Sunday, July 26, 2015

Happy Birthday Kay- Part 3

Kay is the queen of extending her birthday every year she some how manages to have at least 2 if not 3 separate parties and of course she is the center of attention, And this year was no different.

This past Saturday she had a sleepover party with 5 of her besties and the birthday theme was another original Kay idea. She was able to come to this years Golf for the Gift tournament and was enamored with the silent auction event. So this year for her birthday she had a silent auction/restaurant dining experience/movie party. The other thing Kay incorporated into the event was fake money. Each girl was given &700.00 ( which may seem like a lot however it was exactly the amount that came in the package ). Then the kids had to pay for their dinner & drinks as well as have enough money left for the auction.

We gave Kay a budget and she set off making lists organizing the menu and settling all the details. She shopped at several discount stores searching for the key items for the auction and then hit Target for the final items and dinner menu. She did a great job and came in pretty much on budget. The auction items were things like lip gloss, hand sanitizer, ear buds, make-up & lip stick, you get the idea, GLAMOUR!!!

Tracy and Angela were the waitress and Tom was the Chef, the menu was quite extensive. Kay wanted all the girls to sit around the table and visit while Tracy and Angela took their orders and waited on them, she wanted the wait time for their meals to be about 20 minutes, just like in a restaurant. The dinner finished up and while the restaurant staff was cleaning up the girls all went up to the park, why not?

Then the auction began. Tracy was the auctioneer and Angle was the bid controller and the frenzy ensued. They girls all had different strategies, saving their money for the big final item, bidding high right off the bat to scare away any potential bidders, it was fun. The next morning one of the girls commented " I cant believe I paid $20 dollars for lip gloss! what was I thinking?"
After the auction the ice-cream cake came out and the presents were opened again the girls were very thoughtful with the gifts and loved the cake.

Then it was off to the basement for a gigantic sleepover, movie and home made popcorn for one of the presents Kay got at an earlier b-day party. Of one the girls gave Kay a selfie stick which they used non-stop until Tom's iPhone shut down with to may pictures! The girls all had breakfast and headed home on Sunday, it was an great party and the theme was a hit, so much so Kay cant wait for her birthday next year to do it all over again!
Happy Birthday Kay, we love you!!!
more to come....

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Happy 4th of July!!!!

A real live nephew of my Uncle Sam born on the 4th of July, sorry I have that song stuck in my head.

The Loudamericans plus Nikki loaded into the Pilot and headed east towards Clintonville, WI, to join several of our ex-pat friends, their dogs and Paul's family for a real down home small town 4th of July. The drive was rather uneventful until around hour 4 when the kids started to have the need to eat, and while for the most part they are adventurous eaters, it is hard to stop when you are surrounded by cornfields and yard gnomes. However we lucked out as Tracy spotted the Pigeon River Brewing Company, a solution for all. We ordered a flight of beers and some food and settled back and relaxed. The flight came with an extra surprise, root beer, which was the best of all. The food cam and was awesome and we indulged our selves and got a growler of IPA and one of Root beer to go.

The hotel was a nice little small town affair complete with a little convenience store and a bar. The group all arrived around the same time checked in and then headed out to the farm to hang out and catch up. The Balthazar's are a super laid back, friendly and awesome family. They no longer run a dairy farm however they still plant cash crops and Paul's mom and dad still farm the land. Paul decided one day that he needed to update the barn so he put in a half court, NBA regulation basketball court along with a weight room in the loft. Jimmy was in heaven playing basketball with Paul's nephew Daniel and the two became fast friends, playing B-ball, volleyball and Frisbee.
Kay took advantage of the space to practice gymnastics and to do pull-up's, while Billy tended to the 6 dogs and 5 cats, which were newly born and needed to have their eyes cleaned and basically needed love which Billy has in spades!

Friday night dinner was a good old fashioned Shrimp Boil with all the fixings and several cold beers!
The group had a ball and we finished the night with a bonfire and relating stories and sharing what we all have been up to, it's a great  bunch and we all had a blast. The group headed back to the hotel for a night cap and to make plans for Saturday, which was the 4th!

Saturday morning found the Loudamericans moving a bit slow, so the rest of the group had breakfast and headed out tot he farm to get organized for the day, the Loudamericans had other plans. This was farm country and to us that means two things, Rodeo's and Rummage Sales, yep a little R&R was in order, and the kids were hysterical. We map quested rummage sales and made a map and headed out, it was super fun. We acquired several treasures along the way including but not limited to, a curling iron, miniature foosball table, a couple of dozen multi colored shot glass, a square cast iron pan, treasures all!

Welcome to the Midwest Region Rodeo, please stand for the pledge of Allegiance! The thundering hoofs, flags whipping in the wind the Star Bangle banner proved to much for Nikki as she tried to jump the fence and heard the horses!!! We had to laugh when the started the biggest redneck competition, and people were drinking beer two at a time when this one redneck want to be jumped into the ring and did the worm in the dirt, horse poop, ect for a lousy t-shirt, which of course brought the house down, augh, the rodeo. We should have bought the t-shirt that said, wait for it...This is our first Rodeo...

Saturday afternoon we meet up with everyone back at the farm. The afternoon was full of typical 4th if July fun, water fights, volleyball, Frisbee and a BBQ, complete with several types of salad, brats, hotdogs, burgers, cold beer and potato salad, a virtual feast of summer fun. The dogs got to run and play with abandon while the Dad's beat the boys in Volleyball, best of one, no rematch!
 The night brought out the pyrotechiqnes and about $1000 worth of fireworks. The show went on for about an hour then was followed with light several Chinese lanterns, which were in every color and awesome. The grand finale was the bonfire, but this was not you typical bonfire. The base was a few dozen dried and burning pine logs onto which was tossed an oak pallet filled with 20 or so Christmas wreaths, just to get things going. Onto that was the tossed about a dozen or so Christmas tress, yes it was beyond hot and the fact we all still have our eyebrows is a testament to well our good upbringing I guess.

