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!

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Just Like That

Just like that we’ve made it to Sunday evening and are now staring down another Monday.   Sunday evening shares an odious border with Monday morning.  No matter what is on the weekend docket, it seems to fly by!   Friday ended late with hellish traffic on the turnpike and 441.  By the time I picked up Goalielocks from his friend’s house, it was well after 7:00 pm.   When I finally got home it was after 7:30 pm.  Friday night was such a blur, I can’t even tell you what we had for dinner.

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Saturday brought a busy schedule with a stretch session at Massage Envy in the morning and two games for the Mayor in the afternoon/evening.  Since my injury and diagnosis, I haven’t been able to do much at all.  Consequently, I’ve been quite stiff.  Teodora is a gem, thought, she gave me a nice, easy and effective stretch.  It would have been great to have an hour session, but I wasn’t sure how I’d tolerate it.  Simply put it felt amazing to stretch and be stretched.

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No sooner had I gotten home then we had to head up to the rink for the Mayor’s games.  Thankfully, his two games were local this weekend.  After coaxing with a trip to the Apple Store, Goalielocks joined me for the games.  The first game, against our organization’s 07′ team, was quite close.  The Mayor opened up scoring with a nice shot in the first period.  Fortunately, I not only had the goal horn queued, but it worked almost immediately.  That contest ended in a 2-2 tie.   Bottom line is we needed at least a point out of that game and we got it.

Between games, my plan was to go home, relax and have my groceries delivered, but with a little coaxing I quickly changed my plans.  We headed to the Brass Monkey, our favorite dive bar/restaurant near the rink with some of the Mayor’s teammates.  Fortunately, for me and my sparkling chardonnay, Jake was home to receive the grocery delivery (#crisis averted.). The food at the Monkey is quite good, but the service is less than stellar.  Saturday’s performance was no exception to these rules.  I think my favorite part is when the server charged all of the bills on the wrong credit cards.  Unbelievably, our bill and the family whose bill we paid were within cents of each other. It was, however, quite entertaining.

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Post dive bar dinner, we headed back to to rink for game two.  I was hoping it would be a good game, but we didn’t play our best.  We ended up giving up two short-handed goals due to silly errors.  Again I had the goal horn queued, but sadly wasn’t able to use it for our boys.  I wish I had more photos and videos to post, but I was playing music at the Mayor’s request.

Today Goalielocks and I endured iPhone warranty hell courtesy of Best Buy and T-Mobile.  The process to get it handled by insurance takes entirely too long.  While going outside of the insurance process costs entirely too much.  Ultimately, I ended up paying out-of-pocket, so Goalielocks could have a working phone.  Last Friday his school had a gas leak and his phone stopped working.  Fortunately, he actually knows my phone number, so he called me from his friend’s house.   After more than two hours, his phone was finally ready and operational.  He was ecstatic and I was exhausted!

Before venturing into iPhone repair hell, I made some blueberry muffins, as part of my meal prep, for the week.  Sadly, they didn’t make it past 12:00 pm.   Fortunately, I wasn’t the one that ate them all.   After fixing Goalielock’s phone, I came back to prep my meals for the week.  This week I made butternut squash noodles with lemon chicken sauce.  I adapted the recipe from a great recipe I saw on Facebook using spaghetti squash.  To save time, I opted for the pre-packaged butternut squash noodles. This saved forty minutes of cook time and cut down the work.  Here’s the recipe: Lemon chicken with butternut squash noodles.

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According to Myfitness Pal, with the butternut squash noodles and no added cheese, this dish has 229 calories with 16 net carbs, 20 grams of protein and 8 grams of fat.  Lastly, it is 3 Weight Watchers points.   If you try it, let me know how you liked it.   The meal prep containers came from Amazon and are available for purchase here.  Their top and bottom shelf dishwasher safe, freezer and microwave safe and free of BPAs.

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:

 

Reading My Way Back to Health

In order to keep myself sane and intellectually engaged,  I’ve been reading my way back to health.  Over the past eight months, I’ve been out of my normal routine due to injury and health concerns.  Sadly, I often found myself too exhausted to write.  Fortunately, I was able to draw my reading list off The Greatest Books.  First, of all I like the site because it has a thoughtfully curated list of the best fiction and non-fiction works of all time.  Secondly, I love that you can track what you’ve read and what you want to read.

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I’ve read some amazing works from a myriad of different genres and authors across time.  Since I’ve read some wonderful works of fiction, I’d thought I’d share some of them with you.   Here’s the list of my favorites:

If you’ve never read Wilkie Collins, your missing out.  He’s a one of kind author, who narrates his stories from multiple viewpoints.  His plot development and character development are amazing.   Collins was a contemporary and good friend of Charlies Dickens.  He was also a huge influence to Edgar Allen Poe.  Once you read both these books, I think you’ll find that the great Agatha Christie was influenced by him as well.

