Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Happy Birthday Jimmy & Sue and OMG its R5

It is nice that in this ever changing world in which we live in some things never change and one big one is that Sue and Jimmy celebrate their birthdays together! Sue made the trip from Green Bay and arrived in Toronto to kick off the celebration weekend, and what a celebration it was!!!

This year Jimmy is doing his birthday in 3 part harmony, so to speak. He decided that since most of his friends are away at camp that he would have his actual birthday after school starts so that he can maximize the gift potential. Then as a result of that decision he had a sleep over with three of his baseball buddies, because they go to a different school and once school., starts they will be busy. And finally... it came down to part three with the family and Sue! Football practice took precedence over the birthday dinner and having a chef for a Dad, Jimmy was given the option of choosing anything he wanted for dinner and he chose... Mom's Pot Pie's.  Kids brilliant when it comes down to household management issue, 'just saying'. Jimmy is in the tough age for presents, gone are the days of a bunch of toys, a few sweets, sealing wax and other fancy stuff. A successful birthday, in are the expensive electronics items which will give way to things like a car, trips to sunny beaches, season tickets to.... where is Puff the Magic Dragon....

Friday Tracy took the afternoon off and we headed downtown to the always entertaining Busker Fest. The City of Toronto along with Scotia Bank present this festival and the proceeds go to the fight against Epilepsy. This year was no different. We wandered around, catching the sights and scents off the street and then lucked out finding a spot in front of the make shift stage. First up we saw a fella by the name of Scott Johnson, who you may say is he, well only the raining Beat Box champion of Canada that's who! Jimmy was mesmerized at the sounds and noises and beats this guy belted out using only his vocal cords, amazing. Then it was back home for Sue's birthday and favorite dinner spaghetti, meat sauce and crusty bread!

Sue chose a trip to the zoo so Saturday (after football & a much needed massage for Tracy) we were off to see the Panda's and the other less drawing but equally cool inhabitants of the Toronto Zoo. Pulling into the parking lot the entire car fell silent as we were directing past not one but two FULL parking lots and into the dreaded zone 3.

We braced ourselves for crowds and headed towards the main gate. We had decided one of the adults would stand in the Panda line while the others wandered the zoo and check out the animals. Much to our surprise there was no line, no line...really... lets go!!!. The Pandas were just doing what Pandas do which is eat bamboo, make room for more bamboo and then eat more, quite simple really.
Then we explored some areas of the zoo we had not seen before because this would be our last rip to the zoo as members, being we chose to keep our Science Museum membership, much more useful in the winter! The kids rounded off our zoo experience with a couple hours in the cool calming waters of the Amazon or locally known as the zoo splash pad and then it was off to our friends the Clark's. Russ and Kim have three awesome kids, Maddie, Ryan and Adam, they live a couple block from us and we had a great night of kids running in the back yard, parents relaxing and enjoying a very nice night.

Sunday morning we had a free pass from any sports or kid related events so we slept in, had a late brunch and just relaxed, had we known what was in store for us that afternoon and evening we may have never got out of bed in the first place. It all started innocently enough when we received an e-mail from Groupon announcing The Big Ticket Summer Concert, a Disney event featuring all the current Disney singers and actor/actresses, so we said hey why not, consulted Sue, she was in so we bought the tickets printed them off and stuck them in our pocket. Jimmy received info from his football team about a special offer from the University of Toronto's football team offering reduced price ticket, a hot dog, chips and drink for anyone and since Jimmy and Sue usually attend some type of sporting event on or around their birthday's it was a perfect fit.

The game started at 1:00 we took the subway and a bus to get there and enjoyed watching the London Western Mustangs destroy the Toronto Blues, fortunately we were in the Mustangs section so we sheered for them! Then it was off to the concert, which at this point we had not told the kids about nor really paid any attention as to where it was...I mean the Molson Canadian Amphitheatre, just look for the big Molson can, right?!  not even close. Side bar: In Toronto there is a yearly event that closes down most of the downtown lake front and it's called the Exhibition, by the locals or the CNE or "the X", by everyone else, in reality it is a State Fair, freak show, intense food setting and more all rolled into 1. And was between us and the Amphitheatre. After a grueling hour of wandering through the CNE we found the concert along with the other 10,000 or so people crammed into the venue. We thought, how long can it be, it starts at 5:00 should be over by 7-7:30 tops we can head to Jack Astor's have a couple cold beverages, dinner be home and in bed by 9:30, 10 at the latest... right?!  not so....

At 6:15 we realized (a little late) that we were here until way past 10:00 and Tom headed out to the food line to get the kids something to eat, figuring Sue, Tracy and I would eat later.  Thoughts of a Jacked up beer and a Waffle Burger were still in my mind.  At 7:30 Tom made it back with a chicken wrap, 2 chicken nugget dinners, 3 drinks and was out a mere $55.00, really... Bottom-line the kids had a blast, sang along with the noise (I mean songs) and even Jimmy was into it, so the fact that we got home at 11:30 was not even an issue.

