Memorial Day 5k

Better late than never, last Monday Jake, the Mayor and I ran the Memorial Day 5k.   This was my third race since being cleared to work out again.  Although I’m not sure my doctor will be thrilled when I tell her about it Tuesday, but we shall see. She did after all give me the clearance to exercise…

Race morning, I was filled with the usual pangs of regret as my alarm went off last Monday for the Memorial Day 5k.  After all it was 5:05 am and usually I’d get up, take my Synthroid and go back to bed for another hour or two before finally crawling out of bed. Meanwhile the bookends and I headed to Boca by 5:45 am to get our run on.  Fortunately, or unfortunately, this run started at 7:00 am, which sounds early, but is the only way to beat the South Florida heat.

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The run itself went really well.  Fortunately, there were no bridges to contend with like in the Mamacita Mimoas 5k two weeks ago.  The Mayor went out guns blazing, which is never a recipe for success when running distance.   We ended up running together for the first two miles before I ended up pulling away.  I was thrilled that I was able to complete mile 1 in less than 10 minutes.   It felt like a huge accomplishment.

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Mile two was slower, but not by too much.  It was difficult and the water stations kind of through of my mojo a bit.  They had stations every half a mile, which is nice, but it slows you down a bit.  By mile three, however, I was struggling.  In fact, an old guy with a limp, who was power walking the race passed me as we approached mile 3.  I cannot tell a lie: that was quite the hit to the pride.  I was resolute, however, that I would finish before him come hell or high water.  In the end, I had enough in the tank to finish before him and 2 two minutes faster than the previous weekend’s 5k.  Yay!

I quickly found Jake post race as he waited for me at the finish line.  The Mayor, however, took another four minutes to cross the finish line.  Apparently, he had made a friend along the course and took to socializing instead of running.  Nonetheless, he still covered the 3.1 miles and logged some decent cardio.  Afterwards, we waited for the mile run to finish, so we could watch Jake get his award for taking second place in his age group.  As for the Mayor and me, we were just happy to get our finisher pie.  We then headed home with our three finisher apple pies because that’s exactly what you need after a hard fought race.

Here’s our gear:
Shoes brought to you by Asics – my go to running shoe.  I love my Gel Kayanos and am on my fourth pair.  They’re the perfect shoe for serious runners.  My little man loves his Asics GT1000.  

My running pants and shirt: Call by Carrie Underwood Shop at Dicks Sporting Goods

20% OFF ENTIRE ORDER with code: WELLNESS20. Plus Free Shipping over $45! Pharmaca.com. Coupon Code: WELLNESS20

 

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Three Games, Two Rinks and One Tired Mama

It was a three games, two rinks and one tired mama kind of Sunday.  Our day started with a relatively early U16 game against Panthers Red at 10:15.  Concurrently, I was at Glacier in Pompano for the Mayor’s 11:30 schedule.  Of course, you have to be there an hour earlier, so you’re leaving the house a lot earlier than you’d think to get to a 11:30 am game.  This is not aided by the fact that I must have my pre-game Dunkin’, so I built-in additional time for that pit stop.

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Goalielocks had a great first game earning a shut out!  I don’t have many details on the game other than we won, TK had a hat trick and Goalielocks had shutout.  Oh the hardships of the divide and conquer life.  While Goalielocks and his team were marching to victory, the Mayor’s team was off to a somewhat shaky started giving up a goal on the first shift.  Fortunately, they recovered and both goalies closed the door.  The Mayor ended up scoring the third goal off the goalie’s back.  As a goalie mom, I’m not sure how I feel about that, but as the mom of a forward I was quite pleased.   Their team ended up with a decisive 4-1 victory.

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It wouldn’t be February, however, if you weren’t stalking the pointstreak page for all the results in your kids’ divisions.  Goalielocks’ team entered the day in a must win situation. We all were texting all of our contacts to figure out how the games on the West Coast had gone to see our team’s situation shifted.  It didn’t.  This made tonight’s game a playoff game.  Whatever team won the 4:15 pm game would qualify for states.  As a goalie mom with a hyperactive thyroid and a propensity to freak out, this isn’t the game I was looking for tonight.  Thank god for beta blockers.

 

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Our squad came out firing on all cylinders.  They were playing physical, moving the puck and it paid off midway through the first period with a nice goal by MG.  There were plenty of penalties throughout the first and second period with the game calming down somewhat in the third period.  With almost a minute left in the second period, the Hawks put in a shorty on a 2-1 breakaway.  There went my heart rate marching right back up to obscene levels.

