It’s Time For States!

It’s time for states!!! The vaunted state hockey tournament. The culmination of countless hours of practices, driving, off ice sessions and games is finally here. Fortunately, both of our boys are playing locally this year for states! Yay!! Unfortunately, we’ll be at the rink all weekend with nary a break.

Our tournament started with our U12 Panthers Gold taking on the undefeated Blackhawks Red. It was an exciting game. I had expected a lopsided affair, but it was 0-0 through much of the game. The Hawks put one in while on a 5-3 power play. Our squad didn’t stop their effort and kept it a tight game, but we couldn’t bury the puck. All in all it was a good game.

Well after my bedtime, Goalielocks’ U16 game was scheduled. Okay, maybe 9:50 isn’t my bed time, but by Friday night I’m exhausted. Fortunately, I packed my beta blockers so I could take the edge of my nerves and my heart rate. The game opened with a breakaway against Goalielocks and he came up with a huge save.

The rest of the game was back and forth. Goalielocks saw a lot of shots, but was on point. TK buried the puck early in the first to put us up by one. We netted another goal in the second putting us up 2-0.

The second period had me worried, but our squad stood strong. They ended up banging one in, but I couldn’t see what happened from my angle. When the period ended it was 2-1. Thank God for beta blockers.

As the third period got underway I was hoping for a quick goal to allay my nerves. I got it! #relieved. The team had some great offensive moments in the third period. Consequently, we went up 4-1. It was then that the wheels started to fall off for the other team. They took a 2-10 penalty followed by another minor penalty late in the third. Happily, the game ended a 4-1 decisive win for our Panthers Gold and my Goalie.

Now it’s midnight, we’ve been at work and school all day. Tomorrow starts early with a call time at the rink of 9:30. We have game all day and another late night at the rink. I’m off to bed to get some much needed sleep. Let’s Go Panthers!

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Just Another Saturday

It was just another Saturday spent at the rink. Goalielocks had five games to referee this morning while the Mayor had a marathon practice for Peewee Quebec. Today’s games were Goalielocks first travel games. Fortunately or rather unfortunately, they were mites or as we call them now U8.

For the uninitiated, hockey parent craziness seems to be inverse to the age of the kids. Meaning as the kids age, the parents tend to mellow. At U8, however, every kid is going to the NHL and every game brings an intensity from the parents you only wished to get out of your players.

It’s been awhile since we’ve been in mite hockey, but the cavalcade of cowbells quickly brought me back. I found my seat in the bleachers next to the hubby, so we could anonymously watch him ref.

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Honestly, I only made it through one game. Refereeing is hard enough because of all the rules and all the responsibilities that go with it. When you add crazy parents screaming at you and you’re only fifteen, it’s a whole different world. At least from a mom’s perspective. I think the best part is watching them scream at both refs for not calling penalties forgetting that penalties are assessed at the end of the game. I left, but my husband was quick to point out this cycle continued. How quickly people forget….

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My ref was good with it, which is why refereeing is so good for our kids. You learn so many viable life skills. On the otherhandn I headed home to take care of the laundry and grocery shopping since I had no desire Not wanting to get into a fight. Goalielocks did end up having to eject his first parent. No surprise here, but it was a goalie dad. We goalie parents are a special breed. Long story short, my boy enjoyed his day refereeing.

Midway through Goalielocks’ marathon ref session, the Mayor’s Peewee Quebec practice started. His practice ran from 11:30-5:30 with Coach Shawn putting them through two on ice sessions and off ice. I missed the practice, but the hubby was able to watch most of it.

We’re so excited that our Mayor’s been given an opportunity to play at Peewee Quebec. Goalielocks did the tournament three years ago and it was one of the best trips ever. I love Quebec City, especially old town, so I’m bummed I’m going to miss this trip. Nevertheless, someone has to hold down the fort in Florida!

The best part about the last practice before the tournament is getting all the swag. My Mayor was wearing his new hat all night! The pin bag brings back great memories for both Goalielocks and I. I know the Mayor will love trading pins.

Tonight we grilled some flank steak fajitas (recipe below) and served it with grilled onions and roasted peppers for a healthy low carb dinner. Well, mine was low carb as I used romaine lettuce as my tortilla. I know what you’re thinking, I’m taking my life into my hands using romaine lettuce and you’re probably right. The Mayor was deeply offended by our gross dinner choice, so he made himself pizza rolls.

Make it here:

Steak Fajitas:

1 flank steak

1 juice of one lime

2 onions sliced

1-2 lbs of mini bell peppers, sliced lengthwise

Olive oil

Pepper

Salt

Instructions:

If using a charcoal grill, get it started.

Onions:

Cut the onions into slices.

Coat the onions in olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place onions on the grill and cook for 15-20 minutes until they’re tender.

