Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Random updates

We haven't posted much lately well...because...there haven't been any real life changing events (which is good!). Between Tracy commuting to Toronto Monday through Friday (see the photo of the gorgeous view she has each morning on her walk) and Tom as the family "driver" (football, gymnastics, tae kwon do, piano, drums, dentist, orthodontist, coffees and lunches with friends family) we are pretty much just trying to get through each day and week. But, thought it was time for a quick update of activities ....
Jimmy - joined Lifetime (Toms club) and has been going to play basketball with friends 2-3 times per week. I am sure the adult pick up basketball guys are a bit puzzled over this oversized 13 yr old that doesn't stop talking and is not in the least shy. But...he's loving the autonomy and being with his friends. He also tried out for jazz band and MADE IT! He's thrilled!! Not so thrilling, the 6:45am practices 1-2 times per week (before school, its just crazy!!). He's also doing really well in school (previous blog) but the latest is ...he's got 100% in French going on. Amazing...

Kay - Busy busy busy is the best way to describe Kay. She's got her 1st tournament in 3 weeks and is more than ready. Her coach is (almost) ready to promote her to the next level but she needs to work on upper body strength 1st so ... we are installing a climbing rope and pull up bar in the garage. Not sure how she can get any more ripped that what she already is but...should be interesting. She also decided to make her pumpkin into Olaf from Frozen (see photo) - super cute and really creative. AND...she continues to cook and is starting to make her own lunch. The photo below is of breakfast from Sunday - pan fried sour dough baguette with brie (broiled), bacon, lettuce, tomato, grilled asparagus and a squeeze of lemon. Her creation....But...the big news is (drum roll) she got her braces off!! Yeah!! She'll have to get them put back on after she loses her last 9 teeth but...looking good:)

Billy - He's at a full week of field trip - Stargate !!! They learn about engineering, engines, flight, space, etc. He's beyond excited and spent 15 minutes on the phone with Tracy describing the 3D printer and fins they are creating to do flight experiments. His code name? Lt Mega Star. Seriously, the kid is in heaven. Billy was going to throw away the paper with his name on it and Jimmy wouldn't let him, he told Billy it was an awesome name and of course Billy had a huge smile. Also thought I'd throw in a photo of us with Caden and Wyatt at the nature park. Good times:)  Next up Halloween, more to come 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

THE weekend ...

What a gorgeous fall weekend and we made the most of it!!

Friday - impromptu make your own pizza party with 2 other families and 7 kids. Super fun and chillax. Kay had a sleep over and Jimmy and his friends were having fun watching Wayne's World 2 (not very good).

  Saturday - Tom, Jimmy, Anders and Craig went to the U of M homecoming football game against Purdue and it was a crazy long fun game. In the end the U won by 1 point. They had breakfast out "How may pigs in a blanket do I get with the 3 pigs in a blanket" - Jimmy Murphy who then started laughing at himself. They took their photo with the Heisman trophy and got to stand right in the middle of the U pep band. Way too much fun for football fans.

Tracy took K and B to Maleficent (REALLY good movie) and then a nature park where they hiked and played with Caden and Wyatt for 2 hours while Tracy and Ang chatted. Super fun for all. Then, south Indian feast with Wendy and Annemiek for dinner. Again, good friends, awesome food, fun conversation and the ultimate in relaxing. You gotta love friends who are as close as family.

Sunday - reading, homework and football. Got some yard work done and hoping for a bike ride. Promised the kids Mirror of Korea if they get it all done. Should be another yummy night.

 Here's Kay lunch: (she made it up and then made it herself - she's calling it a Mediterranean Feast) Rice with onions and chicken stock
Fresh green bean/carrot salad with an orange olive oil dressing
mixed veggies with lemon pepper garlic
plain yogart with lemon olive oil pan
fried pita

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Ghosts Goblins and Monsters Galore

