the better part of the night on his first " cram session" trying to get his new Lego Creation done, he finished a bit after mid-night and was a tad slow off the draw but it was PARTY time so we got the rally cap out and prepared.

Seems Bill has surrounded himself with like minded or in the this like case, short-term attention challenged, like mindedness and the group of the had a ball. It was a real goat rodeo around the house this morning with who is being dropped off, who are we picking up and who is even coming. The rally started out a bit hectic but when the dust settle everyone was safely inside Chuck E Cheese's with tokens, sugar and games, WHEW!

Billy invited 6 kids from his school along with a family friend, a son of one of Tracy's co-workers, our neighbor Josh and Billy's 2 adorable siblings, really! The group did Chuck's place in grand style and gathered many precious heirlooms of molded plastic that will be cherished for about 10 minutes then discarded in favor of the next best thing.

In all fairness, it was a great birthday party, Billy was on cloud 9 and his friends all seemed to get along. Play-dates and sleep overs on the horizon hugs to all and many thanks were exchanged.

Happy 8th Birthday Billy we love you!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Have cupcakes, will travel or in other words - Happy Birthday Billy!

Yesterday Billy turned 8 and BOY did he have a 10 thumbs up day! 

His day started by a "Happy Birthday Bill" yelled from Jimmy (leaving for school) to Billy (getting dressed in his room).  Tracy went into the work late and had bacon and mandu (Korean potstickers) for breakfast with Billy (his choice).  He was able to open 1 gift (from Nikki) before Tracy dropped he/Kay off for school.  A 3 pack of Hot Wheels "balls" (Hot Wheels cars that somehow fold into a ball - engineering of kids toys these days, I tell you!). The rest of the presents were eagerly anticipated for after school.

In Canada (unlike Golden Valley) are you allowed to bring treats in for your birthday so Billy was VERY popular with this 2 dozen vanilla mini cupcakes. He even managed to contain his excitement/energy of the day and got a green smiley face and "Happy Birthday" note form his teacher. 

Then, post school, it was off to TKD and MORE cupcakes. The stopped the practice session early to sing/wish Billy a Happy Birthday and more cupcakes were passed out. On top of that!! He got his sparring equipment yesterday. This is huge and he's super excited to get even further "into" TKD.

While he was at TKD, Kay was busy making brownies (Billys favorite and another request) for dessert.

We all headed out to a new Korean restaurant to celebrate (again, Billy's choice) and - oh my gosh - we have a new favorite restaurant in Toronto. The food was unbelievable!  As always, the kids ate like we never feed them and there wasnt a grain of rice left when we were done. In a total turn of coincidence, this place has Duk Kalbi - a spicy BBQ chicken dish that we had for the 1st (and only) time in Korean when we picked up Billy 8 years ago. We've been on a constant search for it since but never to any avail. But not now!  We have found it!  It was as wonderful as we remember too. If you come visit, we'll take you, promise!!

Billy opened presents while we were waiting for the food to come and he can hardly wait to build his new Lego set, open his Bey Blades and play with his new games on his new PSP. AND< he's already mentally spent the $ he got as a gift on new games/toys. THANK YOU to everyone that sent notes/cards/gifts. They were perfect!

We raced back home, sang Happy Brithday and ate brownies. Then, off to bed (it is a school night after all!)  He has his kid party on SuUnday at Chuck E Cheese, so no worries, the festivities havent eneded yet:)           

Billy, we love you! We love how analytical, mechanical, kind, funny, crazy, silly, cuddly, loving, caring and special you are.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Long weekend update

Just as we are hitting our pre-Christmas manic stride (why is it always a race to the holidays?!) the Ontario school board gifted us with a 3 day weekend (PA weekend). In all honesty, the school district has a planned 3 day weekend for each month the kids are in school. Not a bad idea, but this one snuck up on us. Actually, that was a blessing in disguise.We took major advantage!

