The Pain

Oh the pain of a great vacation ending. Naturally, I felt this pain wholeheartedly when I returned from the Bahamas last week. It was hardest to leave the world paradise that is Atlantis. I’ve always thought the first day back at work post vacation was the hardest. After all, there’s nobody to deliver delicious strawberry daiquiris to your desk.

Today left me questioning my preconceived notion. See this vacation was a little bit different than most of our vacation. Usually we all go back to work or school at the same time or there is a protracted period before the boys return to school. This time Hubby and I went back to work last Thursday while the boys chilled at home until today.

Based on the mood of my youngest children today, I’m thinking that the first day back to school may be the hardest. They’re clearly overtired or overstimulated. I’m sure they’re equally upset that nobody’s delivering virgin daiquiris to their desks. All in all, it’s made for an interesting night and an early bed time for both of them.

Lesson learned my friends. Next time to our collective return to reality aligns like this, I’m planning a happy hour. That’s right I’ll be commiserating with my girls over work as the boys drive themselves crazy over their return to normalcy. Seems like a solid plan and I bet most happy hour places even serve delicious daiquiris.

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It Wasn’t My Fault

“It wasn’t my fault!” If you’re a parent, this is a phrase you have heard quite often. When they’re small it can be kind of cute.  After all, it wasn’t Goalielocks or the Mayor’s fault they spilled all the toothpaste and put toothpaste footprints all over the upstairs. Of course, it was entirely their fault given there was no toothpaste fairy that squeezed the toothpaste all over the floor.  Unfortunately, the plethora of sweet, minty, stick and blue footprints led to a hole in a wall as my hubby realized the scope of the issue.

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Now that they’re older it isn’t as cute.  Moreover, it’s super important that they understand that it was indeed their fault.  My son’s phone rang in the middle of class courtesy of spammer.  Unfortunately, he had forgotten to turn of the ringer, so his teacher confiscated the phone for the remainder of the day. In fact, the school’s policy prohibits him from collecting the phone at dismissal.  Nope that would just be too simple and let the kids off to easy.

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At this point,  I was at work running from meeting to meeting.  I just taken on a new role at work, so needless to say I’m quite busy. His friend text me to tell me that his phone had been confiscated for ringing.  Naively I assumed he would be able to pick it up as he left school that day.  Interestingly enough he never told me via his friend’s phone that we would have to be the ones to recover said phone.

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I called the school once I saw he was on the bus without his phone.  The front office staff was incredibly sweet and helpful.  She called the teacher, but was unable to reach her via phone.  Consequently, she tried to page her, but to no avail.  Finally, she sent someone to check the classroom as the teacher hadn’t turned in a phone.  When she came back on the line, she informed me they had found the phone in the teacher’s classroom. 

The teacher had left with my son’s iPhone 8 sitting out in the open.  I’m a little peeved about that because I don’t think the teacher nor the school would have paid for a new phone had his been stolen.  Oh and the only way to get it was for us to pick it up.  Now I’m just aggravated.  His school is neither close to home nor close to work for either of us. This had become quite the pain in the arse.

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We were finally able to collect the phone around 6:40 pm.  Curiously, if I hadn’t called the school, we may not have known we (the parents) had to pick up the phone.  We started talking about the situation and the old refrain came up “it wasn’t my fault.”  His argument was he couldn’t control when the spammer called.  Of course, his argument did not consider the fact he had forgotten to put his phone on silent.  Had he put his phone on silent as he does every other morning, he wouldn’t have had it taken away.  At the end of the day, it wasn’t the end of the world, but he needed to take accountability for his actions or in this case inactions.  Fortunately, he caught on pretty quickly, which brought an end to the lecture.

Tonight’s song performed by Shaggy (and apropos to tonight’s title) is “It Wasn’t Me.”

Riches of Inheritance

Riches of Inheritance

Oh the riches of inheritance! I know that many people get caught up in will, estates and tax planning, but the real gems of inheritance aren’t always subject to estate taxes.  As a matter of fact, one of our most prized inherited items is in the featured photo.  My hubby received my mother-in-law’s Suomi hockey jersey bearing the number 24 and her maiden name Ketola shortly after her passing. I’ve had the honor of wearing it to games and during parent kid games.  It gives me great pride and a feeling of connection when any of us wear it.

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As a child, my favorite Christmas memories were making cookies with my mom, brothers and grandma.  My mom always made molasses cookies with us, which is a recipe passed down from her dad’s family.  Now that I have kids of my own, we make these treasured molasses Christmas every year.  Truthfully, I think the kids prefer to bake them with Grandma Dawn, but I’ll gladly take second place to my mom.

