Thursday, September 26, 2013

Happy Birthday Tom!!

Happy Birthday (only 2 days late) Tom!! This year it was a weekend birthday celebration. I surprised him but that's another blog. I'll let him fill you in:) We just wanted to say...Tom, we love you, we bless and we are glad you are in our lives. Tom is amazing. He is not only a great dad and partner but he's a great friend and neighbor. AND...he's a great cook on his way to being a great chef (only 90 days until he's got his chef certificate!! woo hoo!!) Tom is funny, smart, athletic, flexible, caring, loving, thoughtful, messy, cuddly, handy and friendly. As Kay would say ...'he's a friend to all'. and... 'Dreams DO come true on birthdays'. and... 'I have him wrapped around my little finger'. Happy Birthday Tom!! (shout out to Rica and Wade - Happy Birthday to Tom's birthday buddies!!)

Friday, September 20, 2013

A quick visit and a total blow-out

This past weekend  Grandpa Jim and Grandma Bunny stopped by on their way home from their 2 week tour of western Canada and Alaskan cruise. They had a blast and although Grandpa Jim had a cold, as well as half the crew on the ship, the trip was totally worth it. We had a technical issue trying to view the photos via electronics so when we get together at Christmas we can see the paper or as they say these day's 'the hard copy'.

The trip was full of many great experiences for them however, they said their trip via bus to deep into the Denali was the best part. I will let you hear from them as to their experiences. Suffice it to say they enjoyed themselves, which we are glad!

The weekend was fairly mundane as far as the Loudamericans go, neighborhood blow-out Friday night, where Tom was the guest Chef and deep fried a Turkey and a chicken, smoked two chickens and BBQed a couple of pounds of steak. I guess when the word is out that you are about to graduate from Chef school.. why cook yourself? Tracy asked why we weren't just hosting the party since we did all the cooking and tehn realized....clean up! Best of all worlds, make a messy yummy mess for 30 people in someone else house. Brilliant!  The kids had fun and young James (who is trying out for yet another baseball team) was a late arrival and unfortuantly did not make the team. But... what time does he have?! It's FOOTBALL SEASON, and fantasy football where he is competing with half of Target Canada and he is the one to beat, quite funny.

Billy is now deep into taekwondo training with two tournaments coming up.He is now training for 3 extra hours on Saturday and it's paying off! Kay is into 12 hours of gymnastics a week and was the center of attention when she pulled off some crazy move, that no other kid in the class can do! So much so that all the other coaches stopped their practice to come watch her and she was just ... "oh well that old move? "  Seoul Olympics here we come!

Sunday is football around here. Carb loading around 10:30, Gatorade around 11:00 and off to the field. Jimmy was given a talking to a couple weeks back and was almost placed on the bench for not being aggressive enough. We feel sorry for the other teams because since that talk he has been a beast. The game was against the Guelph Bears and they were supposed to be a good team with depth and speed. Well, without reliving the whole game, late in the third quarter we had to punt, Jimmy made a huge tackle and laid out the other kid, caused a fumble and we had the ball back on their 35. One play from scrimmage touchdown. The Grizzlies had only 8 offensive plays in the whole game, held the Bears to 2 first downs, scored 2 defensive touchdowns and won 55 to 0, against a team with depth and speed, the kids are playing out of their minds.

All good things must come to an end so Monday morning the kids headed off to school and Grandma and Grandpa headed home.  We will see them at Christmas and it was fun to have them see the kids in all their athletic glory!

Now it is our honor (and I must say privilege) to report a truly heartwarming story. I do not want to get into to many details of our friends personal lives as you never know who know what or what people want to be know about themselves. However since I received this in an e-mail I could not help but share:

"We are very proud to let you know that this morning, on September 19th, 2013, two new members of our family arrived!

Victor Ferraz entered the world at 8:39am, weighing 6 pounds and 9 ounces with a length of 19.5 inches.  Like the rest of the men in the family, he is handsome, strong and healthy.  Sofia Jeanne-Marie followed her brother a minute later at 8:40am, incredibly at the same weight, 6 pounds and 9 ounces, with a length of 20 inches.  She is a perfectly beautiful little girl.

Katie, our sister-in-law, has been our partner on this journey.  She did wonderfully throughout the pregnancy and the delivery, and this morning is recovering.  We feel amazingly blessed that Katie cared for & carried our babies so well the last nine months and gave them the best start they could ever have. We are filled with gratitude toward Katie and Mateus for their grace and generosity throughout this process.  

JoAnne and Lucas"

Miracles happen every day. Look around you:) Embrace them, and God Bless!!!

Friday, September 13, 2013

A year later...

We have been so busy lately that we didn't even realize that we have been in Toronto for over a year! YIKES!

The past year has been full of new things for all of us, new school for the kids, new job for Tracy, Chef school for Tom, different dog food for Nikki,, she basically has the same routine lets face it. She's a dog, sleep, eat, walk, poop, repeat, she has it made.!
(Picture taken at the Toronto Zoo September 2012)

The kids on the other hand have been busy growing, learning and for the most part not complaining as much, which is nice. Jimmy is way into music lately and has even come out of his music shell and telling people at school he is a drummer, which is a way big deal for him. In fact the music teacher is so blown away that Jimmy is now teaching new riffs tot he 8th graders wanted to learn drums. He is interested in playing the trumpet this year just for the heck of it but the music teacher is not having any of it! He is was deep into football. The coaches were a bit concerned about his lack of physical play and told him he needed to step it up or he may not be in the starting line up, and boy did he listen. The last game they creamed the other tem and Jimmy lead they way, he has earned his starting spot! 