When I first picked up Ana Karenina, I was a bit intimidated.  It is a thick book. As I got into it, I loved it.  Tolstoy doesn’t waste a word.   I was happy to find that Tolstoy didn’t incorporate essays with in the books or long tangents like those found in his contemporaries works.  Both Ana Karenina and Resurrection are beautiful stories.  In Anna Karenina, he tells the story of the titular characters life and the consequences of her choices.  It’s a tragic story told beautifully.  In Resurrection, he tells the story of man confronted by the impact his choices had on someone he loved.   In the end, he finds his redemption in a most obvious spot.  Truly, after finishing both novels, I feel compelled to travel to Saint Petersburg and the rest of Tolstoy’s Russia.

After finishing Nabokov’s Lolita,  I needed a literary pick me up and a shower.  That book will leave you feeling dirty…. I turned to Hesse’s Siddharta.. Hesse, of German-Swiss descent, bring a unique east meets west perspective.   This novel follows the spiritual journey of Siddharta.  His quest for enlightenment puts him in places and situations he never could have imagined.  It’s a beautiful book.

I loved Narcissus and Goldmund, which tells the tale of two best friends who are diametrically different, but still love each other.  While Goldmund leaves the monastery in search of the meaning of life.  His mentor and friend Narcissus stays in monastic life.  Throughout their lives they take different paths, but eventually their paths reunite.  It’s a beautiful tale of friendship and life.

It took me awhile to get into Steppenwolf, but eventually I was pulled into the world of Harry Haller.  Like the other two Hesse books, this one explores the duality of human nature.  This time in main character Harry Haller and not two separate characters like in Narcissus and Goldmund.   At the end of the day, you can’t go wrong with any of these books by Hesse.

Since I was heading to Scandinavia this fall, I wanted to read something that was Scandinavian.  After much research and a couple of recommendations, I decided to read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. While in Finland, I finally started reading the book and I couldn’t put it down.  I loved that I could imagine where they were in Gamle Stan in Stockholm since I was just there.

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It’s an awful tragedy that we lost Stieg Larsson before these books were publishes.  He turned in the manuscripts for the first three installments in the Millennium Series, but died shortly after.  His books are incredible.  There are few characters in literature as vivid, damaged and bad ass as Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander.

I’ve already read the first four books in the series and cannot wait to read the fifth.  Since Larsson’s premature death prevented him from finishing the Millennium series, David Lagercrantz took up the mantle.  I was worried that Lagercrantz’s take on Larsson’s characters would be unfaithful to the original.  Lagercratnz had huge shoes to fill, but he did it beautifully.  The continuity between the characters and stories between Larsson’s and Lagercrantz’s books is seamless. If you haven’t read this series yet, I highly recommend it.  If you love Daniel Craig, like I do, you’ll love him in the movie version.

These are just a few of the books I’ve read since last summer that really resonated with me.  I’ve included links to Amazon for each of my recommended books.  I’m always looking for good book recommendations.  What’s your favorite book?  What books do you recommend?  

We Made It

After nearly nine hours aboard a Boeing 787-900, we made it safely to Stockholm. The 789 was quite comfortable and I actually managed to get some sleep!  Yay!  If I had to guess, our bartender Laura’s heavy pour at the airport helped this mission.  Nevertheless, it wasn’t enough, so I’m totally exhausted now and its only 10:00 PM in Stockholm and 5:00 pm back home.  Once we got through customs and got our luggage, which was quite quick, we grabbed a snack and drink (coffee please) at 7-11 before hopping on the express train into the sitting.

Much like my initial impressions of Norway, Sweden reminds me a lot of Minnesota.  Speaking of Norway, we flew over Fjord Norway on our approach into Stockholm’s Arlanda airport.  The region looked absolutely beautiful from 40,000 ft with the mountains covered in snow.  As for the train, we arrived at central station in a brisk 20 minutes.  Fortunately, our hotel is mere half of block from the station.

Our hotel is adorable.  We have four bed and a beautiful patio overlooking Stockholm.  It’s the perfect place to store our beverages and stinky shoes.  The view is pretty fabulous as well.  Once we got situated in the hotel room, we got ready to head out and about to find dinner.

We started our exodus looking for a meatball place, but found the maps and google searches aren’t too successful here unless we’re on wi-fi.  We walked for several blocks in the brisk evening air until we happened upon a place called Polpette – combination of Italian and Swedish cuisine.  The restaurant was beautiful inside with friendly waitresses and hostesses.

