Post Grad Let Down

Since we’ve been back from San Antonio, I’ve been experiencing somewhat of a post grad let down.  After eight weeks of hyper focus on Jake’s progress through BMT and regular updates from my Facebook support groups those days are over.  There isn’t a daily support group for Tech School like there is for BMT.  Fortunately, there is a base group, which I found to be quite helpful.  Tech school is a much different journey than BMT and is more individualized.

As for graduation weekend, it was the most incredible weekend of my life.  The first day began super early with the Airmen’s run.  I know I wrote it about it before, but it was just so cool that I had to mention it again.  I loved seeing Jake running with his flight and singing the Jodies as he jogged. Being on base was just as cool.  Lackland is ginourmous! (Is that even a word?). Afterwards, we watched him become an airman during the coin ceremony.  Before the beginning, there were fight jets and cargo planes taking off and flying over the base, which was wicked cool.

On Friday, we watched the Airman’s Parade, which is when the training squadrons pass by command in formation to be reviewed.  It was such a neat event.  Unfortunately, it was super cold and windy, so we were a bit uncomfortable as the wind whipped against our backs.  Fortunately, for Jake the wind was not as bad on the actual field.  I absolutely loved the parade, in spite of the cold, and was so proud watching my new airman and his wingman on the parade field.

The whole weekend everyone was nice.  Everywhere we went people were nice and happy.  It’s crazy when you think about how much time you spend in line, traffic, how crowded the base was and the tight timelines you’re dealing with.   Amazingly, the happiness and pride that comes with seeing your Airman again and watching them graduate BMT, seems to put everyone in a permanently positive mood.  Even when my hubby purposely took up two parking spots in order to ensure my brother would get a spot, nobody batted an eye.  The only comment was on how smart he was for parking that way.  It is such a unique and uplifting experience!

The first time I saw my Airman’s graduation picture, I cried with pride and joy.  He looks so grown up and confident.  Seeing him in uniform all weekend was incredible.   The transformation he underwent in the 8.5 weeks at Lackland was absolutely amazing.  He left us nervous and anxious.  When we got him back for the weekend, he was happy, confident, self assured, decisive and disciplined.  Thankfully, he made a lot of friends on his BMT journey that will be his friends for life.  I loved seeing him interact with his wingmen.   Knowing and personally witnessing that he is where he belongs was beyond comforting to my hubby and I.

Of course the best part of the weekend was spending time with my Airman and our family.  His girlfriend M travelled with us for the weekend.  Can I tell you how much we enjoyed our time together?  Can I tell you how much I loved seeing my son and his girlfriend together?  Seeing their love and support for each other through the weekend was the stuff mother’s dream about.  I love them together!

Our time off base was well spent hanging out with the grandparents, Uncle Jon and Aunt Brandi and of course J&M2 (my nickname for Jake and his girlfriend- they’re J&M2 because my bro and sister in law are the original J&M.). We played Phase10, Uno, took a trip to the Alamo.  It is small, but the grounds are beautiful.  Friday night we had a wonderful lunch/dinner on Riverwalk.  Everyone was so nice!  They treated Jake like a king!  People were constantly thanking and recognizing Jake for his service and commitment to our country.  Saturday’s food was the ultimate in “everything is bigger in Texas” maxim.  We had a 3 pound cinnamon roll and an 37 inch diameter pizza.  Both were as tasty as they were large.  I’ll write more about that in a future post dedicated to why you should visit San Antonio.  I loved San Antonio!

Nonetheless,  grad week is over and the adrenaline is gone.  I loved my weekend so much and the tap out of my airman was priceless.  There is a lot of worry when your child is in BMT because there’s minimal contact.  That first time you see and speak to them after BMT is magical.  Now he’s in Tech School and there’s still a lot of worry, but also relief in being able to speak with him regularly.  So well I may be suffering from the post grad let down, I am beyond proud of my son and happy that he has found his place in the greatest Air Force this world has ever known.   We are so proud to be Air Force parents!

