Sunday, June 28, 2015

G4G Pride and Grandma/Grandpa

Every year Tom helps organize a golf tournament for Gift of Adoption. Its held at Troy Burne in Hudson and boast 34 4somes, 34 local sports celebrities and the best time to be had all summer.

This year didn't disappoint.

Tracy's parents came in to play with Jim's best friend from jr high Aubrey.  They were joined by Dick and Les, good friends of ours and .... (drum roll) Stu Voigt. Turns out that while Stu was a Viking, he's actually a closet Packer having grown up in Sconnie and played for the Badgers. To say this 5 some hit it off is an understatement.  Patty and Bunny drove the golf cart (aka beer cart) and helped shuttle 3 13 boys on the prowl for celebrities around the course.

This was the 1st year we decided to have kids help volunteer.  I think we underestimated how much work that would be. Tracy and Kay worked the club check in counter and the boys (Anders, James, Jimmy, Billy, Sam and Sean) ran the clubs to the right cart. This is hard work when the clubs are bigger than you and also weigh more but... they got them all secured on the carts and nothing was damaged.  

Jimmy and Jim Fellows were also interviewed for Jim's book "Itty Bitty Soul" on Rod's TV show. Jimmy had some classic answers ...

Who's in charge in your family - Me
How does it feel to be the tallest person in your family - Empowering
Do you have girlfriends - yeah (said with a snicker and a smile)

He's destined for TV and has the 1 word answer down pat.

It was a super fun day and we cant wait until next year!!

Then...not to be outdone (and in keeping with our family mantra of busy busy busy) we signed up to walk in the Pride Parade. This is a HUGE deal this year because of the Supreme Courts ruling that gay marriage is legal EVERYWHERE in the US. Woo Hoo!
We walked with Target and passed out sunglasses and beaded necklaces. We ran into Wendy and Annemiek and it was fun to be a part of history (plus we got really cool shirts)

Grandma also taught Kay to sew and they made Jimmy a pair of pj pants plus the grandparents got to see a killer 13yr old AA baseball game (Jimmy caught and pitched and stole bases and scored but alas, we didn't win) see Kay in action at gymnastics and Billys TKD (weapons and sparring)

It was a really fun 4 days and I hope they come back next year - same time, same place - for more:)


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Toronto-Camping Trip Part 2

The Dad's camping trip was one of the memorial events from our stay in Toronto, so much so the kids wanted to go back again, so back we went.

The neighborhood is an ever-changing area with house being rebuilt, torn down, new schools opening and the ever present change, well except for the Dad's devotion to the camping trip. Think a cross between Camp Granada, The Great Outdoors and Oliver and you start to get the picture. The kids are all out of control, in a good way, playing games, eating unhealthy food, one kid was eating Tang mix out of the can with a spoon, awesome ;)

The trip is for two and half days in a gorgeous provincial ( State ) Park about and hour and a half east of Toronto. Everyone arrives around 3:00 Friday afternoon and un packs, sets up their tents , the BBQ area, table and that is for the day. Adult bonding begins, stories are told and re-told the kids play with water guns, Frisbees, and in one case a dead bird. Dinner is hot dogs for the kids brats for the Dad's which means no plates and therefore no dishes. A bone-fire is lite s'mores are created while the Dad's have several different card games going on. Billy had a first, a sleep over with in a sleep over, in fact he head two and didn't spend a single night in our trailer.

Rod and I ordered a 30' trailer with two rooms and sleeping for 8, and had it delivered to the site, set up and picked up and all we did was show up. It is a trend now and this year there were 10 trailers and my bet next year  more trailers than tents, it super awesome because they come fully furnished with bedding, blankets, towels, every thing you need.

Kay had a blast with all her old friends and the dad's were way beyond impressed with the gymnastics skills, one Dad in particular who is a cross fit trainer bet her she could do what he call a press to a hand stand, of course she did it first time and he broke down in tears because it took him three years to get it right, don't mess with Kay. The afternoon was a full on Dad versus kids baseball game that after two and half hours ended in a tie.

