Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Another Quiet weekend around the house

yeah... right....

In my weekly quest to get the kids out of the house for a substantial amount of time on the weekends (so that Tom can study), Angela and I declared it Mommy/Kid day. We set off on Saturday with a full schedule:

Will Hale Concert

McDonald's for lunch
Tennis Camp
The Will Hale concert was fun. Its billed as a "rock concert for kids" and he does a great job of getting the kids involved (ie active!). The theater held about 25 people total and we were by far the loudest. Not that the others didn't know Will (he knew many of the kids by name) but my kids talked TO him the entire show. I mean they stopped talking when he wasn't playing, but when he stopped, they started. Questions, comments, interjections, requests, complaints, the whole 9 yards. In fact, Will announced "I haven't had hecklers before, but I kind of like it..."

He has invited Jimmy to bring his drums for the next concert and be his drummer. I am not sure knows what he is in for...

McDonald's for lunch, while a treat for the kids is pure hell for parents. Add to it, we were at the Midway McDonald's at high noon on a Saturday. The people watching was diverse and super interesting, but it was crowded, dirty and a general mess. 4 kids meals, 1 salad, 1 ice cream and 4 large fries later, we were ready to wear off our calories at tennis...

Tennis Camp - my favorite weekend activity is coming to an end. It was the last Saturday until September and included a big awards ceremony and treats (cupcakes anyone?) We brought a special thank you for our favorite coach Sharon and got a tour of her office. We also got a certificate and hugs all around. I am serious, I am really going to miss tennis. It was a "free"90 min's I had each week while the kids got trained, exercised, socialized and taught. The perfect outlet for both of us (parents and kids).

Saturday night was an impromptu family dinner with our gated community neighbors. The kids ran wild and the parents opened a few bottles of wine. The highlight of the night was an overheard conversation between "the boys". Jimmy and Anders were talking about school which led to a discussion about girls which lead to a discussion about crushes which went something like this:

Anders: Jimmy do you know about something called a crush?

Jimmy: Yea I do

Anders; What is it?
Jimmy: It is when you see a girl and then get red in the face and there is a cloud around your head with a light bulb in the cloud.... that is a crush.
Andres: Oh
God help us..

Sunday was miserable. 40 and rainy AND Jimmy & Tom had a 2 hour father/son archery lesson at the local nature center, which turned out to be surprisingly informative if you had never rosined up a bow before.
The bow was somewhat from the 20th century and the resistance however was not, but this was a Father son affair so the details were not so important. We arrived in our rain gear and assembled with the rest of the "class" and proceeded to the 'archery range". Now I must interject here that this class is being taught at a nature center by a group of conservationists and nature lovers. These people were extremely nervous when handing over the bow and arrow as they claimed it was a loaded weapon. Well in a since it was in that there was a bow and an arrow and when you put the two together you in theory could shoot someone or something with it.

Back to the class we are taught about proper holding techniques, proper names for each part of the bow and the arrow. The the proper way to hold, load and shoot.
Then It was off to the range, which was a made of area with 6 targets four about 16 feet away and 2 about 8 feet away. I mentioned before about this potential weapon well let me put it this way if the targets would have been more than 16 feet away there would not have been enough power to hit the target, follow what I am saying.
Well all kidding aside Jimmy and Dad had a great time and Jimmy was one of only two people to hit the bulls eye and was quite proud. He commented that he wish he could have hit the bulls eye as many times as his Dad but was proud of his accomplishment all the same. We are signed up for the next session later this fall and Jimmy wants to practice with his Dad's bow in the backyard ......

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Ketchup "For Sale"

There has been this blue sign hanging off different portions of our house over the last week or two. Every time I ask the kids about it, I get the answer "we are selling ketchup". This has me puzzled...

Now, I know Billy loves ketchup, we go through about a bottle a week. He has ketchup on his hotdogs, his rice, his noodles, his tator tots, he has even asked for ketchup in his sippy cup (in his chocolate milk, eww....) but I was concerned about him starting to "sell" ketchup. Is this how dealers get started? 1st they try the drug then they start selling the drug to support the habit?!?! Am I raising a future drug lord?! (we arleady know he's in for grand theft auto, so having 2 felonys does not sound appealing....)

