Saturday, April 20, 2013

Random life events/quotes

Its been pretty quiet around here lately which, for any other family, would be normal. For us, its border line boring.  But, since we are the LoudAmericans, there really is never a dull moment.

Tidbits from our life...

Billy - per an earlier post, Billy LOVES being a kid. In fact, as we share the best part of our day at dinner each night, he is frequently quoted as saying "it was a normal day...AWESOME!"  He loves Scholastic (remember the order forms you got at school to order books? he's addicted!).  The other day, he had a big smile on his face the whole way home from school and was clutching his jacket to his chest. He and Tom were talking and he said "do you ever wish you could just keep things the way they are - forever? we'd never get older, we'd always be together but we'd still get to have birthdays and stuff"  Sure enough, he had a brand new Scholastic category. He poured through it and wizely choose 2 new Lego Chima books. The excitement and wait was palatable!  Also, final Billy-ism. We are working on creating a job chart sot hat teh kids can earn allowance. Of course, anything we want to put on there, doesnt generate much enthusiasm (dishes, make bed, clean toliet, you know....) Tom told Billy he was considering putting "not pitching a fit" on the chart. Billys reponse?  "Thats not a chore, thats an accomplishment!" Touche!  (as a side note, his new favorite way to start a sentence is..."Imagine if...".  I wish I could bottle him up and save him for later, like when he becomes a defiant teenager.    

Kay - we've created a monster. No lie, she bakes or makes something in the kitchen on a daily basis. She's actually quite good but never eats whats she makes. Although, Nikki did enjoy 9 vanilla cupcakes the other day, wrappers and all, when we werent looking.  She also spent 4 hours last Sunday making a snail sanctuary for a snail she found. The snail is now relocated into her room. She and Tom are Cooking channel junkies. Give them unlimited access to the TV (when Jimmy doesnt have it tuned to sports) and they'll watch for hours. Last night, as we were watching a 3 play of Diners, Drive Inns and Dives, she said "wow, I think I just gained 4 pounds watching this show". And, she was right, it looked amazing. Billy hates to watch with us because he says it makes him hungry.  Kay is Kay. Still really passionate (borderline volitale) but super fun to be around as long as her blood sugar is stable. She definitely is the unpredictable emotional factor in the house. Cant wait until she hits puberty. I hope thats year 1 of university or Tom might be moving out. Wish I could say I want to bottle her too but....I'd love to have her energy, its just sometimes a bit much to deal with on an daily, hourly, minutely basis. She is defintely her own person and I'm really proud of that!  

Jimmy - he's at the ackward time between basketball season and baseball season and winter football training has also ended. He's restless and I get it. Its hard to be an energetic 11 yr old when it rains every day and spring hasnt really hit. Good thing we got him a basketball hoop for Christmas. He's out there for hours a day, perfecting his sport. We play endless games of HORSE and PIG and he's got a number of signature shots. In fact, he has an ally oop from the street that actually went in that we got on video. We'll try to post it. Kay was the camera person so its a bit wobbly but still an amazing shot. Hes getting challenged in drums by his teacher - describe why music is a language. Good existential training for the boy.    He also finally showed his music teacher at school a youtube of him playing and she (along with the rest of the class) was floored. At some point, she's going to pull him out of class and have him show the grade 8 & 9 music teachers what he can do. We were proud of him for sharing that as to date, he's been pretty private with his friends about his music. He's a super good kid and in a really fun stage of kid-dom. Not many arguments and he gets our jokes. Again, wish I could bottle this up.

Tom just finished a brunch course at school and thank god its over. We were all on our way to weighing in 20 pounds heavier. cream, butter, bacon, sauces, olive oil, you name it. Yummy! Today hes at a one day tapas class, super excited for what he brings home! He's been volunteer extradiniar at Kay/Billys school (Cameron) - he lead Billys class through 4 sessions of building "boats" on wheels and helped all the 4th grade classes on Scientist in School day.He should be on the payroll!

I'm still taking drums and finding it really challenging. I wouldnt say I'm not talented but its not natural, like Jimmy. I can finally play "Little Black Submarines" by the Black Keys. I think my teacher gets frustrated that I'm a repressed adult and not a carefree kid but... I think he likes the challenge.  Work is easing up a bit, 10 hour + days instead of 11-13 hours and much more limited weekend work. Thats nice but I suspect we might be in the eye of the storm a bit. Trying to enjoy, but its not necessarily in my nature. I'm working on it:)

Nikki is driving us crazy! Despite a daily 3-6 mile walk, she has now taken to wanting to be outside 6+ hours a day and "talks" to us when she wants to play. She barks and moans, grabs her ball or frizbee and then runs to the back door. You'd think she was a puppy again. Its cute but exhausting. Poor thing, I think she needs a pet.

