Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Boys of Summer

Baseball, who knew how many rain delays, cancellations and the like we would have to endure this year, crazy.

The Marlins came together as a team early this Spring and right out of the gate they were 2 and 0, slipping as the season slowly dragged on to the depths of the standings... a disappointing 2 and 10. Not to worry with Jimmy on the team the Marlins team spirit did not waiver. The other parents giving Jimmy high praise as he spurred the team onward, " Who are we, We are the Marlin's, give me M...., " the team hung in there.

The season dragged on like the winter and there was a game in late May where the temp at game time was 34 degrees! The kids pitching came out of the dirt and started to find the catchers glove, the boy's opened their eye's and the ball met the bat, the pop fly and ground ball found the mitt and the boy's slowed down and there throws found the mark, the times they were a changing!

The Marlins finished , 4 and 10 and entered the playoffs as a long shot. The playoffs were two fold one inner league play and the other city league play. The Marlins went down swinging in the first round of inner league play but they were not discouraged. They came back in the first round of city league play and took the first game away from St. Louis Park with a well deserved forfeit, we were on the way!

Game two was a hard fought battle over Hopkins. The game tied at 2 a piece the Marlins, the home team were up in the bottom of the second, 1 out runners on first and second, next up Jimmy Murphy. He stepped into the box look around squared up and ball one. Jimmy looked down the pitcher, strike one, not swayed Jimmy stepped back in, let out a deep breath raised his bat, SMACK, the ball flew over the right fielders head two runs score Jimmy (all teeth), a stand up triple, all was well in kid-dom. The Marlins went on from there to win 12 to 3 and were all of a sudden 2 and o !
Game three was played against the Hamel Heat, a name derived no doubt from the velocity of there two pitchers. Now not to complain because the boy's played well, however in the city league play the rules and ages are a bit different our team is made up of 9 and 10 year old, where the Hamel rules call for 10-12 years, that said the battle was on. The Heat was up 10 to 1 after, after 5 it was 11 to 6. Now in the rules a team can get no more than 5 runs an inning, which means if you are behind by more than 5 going into the 6 inning or your last at bat, game over. Which was the fate that befell the Marlin and brought an end to the season.

The boy's will be celebrating the season with a party at our house.

Great season " Way to Go Marlins !"

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Happy Fathers Day Tom!!

Not only has Tom had an incredible week (as you can see from the fishing and rock concert blog) he has had an incredible year.

He's worked hard to insure the kids are active, happy and healthy. Thanks to him, they are able to be involved in scouts, football, basketball, baseball, gymnastics, piano, drum, rock camp, Korean camp and all the plethera of play dates that they get invited on. He's a fixture at their school and the 1st parent the teachers call for field trips, extra supplies or a helping hand.

He's been active on the board of the Gift of Adoption Fund which had their cornerstone golf tournament on Thursday. This year, thanks to Tom's efforts, they matched the $'s they had raised in the past, the amazing part? This was the 1st year they DIDNT have a major sponsor, Tom drummed it up all on his own.

He's dedicated time and his heart to deep personal reflection and I believe we are in the best place we have ever been as a couple. He's exploring who he is, who shaped him, who he wants to be and most importantly, how he's going to get there. Part of this included making a donation to a local non-profit in honor of his Uncle Don.

What's in store the next year?

Our trip to the Netherlands for Wendy & Annemeik's wedding! Tom has been asked to speak at the wedding and is taking his role very seriously (as he should, he was asked to represent Wendy's "family" :).

He is exploring getting back into the work force and trying to figure out how to combine his love of sales and people with his desire to work in non-profit.

Continuing to be involved and the main support for the kids busy lifes, thats a full time job in itself!

We celebrated Tom and all he is on Fathers Day. It was a day out of Americana, a family bike ride to Dairy Queen, a pick up baseball game in the backyard (Jimmy & Billy beating Jim Fellows and Tom handily - Kay sat out due to a pitch to the face) and pork chops (and applesauce) on the grill.

Happy Fathers Day Tom, you are a wonderful husband, partner and father.