I dont even want to trick or treat no more - Froggy Fresh "Halloween" Tracy has been in MPLS this week as it was Thanksgiving in Canada and MEA for the kids (ie: 2 free days off school). Its been a good week for her to be back. Lots of final decisions on the basement remodel, helping the kids get their halloween costumes and giving Tom time to go practice on the shooting range before his big pheseant hunt trip in November. All and all, good to be home:) Here's a quick low down... MEA - We bought Jimmy a desk for his room, he wants it facing the door "like an office". Tom tried to put it together earlier this week and got frustrated. His solution? Put the kids on it. Kay LOVES to build things and Bjorn (neighbor friend) and Billy are closet engineers. They are ALL over this!! I think we'll hire them out to build office furniture if this works. At least they are busy and engaged on their day off of school vs being plugged into electronics all day. Halloween - Took the kids costume shopping last night. Kay has a very clear vision as a zombie bride and we got her set up with a wedding dress, fake eyelashes and black/white/red gory make up. Billy had a harder time deciding as he's a bit inbetween the age to be a super hero and something more creative. He finally decided on being a skeletan and he was really having fun walking through the house and "spooking" us last night. Jimmy...well, he's 13 and his idea of Halloween changes on an hour basis, alternating between being too cool to dress up and then wanting to be super scary (he actually said he was worried about scarying himself) We'll see where he lands....

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

quick cute photo updates

Had a few cute photos to share - the 1st 2 are the art project Billy did for school - what I did on my summer vacation. He drew our RV trip, including deep sea fishing, our RV and he and I looking at the stars/big dipper EVERY night (in fact, he kept count of how many days he and I saw the big dipper, major bonding moment AND the density and # of stars in his picture really does capture how bright and close the stars where - you gotta love camping) these are so good and so sweet, I almost had a tear. When I told him how much I loved his drawings, he said "I worked really hard on them, the stars took me 2 whole days!"

Then, here is Kay and Billy all "Hopkins up'ed" ready to cheer Jimmy on in his last football game of the year. They are WAY too cute:)

Saturday, October 04, 2014

1st conference of the year!!

We had our 1st teacher conferences of the year at the Jr High (for Jimmy, the other 2 have conferences in early Nov)

We were prepared to hear the usual.... engaging kid, smart, friendly but needs to know when to stop talking , interrupting and challenging the teacher

But... NO!! Not so this year, read for yourself what the teachers had to say. We are so happy for Jimmy and hope  he's proud of himself. He's off to a great start an amazing kid:)

His teachers all say that Jimmy knows when it is the time to talk and when it is the time to listen, no interrupting!!! A first!  And...he's very inclusive and friends with everyone. He doesn't have just one group he hangs out with. He includes everyone and is friendly to all (my proudest moment:))

 Experimental Science:

Jimmy is going great he has a solid B and that is because there has only been one 12 question test and he got 9 out 0f 12, he is right where he needs to be and doing great.

Things are going to start picking up so he needs to be ready. In two or three weeks time he needs to identify his project for the Science Fair which is in Early Jan. He needs to be better than 90% done before Christmas Break.

 Life Science:

Again doing great has a Bt. She is suggesting that develop alternative study habits, instead of looking at the study guide cover it up and quiz himself, study with a friend things like that.

She also was emphasizing that he and all the students continue to write in their journals and check the portal.

Core Homeroom and US History:

Loves having Jimmy in his class and loves the way he always raises his hand and asks questions. He has an A at 95% and is very organized and inclusive, his teacher loves that.


Asked Jimmy to explain where he was and what they were doing in class, which he did. Was impressed that Jimmy is where he is even though he skipped 5th grade ( which I explained to all his teachers and they all we impressed)

He seems to be a nice guy and very strict which most likely why Jimmy is having issues with him, I liked him. Jimmy has an A and Mr. Johnson challenged Jimmy to develop the habit of asking for help and to do so earlier than later. Jimmy did say that he sometimes lets his mind wander during class except when Mr. Johnson is explain things because Jimmy’s words “ When someone is explaining something to me that is my chance to understand what I don’t know”.


Her first words how lucky she was to have Jimmy in class and how he is super helpful, and the we talked about world travel for 10 minutes after that J

 English & Packer Fan:

She LOVES having Jimmy in her class, beyond happy. Jimmy is the kid that when she asks are there any questions he always raises his hand and asks question even if he know the answer, it is super helpful to her. She also likes that fact that in class Jimmy sings to the class to motivate them to learn, her first words were “ Did you know how great a voice you son has?”


Loves Jimmy his involvement and the fact that he sings in the pool. Can’t wait to work with him this year, loves his spirit and enthusiasm.


I filled him in on Jimmy’s musical history and past accomplishments and involvement and had a huge smile on his face. I explained where we are at with the practice schedule and Jimmy is at a Dt because he has not submitted it yet, Mr. Wolf also asked me to write a note about the mix up with the payment and not letting Jimmy bring home a instrument and he will reflect hat in his grade, basically he will give him full marks and October will be our baseline.
He is going to send out a tryout schedule for the Jazz band and will let Jimmy have more than one if he wants since he plays drums and piano

Sunday, September 28, 2014

sports sports sports

A fall sports update...

