Thursday, February 27, 2014

You are my favorite

I've found myself thinking, almost on a daily basis "man, I love that kid"! I could be thinking about any of my 3 kids when I have this thought and its such a happy, loving space to be in. It also got me thinking about how each of them is so different. We see all those comedies on TV that joke about "you are my favorite" (think Good Luck Charlie for Disney fans) but in the world of parenting, its taboo to say you love 1 kid more than another or that 1 is your favorite. The reality is, I dont love all my kids the same. There I said it. Call child protection and start investing in their therapy! But, here's my counter, how COULD I love them all the same? They are 3 VERY different unique individuals. It would be WHOLLY unfair to them if I loved them all the same, that wouldnt celebrate who THEY are. AND...not loving them the same doesnt mean that I dont love them with the same depth of feeling of intesity. Thats one thing I can say, I love them each so intensely it hurts sometimes (which doesnt always lend to good parenting either:) - think helicopter parenting) So, this is an ode to my kids - You are EACH my favorite (and yes that IS possible:)) Jimmy - you are so incredility smart, talented, engaged, passionate and WAY more socially mature at 12 than I could have even hoped to be at 24. You are thoughtful with your friends, kind, funny, observant, persistent and dedicated. Whether is piano, drums, saxophone, football, basketball, baseball, mathletes, etc.. you give it 110% EVERY time. You try to be better every day and are generous with your friends. You "get" my humor and we have fabulous discussions on "new" music. I love the goals you set for yourself (honor roll, debate club, college) and if you were an IPO, I'd put ALL my money on you. Kay - you are who I wish I could be - strong, fierce, undetered, enthusiastic, unapologetic, confident, creative and courageous. I have never met someone who is more authentically themselves EVERY minute of EVERY day. You never compromise or apologize for who you are and that's the bravest thing any of us could hope to be. You have it all totally figured out. Your passion around cooking and gymanstics isnt just for "hobby" its who you are. Every move you make is a gymanstics celebration of your body and every thought you have is "how can I make ..." whehter its desserts, a science experiement of ghost mashed potatos and meatloaf tombstones (last nights dinner). You have strong opinions and arent afraid to express them. You go girl!! There are many strong women out there who would love to live as you do:) Billy - you make us feel so loved. You are kind, gentle, affectionate, thoughtful, observant, caring and live in the moment. You LOVE being you and LOVE being 9. You take every minute as it comes and dont wish for the future. Your quiet confidence and love of everyone (people and animals) makes you a very calming, loving presence to be around. You freely tell us (Daddy and I) how much you love us, multiple times a day. Your passion to "figure things out" comes out in your Lego creations, the quesitons you ask at school and at home (how does the brake work, what makes a door knob turn, etc). Your brillant at problem solving and will be a great engineer (or whatever YOU want to be) someday. But, most importantly, I KNOW you'll be a loving boyfriend, husband and father. Its the greatest honor to know that you love Daddy and I almost as much as you love Nikki (who you love more than anything or anyone in the whole world.) in the world could I love you each the same?! That would be a terrible mistake. So, I'm going to love you differently - celebrating who you ! Man, I love that kid....

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Out into the Polar vortex we go....

Seems that January was full of hibernation so February (as they say around here) is time for rejuvenation, get out there, start a snowball fight, make a snow angel, go ice fishing and wear your toque proudly....

Lake Simcoe is about and hour and half (give or take depending on traffic) north and east of us. Tracy and her co-worker Randy decided it was time for us to hook up and do some fishing. So we headed out last weekend to a cozy cottage on Lake Simcoe in search of the elusive Lake Simcoe perch.
Randy, his wife Kelly and there daughter Erin have ALL the gear and have been going after the Perch fairly religiously all winter, so armed with GPS co-ordinates, Minnows, ice house , heater, a sled to pull it all and Kay we were in great shape.

We arrived on Friday night and proceeded to plan our attack for the next day, have dinner and watch a few movies. The Olympics held our attention for a while however Princess Bride is a ways a crowd pleaser. Tracy's awesome family favorite, Challupas is as well. So after a great meal and a bunch of old fish stories we called it a night.

