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My Dapper Boys

You may recall from my previous blog on the hazards of being a boy mom that my boys didn’t like to wear clothes once they got home for the evening.  While they mostly keep their clothes on upon returning home from school or hockey practice now days, they still don’t relish dressing up or wearing anything fancy.

On the rare occasion that they do get dressed up, I have to indulge and get as many pictures as possible.  First, I want to document the fact that they were able to find matching socks.  Secondly, I want to document the millisecond in which their clothes have not yet been stained.   Thirdly, I just want to relish in the cuteness of my little boys dressed up in a natty outfit.  I love when they look nice and dapper.

One of my favorite photos shoots we did with the boys when they were younger was shot in the Loxahatchee Wildlife Refuge, which is the Everglades.  The location could not be more beautiful and more appropriately chosen for my kids who are obsessed with nature.  Amazingly, their clothes stayed clean long enough for us to get some beautiful shots.

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Worn With Pride

Uniform, jersey, sweater it has many names.  It is symbolic of the high level of commitment it took to attain it and symbolic of the club which is represents.  There are a number of great quotes involving uniforms about what it means to be an athlete.

Brooks’ quote is legendary and I think most of us remember it from the movie Miracle or from the Lake Placid games.  The philosophy of playing harder for your team than for yourself is a key component of hockey culture.  It is also a critical component of what made his 1980 team so special.  In 1980, the team was comprised of college players mostly from University of Minnesota (Go Gophers!) and Boston University.   Just as they do today, my Gophers and Boston University enjoy a healthy rivalry on the ice.  In order to get his players to put their egos and these college rivalries aside, he needed to unite them around a common goal and that was playing for the name on the front of their jersey Team USA.   Brooks was a genius.

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Clemente’s quote speaks to the pride that athletes feel when they put on the sweater.   At the professional athlete, I cannot imagine how amazing it must feel.  Major League Baseball is the pinnacle of baseball and to make it to that pinnacle after years of hard work must feel otherworldly.  The pride he, and his family, must have felt the first time he put on that MLB jersey are something he will probably never forget.  I remember the first time my sons’ put on their travel hockey jerseys.  The smiles on their face went from ear to ear.  You could see the pride the felt in their achievements and they carried their heads a little bit higher.

Lastly, I’ll leave you with my favorite quote on a uniform and it comes from my favorite brassy gal Mae West, who as always said it best and wasn’t wrong.

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Another Milestone Moment

It seems like it was only moments ago that Zachary crossed the stage in East Boynton to graduate from VPK on a warm Saturday in May between hockey games.  Colin was in first grade and Jacob had just finished sixth grade.  Kindergarten was an approaching reality for Zachary, but where we are now (out of elementary completely and one heading to college) seemed to be in the distant future.  Only it wasn’t so distant.

Cruel and misleading, time is a mistress that pulls no punches.  It passes so quickly that none of us even notice and with the blink of our eye, our babies are no longer babies, but young men and women.  Okay, okay, the Mayor is only going into middle school so young men and women may be a bit of a leap, but to be fair his older brother graduated high school and its all happening in what seems to have been a blink of the eye.   I’m pretty sure just last Christmas, the Mayor was in his Exersaucer and Jacob was opening his favorite Goosebumps book.

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After thirteen years, three schools, three houses, three boys, two states and countless businesses (run by the Mayor,) our elementary career as a family is over.  No more awkwardly timed donuts with dads or muffins with moms on a Thursday or Friday morning.  No more recess, parents running interference or safety patrol for this family.  As the Mayor moves on to middle school, he gains independence and accountability for his studies.

It is hard to say bye to Sunset Palms since we’ve been there since it has opened and it has been great to our family.  We’ve had so many amazing teachers throughout the years at the school and Mr. Fleming is both Zachary and Colin’s favorite.  We were so lucky to be zoned for such an incredible school.

Saying goodbye to preschool was just as hard with Zachary graduated in 2011.   Each of his graduations or moving on ceremonies, signals a change of life stages for our family.   While the transitions in stage are a bit difficult and emotional, there is much beauty to be found in our life’s new stage.  I look forward to showing what life’s next stage has in store for our family and for the Mayor.