Thats it, random bits of our daily lives....

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Happy Gotcha Day Jimmy!

It was 11 years ago today Sargent Pepper taught the band to play and our drummer is still pounding out the beat night after night after night (and during the day as well). It is a blessing in more ways thaen one that our neighbors recently had a newborn so we could stop Jimmy from sneaking our of bed and playing his drums!

Yes Jimmy came home from Korea 11 years ago, said "Jimmy Murphy nice to meet ya" and has kept up his yearning to be the center of attention, in all things, and in particular in his talent for music. He is still passionate about sports, both playing and supporting his siblings and friends and family. He is on the sideline cheering Kay in her gymnastics and offering Billy Master Meogie advice during Billy's Tae Kwan Do tournaments.

He is really trying to step up his studies and is bound and determined to get his first 100% in math. True to form, Jimmy suffered a set back recently as far as math goes and lost the opportunity to get a phone. The whole phone discussion is for a different blog, he did however handle the set back with grace and some ease. He has been studying extra hard and has stopped the incessant arguing with mom and dad about what needs to be studied and what does not (He is thinking of his sports career or broadcast journalism careers don't pan out he will be a lawyer) because he is a good arguer, not negotiator. He recently informed Tracy that when the time comes for her next review he would be happy to march down to headquarters and " straighten" them out, good God! He's got definite ideas on what she should negotiate for a signing bonus and extra strategy. Too much NFL draft I say!

Jimmy is now finishing up basketball where his team made it to the championship game and fell short of adding a second first place to his record. His comment " wow I am getting a lot of extra season playing under my belt"! Baseball is just around the corner as is a trip to the local Play it again Sports as the kid never stops growing and needs new shoes, gloves, bat, you get the picture. He is excited to get back behind the plate and throw runners  out trying to steal second, that base is mine he says!

Here are some of our favorite Jimmy memories. Its funny how kids personalities dont change, they just get bigger. And, Jimmy has a very big personality.

We love you Jimmy and are so glad you started our family 11 years ago. Big hugs to your birth parents and foster parents as well for loving you and caring for YOU. We love them for all they have done for us and you.

Monday, April 08, 2013

MS 150 - AGAIN!!

It's that time again....Two weekends ago, we had one reasonably warm day (50 degrees) and I got my 1st ride in – 60 mins, not a bad start! Our St Pat's day party was a success, the Easter Bunny came ~~~~ all signs that it's time for me to start training for the MS150!

This year the ride is June 7-9th. The Target Team is growing and we are aiming for our second year of 100+ riders! I am really excited!! I’ll be traveling back to ride in MPLS even though my training will happen in Canada (‘eh). I’ll be celebrating my finish with a cruise out of Miami with my husband, sans kids. Exactly the motivation I’ll need to finishJ

My fundraising goal is being “upped” as they say… from $1000 to $2,500. Last year, you all were incredibly generous and helped me beat my goal ($2,190 on a goal of $2,000!). This year, while I know times continue to be tough, I am hoping that you'll set aside a little 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 it's just a whole bunch of fun!!)

I'll be riding with my longtime friend Wendy and with 100+ of my Target friends as well as friends from Team General Mills (WENDYJ) and Team Donaldson (ANGELAJ) I think this will be our 19th year riding together and while you'd think it would get a bit repetitive, every year is a new adventure.  If you remember last year, it was the toughest, hottest, windiest most challenging year ever. There is NO way this year will be harder than last (it better not be!)  If you want to join us, let me know! I'll get you set up!  

If you want to donate, feel free to check out Or, you can just make out a check to MS Society and I'll be sure to hand it in for you.

If you don’t want to donate, no worries, just send thoughts of low 60's, slightly cloudy, a backwind and downhill the whole way:) That is a huge help in itself and its always a good morale boost to know that people are sending us good vibes.

Keep an eye out for my training/fundraising blogs and...enjoy Spring!