We all headed out around mid-night sweaty, covered in bug spay and hot pine tar full of great food and great friends. It was a great small town 4th of July and the Loudamericans are grateful to all who came and for all the goodness these folks bring into our lives.

The Loudamericans like to travel in a non-stop kind of mode, meaning fill the car, eat and don't stop till we get home. So in order to accomplish that we need a quick lunch stop and the Rocks for Fun CafĂ© fit the bill. This place is a cross between a sci-fi/ twilight zone nightmare and the kitchen on the Brady Bunch, scary on both accounts. The owner Don McClellan will entertain you for the entire 3 minutes it takes for them to make you food which is one thing severed 30+  ways, however none with ketchup, the Pasty. The he will regale you with jokes and stories about rocks, how his marriage has been on the rocks for over 30 years, a rock that is off the moon, careful here not a moon rock just a rock that is not on the moon, you get the drift, on and then for a mere $ 2.99 a Pasty if you buy 100 or more you can take them home, he even has those Styrofoam coolers that sit in back of the car and squeak all the way home driving you nuts! You can view this collection of rocks valued at $2,884,732.66 at his shop or here at
Happy 4th to everyone!!

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Best. Birthday.Ever!

No truer words have been spoken by Kay on her 12th birthday. It truly was the best birthday ever.
To start it off? 4 hours of gymnastics practice, she made caramel apples as a treat and quickly headed home to get changed for her date afternoon with Tracy.

They headed out for an afternoon of surprises.

1st stop - lunch.  Tracy has been dying to take care to the only authentic French bistro in MPLS and it didn't disappoint. They have crepes, gelato, traditional sipping chocolate and even bahn mi sandwiches. The owner is French and Kay ordered a caprese crepe while Tracy had a SUPER spicy tofu siracha bahn mi sandwich. Kay loved all of it and and of course ate all the whipped cream off her hot chocolate 1st:

Next step, quick run to Target for a few things. We totally lucked out and there were handing out free samples in the beauty section and Kay declared them her 1st official presents of the day.  We looked for rompers, tried on hats and even got a picture with Spot (the Target dog).

As we were wandering back to the car, we stopped in the Target Commons Plaza (think of this as a gigantic living room, game room for Target team members) for a game of bean bag toss and a frozen treat. Neither of us could make a score but it was really fun.

Finally, the big surprise .... drum to Donna to get a turquoise strip put in Kay's hair.  We ended up splurging and getting her tips done too. Its hard to see in pictures but really cute in the sunlight. She did a great job of being patient through the bleaching and coloring process and we shared a chia latte. I also got a new cut - Donna calls it shattered. I think its sort of Joan Jett and Jimmy says I look like an '80's pop star. Mission accomplished!

Then, off to dinner at Mirror of Korea where we feasted and feasted and shared updates with Mrs Choi (man is she a good cook!) The kids pictures are all still posted and it so fun to visit, feels like home.        

By the time we got home, it was time for the present scavenger hunt. Tom did a great job of writing out clues and Kay was off at a sprint looking for her gifts (with Billy right behind her). They found them all and the "big" present was the ultimate hit, a professional popcorn maker. 

We closed out the day with red velvet cake, a toast and food network - Diners Drive Ins and Dives.

Seriously, it doesn't get any better than this:)

Kay, you are fierce, funny, strong, brave, creative, loving, generous and a total goofball. We love you!!

Thursday, July 09, 2015

Happy Belated Birthday Tracy

WOW, it has been a bit busy over hear at the Loudamericans HQ, but that is no excuse for not posting a Birthday blog.

This year due to circumstances out of our control the kids and I were late arriving from Toronto on Tracy's birthday, which means the intended presents, cake , dinner and overall party was not what we wanted, gifts from the airport, cards and a couple of homemade gift certificates had to do the trick.

We are blessed everyday to have Tracy as our mom, teacher, friend, partner and keeper of all things that are Loudamericans. she is always looking for fun things for us to do, challenges to keep us connected and most of all just being herself.

We had as usual an incredible meal created by Kay and then dessert and presents, an awesome dinner for an equally awesome person.

It is hard to sum up what Tracy means to us so here are a few pictures of what life with Tracy is like: We Love you and we bless you and we super excited to be with you everyday! Love Tom, Jimmy, Kay , Billy and Nikki

Monday, July 06, 2015

Billy Baloo, we love you!!

Happy 10th Gotcha Day Billy!

In true Billy fashion, we celebrated with brownies and old videos of the kids as babies.  (They were SO cute). Of course, in all the videos, Billy is intensely watching/observing our crazy antics. Thats our Bill, quiet, observant, kind, calm and insightful. 

We each shared our favorite thing about Billy:

/> He's kind to everyone, especially animals

He's a deep thinker and asks really hard questions

He's a good athele, both with Tae Kwon Do about also baseball and soccer

He's inquistive and wants to learn how things are made and how they work

He's a good learner and is great at practicing (guitar, piano, reading and soon ... violin!)

Nikki especially likes that he pets her and love her up.
Billy is always up for anything and when he is in he is all in!

 Here are some good throw back photos of Billy - Then and Now.

Billy, we are so grateful to your Korean families (birth and foster) for giving you an amazing start in life and the best gift ever - a chance at a happy, healthy and prosperous life. We CANNOT wait to see what you become since you are already an amazing human being. We LOVE YOU!!! Check out past blogs as well to see that he's still the same old Bill :)

 Billy Happy Gotcha Day and thanks for choosing us to be your forever family!
We love you we bless you and we are glad to go through life with you! Much more to come :)