Imaginary Troubles

If you’re like me, ever since children entered the picture, sleep has been an issue.  While you may have been a deep sleeper before, you now wake up at the drop of a pin.  God forbid your dogs bark or your partner snores because then you won’t even be able to fall asleep.  The problem with this of course is that as you try to sleep and can’t, the mind starts racing.  Sadly late at night, the mind never goes to a good place.  It goes into your psyche and taps into your anxieties and fears.

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Once those ruminations start, they are hard to stop and you find yourself struggling to slow your racing mind.  These imaginary obstacles have your heart racing and your brain on overdrive.  When you do finally fall asleep, the anxiety may abate temporarily only to resurface the following day.   It is an odd facet of human nature that we are inclined to ruminate about a past that we cannot change and a future that we cannot predict.  These ruminations can become overwhelming if you allow them.

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If you find yourself obsessing over potential issues or obstacles in the future, stop.  Just as you cannot change your past, you cannot live by focusing on future problems.   To be clear, you can exist, but you cannot live.  Your life will pass you by if your time is focused on your past or on your future.   Focus on your present, the people you love and that which you can control.

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Life will hand you difficult hands, but you are much better equipped to deal with the difficulty than your worries suggest.  The struggles you worry about often seem insurmountable, but when faced with actual struggles you will overcome them.  Have faith in your strength and in the strength of your relationships, which will help carry you through the difficult times.

Brassy and Beautiful

Brassy women often elicit one of two reactions. People either love them or hate them. Nobody fit the profile of a Brassy women better than Mae West. For her time, Mae West was considered by many to be brazen, a bit vulgar and tastelessly showy. While she was a huge box office draw on the Vaudeville stage,  Broadway and at movie theaters nationwide; her plays and films were critiqued by morality groups and even city officials. West was even jailed in 1927 in New York City after debuting her play Sex on morality charges. She was sentenced to ten days and served eight days on account of good behavior.


Throughout her lengthy career, which spanned sixty nine years, Mae West stayed true to herself. Her performances and characters were brought to life through a lens she  crafted. Even in her early Vaudeville days, her performances were injected with her spunky, brassy persona. In making the leap from Broadway to Hollywood, this didn’t change. She didn’t let Hollywood change who she was or how she portrayed her characters on film. She stayed true to herself and true to her craft.

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It would have been easier for Mae West to abandon her brassy persona as she was the target of many moral groups and even the police throughout her lengthy career. She didn’t let the critics, society or the studio bosses dictate who she was or what she did. Whether you’re a fan of her movies or not isn’t important. What is important is to live an authentic life and not compromise who you are to get ahead or make someone else happy.  In living a life that is authentic to your values, live fully and unapologetically without looking back.

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A Harsh Reality of Adulting

One of the cruelest realities of adulting, by far, is portion control. Who knew that as a women as soon as you turned 25, your metabolism would start slowing to a crawl? That burger you could eat once eat without even thinking about soon gives you pause. The large plate of spaghetti you once ate, turned into a medium plate, at 30 it turned into a small plate and at 35 it turned into a plate of carbless noodles. Doesn’t that sound appetizing?
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Seriously consider the portions you get at a restaurant. Some our 2-4 times the recommended serving size. Depending on the day and the discipline level, this may work for you. As one meal could turn into 3-4 meals that wouldn’t entirely kill your waistline. On a bad day, it could undo weeks of disciplined eating and hard work at the gym.

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If you look at your diet and you’ve cut a lot of the junk out but still aren’t losing weight, take a look at your portions. Many of us eat pretty healthy, but portion control can trip you up. Even if you only eat healthy fats like almonds or avocados to excess, the end result will be the same. You’ll gain weight as your calorie intake exceeds the calorie intake. One of the best ways I have found to counter this is by tracking what I eat and holding myself accountable. My kitchen scale, measuring spoons and cups are my best friends in maintaining healthy portions.

Tracing Our Roots

Growing up in Minnesota, my family was very proud of its Norwegian heritage.  Like many Minnesotans, our families had immigrated to the United States in the late 19th century from Scandinavia.   While factions of both my mom and dad’s family emigrated from Norway during this period, my mother-in-law’s family emigrated from Finland.  It has always been a dream of ours to trace our roots and understand where our family came from and why they emigrated.

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After many years of dreaming, it will finally become a reality.  This summer we will embark on an epic trip to explore our Norwegian heritage and trace our roots in Norway.  Not only are my kids going, but my mom, dad, grandma and my brothers and their families are going.  Together we will be able to meet our family that still lives in Norway and explore the seaside towns, the countryside and farmland where they once lived.

