Norway is Calling

Norway is Calling

Norway is calling (so is my bed p.s.) me back.  There’s no way around it and the kids feel the same way.  As a family, we cannot wait to go back and explore it some more.  For my kids, the city of Bergen was particularly memorable.  They’ve even started planning how they can study their in college or move their as adults.  I’d say the city left quite the impression on them.

The most beautiful part of Norway, and there were so many, for me was being able to spend time with my family.  There were no distractions of work, school or hockey.  It was just us enjoying our time together as we discovered our Scandinavian roots.  In addition, it was even more special because my entire family was there together.

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As we approach the holidays and I put out the Christmas decorations I bought in Norway, I long to go back.  One of my goals is to spend Christmas in Norway to enjoy the Scandinavian customs and celebrations.    It would be nice to enjoy a white, snowy Christmas versus our tropical Christmas.  Additionally, I’d like to explore the Christmas markets in Germany some time.

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Oh the serenity of my house was broken as the boys returned from hockey practice.  Goalielocks some how managed to knock a grocery bag with my brie baker off the table.  Consequently, my nice pampered chef brie pan has seen its last day.  Ugh… This is why I can’t have nice things.

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I leave you tonight with some of my favorite pictures from 2017.  There were many memorable moments this year, so picking my favorites was quite difficult.  Nonetheless, I think you’ll find a theme in my pictures.  Hint, hint my favorite moments are all about my family and friends that have become family.



Tonight’s song performed by Offspring is “The Kids Aren’t Alright.”  I know, I know it is a departure from the Christmas music.  However, I was jamming out on my way to Barre tonight to this song, so I thought I’d share it.  Plus, it seems to fit with the brie, football/invisible hand calamity.

Holiday Stress

Holiday Stress

I’m sure we can all relate to the pressures of holiday stress.  At this time in the year, the stress level is maxed out as we hurriedly try to finish our holiday preparations.  When you’re a small business owner, you can amp that stress level up 100X as you wait for contractors to act on invoices sent over a month ago.  While they’re are definitely benefits to owning your own business, the added stress is not one of them.


I’ve written about missing home before, but some times in the course of doing business I really, truly miss the Northland.  It would be unthinkable up north for a reputable contractor to sit on invoices for over a month.  Whereas, here in S. Florida it is completely normal for a contractor to pay invoices on island time.  Admittedly, I’m new to this business and my hubby assures me this is normal, but I want to fucking throat punch this guy right now.

Anyway, rant over because that’s not what this post is about.  Believe it or not this post is about ways you can reduce your holiday stress.  Here are some of my favorite coping mechanisms:

  1. Run –  Runner’s high is real and it is amazing.  The world is a better place after a good long run.  f0c4c054288a64ccf399c4ef4b13cbf2--runners-quotes-funny-motivational-quotes-for-working-out
  2. Meet me at the mat!  There’s nothing like a good Vinyasa class to remove your from life’s craziness and put you in the moment.
  3. Come fly with me….  If you’re not inclined to hop on a mat and namaste, then come fly with me at Aerial yoga.
  4. Bake some holiday treats with your loved ones or friends.  If your family is anything like my boys, make sure they don’t steal any cookies from the cookie sheet.  FL Christmas 2006 487
  5. Spend time with good friends  24883571_10155106304447371_1492472535565284382_o
  6. Enjoy a nice drink (i.e. Ciroc and vodka.)  See 5.  tenor (2).gif
  7. Pay it forward.  There’s nothing more rewarding than helping those that are less fortunate.  IMG_1144
  8. Hang out with your four legged friends.  I love chilling with my puppies!  IMG_1291
  9. Spend time doing the things you love with the people you love.  There’s nothing I love more than watching my boys (even the big one) play hockey.  I was in hog heaven last night as three of the four took to the ice.

    Monday Night Mayhem
    Monday Night Mayhem
  10.   Drink more Dunkin’!  Just think soon it won’t just be coffee I’m talking about it will be beer too!

I hope my list of tricks and tools to alleviate the holiday stress was helpful to you.  Obviously, if you’re not in to running or yoga, you suck.. I’m only kidding.  In all seriousness, if they’re not your poison, make time for your favorite workout.  It will do you a world of good!

Tonight’s song is “Baby It’s Cold Outside.”


Tonight’s the night Vikings returns for season 5 on the History Channel.  I love this show, so I’ve been looking forward to tonight.  For the last several weeks, snippets of the 5th season have been showing up in my Facebook newsfeed.  I’m not into many shows, but Vikings is definitely one of them.  Fortunately, its also a show my kids love.   In fact, when we traveled to Norway this summer I made sure we incorporated some Viking themed scenery in our trip.  Although it would have been hard to avoid Viking related sights in any trip to Norway.