We love you!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Jimmy Live

This is just a quick post of one of the songs Jimmy learned and performed at Band Camp. We will post the whole show with clearer video as soon as we find the cable to connect the camcorder to the computer.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Lake Vermillion here we come!

It is that time of year again to get the boat tuned up, sort through tackle, life jackets, flashlights and get ready to catch fish, have fun and stay up late!!

The annual fishing trip took a couple of turns this year. First off all it was just Carl and his kids, his friend Jim and the Loudamericans, minus one. That would be the second turn off events as I brought all three kids for the first time, what was I thinking?! To tell the truth I was thinking how fun it would be to have the kids on the water, catching fish, and having a great time.

Tracy left on Friday for the MS 150, (previous blog) while the kids and I packed the boat and car. Carl and his group arrived late Friday night and we had a blast catching up and talking trash about big fish and more big fish. They left early Saturday morning while we ran around and got Kay to her friends birthday/ sleepover, which is why we did not leave until Sunday.

Sunday we set out and I was treated to my first shock of the trip which was how well the kids 'where' and 'how much fun ' we were to have. We got along and the trip which is about 5 hours, went by fast as Kay pointed out, " they say time flies when you are having fun". The cabin is a 2.5 room, one bathroom small kitchen type place and if you have been " up north" before you will understand what I mean when I say the floor was not level, but no mind, there was a dock a lake and that means running and jumping. Now most people like lakes and to swim in them, however there are usually a guideline or two, such as the water needs to be warm and perhaps you need a way out of the water after jumping in, not Jimmy. Right off the dock 62 degree water and he was gone before I even had the car unpacked. Turns out it was a great idea to bring all the kids because while one is not helping the other two are. Kay and Billy, Thing 1 & Thing 2, helped unload the car, make the beds and put away the food, nice!

Carl and the boy's had caught a few fish and so we headed off to an island for a Sunday night fish fry, it was awesome. Johnny started a fire with a wooden bow and a rock and made the fire the old fashion way which we all thought was super cool. Swimming in the lake followed by a bonfire and then bed, it was a great day. Carl and Kay bonded over a can of sardines and they both were in sardine heaven!

The kids spent most of the time in the boat telling stories, making up songs ( see below) and talking about how cool it was to go super fast in the boat. We had a picnic in the boat and even decided that since the fish were not biting it would be cool to jump in and swim instead, so we did. There is a great of fun and bonding to be had on a fishing trip even if the trip does not include catching fish as Billy said, "it is not about how many fish you catch it is about how much fun we had!"

The last night was a full on bonfire complete with fireworks, roman candles and a few (mostly) controlled 'real' fireworks which the kids loved. We had an awesome time with Carl, Jim and the boys and we did manage to catch and bring home enough fish for a fish fry for Mommy's birthday. I was hard pressed to drag Kay out of the boat and old Bill spent his spare time in the boat helping to row while Jimmy was content to watch his bobber. I think it was the best trip I have had in a long time and I am very proud of the kids attitude and demeanor on the trip.

As we said we caught enough fish to fry for Tracy's b-day, more to come!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Another year...another 150 miles:)

Well, we did it! Wendy and I, along with 80 of our team mates finished, whew!!

Overall it was a record breaking year:

~ The Target team grew from 10 to 80 riders (thats 12,000 miles!)

~ The Target team raised over $40,000 of MS

~ The ride raised over $2.7 MILLION

~ I raised $2,305 (well over my goal of $2,000, I might have to up my goal next year!

~ I was part of Club 150 - top fundraisers from 2010

The weather was PERFECT! High 50's on Saturday, overcast with a slight tail wind. We started the day at 6:00am (butts on bikes) and raced through the day at an average of 17 mph. We finished by Noon and were massaged, showered, tented and ready to celebrate with our team mates at the Target tent. Hamburgers, brats, Bocca burgers, Archer farms snacks and beer. Its was ALL good. Annemeik and Lucy even came to cheer us on:)

Sunday started out in a similar fashion at 6:20am (butts on bikes), but the temp quickly started to rise and the head wind picked up. It was lows 70's by 9am, with a 5-10 mph headwind and I was getting nervous (nothing worse than riding your bike in the blazing sun into a headwind) but... the clouds prevailed, it cooled down (high 60's) and I managed to ride directly behind Wendy the whole way (thus avoiding the wind). You might want to ask her how her ride was, mine was manageable thanks to her! We averaged 15-16 mph and finished about 12:15pm, not bad for a couple of girls in their 40's!!

