Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Summer camps Week 1

Here's a story about 3 children all leading very charmed lives, summer vacations camps, all to their liking,
the youngest one in LEGO'S........  (I totally want my kids life....)

Ok so this past week was the first week of summer camps for the kids, this year they each have 3 weeks of camps, and still find time to complain.

He spent the week in LEGO camp with 15 of his newest and best buddies creating LEGO creations, fighting fierce battles and even managing to make a trip or two the local park. The fierce pace of LEGO building needs to be set aside for some outside playing and revamping the mental prowess for the afternoon sessions. Billy built transforming, expanding and even giant LEGO projects, and at one point he combined his two favorite things and made a LEGO chess set he love it! (yes, its also called nerd camp....)  The camps run from 9:00-3:00 and Billy would promptly fall asleep in the car on the way to get Kay!

Note: we promptly signed up for a second week in Aug.

The Chef Upstairs was her daily destination and Chef Michelle greeted Kay each day with a hug and asked her if she was ready for another day of cooking fun! Kay was armed with a notebook into which she wrote all the recipes and even has side noted as to how to improve them, however (like a diary) this book is off limits to everyone! The cooking camp is Kay's favorite and she not only came home exhausted she was usually soaking wet, the afternoons were hot so the kids and Chef Michelle headed over to the local splash pad for a bit of cooling off. The main theme of the week was dessert so we were treated with, cake, apple crumble, chocolate chip cookies and then a Kay inspired treat Maple Syrup sugar donuts covered with bacon, yep you got to eat here! Kay barely made it to the car before falling sound asleep on the way to get Jimmy.  AND...we think she ate her weight in food each day, a real accomplishment for those of you who know Kay's eating habits.

Note: we promptly signed up for a second week in Aug.

"I really can't tell you what we are going to play for the performance on Friday, wouldn't want to ruin the surprise!" We get the same canned speech every time he goes to Rock Band camp, he keeps the band name, songs and artists a secret until we get there and for some reason thinks we won't know the songs. As it turns out most of the time, the songs they play are recommendations for Jimmy, who's source for these songs is Tracy, but who tells their rock band mates their Mom thinks this is a cool song!

The first thing the kids do at camp is get to know each other and then get down to the serious business of naming the band, this year there were actually three bands:

Band name – Power Walking with the Grizzlies (PWWTG) but it was announced as Power Napping with the Grizzlies which I actually like better.
The band with all 9 kids is The Breeze Crew (TBC) and they all had “breeze” nicknames – Jimmy was young breeze, there was an old breeze, might wind, tornado and gentle breeze.

PWWTG (1st band) played The Black Keys Lonely Boy and Get Lucky by Daf Punk  

TBC played The Lumineres Hey Ho, Welcome to the Black Parade by My Chemical Romance and  Oye Como Va by Santana (including a solo by each band member - yes, it was a long long song)

Click to View Lee's Palace Concert Photos!  !  Week 2 Concert Photos  very cool album cover shot
This years venue was a Toronto land mark Lee's Palace, for this of you in Minneapolis... think First Ave but a tad bit smaller, no less dirty and tons of history of bands playing there before they were famous. Its an icon and we'll be able to say ...yep Jimmy played there... (Note: trying to sign up for a 2nd session in Aug, but awaiting location details)

What's absolutely amazing as a parent is watching your kids discover and follow their bliss.  They are each so passionate about what they love and they completely emerse themselves in it once they find it. You could feel the joy and excitement each night as they talked about their day and Jimmys performance is a great representation of how they each felt at camp - totally engaged, committed, passionate, full of joy and in their bliss.  Truly amazing....

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Ex-Pat Wedding and Reunion

Last weekend we loaded the kids into the truckster and headed down to Noblesville, Indiana to celebrate the Wedding of our friend's Paul and Tamara and to catch up with many of the Ex-Pat's we met while in India.

The trip was relatively easy as far as the Loudamerican's except for a moment or two while we were crossing into the US via Detroit. This crossing looks like a border crossing left over from the cold war complete with guard dogs and car checks, also there is only one lane due to "bridge repair".
We made to the town of Maumee " pronounced Mommy), which of course the kids got a kick out of. We found an awesome hotel that had three, count em, 3 double beds, no sleeping on the floor, why other hotels don't so this is beyond me!

