A Simple Gesture Equates to a Magical Birthday for the Mayor

Celebrating the Mayor’s 11th birthday was an all-day affair that was uniquely his own. After our 5k, I called home to see if he wanted his favorite Dunkin Donuts sandwich for breakfast being that it was still only 8:30 and I had to stop to get my coffee. The Mayor, however, had other breakfast plans consisting of a pepperoni pizza Lunchable, which has long been one of his favorite things to eat. Admittedly, I didn’t quite believe my hubby when he told me he was picking the Mayor up a Lunchable for breakfast, so I had Jake call the Mayor who confirmed his breakfast wishes. While my stomach churns at the notion of eating a Lunchable at any hour, I can’t even begin to fathom eating one that early in the morning. The Mayor, as you may recall, still has his iron gut courtesy of the rink floor skittles he enjoyed years before, so the Lunchable for him that early was no big deal.

As soon as I finished showering and eating post-race, the Mayor was ready to get his gift. His mind had been set on a new GoPro, so he could be mic’d up during his games and get some good video. The Mayor is a legendary chirper, so Luke and I were happy to oblige. I cannot wait to see what comes out him wearing this camera during games. Prepare to be entertained. He spent the remainder of his afternoon playing around with the camera outside with Goalielocks.

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The hallmark of his birthday came at hockey later that evening. It is always a good day for the Mayor when he is playing his game. There is nowhere else he would want to be than at the rink playing hockey. The squad had two games back to back in Lake Worth versus the Bulldogs (Estero) and Goldenwolves peewee squads. We had the first game in hand, but gave it back in the 3rd and the game ended in a tie.
The window between game one and two was quite short, but after a hard fought game us parents were worried the kids would be gassed. The coaches, smartly, had a plan up their sleeves. Perhaps the perfect pep talk pregame would be enough to light a fire under the kids and energize them for three more periods of hockey. So who better than Macklemore to give the kids an awesome pregame pep talk to help them get their mindsets ready for the game. As they left the locker room to hit the ice, Macklemore fist bumped each player offering encouraging words.


Would it work? Would the coaches’ plan workout as they had hoped. After 3 periods, 7 goals for and 0 goals allowed, I would say it more than worked. So I had to wonder, can we clone him? Can I bring him to all of Goalielocks’ and the Mayor’s games next year? I don’t think it is particularly unreasonable.

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As the game came to an end and the opposing team made its way back to the locker room, people started to recognize him asking for pictures and he obliged. As the kids took off their gear, the coaches invited him back into the locker room and he gave them another rousing pep talk. The kids, being kids of course, started asking him to sing. In the end the entire locker room, Macklemore included sang happy birthday to the Mayor. Afterwards, Macklemore was kind of enough to pose for a picture with the Mayor. Thereafter, my birthday boy was on cloud nine. The subsequent sleepover replete with a mini-hockey tournament, Sushi Yama (only 3 bags of takeout needed to feed these kids), street hockey and shenanigans were the cherry on top of a wonderful birthday.


It is amazing how the seemingly smallest gesture can have the biggest impact. It doesn’t always take grandiose acts of kindness or love to make people feel special. Sometimes it’s a pep-talk, a picture, a song or a simple compliment that can make a person’s day. The Mayor’s birthday could not have been more special not because of the material gifts he received, but the acts of kindness he received that night from Macklemore. He will always remember that moment as long as he lives and so will I. So when you go to work tomorrow or to the gym, compliment someone. Say or do something nice and see the positive impact you can have on someone else’s day.

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Our race

As tryout week winds down and my hockey mom nerves unravel, I can feel the tension leaving my shoulders and my stomach.  Friday night we had our last tryouts for the fall season.  Regardless of the outcome of tryouts, the ultimate decision is equally stressful.  I skipped the Monkey to get home earlier with the Mayor, so I could attempt to get to bed early in preparation for the Firefighter Eric Patrie 5k on Saturday morning.

I’m not a morning person, so when I have a race or early hockey game, I usually set several different alarms to ensure I’m out of the house in time to get to the event.  I prefer to get to the race about an hour early, so I can warm up, eat a little something, hit the bathroom and get acclimated for the race.   Saturday morning was not that morning.