Wednesday night - Billy got his yellow belt!  Go Billy Go! Master Ted says Billy is a very intelligent boy but now, things get serious. Yellow belt is when you really have to buckle down in TKD.  He coached Billy that he'll need to pay even closer attention and not squirrel around so much. It also means badges on your uniform (Canadian flag and Korean flag as well as the patch from the dojo).  The badges take up most of the uniform and I"m not sure where we'll put our US flag and dojo patch when we move back. The patches are adult size on a small kid size uniform. Very cute. It also means he'll start sparring and you ALL know what that means, sparring equipment. To the tune fo a couple hundred dollars, we will soon be the proud owners of full body sparring gear. Size kids small. Very useful indeed. I think this is also the slow slide into competition. We'll see where that lands us but...everyday when we ask Billy what his favorite part of the day is, he answers "Tae Kwon DO!!" So, in for a penny, in for a pound.

Thursday night  - Kays at gymnastics, we have a quick dinner fo pizza/leftovers, take the dog to the doggy daycare and pack up the car. No, we arent leaving her behind (although there were a few occasions on Friday that made us wish we had) we were setting off to pick her up from class and head out of town. Our destination for the long weekend getaway?  Waterloo. Now, for those in the Twin Cities, that would similar to trip to Rochester, garnering a big "WHY?" from all of Tracys co-workers. Our response? Why not?!  We pulled in late and then stayed up later watching cooking shows on 1 TV and sports on the other (the hotel didnt have an extra cot so they comp'ed us an ajoining room - sweet!) Kay and Tracy learned to make the perfect English Christmas dinner (Thank you to the Naked Chef - Jamie whats his name and the Hells Kitchen guy ....)

Friday, we had BIG plans...1st, off to see the Mennonite community and little artisian town for lunch. We walked through the maple syrup and Hardware/Home museum (yep, there is a hardware museum in St Jacob Ontario).  We stopped at a roadside farmers market and bought all our teacher Xmas gifts (peanut and chocolate concoctions) Then, after lunch, it was off to the Waterloo Regional Museum. They had a pioneer village (circa 1914) and we learned all about an English Christmas (continuing with the theme) a German Christmas and a Mennonite Christmas. Every  building we toured there was someone to greet us, in traditional clothes, and talk about their traditions. I think the blacksmith was the kids favorite.  After that, inside to the innovation center. It was cool, lots of interactive activities and some local history/heros.  We actually spent almost and entire afternoon there.

Friday night, what else, but the local playhouse version of Annie. The kids LOVED it and it was actually a really good production with highly talented people. Unfortunately, it ended at 10pm and we hadnt had dinner yet AND all the local places were closed (remember, Mennonite country). Never fear, take out from St Loius Ribs, more Christmas cooking shows and the 2nd 1/2 of a really lame made for TV Christmas movie from the early 2000's.  Once again, up way too late but able to sleep in. Love long weekends...

Saturday we let the kids sleep in, stopped at Tim Hortons for donuts/coffee and were on our way home. Had to get home in time to get Tom to school. Tracy took the kids to Kirons hockey game and then we met Tom, Priya, John, Kiron and Sohanna for dinner at Jack Astors - the ultimate sports bar thats kid friendly (think Champps on steriods).  We subwayed home, were back by 9pm and it gave us just enough time to catch up on the latest episode of GLEE. (yep, we are major Gleeks)   

Now, Sunday is all about homework, piano, drums, lounging in PJ's, Vikings game, etc.  VERY low key day. If we decide to get dressed, I think we'll go get a tree.

Need to rest up - Billy turns 8 on Tuesday:)

Thursday, December 06, 2012

2012n Football Banquet Go Grizzlies!!!

OMG the season that would never end, not to mention it was a great season but it's December for Goodness sake....

Just when you thought the holiday blogs would be upon you with the HO HO HO, football is right back at ya! This past weekend was the much anticipated Football Banquet and the Santa Claus Parade, in that order.

Saturday morning we headed over to the North York Memorial hall for the Grizzlies year end banquet, awards ceremony and the chance to listen to each  pf the coaches go on and on and on.
There are three divisions on the Grizzlies, the Atoms, ages 6-8, who were runners up in the tournaments, the Bantams, 12 and up, who were not and then the Peewees 10-12 and your....(drum roll)  COMFL 2012 Champions! Jimmy was in his element, hanging with his teammates, a little one on one time with the coaches and a chance to go on stage and receive his trophy, and celebrate the first time in 33 years that Coach Clarke was able to yet again raise the trophy in victory. Coach Clarke being a very responsible and level headed person and not to mention THE Coach kept his speech short stating, " you see victory is a circular thing, I won 33 years ago and hope in another 33 years I am standing before you again!" Funny too.

