A Wild Saturday Night

Oh it was a wild Saturday night here for our household.  I even got a tattoo before heading to the gastropub Saturday night to watch the Mayweather-McGregor fight.  Okay, never mind that the tattoo is temporary and I got it from an 8 year old.  It’s still pretty awesome.

As we waited for the Kennedy’s sitters to show up, a.k.a. Jake and the Mayor, my BFF gave me a tattoo and tried on my shoes.  My BFF threw on her sisters fashion forward back pack and struck a pose.  She’s cute as a button.  The sitters got there and us amazing adults headed to the pub to watch the fight.

Our reservations said 5:00 pm on Eventbrite, but the fine print said seating could begin at 8:00 pm, but no later than 9:30 pm.  What?  We got there at 8:00 pm obviously not having read the fine print.   Fortunately, not having a table didn’t preclude us from enjoying an adult beverage.  We were not seated until 9:30, but instead of a high top table with no chairs they gave us a nice booth.  #winning

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Batch Gastropub is the latest edition to Delray Marketplace and was having a big bash for the fight. The place was crowded, but as soon as we were seated it didn’t matter.  Our server was amazing.  The food and drinks were on point.  I will never complain when my next round arrives right before I finish my drink.  For dinner, I had a chicken sandwich with Brussels sprouts, while Luke enjoyed the chicken and waffles.  Since I’m keeping my carb intake low and last night’s carbs were reserved for vodka, I opted for Brussels sprouts instead of fries.   In addition, I ate the sandwich off of the bread, but ate no bread.  Its all about priorities and last night Tito’s beat out the bread.

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As for the fight, I was impressed with McGregor.  I don’t know much about boxing or fighting only that it is one of the toughest sports in the world.  While I’m not a Mayweather fan, I also acknowledge he’s the best boxer in the world.   McGregor lasting ten rounds around the world’s best having never been in the ring before?  It was pretty damn impressive.  Both Mayweather and McGregor are amazing athletes and it showed last night.  I’d be curious to see what would happen if it were the MMA ring and not the boxing ring, but I doubt that will happen.

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I was glad that neither fighter felt compelled to pay homage to Tyson by biting someone’s ear off.  The Holyfield-Tyson fight is the last boxing match I had watched until last night.  At the end of the night, our group of friends had a great time enjoying each other’s company and the fight.  Lastly, the best part of the fight?  Unequivocally, the memes leading up to and following the fight.  I leave with you with a few of my favorites.

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Fun at the Bergen Aquarium

This morning the weather was a bit rainy, so hiking the mountain as we had planned was a no go. The old cobblestone roads were slippery enough, I couldn’t imagine how slippery the trail would have been. In lieu of hiking, we took the kids and went to the Bergen Aquarium with my brother and his family. The aquarium was a quick ten minute walk from our place and reasonably priced.

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The aquarium wasn’t huge, but it was perfectly sized.  It had a nice array of animals all of our attention including some familiar species from back home.  My personal favorite was the flamboyant sea lion that kept making eyes at us as it swam by the group. It was a fun morning.

 

9,000 steps before noon

We started our morning of 9,000 steps with a ride up to Mt. Floyen on the funicular.  Once up the mountain, we hiked around the lake and through the forest. The views of the city, nearby islands and the North Sea were incredible. Thankfully, they had some coffee and cold water in the gift shop for a post hike refreshment.

Post Mt. Floyen, we got on a bus and headed to Mt. Ulricken. We headed up the gondola to see Bergen from the city’s highest peak. Once at the top, we hiked up to the mountain’s peak. The mountain top was home to a farm and several small lakes. The hike was exhausting, but well worth the hard work.

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Wheels up

Two years ago, the Mayor and I headed north with his best friend Andrew and his mom Michelle to a Selects tournament in Minnesota.  We were originally slated to go to tournaments in Minneapolis and Boston, but opted out of the Boston trip when the stars aligned and round two of the Stanley Cup put game four of Minnesota vs. Chicago there during our trip.  It wasn’t a tough choice.

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From the first minute of the trip, I knew it was going to be an epic weekend.  We were flying out of PBI on Zachary’s birthday.  When we got to the airport to check our bags at the Southwest counter, the customer service rep handed us a $200 in vouchers and a hotel voucher for a luxurious stay in Atlanta.  Lucky us!  We headed to security where we met up with our friends.  As we prepared to go through the queue, the boys felt compelled to ask if Doritos were considered a weapon.  Thankfully, TSA had a sense of humor that day.

As we waited to board, we watched in awe as several elderly passengers sat in wheel chairs waiting to get pushed to the baggage area.  The airport was not staffed to handle the volume of wheelchairs and they soon grew impatient.  No more than five minute had passed before they felt compelled to take matters into their own hands.  Soon they all stood and started pushing their chairs.  Only in Florida….