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We look forward to connecting with our heritage and the rich history of Norway while disconnecting from everyday life.  Kayaking on the beautiful fjords where one can see seals instead of alligators.  The beautiful mountains and mountain valleys will be a site for sore eyes since we barely have what can be called a hill here in Florida.

In the coming years, there will be more trips to plan.  With family having immigrated to the US from Finland, Germany, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, we have plenty of trips to make in order to truly connect with our heritage.   Our heritage is an important part of our identity, but more than that the experience of exploring the world with my boys is priceless.  Nothing beats living a life full of wanderlust.

Support Our Journey

Hazards of Being a Boy Mom No. 104 

I’m not sure we would have had this problem if we had stayed in Minnesota, I think the climate would have regulated it, but for the first six to eight years of my younger boys’ lives they developed a unique daily habit.  While most people take off just their shoes or jacket upon entering the house after a busy day, but not my boys.  They were not content to just take off their shoes.  No, they had to strip down to their underwear.  For years they thought our house was clothing optional.

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Whether they came in the front door or through the garage, as they walked in the house they would peel off the layers.   Being little boys this would be done in a frenetic fashion as they walked towards the kitchen and family room.  Behind them they’d leave a path of clothes stretching from the hallway through the laundry room.

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I’d come home about an hour later and find them lounging on the couch in only their undies.  They’d eat dinner in nothing, but their underwear and a big.  They were always content to be in the buff.  Now that they’re older, they’ve outgrown this and like most kids have to be reminded to take their shoes off.

Memorial Day

Several years ago we were in France for our dear friend’s wedding.  After enjoying the incredible ceremony and party, we headed to Normandy and Paris.  After a brief pit stop in the beautiful seaside town of Honfleur, we headed to Omaha Beach and the American Cemetery.   We knew it would be a tough place to visit, but I truly don’t think we understood just how powerful and emotional the visit would be.

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From the moment we stepped onto Omaha Beach, you could feel the death, destruction and despair that had occurred there as if it had just happened.  The feeling was palpable and inescapable.  We started our visit by walking down to the beach where our troops handed landed.  When the attack was launched, it was planned to begin 1-3 hours after low tide, which represented a compromise between the Army and the Navy.  When we visited the beach that day, it was low tide.  As we stood on the beach looking at the beachhead, I couldn’t help but imagine how it must have looked to our troops on June 6, 1944.  The cliffs are steep and were heavily fortified.  As they made their way up the beach, grenades and mines would detonate.  That fateful day 6,600 American soldiers were killed in action, wounded or went missing in action.

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Over the course of the campaign to secure the beachhead, June 6, 1944 to August 21, 1944, 72,911 Americans were killed or went missing in action.  Omaha Beach present day is serene, beautiful and quiet, but the overwhelming feeling of loss that was omnipresent made for hard juxtaposition. It was almost hard to imagine the carnage that had happened in this beautiful place except for the pain of walking on hallowed ground in omnipresent.

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We left the beach and began to walk through the cemetery.  It is here that over 9,000 men who died in the Normandy campaign are buried.  They came from all 50 states and were so young.   As we walked through the cemetery, I couldn’t hold back the tears.  The tomb of the unknown soldiers, of which there are many in Normandy, was difficult to see as a mother.  I could not imagine the pain their mothers endured never knowing what happened to their son and never having closure. My heart ached for them.

We were there in 2011, 67 years after the D-Day Invasion. There were flowers and personal notes left on several graves, which took me aback.  Sixty seven years later, the pain of loss from World War II was still very real.  The wounds of war are slow to heal.  We left the American Cemetery quietly and without speaking we headed to lunch.   The experience was heavy, emotional and one that took several days to digest before any of us could speak about it.

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The American Cemetery was humbling visualization of how many brave soldiers, sailors and airmen were willing to go to their death to preserve our freedom.  Amazingly,  it is representative of only one campaign in one war.  In the course of American history, we have lost 651,008 servicemen and women.  This Memorial Day we remember those that paid the ultimate price to preserve our freedom.  The deep sense of gratitude hardly seems adequate for the price they paid.  Lastly, we hold near their families, friends, and battle buddies, who still feel the pain of their loss.