Sunday, July 17, 2011

Radio Silence

We are headed off to Leiden, in the Netherlands, to be part of Wendy and Annemieks Wedding!
The loudamericans will be quiet until around the 1st of August so check back for the details of the trip!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Julie, Cedric and Solomon

The past week, along with Kay's birthday, Tracy's sister Julie and her two kids, Ced and Solly, arrived from Costa Rica, the first time Julie has been here in 9 years!

They arrived late Wednesday night and after collecting them from the airport and bringing them home they had something to eat and the boy's promptly fell asleep. We visited with Julie for a while and planned the next few days.

Meanwhile our kids were up at 7:00am looking for their cousins and we had to run interference until they woke up around 8:00, and thus the mayhem begins. Jimmy and Ced are the same age and are great pals. The caught up as only 9 year old can and in no time were playing PSP games, baseball in the back yard, basketball, more PSP and an occasion TV show mixed in. Solly and Bill are kindred souls and were co-creating Lego Cleations as well as having the Indy 500 on the floor in Bills room. They are also both Star Wars fanatics. Julie was treated to a 'Spa" day from Kay and looked splendid in her sky blue eye shadow and bright pink eye liner.

Tracy took Friday off work and we made a trip to the pool. The pool also has a couple of water slides which Ced and Solly though were the highlight. We spent the whole day just hanging out and doing summer cousin type things. We had a fire in the backyard, (which was intentional and not a uncontrolled burn) and cooked S'mores. The kids climbed tress and rollerbladed, rode bikes, you know summer cousin things. The kids decided on Thursday afternoon that they were going to make the basement into a sleeping fort. They dragged all their stuff downstairs and every night the five of the cuddled up and actually slept. The basement gets quite dark and much to our surprise they slept in!

Saturday, Tracy's mom and Dad arrived and we took the group over to the Dragon Boat Races in St.Paul, which also featured kiosks of different Asian arts, crafts and food. The festival was more local vendors trying to get your e-mail id, however we watched a Martial arts exhibition which featured a couple of the instructor's from Korea Camp, and of course Jimmy knew them by name. We wandered around the kids collected bags of candy, just like Halloween. After we had an impromptu baseball game at the park (which after 3 innings was called due to excessive heat... taken literally to mean the kids were done).

Julie is an awesome masseuse and knows several different types and both Tracy and I were gifted with an hour of relaxation each.

Then, the mayhem of Kay's birthday ensued (as you can read below) and they were off for Michigan to see our other sister.

It was SO fun to be able to hang out, play and just be together with family.


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Happy 8th Birthday Kay

Sunday July 10th at 4:30 in the afternoon, the universe felt a tremendous void as all the energy was focused on the Pook-a-Rook turning 8, YIKES.

In the days prior to her birthday Kay would wake up, look around and say, "how many more days 'till my birthday?" Kay invited several friends from school as well as her cousins Cedric and Solomon (Julie's kids - watch for another blog on the subject), and of course her brothers. The plan: a dog cupcake theme along with make up and art. The girls arrived and proceeded to run from on event to the other without really finishing anything BUT having a blast.

The menu was hand picked by Kay: Jimmy John's subs, thinny chips and pickles as well as the dog themed cupcake/cake a combination cake and pull away cupcakes, a kids dream come true.

The meal was a success and then it was time for the main attraction, the presents. Kay received a great deal of awesome gifts and was very blessed. She had her picture taken with each gift giver and thanked them, it was very cute.

The next activity, the cupcake shape Pinata. YES, a giant cupcake doubling as a Pinata complete with candy gently stuffed inside by the birthday girl herself. Kay struck first but the Pinata held firm, several kids later and Jimmy whacked it a couple times, to no avail. Sam connected with a home run hit however the Pinata fell but did not open. While the Pinata lay helpless and inviting on the ground Solomon brought forth the final blow causing a feeding frenzy and yelps of victory from the crowd! Luckily no one was hurt by a stray bat!

Kay was blessed with several guest appearances at her birthday, her Godfather Mike and son Jack arrived early to spend time with her and give her an incredible necklace Libby, Mike's wife, made out of coins from all the places Kay has lived. Karen and Jeff arrived as did both sets of Grandparents. She was all smiles and just thrilled with all the special attention.