The banquet was all you would imagine, pizza, chicken wings, lasagna, salad dozens of desserts and more, or perhaps you may have imagined something different. The time came to eat and it was 'everyone for themselves', literally the food was attacked like there was no tomorrow and when the dust settles there was more food left than ate and each family brought home an entire large pizza, fun! There were the normal speeches and awards however one that stood out for us was the True Grit Award, given in honor of one of the Grizzle Alumnus who was lost in an army training exercise. The award is not for the best offensive player or the best defensive player or special teams, the award is for the player that shows up practice after practice, game after game, and gives all his effort, every play, practice or game and is their because they love football, now that is an award to aspire too! It has nothing to do with raw talent, its all about passion.  The winner on Jimmys team was JP, his team mate that lost his mom this summer but was at pratice and every game, rain or shine. Seiriously brought a tear to the coaches eye (and ours too!).  Jimmy and we were really proud of all the award winners.

The next day Jimmy and Tom headed off to the parade in the rain, yea you have to love those December rains, brings the brown out in everything. The parade was much more attended than we thought it would be and the kids had a blast. Tracy, Thing 1 & Thing 2 came to cheer the marchers on and we all were treated to really bad pizza and a monstrous fit from Kay, special!

Now if that is not enough, as I mentioned in the previous post regarding the teachers and their love of prop115, they have announced they will strike "sometime soon" (read inbetween the lines:  when it is the most disruptive to everyone). That being said, Jimmy was part of a sit-out/strike, meaning they sat out on the playground after lunch protesting the lack of extra curricular activities. They wanted to make a point and vowed they would stay outside long after the bell rang (got to love big groups of middle school kids). They were fairly focused and the kids were even chanting, "Canada is getting fat and not having extra curricular activism is adding to the obesity", nothing like getting to heart of the matter. The school was fairly supportive and the Principal finally convinced the kids that because it was cold outside they could come into the lunch room and continue their peacefully demonstration there, it went back and forth and finally the kids acquiesced. The kids were respectful, peaceful and focused their strike on the lack of activities not on the teachers. Pretty mature actually.

However once they entered the lunch room the janitor was cleaning up and put the kibosh on the strike stating " The room is already cleaned go strike somewheres else! ( Loosely translated it means  "Stay off my grass you damn kids!")

Jimmy was so amped up the night before: excited, scared, empowered, organized. As a parent it was really fun to see them think and stand up for themselves in a thoughtful way. They are right, they are missing an important part of their school experience, they should express their disatisfaction.  Jimmy was worried about getting expelled, suspended, that we'd be mad, etc... We assured him, if he handled himself respectfully about the topic (not making it personal with the teachers) and stayed peaceful... that we'd actually be proud. And, we were!  What a great 1st experience in expressing yourself and being heard! Little change agents in the making...     Look out WORLD!!

This letter came home in Jimmy's backpack both real and electronic:

November 30th, 2012

Dear Parents/Guardians:

This afternoon, some of our students participated in a demonstration to express their views about the teachers’ response to recently passed government legislation. This demonstration began at 12:15pm continued until 1:15pm.

While some of our students were in the building and attending classes, we did have other students participating in this demonstration. This was not a school or TDSB-sanctioned event. Learning continued in classrooms for the students who remained.

A top priority at Willowdale MS is safety. To that end, staff members that were not in class joined Mr. Bozin and I to monitor students on the back field. This was a peaceful demonstration and students conducted themselves respectfully and responsibly, which is the Willowdale way. The demonstration ended without incident and students resumed regularly scheduled classes.

Yours in partnership,

A. Caccamo M. Bozin

Principal Vice-Principal


Friday, November 30, 2012

Couple of rants and a rave or two

Well the Thanksgiving Holiday, or lack there of, came and went without any real consequence, the only  to note is that the Christmas Holiday Season is upon us. The exterior of the house is lit, simply because it has been rather warm and Tracy suggested that I get the lights up while the getting is good.