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Detroit Weekend

Our Detroit weekend has absolutely epic. We ran into a bit of a snafu getting the rental car, but they were able to upgrade us into a vehicle that could actually fit our luggage and handle the snow. Victory! Our hotel was about twenty minutes west of the airport of of I-94. Fortunately, our hotel was on a golf course overlooking Ford Lake, which made for beautiful vistas.

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The weather when we landed was chilly, but not terrible. Our first game was at Yost Arena one the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor. I found the arena to be beautiful, but quite a bit smaller than Mariucci Arena at the University of Minnesota. Unfortunately, the boys didn’t play their best hockey and we fell to the Gulf Coast Flames. The irony here, of course, was that we flew all the way to Michigan to play another Florida team.

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As we left the arena, the flurries had begun. In the overnight hours, the storm that had battered Minnesota, dropped eight inches of snow in Michigan. The golf course was absolutely beautiful. Growing up there was nothing better than looking out my backdoor and seeing the pristine, newly fallen snow. Saturday morning those memories came back as I gazed out over the freshly fallen snow covering the hotel grounds.

Thankfully, the roads had been cleared by the time we left for the Mayor’s game. Again it didn’t go great, but was a better effort than Friday night. The weather was perfect with temperatures in the 30s all day long. We enjoyed a quick late lunch at the hotel. That evening we were headed into downtown Detroit to see the Florida Panthers take on ten Detroit Redwings.

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So I had a great rental car, but I didn’t want to drive into downtown Detroit. Clearly, it’s on the list of cities I never want to get lost in. Consequently, I opted to ride with the assistant coaches in their large van (aka Frenchy’s bus.). They had window decals made with the Panthers logo and Frenchy’s and they were on fully display. I had to make fun of them both for being dorks except for….

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When we got to downtown and came to a barricade, our driver rolled down the window to ask security where we should go to find parking. The security guard, seeing the logos, waived us through the barricade. Consequently, we parked right in front of the stadium next to the police van. We all swore on all things holy that the can would be towed while we watched the game.

As for the game, there were some shenanigans with a guy from Windsor. That story from our Detroit weekend, however, will take up a full blog post. The boys had a fabulous time and the Cats brought home the W. Now it was crunch time, would the van still be there? Would there be a ticket on the windshield? How much would an Uber be from downtown to our suburban golf course?

We made our way out of the stadium anxiously awaiting our collective fate. The boys raced to where we parked. Alas, victory was ours and the van was still there. A new problem presented itself, however, in that all the pedestrian traffic leaving the stadium was in the alley where we parked.

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I envisioned us sitting there for hours waiting for the pedestrian traffic to clear. We finally caught a quick break in the traffic and we were able to pull out of the parking spot. No sooner had we pulled out of the spot, when the police cruiser parked near us turned on it’s lights. We were accepting in our fate. Obviously, we were about to get a ticket. Or not… Shortly after the cop put his lights on, he escorted us out of the alley and through the roads of Detroit. That’s right folks we had a police escort leaving the stadium!

The boys were over the moon excited as we ere escorted back to I-94 by the police car. Truly, us parents were also over the moon. What an experience to share with our boys and each other! It was so incredible how it all unfolded. Hockey trips can be expensive, but these moments that create incredible shared memories are what it is all about. I’m incredibly lucky to share this experience with my son.

Of course, Sunday brought more hockey and some hockey drama. The Mayor forgetting one skate at the hotel is going to be it’s on post. In the end, our weekend in Michigan was pure magic. As a hockey mom, I can’t think of any other place I’d rather be than with my kids at a hockey tournament. After all, it only last last for a short time.

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It’s Test Day

It’s test day here in sunny, but chilly for us South Florida. When I woke up this morning, exhausted from the weekend on the road, I was trying to think of every valid reason why I shouldn’t run or workout today. Truly, I was exhausted and couldn’t imagine the thought of pounding the pavement for two miles.