Thanks Sue for coming and celebrating her birthday, Jimmy's birthday and enduring the Big Ticket Concert featuring R5, who it turns out have not even made 1 album yet!

PSA: Here in Toronto they refer to up north as, cottage country. The government reported last week that there is a scam: that people are renting cottages to people and when you show up there is no cottage, saying that the prices are inexpensive and the cottages are grand, the governments view on this was  "beware, if it sounds to good to be true, it is!"
More to come....


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

One down and One to go oh and football

In the never ending sports a'thon that is Jimmy's world, outside of music, he finished one season of baseball this past weekend. He has been playing on two baseball teams this summer because , well why the heck not? He plays in a house league which consists of any player with the financial wherewithal to come up with the fees, and then teams are divided up based on a magic formula which no one really knows, and a season is born.

The house league players are then invited to try out for they Select Team, which as you may have guseesed is made up of the players that are ' Selected" from the tryouts. There are 6 house league teams with an average of 15 players so doing the math the select pool is around 90 of which 12 are chosen, and as it turns out Jimmy made the cut and made a home on the roster as the starting catcher, and he is great at it! (note, he was also the youngest kid on the team - go Jimmy!)

The teamed finished first in their division, won a couple of tournaments, lost as many and one of the highlights, Jimmy was chosen as an MVP in one of the tournaments! The past weekend they drew a bye on Friday and had two games on Saturday, one of which they had to win to continue in the tournament. The team played hard but they were pretty much worn out and were just 1 Large Double Espresso per kid away from making it. The boys were happy with their season and we had the whole team over for the end of the year party. It is tradition around here that at the end of the year party the coaches are fair game and Coach Brooks and Coach Dana were not let off the hook! It was a great season and many great memories and new friends. (Note, Coach Brooks and Coach Dana not only coach together but they played North York Blues/Mets growing up and through high school into university. They are amazing coaches, encouraging and teaching the kids at every inning of the game. Super hopeful that Jimmy makes Select next year as well so that we can continue their coaching of Young James)

The house league tournament started last night and runs the next 2 consecutive Tuesdays with a championship Saturday scheduled for the 7th of September, more to come on that.

So having missed the Sunday baseball cut off what does a young boy do to fill his time? Head out to the first football scrimmage, a mere hour and a half from the house (you gotta have a Sunday contingency plan for sporting events) . So we saddled up the ole gray mare and headed east to Clarington. We were unsure what or where Jimmy would be playing this year as he has missed most of the June and July Tuesday night practices (defense) for baseball but has made all of the Thursday/Saturday (offensive) practices. He started out on special teams and we were a bit concerned, however in the second half things started to change. Jimmy was now full on in the game playing both offensive and defensive line, line backer and tight end, his favorite spot.

Now many of those of you who follow this crazy kid know he has been passionate about football above all else. He has been playing since second grade, mostly with the motto " Sack the quarterback", he was not really the offensive type, hit or be hit. So besides the occasional forced fumble, or dropped potential pick 6, the kid has never really touched the ball, that is until now.

The Grizzlies were in the lead late into the 4th quarter, with just seconds to play, Ronin, the new quarterback calls and audible, fakes right cuts back and hands the ball off the to the new tight end, number 77 Jimmy Murphy. Murphy cuts right, beats cheeks around the line heads downfield, out runs the would be tacklers and busts over the end-zone for his first touch down!!! Grizzlies win!!  Tracy was yelling the whole time " holy cow, he has the ball, he actually has the ball!" We are hoping that this is a promotion of the upcoming season.

More to come sit back and enjoy, the show is free.....

Friday, August 16, 2013

A little help from our Friends

The rock stars, while attending KCC, were also fortunate enough to have several sleep overs and play dates with their cousins and friends from the OL' neighborhood and school.

Jimmy was able to connect for several sleep overs with his cousin Ben and even hang out with Kaden Murphy, an added bonus. Kay hooked up with Carmen, for 2 ...yes two... sleep overs as well as an afternoon play date. She was also able to see Mia and Grace, making the trip home in her words, "totally awesome"! Rounding out the schedule was a double play date for Kay and Billy with Ella and Cole both stating "don't bug us",,, Kids same the darndest things.

Into the mix of things was Tracy having to work as well as havung a day out with Angela for pedicures, bike riding and accesorising. She was able to finds an awesome basket along with both Canadian and American flags and a drum here Jimmy of you please... a pinwheel...awesome. Tim and Patrick along with the rest of the Gated Community had us over for an afternoon of lazing by the pool. Kids swimming adults catching up and as always tearful laughs at the expense of ourselves and others.

