Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Kays Hopkins High School Gymnastics Legacy

Kay has been kicking some serious ass and taking serious names on the HHS team this year. She made varsity all around as a freshman (huge accomplishment!) and has been working hard. Its paid off in a series of 1st and 2nd places (overall) and some great scores in the upper 80's, lower 90's.  Each team seems to have 1 girl that is knock out good so ... we are really proud of how Kay competed this year, she was right in the mix (as Jimmy would say).

All this hard work culminated in 6AA sectionals last weekend. It was at Minnetonka High School and the meet included: Hopkins, Minnetonka, Eden Prairie, Southwest, Washburn and St Louis Park.   To qualify for state you need to either: 1) be one of the top 3 in all around or... 2) be one of the top 3 for each individual event. Considering Minnetonka and EP are HUGE schools AND all these programs have at least 1 really good gymnast, making it to state isnt a "Give Me".  Kay was going to have to work really hard. Especially as a freshman.

Since we were expressly NOT invited to come see her compete at sectionals (we had negotiated with her that we wouldn't attend away meets and sectionals was technically an away meet - good reminder for our negotiations next year ...) one of the other parents took videos for us and sent us text updates.

Kay did great and had her 2nd best all around score!  We are a little unclear about where she landed from a "placing" perspective but we did find out ...*drum roll ... that she tied for 2nd place all around with a score of 35.42 and was going to state!! Woo Hoo! We were so proud of her!!  In fact, her team took 3rd place overall , their highest placing position in years and she is the only one from her team that made it to state.

And, she got an academic athlete excellence award for a GPA 3.66 - this is crazy because (just the week before) she had 2 F's and a  D.  All missing homework.  Thanks to a lot of encouragement (nagging and threatening) by her dear parents, she managed to get it all in and now has all A's and B's. Go figure. You hand in your homework, you get good grades. Crazy talk, I know. BUT ... she did manage to pull it all together to an amazing showing...

Tied for 2nd on the podium!

I think this was 4th place bars...

The team came over for pizza and to celebrate after the meet

A hungry and good group of girls


Thats our Kay - hardworking, smart and a procrastinator 

Here are the videos we were able to admire from afar ...

Bars - 9.2 - looked gorgeous!

Vault - 8.775 best of the year!

Floor - 9.075 such a fun routine

Unfortunately, no one got her Beam routine (8.8 score and didnt fall but didnt make her connection). However, she WAS on the Kare11 5 o'clock and 6 o'clock news! They showed a quick high school sports news segment which featured Kay's beam dismount and her team surrounding her with hugs. Our text/voicemail went nuts with friends that saw the segment. Unfortunately, we missed that too and when we watched the 10 o'clock news, they didnt replay it. Tracy did contact Kare11 to see if we can get a copy but... haven't heard back yet. More to come.

Because she made it to state, she's also invited to a banquet to celebrate all the competing gymnasts. She is adamant that she doesnt want to go. We aren't sure what to do. We dont want to force her but we also want her to enjoy and celebrate this big accomplishment. She wants nothing to do with it "sounds boring" "my friends won't be there"  etc...

Not wanting us at meets and not wanting to go to the banquet are probably signs of her anxiety coming out in full force.  Its hard to watch as a parent. She puts so much pressure on herself and has such a hard time enjoying her success.  I struggle with whats the right answer ... I'm sure there isnt one.  We just want to take it minute by minute.

The other big part of going to state, which we haven't told Kay yet is .... she has to ride a bus.  By herself.  They school as a bus ordered to take her to the meet (insurance reasons, we can't take her and drop her off) as well as a bus ordered to take her teammates to go watch her.  We are a little worried about how ballistic she'll go when she realizes that she's on the bus. By herself.  At least they can all ride home together.

Finally, she is begrundginly letting us attend state to watch her.  However, Tracy will be out of town with Billy since HIS state meet is in Iowa this year and ON THE EXACT SAME DAY. Good god. I think she's secretly thrilled that Tracy won't be there and is probably sticking voodoo pins in Tom's doll in the hopes that he'll get sick and not be able to attend.

Ah ... all good fodder for our counseling sessions.   (ours now and hers in the future)

More to come on how she (and Billy) does at state!!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Jimmy Update

The Super Bowl brought many things to Minneapolis and one of them was the Sound Mind Sound Body Combine Experience.

This is basically a recruiting company for the NFL. It was a morning of instruction and how to prepare ones self to become a recruit in the college football area, then what you needed to do to continue into the NFL, it was eye opening. Then the afternoon was forming position teams and one on one drills with NFL trainers and then the regular conditioning test, vertical jump, standing long jump, 40 yard dash and the side to side drill. This is all basic football speak...