The final night was a BBQ feast of all you could eat 1/2 lb. burgers with buns and shockingly tomatoes and lettuce, I think everyone had a double! The kids were banished to their sleeping quarters and the 31 match began. 35 men entered one came out the winner. There are ever changing side bets and alliances that form but true to Murphy's luck the rookie, Big Eddie, who never played the game before came out the victor! There were a couple of know shows
 and few decisions that were fueled by anticipation and couple to many beers, however there was no blood and no lost children.

We all had a blast and just being able to get up and pack our car and leave was worth the fee for the trailer. Sunday was Fathers Day and I am happy to report that I was the only Dad that woke to Father's day cards!! My wife and kids rock :) There was a panic attack couple of hours where the passports were not in our position and Tom could not find them. Several calls later it turned put they were in a safe at the Delta ticket counter at the airport, whew dodged a bullet.
Rod and Peggy had some friends over for cocktails and we had dinner and it was off to crash.

It was great to see everyone from our neighborhood and we were even invited back - shocking!!

 next up Grandma & Grandpa Hickey come to visit! More to come

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Fathers Day!!

Happy Fathers Day to all the wonderful dads out there!! Tom, Jerry, Jim, Jim F, Jeff, David, Wade, Mike, Carl, Pete, Steve, Craig, Niel, all the coaches and teachers, the kids birth fathers, the kids foster fathers ... our kids are blessed with so many great dads in their lives.

A special huge call out to the resident LoudAmerican dad. Tom - You cook, clean, drive, befriend, advise, support, sell, scold, fix, make, celebrate, joke and bless us with who you are.  Not just our family but our neighbors, friends and relatives. There were many a kid that would have gotten to their practice, school, event without you. You know every teacher, kid friend, kids friends parents and keep our social life fun and tasty.  You are the "fun" parent and thank god the kids have someone who lets them get away with murder sometimes.

we love you, we bless you and we are so so blessed to have you in our lives.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Fishing, boating, kneeboarding and culinary delights

The 'sort of' annual Fishing trip was last weekend and yet again adding to the worlds greatest summer.

Carl, Timmy and Charlie arrived Wednesday night and the anticipation and stories began. We have been going fishing together for more years than I can count and have been taking the kids since they turned 5. We have gone to several different lakes, resorts and campgrounds and this year was our third trip to Life of Riley, on lake Vermillion just outside of Cook, MN.

We left late morning on Thursday and with a few needed and a couple not needed stops we arrived to the camp around 3:00 in the afternoon. We spent the next couple hours unloading gear, setting up tents and the rest of the camp and finally hit the lake about 5:50. The fish were waiting for us and we proceeded to hammer them as they say. We had a few issues getting our Mojo back as Kay said but once a couple of mechanicals were fixed, a couple of crossed lines and one reel, and a pole were dropped into the lake, things took a turn for the better. We got back to camp around 9:30 with a bunch of fish and a great attitude. Dinner was hamburgers, corn, and chips and we all hit the hay about 11:00 tired and happy.

Friday Carl, Tom, Kay and Timmy got up early and headed out fishing. Kay had Carl and Timmy in the palm of her hand and she carried put a fishing clinic on how to catch fish and talk non-stop for a couple of hours. Carl commented on Kay by saying " my she can carry on", as well as she out fished him. We had a fabulous day fishing riding in the boat and swimming. Kay and Tom made a crockpot pork roast with salsa verdi sauce and we headed out to fish some more. When we returned to camp the feast was on. Timmy and Charlie couldn't stop eating and were in hog heaven along with Carl, the Loudamericans are used to this kind of fare! Kay was bound and determined to make a peach cobbler however after dinner, which was around 10:30 she was already laying spread eagle asleep on her bed :), a good day as had by all.

Saturday morning was a repeat and of course the fishing rocked. Jimmy, Charlie and Timmy had a great time hanging out and shooting the breeze talking trash, sports and other teenage stuff. Kay and Billy were busy around the camp playing with new born kittens, finding turtles and other camp activities. Kay even got Carl into arts and crafts. Lunch brought out another one of Kay's skills, homemade tortillas, an instant hit we used them with the left over pork, yum! That night we had a huge bonfire told stories and had several belly laughs, all good.