(FYI - to date I've already raised $350, I love my friends:))

Friday, April 05, 2013

Happy Easter-Bunny

The kids can't wait until Easter morning when they can get on the phone and call Grandma Hickey ( Bunny) and shout into the phone HAPPY EASTER BUNNY!

The entusiams is fueled by several pounds of candy which they relentless search the house for creating sugar induced monsters, Ah but I digress.

This year Alison, Larrie and Jessi came to visit. They are friends of ours who we met in India and Jessi and Jimmy are BFF'S. They arrived Thursday afternoon and the fun began. We finished up the usual running round and had a great meal of Chullapa's and spent the night catching up and sharing stories. Alison works at Target, thus the Indian connection and Larrie and Tom share the stay at home Dad, chief cook and bottle washer duties. The kids played video games and basically did kid things.

Friday was a holiday around these parts and Larrie and Alison headed off to Niagara to knock another item off their bucket list while the rest of us hung around the old homestead. Tracy took the kids, plus Jessi, on a long roller blade, bike, skateboard dog walk, not sure how they managed to not get all tangled up, but Tracy does work miracles. The day also consisted of smoking a Turkey and trying to keep Kay out of the kitchen, which is rally a daily activity, days off are harder than  most. The evening ended with a couple of the neighbor kids, Jake and Josh, joining us for dinner and of course the smoked turkey with all the fixings was awesome!

Saturday was off to 'do' the town, downtown that is... CN Tower, Kensington market, ChinaTown and pork bone soup. The CN tower was pretty interesting as far as local tourist traps go. The fact that the elevator ascends 1.150 feet in 58 seconds is what sets this tourist trap apart for the rest, not to mention you can look through the glass floor and watch your lunch travel towards the ground as you travel into the stratosphere, hello Jack... wheres the giant? The tower is listed as one of the new 10 marvels of the world that and the simulated roller coaster ride is one of the Historical Societies must experience rides, with that kind of endorsement we may have to return. No trip would be complete without mentioning that Target has now opened in the neighborhood.

Pork bone soup is worthy of one blog all by itself, seriously by far the best soup ever. Korean food in general rocks but the pork bone soup is a thing of beauty and before you cant dig in you must bow your head and show some respect, it's just that good.
Lunch empowered us to wander around Kensington Market.  If Kay ever follows through and runs away from home, all we have to do is head over to Kensington, that's where she'll be. Tons of neat little shops, a couple of open air Korean markets, dried fish everywhere.. quite the draw. We all had a blast checking out the unusual items and even found a #4 Bret Favre Jersey, remember him AND a Robert Brooks jersey!?  Connie Gumper would be proud:) That night we had several sitters, 2 boy's and a girl all high school freshman age. One of them, who shall remain nameless... was traumatised, to the point where they will never babysit again, Oh well, more sitters where they came from. Larrie, Alison, Tracy and Tom were rewarded with a much needed night out. Taking the subway back downtown we had dinner at the awesome Volvos Greek restaurant, the flaming cheese that everyone was getting looked great so we ordered it and much to Alison's chagrin the flame on ours sort of fizzled out. Somewhat underwhelming was the exact adjective, no matter the rest of the food was awesome and a huge thanks to our friends for picking up the tab!

Sunday brought the rascal rabbit to our warren along with eggs, eggs and more eggs! Easter baskets for the kids and a very nice Easter Champagne Brunch for the adults! Larrie and Tom powered up and before we knew it we had Eggs Benedict with fresh made Hollandaise, Cinnamon french toast, Chorizo Hash,and Kay and Jessi created some awesome buttermilk biscuits, what a feast! We spent the rest of the day lazing about and just having a quiet day, totally needed it! Sunday night Tracy got busy and whipped up an awesome Lasagna for the kids and smoked salmon, risotto and asparagus for the adults, seriously need to hit the gym!

Monday we had another day off so after a leftover breakfast we headed off to REPTILE world, another tourist trap, but it was pretty well done. We watched them feed the alligators dead rats and  Kay was chosen to help during the 'Pet the Snake' portion of the tour and got to hold a 15' Boa, only Kay!

That done and a quick lunch at Tracy's newest favorite place, Mucho Burritos, it was time to say good-bye. The was a slight hiccup in the plans when Delta called to say the plane was delayed however all in all it was no big deal.

It was a great way to spend the Easter weekend with great friends, great food, babysitters, dinners out a huge Thank you to Alison, Larrie and Jessi for coming to Toronto and hanging with us!
Happy Easter to all...more to come