I had set my Fitbit alarm, which usually works all of the time.  It doesn’t, however, work when you forget to put it back on after you shower.  I also set the alarm on my phone, but apparently it was for pm and not am.  Instead I awoke to my hubby saying aren’t you supposed to be somewhere by now?  It was 6:05 am and the answer of course was yes!

I ran out of bed, woke up Jake and gave him a ten minute warning.   We rushed to get ready and head towards Delray, so we wouldn’t miss the start.  I grabbed almonds in a rush and popped few on the way along with a GU gel.  We made it in time to park and head to the starting line before the scheduled start, but it felt rushed and our muscles (much like the weather by Florida standards) were cold.

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I had hoped to log a PR, but I was tired, cold and under the weather.  Honestly, I didn’t feel like running at all and was really craving the comfort of my bed and down comforter.  Nevertheless, Jake and I along with our KU running crew, including Evie the sweetest dog,  made our way to the starting line.  It was a gun to chip race, so Jake and I stayed near the front of the start corral to avoid the inevitable starting line traffic jam.

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As I ran the first mile, which felt like five, I fought through the desire to quit, the desire to walk, the desire to go back to bed and tried to maintain a decent pace.  It was a tough mile and slower than I wanted, but not horrible over all.  I grabbed some water continuing on to mile two.  Maybe it was me, maybe it was the weather or maybe it was the route, but mile two seemed to last forever.  I tried to maintain my pace as best I could and saw only a little degradation in pace between mile one and two.

Mile three beat me up.  The unusually cool and dry air dried out my throat and tightened up my lungs.  I had to stop to use my inhaler and was feeling the pain.  At this point, I had a choice to continue to walk and get comfortable or to run the remainder and try to hit my goal.  I chose to run. It hurt, it wasn’t pretty and in the end I missed a PR by tenths of seconds, but I did it.  I fought through the fatigue and pain to do my best.

Initially I was disappointed by my time (28.33) , but I think I was being too harsh on myself.  Two and half years ago, I ran my first 5k at a time of 34 minutes.  I started training in earnest last fall and whittled my time down to a PR of 28:32.  It’s not earth shattering fast, but it represents a lot of hard work and a lot of forward progress.  I didn’t feel 100% physically Saturday morning, but I didn’t let it stop me from giving 100% in the race and that was Saturday morning’s victory.

Meanwhile, Jake finished 6 minutes ahead of me, but was also disappointed by his time.  It was slower than his PR of 21 minutes, but he still  placed in the top 3 of his age group.  This was a very fast and competitive race, so I was happy to see how well he fared against the competition.  Even with the trophy, he was still disappointed with his result.

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Even though my time wasn’t where I wanted to be, I love the feeling of finishing a race.  I love the excitement of the start and the excitement of the finish.  I love seeing a first time 5k runner come through the finish line.  There is no better feeling finishing something you didn’t think you were capable of finishing and theirs is nothing better than seeing that sense of pride on a runner’s face as they finish their first 5k.  Joe – your KU crew was proud to see you cross the finish line and do great your first time out.  Can’t wait to see what you do in your second 5k!

Neither of Jake nor I, hit a time we were thrilled with Saturday, but we had a great time with good friends supporting a great cause.  For Jake and I, its back to training and working towards better results and greater distances.

If you’d like to know more about this event, here’s the website.

11 years – Happy Birthday to the Mayor

11 years…

Boy oh boy, my baby, my Zak-Zak, the Mayor is 11 today.  While it’s completely cliché to say that time has flown by, it would also be completely true.  As a baby, the Mayor channeled his inner 80 year old man.  He was a complete curmudgeon in every sense of the word. And then he hit the dreaded toddler stage and a miracle happened.  He became the happiest, sweetest boy you could ever imagine. He’s still an incredibly happy, sweet boy unless he’s hungry.  If he’s hungry or tired, you should run away and hide….

As the youngest of 3 boys, the Mayor is a tough as they come be it on the ice or in a game of mini hockey.  He was the perfect addition to the family.   From day one, he’s loved his brothers even if Colin wanted to put him back after holding him once.  Colin spent a lot of time in the corner when he was younger, but he was never alone.  The Mayor always had to join him and keep him company.  It was the sweetest thing.