Sometimes it’s not a treasured item or recipe that we inherit, sometime’s it’s pride in one’s heritage.  Both of my grandfather’s families immigrated to the United States from Norway.  Additionally, My grandfathers were  very proud of their Norwegian heritage.  This pride is definitely my brothers and I inherited from my mom, my dad and my grandparents.  Consequently, our trip as a family to  Norway where we saw our family farms and land was of monumental importance to all of us.  It was a true connection to our heritage, our ancestors and to each other as a family.

My mother-in-law was 100% Finnish whose parents immigrated to the US from Finland.  She was, as evidenced by the Suomi jersey, extremely proud of her Finnish heritage.  My boys are very proud of their Finnish and Norwegian heritage.  We’ve already been to Norway to see my family’s origin.  Our plan is to explore Finland to see where my MIL’s family came from.  Incidentally,  if my kid’s spend a year studying abroad in Norway or Finland, I wouldn’t be surprised.

We’ve been given a lot of inherited gifts.   It might be tokens and reminders of those who’ve passed, pride in our heritage, character traits, or even family recipes.  Lastly, inheritance isn’t all about money, but rather the intangible gifts passed down from generation to generation.

Tonight’s song is Celine Dion’s amazing rendition of “O Holy Night.”

Today We Waged Hope

Today We Waged Hope

Today we waged hope for better outcomes for pancreatic cancer patients and their families.  After months of anticipation, the Purple Stride 5k was upon us.  It was a tough, heartfelt morning full of love for Debbie and her family that left me in tears a couple times.  Team Deb Force five won an award for raising the most funds as a team for the second year in a row.  Unquestionably, Debbie was the key our success.  Our collective love and the respect we hold for Debbie continues to inspire us to wage hope.  She was a tour de force, who inspired so many of us.  

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While we were highly successful fundraising, my training and preparation for the race was poor.  Sadly, the results showed this as I finished with a time of over 30 minutes.  Excitedly, Jake and The Mayor had awesome showings with the Mayor getting 3rd place in his age group with a time of 28:11.  Albeit Jake didn’t place in the top 3, but still finished with a time of 25:13.  Of course, he was disappointed with his time feeling that he could have done significantly better.  Nonetheless, it was still over a minute faster than his time at the event last year.

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At the start of the race, The Mayor and his teammates, Jake and my co-worker Imani were at the front.  The Mayor and his teammates were super excited and nervous to embark on their run.  They were the cutest.  It was a sea of purple as we lined up at the start.   This was my first run at FAU and this particular course was absolutely beautiful.  Undoubtedly, I wish I had been better prepared for the run, but now I know what I need to do before the next event.

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After the event, my stomach was churning -thanks to chili I ate yesterday, but we waited for our team to finish. As the team members finished as we enjoyed the free food and we waited for the Mayor to get his medal.  A big congratulations to the Mayor and fellow Deb Force Five member HB who placed 3rd and 2nd respectively in the under 13 age group.  I now owe the Mayor $50 as he finished under 30 minutes and he beat me handily! 

Lastly, while the event may be over our work is still unfinished.  There is a long way to go in the war against pancreatic cancer and doubling survival rates by 2020.  In fact,  it isn’t too late to donate to Team Deb Force Five.  If you’d like to donate, please click here. To our Deb Force Five family, thank you for your participation, your donation and your continued love and support of this beautiful family.  

Today’s song is “The Sky is a Neighborhood” by the Foo Fighters.  I was jamming to this song as I finished my third mile today.  It’s a great one!

 

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Surreal

We’re living the surreal life as we transition from life with little kids to life with teens and gulp and adult.  It’s almost surreal that Jake’s in college, Goalielocks is looking at high schools and the Mayor just completed his first quarter of middle school.  In many way, Jake’s graduation from high school still feels quite surreal.  Obviously, I’m not old enough to have a college freshmen and no kids left in elementary.   While my boys are getting older, the hubby and I haven’t aged a bit.  Its truly a thing of wonder.

As I drive to work each morning, passing by the elementary school my kids attended for nine years without having to drop off a kid feels both odd and strangely liberating.  Life’s transitions, are tough, rewarding and ever evolving.  Last spring in my Zumba class I was commiserating over my son’s forthcoming graduation and adulthood with my class. When one of my Zumba girls so poignantly reminded me that graduation is one of life’s many transitions into new and exciting stages.  Wow, I hadn’t thought about it like that before.  It was eye opening and a bit liberating.   Although admittedly adult or not, Jake will always be my sweet,  little, blue-eyed boy.

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We’ve settled into a new routing of sorts, with Jake at class 4 out of 5 days per week.  He already registered himself for the next semester.  Jake also paid for his first semester himself (proud mama moment.)  While Jake finds his way at college, the Mayor is hitting his stride in Middle School.  I was so worried about him starting middle school, but those worries were for naught.  He’s absolutely loving his culinary academy and so are we.  Particularly, I love when I come home from Zumba to dinner courtesy of the Mayor.  Honestly, he’s a phenomenal cook.  The Mayor always saves me sauteed onions and sets protein aside (if I’m watching my carbs) me.