Saturday morning Randy and Kellie headed out to get a spot and the kids (of course) slept in. The fish were not being cooperative and the day was more towards enjoying the cabin and lunch! Saturday afternoon we went on the road in search of the fish, and it was slow going. The car got stuck a time or two, we finally made it to a point on the lake where we could walk and set up camp. The fishing was slow but we managed to catch a half a dozen fish, and more importantly we had fun and didn't fall through the ice.  well except Remington, their little dog so is exactly the size of an ice hole. He was fun but very shivery. Nikki spent the entire afternoon running after the wind and was exhausted. Saturday night we had another awesome meal of Kellie's homemade chicken chili, more movies (Gremlins), Apples to Apples board game and laughs.

Sunday morning Tom and Randy headed out early to the " hot spot" according to Randy " We always catch fish there" and true to the prediction we did. Between about 8:30 and noon we caught over 100 fish and we kept 36 of them for the upcoming Sunday night all you can eat perch fry!!! While the MEN were out fishing, the rest of the crew headed into town to check out the thrift store (yes, you can all start singing Mackelmores Thrift Store now - we did:)) We came away with treasures - Balderdash, a spring form pan and a crayola coloring kit. Another one of Kays passions ignited. That afternoon, the boys, that is Jimmy and Billy, decided they were not going fishing so they stayed back with Tracy to snowboard, sled, take Nikki for a walk on the lake and get some outdoor exercise. The rest of us headed back to the "hot spot" where we continued catching fish, Kay was red hot, Erin was as well and we definitely had a blast!

Sunday night we had a feast, no other way to put it. All you can eat fresh perch in a panko batter, southern style fried okra, hush puppies, fried potatoes' with mushrooms, buttermilk coleslaw, homemade tarter sauce and a few cold beers, wow what a meal!

Monday, being family day here in the Great White North, we all were able to sleep in and have a relaxing morning before heading back to the big city. Nikki has a new friend and play mate, Remington, aka: Remi. The two of them are about as opposite as you can get but as they say, opposites attract. The video below shows you what the two of them did all weekend, super cute.
A big THANKS, to Randi, Kellie and Erin for inviting us for a super fun time. We plan to go after these perch again and we will differently be heading to Lake Simcoe this summer as it is full of giant Small Mouth...more to come

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Elementary Provinvial Report Cards and other heady Stuff

The marks came home with the kids along with several accolades, used markers and some interesting comments.

Billy has been enjoying Grade 3, as all of his buddies from Grade 2 are again reunited in grade 3. The field trips have been a blast, the playground and lunar play area and he comes home soaking wet and smiling everyday, but what has been going on in the classroom? 'William is an enthusiastic student who eagerly takes part in new academic challenges and opportunities to deepen his understanding of classroom material' WOW! 'He is always involved and ask for help when he needs it, an ideal student'. He has landed several high marks and is cruising along without any real problems. In self directed learning Billy has step out of the norm for the Murphy kids and actually received a B+, crazy!
next up for Billy: 'William is encouraged to continue to put forth his best effort and to begin to take on a leadership role in both the classroom and school' Vote for Billy t-shirts available soon....

Kay is loving Grade 5 and getting ready for the end of the year graduation party. She is planning on making each of the 25 kids in her class their very own cupcake resembling their favorite Sesame Street character. She comes out of school each day dragging the worlds heaviest back pack, her lunch bag dragging behind in a kind of bag lady want to be fashion. 'Kay has been fairly successful at making the transition into the grade 5 classroom in most areas'. The is the most PC statement to come home on a report card to date, really not sure what it means, however true to Murphy form Kay is 'encouraged to focus on strategies to help her work consistently and effectively during allotted classroom time' it's Kay... we know that :). 'Kay is doing extremely well in French and is being encouraged to start reading French books at home' Awesome work!  The next steps for Kay: 'with some minor improvements in focus and initiative, Kay will continue to grow and develop as a student and achieve the high goals and standards she should be setting for herself' Her new line of designer baked goods will be out in the late Spring!