So, I keep asking ... "telling me why are we selling ketchup again??

Finally, an answer that makes sense. Jimmy says "Look... we are selling Pet Shops, you know, the Littlest Pet Shop toys?"

Ok, I guess it pays to pay attention to what is actually written on the sign and to what my kids are actually up to. If I had, I would have seen that immediately.

Kids = 1
Me = 0

(At least I dont have to worry about becoming an unauthorized ketchup dealer)

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Freedom's just another word for ....

Thursday was another typical day here at the Loudamericans Headquarters in GV,Mn. We had a quite dinner planned with Dee, Mike Wendy, Lucy and the Loudamericans. It seems that everyone arrived at the same time and Nicki took advantage of the door being open and bolted the quiet freedom of a dog on the run.

There was one fleeting moment where we saw her and actually had her in our grip but somehow a mysterious jogger went past attention was diverted by one of the younger ones and the inevitable " Where did Nicki go?"

Well .... she went down over the highway to check out St.Louis Park and the nature center. Tom was driving all over the neighborhood, Minnows (& then Wendy) was walking Lucy in hopes of seeing and or drawing out the Nickster but to no avail. The calls were made to the humane society, animal protection and police. Tracy bribed the neighbor kids with $5 if they found her and our gated community friend Kristin went for a long run looking for her. Jimmy, ever so attached to the dog say's " well Nicki is gone ... can wel get a new puppy?"

The following morning at 10:20 Sharp, the Human Society opens at 10:00 we got a call from a wonderful lady named Charlie and her son Eddie. They live over in SLP by the nature park and were kind enough to let Nicki bunk with them on Thursday night. They came over Friday to check up on Nicki. Jimmy thanked them for returning our dog and gave the fudgicles for their troubles. (Can you say "phew" ... needless to say we didnt get a great night sleep knowing Nicki might be "at large" but in typical LoudAmerican fashion, we now have 2 new friends...)

Friday night found Tom and Tracy out to their first concert in over three years and were treated to a great night with Lucy Kaplansky. The group had a great time and we are now looking forward to the Boss in May.

Saturday was full of events. The morning found us at the Mall of America at 8:00 for the Frazer walk for Autism followed by a few rides at Nickelodeon world and lunch at Tigers Park with the Van Meter's. Saturday night was a quite affair after returning home from a Benilde-St. Margaret's event honoring Mr. J for his 200th retreat. Jimmy did a good job sitting through his first ever full Catholic mass. The couple times the pac man noises drowned out the Priest can be overlooked as first time issues! We had a nice dinner with Uncle Jim Fellows.

Sunday was a dreary day with the Miller's arriving as we tried to resurrect a traditional Indian Sunday brunch but not being able to go outside put a damper on the events. We are all waiting until the Fischer's get settled and get out thier tent then the good times will roll!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Spring Break - 2008

Our 1st official spring break for the kids was a raging success!! Disney, Dells, Mexico, Girls gone wild?? No WAY, not us .... Golden Valley MN was our stay-cation and THE spring break destination for 2008.

Our Motto for the week?? no schedule, no sleep, no plan, no clue
Highlights include (if you can call 10 days of one on one kid time with three kids a "highlight")
Weekend kick off events or otherwise know as TIMPLS (vs Target India Palm Meadows (TIPM) & Target India Zen Gardens (TIZG)
~ Welcome Home & Happy 40th Birthday Paul! Our good friend and now fellow ex-expat returned from Bangalore via a 2 week trip to Australia just in time to celebrate his 40th birthday with his loved ones (us and other ex-expats). His flight landed at 11pm and he managed to make it to his surprise birthday party with 10 min's left on his official birthday. Fun was had by all:)