Goalielocks, meanwhile, is raising a veritable zoo in our house, but hey it’s better than video games.  He continues to confound his teachers by neglecting homework and acing all his tests.  Subsequently, I’m sure you can guess the source of my high blood pressure and angst.  With high school coming next year, we’re really working hard to get his home work and study habits in line.  For all you parents with strong willed children, I know you understand what were up against.

One thing I do miss from last year, is the opportunity to run with Jake.  His work and school schedule have made it almost impossible for us to train together.  I can’t tell you how much running with him improved my time and cardio capacity!  I’m hoping as his semester and my Zumba class wind down for winter break that we’ll be able to get back into the habit of running together.  Otherwise,  it will be an ugly run for me at the Purple Stride event on November 19th!

Tonight’s song of choice: Keane “Everybody’s Changing”

Its go time

Its Go Time

Its go time in South Florida.   There’s a different feel in the air with this storm.  Unlike last year’s preparation for Hurricane Matthew, there is a real urgency and sense of panic in the air with Irma.  Comparatively speaking Hurricane Matthew was a relatively small KAT 4 when it threatened our coast.   While Hurricane Irma is a monster KAT 5 with 185 mph winds.   Imagine sustained winds of 185 mph! That’s pure insanity and I want no part of it.

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Here’s the problem, there’s like no gas in Palm Beach County and the turnpike is packed.  Almost all flights are sold out with the exception of transatlantic flights, which I’m not opposed to flying Paris to escape this storm.  However, we have to account for our puppies.  We can’t just pick up and leave our animals and house behind.

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Consequently, I headed to Target right after I got home from work.  The shelves were empty.  Sadly, the only bread remaining was gluten free or take and bake bread.  Needless to say, I will be baking the take and bake bread tomorrow.  When Jake and I ventured down the canned food aisle it was truly a waste of time.  There was nothing left on the shelves.  Shoppers had already scooped up everything even the canned salmon and anchovies.  You know you’re desperate when your buying canned salmon.

Unfortunately for Goalielocks and the Mayor, the my fellow shoppers had bought all the milk.  Shoppers only left the lactose free, almond milk, cashew milk and soy milk left behind.  Thankfully,  the hubby and I drink almond milk.  I would have preferred to have bought the shelf stable variety, but that was sold out.  Happily, I can say that people were polite and rather congenial at the store.  For a minute, I almost forgot I was in South Florida.    It may seem crazy, but the anticipation is almost as bad as the actual storm.

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The models continue to show a major impact to our coast.  We’re hoping the storm slides a little east, so we can be on the west side of the eye wall.  Conversely, we are hoping and praying that we do not end up being hit by the storm’s northeast quadrant.   As we experienced with Hurricane Wilma in 2005, we anticipate this to be largely a wind event for us.

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Based on the last update, it looks like the weather will start deteriorating late Saturday night.  Meanwhile, the worst of the storm should arrive in South Florida Sunday afternoon.  Since there’s no flights and no fuel, we’ve been brainstorming how we could evacuate.   My Mayor had the best idea ever.    He suggested that we pack ourselves in a box with food and ship ourselves to Minnesota via UPS.   If Irma is still a KAT 5 Saturday, we may have no choice, but to UPS ourselves out of here!

 

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Celebrating Hubby

Tonight we should be celebrating hubby and his 35th birthday. Alas, he’s finally oldest enough to be President!  Unfortunately, we both spent our days toiling away at work.  I don’t know whose boss is worse his or mine…..  The problem of course is that after a day of work we had hockey practice.  Consequently,  we’re exhausted.

While he’s at hockey practice, the Mayor and I are making a nice hearty dish of Vodka sauce pasta for him to enjoy.  Jake had previously picked up a Menchi’s cake for us to share after dinner.  Afterwards we’ll give him his well deserved present and cards.

One of the things I love most about my hubby is that he’s a good man.  He’s undeniably honorable, smart,  honest, patient, loving, an amazing father, coach, craftsmen, etc.  Honestly, I could go on for days.  He’s truly a fantastic husband, partner and father. I couldn’t ask for more.  Happy Birthday Hubby!

A birthday rhyme:

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Let it Go

Let it Go, Let it go

Inevitably when anyone says the phrase, “let it go,” I immediately start singing the song Let it Go in my head.  I can’t help myself.  Today I had to remind myself that there comes a time to let our kids go and spread their wings.   My eldest Jake started college today.  A start reminder of how quickly the time comes to let them fly.