Friday we headed off to met the rest of the group and while many of these people have travelled all over the world, it seems that travelling from Minneapolis through Chicago an into Indiana they all forgot their happens to be a time zone change! The "rehearsal" dinner was more of a BBQ and get aquainted event. Tamara's family hosted the entire weekend from the BBQ through the Wedding, and it was simply awesome. We all had time to met her family and friends along with Paul's family and hang around the pool and watch the kids wearing themselves out. The group headed out after the BBQ to hang at the hotel and it was fun catching up!

Saturday we had the day free as we were not allowed back to the Wedding until 5 o'clock, and not a moment earlier! So Rhada, Krishnan, Tejas, Kerty, Wade Angela, Caden, Wyatt and the Loudamericans set off to explore Noblesville, watch out. We found an outdoor Historic Heritage Park and the kid s had a ball. The saved the town from the rebels, fought a furious battle over the vegetable garden, learned how to throw and ax, properly and took a hot air balloon ride, awesome!

The Wedding was beautiful. The setting was a grassy hall surrounded by tress and a whole bunch of people who showered the bride and groom with love. The ceremony was really sweet and Paul and Tamara each said their vows and then placed them in a box so they could use them as a reference at a later point in time sort of like saying ' Yes Dear". There was dancing and signing and moving to the grove and then when it hit us someone shouted.......

This group of friends whom we see now occasionally as things change and people take different jobs, switch companies move to Toronto, things like that happen in life however it is nice to have friends that you seamlessly fall right back into a groove with. The kids have similar experiences and had same life stories, the adults as well and it was just fun, easy and full of love.

Congratulations to Paul and Tamara and thank you for a super fulfilled weekend!
more to come.....

Friday, July 19, 2013

Kay is finally 10!

The big day finally arrived and the birthday girl was in her glory! She woke up look around and stated, today's my birthday and I can do whatever I want.....

So after a party with her school friends, opening a special present from Grandma Bunny and Grandpa Jim, the family birthday was looking like a let down. About half way through the day Kay exclaimed, it's my birthday but it feels like a regular day. That translated to basically, Hey let's go to Target where I can spend several hours looking at stuff that drives my parents crazy, like but not limited to moon powder and glue. Steering her away from that and towards a much simpler idea of Yorgurty's the local yogurt shop was much less stressful and more cost effective.

Tracy left work early so we could all go out to dinner of Kay's choice which of course was Korean!!!

We had heard a rumor our favorite Korean restaurant in Toronto ( nothing beats Mirror of Korea),
has shut down but to no avail, never believe everything you hear, Nak Won, was alive and cranking our the best kim bap, duk galbi, mandu, tofu ji guy, in all of the GTA, shut the front door, good!

We invited our neighbors, Rod & Peggy along with their 2 kids, Jake and Josh and the German Exchange student, Francie and it was suddenly a party. Those who follow this crazy blog know that our kids when offered Korean food eat like there is no tomorrow and apparently so do our neighbors, there was not a scrap left! So we headed home for... not cake because Kay had to have Lemon Meringue Pie, well it's Kay.

The presents were opened (heavy focus on slushy makers, popsicle molds and baking items - including cake mix and frosting)  pie was enjoyed and Kay finally had to admit it was not just a normal day anymore.

Happy 10th Birthday Kay! We love you and are blessed everyday with your smile, hugs and love.

FYI, just because the birthday has come and gone ...the party never ends. Grandma Kay and Grandpa Jeremiah have a little birthday celebration planned for Kay when we head back to Minneapolis next week, seriously.....  more to come.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Pettersetter's Arrive!

Kristin, Crag, Anders and Bjorn, our neighbors and friends from the infamous gated community back in Golden Valley, made the trek to Michigan and then followed us back to Toronto.

We arrived amidst typical Toronto Traffic and the 401 at a stand still but we preserved and after 11 hours, which should have been 8 we made it home, ironically Tracy actually beat us home from work! Friday we had a great time catching up talking gossip and the kids of course had a ball, like it was just yesterday we were at Lyon's Park.

Saturday morning was filled with the usual Loudamericans schedule, school for Tom, football for Jimmy dog walk for Nikki and pedicures for Tracy and Kristin. Then the fun began after lunch we headed out to show them our town, nah, nah ,nah, nah, nah, this my town...

