Thursday, February 25, 2016

5th grade freedom concert

Otherwise known as - reason 189 why we love Meadowbrook!

Each year, during African American History Month, Meadowbrook 5th graders put on a freedom concert. They learn about culture, music, history and it all culminates with a concert featuring singing, dance and drums. Very fun with some very catchy tunes (if you know anything about freedom songs, they are meant to be sung in a group and stick in your head and they do!!)

Of course, since this is the 1st year we have had a kid in 5th grade at Meadowbrook *yes, random, I know but Kay went to 5th grade in Canada and due to Canadian school rules on birthdays, Jimmy skipped 5th grade all together - so..Billy is our 5th grade pioneer.  Anyway, in typical Billy fashion, we found out about the concert the day before in a round about way when he said ... I think I have a concert tomorrow, I'm not sure, I don't think I was paying attention.  After a quick hustle to talk to other parents we had the details and were ready.

What is clear, they have been practicing for a long time and were quite good. Billy even sang along (at least it looked like he was singing and not just faking it as Kay was known to do with trumpet)

Check out the photos and videos of freedom songs and a japanese interpretive dance to a song about fireflies....

Well done Billy!!

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Tom has a new job!! Woo Hoo!

Ok, we all know that Tom is amazing at his "day" job, being a stellar parent to Jimmy Kay and Billy. However, he has found himself with a bit of free time on his hands inbetween all the sports events, school activities, house repairs, etc. So... when the grade school posted some open roles, we were curious. I mean, he's at school every day 2-3 times a day in any case. Maybe he should get paid to go there!

Step 1: go to school website to fill out application form. This takes 30 min as its totally hidden embedded in the bowels of the website but, success, we find it!

Step 2: fill out application, and ... the warning that this will take 30-60 minutes is TOTALLY ACCURATE. Not only does he need to give a full personal background, there were math tests, vocabulary tests and fits of strength.  After saving and restarting a few times, its done and submitted

Step 3: interview, yep an actual interview, at the school, with the people in charge.  This was interesting, what to wear, what to say, how to answer questions? So...we put it by the kids at dinner.  They asked him practice interview questions - Billy's was the best, have you ever been arrested?  Tom: convicted, no never convicted.  Kay suggested he wear sweat pants since that is what he wears every day to school any way and Jimmy just pleaded that he be  "nice" to the kids (seems there are a few crabby folks at school, go figure). Tom has a great conversation with the staff (good god, they know him better than any current parent due to all his volunteering, driving, math tutoring, etc he's got to be a shoe in ...)

Sure enough, not even out of the parking lot and he has an email. He can start next week but 1st ..... 

Step 4:   Please fill out the following information ...
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To expedite the process and to eliminate as much paperwork as possible, we would greatly appreciate it if you responded to the forms by way of the following links:

New Employee - Non-Licensed
Welcome to Hopkins Public Schools
Federal 2013 I-9 Form
W-4 Form - Employee Withholding Allowance
Direct Deposit Form
New Employee Orientation Handbook
District Policy Acknowledgement
True Time Employee Procedures
True Time Pay Period Schedule
District Employee Contracts
Employee ID Badge
New Hire Technology Worksheet
Paperless Payroll System
Public Employees Retirement Association Handbook
Anti-Bullying Video

After you click each of the links above, please fill out the requested information. Your responses are kept confidential and are visible only to authorized parties.

Actually, this might take him until next week to get it all filled out?!

(At this point, i think he's asking himself if he really wants this job....)

Now, for the big reveal, what is this job that is so important that there is a 4 step process with math tests, 12 different forms, etc ..

He's a swing para - basically, he'll move around the school and fill in for lunch duty, recess duty, etc.  Its about 2-3 hours a day and all about interacting with the kids and keeping them safe.  He's going to ROCK THIS!!

And, I hope he DOES have fun in the process:)

XXOO proud of you Tom!!


Monday, February 15, 2016

Tournaments, Birthdays, Valentines Day and Grandparents!!

It was a crazy but fun weekend!!  Grandma Bunny and Grandpa Jim flew in to see Billy and Kay compete and Jimmy practice baseball and basketball.  IT was also Grandpa Jim's birthday and (of course) Valentines Day.  We didn't waste a minute of our time together!!