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Fortunately, coffee solved my motivation problem and I quickly changed my mind. After all, the weather was undeniably perfect for a run. While the weather conditions were perfect, my run was not. My time was improved over last week and the first mile felt pretty good. I ended up chopping a minute off of last week’s time. It may have something to do with the great Metallica riffs I was enjoying.

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Unfortunately, I still have 2.5 minutes to chop off my time.The one drawback of the run was me. Sadly, I have some soreness in my knees after yesterday’s dash through DTW (Detroit airport.) Apparently, when you return a rental car, you are also supposed to return the keys. Of course, I didn’t discover the keys in my purse until I got to my gate A12.

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I called Hertz, who instructed me to give the keys to the shuttle driver. That was all I needed. I left my stuff with my Mayor and booked it back to the ground transportation area. I only had about 20 minutes before they started boarding. Honestly, it felt great to run after a couple of rest days.

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In the end, I made it to the shuttle, back through security and back to my gate in less than 20 minutes. The only snafu was having to get patted down by security since my back was now so sweaty. Clearly, I apologized to the TSA officer for having to deal with me and my sweatiness. She replied that it was okay and that she’s seen much worse. So much for picking up a pre-flight Starbucks. It kind of felt like I was in a movie.

In the end, I knew I was taking a calculated risk in running today. After all, we ended out trip in Michigan with some White Castle sliders on Eight Mile Road. I know what you’re thinking and you’re right. It’s absolute insanity to eat White Castle before hopping on a flight.

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Thankfully, the Mayor and I are accustomed to the burgers, so I felt the risk was minimal. However, running a significant distance the morning after could be categorized as either brave or stupid. Spoiler alert, I survived the run with no intestinal issues.

Needless to say there’s no place like home. My skin is thrilled to be back in a place with humidity. Meanwhile, I’m ready to continue with the solid workout routine I’ve created. I’ll devote probably a couple posts to our weekend in Detroit because it was that awesome. I had aspirations of posting everyday, but the schedule and my energy level suggested differently.

So final test results for week 3: 16:51 for 1.5 mile run, 15 pushups and 28 sit-ups! Clearly, I have room for improvement. Next week, I should hit the sit-up number. The run, however, is going to take a few more weeks. Lastly, please keep our airman in your prayers!! It’s test day for him as well and this week is critical!

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On The Road Again

We’re on the road again! The Mayor and I are on a bird headed to Michigan for a weekend of hockey. This will be my first hockey tournament experience in Michigan, so I’m excited to see something new. As we speak, we’re currently cruising at 36,000 feet and I just finished the Downtown Abbey. I know I’m totally late to that party, but the movie was wonderful.

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Meanwhile my Mayor is excited that the landscape will be transformed into a winter wonderland with a big snowstorm tomorrow. I, on the other hand, am not excited to have to drive in a snowstorm. Part of the reason I moved to Florida in the first place was snowstorm avoidance, yet here I am! Hurray!!!

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The weekend is coming and that means another WOT is winding down for Jake. I can’t believe he’ll be starting WOT 6 on Sunday. Next week he’ll take both the written and physical tests that determine if he’ll pass BMT. Please keep him in your prayers as he and his squadron move into this challenging week. I’ll be posting updates of our trip throughout the weekend. To all those traveling this holiday weekend, please stay safe!

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Down to the Wire

We’re down to the wire in our countdown to Jake’s departure for the Air Force. Honestly, it still feels completely surreal. I had a hard time sleeping last night after a crazy day of amped up hockey and emotions. Reading Crime and Punishment before bed isn’t helping my sleep either. Last night, however, I was in an anxious space between sleep and being awake. It’s just a lot to process.

My alarm for synthroid is set for 5:00 am, so I didn’t need to set a separate alarm for the Mayor’s games today. Unfortunately, when I got out of bed it was clear that another early start to a really long day wouldn’t work for my body. I went back to sleep, but still couldn’t find a peaceful sleep.