The Loudamericans spent all their time fishing together and it was quite interesting. Kay and Jimmy talking about middle school, maybe taking classes together and debating about how the first day will go. Billy was intent with watching the clouds go by, occasionally adding some thing to the conversation along the lines of, "I'm pretty sure that isn't how it works Jimmy" you are insightful Bill. He had fun catching fish but the bigger pole was a bit of a challenge, Jimmy was heard to say several times " I would really like fishing if it didn't require this much patience", all you heard from Kay was " Fish On!!" Saturday we also took a hike to Vermillion Falls to see the falls, the rapids and hike around, it was really cool.

Sunday was a bit of a challenge, when the weather changed from 75 and sunny to 55 and rainy, however much to my delight the kids wanted to go out and fish, so that's what we did.  Shore lunch had to be held as camp lunch because of wind and rain. The batter Tom made for the fish has gone down as the best fish fry ever, period. The comment was made from Carl to his son Timmy " look at the dry coating you can stack the fish pieces and they don't stick together, genius!  The texture is perfect, it's brown and flaky and not burned, wow!
The evening ended with a fire in the gazebo at the lodge and Billy being the only person any of us know who has actually won the ring toss game and for sure the only person who did it back to back times!

The trip was super fun, we caught more fish than we ever had, had great weather, found a new pet, Myrtle the turtle, saw some baby cats and even watch a momma snapping turtle try to dig a hole to lay her eggs! Kay was the only one to get up on the knee board and she stayed on the whole way and NEVER fell off!!!( Video to follow)

 The Peiffer's have vowed to visit any restaurant that Kay either opens or works at and the fact that the kids sleep the entire 4 hours home says it all!!
Next up Baseball road trip for Tracy and Jimmy and the other three are Toronto bound for more camping and catching up with their Toronto friends....

Sunday, June 14, 2015

MS150 - year 21 - CHECK!

Another year down! Once again I rode the MS 150 and had a great time.

The weather was gorgeous, mid 60's slight back wind, downhill the whole way:)  Plus, we had a new rider on the ride, a small deer ran next to us for about 2 blocks. It was really cool but also kind of freaky, I kept expecting the mama deer to come out to save her. But, she made it to safety,  a little freaked out but no worse for wear.

It was my biggest fundraising year - EVER!! $3,400 - woo hoo! Thank you to everyone that pledged me with $ and well wishes of an easy ride and good weather, they worked!

This year I rode for Team Target but with my BFF Angela who was riding for Donaldson so we had the best of both worlds. The Donaldson bus on the up while our bikes were safety on the Target truck. We stayed in a  hotel both nights (a 1st for me and it took a bit of getting used to the logistics)   and ate at both the tents after the race (and drank both beers:)).  I met a ton of new people and it was fun to ride with a different group. And... Target had the Tollefson food truck at their tent, HIGHLY  recommend their pork, the Tricky Ricky was to DIE FOR!!

We finished Day 1 in about 6 hours and Day 2 in about 6 1/2 hours (lingered slightly longer at the rest stops Day 2, we were tired).  No injuries or set backs. In fact, the only road bump (pun intended) was a flat tire after lunch on Day 2.  I rode into lunch and my tire was fine, when I was done, it was flat. Go Figure! But, the guys at Erics Bike shop fixed it up in under 10 minutes and we were back on the road. I felt really lucky that it happened at lunch and not on the road.

To another year of great riding, great friends and spending time outside for a great cause.

Until next year!!  

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Schools out for the Summer

Oh, Oh what I want to know, where does the time go?

Just the other day we were putting on winter coats and boots , now schools out!!
The summer is shaping up to being perhaps the best summer ever. The kids are all registered for the favorite activities; rock band, football, gymnastics, cooking, Lego and Taekwondo, camps ( more as that unfolds).
The annual fishing trip, a side trip to Toronto, baseball tourneys visits from family and friends, camping (twice!) the list goes on and on...  To make it even better, the kids are at an age where they can take off on their bikes and be gone for hours playing Hunger Games, basketball, baseball, at the park, etc. Its fun to see them pack a backpack of snacks, a water bottle and yell - see you later! We'll be home before dark.  Have to admit, we are a bit jealous.