We headed downtown for the morning session which was a cluster. These people running the program are not from around here and didn't know how to deal with the snow storm that was happening, so in a panic they started the program early it was to start at 11:30 but they started it at 11:00 and of course all the local wandered in at 11:25 and it was chaos. Kids getting weighed in presenters trying to talk to the crowd while kids are being shuttled in and out so ...yeah a cluster.

The morning session ended and in the midst the storm a few hundred people had to get from downtown town Eden Prairie good luck. Being the safe Minnesotans we took the back roads stopped for lunch and were still the first ones there. Champions Hall is a big indoor sports facility which has an indoor football field. The plan was to do the drills and then break out not groups and do the one on one drills. That didn't happen.

The people in charge of the technology for the tests were late and then their equipment didn't work so the organizers change the events and the one on one's  are first. This was about a 2 hour drill/ training where the different teams, i.e the running backs, the line backers, the wide receivers, the safeties, the quarterbacks and the O-Line and D-line face off against each other.

Jimmy was in the line backer group and they were against the running backs in one drill and the wide receivers in another. He weighed in a 214 lbs and at 6.2. He was pretty good at defending the running backs and keeping them out of the end zone. He got beat deep once or twice by the wide receivers however he managed to catch up with them and keep them from scoring.

Tracy came down late in the day after shuttling Billy around to his TKD duty and was able to see some of the drills. Watch these big O-linemen and D-linemen going at it was scary. One of the kids dislocated his shoulder and this was just for fun!

All the players were not happy when after a 2 hour workout they then had to take the conditioning tests. Jimmy was not happy with his scores but once he heard all the other kids complaining there scores were better than whet they got in this test he felt better. Each kid had a wristband that kept track of their times, jumps movements, etc and at the end of the day the kids would turn these in and get evaluated. By this point Tracy and I were starving so we left Jimmy there to finish up and change and we headed out to eat. We met up with him back home later and had stopped at Chipotle and bought a triple meat and double rice burrito which the clerk was refusing to make for him, he somehow persevered. His final commit on the camp was " I am glad I went, I found out I'm right where I need to be conditioning wise and strength wise"

Drill 1
Drill 2
Drill 3
Drill 4

The Sadie Hawkins Dance is next up for Jimmy. He was invite by Allison a friend of his and of course he said yes. There was a big group of kids going together each had a date but they were going as friends as opposed as "dates".

Jimmy was bound and determined to have the best facial hair at the dance, you can be the judge.

The kids all met at one of the girls house and shockingly we as parents were invited to the picture taking event!
Noah and James were there as well two of Jimmy's long time and close friends as well as Baker, his name is Noah as well but everyone just calls him Baker (which is his last name)
The kids then headed off to a local restaurant for dinner. The dance was in the High School and we were not allowed, by Jimmy, to attend, He had a blast and said it was really fun.

So, Jimmy is having the quintessential high school experience.

Love you!

Jimmy, Baker and Noah

Allison and Jimmy 

The gang

Una and Noah

Cute Couple


And another

James, Jimmy and Noah




Thursday, February 01, 2018

What happens in Vegas...

This week Billy and Tracy had an opportunity to travel to Vegas for the US Open TKD tournament. It was Billy's 1st international tournament and it was NOT without drama getting there, mainly due to registration being a pain in the ass and testing Tracy's patience.

Long story short, it took 8 weeks to register for the event since the genius's at the governing organization decided to change software programs 1/2 way through registration being open and Billy's registration got caught in that mess.  We finally got it straightened out 2 weeks before the event and got his GAL (Global Athletes License) 1 day before they left.  Talk about the nick of time!

Billy is a Bantam weight Cadet (38-41kg, black belt, 12-14 age group, boys).  Basically this means that they can now do head shots. It also means that, at this tournament, there 41 competitors in his age group. From around the world.  Crazy!  So, you could say he's in the top 50 world wide.  Its a huge honor to be invited and overwhelming to know that you are fighting the best of the best but ... Billy took it in stride was only a little nervous, mostly excited and held it together really well.

We landed Sunday night and had tickets to Mat Franco. He's the magician that won Americas Got Talent and he's totally worth the price of admission! It was a great family show, small venue and AMAZING magic. Both Billy and Esa now want to be magicians and we were all blow away. A great intro to Vegas!