We have this light switch/ timer thing that is a royal pain in the ass. It seems that an electrical engineering degree is needed to operate the thing. The Christmas lights come on every morning promptly at 5:00 am and stay on until dusk at which time they no longer come on. Damn inconvenient if you want to  see the lights, I mean getting up at 5 am is for the birds. We have tried to disconnect the switch, reprogram it for different times all to no avail so if we want the lights on at night we have to manually use the switch that is on a timer, like I said PITA!

I have mentioned a couple of times about the driving situation here in Toronto. To prove my point I will paraphrase the local paper, if paraphrase doesn't work I will call it writers privilege:

A few weeks back it seems that a pedestrian was stuck by an unnamed vehicle, while the pedestrian, now at this point laying prone and unconscious, so technically no longer a pedestrian, was struck by another vehicle. The driver of the first vehicle left the scene while the driver of the second vehicle having noticed they  ran over " the pedestrian", remained at the scene, and called the police. The following statement is true, I mean you can't make stuff like this up: The police arriving on the scene ran over the " prone pedestrian", again, seriously.
 Wonder who they are going to charge and with what?

Kay was on a terror last week having to bake something nearly every waking moment. She was finally satiated when we made Pavlova, which is one of the hardest things to make specifically because you need patience, Kay is 9 need I say more. After having to restrain her I was able to get the egg whites to listen, God knows the kids don't! I will say that fortunately or unfortunately Kay has mastered the art of making homemade whipped cream. Which is a blessing I suppose because the cream doesn't last very long around here neither does the vanilla essence but who wants to be responsible for years of therapy because you denied the budding artist their medium, oops sorry I digress.

We are in the middle of labor disputes among the teachers union, the school board and the government of Ontario. The teachers are unhappy about a piece of legislation called Bill 115, which basically eliminates the teachers ability to negotiate, maybe Ontario legislators followed the case from Wisconsin a couple years back and figure hey why not! Well the kids in Jimmy's school seemingly have had enough of no extra circular activities and have decided to strike today. It appears they have launched a campaign via facebook, got to love social media and kids access to it, to  all meet by the 8 graders lunch area ( after lunch of course, who wants to strike on an empty stomach) and peacefully sit down to strike the lack of after school sports programs, and to be effective they have decided they will strike way after the bell rings!

Last piece of news to note our Mayor has been booted out of office because of a conflict of interest. He apparently used some city funds to pay for an event for his football team. Yep and when given the opportunity to repay the money and no harm no foul he said" It is the work of the left wing trying to get me out of office!" What? The ruling Judge had this to say about Mayor Ford :

“In my opinion, the respondent’s actions were characterized by ignorance of the law and a lack of diligence in securing professional advice, amounting to willful blindness,”

 On the bright side there is a bake sale at school today!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Happy Gottcha Day Kay!

Wow hard to believe that it has been 9 years since we travelled to Korea to meet and bring home Kay Marie Jeon Murphy, aka: The Pook-a-Rook!

Kay has been a blessing and continues to make sure we know that! She is a very headstrong, loving, demanding, loyal and persistent, sister, daughter, and friend. She continues to love all things non-girl, well except makeup and lip gloss. She is in the kitchen constantly creating new food concepts many of which are actually edible!

She is heavily involved in Gymnastics training and her first competitive meet is coming up early next Spring, YIKES.  She is currently working on the uneven bars and the transition/movements from the lower bar to the upper bar "just like in the Olympics Mom!" She is strong, flexible and fearless, a perfect combination for a gymnist but a ulcer in the making for us as parents

She is doing great thus far in school and has new friends, while missing her old ones, howevcer she is the best in the family dealing with change. She's always excited for a new challenge, adventure, food, experiment (her 2nd favorite thing to do outside our cooking/baking).

A HUGE thank you and loving thoughts to ALL the people that made it possible for Kay to be a part of our family.
Her birthparents, in particular her birth mom - what an impossible decision, to let someone else raise your child. We are FOREVER grateful ,thank god and they have a special place in our thoughts and prayers.

Her foster family, they loved her unconditionally with humor, grace and steadfastness for the 1st 4 months of her life. We are so grateful they gave her such a strong beginning. We know they fell in love with her and again, they have a special place in our hearts/life.

All the social workers, here and in Korea, that came before us to help smooth the way and then also worked with us directly to insure Kay was healthy, well taken care of, loved and cherished. You are our heros!!

Here are some favorite photos of Kay, in no particular order, from over the last 4 years.

