Monday, December 15, 2014

Kay Gymsatics update

Over the course of the last week, we've had 2 gymnastic tournaments. For some reason, Kay's age/level always pulls the night slot. Sunday it was a 6:30pm slot (yep, awards were at 10pm and we got home at 11pm - burger king drive through never tasted so good!) and Friday as a 5:30pm start (home at 10:30pm but the competition was right across the street from our favorite Korean restaurant, Mirror of Korea, so we loaded up on kim bop (sushi) and mondu (potstickers)- YUM!! plus we gave Mrs Choi a hug and she hung up the kids new school pictures on her board. Its an annual ritual.)

Peppermint Twist - Sundays night tournament was HUGE! In the convention center and they gave each of the girls a new leotard, it was the 25th annual meet and so very special. Kay started out the night with her floor routine (her best event) and did well with a 8.95. She was behind on the music (an ongoing challenge as she's doesn't have any rhythm - as Jimmy always points out) and didn't quite stick her back tuck landing. Its a bummer since she can stick her back tuck landing in every practice.  Vault was next, remember, last year this was a big challenge for her, she didn't have much control and was so strong and fast and light that she'd just go flying over the vault. This year is the year of mastery and she got a 9, woo hoo!  Beam is a bit intimidating this year and she gets so wound up that she rushes and makes tiny mistakes that add up.  she got a 8.2 due to a major wobble and we learned that the dismount they were all doing was costing them points. They worked all week to fix it for the next meet.   Finally, bars - this year requires a TON of upper body strength as they have to transition from the low bar to the high bar. All the girls are struggling with it.  She got a 8.6 due to a slight hop on the dismount. Frankly I don't know how any of the girls do it, the bars are so high and they get swinging so fast, I'd be totally freaked out.  Overall - 34.75 with 2nd overall and 1st on vault and floor!  Amazing!!  Jimmy said she should be named team captain. Not only did she do the best in her club (a reoccurring theme)  but she hugged every girl after their event and even was trying to cheer up one of her friends that was crying and upset about how she had done. Kay had both hands on her shoulders, a real serious look on her face and was saying "did you do your best? are you having fun?  by the way, its a yes/yes answer" too cute. 

State - Friday was the state tournament at Hamline, so it was a smaller meet (you had to qualify) but the pressure the girls were putting on themselves was intense.  They had their eye on the competition and it was strong.  Turns out, we've only had 2 meets before state and the other teams have all competed in 5-6 meets - uh oh... Tammy (their coach) was talking to the parents afterwards and she's going to lobby for more meets, earlier in the season next year. vault was 1st and from where we sat it looked like a killer performance, no hops, straight body, but it only netted her a 8.225 - I guess she didn't push off on her hands the way she needed to...hmmm.. we have a lot to learn about gymnastics scoring...Next was bars.  All I'll say is, its really hard to watch your child falter on a routine that you've seen them do a million times flawlessly. 1/2 way through the lower bar she either was distracted or got nervous and her arms buckled.  That threw her off the rest of the routine. She only got a 7.325 - her lowest score ever and you could tell that she was not happy with herself.  Beam was next and she didn't wobble, had the new dismount and got a 8.8. She seemed back on track.  Floor was her final event and she delivered with a 9.  She's so damn amazing but had a slight hop on her back tuck (again, I've seen her do a million times without a hop) - 33.35 in total and not enough to place overall.   She did get 10th in floor and a medal and we think she got 11th overall but they only announce to 10th place.  Once again, she had the highest score on her team and was the only one to medal.  Jimmy was doing a nice job of congratulating her "way to go Kay, you got a medal, this is a big meet, you were the best in your club" etc etc. But... On the walk to the car, she burst into tears. She was so disappointed in herself "I know I can do better, I do better in practice, the 7 was my lowest score EVER!!!" I felt so bad for her. Big long hugs is all you can do.  Part of me is so proud that she is so determined, talented and takes this all so seriously but the other part of me just wants to make it all better. We just held hands and slowly walked back to the car.

Kay is resilient though and was fine by the time we got home.  She's ready to get back to practice on Monday and is looking forward to redeeming herself in the meet in January.

She has the heart of  a champion no matter how she places:)  We love you Kay!!          

Friday, December 12, 2014

Happy 10th Birthday Billy!!!