Serene Fjord

In Flam, we took the boat out on the Aurlandsfjord.  This Fjord deep in the heart of Sogn Og Fjordane is sublimely serene and overwhelmingly beautiful.  As we boated around the fjord, we approached an outcropping from the cliff.  There was a grassy area on this outcropping, which was home to a Viking Burial.  It was pretty cool to see.  As an aside, Lagertha according to legends is from the Gaula Valley, which is in the northeastern part of the Sogn Og Fjordane region.

Now that the show has started, I’m writing during the commercials.  How fitting that Ikea is one of their advertisers, but I digress.  As an American of Norwegian descent, I enjoy watching a show about Norwegian/Scandinavian history.  My dad’s family emigrated to the US from Sogn Og Fjordane the very same region that Lagertha is thought to have come from.  Clearly, I was born to be a modern day shield maiden or Viking queen.

Our trip through Norway gave us a deeper connection to our Norwegian roots, heritage and Norway.  Now as I watch the Vikings, I long to go back and explore the Norwegian Countryside.  Additionally, I’d like to explore Ireland, where the show is largely filmed, and the U.K. retracing the Vikings travels.  While in France in 2011, we ate lunch at a small seaside Norman town.   As we enjoyed our crepes, our view was a replica Viking ship moored in port.  It was beautiful and imposing much like the authentic ships housed in the  Viking Ship Museum in Oslo.

Finally, tonight’s song, in keeping with my Norwegian theme, is “Take on Me” by Aha.  I know a collective sigh of relief went out as you realized I wasn’t gonna torture you with “What Does the Fox Say?”

Just Another Drive

Just Another Drive

Just another drive down the Florida Turnpike with an incredible sunset off to the west.    Florida’s sunsets do not disappoint and this one was no exception.  Fortunately, Goalielocks was able to take pictures for me while I drove.


Mundane Monday Challenge #137: Learn Photography


Mount Floyen Friday

Mount Floyen Friday

It is a Mount Floyen Friday, can someone please take me back to Bergen?  I’ve been good this year, so pretty sure they’ll be no coal in my stocking this year. In lieu of coal, feel free to stock my stuffing with tickets back to Bergen.  Although I’m sure the beautiful city and mountain look a little bit different in December than they do in July.

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We took the funicular up to the top of Mt. Floyen first thing one morning, so we could hike and explore the mountain.  Fortunately, Mt. Floyen offers a lot of activities to those travelling with families.  There are number of different trails, a ropes course, a play ground and some other activities.  Moreover, if you’re really ambitious, you can do the day long hike from Mt. Floyen to Mt. Ulricken.  In addition, there is also a cafe, gift shop, a restaurant and bathrooms atop the mountain.


The hike on Mount Floyen is significantly easier than the hike at Ulricken.  There are several walking trails, appropriate for all fitness levels)  along with rockier hiking trails through the woods.  Additionally, there are no significant drop offs around the trails (at least the trails we explored at Mt. Floyen), which makes it a little more child friendly than Mount Ulricken.  Truly, it is a good hike for all ages and all abilities.


Fortunately, when the kids tired out from hiking before we did, they had activities they could do while we hiked.  Consequently, when the kids got bored and the grandparents got tired, they headed back towards the funicular where there was a nice playground.  While the kids played on the playground, Jake, myself, my brothers and my sister-in-laws decided to hike into the woods and off the paved path.


The paths through the woods were incredibly beautiful.  In some places, it reminded me of the Valley of the Living Rocks where the trolls resided in Frozen.  You could easily imagine that trolls, witches and fairies inhabited these magical woods.  There was moss on the trees, delicate mushrooms carpeting the forest floor, little structures and fallen trees.

Unquestionably, it was a magical, beautiful place that was also peaceful and serene.  Of course, it didn’t hurt that once we finished our hike we were able to get a nice, hot latte before heading back down the mountain.  We headed back down the mountain to make our way towards Bergen’s tallest mountain Mt. Ulricken. That morning we hiked off the beaten path and were transported into a magical woods that was reminiscent of Narnia. Needless to say, if you’re in Bergen, make a trip to both Mt. Floyen and Mt. Ulricken a priority.

Tonight’s song comes to us from Nirvana and it is “The Many Who Sold the World.”

Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge – Weather

Its my first time participating in Cee’s Black & White Photo Challenge and the topic is weather.  I chose this beautiful picture from Quebec City in 2016.  We were there for Peewee Quebec.  Consequently, on one of our last days in the city, our boys were playing the Islanders in an outdoor scrimmage.  As they played hockey outside, they were blanketed by the freshly fallen snow.  The snowfall was the nice, wet and heavy snow that is perfect for making snowballs and snowmen.

Ice Hotel

Ice Hotel

For our Florida kids, the ice hotel in Quebec City was a modern marvel.  Their marvel was short lived as there weren’t a ton of activities for them to do.   Consequently, they ended up having a snow ball fight as the parents traipsed through the ice hotel and its bars.  They served wonderful drinks in glasses made of ice.  Both the hotel and our glasses were only temporary fixtures of the Quebec Countryside.