Jimmy has been really exploding into grade7. He is now playing the drums for both the 7th and 8th grade bands, the choir, and he is playing piano and has started the saxophone... all while maintaining his football, basketball and baseball enthusiasm, crazy. He has even inched up his score in self directed learning and made the school honor roll. He has figured out the metric system and his math scores are in the low 90's. 'James follows the rules of the classroom and is able to behave accordingly when working with other students' Whew! 'James has demonstrated growth with his overall confidence as a grade 7 student' not that he needs more confidence:)
On a side note there was a competition at school the other day and - as you know -no matter what the competition is Jimmy is all in. It turns out this was a math competition (mathletes). The grade 7 student were competing against themselves to see whom the best 5 students were and they would form a math team for a citywide math tournament. Coming in tied for 5th place, Jimmy Murphy. Jimmy came home from school super excited and relayed the story to us finishing by saying... so you know what mom and dad, I'm now a Mathlete....
We are very proud of the kids and the hard work they are putting in to school!
More to come...

Saturday, February 01, 2014

We ARE the Hiber Nation

Wow, its been a long time since our last post and I can honestly say...we don't have much to report. Post the holidays we've sunk into a hibernation state. Its weird how busy and non-busy you can be at the same time. Our social life has been non-existent but none of the Loud Americans seem to complaining.
Tom - is taking a French class and started Pastry 101. He was leery about Pastry 101 as he's not a big baker but figured ... 101 is a pre-requisite to any bread or baking class he might want to take so he was going to power through. Now Tracy is scared as he's LOVED his 1st 2 classes and if you thought chef school was hard on your waistline, pastry classes are brutal! Week 1 = apple pie, Week 2 - black currant tea cakes and walnut raisin muffins. He's in heaven.... again:) Tracy - has had 2 work trips this month with is really hard on Tom as there is no one to share kid drop off/pick up from the myriad of activities. They were both good, 1 to the north outskirts of Canada & Ottawa and 1 back to MPLS. She got to reconnect with a few friends and it was nice to be with people that didn't talk about work the whole time:)

Jimmy - started basketball, saxophone, choir and grade 7 band practice just started. Add to that skating at the school 3 blocks away 3 nights/week with his buddies (girls and boys) and he's got one busy social life. He's having a ball, even had his 1st "hockey" injury - blocking the goal (I wont go as far as saying he was playing goalie, more like he was standing in front of the goal) and his knocked him over. He's got a cut eye that's starting to go black. He looks tough. He's also obsessed with his abs and has started working out with Tom at the club on Saturdays. They are pretty cute together. Jimmy is really listening to Tom about proper weight lifting form and looks ridiculous in his high socks, shorts and basketball shoes. They both come home sore and exhausted.

Kay - heavy into gymnastics and is learning her floor routine set to the tune of I Dream of Jeanie. Her braces have been giving her trouble but I'm not sure how much of that is drama vs actual issues. She's also been ice skating and the bake sale at school this week was a highlight. She and Jimmy are also obessed with a new game - flappy bird. Don't get started, it is hard and addictive. She also is giving Tom a run for his money in the baking category making this homemade from scratch chocolate pudding banana bread cupcakes  and she used her piping skills to decorate them ( she had some help from Tracy)

Billy - got a new retainer and is speak therapist is pissed because its screwing up he's S's and Z's again. We cant win. He's going to test for his blue belt in a month and is busy being invited to playdates and birthday parties.

We have been spending quiet weekends (while is snows and is way below zero - totally non-typical Toronto weather) watching dumb movies (Waynes World and Strange Brew) along with the cooking channel. We are also busy planning all our vacations for the year (too much idle time) Cancun this spring, a warm winter vacation with Tracy's family next winter and the pinnacle of our time in Canada ....drum roll please ... a camper van trip around Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island this summer. Sometimes planning vacations are almost as fun as going on them. Almost... So... that's it - January in Hiber Nation. It"s nice:)