Jimmy and Anders walked to and from the bus just about everyday and spent more time with each other than their own families. Jimmy had a great 7th grade, was a really big deal on campus and even managed to pull of a 3.88 GPA. He is super excited for the summer and for the 8th grade. He has been on fire at the plate and is catching awesomely. His team is struggling however he has a great

Kay, Billy and Bjorn were carpool buddies and we had some great conversations on the way to school. They are a funny and insightful group of kids. They hold each other accountable too, which is hysterical!

Kay finished her tenure at Meadowbrook Elementary and is off to middle school to both keep an eye on and bother Jimmy. She is all ready for summer just coming off a pedicure and a 6th grade graduation/ type ceremony.  She was beyond the moon about the pedicure, couldn't stop talking and was in amazement about the whole process. We may have created a monster.

Billy is moving on top 5th grade having completed the 20 book challenge, and a trip to the Mall of America and Nickelodeon World. He spent the entire day at the park and played tennis and basically sweated to death. Mainly because he insisted on where long pants and a sweatshirt on the warmest day of the year.  He's got awesome friends and while he doesn't want to grow up (and especially doesn't want to go through puberty) he's really excited to be with his friends again next year.

The summer is here and the time is right .... were going racing in the streets......

Next up?! The Father kid fishing trip to Vermillion and the MS150. Be on the look out:)

Monday, June 01, 2015

Baseball, Biking, Sue and our anniversary

This weekend was crazy, busy and relaxing! 1st up - we are in 13 AA baseball seasonl tournament hell. I think we have a baseball tournament 3 of the 5 weekends between now/end June. Thats in addition to his regular 2 games a week. To give you a flavor... In a tournament, there is always a Friday night game (in the rain! they had to dig trenches to move the water off the field - see photo
), followed by 2 games on Saturday. Depending on Saturdays performance, you can have up to 3 games on Sunday. Thats a lot of baseball! Jimmy played well this weekend with a triple (scoring 3 runs) and tagging a runner out at home base (he LOVES playing catcher). Its so fun to see the boys improve and really gel as a team. The only issue (besides the # of games...) is that these tournaments are NOT close to home. This week was in Ham Lake (45 min north) and next weekend St Michael (45 min north west) so...they really do command your attention for the whole weekend. Good thing the parents are lovely and the team full of great kids!!

On top of this, we are in the final countdown to the MS150 and Tracy needs to get mileage in on her bike. The ride is 6/12 and we are now down to 1 weekend of training. Last weekend the weather was great, low 60's sunny and she was able to get in 25 miles both Sat and Sun between games. It'll be nice when "all" we have on a weekend is 6 baseball games:)

In true Sue fashion, she came in to town to reconnect and see the kids in action. She was able to see 3 of Jimmy's games, an intense weapons and sparring practice at Billy's taedowndo and was in awe of Kay's new gymnastics skills. She also was a chaperone at Billy's field trip to Nickelodean World (the class reward for each reading 20 books this school year) and helped us celebrate our anniversary. Its always wonderful to have her around and this was the perfect weekend for it! I'm sure she's thoroughly exhausted but we have her coming back in July for Kay's birthday and the state baseball tournament:)

Since it was our anniversary (17 years - yikes!) Kay got busy. She planned and cooked a full menu and it was AMAZING!!! Argula/watercrest salad with beets, pomegrantes, feta and balsamic. Lamb chops on the grill with saffron rice and grilled corn with creme fraiche. It doesnt stop there...we also have berry triffle for dessert. OMG it was so yummy and gorgeous, beautifully plated on our wedding china! Kay, you are a master chef!!

This week is the final week of school and the kids are thrilled for SUMMER! They spent all day yesterday "practicing" for summer. Kay got up at 9am, backed a backpack of snacks, got out her bike and said ...see you when its dark, I'm outa here! Then, she and Billy literally played outside ALL day with Ella, Cole, Ace and Bjorn (all neighbor kids). I LOVE IT!! totally the way it should be when you are a kid and its summer. I think we are all more tired today now that we've lived through the weekend. 5 days of rest (aka work) and then we are back at it again:)