I got my Dunkin’ and headed to Kohl’s this morning to do some Christmas shopping. Fortunately, I essentially had the store to myself and was in and out in minutes. The store was also fully stocked, so I was able to pick up some great gifts. After Kohl’s I took drove Jake to Mel’s, so they could celebrate Christmas together.

We met Mel, Jake and the Florida aunts and uncles for lunch at ZinBurger at the Boca mall. By some miracle of god, I was able to find parking in short order. This was a win since the snow birds driving 30 mph doubled our drive time. The burgers (gluten free bun), fries and coffee were absolutely fabulous.   My favorite part was definitely the french fries, which came as a charitable sized side order.   Next time, however,  I’ll opt to forego the bun instead of getting the gluten free one.  The restaurant was nice and not too pricy. It as the perfect venue for lunch. In hindsight, it might have been a good idea to separate Uncle Jon and Goalielocks as there were lots of shenanigans coming from them.

Meanwhile on the west coast, my Mayor played two great games. His squad came through with two critical win. They’re now in first place in their division. Happily, my fellow goalie mom Erica broadcasted the entirety of the Mayor’s second game. It was awesome that I was able to watch it live. I love watching that kid and his squad play!

Goalielocks has spent the day cleaning his room in anticipation of moving into his new digs later this week. With Jake leaving for basic, Goalielocks is super anxious to move into the bigger room. Unfortunately for him, I won’t let him move into his new room until his old one is clean.

As I enjoy my hibachi leftovers from lady night, Jake and Mel went back for more this evening.  It’s hard to believe that tonight will mark the last night Jake sleeps at home until after trade school. He’ll be spending the tomorrow night in a hotel near MEPs.  We’ll be driving down as a family to have a dinner with him after he finishes processing. Tuesday morning the hubby and I will head back to Miami to watch him take the oath of enlistment. From there , he’ll depart for basic training and this hockey mom will become a military mom.

Countdown clock: two days (can’t believe we’re down to the wire!)

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Adventure Home

Our adventure home was one for the books.  We were quite fortunate that DorianHurricane, hockey and airports stayed offshore, but it gave us quite the scare with the cone of death showing a direct hit into Palm Beach county.  Unfortunately, the Northwestern Bahamas took a direct hit from the devastating category five storm.

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While the media was whipping up mass hysteria about a possible Florida landfall, Goalielocks and I were safe in Worchester, MA.  Our only complication came once the airports in South Florida started to close.   Fortunately, I was able to rebook our tickets with a brief pit stop in Minny.  Of course, leaving Worchester was complicated by weather in the area causing an almost two-hour departure delay.  This was compounded by a ground stop that was lifted shortly after we landed in Detroit.  Sadly, we missed out flight after sprinting through DTW.  We sat at the gate as the agent refused to open the door even as I received notifications that our bags had been loaded onto the MSP bound bird.

To say I was upset may have been a bit of an understatement.  It makes sense to not hold planes for passengers, I understand how that impacts operations downstream and flight connects for fellow passengers.  However, when it’s the last flight of the night some consideration should be given to connective passengers whose landings had been delayed.  Alas that’s not Delta’s policy or practice.  After waiting in line for thirty minutes to get our new boarding passes and hotel room, the not so patient or kind agent told us to go stand in line at the customer service desk at A43.  Cheese and rice, I was about to blow a gasket.

We paraded down to A43 only to overhear a woman requesting a new flight and a hotel room after falling ill with an asthma attack well running to her gate.  The supervisor was quite kind and set her up with a room at the nearby Embassy Suites. It was our turn next and I explained our adventure and the commitment to providing a hotel room I had already obtained from corporate.  She balked at first but softened throughout the conversation and ultimately gave us a complimentary room at the Embassy Suites.

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Before heading to catch the shuttle, we picked up some Chic-Fil-A.   There was nothing more satisfying than some fresh and hot fries.   We made our way down to the shuttle area and secure our seats on the Embassy Inn shuttle.  As we checked into the hotel, the asthmatic women was checking in at the next counter.  No sooner had she finished the check-In process, when she asked the hotel staff where the smoking area was.  Goalielocks and I looked at each other and I motioned for him to stay quiet.  As soon as she walked away, he noted that it was no surprise that she, as a smoker, would have had some difficulty when running.