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As our kids get older, it isn’t easy to give them the independence they need to be successful.  We have a visceral reaction as parents to hold them tight and make sure they don’t stumble.  If we always catch them when they fall, how will they learn to pick themselves up?

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There was a great article circulating on facebook this week.  The article titled “Stop doing these 8 things for your teenager this school year” by Amy Carney is genius and spot on.  I won’t regurgitate the whole article here, but will share some real life examples and why they’re important.

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One of the eight items she lists is making their failure to plan your emergency.  Another is to not bring them their forgotten items.  This morning, we experienced a mix of both of these.   Goalielocks needed to print something for his science class and bring it to school.  Unfortunately, Goalielocks forgot about it until right before he had to catch the bus.  The boys’ bus has been coming between 7:15-7:30, so they have to be their early in case the bus is early.  Hubby didn’t think there was enough time to print it out and make the bus.

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Oh the fireworks, the world was ending in Boynton this morning.  Although Goalielocks is in 8th grade, the majority of his classes are for high school credit this year.   He simply cannot afford to throw away the easy points.  Nevertheless, my Hubby didn’t give in and he was right.  If they missed the bus, my hubby would have to drive them to school.  This would be at least a 30 minute drive each way.  Goalielocks left the house in a huff angry that he would miss these points.   It was easy to remind him, however, that he had plenty of time the previous evening to print it up.

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Since we didn’t relent and he went to school without the form, he had to accept responsibility for his failure to plan.   He’s an industrious kid and had to solve his conundrum on his own.  Guess what?  He did!  Goalielocks texted his friend, who was able to print up a form and bring it to school for him.  We didn’t rescue him this morning, so he had to figure out how to solve his issue.

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If we solve every problem for our kids, they will never learn how to solve their own problems.  We won’t always be there to help them or guide them, so it is key that they learn to problem solve independent of us.  Our boys also do chores, they can cook themselves a meal and the older two do their own laundry.  The Mayor, who just started middle school this year, will learn how to do his own laundry.   When they leave our house as an adult, they’ll leave as independent men that can run a household and make their own decisions.

Memories

I’ve been using Shutterfly to house and print my photos for the last eleven years, so many of memories are housed there.  In fact, I’ve been on Shutterfly longer than I’ve been on Facebook.  That’s a long time.  One of the thing, I love about Shutterfly is the memory emails.  Much like Facebook Memories, Shutterfly now sends email with a link to your old photos.

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Today’s memories email from Shutterfly was of memories from 10 years ago.  What a fantastic trip down memory lane.  Ten years ago, Jake was starting 3rd grade.  This year he’ll be starting at Palm Beach State.  The Mayor was a doll at a year old and Colin was almost four.  Now both of them are in middle school.

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You can see how digital photos has evolved since 2007 when comparing the quality of photos from 2007 to 2017.  Their are several super cute, but super grainy pictures of the boys.   Admittedly, part of the problem could be that they simply were unable to sit still long enough for me to get a quality photo.  However, they haven’t changed that much and the photos should still be super grainy if that was the case.  Grainy or not, the photos from 2007 are a wonderful trip down memory lane.

 

Flam A Picturesque Hamlet

Flam is a picturesque hamlet at the end of the Aurlandsfjord.  Surrounded by mountains and the beautiful fjord, you couldn’t imagine a more beautiful, serene or more Norwegian place.  On the surroundings hills and mountains, the farmers let their sheep and goats roam freely to find the best grass.  It was even more beautiful that I had imagined.

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Our first night in Flam, we met our family at Flamstova for dinner.   Our dinner was incredible, but the kids had grown weary from sitting at the table.  My cousin Jessica and her husband Jeff volunteered to take them out to see the sheep in the pasture.  With the kids gone, we could enjoy the remainder of our dinner in relative silence.

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Meanwhile the kids were in seventh heaven as they fed the sheep that ventured near the fence.  Colin had his first run in with the prickle of a stinging nettle he had picked to feed the sheep.  He learned his lesson and was more careful when he picked the grass.  The kids loved the animals we would see grazing freely throughout our Norwegian travels, but the opportunity to be up close and feed them was even better.

We made several more visits to the sheep before leaving Flam including a walk behind the fence to find some good fishing spots.  The boys, particularly the younger two, had to visit their sheep named Jeffry.  All of the kids enjoyed feeding and interacting with the sheep.   They loved to watch their silly antics as they ran down the mountain or assaulted their mother for milk.  It certainly isn’t something our kids are accustom to seeing.

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It was awesome to see the how freely the sheep and goats were to gallivant about the mountains finding the best grass.  Each morning the farmers would let their herds out and then each night the farmers would bring them back home.   How they got them to come down the mountain, I don’t know, but each and every night they’d return home from their pastures.

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