Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year!

Since we no longer send out Christmas cards, we thought we'd share photos we had taken this summer. They turned out pretty cute:)

Hope everyone has a WONDERFUL 2012!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Festivities - part 2

As mentioned in the previous blog, we had a VERY gourmet dinner with Wendy & AM. They got dressed up and brought PJ's for lying around in later. We had a full combat game of UNO and Connect Four with the kids and watched the Packer game. After the kids went to bed, we almost got sucked into "The Birdcage", but thank god better sense prevailed and we were off to bed.
We had a really relaxing Monday morning with coffee/tea and pastries.

After another full day of lazing around and playing with all our new toys, we thought we'd better get the kids out of the house. So, off to the club for swimming, or so we thought..... Turns out, while the rest of the world was considering Monday a day off and extra weekend day, the club was back on their usual schedule. Meaning, adult swim only and basketball games in the gym. Total bummer! The kids did throw a few baskets but it was treacherous and we quickly left.

Luckily, we still had plans up our sleeves - dinner at Des & Gregs. They made homemade pizza and the adults got to catch up while the kids played video games and with makeup (guess which one played which:))

Tuesday was back to work for Mommy and the kids/Tom came down to see her office, meet her friends, have lunch and return all the Christmas presents that didnt fit to Target. It was a ZOO! The kids loved the office and after initial trepidation that the Indian buffet wouldnt measure up to their standards, ended up eating 2 plate fulls each (Jimmy only gave it a 3 of 5 stars but Billy kept saying "ohhhh...this is good"). It was fun to show them where I work, of course everyone on the floor knew they were in the building, they are LOUD!.

The rest of the week is full of playdates, dinners, basketball camp, work and getting ready for vacation. We'll post 1-2 more blogs before the end of the year.

Hope everyone is enjoying their holidays! We sure are:)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas Everyone

Merry Christmas! Here's a chronical of our holiday to date (3:05pm cstL:))

This is not in chronological order, but no worries, we'll get it all in! We were able to talk on the phone with Tammy and her family as well as Tracy's parents. They are ALL good and having a nice peaceful Christmas. Cant wait until we can all be together for the holidays again (maybe Christmas 2012 is the year!)

Grandma Kay came over again for her annual cookie baking with the kids (well, really Kay, the boys love seeing Grandma but they arent going to be pastry chefs). Kay worked at it for 3 straight hours and made a huge mess. She was in heaven!

Tom with all his new presents, a camera, clothes, wine decantor, etc. Santa even brought him a Canada Olympic jersey and sunscreen (for our vacation to Mexico next week)

Santa also gave Tracy a Canada jersey and Tom REALLY surprised Tracy with a trainer for her bike and some new bling - a silver necklace from Shanes. She was VERY spoiled this Christmas.

Nikki even got great gifts, treats, chew bones and a chewable doggy card.

Grandma Bunny made Kay a Packer nightgown (perfect for the game tonight) and knitted her the cutest hot pink shrug. She is way too cute (both Grandma AND Kay)

Kay raked it in with crafts, an Easy Bake microwave with extra ingrediants from Santa, clothes a new swim suit and all the kids got goggles from Santa in their stocking (how did HE know we were going on vacation?!)

Billy posing in his new Ochocinco Patriots jersey (Thanks Santa) even more Hot Wheels and Legos, a new swimsuit and Leapster game. He said it was his "best Christmas EVER!". We heard from Julie that Solomon said the same thing, it must be a 7 yr old boy thing:)

Jimmy got his LONG awaited Ponder Jersey, Santa is amazing since these arent even sold in stores! He also got paperjams, new clothes, a swimsuit in Clemson colors, football gloves, tee stand and a foosball table. Everything a 10 yr old sports fanatic needs!

Here's the tree with ALL the gifts underneath (note our traditional Grinch on top)

After photo, Santa ate his cookies, drank his coffee and the reindeer ate the grapes (for blitzen) and carrots. He also left a really nice note for the kids and encouraged them to be good this year too.

The before stocking photo with the aforementioned treats laid out.
Note the traditional Christmas photo of Mavis. She still lives on in our hearts (and nightmares....)