Peppers:

Pre-heat oven to 450

Slice peppers lengthwise

Coat peppers in olive oil and season with salt and pepper

Roast the peppers for 20 minutes and remove from oven once the edges have started to turn black.

(If using regular bell peppers, I prefer to cook them on the grill with the onions.)

Steak:

Use the juice of one lime and olive oil to coat both sides of the flank steak. My hubby prefers to rub the steak with olive oil and freshly squeeze the juice over the steak. Use the salt and pepper to flavor as desired and set aside until the grill is ready. Don’t let it sit for too long or it will get mushy.

Once the grill is hot, cook five minutes per side. We cooked ours for about ten minutes and it was medium rare, which is how we like ours.

Let the meat rest 5-10 minutes before slicing at a 45 degree angle against the grain.

And then assemble. I should have taken a picture of the final product, but I ate it too quickly! It’s so simple and so good!

My Favorite Referee

Since 2010, I’ve been a loud and proud hockey mom, now I’m mom to my favorite referee.  Oh yes, my Goalielocks has become a zebra.  The oft maligned position in sports is as critical to the sport as it is criticized.  It’s a tough position with lot’s of pressure in any environment.  When you throw crazy hockey parents on top of that it’s a lot.

There are a lot of great reasons for your kid to become a referee many of which I’ll cover here.  I’ll start with the obvious: they make good money as a teen.  I’m so excited for my second born to have his own income.  There’s no better way for him to understand the value of a dollar then by earning his own.  In order to make the same money at a normal “teen” job, he’d have to work more than double the hours.  With his intense school schedule and travel hockey schedule, refereeing is the perfect part time job for him.

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Selfishly, it’s been nice because I’ve learned a lot.  We’ve got a couple of rule books around the house and I watched some of the modules with him.  Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about the rules from my referee friends.  (Extra bonus is that he now gets to work with these fabulous people.). Nonetheless, there’s still a knowledge gap. Thankfully, when I’m watching a game and have a question about a call or a rule, he can explain it to me.

It’s also a great way for hockey player to learn the game and see it in a different light.  Goalielocks has been in net for close to a decade and before that played out as a forward.  When you referee a game, you see it in a whole different way.  One that gives you appreciate and enhances your knowledge of the game.  What could be bad about that?

In addition, to enhancing their knowledge of the game, refereeing gives young referees the opportunity to learn important life skills. Hockey is a fast game and being able to see and make the right call is awesome.  The ability to make decisions under pressure is a crucial skill that will translate well into adulthood.

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Lastly, and I’m sure I’m missing many reasons, it teaches them conflict resolution.  There will be times that calls are made that coaches, parents and players will disagree with.  As a referee, their job is resolve that conflict as professionally as possible.  These conflicts can be highly emotional and aren’t always easy to solve, but this teaches a valuable life skill.  Where else can a teenager get that kind of on the job experience?

As for my young zebra, he refereed his first squirt game with his mentor.  It was his first full ice game, but he picked up quickly.  As his games progressed yesterday, it was fun to watch him grow increasingly confident in his role.  He capped off his day by scorekeeping a couple of rec games, so he could learn how to use the clock.

For all my Florida hockey parents, your kid can start refereeing at fourteen.  The referee seminars are held in the fall throughout Florida.  If you have any questions, let me know!

Looking for referee gear, you can shop his look here:

 

New Years Day and Back to Work

No sooner had I left the office Monday night, then it was New Years day and back to work.  Like right back to work.  It felt more like an abbreviated weekend than a holiday, but we made the best of it.  New Years Eve we headed to my brothers for snacks, games and of course champagne.  We even snuck in some shots of Salmiakki.  My mom made some pickle rolls ups, aka Minnesota Sushi, which brought back some great memories of the holidays of my youth.  I haven’t had them since we moved south of the Mason Dixon thirteen years ago! We rushed home after midnight, so as to try to beat the traffic.

The next morning we were going to head down to Fort Lauderdale for brunch, but that ended up being moved to Boca.  This made is a lot easier for us although I love Fort Lauderdale.   My sister-in-law Brandi and her cooking partner Phil made yet again an amazing meal.  They always partner up on Thanksgiving to make a fantastic dinner, so getting to enjoy twice this year was quite nice.  Fortunately, I didn’t include anything about food in my New Year’s resolutions or I would have broken all of them at brunch!

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After brunch, we headed out to South County Park in Boca to go jet skiing.  There is a nice lake behind the amphitheater that is deceivingly large.   There’s not a ton of room by the docks, which keeps it from getting too crowded.  Fortunately, the weather was absolutely sublime lows 80s and some cloud cover to keep it cool.