On Saturday night when we were asking her about her favorite part of being 7, she said "learning to ride my bike without training wheels". That's just 1 example of how much she has learned and grown. She amazes us with her creativity, gymnastics skills, fearless approach to live, independence, perseverance and ability to work hard. She's passionate and very much her own person.

Happy Birthday Kay! WE LOVE YOU!

We bless you and we are blessed by you being here!

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Happy Gotcha Day Billy!

Today is Billy's Gotcha Day - 6 years ago today (7/5), he came home from Korea to be part of our forever family. We are SO blessed that he has loving birth and foster parents AND that these parents loved him so much that they made incredibly hard decisions so that he could have a life in which he would thrive. I cant even imagine the courage, heartbreak and selflessness that went into those decisions. We are SO GRATEFUL!

Billy has had another banner year. Some major accomplishments:
~ He has learned to read! He continues to be a total book worm and given a choice of just about anything, will always pick reading a book with Mom or Dad. Its fun to read with him as he can read about 1/2 of the book himself.

~ He is a major Legos "fan" and went to Lego camp last week. Upon arrive, and being the youngest kid in the camp, the instructor said "Do you like Lego's?" Billy's reply "This IS Lego camp, right?" The instructor countered with "Do you have Lego's at home?" Billy's response, dripping with sarcasm "Well, yeah, (duh) I'm a big fan, that's why I'm at camp". He can spend HOURS in his room making creations (cleations in Billy speak).

~ He is still our dog whisperer and loves any dog that comes in his path but Nikki is his soul mate, they spend hours watching TV and cuddling. Thank God Nikki is mellow enough to not mind being used as a Hot Wheel track. Which brings me to...

~ Hot Wheels, Cars, Motorcycles, Submarines, Planes , Helicopters...basically get Billy's attention with anything that has an engine and you have him hooked. He's very curious how they work and I think he'll be ready to change the oil in our car within the year.
Billy is still a big hugger and loves to tell us how much he loves us.

Billy is also a huge Clemson fan!

We love you Billy Baloo!! More than the whole universe:)

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Jimmy's First Concert in a real band

Many of you now the passion that Jimmy has for music and especially for the drums. As a young lad he had always wanted to play the drums and his desire has never waived. He took piano for two years starting at the age of 3 and half, from a Russian Theorist, and learned piano so he could then learn drums, and here we are at age 9 a master drummer.

Jimmy saw a poster last year at one of his drum classes talking about Rock Band Camp and he immediately wanted to sign up, the problem, the camps are for kids age 12 and up. Jimmy thought these were 'not fair' rules and protested. Then this year we found a camp, The West Bank School of Rock, this camp was for 12-18 year olds. There was an intake interview, and a discussion with Jimmy's drum teacher who asked 'what is the focus of this camp?', and he replied that 'Jimmy already knows all of that and he is playing several years ahead of his age', and with that he was in!

The camp was one week, 5 hours a day and very focused. The first night Jimmy came home somewhat glassy eyed stating, ' wow I am tired it is hard playing drums and learning songs all day'. He had homework, which was to look up the drums notes for the song Purple Haze by Jimi Hendricks and listen to the song. He was a little concerned when looking at the sheet music stating " This is pretty detailed and there are some hard transitions", it looked like Greek to us. The next day we asked him if he needed the sheet music to bring to camp, " NoI looked at it and already know the notes, I got it".

The last night was the concert with his new band mates and in front of an audience, on the way to the show he told Tracy, 'I am not sure I can do this and my stomach hurts'.

He knocked it out of the park. His band mates were 17, 15, and 13 and they all refused to sing or talk so Jimmy ended up introducing the whole band. He was even the only one brave enough to try and sing. He wasnt sure he wanted to or even could do it but then proclaimed, 'what the heck, I'll give it a try'. Again, he blew it away. They named their band Crush and it leans heavy towards heavy metal.

The singer is his band instructor and what his facial expressions, you can tell when he makes it through a tough part and when he's in the groove and having a great time.

The Play List:
Purple Haze - Jimi Hendrix
What a Wonderful World - Joey Ramone
Blues Fusion - original composition by Crush
Hunk of Burning Love - Elvis Presley

And for an encore...
Back in Black - AC/DC

We are really excited for him and how much he learned in a week. We are proud of him and hope that he's proud of himself, he should be!!

Take a look:)