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/

tte.

Advertisements

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!

IMG_5039

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!

IMG_4805

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.

IMG_5179

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!

P.S.A.

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.

Purple Haiku

Calmer Evening

It’s been a calmer evening in the household after all the noise and frustration of last night. I spoke with the Assistant Principal of the boys school and feel comfortable with our plan for Goalielocks as he recovers. Also spoke to one of the Mayor’s teachers after discovering the Mayor had spelled the teacher’s email address wrong all semester. No wonder he had 0 points for his article assignments! He’s busy fixing them tonight.

Today was also tough because it’s our dear Debbie’s birthday. It’s a tough milestone for many of us.  I still found myself getting choked up periodically throughout the day despite my hectic schedule. It’s been nearly a year since we lost her. Ironically, it feels like it was both seconds ago and decades ago. Time is on a weird continuum when you’re dealing with grief and loss.

We also lost a giant today with the death of Stephen Hawking. I could write for days about this brilliant mind, but that’s not his most impressive feature. Both Hawking and Debbie were given devastating, terminal diagnosis when they were far too young. While a lot of people would buckle under the diagnosis, neither of them did. Amazingly, they both choose to live to the fullest as they faced their own mortality.

When I write or say Live Like Debbie. I really mean it and I try to live it. What I mean by that is I’m trying to live my life differently by living to the fullest and treating people differently. (Not that I was some kind of asshole before or something.) Specially, my goal is to brighten people’s dY, to be helpful, to inspire and to leave people better off than when I met them. It doesn’t have to be something big, it could be a smile or a good morning while you’re waiting in line for coffee.

I miss my friend very much. It’s tough to lose a friend who is in the prime of their life. It’s tough to lose someone you love. Moreover, it’s tough to see people you love experience such a profound loss. It’s tough to explain and square how something like this happens to someone so young and vibrant. The thing is there’s really no explanation, which leads to one simple fact. Life is too short to get caught up in the small stuff, so my friends Live Like Debbie.

In honor of Debbie’s birthday, please consider donating to the Pancreatic Action Network in her honor. Pancreatic Action Network

Tonight’s song performed by the Offspring is “Gone Away.”  The lyrics of this song are absolutely on point.

Another Trip Around The Sun

Today marks the start of another trip around the sun. Yep, today I turned 27 for the eleventh time. The last has been tough, amazing, grueling and wonderful all at once. If I’ve learned anything this past year it is to appreciate the time we’re given. Even the trial and tribulations we face are gifts. The trials of the last year have certainly reminded me of the importance of living in gratitude. They also taught me to that I can’t be uncompromising with my expectations.

We celebrated tonight with a great home cooked meal. Afterwards, the boys were excited to give me my present. I had inkling as to what they bought me and o was right. My boys got me a fabulous jelly fish tank for my room. It’s the perfect addition to the space that’s already home to my yoga silk, diffuser and my yoga mat. The jellyfish tank adds a whole other level of zen to the room.

Of course, my birthday coincides with the best tournament in all of sports – the Minnesota State High School Hockey tournament. Tonight our former high school is taking on STA in the quarterfinals. The game got a late start, so I’m not sure on going to be able to follow much more than the first period.

Thanks to everyone for the wonderful birthday wishes. I definitely felt the love today! In honor of my birthday, here is Jimmy Buffett performing “Trip Around the Sun.”

Typical

It was a typical Monday in our household. Thankfully, I went to bed super early last night, so I was equipped to handle it. Unfortunately, the morning started with Goalielocks needing a Tylenol for headache.

I wish I could say I was surprised, but I felt all last week he was hiding his symptoms in order to play at states. He’s still not feeling 100% and I could see it in his eyes. All weekend, he was adamant that he was fine. Yeah, about that…….

The Mayor meanwhile bounced back well from an insanely busy weekend and was ready to head into his day. This evening he greeted me with a perfect score on his math test.

What’s amazing in all of this is that he has struggled in school and is now thriving. Moreover, he gives full credit to his teacher for her amazing teaching abilities. He’s said more than once that he is lucky to have the best math teacher in the school and probably the district. I’m blown away that he recognizes and is excited about how lucky he is to have this teacher.

