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The Notorious P.I.G.

We  adopted our second dog two years ago after our boys somehow convinced us that Maya would be lonely once hockey season ended and our billet Zach left.  We already had our hands full with the three boys on three different hockey teams, a relatively new company we were building and our Maya.  We told them they were crazy….  Unfortunately, neither Luke nor I had expected that the most powerful argument in favor of a new Lorbach dog would be the sweet face of a puppy.  How does one counter that very powerful argument?

Much like her sister Maya, Athena has a heart of gold and nothing but love for her family.  Both our dogs are rescues that we adopted as young puppies from Broward County Humane Society and Rescue Adoption.  Maya ruled the roost for almost six years by herself, when Athena was brought home.  Athena especially loved her big sister when we brought her home, while big sis Maya was really hoping the new obnoxious puppy would leave.  Thanks to twelve weeks of puppy kindergarten together, the girls bonded and have gotten along very well ever since.

Athena prefers her meals as an endless buffet.  We gave her the nickname the Notorious P.I.G because she’s oinks like a pig after she eats and drinks and walks around like a boss.  Her personality is as large as her appetite and her heart.  She loves to run with Jake and I, even in the Florida heat, as often as possible.  I always look and feel miserable when I run.  I don’t run gracefully and it is truly a struggle.  When the Piggy runs with though, she runs with a smile.  She’s always happy.  How she could possibly be happy while running 5 miles in the South Florida heat?  I don’t know…

She’s the Notorious P.I.G. because she eats like pig, smiles non-stop and loves unconditionally and all with a larger than life personality.  What are you notorious for?

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Laugh Out Loud Funny

So far 2017, has been a real S#$t show for me and those I love.   When I saw today’s prompt was farce, I thought a moment about writing something serious about how history repeated is a farce, but that would be a bit boring and depressing.   Tonight I chose a different, lighter path.  A path that examines the farce as a sub-genre of comedy.  What I love most about comedy is how laughter positively impacts our lives.

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When life gives us lemons, it is easy to make lemonade or even a lemon drop shot, but sometimes instead of drinking the lemonade, we need to laugh.  Laugh at ourselves, laugh at a joke, or laugh at a movie.  Which brings us to the farce.  A farce is a sub genre of comedy that aims at entertaining the audience through situations that are highly exaggerated, extravagant, and thus likely improbably.  Not surprisingly as I pursued this line of thought, Monty Python stuck in my mind.  Who does farcical comedy better than them?

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I remember the first time I ever saw Life of Brian in all of its glory.  I died laughing for days.  Who thinks of this stuff?  The movie is provocative, hilariously funny and sometimes offensive.  Interesting fact of this movie is that George Harrison created a movie production company to make Life of Brian after the original production company had pulled out.  Life of Brian was a fantastic reminder that sometimes it’s okay to not take life too seriously.

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The first time my son watched Monty Python’s Holy Grail, he fell off the couch laughing as the “horrible beast,” a rabbit, attacked a member of their party.   The comedy of Monty Python is pure genius, however, I know British comedy isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.  There are plenty of great American farce movies to keep you laughing for years like The Producers, National Lampoons European Vacation, and Old School.  When life gets tough, remember to always look on the bright side of life and be a little silly.  Life’s too short to always be serious!

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Daily Prompt: Farce

Sitting on the Edge of the Precipice

Every day, at every stage of our life, we have a choice. Do we settle for the status quo or worse for mediocrity? Or do we strive for greatness? Often we choose to simply exist. Day in and day out we follow the same monotonous routine as the day before. Choosing to exist in relative comfort instead of pushing ourselves to greatness.
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It is on that precipice, where most sit in relative safety for most of their lives. Instead of choosing growth and opportunity, we balk at the risk that jumping of the precipice represents. Afraid to fail, we sit and we stall. The fear of failure can be paralyzing, however, even the worst situation could end up being the opportunity of a lifetime. We have to accept that failure is necessary for both growth and success.
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It’s not always the fear of failure that drives us to maintain the status quo. Sometimes it is us accepting that being good is good enough, but I would submit to you, in the immortal words of Jim Collins that “good is the enemy of great.” Accepting “being good” is choosing to settle for what will ultimately become mediocrity. Akin to the great sports quote “hard work beats talent; when talent doesn’t work,” these words charge us to not accept good as adequate. Instead we should always strive to be better. We should strive to be great. In order to be great, we need to say goodbye to what is comfortable and jump off the precipice and fly.