Jimmy - football is not going so well, they are currently 0-4 :(  The team is infighting and they are having trouble following the coaches directions.  They also barely have enough kids for a team so they are constantly changing positions, which makes it hard to get a groove going.  This also means the other team just needs to outlast them as by the 4th quarter they are exhausted. Their last game was the best they played yet (and against Wayzata!!) and when I asked why - their response was ... well, we weren't fighting with each other...  Good life lessons. Unfortunately, rather than rising to the challenge, Jimmy wants to switch teams next year. We are hoping they get a win and a little mojo back so that he'll change his mind but... reasoning with 13 yr old boys doesn't get you very far.  Jimmy is playing wide receiver, offensive and defensive line and line backer. He's still extremely passionate and that lands him about 1-3 penalties a game. Thankfully he has some good friends on the team and I swear there is a posse of 13 yr old boys at our house non-stop. (Just waiting for the day that the girls start coming over too - he's pretty darn cute in his uniform and I'd suspect there are a  fair number of crushes on him at school) The season ends in a month and then it's 2 months until basketball starts. God help us...Jimmy doesn't do well when he's not actively in a team sport...   

Kay - gymnastics is going really well! She's in level 5 and that means 14 hours of practice/week plus an extra "private" session (about 16 hours total). Needless to say, she's ripped. The boys are all jealous of her 12 pack abs.   She is busy learning her new floor routine and beams, bars. Vault still poses a problem as she's too fast and too light and just goes flying without much control.  Her 1st meet is in November and then we have meets about every 3 weeks through until February. I suspect she'll do really well and I think she's ready to get back into competition. 

Billy - Taekwondo is a change. It turns out that every dojong has its own forms, style and areas of focus. In Toronto, it was all about pomsae (patterns) and sparring in order to get ready for competition. Here its more about old Korean technique, weapons, self defensive and competitions are few and far between.  BUT...this weekend, he did have a fun tournament. Of course he was nervous because he only have 2 weeks to practice his new patterns and get back into sparring shape (here you can punch and you couldn't in Toronto, so that's also new). He is really enjoying his coaches and donjong but its MUCH smaller than Toronto.  He did ok in the meet, 3rd place in both pomsae and sparring.  In pomsae, you can tell that he had a momentary brain fart and almost forgot what he was doing but them recovered. In sparring, he's a good 2-3 inches shorter than the other kids which means he has to kick harder and higher in order to get his points.  He put up a good show and it was good for him to get back into the swing of things but he also wished he had done better. I think there will be about 4 tournaments a year here (vs 8 in Toronto) and its a bit of be careful what you wish for...  If he does too well, he'll be invited to the traveling team. Not so bad you think,  travel around MN, right?  WRONG! Its a team that travels the US. Not sure I want him making that team or not:)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Tom's Birthday!

Happy Birthday TOM!! Thank you for all you do - driving, cooking, cleaning, cheering on the kids in sports, organizing fun activities with friends/family, helping out at school, planning vacation and being a great father, friend and partner. Its a weeklong celebration:)

Last weekend we celebrated as a family with a bike ride up to dinner (tried to hit our favorite dive sports burger bar, Shullers, but go figure, they dont serve food on Sunday nights?!) and Tom had the BEST burger ever at Dolittles. Kay made a peanut butter cake with peanut butter frosting that was seriously to die for! It was a huge cake and all the neighbors got to enjoy it as well:)

Yesterday (actual birthday) He had lunch with his birthday buddy Wade (yep, they share a birthday) at the St Paul Grill. Fish and fries anyone?! Then, Kay made him dinner - herb lemon pork tenderloin with roast kale and garlic baby potatoes. She also intercepted the flowers that Tracy had sent and hid them under her bed so that they could be a surprsie when Tom got home from running the boys to/from music lessons. Way to go Kay!




  And, from what we hear, the kids were actually very nice all day and actually got along. Best present ever! This weekend we'll celebrate more with Wade and family with our new favorite gormet mexican meal - pork, heart of palm salad, safron rice, etc. Cheers to Tom - we love you, we bless you, we are blessed by you - you are amazing!!!! XXXOOO