Meanwhile, in the corporate world the grind continues. When you enjoy what you do, it makes the work so much more tenable and enjoyable. Nonetheless, I may or may not have had a case of the Mondays today. Well, at least until the second cup of coffee kicked in! Actually, there’s a lot of exciting things going on at work and I’m stoked for the future. As for now, I’m stoked about my head hitting the pillow!

Night To Shine

Last night I attended my first Night To Shine event.  This wonderful event is put on by the Tim Tebow foundation.  This event gives special needs teenagers and adults the opportunity to have a prom night experience that’s all about them.  Fortunately, I was able to register as a buddy before they closed registration.  I could not have signed up for a more amazing night.

As a buddy, it is our job to escort the attendee through their magical night.  From check-in until check out, our job is to make sure they have the time of their lives.  As this was my first time, I was a little nervous for the evening.   My nervousness dissipated quickly when I got to the church.  I quickly found my co-workers and took a seat in the sanctuary to wait for our guests to start arriving.

For the first time in three years, they had more than enough buddies, so I was able to pair up with my friend WL for the evening.  Our buddy arrived and it was clear from the beginning that we were a perfect match.  J, our buddy, was the life of the party and the Mayor of the event.  She knew absolutely everyone! Moreover, she had an infectious energy and happiness about her that was immediately apparent.

27797530_1827748773962157_2291185046595500038_o

We made our way into check-in, where they struggled to find her registration.  The Church’s, St. Paul Lutheran Church, event team and volunteer staff hopped into action immediately.  Within minutes, the snafu was fixed and J and I were ready to head to hair and makeup.  Her dress was resplendent and ethereal. She looked like a Disney princess.  It is no wonder she was the star of the prom.

One of my favorite moments of the evening was triumphantly walking the red carpet with her.  She freaking owned the carpet and the moment.  J is a star!  When we got into the prom, we headed to get her prom photo taken.  She was an absolute natural in front of the camera.  We left the photo area and entered the prom. Since we were both hungry, we made a beeline over to the food table.  Chic Fil-A donated all of the food for the event.  Chicken nuggets and mac and cheese never tasted so good.

We had barely sat down when J tired of eating and seemed overwhelmed.  Fortunately, I was able to keep her calm.  I quickly suggested hitting the dance floor, which put a huge smile on her face.  Not only could J work the camera, she could out dance most people I know.  We quickly figured out that we both loved Romeo Santos and Daddy Yankee.  As we danced, she was greeting everyone on the floor. She knew everyone!!!

WL was finally able to join us when it was determined they had enough buddies, so we had to double up.  Once WL joined us, the energy was out of this world and J was slaying it on the dance floor.  As we danced, she would hold our hand and thank us for being her friend.  We absolutely adored our buddy!  I could write all night about how we danced the night away, but there wouldn’t be enough words to describe how amazing it was for us.

One of the cool parts of the evening, was getting to know her parents during hair and makeup and the latter part of the dance.  They were incredible people.  Their daughter was one of the sweetest, kindest, most fun and generous people WL and I had ever met.   Her parents, much like her, were sweet, kind and fun.  We spent quite a bit of time talking after the event, which was nice.  While they thanked us for showing her a great time, we both felt that we should thank them for allowing us to be her buddy.

It was such an incredible experience to share the evening with J and her family.  When Tim Tebow came on the screen, the crowd when absolutely berserk.  To say they loved him, would be a gross understatement.  His message of love, faith, inclusion and celebration of special needs individuals was incredible.  As he closed out the message, we went into the countdown after which all of the guests were crowned either King or Queen of the prom.  The look on J’s face as we put the tiara on her head is one I will never forget.

IMG_1368 (1)

At the end of the night, I couldn’t help but feel that the night was just as much about us as it was the guests.  As I left the church, my heart was full, not just because I volunteered, but because of all the love, fun and memories we created with J.  Undoubtedly, it felt good to serve others, but she gave us and taught so much that I left with so much gratitude in my heart.  In fact, we’ve made plans to be therenext year to be her buddy again.  We’ve made plans to go shopping and get pedicures.  Meanwhile, her mom and I are planning on going to see Romeo Santos when he comes to town.