On flip side of our 1st day, we couldn't seem to get our room "right". We checked in, dropped our bags, noticed that the room was hot, turned on the A/C and left for dinner and the show. When we came back, 3 hours later, the room as still at 78 degrees and we were dying.  We asked to be moved, packed our gear up and proceeded to be "placed" in 4 MORE ROOMS!  We had more rooms that we had nights reserved!  The 2nd room had a shower facet that literally was streaming water and we couldn't get it to shut off. The 3/4th room was an adjoining room, but one side didnt have a bed and the other only had 1 bed (thats not going to work), the 5/6th room worked. It was another adjoining room with 2 queens a murphy bed, couch and kitchenette.  We had finally found our home for th next 3 nights, after 2 hours of lugging luggage and  it was midnight. We fell into bed exhausted (to the hotels credit, they are undergoing a major renovation and comp'ed our whole stay.  That was nice)

We were up the next morning early to register and weigh in.  That took 3 hours. 1 hour to stand in line to register. 1 hour to stand and line to weigh in and 1 hour where Tracy totally lost it and started crying when she realized that Billy was actually registered for Fly weight not Bantam and he wasnt going to be allowed to fight.  She pleaded, bribed and worried. After going up the ladder 3 times, the woman finally found someone willing to bend the rules and, after paying a hefty fine, Billy was registered in the right weight class.  This only left 2 hours until practice so what did we do?  We headed out to see the Strip!!

We took the monorail and walked up and down the strip. The Vegas girls made Billy and Esa nervous but he was funny when he saw a sign that said "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas".  His comment to that?  "Huh, just like the fishing trip".

Practice went well and we headed out to find dinner and get to bed early.

Tuesday was the "big" day,  We had to get to the competition early (8am) but call time for Billy didnt happen until 11:20, then, it was waiting in holding until 12:30.  With 41 competitors in his class, we figured we were in for a long day.

Asa got called 1st and had 4 kids in her class, she did awesome! Won her 1st round and fought hard in her 2nd round, taking away silver.  Way to go girl! You are a fierce beast!

Billy finally got called and was ready. In the 1st (of 3) rounds in his match, he got hit in the nose and got a Rocky worthy bloody nose.  The blood was streaming down his face and they werent able to stop the bleeding so they stuffed 2 tampons up his nose and off he went into round 2 and 3.  He fought hard, managed to slow the match down (a key skill when the other athlete is hyper aggressive) and even got his 1st head shot points as a black belt.   He didnt win his match but he didnt back down, fought hard, got some points and walked out smiling.  When I asked how he felt he did he said ..."I fought hard and could have done a little better if I could breath and didnt have tampons shoved up my nose....".  Love you Billy.

Part of TKD team etiquette is that you dont leave the tournament until your last team mate competes. For this meet, that was 8:15pm. The kids were melting but I have to admit, the final matches were the best of the best and really fun to watch. His team took home a # of silvers and bronze.  Pretty damn good!

We barely made it to dinner without passing out, and then fell into bed exhausted.

Both Billy and Esa loved the competition and weather but the constant indoor smoking just about drove them crazy.   In order to pass time, we played a game to see how many countries we could spot and get a photo of (see below for photos) we saw ... Honduras, Mexico, Denmark, Australia, Pakistan, Canada, Nicaragua, Baztekzhan, Manila, Puerto Rico, China, Spain, Hungary, Sweden, Malaysia, Columbia, Guatemala, Peru, Taipai, Korea, Japan, Brasil

Here are some fun pictures - Love these guys to death, So proud of you both!!

The dynamic duo

The official photo

A BIG part of TKD is learning to wait

Getting ready to fight

Final prep

Trying to stop a bloody nose


The only kid that smiles after being kicked in the face 

Master Lee with Billy

The team!!

Photos of countries

Can you name them all?

So impressive

And the matches - check out his streaming bloody nose and the second face shot he takes, shakes his head and keeps going.  

Friday, January 19, 2018

The worlds busiest week

This week was our worlds most busy week. Holy Crap.

We had ...

2 doctor appointments - Tom and Kay - all is good for both and ... drum roll ... Kay grew ANOTHER 1 1/2 inches and gained 10 lbs so she is now, officially 4' 11 1/2" and 96 lbs. I DO think she'll hit 5 feet and 100 lbs after all! This means she has grown 3 1/2 inches and gained 25 lbs this year. I'd be crabby too if that was me. No wonder she sleeps all the time!

1 dentist appointment - Billy had a back molar come in "rotten" so needed a filling

1 orthodontist appointment - Kay got brackets on her back molars, not a happy camper

1 orchestra concert - Billy was awesome on the violin and it was fun to see him play with the Jr High and High School and be able to envision "what's next".  The High School orchestra is going to Orlando to compete in February so they used this concert as a competition practice, very cool.

1 jazz band concert - Jimmy literally blew everyone away on the drum set.  He was having so much fun and cant wait to kick some serious drum kit ass in try outs next year for the Jazz 1 group.

