Wednesday, June 26, 2013

And..the results are in!!!

Tomorrow is the last day of school. Yes, we go to school from the Tuesday after Labor Day until the last Thursday of June. Holy School Batman!

With this comes ... field trips, treats, teacher gifts, in classroom movies and.... report cards!

Report cards came home today and I'm please to announce....(drum roll please)

Jimmy was awarded...
The Dance Award (huh?)
The Music Award ('duh!)
Honor Roll (I think its new math, you'll see why when I discuss his grades below...)
He is super duper thrilled about these awards as your name gets called off and you get to go up during assembly. he said he had butterflies in his stomach when it came to the honor roll since he's been "working so hard!"  Gradewise, improvements across the board with a range of C+ (measurement - empiral to metric has him really screwed up) to A in Phy Ed ('duh) and Music (double 'duh).  His teacher said he is a "confident student" with a "positive attitude towards learning".  The only advice? "encouraged to stay remain on task even when the task becomes challenging". Don't we all?!
So proud of you Jimmy!! From skipping 5th grade to Honor Roll in 6th grade - woo hooo!!!

Kays report card was GLOWING!!!
Her grades ranged from B (healthy living, IT, writing, number sense and measurement - see above on Jimmy's comments) to A+ (oral communication & visual arts). Her teachers comments were so encouraging and made us smile (and wonder if Mrs Chung is talking about the same kid.....) " "reliable student" "completes written tasks with time and care "is always an enthusiastic learner, seeks new opportunities to learn" "always demonstrates curiosity and interest" "often results conflict in a group" the only advice? "encouraged to more encouraging and understanding of with her classmates"        (can the last 2 comments be interpreted as bossy?!)  She got Excellents in Responsibility and Initiative (starting to sound like leadership dimensions at work!!!)
Kay - you amaze us, never lose your earnestness and willingness to learn!

Billy - what to say about Billy... once I describe the below, it'll make you wonder what he could do if he actually applied himself and didn't just 'skate' through grade 2...
Teacher comments 1st "works with others to resolve conflicts and is a positive team member" looks for ideas and opportunities for learning" "reflects critically on his strengths and needs" (this is starting to sound like a performance review - have to remind myself he's 8 and in grade 2!!) the advice? "he is encouraged to find a quiet area away from his friends in order to complete his work" (this is called the Murphy curse as all of the LoudAmericans have gotten this feedback repetitively.  Grade wise - solid solid B's - A- in Number Sense and Media Literacy.  I think the best indication though is, they asked his teacher (Ms Cuttz) if she'd take on Grade 3 next years. She said - only if I get the same Grade 2 class. you must keep them all together. - so... guess who his teacher is next year - we are thrilled! Go Billy Go! Nicely done!

Now, for the actual last day of school tomorrow. Not excited to see the s-it that comes home in the backpacks and see how much sugar they have consumed during the last day of school parties:)

More on that later:)...

Monday, June 24, 2013

One more reason for cake

It was birthday "fest" at the LoudAmericans this weekend. Kay, in a flash of 9 yr old brilliance, decided to have her birthday part before school got out and every left for summer vacation (yes, our kids go to school until 6/27 - the horror of it all!). Keep in mind, this was a full 3 weeks before her actual birthday AND on the eve of Tracy's birthday.  Ever try to fit 20 lbs of sh-t in a 10 lb bag? just sayin....

Kay has spent the last 30 days planning her party, where should it be, who should she invite, sleepover?, gift bags? the decisions are endless. Remind us to stay WELL clear when she decides to plan her wedding! At the end of the day, the verdict? school at Loblaw (think Byerlies kitchen) with 10 girls. The menu?  Tapas (aka: lots of easy appetizers and sugar induced products). The girls had cake AND made cookies AND got to decorate and bring home 6 cupcakes each. Aiy Yai Yai!!  Needless to say, when they made it back to our house it was pure girl mayhem.  But, they had a great time!

While Kay was holding court as Iron Chef, Billy was getting tested for his green belt. He was perfect on his pomsae (patterns) but they needed to do non-contact sparring as they had the largest group ever trying to all pass up a belt color. He rocked it and is now an official green belt. He is cruising through these belts. 1/2 way to black belt. assuming it'll get hard and/or slow down but we'll see. There is a semi-professional soccer team in North York and Master Myungs (Billys dojo) was asked to do the 1/2 time show. They picked their "best" students and guess who's going to demonstrate his TKD skills? Yep ol' Bill. We'll post an update of the prestigious event.

Saturday was Tracy's birthday and to be honest, it looked like any other Saturday ... football practice and kids activities. Kay did clean her room (which is like cleaning a nuclear waste site) so that was a really good present. Then, she went strawberry picking with her friends while Tracy walked the dog, Billy road his bike and Jimmy laid on the couch like a slug.  We did get a "date" night in at a yummy Indian restaurant and came home to .... you guessed it, a mini neighborhood surprise party. Rod, Peggy, Kim and all their kids were here to welcome us home with champagne and cake. It was really fun and we cant believe how lucky/blessed we are to have 2 neighborhoods (Toronto and Golden Valley) filled with great friends and fun.

