Monday, October 31, 2016

HUGE milestones - time to celebrate!!

Two MAJOR happenings at the Loudamericans today ... We need to figure out how to celebrate ...

1) Tom started full time at the school. He'll be doing before/after school care along with his lunchroom/recess duties.  I'm so proud of him - its awesome that he'll continue to be a great male role model at the school. Plus its 1.5 miles away and he works with people he likes and respects. We love love love Hopkins school district so this is just perfect.  His hours are ok  (7:15-9:30 then 11:30-1:30 and 3:15 -5:30) but ... he gets benefits - this is HUGE!! I'll be taking on the post school kid sports taxi service (Kay is not happy about this as Tom tends to buy her treats that she knows I won't buy her) but it'll all work out plus this opens us up to my job search can take longer if needed and if I find a great job but it doesn't have benefits, we are still covered. LOVE Tom for doing this for our family.

2) We paid off our house!! We had 9 months left of payments and decided to just do it.  It was sort of anticlimactic. It took 15 min with the banker and was all done online.  We are official home owners.  Feels like a big step and another great place to be as I look for a new career/job switch.

All is good. Now we just need to figure out how to celebrate!

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Kansas City or Bust!!

In an effort to show Ian as much of the midwest as we can, it was a road trip to Des Moines and Kansas City over the long MEA weekend.

We packed up the car and left promptly after school Wednesday night, headed for tacopacolipst in Des Moines, highly featured on Diners Drive Inns and Dives.  The kids were great in the car but lets just say dinner came with mixed reviews.  Tracy, Tom, Billy and Kay LOVED their meals.  Korean BBQ chicken on a waffle,  vegan sausage lettuces roles, hominy fries, spicy tomato soup and Korean bulgogi banh mi.  Jimmy and Ian were MUCH less impressed and we had to make a stop at Jimmy Johns on the way to the airport. Highlight thought?  BYOB  - nothing like bringing your own beer to a taco place on a college campus, ah, the memories.

Thursday we headed over to Drake University to wander around and check out their basketball facilities. As with all our trips, it included sneaking into the stadium and basketball arena but this time included some serious hoop time. Jimmy even made 4 of 5 half court shots. I'll have to figure out how to get them uploaded to the blog. Super fun.

Thursday afternoon we quickly ran out of things to do in Des Moines so headed to KC, but 1st a stop at Sonic. Kay complained the whole time that it wasn't DQ. Then the food came. She's a convert - so much so that we had to stop on the way home on Sunday AND she actually even apologize for pitching a fit.  Progress!

We got to KC in time to check out the mental hospital museum (otherwise known as the insane asylum) it is almost Halloween ...right?  It really wasn't as creepy as expected but, there were some interesting factoids about mental medical care around the turn of the century. Little known fact, KC is the haunted house capital of the US.  We couldn't convince ANYONE to go to one (fear of clowns, especially with the whole urban myth clown scare going on) so we thought this was the next best thing.

As we were driving to our hotel and past the Royals and Chiefs stadium, we had a major small world moment. Literally, Jimmys friend Jason posted a snapchat of the stadiums.  He was in town for a baseball tournament.  Crazy!!  We quickly called and made plans to connect since we were staying 10 min's away.

Friday we were off to see KC. The Crown Center, the money museum at the Fed and Country Club Plaza. It was a gorgeous sunny day in the 70's and we spend the day with our baseball friends and their kids. Everyone was in heaven.  We even saw mounted police.  Dinner that night was a meet up with the taekwondo team and BBQ!!!  we were in KC after all....

Saturday was the tournament and it was a long one.  But aren't they all.  Billy sparred "up" a weight class and each of these guys had at least 20 lbs on him. He lost his 1st match to the ultimate gold medal winner but kicked some serious butt in the second match, taking 3rd overall. He felt pretty good about his performance but admits he needs a better game plan for sparring bigger kids.  He's got all the right techniques and he's fast, but they are just bigger.  He'll get there, he's a great coachable kid. My favorite part ... after the match, he tracked down each kid he sparred against and congratulated them and shook their hands. Such a great sport.

Saturday night was an all you can eat chinese buffet (of course) and a whole bunch of pool time.

Sunday was a power drive back to MPLS while we listened to the Vikings game on the radio (brutal!!) as we were recapping the trip and had everyone share their favorite parts ... the verdict?  The pool, almost unanimously. Go figure.  You can take these kids anywhere, and we have, and their favorite part is still the pool. We should just rent a hotel room in town and save ourselves the hassle.

All in all, a good trip, fun family and friend time and we got to see a bit of the midwest.

Happy MEA!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

trifecta - Ian's 16th birthday, Tracys parents are back, Tracys last day at Target

Its been a crazy few weeks. Starting at the beginning.

Ian turned 16!! We weren't sure how to celebrate since his actual birthday was on a Wednesday so pasta, brownies and presents seemed in order followed by a korean dinner at our favorite, restaurant on Sunday night, Mirror of Korea.   Turns out, Ian doesnt like brownies. or ham. or haircuts.  He does love soup, chicken, pizza, waffles, sausage  and hamburgers.  We loaded him down with Hopkins paraphernalia.  A Hopkins hat, sweatshirt, socks and water bottle. He was most excited about the socks and water bottle, go figure.  We sang happy birthday, blew out candles and that was that.  However, I think he really did like our Korean dinner, he ordered his favorite soup and said it tasted almost as good as his moms. I think the dinner made him a bit homesick and he made a point of telling us that his parents wanted us to know how thankful they were that we took him out for korean food and made his birthday special. Best birthday ever. (according to Ian)

Grandma and Grandpa were back in town from their train trip out west. The visited Glacier Nat'l Park, Whitefish, Portland and San Francisco. The photos were amazing  but the highlight was my mom and aunt meeting their dads side of the family and 1st and 2nd cousins in Portland.  What a wonderful trip for them! They spent a few days with us and then were off to Lambeau for the game before they head back to South Carolina for the winter. Ah the life of retired parents. JEALOUS!!

