Milestones

Last year was full of major milestones for our family with Jake’s graduation, start of college and the Mayors’ completion of elementary school.  It was a lot of big changes for our family, so much so that I completely forgot about this year’s forthcoming milestones.  Yep, this year Goalielocks will finish middle school and get his learner’s permit.  Whiskey Tango Foxtrot!  Can somebody stop time?

Last month, we completed the choice program application for his high school program.  Like his middle school program, he’s looking to continue in the medical choice program.  I still can’t believe that he’ll be starting high school.  It’s absolutely insane, but the scarier part is that he’ll be driving.

Its scary enough having one teen driver in the house.  Honestly, I’m not sure my heart, stomach and pocket book can handle another teen driver.  I hope my neighbors are prepared as well.  I have a new respect for what my brothers and I put my parents through when we were first driving.  Moreover, in South Florida you have the added worry of your teen driver having to contend with elderly driving and other crazy South Florida drivers.  In good news, once you learn to drive here, I’m pretty sure you could drive anywhere and feel comfortable.

Meanwhile, I started my 14 day vegan meal program that I purchased off of Groupon.   The meal plan from the Vegan Garden comes with 14 breakfast and 14 dinners.  Tonight’s breakfast was a chocolate muffin, which was very yummy.  If I hadn’t bought it as a part of a vegan meal plan, I wouldn’t have known it was vegan.  My dinner was a great dish of spaghetti and “meatballs.”  Fortunately, the spaghetti and meatballs were absolutely yummy.  In addition to being flavorful, the dish was filled with protein.   I complimented these meals with a vegan protein shake for lunch.    After my two-week meal plan is over, I’ll give you a full review and run down on the Vegan Garden meal plans.

Tonight’s song performed by Simon and Garfunkel is “Mrs. Robinson.”  I had to choose a song with the legendary Paul Simon as he announced his farewell tour today.   P..S. The pics are some of my favorites of the boys and my dad from our trip to Norway.  My dad taught my brothers and I how to drive as well as Jake.  I hope he’s ready for his new student Goalielocks!

 

 

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Life In The Box

It was back to a life in the box for me as we headed to Coral Springs for the Mayor’s two games.  It’s never dull in the sin bin that is for darn sure.  I wasn’t that too busy in the first game, but the second game was different.  The first game we got off to a bit of a slow start and ended up losing 5-3.  Certainly, it would have been nice to win that one as it would have sealed a state tournament berth.

While the Hubby headed back north to take Goalielocks to his practed, I stayed in Springs with my Mayor.  We grabbed a quick bite in between games at McDonald’s for him and Dunkin for me.  I needed to ensure I had my pre-game coffee, so I wouldn’t mess up the mojo.  I had drunk my morning coffee at home instead of the rink per usual, so naturally that’s probably what messed up the morning game.  It’s a good thing us hockey moms aren’t superstitious or anything.

I grabbed my coffee and some oatmeal.  It was my first time trying Dunkin’s oatmeal and I have to say it was pretty darn good.  Fortunately, both McDonald’s and Dunkin are close to the rink, so we had no trouble getting back to the rink in time. As we waited around for the game to start, we were discussing our path to the state tournament. If we had won in the morning, we would have qualified.  Since we lost however, our team’s fate was in the hands of another team.  Needless to say, it is always better to be in control of your own destiny.

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As the zambonis took to the ice, I headed over to my place in the sin bin.  As they finished cleaning the ice, both teams and referees were ready to start the game.  I looked around and there was no score keeper to be seen.  Both referees tried to reach someone unsuccessfully to find a score keeper.  Consequently, yours truly ended up being the scorekeeper.

I have to say, I truly sympathize with the scorekeepers now. There’s a lot going on and the whole thing isn’t setup for a lefty.  The refs said I would start the game and not to worry about the penalties and such, but that wasn’t exactly accurate.  If you didn’t put the penalties up, you had to do the backwards math yourself.  No thank you!  Additionally, ladies there’s a reason men don’t like to read instructions.  Most of the time the instructions are poorly written or leave out key steps – as was the case with adding penalties to the clock.