The subway brought us to Union Station and we headed out to explore the water front and the Asian Festival. We were planning on going out to Centre Island however the other 5 million residents had the same plan so we took a pass and ended up watching a live infomercial. Purina Dog Food was having a Pro Plan dog show and the kids we enthralled watching the different breeds of dog go through a series of cones, gates, hoops and slides, we had to drag the kids away. Then it was off to listen to some awesome live music and explore the water front. No tour of Toronto is complete with out a stop in Kensington Market, which is also Jimmy's favorite part of Toronto, it is like Haite Asbury, Bohemian headquarters all rolled into one. We wondered through China town as well where Bjorn and Kay had to have a fresh coconut chopped and with a straw, it was not a hit.

The subway delivered us to one of our favorite Toronto restaurants, GUU, a mix of Sushi and Western food such as a classic version of Chicken Nuggets, seriously the best in the GTA! We had a fabulous dinner and a couple of tall cold beverages and it was back on the subway homeward bound. Back at the ranch we watched of course cooking shows!, and the kids played themselves out and it was off to dreamland.

Sunday was brunch extraordinaire, Cinnamon French toast, apple infused potato hash browns, cinnamon whipped cream and Vidalia onion Merlot jam, nap anyone? The day was sort of a start and stop kind of day, rain in the forecast, Jimmy had a double header that kept us in and out of commission so the Pettersetter's ventured out on their own to visit the Hockey Hall of Fame and made it back to tell all about it. Of course both Jimmy's games were cancelled and the day was a waste from that perspective. None to fear when you have oil, fresh cod and a couple of boxes of Panko's you can create the best fried fish on the planet!

All good things have to come to a break so on Monday morning Tracy left for work and Kristin, Craig, Anders and Bjorn headed back to the gated community. We are super thankful they came to visit and now the kids are home sick and can't wait to return to Golden Valley and their Minnesota friends.

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Summer Vacation begins...

The end of school marks the beginning of the second most favorite time of the year, after Christmas that is, Summer Vacation! This year is no different and with the well laid plans it is expected to be the best summer ever....

We loaded up the family truckster and headed off to the airport to pick up Tom from his trip back to Minneapolis to work at the Golf for the Gift Fundraiser, which we have to say Thanks to all who participated!, and we were off to Michigan to visit Tracy's family. The drive over was full of quiet and no arguing as everyone had their own ear buds and electronics. We arrived on Friday night to hugs and laughs from Grandma and Grandpa and Julie, Cedric and Solomon, totally fun!

Saturday began the week of fun, laughs and catching up. We headed over to Sleeping Bear Dunes where some of us hiked and explored the dunes while others relaxed at the picnic table and discussed detailed stats and opinions on every sport known to man (guess who that was?!). It was too bad we did not bring water because the kids were geared up to walk all the way to Lake Michigan, about a 90 minute round trip.

The afternoon we hung out at the cabin and swam in Little Glen and began the first game of the World Series.  If you saw the reactions of the kids you would have thought that it was the final game. At one point Tom had to umpire and explained that the kids were playing with a waffle ball, a plastic Fred Flintstone type bat and were using a bush as a pitching mound and a tree for second base ( not to mention there was not first or third), that getting called out on strikes was really no big deal. When that didn't calm the kids down he had to pull the dreaded um card and said " Do you know why you are out? No why? " Because I am the ump"!

Sunday the Loudamericans moved into the upper guest cottage at Maple Lake resort to make room at Grandma and Grandpa's for Tammy and Jeff along with Georgia, Joey and Herby and Aunt Sue!
We headed off to Empire to do the Empire Dunes walk and broke the rules by hopping the fence and running down the sand dunes to Lake Michigan. The boys from Costa Rica we complaining of cold ( it was in the 70's) while Jimmy was rolling in the lake saying how refreshing 35 degree water can be! Meanwhile back at the ranch Grandma and Grandpa got a fire going and we had s'mores and hot chocolate to chase away the cold.

Monday Tracy had to head back to Toronto and work, Grandpa Jim, who is a Park Ranger volunteer, (which is super cool), had to go to work. The rest of us swam in the lake, played more baseball and continued on our merry way. We are very grateful and thankful for all Tracy does for us.