Photo Bombs and other crazy fun:

Out of nowhere we were able to arrange sleepovers for all the kids on the same night which translated into da da da: DATE NIGHT! We meet up with Wendy and Annemiek for a trip to The Pig ate my Pizza, the owners of Travail, our favorite restaurant in the world, are in the process of buying a building and creating a new space for the restaurant so in the old space the created this crazy awesome pizza joint, complete with a 4 course tasting menu followed by a liquid nitrogen infused desert, quite simply awesome!

Kay and her God Father, Uncle Mike had a special night planned and of course it was all about Kay, her birthday and getting a special present from Mike and Libby:)

The Reception:
The best for last ...Jim and Jen Fellows had scheduled their Wedding Reception for the last weekend we were in town and let me tell you cute has nothing on these two. The evening was full of great fun, dancing and a heated argument over which song Tracy and I danced to at our Wedding. There was not an actual agreement but the vote was in favor of Joshua Kadison, Painted Dessert, which I must say was the song.
We headed back to Jim & Jen's place for what Kay lives for, the After Party, which was going great until the tequila came out, enough said! (kids and tequila don't mix) Happy 6 Months to Jim and Jen and many many more, we love you guys!

(as an aside, Jim works as a teacher to special needs kids. He teaches them life skills and one thing he's come up with is "where in the Twin Cities is Jim?" He creates videos and the kids have to figure out where he is, and then figure out how to take public transit to find him. Its brilliant, education, unique and super fun. That's our Jim Fellows:) here's a clip...

Thanks for all the fun, hospitality and love.. more to come

Monday, August 12, 2013

Living in Fast Forward

Irish Korean Rock Stars out of control, the kids have been living life in fast-forward, time to cool down... real slow....

The Summer Camp part II came screaming up at us as the wheels touched down in Minneapolis, no sooner had the announcement by the flight attendant " The local time in Minneapolis is.." and the kids wanted to know when the first sleep over was, who are we seeing first, who's on second... whoa, we still have to get our luggage, and that's how rock stars start their vacations!

The 10 day period was so full of events that it will take 2 blogs to do it all justice! Friday after we cleared the rental car and had lunch we stopped by Target to get supplies and then into the rental house for un-packing and planning. Friday evening found us at Rhada & Krishnan's home along with several of the other ex-pat friends and families we met while in India and the reunion/ get together was full of laughter, great food and awesome memories. Jimmy racked up his first sleep over as his friends Jessie & Preston had him over for the night. The 3 musketeers were back in action!

Saturday found us able to sleep in(a bit) and ready for what has now become our annual trip to Dicks Sports Barbers for the boys haircut's and catching up with Dick. Tom has been getting his haircut there since he was 13 and it was the place of each Jimmy Kay and Billys 1st haircuts. Its a family tradition and they have the best haircuts on the planet!  Saturday night was a fun filled bash of full on boys as we went to the Orvedahl's.  Doug and Jennifer along with James and the twins Sam and Sean provided a night of energy burning and great burgers. Kay hung in there even swimming in their above ground not so heated pool. However girl power won out and Kay headed over to Carmen's to lodge her first sleep over and night with her bestie. (Sam and Sean are seriously Billy/Kays alter personalities. They just "fit" and James is one of Jimmys besties) 

Sunday we celebrated birthday's for both Kay and Grandpa Jeremiah complete with zip lining and an afternoon at the park. The Grandparent's had a blast catching up with the kids and sharing stories, along with planning a trip to Toronto in the coming fall! Then Sunday night was the beginning of the craziness known as KCC or for those not in the know, Korean Culture Camp, the second main event in kiddom only behind, the big guy, A number 1, SC for short. We met the Van Meter's (less Jeff) at the Buckley's new home in Edina. Sherra, Rich , Robbie and Joey had us over for great food, and of course S'Mores and great way to start the week!

KCC, is in its (who knows how many years somewhere around) 35+ years, the camp runs the last week of July, it's full of great fun, great food and about 400 Korean Adoptees, their families and about 200 volunteers.  Tom works all week in the kitchen, well 2 Toms and a bunch of other great people who work tirelessly  to create classic Korean Food from scratch for 600 people, everyday of camp AWESOME! (The kids have literally said its the best week of their whole year and that they'd trade their birthdays AND Christmas if they could go everyday.  We had to promise to come back every year we are in Canada otherwise we weren't allowed to move. I have to admit, Tom and I agree!)

The kids just love it and Jimmy is now one year away from one of his first goals, teen helper! The campers themselves are finished after 6th grade and then can go on to be teen helper. This year Robbie was the new helper on the block and chop, chop. Jimmy and his brother Joey along with Shin Be and Noah tormented him ruthlessly about lemonade, more food and the like, remember Jimmy.... what goes around comes around!

Kay was super excited to participate in the Korean Dance and to learn about all the cool dance moves while Ol' Bill was somewhat to cool for Taekwondo school, being a greenbelt and all! The camp teaches the kids about their culture, heritage and spends sometime on self esteem, which they all love.

Next up, sleepovers, dinner parties,  Jim & Jen's reception

and even a date night! More to come...