2 gymnastics meets - Kay had her regular Thursday night High School meet against Edina and took 1st overall with her best all time score ever of 36.2.  Her floor was amazing, her bars fun to watch, her vault is getting better and her beam is always death defying and impressive.  Then, on Saturday, she had the Wolf Pack High School Invitational.  She LOVES to compete and the extra meets this year have really helped with her pre-meet anxiety. She still gets nervous but its WAY better than last year.

1 late start for school  -Tom is "in charge" of late start once a month and its a debacle.  This week it was below 0 so they couldn't even send the kids out to play AND ... 1/2 the staff called in sick - a bad bad morning for Tom. which leads me to...

1 sick kid - Billy came home on Thursday, after a week of coughing, and went straight to bed. Poor kid! But, he got his homework done and was up the next morning ready for school (and swimming in gym class). He's a tough cookie that one.

This is all on top of the regular schedule of school, work, homework, tests, work outs, dog walks and life in general.  Its a good thing we are a super high energy house that loves good (& healthy) food with pretty robust immune systems and strong competitive streak. Add in that most of us are extroverts and I think you can see how we got to this point.

However, I do have a martini (with 4 olives) in my near future.....

can you see Billy?

Featuring Jimmy !

Gorgeous morning walk in MN

Kays routines

Jimmys concert

Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Let it snow, let is snow, let it snow

Holy cow, we have been pressuring Julie to bring the boys up for a white christmas and did we get it!
On 12/26, we all headed out to meet up with Tracy's family in Michigan for a week of white, snowy fun.  It was a BLAST!!

In fact, it snowed nonstop from an hour before we got to Tammy until 2 hours after we left Tammys. I think it snowed over 3 feet in 5 days and it was amazing lake effect snow, nice and fluffy. It also meant that we missed the -10+ degree weather in MPLS as lake effect snow usually bring temps of mid teens.  Nice.

We'll share the week through photos...

Daily walk with Mom, Tammy and Julie, through the cemetery and down the lake.  Julie held up surprisingly well considering she hasn't been home in the winter in 20 years.

The boys were busy grooming their sledding hill and trying to find death defining ways to use skis, planks and other random yard implements

Billy loves To dig holes, always has always will

Platform tennis competition.  Jimmy and Joey beat out everyone to have the honor to play Jeff and Grandpa. Jeff and Grandpa nearly beat them too!


The gang eating pizza while getting ready for the championship round of platform tennis

Jimmy defying the weather in short sleeves
The moment before you get hit by a snowball from your cousin
Lake Michigan is gorgeous in all seasons - another daily walk

Grandpa and Grandma gave everyone a session at an escape room. It was adults vs kids. Kids in one room, Adults in the other, whoever gets out 1st wins.

The gang

The adults are OUT with 4 minutes to spare! It was hard and we had to ask for clues but it was really fun and we worked well together.

The kids did NOT make it out. But, we could hear them cheering through the wall every time they got a clue right. Billy was voted MVP and Jimmy is convinced that Billy could have done the whole thing himself, without help. Billy says that Jimmy and Joey were no help at all. They probably would have made it out if Georgia and Kay hadn't thrown all the clues, both new and used, into the same pile


Yogi in the snow


We headed to Chicago with Tammy, Jeff, Georgia, Joey and Herbie after Grandma, Grandpa, Sue, Julie, Cedric and Solomon left. We had dinner at Timothy O'Tooles and the worlds 2nd best magician came by with a few tricks. he was amazing and had the kids captivated. 

And now, for my next trick


Michigan Ave shopping with Herbie, Billy, Tammy, Georgia and Kay - The Nike store

Kay (finally) got her ears pierced!  Super cute!

Georgia's 15th birthday dinner was at Dicks Last Resort where the wait staff are rude and the food is amazing. We all wore insulting hats that our waitress made for us - Kay's said = More Annoying than Trumps Tweets - Tom's said = So old I fart dust  Billy's said = Fart here Tracys said something about a sex machine being out of order and Jimmy's said = I found my 1st pube.  Billy commented "Kay should work here"  Then, 10 minutes later Kay said "I should get a job here".  Too much fun.
Quick drop back to Cmas at Brigids with the other cousins

Grandparents and Dennis/Brigid
The cousins!

Again, Charlie got a Baby Alive doll and both she and Kay were in heaven

Cute group

Catching up with cousins

Sue and Julie

The kids table

Snow ball fight mixed with hot tub party

Loser gets snowballs thrown at them.

More action shots

Kay and Georgia

Billy and Sol

A nice fire by the tennis courts

Another snowball fight

We also watched a TON of football - Vikings, Michigan, Clemson.
Had yummy meals - Indian, Chalupas, Smoked Pork, Pizza
And played some pick up basketball, game of Risk and other miscellaneous family fun.

WE love how well the cousins get along, its always a super fun time.

Happy holidays to all!!