Big big hugs to ALL these people!  Be sure to hug your family, its a treasure!  We love you Kay!!       

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Teacher Conferences

Its that time of year, the dreaded Teacher Conferences. I actually think Tom and I get more nervous about these than the kids do! This year was no exception. We were anxious and curious to hear how the kids were doing in school. We should have known....(cue menacing music)

Lets start at the top...

Jimmy - as you know, Jimmy needed to skip 5th grade, did not pass go, did not collect $200 and entered smack into grade 6 and middle school. Tom and I were worried about him academically but figured he'd be ok socially. Well, we were partly right. According to Mr Ianni (his homeroom and main teacher) Jimmy has easily slid into grade 6. He is very soical, friendly to everyone and has friends in every grade. This is (apparently) unusual as 6th graders are usually not confident enough to talk to the older students - not our Jimmy! He is keeping up well academically but is somewhat inconsistent. When he applies himself, he does really well (A's and B's) when he doesnt, well...he doesnt do well (go figure).  He talks non-stop and while he has curbed some of his interrupting in class, he asks a million questions and often gives the teacher advice. Mr Ianni had a hard talk with him about being distracting vs being a leader. Its up to Jimmy, he can go either way and now is the time to choose. He also needs to stop being so frustrated in gym class when other students arent as "committed" as he is. (put not so nicely, hes competitive and doesnt like it when people dont apply themselves whole heartedly to gym. Wait till he gets to high school!)

Mdme Doyle was up next, his French teacher. Given Jimmy declared at the beginning of the school year "I'm going to OWN French this year", it is his favorite class. His teacher raved about him, catching on quickly, helps others, has really creative ideas, is doing really well and excelling. She seems to love him. We had a long post conference talk about how does he act in her class vs Mr Ianni's ? can he apply some of that to his main classroom?  

After dinner he asked me, "how did you think that went?" I said, "it doesnt matter what I think, what do you think?"  J -  "Well...I think it went pretty good. There arent any new things I need to work on, no surprises and so I can just keep working on my behavior in class.  I might need to work harder at it but at least its not somehting new"  I think we are raising a perpetual optimist!

Kay - she also has adjusted really well to her new school. Her teacher says she's friends with everyone, doesnt have a "clique" but really plays with everyone. Ms Chung is somewhat surprised by this as most of these kids have been together since they were in pre-school and its a very tight knit community. She really eager and passionate to learn and isnt afraid of asking questions, getting up close and answering questions (even when she doesnt know the answer) Ms Chung loves that Kay isnt afraid of being wrong. She seems to be keeping pace with the ciriculum and is right in line with where she should be.  However, she is easily distracted and has a hard time staying focused. She needs to be redirected a number of times a day.  But, once reminded is (usually) pretty good.  You have seen in earlier posts that shes really active in class/school with reading at assembly and participating in the school songs and dances.

Billy - he's our Bill. He has some really good friends and loves everyone in class. He's a very good reader and good at math but has a hard time keeping his hands to himself. He likes to sit "right" next to people and hug them. He has an issue with personal space and is somewhat of a squirrel. Many times during a week she needs to move him to sit by himself or put him on a time out. Hes curious and loves what they are learning about (dinosaurs, math, reading, etc) Ms Cutz is VERY no nonsesnse and seems to be a really good teacher for Billy, structured and will push him hard.

So, overall, nothing we havent heard on each of them no matter the teacher or the school or the grade. I guess it just shows, we are who we are. I suspect that in their 1st job reviews they'll each get similar feedback. And, as our friends say ...Tom and I have the exact kids we should have. Nature vs Nuture, I ask you:)       

What I love is that they are curious, outgoing, agile, engaged and friendly to everyone. I wish they could monitor/pace out their behavior a bit more, but while it certainly drives me crazy (and their teacher too) I also think it'll serve them well as adults.

(Feel free to dig into the archives of this blog and read their former conferences, I think you'll find them erily similar)   

Monday, November 12, 2012

Veterans/Rememberance Day

Canada and the US share many holidays and one of them is remembering and recognizing our veterans. However, I would say, like Halloween, its a MUCH bigger deal up here. I have to wonder, in their role as peacekeepers and given their small armed forces, do they value it more than we do? Probably, which is sad but very telling of the culture of Canadians. Everyone buys and wears a red poppy of remembrance for the whole month of November.

