Saturday, August 29, 2009

Jimmy Turns 8

August 22nd was finally here, Jimmy's birthday. He has been counting the months, weeks, days and minutes until the Holy Grail of days has arrived.

Jimmy was going back and forth on how to celebrate - from a sleepover to the zoo and finally Mommy made the choice for him, GRANDSLAM! It offers a little piece of heaven right here on earth for 8 year old boys. The place has mini golf, bumper cars, batting cages and laser tag. There are even video games. When we walked in Jimmy's friend Sam turned to him and said "Jimmy ...this place is a dream come true!"

The place has a system that works great. They give you one token for each kid for the batting cage and 8 tokens for video games and unlimited bumper cars, laser tag and mini golf and finally a large pizza and two pitcher of soda. No fuss no mess - the perfect place for the boys to burn off some energy.

Jimmy had a blast with his classmates and they all had a great time with the different events. Some loved the laser tag while other liked the bumper cars. Of course we had to drag Billy out of the bumper cars kicking and screaming. Kay even took a round in the batting cage where the pitches were coming at her 40 miles per hour. She missed the first couple but she just may have made better contact than the boys!

The laser tag was like suiting up to go to war. Each kid had a vest with a shot counter and a laser gun and the whole thing glowed in the dark. The room was a maze of different floors and hiding places and the entire place was dark and only lit with black lights, kind of freaky, spooky and a total rush. The kids came out screaming and laughing and cover in sweat, to sum it up awesome.

It was back home after for more fun and t-shirt making. Jimmy gave each of his buddies a white t-shirt and some fabric paint and they all made cool t-shirts from the day. Finally everyone headed home and Jimmy looked at us and said " Mom and Dad that was awesome, I love you and I have to go to bed." He was wiped out for two days but had a great birthday.

He got lots of presents and Jimmy (and Mom and Dad) say thanks you to everyone that sent birthday wises his way. Jimmy really has been using the amplifier we got him for his electric guitar, I mean using it alot and it appears to date it only has one level of volume, LOUD.

He did make a comment a few days later "its a good thing its not your birthday everyday or you'd be too tired all the time".


Sunday, August 16, 2009

PSA- Cutting Oniond without tears

Many of you may know that Kay is a great help in the kitchen. Her current skill is to help Daddy cut vegetables. She can cut, chop and even Julienne any vegetable. She has shied away from onions until today when she came up with a plan all on her own.

For all of you out there that dread having to cut onions. The stinging of the eyes, the loss of vision and the continued irritant this white and often useful vegetable creates, Kay has developed a solution.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Korean Culture Camp

Last week was an incredible week for the kids and for us as well. The Korean Culture camp is a 33 Year old program and has campers from across the US and Europe as well. It was the first year for the Loudamericans and the Van Meters and a second term for the Buckley's and the Waldon/ Werner's. This camp is even starting to have campers whose parents were campers. Too cool.

The camp was spread over the Minnehaha High School campus and the place was packed with around 300 campers and a whopping 250 volunteers. Tom was in the Kitchen 4 out of the 5 days.

The camp offered many different Korean focused classes from music, dance, Tae Kwon Do and self esteem (Jimmy's favorite). It is about the whole adoption process and how everyone is unique and special. Jimmy came home day one and said " This Korean Culture Camp is awesome, it is full of people just like me, Korean Americans. There are barely any American Americans.". It was enough to bring tears to your eyes. Kay and Billy as well found a place full of people like them and they all had a blast.

The kids got to have real Korean treats which was interesting because they have not really had them before but they really like them, go figure. At one point the camp was handing out blow pops you know those suckers that have gum in the middle. When it came time for the kids to get theirs, they ALL wanted the sour apple, a Korean favorite I suppose. I mentioned it to the self esteem instructor and he said..."yeah, me too but now they are all gone, look at all the Korean kids, we need better inventory management".

Each day we asked the kids "what was your favorite part". Everyday...the same answer... LUNCH!! The kids would all come through the lunch line like they had never eaten before. The rice, bugolgi, chop chay, kim chee, mondu, chicken it was a varietal smorgasbord of delicacies available everyday for LUNCH, man am I hungry.

The week ended with a performance on Saturday that included many of the things the kids learned over the week. Jimmy learned Tae Kwon Do and broke his first board. The crowd went nuts! Kay was in the dancing and signing portion of the program and was super cute.

There were several quotes and moments of intense joy and sadness however the one that I think sticks out the most was an interchange between Joey and Jimmy.:

Jimmy: Joey do you like Korean Camp?