~ Taco Night Revisited -The kids welcomed home their friends Rochen, Grayce and Owen with light saber duels, banana bread, tacos and a sleep over at Cadens house. The highlight of the evening? "Sixteen Candles" and chocolate in chocolate milk (ie Chocotini) for the adults and a full fledged April snow storm in honor of the newly arrived ex-expat children

~ Hi Craig - where the "hell" have you been?! - Our good friends and former colleague Craig, Mary and their kids Alex & Charlie braved the Murphy household for an evening of food, magic tricks, circus acts and the Doodlebops. This was their 1st trip back to MN after moving to Madison 2 years ago. Even WE got home more frequently than that and we lived in INDIA!

Week Long Schedule otherwise known as ... when does school start again?!?!
~ Playdates - Jimmy was "too excited to sleep" he was having his 1st playdate with Sam. He showed up and Sam was jumping up and down at the door. Apparently having a playdate with your best friend when you are 7 ranks right up there with beer bongs and wet tshirt contests for college students when its spring break time. We also had dinner at Ben's house (family play date including capture the flag and corndogs - yummm!!!) and managed to sneak in more ex-expat kid time.

~ Library and Wi activities - We LOVE the library! Not only for the books, DVD's, etc, but they had a FULL 3 hours of "Wi" time. It was for 6th graders and older but Jimmy was the only one there. He had a blast playing tennis on the Wi. He broke a sweat and was so into the game that he peed his pants. Literally. He couldnt stop long enough to go to the bathroom. I am a bit worried that this might be an insight into his competitive nature.

~ THE ZOO - We joined Caden and Wyatt for the baby animal petting at the zoo. While Kay was disappointed that they didnt see a giraffe, the kids feasted on soft pretzels, carmel corn, soda, had a lunch stop at McDonalds and got to buy a toy each at Target. Does it get any better than this? At the end of the day, Jimmy was so grateful, he kept thanking us for being "the best parents ever" and promised that they'll "never ask for toys again, unless its our birthday, or Christmas, or Easter, or Mothers Day, or Fathers Day or our Gotcha Days...." Right. I'm not putting any money on that one.

~ Former babysitter reunion - Susie Spence - After 20+ years of searching for my favorite babysitter (as a kid), she found us! AND, her daughter, Hillary, goes to the U. Small world. So, we had them over for a "let's catch up on the last 30 years of your lives" chat and dinner. Events of the evening included: an Easter egg hunt for everyone, planned and executed by Kay, a demo of light saber skills by Jimmy, a circus performance by Kay, an oral history of their adoptions and adoption books (Hillary's boyfriend is Korean and the kids had a million questions for him about his favorite Korean food), a running oratory about Star Wars and lots of hugs/kisses at the end of the evening.

~ Random Thoughts/Quotes - Getting out the bikes and trying not to get run over by the crazy Minnesoata drivers. Billy had a blast riding on the back of Juimy's bike and screaming at the top of his lungs. Kay on the other hand would much prefer us to hook up the burly so she can ride like the princess she aspires to be! Kay woke up Thursday morning and declared "I dreamed about all of us last night. We got another dog in my dream and Mommy woke up and said ~ sh-t we have another dog". Nice, I think we need to work on our vocabulary.

~ Gotcha Day - Jimmy & Hayden - Jimmy and Hayden entered our lives 7 years ago on April 10, forming the beginnings of the Murphy & VanMeter families and a lifelong friendship/connection for all involved. How did we celebrate? Korean food at Mirror of Korea of course:) Followed by ... cupcakes, red wine and a rewatching of their adoption videos. Its amazing to see how much your kids change (while we dont) and all the little "babyisms" that they had. Too much fun.

Weekend Wrap Up or thank god its almost over

~ Boat Party - this counts Milbraths - The 1st of the 3 Easter Egg hunts began at Jimmy & Sandras lake home on Friday night. Kay, Amy and Hayley proceeded to hide all the eggs just to turn around and find them again. Kay both hid and found the golden egg. Coincidence?? I think not.