Our dinner started with drinks, my bro and I enjoyed a lingonberry margarita, while B enjoyed a glass of wine and Jake stuck with water.  We started our dinner with an appetizer order of sourdough cheese bread and fresh caprese.  They were amazing.  Unfortunately, we ate them so fast we didn’t even stop to take a picture.

For the main course, I enjoyed a flank steak on a bed of gratinized mashed potatoes.  Jake had Swedish meatballs, Brandi has pasta Bolognese and Jon had fettucine with steak.  Our main courses were beautiful and delicious. My meal came with the bonus of an asparagus spear wrapped in bacon- yum.  Honestly, the food absolutely hit the spot.  We enjoyed our meal and the hospitality of the staff at Polpette.  If you’re ever in downtown Stockholm, I recommend you pay them a visit.

Post dinner we headed back towards the hotel in hopes of finding pastries, but alas all the cafes were already closed for the night.  Since we couldn’t find pastries, we headed to the Ice Bar in Stockholm.  I’ve been to the Ice Hotel in Quebec City, but this was my first time at a year round ice bar.

We suited up and headed into the ice.  Much like the Ice Hotel in Quebec, the Ice Bar had several elaborate ice carvings.  This bar is done in a Viking theme, which makes for an impressive experience.  It should come as no surprise that we spent tons of time hanging out on the Viking ship and throne while enjoying our drinks.  Our bartender was fantastic and gave us a list of places to try before leaving Stockholm After several rounds of drinks, we headed back to the hotel for a night-cap and to get ready for tomorrow.

If you go:

Our restaurant tonight: PolPette

The Ice Bar: Ice Bar by IceHotel Stockholm

Hotel:  https://www.freyshotels.com/

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It’s Been Crazy

It’s been crazy around these parts hence the several month hiatus from the blog.  While the kids went north this summer, the hubby and I worked.  Oh and I tore my posterior tibial tendon, which has been so much fun.  Needless to say I didn’t do much this summer but work and elevate my leg.  Now I’m bootless, scooterless and ready to write!

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I did take on a new, super girl like identity as the summer ended: Scooter Girl.  You know like Avril Lavigne’s skater boi just older, with a boot and a lot less coordination.  I spent eight weeks in a boot and on my glorious scooter.  Whoever invented the scooter, also known by its significantly less sexy name as a knee walker, is my hero.  I can’t imagine having to spent eight weeks in a boot and on crutches – I wouldn’t have gone anywhere.  The scooter was a complete lifesaver.  It helped, of course, that my scooter was pimped out with a basket, a cup holder (how else would I carry my coffee), a memory foam padded knee pad cover and a bell (thank you KB.)

While I was on the scooter, I noticed that people were much nicer and helpful.  Even the snowbirds near me were sweet – amazing.  It was, however, a little demoralizing when a woman in her 80s told me she had been in the same boat and that I’d be okay.   She was so sweet.  Seriously, the snowbirds were sweet and if you lived in S. Florida you’d understand how amazing that really is.  It also sucked having to put on a cast bag to go outside or take a shower.  Having a cast during rainy season isn’t awesome.

The scooter also got us VIP entrance and upgrades at a couple of concert.  I definitely was not  looking forward to being on the law at an amphitheater with my scooter.  However, nothing was going to stop me from seeing the Imagine Dragons or Lindsey Stirling and Evanescence.   I think maybe that’s the lesson in all of this.  No matter what life throws at you, don’t stop living.  P.S. The Imagine Dragons with shirtless Dan is a must see show!

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Thankfully, I’m off the scooter as the craziness of hockey season is in full swing. I did have a scooter buddy at the beginning of the season, but I’m happy to report we’re both off our scooters!   It was a challenge to fit my scooter and their gear in the car.  Not too mention it’s tough to navigate the rink and find a comfortable viewing place for the games. I’ll admit that the bell prevented several potential collisions as I glided down the ramps at Ice Den.  Fortunately, the breaks on the scooter were quite effective.

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Perhaps the hardest part of the boot life is the inability to really exercise.  For eight weeks I was relegated to water workouts only.  We don’t have a pool at home, so I was at the mercy of traffic and the weather.  It’s been tough to be outside my normal workout habits.  It’s also tough to be passed in the pool by a geriatric swimmer, but I digress.  I’m still not cleared to run or do Zumba, but spent sometime on my TRX this past week.  It felt amazing.

At any rate, it feels good to back at the blog and bootless!

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While I won’t be able to run this year’s Purple Stride, I am still captain of Team Deb Force Five and am taking on an expanded role at the event.  Please join the Fight by joining Team Deb Force Five as a participant, donor or virtual strider!  Together we can help PanCan double survival rates by 2020.  Here’s the link:  Join Team Deb Force Five

Tough To Swallow

It’s a bit tough to swallow that our vacation ended days ago and I’m still exhausted. Fortunately, the dinner I made in the Instant Pot was not! I love the convenience and quick turnaround of this magical device.