A few interesting side notes of the weekend:

~ Jan (friend of Wendy's from church) drove us up to Duluth and we had our traditional 'Lil Angies mexican feista with Dick and Cathy. THANK YOU JAN!!

~ Our latest tradition is to count all the white cement polar bear lawn ornaments as we ride through White Bear Lake (last leg of the ride before the finish). This year we got to 60! keep in mind, we counted 60 polar bears in just 7 miles. Makes you wonder....

~ We met someone that was riding their 30th MS 150, that's dedication!

~ We saw riders of past years and people we know through "friends of friends", pretty amazing when you consider there are 3,900 riders and 2,000 volunteers.

Thank you for ALL your good vibes, dances to the weather gods, insipiration, support, money and friendship. You make it ALL worth it!!

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

It's the end of school and I know it

And I feel fine, really.

Otherwise known as...104 days of summer vacation ....

Bonus points to anyone that can name those 2 songs:)

The end of school this year was celebrated with a Paris Day, a sing a long, a trip or two to the zoo, Girl Scouts in a parade, and dinner at Mirror of Korea!!!

Billy ended school this year with a class singing performance just shy of Grammy caliber. The Kindergartner's worked with Mr. Barry to produce several great songs and dance numbers which were quite cute ( see video below). Bill then headed to the zoo for a day with his classmates and his Dad in tow. The kids saw dolphins, ants, turtles and even rode on the monorail, quite "awesome" according to Bill. His favorite "animal" the eel - eewww!!

So it is with great pride that we announce Billy Murphy is now a first grader!!! Watch out Mrs VanBatavia!

Way to go Bill!!

Kay was very busy finishing up school this year with girl scouts, a trip to the zoo and more girl scouts. Kay and her classmates did a rerun of Billy's zoo trip and of course they had fun. It was a busy group so much so we missed the dolphin show however we managed to see most of the zoo and stay out of the water!

Kay had a blast with the girl scouts this year making several badges and carrying the flag in the Golden Valley "Day" Parade. All smiles and in the rain! She worked very hard this year and with great accomplishment she is doing great in reading and math!! So now Kay bids a fond farewell to the likes of grade 2 and embraces all that it means to be a 3rd grader! We are proud of you Kay, well done.

As the song goes " He went to Paris looking for answers to questions, that bothered him so".... (another bonus point on that song) Jimmy and the 3rd graders ended with the 20th Annual Paris Day, an what a day, or I should say couple of weeks it was. The class created a Paris Style Restaurant, which he was, Mater D' complete with a full course menu, one item to note on the menu, Milk $5.00 and Wine $4:00, it is France after all.

The kids put on a fashion show, had a Tour de France with their bikes in the bus lot, played with stilts and bouche ball and the parents turned the cafeteria into a sidewalk Paris market, complete with a mime, great fun! So at 4:05 on June 3rd Jimmy announced " I am now a 4th grader", Way to go Jimmy and with full marks! We are proud of you!

We made a trip to Mirror of Korea to celebrate with Tracy's Aunt Lynn and her son, Tracy's cousin Dan, his wife Sarah and their kids Lola and Astrid. We visited and the kids ate once again like it was their last meal. We always have fun when we get together with them and this time was no exception, it was the perfect ending of school and beginning to the summer. Thanks to them for a great time.

So speaking of Summer have a great one and more to follow......

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Aunt Sue here we come!

Memorial Day brings many traditions and perhaps a new one for the Loudamericans, a trip to Green Bay. May people may not place Green Bay Wisconsin on the top of their must see places however it has quite a bit to offer and, most importantly, Aunt Sue is there!