Friday night was a family Christmas sleep over at the Millers with seafood cataplana, pizza, appetizers, a GREAT new drink called a Poinsetta (Thanks Gary!), flaming cheese (ooopa!) and chocotinis. The kids had a blast and woke up to have a gingerbread decorating contest. Once again, Kay was in heaven!
More to come.... Wendy and Annemiek are coming over in an hour. They have been craving a BIG traditional Christmas feast and Tom is only too happy to oblige. We are all going to cook together and so far, the menu features, scallop soup, traditional Dutch potatoes, roast brussel sprouts, beef tenderloin, hollandiase sauce, smoked salmon, salad and last but not least, pumpkin tiramisu. YUMMMM!!
Then, we have just about another full week of celebrating with friends - Des & Greg for pizza tomorrow, the Gated Community (our dear friends who we are lucky enough to be neighbors with - we are celebrating Niel's birthday!) and Christmas dinner next Friday with Jim and Jen.
we'll keep you appraised as we go:)
We are so thankful for all that we have - each other, our families, our friends, our neighbors, our school, our teachers, our church and all the people, all over the world that have helped us become who we are. We love you ALL!!! (a special call out to everyone we love in other countries, we wish we could be with ALL of you! Costa Rica, Korea, Canada, China, Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands)
Merry Christmas EVERYONE!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Weekend Update (not the SNL version)

Here's our weekend update:0

Friday was an AWESOME night out with Wendy and AnneMiek. The kids had a birthday party at Chuck E Cheese and so we had a 3 hour time period where we could go to dinner and NOT get a sitter. Never happened before, we felt set free!! We went to a local place that has high brow food and low brow atmosphere and honestly, while the food was good, the company was better. I think the kids would give the same rating to Chuck E Cheese:)

Saturday brought homework and gymnastics follow by Billy's birthday party. He invited 10 friends to the nature center by our house. It was AWESOME! The naturalist took charge and all I had to do was sit back and watch. Billy got to pick which snake they were going to learn about and pet (fox snake in case you are interested). They went on a hike, spotted animal "sign" and even saw a horned owl (heard him too, calling back and forth to his friend).

There was Transformer themed cake (note to self, grey is not an appetizing color for frosting), presents and a combat version of Duck Duck Goose (ok ok, it was Duck Duck Grey Duck but I still haven't wrapped my head around this MN vernacular and the fact that my children actually play it that way!) Billy's friends must know him REALLY well, all but 1 gave him Lego's. We are swimming in Lego's. Billy is in heaven. OR, could it be....that all 7 yr old boys are easy, give them a pack of Lego's and they are happy for hours?

Dinner Saturday night was a Portuguese cataplana seafood feast with Michelle, Pete, Annette and Steve. Katy and Noah came as well (8 and 6 respectively) and had a blast. The girls made a gingerbread house totally on their own and it turned out great and the boys played Lego's (go figure) and Plants vs Aliens on the computer. The girls then put together a karaoke band and sang us 6 songs. (they named themselves Katy and Kay's Karaoke, but used the acronym - which I wont repeat here but I trust you'll figure it out). They were awesome and Jimmy closed the show with a borderline inappropriate rendition of "I'm so sexy" by FMAO. I was laughing to hard to stop him. I don't think he realized that not everyone wants to see a 10 year dancing shirtless.

Sunday was our 1st visit to Jen's house (Jim F's girlfriend) for a WAY over the top brunch and Vikings game. It was a gas and nice to have someone else do the cooking. The Vikings AND the Packers lost, so that was a bit depressing. Jimmy and Jim were insisting we call Grandpa Jim to rub in the Packers loss. I said "well the Vikings lost too" to which Jimmy said "yeah, but we are used to it". Too funny (and yes, all these Jim's are not coincidental -Jimmy is named after my Dad with a strong call out to Jim F, his godfather)

Back home for more homework, baths, pizza and The Smurfs movie.

Only 1 more week until school vacation and we ALL cant wait:) (oh yeah, and for Christmas too).

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Happy Birthday Billy!