Sunday was a baseball tournament for Jimmy (rescheduled from last week) and super duper hot. They rallied, the score went back and forth, but at the end of the day, lost and took 3rd place.  The ump was questionable and even our convener (the person in charge of keeping parents in line) was yelling "so the other team has 10 players?  9 12 yr olds and the ump?!"  Nice. Jimmy seems fine with the loss but that could be because he got to go swimming afterwards. The tribulations of a kid are short lived.  Kay is also off to a swim party with all the same girls from Friday night.. Golsa is moving back to Iran and they decided to see her off in style. As a treat, Tracy took Billy out of lunch (gyros and fries and the best of all...a huge orange Fanta soda). Our kids have it made. Very jealous.

Tom had BBQ class yesterday and Mediterranean class today, tonights dinner will be a mix of what ever he brings home. Its always yummy so no one is complaining!!    

Overall, a few reasons to cut cake, lay low, be with friends and family, cheer each other on and basically enjoy life.

Happy Weekend!    

Friday, June 21, 2013

Anchors Away!

Tracy and I, after 5 years, were able to get away for a few days, just us... no kids, all thanks to Sue!!!!

We left Toronto in the middle of the night for sunny Miami where we boarded the cruise ship )Carnival Victory) for a 5 day cruise out to Grand Turk, and the Bahamas'. This was our first cruise aboard a ship this size, we are used to sailing our own ship and having our own crew (and being our own cooks and maids:)).

The ship was huge (as you can imagine), there were 3000 guests and around 1000 employees which is a pretty good ratio. The ship had a workout room, which... if you get car sick or have motion issues is not the place to be while the ship is moving... and you are trying to ride a exercise bike, fyi, just sayin".

Each morning we would receive a brochure that included the events of the day, destination, dress code for dinner, ect, you know the old saying.. if you can't remember your name just go the front desk and they will tell you that. The comdeians were pretty funny, the food was 'so so' but the name that tune night which featured the 70's one night, the 80's another it was by far our favorite event!

So Monday afternoon we seat sail and headed for Grand Turk and spent all night Monday and all day Tuesday enroute. We explored the ship and the buffet's, tried to carnival brand beer Thirsty Frog and basically relaxed and read books. The island of Grand Turk is fairly small and when we rented bikes the bike owner told us that only one French couple has ever made it to the light house so, in the words of Homer Simpson "sounds like a bet to me" off we went. The views from the lighthouse were awesome and the reef off the coast of Grand Turk was is responsible for 1000's of shipwrecks, crazy!

Wednesday we set sail for Half Moon cay, the obligatory cruise-line owned island. It was a beach BBQ party and basically laying in the sun, not to much to write home about. Tracy and I walked along the beach enjoyed the BBQ and had a leisurely afternoon. The rains came in around 3:00 and all 3000 passengers beat cheeks to get to the boat causing the shuttle lines to back up and of course, everyone headed to the bar and continued on their merry way! The crew would constantly remind people, "yell louder, drink more, your on vacation"!

Thursday night after the storm we headed to the Bahamas', which were bigger than I imagined. The place has a British Colony fell to the place with the bright colored buildings, horse drawn carriages and barkers trying to get you into their store, restaurant, etc, the only thing missing were people trying to sell us chicklets. Once such barker manage to snag us, coincidently right before the rains came and into Two Bbrothers we went. Since the cruise came with all you could eat and drink having lunch and buying a couple of beers seemed, well you know ...."hey your on vacation!" Tom found this cool new hat and the beer was super cold, local and the appy of choice of course, conch fritters!

Friday we set sail for Miami and the end of the cruise. The dinners each night were somewhat different and the key we found was to get the anytime dining option, which like it says let's you dine any time you want. That way we were never rushed, and never had the same waiter or table which was great. The food I must say was mediocre but the dinner entertainment was top notch. There is no way to report this without being politically in-correct so in the same vain as the waiters sing Jingle Bells in the cult classic " a Christmas Carol" the waiters every night sang Happy Birthday, a link to their performance is Now on the last night they out did themselves by signing a parody to "Your leaving on a Jet Plane" , and sang " Your leaving our fun Ship" the link for that is It totally cracked us up!

A vacation or trip to Miami would not be complete without a trip to the everglades, which if you have never been I would say... don't waste your money, unless you have a few hours to kill between flights and need a ride to the airport, if that's the case then I say must go! Chessey tourist trap and

Overall the trip was great and being able to relax with just Tracy and I and each of us reading 4 books was well... awesome.

exactly what we needed:)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Happy Fathers Day!

Also known as ...we love Tom day!!

1st of all, Happy Fathers Day to ALL the Fathers in our life...
    Grandfathers (Jeremiah and Jim) - you are great examples of staying active and engaged in what you love; whether its golf or basketball or your friends AND (of course) your family!
    Godfathers (Jim, Mike and Jeff) - thank you for all the care and attention you give our kids, they love you for it and it makes you a part of our family:)
     Birth and Foster fathers (all in Korea:)) - thank you for your love, healthy start, and amazing ability to give the biggest gift EVER ... life !!!  AND...then make the most selfless decision EVER, to let your children be raised by someone else in a new/different forever family. I cant even imagine ... you are our heros!!