Joey: Yeah it is a blast!

Jimmy: Me too I wish we could have Korean Camp everyday!

Joey: Me too, but these people all have real jobs:(

We are looking forward to camp next August!! In the meantime it is off to Mirror of Korea to get our food fix.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Hard Rock Metal Fused with Dance

The kids had Marin over the other day to babysit while Dad was at the Library doing some school research. Marin is our neighbor and go to girl when we need a sitter and she is a great artist and the kids really dig her.

The kids created t-shirts which was a great idea and they have sparked a continuing rock and roll concert since.

Jimmy is becoming quite the music aficionado and has recently chosen the Band Green Day as his new affliction and as you can see by the t-shirt he creates quite the rad band.

Kay and Billy have been the groupies and have a kind of hands on thing going with the t-shirts and band.

The band itself is what they in the music industry would call emerging. The sound is rather that of a banshee running for it's life but in some ways it is consistent. The drum is the main feature with several loud pounding solos per song and many time back to back solos. The main vocals are handled by Kay in a Janis Joplin/Slam dance/Kiss/retro kind of way. She also handles the guitar backup which is quite the sight as the guitar is bigger than she is.

Old Bill as he is referred to by his band mates, is the background glue kind of musician. He handles the keyboards and light vocals while sometimes using the keyboard like a synthesiser or some other kind of late 70's acid based/meth type of sounds.

The group has yet to develop a name however they have penned several songs including but not limited to :

I wanna Rock

I wanna Rock the House

I wanna rock all Night

Give Nikki a Steak

Animals are true ( They do not drink alcohaol)

Jimmy was at McPhail Center for the arts for an intake interview and saw their poster for the battle of the bands and wants to enter. He was told he had to be 12 to which he responded 'what's up with that" Now he wants to have Billy be the judge and have Jimmy and Kay versus Mommy and Daddy, Yikes. If anyone wants to enter the battle let Jimmy know.
As his interviewer asked him, Jimmy, can I ask you a couple of questions?" Jimmy's response was and I kid you not " Sure, what have you got"

The group may be featured on utube so stay tuned!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Next up LaGrange

We headed off towards Chicago but really our destination was La Grange - the home of our friends Jan, Chris,Jet and Charlie. This visit comes with the added bonus of the Peiffer's living " down the street" so to speak. Carl Jackie, Johnny,Timmy and Charlie stopped by several times over the weekend to eat, chat and have a fun time.

We arrived late Friday afternoon and headed over to the local La Grange pool for some "pool time". We watched as the fish, I mean kids, played together like we had not be apart for the past three years. Jet and Charlie were part of the "old band" when the kids were at daycare. We had a ball watching the kids go down the slide and even Kay gave it a go. Back to Jan and Chris's home for a BBQ a couple of beers with Carl and then movies, laughing, popcorn,laughing and more movies. Friday night was a blast and the adults and kids all feel into a the very comfortable rhythm you get into with old friends.

We had visions of the kids sleeping in and really enjoying our weekend "away". Like that happened.... 6:00 am and the kids were up making noise and stomping around. Tracy drew the short straw and was up with them while I got to grab an extra hour or so of sleep (internally betting that we could wear the kids down so as not to repeat this foolish idea of getting up so early. I did commit to doing Sunday morning duty - like THAT was going to happen)....
We all finally had breakfast and planned the day. We'd all hit the splash park in the morning and then the girls would take the kids to the Zoo while Chris and I did some "shopping" and got things ready for a seafood feat for Saturday night. Chris had just returned from a business trip from London and after we returned from the store he took a nap while I did some school work. I think Jan and Tracy were suspicious that our plan would actually include beer/TV but we did follow through and got it all done. (no comment on the beer/TV - the other stuff got done, lay off!)

Carl and Jackie were celebrating their 19Th Wedding anniversary so we had them over for Champagne and appy's before they headed out for the evening. Meanwhile we were creating a Portuguese Cataplana that turned out awesome.

Sunday 6:00 and Tom was up with the kids after unsuccessfully trying to bribe them to sleep in. (and losing the afore mentioned bet)

After breakfast it was back to the pool to wear the kids down fore the homeward journey. Lunch was had hugs and goodbye's were said plans were made to get together this fall and off we went.
A big thanks to Jan and Chris for a great reunion we had a blast! Happy Anniversary to Carl and Jackie!
On a side note we must mention that the portable DVD player was a life saver!