Goalielocks’ teammate put in a beautiful goal on a breakaway early in the third.  Ah, yes sweet respite, my heart rate backed off some.   With less than 3 minutes left, the other team pulled the goalie.   There went the heart rate. We ended up getting another penalty, so the last two minutes were played 6 on four.  Oh sweet mother of god, it was the longest one hundred and twenty seconds of my life.  Nonetheless, our squad stood strong til the end.  It was a demanding game and it took a lot to get here.  We’ve had so many injuries, serious injuries that necessitated surgery, that plagued us early and midway through the season.  In the end, their hard work and persistence paid off.  Congratulations Panthers U16 Gold!

I filmed the end of the game on Facebook live and kept filming after the handshake line. It was pretty cool to see how the kids interacted after such a hard-fought game: makes you proud to know them.  In the end, we finally made it home just before or after 7:00 pm.  I’m really not even sure.  Today was a wonderful blur of hockey and rinks.   Thankfully, I was able to get most of the household chores and all of the laundry done yesterday.  Lastly, I head back to my endocrinologist tomorrow and am hoping for some good news, so please keep me in your prayers.

 

Busy Bees

We were busy bees this weekend.  As I write this (while watching Rent Live), my hubby and Goalielocks are on their way home from Kissimmee after two hockey games.  The squad did great today winning both of their games.  On doctor’s orders, I’m doing my best to take it easier than usual, so the Mayor and I skipped the trip.  We were out and about all day yesterday, so I definitely needed to rest today.

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As for yesterday, it was phenomenal.  We were invited to share in one of the Mayor’s teammates Bar Mitzvah’s.  The morning started at the temple at 10:00 am.  This was the hubby and my first experience with the Bar Mitzvah ceremony.  While it was long, we really enjoyed it.  Honestly, we were pretty stoked when we were able to follow along with the Hebrew even if we didn’t understand what was being said.  The rabbi did a great job explaining the different parts of the ceremony and tradition, so the uninitiated like us could understand it better.  It was a beautiful and moving service that we were proud to be a part of.

After the ceremony, we headed over to the Parkland Golf and Tennis Club for the party.  It started with a cocktail hour that featured hors d’oeuvres, a fried rice and stir fry bar to go along with the soda bar for the kids and an open bar for the adults.  #winning The food was amazing, but knowing that a dinner was coming we tried to pace ourselves.  While we enjoyed the hors d’oeuvres, the boys played outside looking for golf balls.

Shortly after the boys headed outside, we had to corral them back in and into the main dinner and party.  The room was beautifully decorated with a hockey and music theme and a blue glow.  Wisely, they sat us unruly hockey parents in the back at the section 8 table.  Fortunately, this table put us right next to the open bar!  Again we were winning!

The party got started the minute we walked into the room with a DJ, a MC and dancers.  Our boys were quickly dancing on the stage with the boy of the hour along with the dancers and MC.   They were having a blast!  Since we had just eaten the yummy fried rice, they didn’t serve us dinner right away.  First, we danced. Then out came the salad or the adults and an amazing buffet for the kids.

Our table had a blast celebrating.  I often found myself on the dance floor, which felt amazing.  I’m sure my doctor would feel differently, but oh well.  I had a blast with my fellow hockey moms dancing away our fried rice.   The entertainment company had two dancers that choreographed the dance floor, which made it a lot of fun.

Eventually, I made my way back to the table when I saw the main course was being brought out.  While the kids ate macaroni and cheese, pizza and sliders, the parents ate filet mignon with demi glace and chicken breast.  The presentation reminded me of the black and white that I order at Egon in Norway.  It was composed of steak au poivre and pork tenderloin with bernaise sauce.  We loved it because you got the best of both worlds just like our meal on Saturday.

In anticipation of dessert, I headed back to the dance floor with my fellow hockey moms. We danced to some great classic rock and some greats hits from today.  When they were ready to serve us dessert, they switched the music to rap.  I was then greeted at my table by a beautiful chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream, fudge sauce and strawberries.  Yummy!  I was filled to the gills with good food and vodka soda.

Naturally, we headed back to the dance floor.   It was then I came across a magical dessert tray.  A unicorn if you will.  I had to stop and take a picture of the waiter.  He was carrying a tray of snack cakes with shot glasses filled with milk.  Yep, it was as amazing as it sounded.  I should say that while we had delicious chocolate cakes and snack cakes, the boys enjoyed cotton candy, ice cream bar and popcorn.  The party was simply amazing!