Happy 10th Birthday Billy!
Billy is now officially in the double digits. He had SUCH an amazing 9th year, it’s hard to imagine how it can get any better when you turn 10 but… he’s going to give it a try:

 Quick recap of last year (all of these are covered in previous blogs so we’ll just hit the highlights):

~ Cancun for Easter – major fun in the ocean and beach, he and Kay dug tunnels in the sand and he and Jimmy body surfed until they passed out
~ Dad/kid camping trip at end of school year – what happens on the camping trip, stays on the camping trip – enough said
~ Lego camp – TWICE this year he was able to go to Lego camp and make amazing creations (some even had motors!)
~ Taekwondo – He went up 3 belt colors this year and started in a new school (not to mention his numerous medals!)
~ Retainer – he got a retainer and had an extra tooth pulled (ok, maybe not a highlight but he weathered both really well)
~ MPLS – we moved back to MPLS and he found a new group of friends and is busier than ever! (Jackson, Jack, Yurga, Liam, Owen, Cole, etc etc….)
~ Nova Scotia RV trip – Billy and Tracy found the big dipper EVERY night and we had a blast zip lining, turbo rafting and walking on the bottom of the ocean
~ Starbase – week long field trip to an actual military base to create rockets on 3D printers – way too cool
~ School – he’s complete 10 of his 20 book reports for school (in 4th grade you have to read 20 books and do 20 reports)

 On deck for next year?

~ Cancun at Christmas with Tracy’s WHOLE family to celebrate Jim and Bunnys 50th anniversary (can you say…COUSINS!!)
~ Taekwondo - 2 more colors until he’s Black Belt and a tournament next weekend
~  School – complete the final 10 book reports and start/finish his culture box (his topic, Korea!)
~ Dad/kid camping trip with Toronto friends – yep, its was so fun last year, its back on this year!

 When Tracy called him this morning to wish him a Happy Birthday (it was a late start at school so and Jim/Kay slept late) and she asked him “how are you?” he said “well, I’m 10 now”. (not entirely sure what that means but it must be significant :)


Tonight we are celebrating with Greek food (his favorite), presents and Minecraft brownies (hand made by Kay – it pays to have a bakery creative chef as a sister), then on Sunday is the BIG party at Chuck E Cheese with his 10 best friends. Let’s hope tradition doesn’t hold and their not a snow storm (like last time!). We asked Billy to make a toast at dinner he raised his glass and said " I would like to thank my family for being supportive. 9 was an epic year, meaning it only happens once in your lifetime and 10 is exciting because I am finally double digits and I'm a decade old" Deep thoughts by Billy Murphy.

 When Billy saw the cake that Kay made he said " Wow I did not expect this!", we asked Billy how come he thought he was going to get a bunch of presents and he replied  "I know I will because I live in an awesome family".  

Billy – we love you. We love how much you love animals (especially Nikki), how caring and kind and polite you are. You always want to make sure people feel ok and never tease other people. You love science and knowing how things work and are really curious in school and life. You are deliberate and precise which will serve you really well in school and life. You are a hugger and love giving kisses and cuddling. You are funny and silly and very much yourself. You are an old soul and have a lot to teach all of us.  We love your birth parents and foster parents, they did such an amazing job getting you started in life. Think of them today and send them all the love you can. I’m sure they are sending you love right backJ  

We love you and cant wait to see what the next year has in store!!     

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Ending November with a bang - and a ton of food....