Finally, Tracy's last day official day at Target  was yesterday. She's been contemplating a move to non profit and nows the time.  We actually think she'll end up working harder than she has in years as she tries to land a job in nonprofit. What was weird is that, yesterday was just a normal day. No parades, banners or tears. Just being with the amazing people and team at Target, saying thank  you and quietly walking out the door. As it should be. Means she was ready.  Whats funny is that she didn't even think to invite Tom to her exit reception. (ice cream social)  he probably  dodged a bullet on that one.

So, here's to big milestones, adventures and good people in your live.
grandma and grandpa at the game, hard loss but a gorgeous day

presents and the bday boy

cute boys

getting ready to blow out candles our signing is atrocious

all but 1!




go hopkins!

dinner at Mirror of Korea - Ian IS having fun, but he doesnt like to smile for the camera - typical teenager



and... thats that ....

Sunday, October 09, 2016

Kellogg Gymnastics Exhibition

Tracy and Kay went to the Kellogg Gymnastics Exhibition on Saturday night and it was CRAZY!
They had the full mens and womens gymnastics team alone with Natsia Lupkin, Shawn Johnson, Jordan Weber, the aero gymnastics and rhythmic gymnastics gold medalists and the trampoline world champions. It was so fun to the their talent, athleticism and how much they were having.  Kay loved every minute and Tracy was terrified by some of the cirque du soile type tricks where people where hanging 50 ft above the ground with no net and just using their body strength to keep themselves from falling.  NOT for the faint of heart or those that are afraid of heights. Some of kay friends also went and we met them at intermission for some inspired splits, front/back walkovers, bridges, flips, etc.  Nothing like hanging out with 13 yr old girls at the sport they love. It was a really cool opportunity and we are SO glad we went.

Love you Kay!

Watch out world, Billy is a BLACK BELT!

Yesterday was a day Billy has worked towards for the last 5 years, his black belt in Taekwondo.  He is focused, committed, a hard worker, a coachable kid and all around LOVES his sport.

It started in Toronto with Mr Ted and continued to St Louis Park with Mr Lemon and Mr Lee. He's learned too many pomsea forms to count, how to spar aggressively and strategically, weapons such as nunchucks, sword, bow staff and hand knifes, self defense, and traditional Korean customs, language and protocol.

He was so nervous leading up to the big day. They can technically ask you to do ANY form you have learned in the last 5 years and thats saying a lot.

But, it all went without a hitch and he is now a probationary black belt.

Basically, you can't be an official black belt until you are 16 so anyone under is a probationary, then Jr, then full black belt. He can continue to earn degrees against his belt and will retain those when we he turns 16. So, its conceivable he could be a 3rd or 4th degree black belt by 16.  Like we said, watch out world!!

It was also fun to have him test with his best friends, Esa and Grace. They did their forms in almost perfect unison and I love the bond they have.

Congrats to all the belt graduates yesterday and  ... we are SO proud of you Billy!

We love you!!
Graces board breaking

Billy board breaking 

Black Belt with Mr Lemon

Newly minted Black Belt!

Isa getting her Black Belt

Esa Billy and Grace 

Love these kids!

They did it!

The crew that tested for new belts!! Woo HOO!

The Black Belts

Ace and Billy celebrating afterwards 

Friday, October 07, 2016

Grandma Bunny & Grandpa Jim aka My Good Man - Part 1

As the summer begins to give way to the fall Grandma and Grandpa start their migration from Northern Michigan towards South Carolina and we are fortunate enough to be on the migration path!
This year they are coming through for a brief stop over then hopping on the train for a couple wet trip out west.

They arrived on Tuesday evening in the midst off the whirlwind that is our daily life. Tracy had secured for them tickets for the practice round on Wednesday of the Ryder Cup, and both Grandma & Grandpa being golf fans were super excited to go.
Wednesday was a gorgeous day here in Minneapolis and they had a blast wandering around Hazleton, seeing their favorite golfers and enjoying a day of golf.

Thursday around here is all about football, as Jimmy takes the field every Thursday trying to lead the Hopkins 9th grade team to victory. The season is not going well without our starting QB, and center, both out injured, however in the game Jimmy caused a fumbled picked it up and ran 25 yards for the teams only touchdown! He later said " I saw the ball and thought, I should pick that up and run with it"

Friday they were able to connect with some of their friends that live here in town, specifically Patty and Aubrey, their best man from their wedding and his wife, they had lunch and visited and really had a good time. Lunch was, of course, at Bunnys. Friday night was gymnastics and TKD and hanging around the house.

Saturday Jimmy also plays on the JV team so we saw another game and then Grandma Bunny's family had a family reunion that Tracy, Billy and Tom stopped by to check in the Bunny's clan.That afternoon Grandma Kay & Grandpa Jeremiah came over for dinner and to catch up. The smoked turkey was awesome and the company was even better!

Sunday we had a nice day just visiting and relaxing. Beeks Pizza, a local iconic, pizza place was on the menu for dinner, which we were able to eat outside until the bugs defeated us and drove us indoors. Tom drove Grandma & Grandpa to the train station and after a minor vehicle issue they were on their way out west! We are exited to see the photo's of the trip...
It was great to have them around to visit, help with the kids and just relax.
It was great to see them and we look forward to part 2 in a couple of weeks when they return!
more to come.....