quote-it-s-only-on-the-brink-that-people-find-the-will-to-change-only-at-the-precipice-do-john-cleese-62-19-09Daily prompt: Precipice

Mother’s Day Part Deux

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Hockey moms enjoy a somewhat sensationalized reputation as being some of the craziest moms in sports and that’s not too far from the truth.  In my humble opinion, we’re a good kind of crazy.  Who else but a hockey parent would get up at 4:20 am to drive from Clearwater to Ellenton for a tournament game?

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The level of dedication it takes to have a kid in travel hockey, is unbelievable.  During the boys’ hockey season, hockey is all we know and all we do.  Devoted to their family and to the sport, hockey moms can log hundreds of miles (at least in Florida) driving from rink to rink in a single day.   One weekend a couple of years ago, I logged 700 miles of driving for hockey.   To see my boys play the game they love with their friends never gets old.  Mastercard’s tagline sums it up perfectly: it’s priceless.

To be clear, we hockey moms know how to have a good time.  In addition to knowing the proximity of Dunkin/Starbucks to every rink, we also know where to find the closest Total Wine.  We love watching our kids play and seeing them develop over the years, but we really enjoy the good times we share with our fellow hockey moms and hockey dads.  Over the years, the fellow hockey moms and dads, who started off as our friends have become a part of our family.

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I am blessed to be surrounded by an amazing group of moms at the rink. These women are incredible.  They balance life, work, family and hockey and do it with grace, intelligence and beauty.  Hockey moms are a tight sorority of sisterhood that is closer knit than any outsider could possible imagine.  As crazy as we are, the rivalry ends when the teams leave the ice and there is a hockey mom or family in need.  Regardless of what team or organization our kids play for, when there is a hockey mom or family in need, the hockey family will take care of them.  Hockey moms don’t let another hockey mom walk a difficult road alone. We are at each other’s side to the very end.

I posted an article on my Facebook page the other day about the benefits of travel sports of kids.   The article is absolutely on point, but it didn’t even address the ancillary benefit of travel sports and that is the relationships the parents build.  I never imagined when my kids started playing hockey, how much I would benefit from the travel hockey experience.  When Luke’s mom got sick or when Luke had a run in with the SUV, our hockey family had our back.  The hockey community is incredibly close knit and I could not be prouder to be a hockey mom or more grateful for all of the incredible women hockey has brought into my life.

Mother’s Day part 1

Writer’s block hit me as I tried to write this post.  How does one adequately express the significance and difficulty of this Mother’s Day in the context of Jacob’s forthcoming graduation and the many losses that have occurred over the past several months?  I’m not sure it is possible, but I’ll try.

Motherhood is at once both a supreme gift and a supreme burden.  Before you jump all over me for the word burden, let me explain.  As my mom so wisely warned me when I was pregnant with Jake, there is no bigger emotional investment than   having a child.   Yep, she was right about that and pretty much everything else.  Every up and down our children experience is felt deeply in our heart and soul.  The highs are magnificent, but the lows are devastating.   Even worse as our children experience the lows, sometimes we have to step back, guide them and allow them to figure it out.  It is excruciatingly painful but if we always save them from themselves, they’ll have difficulty as an adult working through problems.

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I would love to say that I’m always super fantastic at this, but I’m not.  I’m still working on it.  Motherhood is really all about OJT (on the job training) as we would say at work.  Yeah, there are books like What to Expect When You’re Expecting or Raising Boys.  However, these guidebooks left a lot of information out.  They didn’t warn me that my youngest would pull his pet beetle out of his pocket during the intermission of Jacob’s choir concert or that they may try to make a lizard habitat out of the buffet table’s drawer.  Yeah, the books left out a lot.  I am fortunate to have an amazing mother, who I think did a great job raising me and my brothers.  She’s always available if I need her advice or just to talk. My grandmothers and great grandmothers were also served as strong examples for me as well.