1st up - typical Thursday night with basketball practice and center cut pork chops.  Jimmy impressed Grandpa with his floor wipers and how in shape he is.  Tom impressed everyone, all weekend, with his cooking:)  Kay decided to make chocolate dipped strawberries for her French class party and we were all jealous that we aren't in her class. 4 different types of dip (white, milk chocolate, butterscotch and cinnamon) and 2 types of topping ( crushed oreos and crushed red velvet oreos) Needless to say, there wasn't any left to bring home.  

Friday was another typical day with all 3 kids at practice (baseball this time fro Jimmy, Kay getting ready for her meet on Sunday and Billy putting the final touches on his forms for Saturday's tournament)  We  did a typical Wisconsin fish fry with 2 types of batter, panko's and beer.  YUM!!!

Saturday was the 1st competition of the weekend and also Grandpas birthday. Who wouldn't want to spend 7 hours in a high school gym on your birthday?! He was a good sport. Billy did amazing, silver in pomsea (forms) and gold in sparring.  He was over the moon!! That night we went to JJ's for dinner and the waitress was not only fabulous, but also a Packer fan (my dad's a HUGE Packers fan) so she brought little extras of everything and even a birthday cheese cake.  Grandpa seemed to like his presents, which isn't surprising since most of them had Packer logo's on them:)

Sunday was Kay's gymnastics meet and she was amazing!  She took 3rd in Floor (9.2) and Beam (9.175) and 6th overall.  She had 3 scores all over 9 but a bit of an issue on Bars. She fell off on her giant. Just doesn't have quite the strength to get all the way around but ... she always hops back up and finishes her routine.  Proud of her!  Once she gets a bit stronger, she'll have this nailed. Her scores will WELL over the minimum to make it to state so ... State Gymnastics here we come!! She is over the moon that she made it to state and so are we!! 

The meet ended early (which never happens) so we took advantage of being in St Paul and went to visit Aunt Mary Lou. Both sets of Grandparents were at the meet so it was fun to have them catch up and be  able to see Mary Lou as well. 

Kay got her choice of lunch and decided on Quangs (Vietnamese) for Pho and Ban Minh sandwiches with bubble tea. OMG it was good.  We even saw a dragon dance celebration as it came in from outside and overtook the restaurant, really really fun way to celebrate:)

In the meantime, Grandpa Jim had Jimmy at batting practice and boy is he impressed with how much Jimmy has improved in the last year. He was literally knocking them out of the park and had a # that were definitely home runs.  Of all 3 sports, Grandpa thinks this is Jimmy's best. We'll see, try outs are in 3 weeks:)

For Valentines Dinner, Tom went ALL OUT and made timpani (from the movie The  Big Night) I was worried we weren't going to eat until 10 but ... he pulled it off and it was beyond delicious and such a treat!  If you ever get a chance to order it or have Tom make it, do it!!

The kids had off school today (thank god) and they were all still sleeping when I took Grandma and Grandpa to the airport at 10am.

It was an amazing weekend and are so lucky/blessed that there were able to come be part of our craziness/love/talent.

We love you!!

See below for videos of the kids meets....Billy is in the red when sparring


Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Jimmy update - Jazz Combo and Braces

Yes, its true, we now have 3 kids in glasses (or contacts) and braces. Kay was the last to fall to contacts and Jim the last to fall to braces.  Who said Jr High was the awkward years?! I call them the Parent Go Broke years ...

With newly minted braces on Monday (Jim got his top braces on and will get his bottom braces in a few weeks) and a Jazz Combo on Tuesday, its been a busy week.

He was super excited for both but lets just say the thrill of braces has already worn off. He asked yesterday if he was 'done' yet.  Its going to be a long 24 months, especially since all of his friends are on the tail end of braces and in the process of getting them removed.

The excitement for the Jazz combo lasted much longer and continues.

Jazz Combo is a try out only, before school group of 10 kids. Jimmy loves it.  He's the drummer and in charge of "the beat".  He gets to riff and have solos and basically be in charge of the other 9 kids.  He's been obsessed with the movie Whiplash for the last year and keeps asking if he sounds/looks like the kid in Whiplash. They were supposed to wear all black for the concert but of course he insisted on a yellow tie (again reference the movie). And...he delivered! It was a fun (short) concert and he rocked it!  Not only that, you can tell he was having a great time, loving every minute and having fun.

Thats the best:)

Check the links below....