While the ice hotel melts as winter transitions to spring, it is sure to be back as the arctic air reclaims the region the following fall.  I’m hopeful that my youngest will have the opportunity to play in the Peewee Quebec tournament.  If so, we’ll have the opportunity to return to this beautiful hotel.

If you’re thinking about taking a trip to beautiful Quebec City, which I would definitely recommend.  The hotel offers tours, over night stays and will even host your wedding.   You can book a room or a tour of the Ice Hotel (Hotel de Glace) here.

I am a neophyte to the daily photo challenge, but I look forward to posting more photos in the coming weeks.

happy birthday Goalielocks

Happy Birthday Goalielocks

Happy Birthday Goalielocks!  Today you’re 14 years old and I cannot believe how quickly time has flown by.   You’re a good egg and the perfect panacea to my bad days.  As you grow older, may your heart stay big and loving and may your mind stay open and curious.  Never stop challenging old assumptions or challenging yourself to be better, smarter and stronger than you are today.

“I never want this to go unsaid,
So here in this poem is for it to be said.
There are no words to express how much you mean to me,
A son like you, I thought could never be.
Because the day you were born, I just knew,
God sent me a blessing- and that was you.
For this I thank Him every day.

You are the true definition of a son, in every way.
It is because of you that my life has meaning.
Becoming a mom has shown me a new sense of being.
I want you to know that you were the purpose of my life,
Out of everything I did- it was you that I did right.
Always remember that I know how much you care,
I can tell by the relationship that we share.
For a son like you there could be no other,
And whether we are together or apart,
Please do not ever forget-
You will always have a piece of my heart.”

by Valerie Capasso

On Top of the World

On Top of the World

On top of the world in Bergen, high upon the city’s highest peak of Mt. Ulriken, the boys and I hiked with their aunts and uncles as the Mayor, the grandparents and my hubby waited at the overlook.  The Mayor, who had injured himself on Mt. Floyen, reluctantly sat out the challenging and rigorous hike to the peak.

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The hike was challenging, but rewarding.  As we neared the peak, a Norwegian Air flight soared closely over our heads as it approached Bergen’s main airport.   On top of the world in Bergen, there were running trails, multiple hikes and even a farm with sheep.  It would be wrong to be atop a mountain in Norway and not see sheep or goats.  Truly, it would be unnatural.

From our vantage point, we could see all of the beautiful city of Bergen. Far in the distance, you can see where the Norwegian land meets the north sea.   The city of Bergen is nestled between seven mountains on the Byfjorden (also known as the city fjord.)  Between the beautiful city and the North sea, there are several islands that protect Bergen from the harsh North Sea.  Undeniably, I cannot wait to explore those when we return to Hordaland.

There’s something soul cleansing about being on top of a mountain.  2017 has been a devastating year of unfathomable loss, but here atop the mountain we found peace  Moreover, in the peace and solitude of the moment, the beauty of our surroundings became a profound reminder of the beauty of life.  Unfortunately life, as much as we would like it to be pain free, is not without its rocky patches.   However, it is these rocky patches that made our time in Norway together so richly rewarding.

Albert Einstein, thanks to the internet and memes, has been credited with some great quotes.  In this instance, one of his quotes (and it is actually his) comes to mind.  “Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.”  From atop the world in Western Norway, I sat amazed at the symbiotic relationship between the Norwegians and their land.

It is experiences like this that I love sharing with my kids.  These are the types of experience that broaden their world by exposing them to new worlds.  While they enjoyed the hike and the time with their family, they unknowingly broadened their circle.  Moreover as a mom, there’s nothing I enjoy more than sharing the beauty of our world with my boys.  I cannot wait to explore new places with them.

It begins

And So It Begins

And so it begins, after much anticipation Irma and her nasty weather are here!  We’ve been able to enjoy time outside with the neighbors today before the storm and in between the feeder bands.  I can’t say enough about how amazing our neighbors are, but we are super lucky.

I had to laugh when I walked out earlier today and the neighborhood men were taking turns riding the dirt bike.  No better time to learn how to ride than during a hurricane!  Life is all about making lemonade from the lemons and that’s truly what we’ve been doing.


While the adults played on the bike, the kids were indoors.  Interestingly, the kids came back outside after the dirt bike was put away.  They love playing football.  In between the rain bands, and even during them, the boys were playing football with their neighborhood friends.  It was a godsend for the kids to have a chance to burn off some of their energy.  We are all getting stir crazy inside and the storm has barely just begun.  We’ve been trying hard to overcome the boredom all day.

We’ve had several tornado warnings already tonight, but have not lost power as of yet.   As long as I can post and film, I will continue to do so.  To all my readers in Florida, please stay safe and godspeed!