I understand fully that to be able to call my mom on mother’s day is a luxury.  Mother’s Day for many is reminder of a painful loss and for some it is the exclamation point to their recent loss.  For us it is a reminder of the loss of my mother-in-law Sandy (pictured below with the Mayor.)  Six years later, we miss her immensely.  Today pray for those that have lost their mother, particularly those whose loss is recent, and for those mothers that have experienced the loss of their child.   This Mother’s Day celebrate your mother, spend time with her, appreciate her and spoil her as it is a gift to be able to share this day with her.

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The Last Day of School

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It all started on a cool Tuesday morning in September in Blaine, MN in 2004 when we sent Jacob off to his first day of kindergarten.  His first year of school was fabulous and he made a lot of friends.  At our first parent/teacher conference, his teacher recounted to us how he was sat next to the twins from China.  The thought was that since he was such a chatterbox, he’d help them pick up the English language quickly.  I’m pretty sure their new words revolved around things like hockey, Halo, Buzz Lightyear and Star Wars, but hey at least it was a start.

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I remember being as equally emotionally wrecked sending him on that bus that day to kindergarten as I was on Friday.   Except this time instead of getting on a big yellow bus, he was (gulp) driving himself to school.  Almost 13 years later, his journey through school ended in Boca Raton a far cry from where it started (Blaine, MN.)

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Meanwhile, his little brothers have two more weeks of school…. Two weeks of radio silence at home during the day, now that’s quite the graduation present.  Throughout the years, Jake’s always been persistent, goal driven and kind.  While I’m broken up that this stage of his life is over, I cannot wait to see what he achieves next.

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The First of Many Lasts….

I fondly remember tracking the milestones when my kids were little.  The first time they slept through the night, their first bottle, their first words, the first time they crawled and the first time they walked.  I particularly remember being so anxious for all of Jacob’s first and not being able to wait until he could walk.  Of course by the time Goalielocks and the Mayor were born, I knew we’d be better off the longer they were immobile.

With every new milestone hit, we’d always be looking forward to the next one like wondering after the first bottle when he would enjoy his first taste of carrots or squash.  I never understood how quickly these milestones would pass us by and wish I had enjoyed them as they came and not been in such a hurry to hit the next milestone. As Jacob grew, I began to understand that our children are much like a gift that keeps on giving as we unwrap a new layer with each stage of their childhood.  Like an onion with many layers, each year a bit of the onion is peeled back revealing its gift.  As an aside, I’m not sure I would characterize the puberty stage as a gift, but that’s a whole different post.

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I remember once they started daycare, my hubby and I were anxious to get them into school and out of daycare.  Not realizing that the costs from daycare would be reallocated to things like travel hockey, tennis or tutoring.   It is easy to look forward from elementary to middle school, who wants to pay for aftercare in perpetuity – not me.  Of course you have to accept all the nonsense that comes with middle school and puberty, but at least the aftercare bill will be done and it seemed like a reasonable trade off.  I’m currently rethinking that logic.

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Tonight started what will be the first of many lasts.  His last high school choir concert.  He was never a singer and not really into music and then he mistakenly got choir as an elective his freshmen year at OHS.  What started off as a clerical error ended up being a transformative moment in his life.  A love of all things music quickly followed leading him to the discovery of new music, like Nirvana, Green Day, the Beatles, Jonny Cash, Tom Petty, Led Zeppelin and the Travelling Wilburys.   This new and incredible passion for all things music was born and accordingly he acquired guitars, a keyboard, a ukulele, and a harmonica.

I relished the boys’ firsts undoubtedly, but I don’t think I understood that they would eventually come to an end.  I mean I knew they’d grow up, but whiskey tango foxtrot, it wasn’t supposed to come this soon.  I wasn’t supposed to blink and have a high school senior.   I’m struggling to grasp that we’ve progressed from a world of firsts to a world of lasts this month.  The last choir concert, the last report card, the last day of school, the last choir banquet, the last awards ceremony and the last day of elementary for the Lorbach boys.  WTF – seriously – WTF I’m not ready for this at all…  Meanwhile, my boys are totally ready and I couldn’t be prouder.

This song’s for you Jake In My Life

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.

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.