Finally boarding zone B was called and we were free to board the plane.  Our boys, on their way to their way to their first out of state tournament and their first Stanley Cup playoff game, were bouncing off the walls.  At the time, the Mayor had just turned 9 and Andrew was still 8 and only came with one volume level extra loud.  We got them calm enough to stand in line to get on the plane.

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As we walked down the aisle of the plane to find some window seats for the boys and ourselves, people stopped moving as our fellow passengers put their carry-ons on the overhead.  As luck would have it, we were stopped in front of a very attractive, young black woman wearing a white shirt and no bra.  Had this site only elicited giggles, it probably would have been okay, but we were not going to get off that lucky.  Nope the boys had to announce that they could see her nipples.  Oh the shades of red Michelle and I turned as they loudly shared their discovery with us.

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We continued filing to the back of the jet, but the boys could not believe what they just saw.  They were completely transfixed (pretty much like every other guy I know.)  As our flight took off and headed to Atlanta, the boys became distracted by discussions of hockey, jets and life in general.  Lucky for us, we would continue to cross paths with the women in the white shirt everywhere we went in the ATL terminal.

To be continued.

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Finding Balance

We all have an Achilles heel that can trip us up as we pursue our fitness and health goals.  Sometimes, it is only a minor slip up that causes our healthy habits to start to taper off.  If you’re like me, a cheat meal can easily converts into a cheat week.

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So how do we stay the course without driving ourselves nutty?

  • Allow yourself latitude to miss a workout or eat a treat. It’s okay to not be perfect.
  • Don’t cut out whole food groups completely. Ditching carbs is certainly effective, but not practical long term.
  • Don’t give up everything you like. I can give up almost everything, but don’t make me give up or change my coffee!
  • Have a battle buddy.  Together you can keep each other on track and disciplined.
  • Sign up for a race or event, so you have a milestone to work towards.
  • Practice yoga, it will reduce stress (and stress hormones) and help you avoid injury by keeping you flexible.

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These are just a few tips you can use to taper off your unhealthy habits and convert them into healthy habits and on your way to a healthier lifestyle.

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Life’s Storms

Life is fickle.  Life is funny.   It seems to go one of two ways.  Either nothing is happening or everything is happening and our world is collapsing around us all at once.  Both the boredom and chaos associated with either scenario can be all encompassing and destructive.  In the calm, it is easy to become complacent.  In the storm, it is easy to give up, but don’t.   You are much stronger than you ever imagined.   As Victor Hugo so eloquently said, “even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.”  And remember, as you weather the storm, you are not alone.

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Have you ever come across a person so sullen that you don’t think it is physically impossible for them to smile or laugh?  Every interaction you have with that person is tenuous at best and horribly unpleasant at worst.  Every interaction you observe between that person and another is equally poor.  No matter how well you or anyone else treats them, they are always unhappy. In their unhappiness, they try to drag you into their dystopian world, but don’t take the bait.  Don’ let their unhappiness define your happiness or lack thereof.

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In life you have a choice, you can radiate bitterness and unhappiness as characterized above or you can be the antithesis to the negative Nelly.  I’m not suggesting by any means that you become a Pollyanna, but rather that you don’t allow the negative Nellys in your life to define the way you see the world.  Dealing with people that are consistently negative is difficult and taxing by radiating positive vibes you can counter the negative.  So don’t be a Pollyana; be the anti-negative Nelly.  Be the person that takes time to compliment someone on their outfit or their hair or hold the door for someone at the coffee shop.  Be the person that chooses to radiate kindness, generosity and goodness.  Small gestures of kindness go a long way in counteracting the meanness and negativity of those who choose to be miserable.

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Long before I was reading Les Miserables, I was reading Roald Dahl and Judy Blume. What kid growing up in the 1980s didn’t read Super Fudge or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory?  Roald Dahl wrote that “If you have beautiful thoughts they will shine out of your face like a sunbeam and you will always look lovely.”  Nothing makes someone uglier than a mean spirit or a negative or hateful constitution. The choice is yours. What will you radiate?

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Carpe Diem

If you’re like me, you spend a lot of time thinking about the past and the future. For some reason, we like ruminating over what has happened and what may happen.  This presents a number of problems of course.  When you focus on your past, you really never move forward.   Regardless of what has happened in the past, its best to live and learn.   I truly wish there was an easy answer for how to do this, but there really isn’t.

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In the moments unoccupied by thoughts of our past, we worry about our future.  What will happen in your career?  How will your bills get paid? How will your kids do in school?  A myriad of questions and worries that can eat away at you if you let it.  I know I’ve certainly had many sleepless nights worrying about what may be.  Silly, I know, yet I can’t stop.