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Fortunately, I had mostly figured it out (penalties included) by the end of the first period.  I am pretty sure, however, that the score sheets are made for people with 20/20 vision and super small and perfect writing.  Sadly, I fall into neither of those categories, which made filling out the score sheet quite the adventure.  By the third period, we were on run time, which made my life a bit easier.  Meanwhile, the Hubby is texting for updates and getting radio silence.   There was no way I could text and score keep all at once.

We ended up winning the game 9-1, but we lost one of our players in the process.  Late in the first, one of our D-men was checked and flew head first into the boards.  Can I tell you how scary that was?  From where we were sitting in the box, we could tell he was out cold.   Unfortunately, he ended up having to be transported to the hospital with a concussion.  It was certainly a very scary situation.  Thankfully, his mom just updated all of us and let us know that he’s home and will be okay.  Thank goodness!

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Post game, we ended up watching another U-12 A game as it would decide our fate.  Like I said, it is always better to decide your own fate than to leave it in somebody else’s hands.  It was nerve wracking and up to 23.7 seconds left in the 3rd it looked like our season would end early.  Only at 23.6 seconds, the Panthers scored a goal and sealed our fate.  Our squad is going to SAHOF!!!!  I couldn’t be happier for this team.  They work so hard and play so hard for each other that it is fun to watch.  Even on their worst days, they have each others’ backs.  I freaking love these kids and families.

Anyway, we’ve been home for almost 3 hours and my toes are still frozen.  Once that cold gets in your bones, it sure does not want to leave.  I’ll be making myself some nice chamomile tea to try and warm myself up.  Tonight’s song performed by PitBull, JLo and Claudia Leitte is “We Are One.”  The Mayor and I listened to this song as we drove back to the rink and it is the perfect song for him and his team.  Plus the hockey dads will like the samba dancers.

 

Hangry

One of my favorite commercials, is the Snicker commercial featuring the Brady Bunch’s Marcia Brady.  Marcia is so hangry that she’s morphed into a big, mean biker dude.  As soon as she takes a bite of her Snickers bar, however, she turns back into the sweet all American girl we know and love.  I’d be lying if I said I was any different.  I would also be lying if I said that food makes me happier than coffee.  I run on Dunkin.

As cranky as I can get when I’m hungry, my younger boys can be absolute curmudgeons.  They’re like an 80 year old man going through puberty.  Quite frankly, it’s ugly.  Like the sour patch in the commercial, he goes from sugary sweet to dastardly sour.

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When we were hiking on the Vindhellavegen section of the Kongsvegen, the Mayor had become hungry.  As we hiked the Sverre hjornevik, one of the most picturesque parts of the trail, the Mayor’s hangriness started to peak.  One problem…  The trail was wide enough, but was gravelly in places. If one were to fall of the side of the road, one would fall into a rocky gorge.  It wouldn’t be a good outcome.

 

The Mayor felt the entire mountainside from Borgund to Husom should know of his discontent.  He was not quiet in sharing his displeasure.  Jake and I trekked to the bottom to see Husom and take pictures, while the Mayor, Goalielocks and the Hubby waited on some benches up the hill.

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We finally made our way back up the trail, which was much steeper on the way up than it had been on the descent.  The Mayor whose hangriness has reached a new level of ludicrousness was beside himself.  His antics were annoying Goalielocks and Jake, leading Goalielocks to ask the Mayor if he could be any louder.  This wasn’t not a good question to ask.  The Mayor started to scream, shout and clap as he did a jig a la GOB from Arrested Development.  Out of breath, I had to stop hiking because I was laughing too hard.