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By the time we left the party, it was 5:00 pm and we were ready for bed.  As soon as we got home, the hubby and I both took a nap.   Afterwards, we watched Abdul and Victoria which was amazing.  Dame Judi Dench was, as always, marvelous.  I ended my day with a chapter of Proust’s In Search of Lost Time.

Today the Mayor and I hung out at home and had a productive day.  I caught up on laundry, so I’ll savor the fact that at least for a couple of hours.  I also got all the grocery shopping done (thank you Shipt – save $50 on the annual membership with code mFNjp) baked muffins, got a massage, organized my closet and made chili this evening.  It was exactly the kind of productive, low-key day I needed. Now it’s time to relax and enjoy Rent Live before heading back to Proust.

Just Like That

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thursday Eve

It’s Thursday eve, or hump day as we affectionately call it in corporate America. There’s something magical about the promise of a Wednesday.  We’re oh so close to magical Friday afternoon.   In our house, Wednesdays are also the only weekday where we can enjoy dinner as a family.  It’s a nice rarity.  Fortunately for me, the hubby usually has dinner done or in progress by the time I get home.  It’s such a relief to not have to cook.

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I was reminded tonight of the importance of being exceptionally specific when giving teenage boys directives.  Sunday I had asked Goalielocks to bring down all his dirty clothes and towels, so he have clean clothes when school started.  There was one crucial mistake in that sentence: the phrase “when school started.”  Apparently, this freed the way for him to only wash the clothes he needs for this week.

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When going upstairs to find my mouse, I noticed the error of my ways.   His room still look like a clothes/bath towel box had exploded.  Clearly, he hasn’t watched Tidying UP on Netflix.  Or perhaps he misunderstood the directions to put all the clothes on your bed before figuring out what he could part with, but somehow I don’t think that’s the case.  See when raising teenage boys, you have to be exceedingly specific and definitive in your directives.  Moreover, you have to follow it up with turning off the wifi until the chore is done.

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To be fair, both Goalielocks and his older brother Jake do their own laundry, so I can’t complain too loudly about his laundry.  It’s just when Goalielocks does laundry, he only does 10%.  Marie Kondo would lose her mind!  Now for the good news.  With the youngest in seventh grade, I’m a year away from only have to do me and my hubby’s laundry.  That will be an awesome day!

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An update to the thyroid, I’m still hyperactive and there’s inflammation in the gland.  This is part of the process of they thyroid dying, but it’s taking forever and I’m impatient. Due to the thyroid, I’ve been running hot (low-grade fever) for the past several weeks.  My heart rate has come down a bit since last week, which is a relief.  It had a mind of its own last week, so I skipped the trip to Tampa with Goalielocks.  After all if my heart rate Friday was 105 bps sitting at my desk while on beta blockers, my heart rate watching my goalie would have been dangerous.   Good times!

While I wait for the hyperthyroidism to abate, I’m taking it completely easy.  At this point, I’m not even non-aggressively riding my bike.  We’ve had a cold in the house, so I’ve been taking fresh ginger shots with lemon to boost my immune system and reduce inflammation.  It’s amazing how sweet a lemon tastes after drinking ginger.  If you haven’t tried it, I do recommend it.  For my S. Florida peeps, I recommend checking out Juiceberry in Boynton in Deerfield Beach or Smoothie Whirl’d in Boynton and West Palm.  A solid online option is Jus by Julie’s boosters.  When bundled with a cleanse, they’re 30% off through Sunday with the discount code Cleanse30.   Since we’ll be traveling a bit in the coming weeks, it will be easier for me to have them delivered.

 

We Made It

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If you go:

Our restaurant tonight: PolPette

The Ice Bar: Ice Bar by IceHotel Stockholm

Hotel:  https://www.freyshotels.com/

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Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to all the wonderful mothers in my life and the blogosphere!  I spent my Mother’s Day relaxing at home with our boys and puppies.  Hubby made me a wonderful breakfast of crepes, an omelette and some bacon.  It was sinfully delicious!  The crepes were spectacular with cloud berry jam, whipped cream and fresh berries.  On the second crepe, I had blueberry jam that we bought in Norway on it and it was delicious.  I’m not quite sure what we’re going to do when we’re finally out of Norwegian cloudberry and blueberry jelly.  I guess we’ll just have to go back and buy more!