 

The accommodations were perfect for their purpose.  We quickly ate our dinner, called home and went to bed.  Sadly, we had a 5:00 am wake up call for our flight into Minny.  The hotel had a wonderful allotment of sundries, which was quite helpful since all of our luggage was on its way to Minnesota.  

I was a bit worried about security in Detroit, but those fears proved unfounded when we found ourselves in line with 3 other people at 5:45 am.  Fortunately, it allowed us time to grab both Starbuck and Chic-Fil-A.  Our flight was uneventful.   I watched Rocket Man and quite thoroughly enjoyed it.  Despite little issues that morning I was still worried that our luggage didn’t make it, or it would be long wait.  Fortunately, my fears were proved unfounded as the baggage clerk had pulled our bags and set them out for us as soon as we landed.  We were both relieved that our luggage arrived without issue.

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It was great to be home if only for twenty-four hours.  We got to my folks’ house relatively quickly and. I was able to wash our clothes and check out the gardens.  After starting the laundry, we went to pick up my Grandma T for a quick lunch at Culver’s.  It was great to see her again.  Afterwards, we took her home and made our way to my Grandma H’s house.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to see her when I was home in July, so this was a great opportunity to see her.   We visited with her for about a half hour before heading home.  Unfortunately, Goalielocks and I were quite tired and not feeling the best.IMG_2007

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Goalielocks was asleep before we made it home.  It’s a mere fifteen-minute drive from my Grandma’s house to my parents’ home.  Once we got home, he went to take a nap.  I completed the laundry and then went to read my book.  I was able to read a chapter before I too fell asleep.   When Goalielocks woke up he still wasn’t feeling great . Consequently,  my Mom and I went to Target to get gatorade, medicine and some dinner.   She even got me some potato wedges that she owed me from last month.

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The next morning, we left early for the airport due to road construction.  MSP airport is also experiencing long waits at security due to construction at the airport.   The waits at TSA had been several hours over the course of the summer.   Goalielocks and I lucked out! We made it through in fifteen minutes, which gave us too much time to shop at MSP.  Our adventure home was finally complete when we landed in Florida Wednesday afternoon. All in all, it was quite the adventure home.

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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!

They’re Back From Quebec!

They’re back from Quebec!!! Thankfully, their early departure from Quebec City got them out before the snowfall started. I figured the big storm that hit the Midwest earlier this weekend would hit the Quebec area today. Luckily, we booked super early flights. Even so they were delayed an hour getting out of Montreal.

The later arrival gave me more time at the gym this morning. I feel like I’m fighting a sinus infection. Since I had no fever and no symptoms below the chest, I opted to hit the gym. I put in thirty minutes on the elliptical and was able to do 4.5 miles in that time. Happily, I can report my knees have improved dramatically week over week. Yay!!!!

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After finishing my run on the elliptical, I made it leg day at the gym. My knees feel much better, but I was careful to pick exercises that did not hurt my knee. I would usually do single leg cable kicks on leg day, but that brought too much discomfort to the knees. Consequently, I skipped the exercise.

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After my workout, I headed to the airport to pick up my boys. It was exciting to watch them land and taxi as I was driving down Southern towards the airport. I quickly parked, as quickly as one can when snow birds are involved, in the short term parking and headed into the terminal.  Fortunately, they were quickly off the plane and so were their bags. Yay! The Mayor wanted Wendy’s, but that was a hard no from both of us. Everyone was exited to see them back home especially the puppies.

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Unfortunately, my hubby had the distinct pleasure of getting to work on the broken items list right away. He immediately tackled the garbage disposal and was able to fix it quickly. Thank goodness! Next up was the air condition. I was pretty sure it was the capacitor that crapped out. Turns out I was right!! Thank you YouTube. He’ll pick up the part tomorrow, so by tomorrow night we should be in the business. Woohoo! It’s great to have him home!