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While the Mayor was attempting to annoy his brothers, the rest of us ended up in hysterics because it was truly the funniest thing we’d ever seen.  This, of course, only made it worse.  It wasn’t until he saw my iphone recording that he started walking normally.  As soon as we got back to the Borgund Stave church and museum, we got him some food.  We couldn’t unfurl the wrapper off the muffin quick enough. Once the food was on board, my sweet angelic Mayor was back.

 

 

Vacation Planning

Vacation planning for families is no joke.  With a trip like that you can’t just plan things willy-nilly.  When planning a big family trip, especially overseas, a lot of careful planning and consideration must go into it.     We took over two years to plan the Norway trip given the cost, length of travel and number of people going.  My brother took point on the itinerary booking the Norway in a Nutshell tour.  Meanwhile, we booked a car and mirrored their stops.

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Renting a car in Norway was fairly easy and was reasonably priced through Hertz when booked with our AAA discount.  Driving in Norway was fairly easy and straight forward.  The roads were significantly narrower and full of roundabouts.  In stark contrast to South Florida, Norwegian drivers were adept at the roundabouts and very congenial drivers.  I didn’t hear a horn once.  Norwegians are serious about their speed limits with speed cameras littering their road ways.  Thank God for Waze and its speed trap warnings.  Waze and Apple Maps worked perfectly in Norway.

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Food is ridiculously expensive in Norway no matter which route you take. MacDonald’s set us back $60 in Bergen and that was fast food.   The lodging, however, was reasonably priced.  Hotels were nice as they often came with a complimentary breakfast that was quite impressive.  Our hotel in Trondheim, the Radisson Blu, had one of the most incredible hotel breakfasts I had ever seen.  The Air BnB’s worked perfectly for our family in Oslo and Bergen.  It was great to stay in the neighborhoods of these cities and away from the tourists.   Near our Air BnB in Bergen there was a great local coffee shop that had the most incredible coffee and treats.

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As I look to our next big trip, a couple of things I will keep in mind.  First, under no circumstance will I accept a compact car at the rental counter- no way, no how.  Secondly, the car was nice as it gave us a great opportunity to see the Norwegian countryside and cities, but it was slow going.  Next time, I think we will look to combine car, train and boat to see more of the country.  Thirdly, I will take out a second mortgage to cover the cost of food.  Lastly, when abroad it is not necessary to eat enough pastries to make up for the last two carb free years.  #lessonlearned

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Road Trip

The road trips in Norway made for some priceless family moments withstanding the many frustrations we experienced.  And by many, I mean three.  We ended up in a compact car for the trip.  Unfortunately, this didn’t afford the boys  much leg room.  You can imagine three boys (18, 13, and 11) trying to fit in the back of a compact car for 7 plus hours.  Unfortunately, there is no room for manspreading in a compact car.

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For the younger two, the trip was particularly difficult as each boy felt the other had more leg room.  The argument got so heated they even broke out math: proportions.  Damn freaking proportions.  I couldn’t help my laughter when one began shouting at the other that their legroom was greater in proportion to their size ergo he should be able to have some of said legroom.  I should point out that this was all occurring as my husband was driving on rainy, mountain road or deep within the bowels of a 15 mile long tunnel.

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With the confiscation of their phones, the fighting subsiding and they started to enjoy the scenery.  This was true of every drive we had in Norway.  Nonetheless, we were always thrilled to get to our destination and out of the car.

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When we got back to Oslo the second time, Goalielock’s and the Mayor’s toothbrush were nowhere to be found.  The joke was we would have to drive back to Stavanger to get them from the hotel where we left them.  Who wouldn’t want to do the 14+ hour drive to Stavanger and back?  Of course we were joking.  However, we had to chuckle when they woke up the next day to ask when the hubby was heading to Stavanger.   Fortunately, we found the missing toothbrushes, which “saved” my hubby a trip.

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Wanderlust

There is no greater gift we can give our children than wanderlust.  Wanderlust is the strong desire to travel and explore the world.    Through travels and adventures our world is broadened and brightened.   The opportunity to see how others live and how similar we all are is a powerful experience.