We spent Saturday night at the amphitheater in West Palm for the Alan Jackson show.  To be clear, I’ve never been a country music fan.  In fact, I wasn’t originally planning to go with Goalielocks and the Hubby to the concert.  At least, not until I got the guilt trip from Goalielocks, who reminded me that I had no problem going to the Foo Fighters with Jake. I, of course, reminded him that I love the Foo Fighters….  Nonetheless, I accompanied them to the concert last night.

Fortunately, the weather held out.  I purchased seats under the roof of the amphitheater just in case the meteorologists happened to be right.  They weren’t, but the assigned seats were nice.  We had a great view of the show and weren’t fighting the crowds on the lawns.  As for the show itself, both LeeAnn Womack and Alan Jackson didn’t disappoint.  I’ve heard many of the Alan Jackson songs enough to know the words.  Moreover, they bring back fond memories of my mother-in-law, who enjoyed his music.

While I don’t enjoy their music, I would have had to be deaf to not hear how talented they are.   LeeAnn Womack has some lungs!  Surprisingly, that’s not even the Tito’s lemonade talking.  They were legit.  I’m not converting to country, but enjoyed spending the evening with two of my guys.

We faced time my mom and grandma today to wish them a very, happy Mother’s Day.  It would have been nice to be up in Minnesota with all of them.  After a late night last night, we decided not to do to brunch on the water.  This decision was reinforced by the weather outside, which brought us heavy rains all day.  Apparently, there’s a low pressure system of the southwest coast of Florida that may develop into a tropical system.  Oh joy!

It’s time to head off to bed and recharge the batteries before starting another crazy week.  To all the mother’s out there, I hope you had a wonderful day.  To the beautiful mother’s in our lives, who have felt the excruciating pain of losing a child, today we send you our love and strength.  Lastly, for those whose mother’s have passed, today we send love your way.

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.

 

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! I hope your Christmas was as wonderful as you had hoped.  Ours started early, but thankfully not too early.  The Mayor woke us up shortly before 8:00, which is a lot later than it used to be. Back in the day, the boys would wake us up well before 7:00 am.  My friends and family know how little I enjoy waking up early, so the super early Christmas wake up calls were tough!

Unquestionably, Christmas is much more meaningful as a parent.  Its not that I don’t like getting gifts; its just that giving them is so much better.  In our house, opening gifts happens like a hurricane as the boys tear open their gifts.  This year their Christmas lists were markedly smaller than previous years.  Although they did include some interesting items like: a teacup pig, a puppy, a tegu, a bearded dragon, and a MacBook.  Unfortunately, there was no teacup pig or puppy under the tree this year.

After they opened their gifts, the Hubby and I got to work preparing for brunch.  He made his famous Cholesterol Bake (totally worth every calorie,) while I finished my caramel rolls and started the bacon.   Additionally, we had to get our drink bar ready.  We had plenty of OJ and champagne/asti for mimosas.  Moreover, this year we added a coffee bar, so my bro brought cold brew coffee and we paired it with Bailey’s and/or Ciroc French Vanilla vodka.  To the uninitiated, the coffee (we used Stok) with Bailey’s and vodka is smooth and absolutely sublime.

While I finished cooking the 85 lbs of bacon and rolls, the boys played show and tell with their menagerie.  They were more than happy to share their animals with our guests.  After showing off Lil’ B (our little beardie,) Goalielocks and the Mayor brought down their two chameleons.  Surprisingly, Goalielocks was able to get the normally shy chameleons to eat in front of company.  Of course it’s a bit of a show when the chameleons eat.

Fortunately, all of the food turned out awesome.  Surprisingly, we didn’t end up in a food coma after eating copious amounts of caramel rolls, cholesterol bake and bacon.  Once brunch was done, the boys headed outside to play football.  Unlike Minnesota, which was -5 this morning, we were balmy in the 70s this morning.  For paintball we were in the low 80s, but without too much humidity.

This year we went to paintball a little later with a 1:00 pm start time.  Unlike years past, the paintball place was completely crowded with groups of uninitiated paint  ballers.  We’ve done this for several years on Christmas not to mention the numerous birthday parties the boys have attended.   Nonetheless, I have zero patients for morons who shoot randomly when not on the field or take their masks off on the field.  Darwin would have been proud!