Wow hard to believe Bill has turned 7. He is such a great little kid, loves Lego's, is doing great in school and is looking forward to his Birthday party. We had planned to have Bill's party on his birthday but the Nature Center decided to not open and we had to postpone the party until the 17th, but no matter we had a nice family birthday for Bill complete with ice cream.

Bill has been keeping track (for about the last 363 days) asking "when", "how long until", "how many days" ???? (you get the picture). So when he woke up on Sunday he was all smiles and stated " Today is MY birthday!"

We headed out to the Minnesota Historical Society with the Millers for an afternoon of 1968 and tornado reenactments (its a seriously well done museum and the kids loved it!) Topped off by ice cream! Then it was back home for his new favorite dinner Venison Stroganoff! ( Really he loves it).

Bill opened a few presents from family (putting together all the Legos in record time) , had his second favorite thing, Brownies, and was lucky enough to get to do his third favorite thing, sit on the heated floor with his Mom and catch up on the latest episodes of Glee!

When we asked him Monday about his birthday, he gave it 10 thumbs up:)

Bill we love you, we are blessed by you and are grateful you have chosen us as your forever family! A special call out and hug to Billy's birth parents and foster parents in Korea. We are forever grateful for your courage, love and selflessness in helping Billy become part of our family. You are amazing and he is awesome.

Happy 7th Bill!

More to come when the " real" party happens!

Friday, December 09, 2011

Loudamericans meet GameON!

Our friend and fellow adoption champion, Rod Simons, is the host of a regional sports talk show called GameOn!. This is an awesome show featuring local athletes from the professional teams, college teams and even local high school stars. The show has a family flair with sports insights and is a key contributor to the success of one of our favorite charities, Gift of Adoption.

It was at a local fundraiser that we bid for and "won" a live viewing of the show, the ability to meet and get pictures taken with the guests and a live on air interview with the up and coming broadcaster, Jimmy!

The show is taped at a local steak and sushi restaurant here in Minneapolis, Seven, and we arrived in style complete with valet parking. The guest list for tonight's show included none other than the rookie sensation for the Vikings, Tight End Kyle Rudolph, who in the last game made an amazing catch that Jimmy is still talking about. The other guest for the night is the current hockey coach for the Minnesota Golden Gophers, Don Lucci. We did not know at the time that Kay is a big hockey fan and believes Coach Lucci walks on water. Bill was along for the food and to see if Kyle Rudolph was really as big as Jimmy said, and he was!

Rod is a gracious host and Jimmy did a great job, even predicating the Vikings would beat the Lions in the next game the score "By far". It was a fun night and a great time. Jimmy received a signed Football from Kyle, talked football and just like Ralphy in a Christmas Story he fell asleep with both hands on that football; dreaming of ...confusing the defense, opening up the running game and going deep at anytime!

Thanks Rod for helping make a dream come true!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Billy Loses His 6th Tooth

Billy, on the cusp of turning 7, doubles down and loses tooth number 6. In a remarkable turn of events this tooth actually was removed by the owner.

In a letter to the Tooth Fairly Billy recalls the event:

Dear Tooth fairy, from Billy,
this is my 6's tooth and I pulled my tooth by myself and my brother did not pulled it out this is me when I lost my tooth.( see pic). (remember, Jimmy knocked out his last 3 teeth, 2 on purpose and 1 on accident)

At the beginning of November Mrs. Vaughn asked the 1st grade class how many teeth did they think would be lost that month, to which everyone said 6 and Billy steadfastly said, 7. Which is why he was adamantly working his front loose tooth for 2 straight days from 11/28-29. He was also adamant that on November 30th at 4:17pm, when he lost his tooth, we had to document the loss as that tooth made it a total of 7 for the class! Coincidence ?! I think not!

Billy ran into school the next morning to share the news and let his teacher know he "won" the bet. But, in a striking turn of events, Max had done the same thing. Wiggled a tooth out at the last minute. Making it 8 teeth lost in November. No one "won" but I admire the 1st grade classes dedication to racking up the score board. Lets hope none of them become financial analysts on Wall Street.

Billy is now counting the days and minutes until his birthday (T minus 5 days) more to come on that next week!

Way to go Bill!!