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I saw this in my own kids as we traveled throughout Norway this month.  At first, my younger two were obsessed with their one McDonald’s trip.  They were concerned that Norwegian food would not be to their liking and they’d starve.  Fortunately, they did not starve.

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As luck would have it, we landed in Stavanger on the last day of Gladmat Fargegata, the largest food festival in Norway.  For dinner that night, we explored the different vendors at the festival.  We tried pizza, spicy tacos, waffles and Pakistani food that was absolutely delicious.

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They finally cashed in their McDonald’s trip at our first dinner in Bergen.  They had sweet potato fries and jalapeno poppers that were out of this world.  While the chicken sandwich I had actually tasted like chicken.  They quite enjoyed their trip to Norwegian McDonald’s and were hoping for at least one more.  We did not give in to their continued McDonald’s craving.  Mostly because we wanted them to eat local Norwegian cuisine, but also because the idea of spending $60 to eat at McDonald’s made me cringe.

My younger two are quite picky eaters, while my oldest Jake is up to try all of the local fare.  We tried a number of sampler platters that showcased local foods like reindeer, whale, mussels, king crab, caviar, fish soup, pork, sausages, duck, and steak.  We didn’t like everything, but at least we tried it.  The Mayor had king crab and caviar in Bergen, which he liked quite a lot.  Goalielocks even tried mussels, whale and reindeer, of which he liked the mussels the most.

By the time we left Norway, their palate and their worlds had opened up a bit.  They enjoyed the Norwegian cuisine, their way of life and especially the Norwegians’ love of dogs.   Now we’re back home wishing we could be back in Norway, but also looking forward to our next adventure.

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The daily prompt was lust, but I felt writing about wanderlust would be better than writing about my lust or desire for Norwegian pastries.

An Unwanted Guest

I saw a video online the other day of an unwanted guest in restaurant on Paris’ Champs D’Elysees.  My least favorite pest, a mouse, was comfortably eating away at a “fresh” sandwich.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t our favorite rodent from Ratatouille.   I  recently travelled and bought pastries from similar cases, which stomach knot up.  It was rodents, rats and rat fleas, that were responsible for the spread of the bubonic plaque.

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Interestingly, the Black Death reached Norway before reaching many parts of Western Europe due to trade routes.  The Hanseatic trade routes played a pivotal role in the Black Death arrival in Norway via Bergen.  Some accounts place the blame squarely on a British ghost ship that ran aground near Bergen with infected rats and infected rats flea.  The Kongevegen, the King’s Road, which travelled from Bergen to Oslo provided a quick path for the plague into west central Norway and beyond.

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Another one of my least favorite unwanted guests is the cockroach.  A palmetto bug, which looks simliar, is enough to send me into a tizzy and running for higher ground.  I see them in our garage occasionally and that is way too much.  I couldn’t take it when they were on display at the Bergen Aquarium.  They’re so gross and also major carriers of disease.

Cousins

Cousins Experiencing Norway Together

One of the best parts of this trip thus far is the time our boys are getting to spend with their cousins X, P and Kai. Since we live in Florida and X & P live in Minnesota and Kai in Seattle, the kids don’t get to see each other nearly as much as they would like to. This is a trip that they’ll savor because of the good times they shared with their cousins.

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breakfast on the fjord

Breakfast on the Fjord

While all my boys are still sleeping, I took the opportunity to enjoy a nice, simple breakfast on the fjord.  Nothing better than a croissant and some strong Norwegian coffee with views of the Aurland Fjord to start my day.

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A Little Side Trip

After a wonderful lunch and visit with our Norwegian relatives, we decided as a group to make a border run since we were so close.  We caravanned our way across the Norwegian-Swedish border and stopped to take a couple of pics. Since we were so close, it made sense to explore Norway’a neighbor.

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