Straightaway, after getting our guns, we headed to the far fields away from the crowds.  We had the far fields to ourselves for over an hour before a couple of the inexperienced and not so bright groups came on over.  Despite the ineptitude of the people around us, we managed to have a good time.

Our group was pretty small, so we stuck to the smaller fields.  We split up the teams a number of different ways to make interesting throughout the day.   The adults took it to the kids several times, but don’t worry they got us back.  Both the Mayor and Goalielocks have their own guns, which are far more powerful than the rental guns.  Both took me out several times from afar.  I didn’t even have a chance since my gun couldn’t shoot that far.

In one round, Jake, Brandi and I played against my brother and my two younger kids.  My brother came running across the field, thinking there was cover (there wasn’t) and all three of us shot him simultaneously.  Whoops!  Thank goodness my brother is a good sport!

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Between rounds, we Face-timed my parents from Paintball and was able to speak to everyone there, which was awesome.  I definitely miss seeing my family and extended family this time of year.  I have many cherished memories that  I have from holidays spent with my grandparents and extended family.  My hope for my boys is they cherish the traditions we’ve started that put a premium on time spent together having fun.

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Post-paintball we headed home and ordered some friend rice and chicken teriyaki.   Tonight we’re going to watch a movie on NetFlix and relax.  Unfortunately, tomorrow is Tuesday and not a holiday meaning most of us will be back at work.  Can you hear the collective boo?  I’ll leave you tonight with my favorite Christmas song.  This song performed by Mariah Carey is “All I Want For Christmas is You.”

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve is here and almost gone.  Today was hectic and we rushed to finish our last minute shopping and preparations for Christmas day.  I think the boys will be happy with what they’re getting, but we’ll see.  Truthfully, I had hope to spend more money on experiences or even a trip than gifts.  Oh well, there’s always next year.  Its probably a shift that’s easier to make gradually than in one fell swoop.

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In addition to last minute errands, I had (and still have) a lot of baking today.  I made another round of mint cookies today in addition to krumkakes and toffee candies.  Fortunately, all three of the items turned out really good.  As I write this, I’m starting to make the main star of tomorrow’s brunch — the caramel rolls.  Ah yes, no less than 1,000,000 grams of carbs and sugar in these beauties, but they’re completely worth it.   Honestly, all calories on Christmas should be free, I think Santa would totally agree.

Krumkakes are a traditional Norwegian cookie that I was excited to try making this year.  After all, I have both cloud berry and blueberry jam from Norway to pair with the cookie, so now is the perfect time.  In order to bake said cookies, however, I had to order a krumkake iron.  I opted for a new school plug and play model versus the old school iron you heat up over a burner.  I think we can all agree that nothing good would come from me using an old school iron.

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The dough is quite simple to make.  You can use either vanilla or almond extract to flavor the cookie  Today I used vanilla as that is what I had on hand.  Once the dough has been mixed up, you bake one cookie at a time on the iron.  These cookies cook quite quickly albeit individually.  Moreover, once they come of the iron, you need to shape them around the cone to get their famed conical shape.

My first attempt at shaping a krumkake was lackluster, but I had also overcooked the cookie.  After the first couple of cookies, I got the process down pat.  You can definitely bake these cookies by yourself.  However, it would be easier to an assistant help shape the cookies once they come off the iron.

After all the baking, we headed to my brother’s house for some games, movies and appetizers.  Before though I had to make a pit stop at Walgreen’s for some whipped cream and dollar bills.  I had no cash on me and we needed singles, so we could play Left Right Center at Jon’s.  You can only imagine the look the clerk gave me when I asked for my change ($20) is singles, but I digress.

We quickly ate our appetizers once we got to Jon’s, so we could start playing Left Right Center.  Goalielocks didn’t want to spend any money (even though I was funding), so he manned the music tonight.  Per usual, the game was not mild.  Both the Mayor and Jake ended up winning two games, while both Brandi and I won a game.  Throughout the games, the Mayor was full of witty one-liners.

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Once the money dried up, it was time for krumkakes.  I served them with whipped cream and either blueberry or cloud berry jam.  They were absolutely heavenly.  Moreover, I forgotten how much I loved the Norwegian jam.  I have yet to find either cloud berry jam or a good blueberry jam stateside.  When my family goes in January, I hope they bring some more back for us. Hint, hint…..

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Now it’s off to finish wrapping presents and baking caramel rolls.  Tonight’s song performed by Mariah Carey  is “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.”