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Here’s the problem.  As we descend into the madness these preoccupations can bring, we miss out on life.  The reminder of this usually comes as a harsh sad reality via regrets after the loss of someone we love.  I recently lost a dear friend, an excruciatingly painful experience, who taught me and many others about life.  The lesson was about living a life of no regrets.  A lesson about living a life full of love, loved ones, and experiences no matter what cards you are dealt.   Life isn’t always puppies and unicorns.  Although I would love it to be that way.  Instead of descending into the madness, grab life by the horns, carpe diem and #LiveLikeDebbie.

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Mother’s Day Part Deux

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Hockey moms enjoy a somewhat sensationalized reputation as being some of the craziest moms in sports and that’s not too far from the truth.  In my humble opinion, we’re a good kind of crazy.  Who else but a hockey parent would get up at 4:20 am to drive from Clearwater to Ellenton for a tournament game?

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The level of dedication it takes to have a kid in travel hockey, is unbelievable.  During the boys’ hockey season, hockey is all we know and all we do.  Devoted to their family and to the sport, hockey moms can log hundreds of miles (at least in Florida) driving from rink to rink in a single day.   One weekend a couple of years ago, I logged 700 miles of driving for hockey.   To see my boys play the game they love with their friends never gets old.  Mastercard’s tagline sums it up perfectly: it’s priceless.

To be clear, we hockey moms know how to have a good time.  In addition to knowing the proximity of Dunkin/Starbucks to every rink, we also know where to find the closest Total Wine.  We love watching our kids play and seeing them develop over the years, but we really enjoy the good times we share with our fellow hockey moms and hockey dads.  Over the years, the fellow hockey moms and dads, who started off as our friends have become a part of our family.

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I am blessed to be surrounded by an amazing group of moms at the rink. These women are incredible.  They balance life, work, family and hockey and do it with grace, intelligence and beauty.  Hockey moms are a tight sorority of sisterhood that is closer knit than any outsider could possible imagine.  As crazy as we are, the rivalry ends when the teams leave the ice and there is a hockey mom or family in need.  Regardless of what team or organization our kids play for, when there is a hockey mom or family in need, the hockey family will take care of them.  Hockey moms don’t let another hockey mom walk a difficult road alone. We are at each other’s side to the very end.

I posted an article on my Facebook page the other day about the benefits of travel sports of kids.   The article is absolutely on point, but it didn’t even address the ancillary benefit of travel sports and that is the relationships the parents build.  I never imagined when my kids started playing hockey, how much I would benefit from the travel hockey experience.  When Luke’s mom got sick or when Luke had a run in with the SUV, our hockey family had our back.  The hockey community is incredibly close knit and I could not be prouder to be a hockey mom or more grateful for all of the incredible women hockey has brought into my life.

11 years – Happy Birthday to the Mayor

11 years…

Boy oh boy, my baby, my Zak-Zak, the Mayor is 11 today.  While it’s completely cliché to say that time has flown by, it would also be completely true.  As a baby, the Mayor channeled his inner 80 year old man.  He was a complete curmudgeon in every sense of the word. And then he hit the dreaded toddler stage and a miracle happened.  He became the happiest, sweetest boy you could ever imagine. He’s still an incredibly happy, sweet boy unless he’s hungry.  If he’s hungry or tired, you should run away and hide….

As the youngest of 3 boys, the Mayor is a tough as they come be it on the ice or in a game of mini hockey.  He was the perfect addition to the family.   From day one, he’s loved his brothers even if Colin wanted to put him back after holding him once.  Colin spent a lot of time in the corner when he was younger, but he was never alone.  The Mayor always had to join him and keep him company.  It was the sweetest thing.

He’s got a zest for life and food that’s unsurpassed.  Since we was young, he could eat pretty much everyone I know under the table while weighing almost nothing.  Yes, I’m completely jealous and I’m still trying to figure out where he puts all the food.  He loves food so much that when the boys first started skating at Skate Zone 7 years ago, he ate skittles off the very dirty floor.  The hubby and I were convinced he’d end up in the ER that night with a serious stomach bug.  Much to our delight, he didn’t get sick and in fact hasn’t had a stomach bug since that day.  I’m pretty sure he’s got an iron gut and probiotics for life off those dirty skittles.

Hockey is his life and it has been since 2006.  For his 3rd birthday, he proudly rocked his Minnesota Wild jersey as he enjoyed his hockey themed cake.  He played his first hockey game when he was 4 years old as a defensemen in front of his big brother Goalielocks.  Nobody was allowed to touch his brother.  In the years since, he’s enjoyed the travel hockey life and the friendships that come with it.  He is a rink rat through and through.

His heart is as big as his appetite and I’m so proud to call him mine.  Today we celebrate him.   Please help me wish the Mayor a very happy 11th birthday and his birthday buddy (my brother Justin) a very happy birthday.