But... all of this pales in comparison to what Tom does for us everyday - he's Father of the Year! Let me list a few....
    School:  Makes every school lunch, knows every teacher, volunteers for every activity (including super boring field trips)
   Friends: knows all the kids friends AND their parents! keeps us in a healthy supply of loving/caring friendship when I run out of time, makes sure we have fun and down time together
   Sports/Activities: is chauffeur to baseball, basketball, football, gymanstics, Tae Kwon Do, piano, drums, playdates, camp, etc etc....
   Chef: using his talents in the classroom to make us the most unbelievable family meals, its such a treat (in this day an age especially) to be able to eat a homemade meal as a family EVERY night of year. AND...its not all fish sticks and tator tots. Our menu includes: Greek, Korean, Indian, Coastal, BBQ, you name it, he can make it!!
    CEO of the House: does all the shopping, cleaning, fixing, calling, negoitating, etc that goes with running a household of 5, especially when you arent playing with a home field advantage:)
    Advocate for kids and families everywhere: sits on the board of Gift of Adoption (a grant making organization for adoptive families), is engaged in Crisis Nursery (a non-profit support network/facility for families in crisis), frequenlty is a mentor to newly promoted stay at home dads and new expats. 

Tom made a decision a few years ago that being a "father" was going to be his full time job and he wanted to be the best at it. Well...Tom... you've done it. You are amazing and we lead a rich, blessed, loving, engaged, active, hectic, crazy and fun life because of YOU!!

I love you. The kids love you. Thank you for being the best.... Happy Fathers Day!       

Monday, June 17, 2013

MS150 recap

Thank YOU for your support and best wishes for the MS150!  I was WAY over my fundraising goal (yeah $2880 on a goal of $2500!!!) and finished yet another yearJ  In total, there were 3,500 riders, 1,000 volunteers and overall we raised +$3 million for MS – WOW!!!

As always- a wild ride.   Our support crew was incredible;  first the dedicated team of Annemiek, Eva and Lucy (the dog) for drop off service in Duluth (Wendy’s family).  We did some site seeing in Duluth and had dinner at an awesome new microbrewery – Canal Park Brewery. The food was fantastic and they beer/mead divine. It was good carbo loading for the weekend.

The support by Target Commercial Interiors was amazing-  key to us; the TLC from the Team Luggage truck, the dedicated Massage Team and Target Tent with food and cold barley carbohydrate recovery Beverage on tap!!! Target is amazing at these type of events and it makes me really really proud.

Saturday weather was GREAT- sun and cool temps.   A perfect day for riding and pure joy!

Sunday, well…unpleasant is the best I can describe.,,, it was quite soggy with rain and some head/cross-winds to keep us keenly aware of the physical struggle behind this charity ride.

Thank you to Wendy and Ned for pulling together to keep each other (& me) safe and entertained on the difficult Sunday ride.  I *think* I’ve successfully scrubbed all of the mud off myself! The post ride hot shower felt like heaven!!

Wendy made a new friend and was on the news, The Wild’s Nate Prosser.

As a close- please send thoughts of healing to the riders injured on this year’s ride.  There were at least four serious injuries on Saturday, including one ‘chain reaction’ crash that injured 3 riders and an airlift into the cities for medical treatment.

Take a look at the photos from the ride attachedJ

Until next year, THANK YOU and Ride On!

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Kay 3-Peats!!!

The competitions are over for this year and the results are in. In a stunning performance Kay Marie Jeon pulls off a first ever recorded 3-peat. She place first over all in all three of her meets as well is first on floor, beam, uneven bars and second on vault! Amazing work for our PooK-A-Rouk!!

When asked about the performance she simplily stated " I was born to do gymnastics!" She recived a total of:

3 Gold's in overall performance.
3 Gold's on the Floor
3 Gold's on the Beam
3 Gold's on the Un-even Bars
3 Silvers on the Vault

In the final meet there were special recognition awards identifying the athletes the delivered outstanding routines on each of the events. Only ONE athlete among the 50 entrants was awarded 3 of these awards, Kay Marie Jeon ! She was awarded the most expressive on the floor, the highest leaps and jumps on the beam and the best casts on the bars. Now for those of you who are unfamiliar with gymnastics lingo, I will save you from the embarrassment that befell me. When I asked Kay what a cast was she looked at me and said :" Jeez Dad I have been doing this for 4 years and you don't know anything about gymnastics?!"  So a cast is when you jump up to the bar spin around the bar and " cast" your legs off as high as you can, follow?

In this meet Jimmy, who without being prodded from Mom and Dad, was one of Kay's biggest fans
was worried about the competition. "She's got some competish!" As he watched he became a bit agitated that she was in for a tough go and when she won he was (as well all are) very proud of her!

The next season starts in late July with Kay going from 9 hours a week to 12! Meanwhile out of Ottawa, The Nations Capital " those who fail the citizenship, but meet all the other requirements, will get a do over" really....

Below is a link to the outstanding floor routine. We are proud and love you Kay!!
more to come....

Summer Olypmics 2020, here we come!