Tonight’s dish was Ropa Vieja and it did not disappoint. The meat (a roast) took only 90 minutes to cook. Once the 90 minutes had elapsed, I was able to easily shred the beef with my fork. I then added in the peppers, so they could cook without contaminating the entire meat (everyone, but me hates peppers) and added the olives.

What’s even better is that while the roast cooked, the Piggie and I were able to run an arduous 3.5 miles. It was not my best run and the first time in awhile I’ve logged over 3 miles. Fortunately, the weather was entirely perfect. There was not a cloud in the sky. It was a perfect (at least weather wise) run with temperatures in the upper 70s to low 80

During the 3rd mile we alternated walking fast with sprinting. We started with intervals of 1:1 and then moved 1:2 ratio of walking to running. Unfortunately, I still sucked at running. Yesterday’s run was pretty fast and relatively pain free. On the other hand, today’s run was arduous as it’s worst and painstakingly hard at it’s best.

So yesterday’s run was great. Well, except for the squirrelly incident. It was just after mile marker 1, when a grey squirrel popped out from behind the bushes. The Piggie couldn’t control herself, she had to chase. Meanwhile in my head, I’m saying “squirrel” and cracking up. Fortunately, the squirrel quickly made its way up a tree and out of sight. I was dying laughing literally and figuratively, when I had to stop and catch my breath. #squirrel

Despite the difficulty of today’s run, the Piggie and I were able to go the distance. We didn’t quit when it seemed impossible. Rather we kept fighting to breakthrough the wall. Luckily, or perhaps unluckily, we’ll be back at it tomorrow. With only 11 days until the corporate run, I’ve got plenty of work to do! I can’t wait to run tomorrow!

Take Me Back

Yep, take me back to the Bahamas. I don’t think I got enough r&r, strawberry daiquiris or sun while I was there, so I should probably go back. Returning to work after vacation is tough especially after such a sublime and peaceful trip. I really should have bought a talisman while on the island to bring me luck and get me through the day.

Nevertheless, with no talisman in hand and only sun kissed complexion to show for the trip, I returned to work and nearly 700 emails. (Hence the take me back!) I finally got through all of the emails, but didn’t feel super productive today. Thankfully, there’s always tomorrow.

We did get fabulous news today at work, which is so very exciting. As of this afternoon, we know service Purdue University Global. I couldn’t be more excited about our collective future!

I’m Back

I’m back after taking a much needed and unintentional break. Frankly, vacation got in the way of blogging. I had every intention of blogging the entire trip, however, we had so much fun I was far too tired to write coherently. Admittedly, the vodka sodas from the casino probably didn’t help either.

As I lay in my yoga silk, I’m reflecting fondly on our trip while lamenting the fact we never took a family pic. Whoops! Nevertheless, the trip was absolutely perfect! We had way too much fun in the sun while playing in Atlantis’ Aquaventure Park.

My Mayor had so much fun and stretched himself by trying things he was afraid of. He, Goalielocks, A and J has a great time swimming in the lagoon and seeing the wildlife up close. The lagoon was quite deep when the tide was in and had several barracudas swimming around, but none of that deterred him. He also worked up the courage to ride the slide through the shark tank. I, however, did not.

I did, however, work up the courage to go down what Goalielocks described as a “trash slide.” Atlantis refers to this slide as the Jungle Slide, while I refer to it an instrument of mental and physical trauma. In describing it as trash, he neglected to tell me it would go completely dark (I’m claustrophobia) or that it would fling me awkwardly into a pool where I’d nearly drowned. Yes, it was only 3 feet deep and I’m totally be dramatic.

Yesterday, the boys and TK had the opportunity to swim with the dolphins at Dolphin Cay. Thank you Auntie J! The Mayor, who is a nervous nelly like me, did amazing. I was so proud of him! The boys had a rookie dolphin that disappeared at times, but they still loved it. It was an awesome opportunity for them to get up close and personal with an animal indigenous to the Bahamas and Florida.

Last night we got in some shopping and more time in the casino. While we shopped and hit the casino the older boys watched all the boys. As we walked back to the Reef, we were taking bets as to which kids would still be awake. We entered the room and seeing only the younger boys and the Mayor awake, we lost it laughing. Both Goalielocks and TK had passed out. Fortunately, the Mayor’s a good babysitter and had the scene under control.

We had so much fun and so many amazing moments this trip, I could write forever. It was just the thing we needed after the last month. Moreover, after the last year we’ve had collectively, it was the pitch perfect trip. We came home sun burnt, but with full hearts (and stomachs) and many wonderful memories.

Like the Lilly Pulitzer dresses featured in the blog and love shopping small, please check out https://www.corrico.com.