At school, the kids were encouraged to bring in photos of family/friends that had served in the armed forces as well as donate to the poppy fund. Then, they had an all school assembly and the 4th and 5th grades were "in charge". They sang 2 songs (Free to be You and Me and Highway of Hero's). Each child wrote either a poem or a short essay on heroes.  They picked 3 kids from each grade (6 total) to read their work in front of the whole school. Kay's poem was chosen and I have to say...we are SO proud of her!  Her poem is beautiful, she practiced and did a great job reading it out loud.

The school has several parents that are in or part of the Canadian Armed Forces and one the Da\ds came dressed in his uniform and gave a very nice talk about remembrance and why it is important to remember. explaining tot he kids that sometimes remembering sometimes is painful but that should never stop us from remembering our Heroes.

To Veterans and those who have gone before us we say thank you!


Here is the written poem:

Monday, November 05, 2012

The 2012 Comfl Champs, North York Grizzlies!

While several hundreds thousand of our neighbors to the North and west of ( Minnesota) were taking to donning orange, trying to find their deer stand while remaining quiet, the Grizzlies were taking the field for the much anticipated final game.

The boys were only able to squeeze in one practice as the after effects of Sandy rained down here in Toronto causing cancellation of practice, basketball, Tae Kwon Do... However, surprisingly enough,  gymnastics took to the floor. Note to self, never mess with a gymnastic in inclement weather is on the line!

No matter practice or not, the Grizzly den was ready filled with a couple of dozen hyped up 10-12 year olds along with their parents and other fans. Tracy's co-workers made the journey to the game despite the $5.00 entry fee and the balmy 35 degree weather. The Canadian Anthem sung, the rosters read and each player acknowledged we were ready. The Grizzlies were the home team and Oshawa the visitors. The coin toss and customary hand shake between the Captains and the opposing coaching staff out pf the way it was time. The Grizzlies won the toss and elected to receive. The crowd was cheering on their perspective teams. The whistle blew and ball sailed all of about 35 yards, (mostly in the air) bounced into Maliks hands and he didn't stop until he crossed the goal line, Touchdown Grizzlies, the point's after were good! I say points after because in the Comfl they promote kicking and if you kick and make the kick you get 2 points, running or passing nets you 1.

The game progresses with the usual amount of drama. The people from Oshawa were upset by the enthusiasm our mascot showed and the left the stands to confront him, which ended peacefully but I will not say harmoniously.There were several objectionable calls from the officials on both sides, a couple of minor injuries and after the dust settle the Grizzlies lead 22 to 12 at the half.

The second half was more of the same. A couple of things to note, for the first time our mascot lost his voice, which was a shock and the game was postponed for almost 25 minutes while we waited for an ambulance. The ambulances here are dispatched in order of urgency and since one of the players on the Oshawa team had a minor neck injury the ambulance was sent out as a precaution, which means take your time, but don't use the siren or stop at Tim Horton's for coffee. That sort of took the wind out of the game. Oshawa scored a touchdown after the Grizzlies held them for 7 straight downs in a row on the Grizzlies one yard line (refer to the objectionable calls stated earlier as to why they had 7 tries to go 1 yard). End of three quarters Grizzlies 22 Oshawa 19.

The forth quarter was a defensive stand for the Grizzlies and the ball was turned over on downs with 3:35 to go. Three plays later Malick our fullback, busted up the middle then cut back to the outside and it was a race to the end zone, which he won. He attempted to kick his own points after and missed, his only real mistake of the game if you can even call it that. The Oshawa team was not to be denied. They had 2:29 in which to work and with no time on the clock scored however they missed their points after, Grizzlies 28 Oshawa 25.

The team went crazy, running all over high fives, hugs and then the line up for the presentation of the trophies. Each player on both team received a trophy and then the Grizzlies were awarded the overall Trophy! Each team had a player of the game and of course our's was Malick, with 3 of the 4 touchdowns, several sacks and his attempt to kick the points after, who else would it be?! Then the mad dash to the goal post for pictures and a chance to hold the trophy.

Well done Grizzlies!

(Jimmy asked "can I sleep with my trophy tonight?" Think the kids were excited?! :))