Monday, June 18, 2018

Happy Fathers Day!

A huge gigantic Happy Fathers Day to ALL the father figures out there - step dads, bio dads, adoptive dads, coach dads, teacher dads, para dads, foster dads neighbor dads, the list goes on and on. We are SO grateful for the positive role models that you are, day in and day out.

We are blessed with more than our fair share of awesome dads. Starting with our grandpas ...

Jeremiah and Jim are amazing. They love to help, see their kids/grandkids compete and success and are great on the golf course.  Jim will talk sports with Jimmy for hours and Jeremiah never tires of watching Charlie play.  And, even better, they get along.  Tom and I feel so blessed that our fathers are friends.

Then, there's our brother in laws - Tom, Jeff and Dennis.  They are perfectly suited in the role of uncle and never shy away from engaging and challenging the kids. Plus, they are dam funny.

Finally, our own hero. Tom.  I remember his defining moment as a dad. We were living in India and he had just started being a stay at home parent. He told me after dinner "if this is my job, then I want to be the best that I can be at it". Wow.  And...he is.  He's our chief cook, driver, shopper, supporter, defender and funny as hell.  When he was taking Jimmy golfing (for the 1st time together) on Sunday, I said 'why dont you take all the kids?".  His reply?  "because then it would be Mothers Day."  Touche.  I love you Tom.

To all the men in our lives. We love you.  You are amazing and we are so grateful for you!

Tom caught a ton of fish last weekend and made us an amazing shore lunch for Fathers Day dinner

Jeremiah, Kay, Bunny and Jim - best grandparents EVER!

1st round of golf and no...Jimmy is not standing up hill

My loves....

Thursday, June 14, 2018

20 years of us...

Wow, 20 years … where did it all go!?!

Since have been so busy this year (and past years) and since we aren't big celebrators of anniversaries, our 20th sort of snuck up on us.  If that's even possible.

On the actual day we were running kids around, trying to get dinner ready and engulfed in all things end of the school year.

However, we couldn't let the day go by unmarked so we donned our wedding attire and took some throw back photos to commemorate.

We are hoping to do something fun to celebrate this summer in conjunction with Tracy's 50th birthday but don't have anything planned yet. An adults only vacation would be nice (Iceland?!) but it would need to be arranged around kid schedules as well as we'd have to find some foolish folks to come stay with the kids. Sort of sounds like we are planning on winner the lottery....

In any case.  20 years of joy, tears, frustrations, celebrations, driving each other crazy, missing each other, supporting each other and trying to be the best partners, friends, parents and family that we can be. Some days we knock it out of the park and some days we fail miserably but...we wake up the next day and try again. And, after all, isn't that what its all about?

Love and big squeezy hugs to all of you that are on this incredible adventure with us called LIFE.

Its worth every minute.

We've also lived in this house for 20 years. We LOVE our house, neighbors and the vibe we are surrounded by

Mary Pear Tree was a wedding gift, she's HUGE and still giving us lovely pears (although not as many as Kay would like)

We still fit in our wedding clothes although... I would say they don't fit exactly the same... there's this little thing called gravity ….

Side by side  Now....

and then....

The tree we planted at Camp Chi Rho instead of a unity candle. We are overdue to go check and see how its doing....

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Jazz Blue Reunion Tour - stop 1

Mr Wolf, Jimmy's Jr High band instructor,  has been accepted to the University of Madison to get his MBA in music. We are SO excited for him but so sad for Hopkins. He was an amazing teacher and inspiration to the kids. He encouraged their love of jazz, taught them how to play together and showed them how to self organize and become a "real" jazz group. This group of boys is amazing, due in large part to Mr Wolf.  Not only are they great musicians, but they are caring, kind, polite, smart and athletic. All of them are solid student and also play a sport.  Our future looks bright!!

In his honor and to celebrate him, we had a going away Jazz Blue Reunion. It was amazing!!

The boys all brought their instruments, we invited the families and - of course - the guest of honor himself, Mr Wolf.

The boys played for him for about 30 minutes and then he joined in for another 30 minutes.  It was so fun to sit in our back yard, with friends, a beverage and amazing music. The neighbors loved it too (we were a bit worried about that!).  In fact, one of the local jazz musicians that Mr Wolf tapped to help start the group saw the updates on Facebook and was mightily impressed. 

And… even better … this has spurred the boys to get some gigs on the schedule. They are currently comparing calendars to figure out when they can practice and are hoping to play The Coffee Depot in Hopkins 7/14/2018.  I'm seriously excited.

It truly was a magical night.  Thank you to EVERYONE who made this happen but … our biggest thanks to Mr Wolf!!

Take a look at some clips...

Jazz 1
Jazz 2
Jazz 3
Jazz with Jimmy drum solo 1
Jazz with Jimmy drum solo 2

The back deck made a perfect stage

LOVE these boys!

Silly jazz moms

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Year 24 of the MS 150

Holy cow, another year went by .... fast!!

This year the MS150 was the Ned, Wendy and Kim show. Kim works at MORA and is a biker but had never done the MS150, we were about to change that!!

Friday was the bus ride up, a few beers, a nap, and dinner at Lil Angies. Lets just say...its noticeably colder in Duluth along the water front. It was gorgeous but we were ready for bed!