Friday afternoon was Paris days for Jimmy (more on that in the next blog) so we had to wait until the send of the school day to head out. We loaded the car, plus Nikki, picked the kids up promptly at 4:00 and left directly for Aunt Sue's. We actually made great time and managed to make it to Wausau for dinner. PSA: We have over the years offered several public service announcements via the blog and the experience and information in the PSA is a direct reflection of The Loudamericans. In Wausau there is a Wendy's which you must avoid at all costs, if fast food is what you are after. Twice we have "made great time" and stopped here for dinner, for some reason the kids like Wendy's, and each time it was well over an hour before getting back into the car! You know those fast food places where they have to few employees, no real manager to complain to and everyone seems to be oblivious to the line forming at the register and then they look afraid to ask for you order, beware!

We reached Sue's around 10:00 and she was very happy to see us. The kids gave her big hugs and kisses and even Nikki was excited! Being that we were in the car for so long we let the kids watch some old Packer Highlight films and caught up with Sue while we unloaded and made the plans for the weekend.

Saturday was Bay Beach, a circa late 60's amusement park complete with bumper cars, giant slide, a family of ducks waddling around and tickets for each ride, 25 cents! We spent $10.00 for tickets and were ready to go. Kay was fearless and finally an amusement park that had rides she was tall enough to go on, and go on them she did. Sue was brave enough to follow Kay onto the spinning box ride (the video is below). The boys were big into bumper cars, the giant slide and the tilt a whirl, ("I got on it last night and my shirt got caught, and it kept me spinning Sandy, didn't think I would ever get off"... sorry old Bruce Springsteen lyric seqway). We packed a lunch and sat by the park and had a nice picnic complete with cheddar cheese and pretzel's, AHHHH... Wisconsin.

That night we had a BBQ in Sue's back yard complete with burgers for the kids and an awesome salmon creation by Tracy for the adults. Billy and Kay made a "nest" at the end of Sues bed while Jimmy slept downstairs on a comfortable futon in now what is referred to " My man cave", it was a great ending to a beautiful day.

Sunday brought us to Heritage Village, which is just what is sounds like, a recreation of sorts, of an old Wisconsin fur trading post and working farm. The kids complained the whole way there (of course) and then proclaimed it "super cool". We went to a fur trading cabin/store where the people were dressed and spoke in the language of the times (which was French) except that the guy only knew how to say hello in French, "Bonjour", so Jimmy, having come of a month or so of French in preparation for Paris Day, began speaking French with the fur trader who finally admitted he knew no more French and kindly ask Jimmy to stop stealing the show. We visited a working farm complete with a chicken coop, pig sty and an old oxen, we had a blast. There was even a wedding going on, complete with a horse drawn carriage. VERY cool!

We dragged the kids out of there and headed back to Sues for yet another BBQ, more fun and laughs and of course old packer Football highlights. We all slept in on Sunday and headed to Happy Joe's for all you can eat pizza and salad. They have the BLT pizza that is out of this world as well as the traditional Wisconsin salad bar complete with bacon bits and peas, AHHHH.... Wisconsin.

Thanks you Sue for the great time and sharing Green Bay once again with the Loudamericans!

Happy Memorial Day!

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Final MS 150 Training/Fundraising update

Here's the 1 week count down update!!

Fundraising - going GREAT! It turns out I am in 'Club 150'. I had no idea wha that meant, Wendy looked it up and it turns out I'm 1 of the top 150 fundraisers for the event. That's cool! Thanks to all of you that made this happen! I have raised $1750 so far and have a week to go, its not to late to participate:) (hey, thats a rhyme)

Training - the weather FINALLY broke and I have been spending every extra free minute on my bike, hoping its not too late. Got in a couple long rides on our weekend to Green Bay and am planning rides after work and this weekend. Fingers crossed that it'll be enough to make the actual ride fun vs hard work. (Either way, I know we'll finish, the question now sore will we be?)

Team - Our team through work is now 80+ members and we are sponsoring the finish. Should be lots of cool branded 'stuff' along with the fact that we are going to have a tent with food/beer at the half way mark. This feels like a MAJOR upgrade from what Wendy and I used to do in the beginning (steal snacks from the rest stops and wrap wine in a garbage bag in our sleeping bags). Sort of the Ritz Carlton of ride support, I'd say. Should make this year even more fun.

My next post will be an update on the ride itself.

Happy June!