Our younger two, Goalielocks and the Mayor, were hooked after their first rides.  Once they got on, they didn’t want to get off the jet skis.  Eventually, they had to get off so other people could ride, but they were keen to get back on the water.   Fortunately, both Grandma and Grandpa got a chance to ride the jet skis.   Both of the boys got to drive the jet skis, which they absolutely loved.  Goalielocks is a little more sensible, while the Mayor’s driving style can only be described as “balls to the wall.” I can already sense how much fun we’re going to have teaching him to drive.

After several hours of jet skis and Cornhole, we headed home to get ready for our inevitable return to work on Wednesday.   Shortly thereafter, the Mayor convinced my husband to make Caribbean jerk chicken with black beans and rice.   The kid ate two full plates.  Unquestionably, he has a hollow leg – or so we thought.

He left dinner to take a shower having been on the lake all day.  After about fifteen minutes, he came back out to the family room and announced “I threw up all over the bathroom and I missed both the sink and the toilet.”  Now that my friends takes talent.   Immediately, the hubby and I got up to check him out.  He insisted he was fine having thrown up only because he ate too much too fast with too much milk.

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After making sure he was fine, we headed to the bathroom.  His assessment was spot on. He had in fact thrown up all over our bathroom effectively missing both the toilet and the sink.   I’m not quite sure what happened, but I was relieved he missed the rugs and the dirty clothes he left strewn about the floor.   Thankfully, he was okay and not harboring some insidious stomach bug.   Since I wasn’t feeling well, he cleaned up the projectile mess.  He’s the real hero!

And just like that in the blink of an eye,  we went to bed and got up for work like nothing had changed……. Our Tuesday holiday was quickly over and it was back to reality.

 

 

My Mayor Turned 12!

Yesterday, my mayor turned 12!  I can’t believe our youngest has only one year left before becoming a full fledged teenager.  While he’s not in the teens by number, he’s certainly in a teen when it comes to his appetite and his demeanor.  Of course, the Mayor’s been feisty since he was born, so none of this is a surprise.   Fortunately, my Mayor is a sweet as he is feisty.

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His birthday weekend was pretty low key.  While the hubby helped my brother with the floors, Jake worked and Goalielocks was at a friend’s, my Mayor and I spent the weekend hanging out.  Saturday we upgraded his phone to the iPhone 8 as his iPhone 6 was starting to fail in everyday.  Undoubtedly the phone served us well, it simply wasn’t going to last one more day.  Thankfully, the demise of his phone was timed well with his birthday weekend. He was overjoyed today when he got home from school since his phone held it’s battery all day.

We also picked up a Fitbit for both he and Goalielocks since they’re going to start running with me.  In addition, we got some new workout clothes, a new wall ball, a curved agility ladder and an acceleration trainer.  All the things they’ll need to be in good shape going into next year’s hockey season.  If it weren’t for the slight fever and cold The Mayor had this weekend, we would have started our workouts this weekend.  Nonetheless, I had blast this weekend with the birthday boy and cannot wait to see what the next year will bring him.

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Tonight we had planned to start running together, but of course, life had a different plan.  This morning Goalielocks was beset by severe, localized abdominal pain.  When I left for work this morning, I assumed he had picked up his brother’s cold.  Apparently, I was wrong. #winning While at work, I checked on him periodically.  His symptoms were a bit worrisome as doctor google suggested, he likely had appendicitis.   I was both slightly worried and slightly encouraged that doctors google didn’t say he was dying.  For once, I thought doctor google might actually be on point.

I headed home early to take him into urgent care, so we could rule out appendicitis.   His symptoms were pretty well aligned to the condition.  After the year we had, I didn’t want to press our luck by waiting it out. I had visions of his appendix bursting as he binged watched Family Guy on Hulu.  It was not a good vision…..  Urgent care wasn’t able to rule out appendicitis as they couldn’t run a CBC and get timely results.

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Back to the ER we went….. You know it’s bad when they don’t ask for an insurance card anymore because they recognize you.  Or when the doctor comes in, he remembers treating your family before. #notwinning.   As with any trip to ER, we spent several hours of our lives waiting for lab tests, ultrasounds and consultations.  Fortunately, Family Guy was on and helped us pass the time.  Ironically, it was on the very episode I started watching last night, but missed when I went to take a shower.   I know feel like I have closure having watched the episode and several others in their entirety.

Thankfully, after a long wait, we were given the all clear by the doctor.  Both his blood work and ultrasound were negative for any abnormalities.  We left the ER with a diagnosis of gastritis and Zantac/Pepcid AC as a means to treat the discomfort.  We’ll continue to monitor him as he still has localized pain and will be following up with is pediatrician.  Thanks to everyone from the love, prayers and support today it is very much appreciated.  As a side note, the ER rejected my suggestion of a frequent flier program (i.e. every visit you get a stamp and your fourth visit is free.). Special thanks to my girl Jutta for the brilliant suggestion!  As for us, it’s time to reset the days without an ER visit to 0.

 
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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.

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”