It started to rain about 4am and we "waited" it out until 6am.  We got ready, ate a pancake breakfast and by the time we were ready to load our gear onto the bus, the rain stop (for now). yeah!! It was a great day of upper 50's, tailwind and off and on rain. The rain wasnt bad as long as you had your rain coat and your arm and leg warmers on, which we did!  Once we got to Hinckley (6 1/2 hrs, not bad!) the rain stopped totally and made for a pleasant, cloudy, lower 70's afternoon. We got our massages, acupuncture, showers and share a few beers with friends on the ride.  Ned was the #24th highest fundraiser (~$5k) and Tracy was the 79th highest (~$3k).  We were in bed, lights out at 8:15pm. Gotta love when the ride wears you out!

Sunday was a gorgeous day, tailwinds again (for the most part), mid 60's with cloud cover. We made it to White Bear Lake in record time (6 hours) and enjoy meal # 452 of the ride. There wasnt as much socializing on Day 2, we were all concentrating on finishing, but it did feel good.

Next year will be my 25th year riding AND I'll be 50. Auntie Lynn and I have decided it needs to be epic - we are thinking $5,500.  Its a good combination of the important #"s.  Uncle Alan was 55 when he passed away, I'll be 50 and it'll be my 25th ride. I'm hoping everyone goes out all to help me achieve my goal.

Now, its time for a massage, a glass of wine and bed.

Until next year!! Thank you Wendy, Ned and Kim for being such great partners on this journey!!

Bus ride up

Sunset in Duluth

End of Day 1, Ned and I are twinsies




Kim's 1st medal for finishing the ride

Wendy and I - all smiles at the end

Lunch on Day 2, we do ride through a lot of corn fields

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Memorial Day weekend and cabin/Bangalore life

We have the glorious opporuntity through Tracy's work to rent cabins occasionally on their property in McGregor. They are fully furnished, sleep 5 and come with the (free) use of a fishing boat, pontoon boat, row boat, paddle boat, ping pong, pool, horseshoes, volleyball, corn hole ... you name it, they have it! Not to mention ... every 89's VHS tape you can image (with an extra bonus ... working VHS players!!)  Its basically heaven.

This year we were lucky enough to get a cabin for Memorial Day.

Tracy headed up 1st with Billy, Angela, Caden and Wyatt.  (Tom, Jimmy and Kay were coming up later due to sports practice) They had a gas (after sitting in an extra 40 min's of traffic due to long weekend cabin commuters).  Dinner was at the Fireside supper club - salad bar and everything.  Then, card games (solitaire) for the Mom's and Blockus for the boys.  The next day they were WAY adventurous and went on a 90 minute hike at the nature sanctuary where they encountered lakes, bogs and about 50+ ticks. Seriously.  Angela googled it and we were basically at ground zero for ticks. Needless to say there was a TON of freaky out after the hike including hysterical boys making us pull over on the highway so that they could pick them off. We continued to find/pick them off for 2 straight days. Yikes!

Tom and the other kids joined just in time for FISHING!!  Caden had brought all his gear and Kay was eager to get out too. Again, Kay out fished EVERYONE !  She got a northern, small mouth, crappie and a ton of sunfish. In fact, at one point a loon was sitting about 4 feet away from her on the lake. Every time she caught a "too small" sunny, she'd throw it to the loon and the loon would catch in. Smart loon. Kay's a loon whispered.  That night was super yummy Genovese (new pasta dish we adore) and TV - Clueless to be exact.

Sunday Bob, Chandra, Grayce and Owen came down from their new house in Duluth to spend the day.  They brought Coltrane (their 10 yr old ridgeback) and their new puppy Bowie (same breed). Holy Cow were they cute and Billy loved up the dogs.  We visited, drank some champagne cocktail, reminisced about India, laid in the sun, paddled in the boat, went swimming, went fishing and basically had a picture perfect day. Bob took the boys out in the row boat to go swimming in the middle of the lake. Tom took the kids fishing (again).  We made a HUGE shrimp boil to round out the day before everyone headed home.  We were staying for 1 final family night and indulged in the Breakfast Club. Classic.

Angela made homemade big breakfast every morning and it was wonderful.

There was no cell coverage or internet and the kids survived (just barely)

We reconnect with really good friends and slowed down to appreciate life a bit.

Billy acted as photographer and got some killer shots (see below)

Overall, the perfect perfect holiday weekend.

So blessed with generous workplaces, good friends, wonderful food and the ability to enjoy life....

Sunset on Rock Lake - the fishing lake


The road less traveled

Sunset on the woods

The beaver dam

Sunset from the cabin

The stars



The CREW!!!  with an extra bonus that EVERYONE was actually smiling!

Blocks and cards

row row row your boat

The loon is in love with kay

more rowing

going fishing

sunset fishing

the loon is back

dock fishing

into the sunset

now waytts rowing

Rock Lake

Tom is a brave man

Said tick farm, I mean nature sanctuary

Whats that in the upper right corner?

Monday, June 04, 2018

Happy Mothers Day

I'm a bit late posting this and do apologize however in my defense it has been a bit hectic around here lately, see previous post!

Tracy continues to amaze with her devotion to preparing for the MS 150, taking time to make sure we are all taken care of and doing well. She is our rock and our biggest champion so on Mother's Day we all take notice and say thank you MOM!

I must add to all mom's out there and particularly Grandma Hickey and Grandma Murphy, we are blessed by your involvement in our lives and your love and laughter.

We love Tracy's quirkiness, her sense of humor and she always has great insight for debating with Jimmy! We are blessed everyday having Tracy as our mom, partner,,friend, guidance counselor, souf chef, scheduler, the list goes on.

So on this Mother's Day taker notice of all the mom's in your life , your kids lives and give thanks for them, and perhaps you will see that there is still a lot of joy, hope and happiness out there!

Happy Mother's Day Tracy you are the best friend, partner, traveller, lover, and the only person to take this journey with! I love you.