Kay is now in gymnastics 12 hours a week, 3 4 hour shots and comes home and can barely make it to the coach. She is going to compete in 5 competitions this year and jumped from level 2 to level 4 and let me tell you the kid is ripped. She has been going non stop and I think her body is telling her she needs more protein because she has been eating hamburgers twice a day for the last week, seriously she is off seaweed and on beef! School is just starting to shape up , she has a couple of new as well as several old friends and she is doing great. Meanwhile stay out of her way in the kitchen, she has to be creating something constantly. I think we have got her to realize that during the school year she can cook on the weekend, so this weekend she is planning on making, desert pizza. Rice Cripspies as the crust, red frosting as the sauce and chocolate chips and M&Ms as the toppings along with whipped cream, just because.
( Picture taken at the Toronto Zoo 2013)

Billy is in the middle of Taekwondo training. He has to tournaments coming up in late September and late October and he is dead set on keeping his metal streak alive. Billy lucked out at school as he now in 3rd grade has the same entire class as last year and the same teachers his response to how was school today Bill?, awesome. He was recently on a bike ride with Tracy and they were taking about life and all it has to offer when Tracy turned to Bill and said, what are you thinking? He replied, nothing, then a moment later he said " that's impossible, you cant think about nothing, once you do you really are thinking of nothing which is something". The other Tracy was asking Billy some questions that he answered all with, I don't know and then after some contemplation he said you know what Mom I do know 3 things today, I don't know much, its a beautiful day and I need to exercise more. So Tracy's talked him into a walk and they were leaving the house he turn and yelled to Kay, " Stay out of the kitchen and don't burn the house down! Kids say  the darndest things, where do they hear this stuff??? more to come.....

Friday, September 06, 2013

The Basil's Arrive! & School Day 1

We had well laid plans to meet Tammy, Jeff, Georgia, Joey and Herby at a place called Pinery, a campground 3.5 hours from each of us however the best laid plans... With to many moving parts we decided to abort the camping trip and Tammy & Jeff made the journey from Grand Haven to Toronto, all the kids were upset about not being able to camp and the adults were excited to sleep in a real bed, age and youth the old debate!

In record time for both travel and border crossing they arrived unharmed around 7:00 on Friday night and the fun began. In order to offer the best of both worlds we set the tent up in the backyard, the kids moved all of their worldly belongings into it and began fighting as to who and who not was a member of the elite "camping club", really.  We had a great night catching up. eating awesome smoked tenderloin, mashed potatoes infused with smoked garlic, baby back ribs, fresh green beans and of course fresh cold beverages! The sun went down and the moon came up and the camping club began to waver and by the time the dust settled the tent was empty and the basement was full!

Saturday morning was a bust time as Jimmy headed off to football, Tammy and Tracy to get pedicures Tom, Jeff and the rest of the kids had coffee and organized the leftover chaos from the evening before. Lunch was served, backpacks were filled, sunscreen was not liberally applied and we were off to explore Toronto. First stop the historic Lawrence Market, which is a city itself. Vendors from all over the world have fresh produce, meats, cheeses and prepared culinary delights for sampling and enticing one into their web. The kids moaned and groaned at first then finally got into it and we had fun seeing all the different ethnic foods and wares.

The trip to Center or as they say 'round here, Centre, Island is a hit or miss kind of event. There is rally only one way to get there and that is by boat. You have a couple of boating options, big public fairy type boat, small boat taxi, renting a manually operated boat, you cannot however swim. The lines for the boat dictate whether we stay or go, this time we were fortunate and the was no line and we made the journey with ease. The Island has many options, an amusement park, swimming/ splash pad, several beaches, electric trams, and picnic areas.  No trip to the island is compete without a photo opportunity with a deranged looking batman and whomever his green side kick is!We wondered around, found the small petting zoo, the kids finally gave in and swam in Lake Ontario, we spend an arm and a leg for 5 ice creams and then headed off to our new favorite place, Jack Astor's for dinner, beverages and sports on the 300+ TV's the seem to have. The tent was a repeat of the previous night and again the basement was full.

Sunday was a big breakfast followed by Jimmy's first football game of the season. The excitement was building and the Grizzlies took the field, the whistle blew and we were off the Grizzlies' Football 2013! The team was in awesome shape, played extremely well and at the half were up 18 to 6. Jimmy is playing tight end as well as on special teams and also 2nd string linebacker. He only had one offense opportunity however the throw was way behind him. The Grizzlies' won 28 to 12 and the opening day was a success. The afternoon was full of a whole lot of nothing as they kids just wanted to play and hang out, so that's what we did. We ended the weekend with the traditional Hickey family fare, Challupa's, awesome.( Basement 3, tent 0)

Monday morning was spent packing up saying goodbye and planning our next vacation, Christmas, skiing, skating and lobster tails! The Basil's set out for home and the Loud Americans began the end of the summer ritual, packing the backpack. In keeping with tradition we had an full scale Indian Feast for dinner complete with butter chicken, Channa Masala, beet root, chapatti, rice and Dal. Tuesday came rushing up at us as everyone hopped out of bed at 6:30 ready to go to school. 6:30! The kids were all excited to see their schoolmates and catch up. It was a great summer, fast, fun and furious!

Happy back to school to everyone and enjoy! more to come...