~ Easter Egg Hunt # 2 -
Our church had an Easter party on Saturday and in an effort to give Tom some study time, I took on the task of taking all 3 kids. (see the Science Museum blog for a reference of taking 3 kids out in public by myself...)

~ Easter Egg Hunt # 3 and the arrival of the Easter Bunny (oh and Kay ran away from home twice) - Kay bounds into our room at 8am asking "is anyone else up? did the rabbit come?" Thus started the day destined for a sugar hangover. Jimmy was less than thrilled with his present (a tennis racket) and so we had to explain how the Easter bunny shops at Target. That's way Target is closed on Easter Sunday, because the Easter bunny has bought ALL their toys. But, the good news is, we can exchange the tennis racket for something more desirable by a 7 yr old boy. This fib fooled the child. Kay, on the other hand, was less malable. She was sneaking candy all morning and finally caught in the act 5 min's before lunch. Lunch proceeded as normal, but when it came time for the post lunch treat, Jimmy was the only one that had managed to avoid temptation and got to eat a post lunch treat (a point which he drove home with the other two kids). This resulted in Kay telling me she didnt love me, didnt want to live in this house anymore and she was leaving. And, leave she did. She put on her boots and made it almost to the stop sign. Jimmy was yelling "come back Kay, we love you" at the top of his lungs. At first he was laughing while he was yelling and then it turned a bit desparate. I went out on the search and rescue and had to bring her home kicking and screaming how much she hated me. She wasnt home 5 min's and set off again to find a house that would let her eat chocolate instead of lunch. Oh the joys of girls and their chocolate.

~ Easter with the Gottsackers - We spent Sunday afternoon with the Gottsackers, their kids and Mike's sister in law & niece. We had a WONDERFUL dinner of ham, potatoes, strawberries, salad and carrots. The kids played video games and jumped on the trampoline for hours. Thank god for Jack and his willingness to "hang out" with 3 little kids for all of Easter. They adore him and it allowed the grown ups to sit and visit. My stomach hurt when we left from laughing.

~ Decompression glass of wine with Tim/Patricks - Have we mentioned how much we LOVE our neighbors?? On the way home from the Gottsackers, we texted the neighbors and asked if they wanted a holiday decompression wine on our deck post the kids going to bed. The resounding answer... YES!! So, at 9pm last night, they walked the backyard with 3 bottles of wine, each with a 1/3 of wine left in them from their hosting of Easter. We drank a glass, compared family traditions, solved a few world problems and headed off to bed with thoughts of a successful weekend in our heads.

Next up?? Sleep and Betty Ford.
Thank god for Mrs VanBatvia and Mrs Houston at Meadowbrook Elementary School.

(as of Monday, Kay is still in residence at our house, we'll keep you posted on the progress of that)

Monday, April 06, 2009

Spring has Sprung and its "that time of year" again

It's "that time of year" again....Spring Break week for the kids, a snowstorm in April, our St Pat's day party was a success ~ all signs that its time for me to start training for the MS150!

This year the ride is also a week later (a hopefully a bit warmer for our camping in Duluth) June 12-14th. I am really excited to be able to train on my OWN bike this year:) AND ...my fundraising goal stays the same: $1000. Last year, you all were incredibly generous and helped me raise my goal. This year, while I know times are tough, I am hoping that you'll set aside some extra $ for this cause.

As a reminder, I ride for my Uncle Alan and all the people living with and affected by MS. I am not alone, last year over 3,000 people biked and there were 1,000+ volunteers: everyone united in raising money to find a cure for MS and to help people lead productive lives. (Plus its just a whole bunch of fun!!)

I'll be riding with my long time friend Wendy again and I think this will be our 15th year riding.
If you want to donate, feel free to check out http://www.blogger.com/www.ms150.com - ePledge and look for my name, the ride is 6/12-6/14. Or, you can just make out a check to MS Society and I'll be sure to hand it in for you.

Keep an eye out for my training/fundraising blogs, feel free to pass this blog along and enjoy Spring!

Take care,