Tuesday was off to Traverse City for a minor league (farm team) baseball game - The Dune Dudes (not sure that's the actual team name but its apropos).  Actually its the Beach Bums.  The girls stayed home for some girl time and the boys had a gas cheering for their new favorite team.

Now you can not lead a Rock Star life as a kid and have a Rock Star vacation if you don't have a vacation within a vacation, so it was in this vain our neighbors and friends from Golden Valley, Craig, Kristin, Anders and Bjorn, came to Glen Lake. Tracy and Grandpa Jim had gone over to the campground and secure a site for them and passed the information on to Tom who promptly forgot what he was supposed to tell them. So when we met up to give them the paperwork and they headed over to the campground and were promptly chewed out by the Rangers, it was no wonder. They even let their co-worker Grandpa Jim have a piece of their minds, but all is well that ends well. ( more on the PeterSetters later).

The rest of the week was filled with more of the same, picnics, swimming, BBQ's and you know summer. One of the highlights of the trip was the 4th of July Parade. It is still a piece of small town America~  floats, Uncle Sam on Stilts, the Statue of Liberty, (on stilts), a kazoo marching band consisting of who ever happened to have a kazoo handy and tons and tons of candy. Not to mention guys and girls on Rollerblades throwing hot dogs to the crowd, it went on for over 45 minutes which was awesome.

Friday we had to say goodbye to our cousins, second cousins, Aunt Sue and Grandma and Grandpa. It was a super fun week and we say to Grandma and Grandpa... we love, we
are blessed to be with you and for all the good times and fun we say THANK YOU!

Friday, July 05, 2013

Billys Gotcha Day!!

Happy Gotcha Day Billy!

8 years ago today, Billy came home to be a permanent part of our family and the LoudAmericans.
He was a very intense baby that watched/studied us all endlessly. He giggled uncontrollably and was a great cuddler.

Not much has changed:) Billy is still extremely observant and asks the most insightful questions (he and I had a 45 min conversation about God and heaven last weekend, made me pause and reflect on not only what I believe but how do you communicate that to someone who is actively trying to from an opinion). He is always the 1st to give a kiss, cuddle or say "I love you" and has the best silly/belly laugh of all times.

Billy, also know as Baloo, Bill Pickle, Shauny, Buncu (when the other kids want to get a rise out of him) and... when we are upset with him WIlliam Francis Kim !!  is a green belt in Tae Kwon Do, a Lego expert, a talented skateboarder and getting really good at reading music and playing piano.

He's also an expert gamer and knows EVERYTHING about Skylanders and my phone is loaded with No Zombies, Monster, Class of Clans, BattleNations, DragonVale, Knights and Hungry Shark (the current favorite). 

Nikki is his soul mate and when he tells me that he loves me "almost as much as I love Nikki" its actually a HUGE compliment as I KNOW that she is his whole world.

He's generous with his friends and plays with anyone. He's a total squirrel and can get his friends to do some mean break dance moves.

He has a memory "problem", whenever he doesnt want to answer a question he says "I forget". He also shuts down when angry or sad and its virtually impossible to get him to speak/express himself (we are working on both of these but I feel bad for future people he dates - he's definitely going to be the silent type).

Some Billy-isms:

  • I look just like Juanita (said when his eye swelled shut due to a bug bite - basically he was comparing himself to Juantia the 1 eyed dog)
  • Cuddle me but dont touch me (nightly request)
  • Hi Mom how was your day? (translated means...can I use your phone?  We told him he couldnt ask for my phone until he welcomed me home and gave me a hug) 
  • Imagine if....(this is currenlty how he starts 95% of his sentences - he's a thinker that one....)
  • Make me something I like (when asked what he wants for breakfast, or lunch or dinner)
  • Can I have that thing I had at Tammy's (the answer to what do you want for breakfast?  He means a hard boiled egg)
  • I like being a kid, I dont know anything about grown ups (he TOTALLY knows he's got a good thing going and is in NO hurry to grow up)
Billy, you are an amazing, smart, loving, generous, thoughtful, insightful,sensitive person. We cant wait to be a part of the rest of your life:)

We Love you Billy!!