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The rest of the afternoon we spent relaxing and baking. I made my first attempt at an “easy Kouign-Amann” recipe. I’ll be devoting a whole post to it tomorrow. I absolutely loved Quebec City. Moreover, I loved Brittany and Saint Malo. In 2011, we spent some time in Brittany and saw where Cartier sailed from when he discovered Quebec and the Saint Lawrence Seaway. The Breton influence on Quebec is unmistakable.

Speaking of French, I just finished volume one of Proust’s In Search Of Lost Time. While I wait for Amazon to deliver volume two, I’ve started Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. At this point, I’m only ten chapters into the book, but I’m finding it quite enjoyable. I’m off the read, good night my friends!

Last Day in Quebec

It’s the last day in Quebec for our Florida Bulldogs. They spent the morning at the Ice Hotel right outside the city. When we went in 2016, we were lucky enough to get some snow and see a wedding. From the looks of the pictures, it seems they got some snow this year.

If you’ve never been to an ice hotel or ice bar, it’s definitely worth experiencing once. The beauty of drinks at the ice bar/hotel is they’re always perfectly chilled in their glasses made of ice. As for the kids, they love the hotel’s ice slide. Unlike the Ice Bar in Sweden, the Ice Hotel doesn’t require special gear. Rather you simply enjoy the venue in your regular winter wear.

After the Ice Hotel, they headed to the Patro for lunch before heading back to the hotel. They spent their afternoon at a beautiful park up the hill from the hotel Old Quebec. The rink and surrounding area are absolutely beautiful and the ice is pretty nice. Based on the pictures, it looks like they had a great time.

Afterwards they headed to the rink for the other team’s semi-final game. My Mayor did play by play for the first period, but spent the rest of the game hanging with friends. I couldn’t watch the rest of the broadcast since I was driving to pick up Goalielocks from volunteering.

Unfortunately, our other team lost a tough one and got knocked out of the tournament. Post game they went out for pizza. I have so many question about pizza in Quebec based on the restaurant’s sign. I guess it’s not surprise my hubby opted for a calzone instead of pizza.

Meanwhile, we’re still down an A/C unit, freezer and no garbage disposal. I’m sure my hubby can’t wait to get home tomorrow to fix it all. Needless to say, I can’t wait to have my guys back home!

Last Day in Quebec

It’s the last day in Quebec for our Florida Bulldogs. They spent the morning at the Ice Hotel right outside the city. When we went in 2016, we were lucky enough to get some snow and see a wedding. From the looks of the pictures, it seems they got some snow this year.

If you’ve never been to an ice hotel or ice bar, it’s definitely worth experiencing once. The beauty of drinks at the ice bar/hotel is they’re always perfectly chilled in their glasses made of ice. As for the kids, they love the hotel’s ice slide. Unlike the Ice Bar in Sweden, the Ice Hotel doesn’t require special gear. Rather you simply enjoy the venue in your regular winter wear.

After the Ice Hotel, they headed to the Patro for lunch before heading back to the hotel. They spent their afternoon at a beautiful park up the hill from the hotel Old Quebec. The rink and surrounding area are absolutely beautiful and the ice is pretty nice. Based on the pictures, it looks like they had a great time.

Afterwards they headed to the rink for the other team’s semi-final game. My Mayor did play by play for the first period, but spent the rest of the game hanging with friends. I couldn’t watch the rest of the broadcast since I was driving to pick up Goalielocks from volunteering.

Unfortunately, our other team lost a tough one and got knocked out of the tournament. Post game they went out for pizza. I have so many question about pizza in Quebec based on the restaurant’s sign. I guess it’s not surprise my hubby opted for a calzone instead of pizza.

Meanwhile, we’re still down an A/C unit, freezer and no garbage disposal. I’m sure my hubby can’t wait to get home tomorrow to fix it all. Needless to say, I can’t wait to have my guys back home!