Its amazing how in volunteer to help others, those that you are helping teach you more about life and yourself than you could ever imagine.  Being a buddy or volunteer at Night to Shine was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.  It was an incredible event, which I will insist upon attending next year.  I am forever grateful to CS for the invitation.  Lastly, I’m forever grateful to J and WL for being my partners in crime last night.  Couldn’t have asked for a better buddy or partner than these two! #squadgoals

images (1)

If you’d like to know more about Tim Tebow’s Night To Shine, click here.

Tonight’s song, one of the last one played last night, performed by Bill Medley and Jennifer Warnes is “Time of My Life.”   Last night, we killed it on the dance floor dancing to this song.  P.S.  WL I totally would have caught you.

Life With Teens

Life with teens is oh so fun.  I knew getting into this whole parenting gig that we’d be in for it when our sweet, darling baby became a toddler.  Yeah, they were right.  When our kids were toddlers many a tear was shed by them and us.  In fact, for the first two years of his life, I was convinced the Mayor was an 88 year old man from Boca trapped in a toddler’s body.  He was that cranky.  However, it seems nothing can prepare you adequately for the beast that is a teenager.

IMG_6578

There are quite a number of similarities between the toddler and teenage stage that i have notice.

  1. Temper tantrums – While they once threw temper tantrums over losing blocks, not watching Caillou or other very serious toddler problems, as teenagers they now lose their ish over the simplest of things.  For example, you should always proceed with caution when asking teen to go to bed, take shower, do homework or god forbid to do a chore. c1f4170247f3ad17b1276bc1c2f8e137--raising-teenagers-raising-teenager-quotes
  2. Rock solid logic.  Have you ever argued with a two year old?  No, there’s a reason for that.  Its a zero sum game.  The beauty of teenagers is their intellect and their vocabularies are a little more mature.  For example, tonight I asked Goalielocks to take a shower right after practice, so he doesn’t keep everyone up with the commotion.  His response, “great well I guess I don’t get to eat tonight.”  Now mind you, he had pizza before going to practice.  Another favorite of mine is their argument that we want their animals today because we won’t take them to Petsmart or Petco immediately.  To date, we have not lost an animal due to a delayed trip to the pet store.IMG_1260
  3. Their taste is music is equally horrible as it when they were a toddler.  Only when their teens, the music is a much more insidious albeit still simplistic.  If you’re curious what I’m referring to check out the song “Gucci Gang.”  They also think Tupac wasn’t a real rapper and sucks.  No further explanation is needed here. You’ll be begging for the muscial stylings of Sesame Street in no time.
  4. Their personality is often amplified as both a toddler and a teen.  Did you have a strong willed toddler? Well, boy oh boy, are you in luck because you’re about to have a strong willed teenager.  (I’m praying for you now.)
  5. Stubbornness is a trait that both age groups excel at and is so pleasing to parents.    IMG_1475
  6. They’re silly.  At least they share some good traits, eh.
  7. Whether or not they will ever admit, teens need their parents.  In fact, they need us just as much as a teen as they did when they’re a toddler.  The dynamic may shift, the aggravation level will increase, but they will need you.  Moreover, they will need you as a parental figure and not a friend.
  8. As a toddler, you’ll clamor to enroll them into the best preschool.  While when they’re a teen, you’ll agonize over secondary and higher education options.   It is a bit overwhelming at first, but I’m hoping by the third one we’ll have it mastered.

Each and every stage of the boys lives has been an amazing chapter.  Our oldest is an adult, which sounds odd every time I say it.  My oldest has become an amazing man and is proof that the hubby and I can survive life with a teenager! Tonight’s song performed by Nirvana is “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”  I loved this song when I was a teenager attending junior high dances where we’d all bang out head to that song.  For me, it also represents Jake’s awakening into music.  It wasn’t too long after he started choir as a high school freshmen that he began to discover real good music.  Nirvana was one of the first, of many, bands he discovered.