Wow, what a busy but fun few weeks… this is our attempt to get you caught up…
Tracy transitioned back to MPLS from Toronto for her new role and its nice to be “home”.  It came with a WAY overstuffed suitcase and a real lack of enthusiasm from the kids. Either they didn’t notice she was gone each week or they were loving having a bit of extra Daddy time.  In either case, we are now working on what is our “new normal” – but…when you read the rest of this update, you’ll see that “new normal” might be a distant goal…  Tracy is shifting gears into a new role with new partners, team, lingo and a very real sense that things have changed pretty dramatically at work since she last worked in MPLS. That’s good (change is always good!!) but also hard because there are so many questions and its unsettling not to now many (any) of the answers (yet).  She’ll get there but it might take a bit…  She’s trying to be gentle with herself as she gets up to speed.
Kay had her 10th Gotcha Day (the day she came home from Korea to be a part of our forever family) and it was a celebration of us as a family – It was the Packer/Viking game (major event in our house since Tom/Jimmy are Vikings fans and Tracy/Kay are Packer fans) and we invited her godfather Mike (another Packer fan) to the party. We have all the party snacks, attire and energy. She also treated everyone to sundaes from Dairy Queen to celebrate. I SUPER fun day!  So so so so grateful to her birth parents and foster parents for making the unimaginable and incredible decision to love her enough to let her go and thrive with a new family.  Truly the greatest gift of a lifetime (or really, of and for many lifetimesJ). And, you'll notice below, she got her braces off - once her next 9 baby teeth fall out, then they are going to put braces back on - oiy!!
 Next up?  Thanksgiving in Green Bay with Sue!! It was SUCH a mellow weekend and very much needed. 1/2 way through it was like "what?! , 2 whole more days!!??!!".  We drove to GB in a snowstorm, at which it promptly stopped as we passed Wausau, weird. We did the typical Thanksgiving "thing" of football, football, football. Jimmy got us into the W Kentucky/Marshall game, super high scoring and ended in overtime at 67/66. He was crushed as Marshall lost (who knew he was a Marshall fan, but when asked, he reference the movie Marshall, google it) and was cheering his fool head off. Next up, the Wisconsin Minnesota game and bets were placed. If MN won? Sue was going to buy him a Johnny Manzel jersey (more on that later) and if WI won, Jimmy had to wear full Packer attire to Lambeau on game day (again, more on that later). Needless to say, there is a new appreciation and love for the Packers with our 13 yr old (see photo below). ALL topped off by the Packer Patriots game, to which Tracy and Jimmy had tickets.
We had a food filled weekend with Sammies pizza (delicious super thin crust and a family tradition going back to when my dad and sue were in high school) turkey dinner (with 2 homemade pies by Kay - pumpkin and berry with homemade whip cream and chocolate chip ice cream sandwiches for the boys) Friday Night Fish Fry (we were in Wisconsin after all and they had the good salad bar with soup, bacon bits and Thousand Island dressing) and fondue (Kays favorite and fun interactive family dinner). Kay also came upon a killer sea salt caramel pretzel recipe that was to die for!!
We went to the zoo and fed the giraffes, had a sleigh ride through the botanical gardens light display, saw the Packer Hall of Fame and the Green Bay historical museum and hit some serious Black Friday shopping.
Black Friday shopping with 3 kids, that all want different things and don't have any money of their own is not nearly as fun as it sounds... We hit up Dicks Sporting Goods 1st - Jimmy as hoping Nike and a Johnny Manzel jersey would be on sale - alas, it was not to be. Then, off to the 4 sporting goods shops in town for more of the same - again, no dice (not entirely sure why he thought that there would be a Johnnie Manzel jersey in Green Bay NOR why he thought that all Nike would be on sale but...he was getting really crabby, really fast - every time he asked about either, he got a strange look from the clerk).  Then, GameStop for Billy (he had a gift card burning a hole in his pocket and Plants vs Zombies on his mind) as well as Target (Kay needed new clothes/shoes for her choir concert) followed by the mall - Justice, Bed Bath and Beyond, Old Navy, you name it.
Needless to say the kids were disillusioned.  We had to explain (many times) that EVERYTHING isnt on sale on Black Friday. Yes, there are good deals but only if they are things you want. The stuff they wanted wasnt on sale. We headed home crabby and mean....  Lets hope that was enough and  it cures them from wanting to go out next year!!
It all cumulated with the BIG day (nope, not Thanksgiving, but Jimmys 1st trip to Lambeau).  Grandpa Jim and Grandma Bunny  are now the proud owners of season tickets - after 45 years on the waiting list, they got the call. Jimmy was super excited and appropriately in awe when we got  to the stadium, lots of pictures, texts and instagram photos. He cheered SO loud and had so much fun. He really was impressed by the stadium, the fans and the game.   It was a really fun mother/son date night and I think he'll be anxious to go back to Lambeau. THANK YOU Grandma and Grandpa!!!
Then - it was the mad dash back home on Sunday night. We had an easy drive and arrived by 11:30pm, just in time to hit the hay and get ready for a full week of work and school.