He’s got a zest for life and food that’s unsurpassed.  Since we was young, he could eat pretty much everyone I know under the table while weighing almost nothing.  Yes, I’m completely jealous and I’m still trying to figure out where he puts all the food.  He loves food so much that when the boys first started skating at Skate Zone 7 years ago, he ate skittles off the very dirty floor.  The hubby and I were convinced he’d end up in the ER that night with a serious stomach bug.  Much to our delight, he didn’t get sick and in fact hasn’t had a stomach bug since that day.  I’m pretty sure he’s got an iron gut and probiotics for life off those dirty skittles.

Hockey is his life and it has been since 2006.  For his 3rd birthday, he proudly rocked his Minnesota Wild jersey as he enjoyed his hockey themed cake.  He played his first hockey game when he was 4 years old as a defensemen in front of his big brother Goalielocks.  Nobody was allowed to touch his brother.  In the years since, he’s enjoyed the travel hockey life and the friendships that come with it.  He is a rink rat through and through.

His heart is as big as his appetite and I’m so proud to call him mine.  Today we celebrate him.   Please help me wish the Mayor a very happy 11th birthday and his birthday buddy (my brother Justin) a very happy birthday.

Getting out of my own way

Exhaustion, pure utter exhaustion from the emotional weight of the last couple of months and a hectic hockey mom schedule, has become the scapegoat for missing my post Zumba run these past 3 weeks.  During Zumba sessions, I dial back my mileage to mitigate the abuse to my body, but these runs are still important for my training.  My goal is to eventually break 27 minutes in a 5k and to complete a 10K in under 60 minutes.  Without these runs, my pace falls off and my endurance wanes.

This weekend Jake and I are running our first 5K of 2017, the Eric Patrie 5K in Delray.  Both of us are looking for a new PR in this race, which will be tough given the increase in temperatures since our last 5K in December.  In order to even be close to my PR (28:32), I knew I’d have to log some miles tonight.  So despite being tired and hungry, I ran.

My treadmill has become an important part of my bedroom furniture serving as a fully functional clothes and handbag hanger.  In the Florida spring and summers when the weather is stormy, it serves a different purpose.  It actually functions as a piece of exercise equipment.  While I prefer to run outdoors, I’m glad to have the option of running indoors when the weather doesn’t cooperate.

In spite of sheer exhaustion, I got in a nice 20 minute run. The run felt good and as usual I felt even better afterwards.  It would have been easy to skip the run given I already taught Zumba tonight, but in order to achieve my goals I had to run.  The point is sometimes the only obstacle between us and our goals is us.  Paolo Coelho said it best, “people are capable, at any time of their lives of doing what they dream of.”  Sometimes we just have to get out of our own way.

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A year of loss…

There are times in our lives that we are brought to our knees by the pain of loss and the weight of responsibility.   Apparently 2017 has decided to be that time in my life and the lives of those I love.   2017 has been a year of profound loss and its only May 3rd.  It began with the loss of a beloved employee, the loss of a friend’s child, the loss of a dear friend, and the loss of a dear friend’s sister.  Today life handed us another loss.

When I started at Kaplan eight years ago, having recently been laid off from Progressive, my confidence was shaken.  Progressive had been my first and only job after college.   The idea of starting all over after seven years was daunting.

My first day at KU, I was met by a charismatic trainer with a Brooklyn accent and more energy than anyone I had ever met.   He was Pete.  He was passionate about what he did and took pride in training admissions advisors to service our military students.  Pete believed in me from day one and for that I will always be grateful.  I feel blessed to have had him as my trainer, advocate and an early champion of mine at KU.   Sometimes all it takes to restore confidence is having someone believe in you again.  I was utterly devastated when I learned that we lost him early this morning.   He left us way too early and our hearts are broken.  Our thoughts and prayers are with his family especially his beautiful daughter, who was his pride and joy.

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Whether unexpected or not, these losses have been tremendously hard to stomach.  Losing someone before they hit middle age is cruel, but nothing in life is guaranteed especially our time here on earth.  Life is too short to be taken for granted.  Life is too short to settle for mediocrity and a life that does not make our soul sing.  To be clear, I’m not saying everything should be rainbows and ponies.   I am saying that while we are on this earth: we should embrace life’s experiences not possessions, embrace work that leaves us fulfilled not empty and embrace and enrich the relationships that shape our lives.

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