Homeward Bound

After a wonderful weekend in Chicago, we’re homeward bound. We got a very early start to our day with a 5:00 wake up call. The Mayor’s game was out in West Dundee and after several inches of snow, we needed to leave even earlier. Consequently, we hit the road at 5:30 hoping that would provide adequate time to get there by 6:10.

Unfortunately, it did’t. Admittedly, I got spoiled when living in Minny as they truly do a great job clearing the roads quickly. Illinois could use a lesson or two from Minny on clearing the roads. While the storm had started in the early evening hours on Sunday nights, the interstate was still a mess when we hit the road this morning.

Not for nothing, winter driving is one of the biggest reasons I wanted to move out of Minny. I absolutely abhor driving in the snowy and icy conditions. Clearly, I don’t have the nerves nor the stomach for it. Nonetheless, I survived driving through the snow and ice.

Back to hockey, both boys were playing in the semis this morning. The Mayor’s team lost a heart breaker of a game, but they played with so much heart. Unfortunately, due to the timing of their games and the road conditions, I missed Goalielocks’ game.

I didn’t think in a million years I could have made it there for more than a period. However, the game was a complete train wreck with numerous stoppages. In fact, even though I would have made it to the rink an hour after it started, I still would have caught half a game. The crazy part is these games are only supposed to take an hour…. This one took considerably longer.

As much as I hate driving in the snow, it was absolutely beautiful this morning. After their games, the kids headed outside to play in the snow with their teammates. They had an absolute blast. Fortunately, the weather was absolutely perfect for playing outside with temperatures in the low to mid 20s.

Once they finished playing outside, we packed up the room so we could grab lunch with our friends. It was no surprise that Goalielocks wanted to head back to Giordano’s. In fact, I was totally on board too since eating the deep dish pizza would likely keep us full for the rest of the day.

While our teams didn’t make the finals and the hockey didn’t go as we hoped, I’m leaving Chicago with a heart full of love and gratitude. I’m extremely thankful to be able to share these experiences with the kids and with my dear friend Jen. Seeing Jen and her family absolutely made my weekend. There’s nothing better than a dear friend, who loves you no matter where you are in life. A friend that sticks by your side through thick and thin. Moreover, even though you may not talk everyday you know they’re in your corner. Love you to the moon and back my sister from another mister!!!!

We’re presently cruising around 36,000 feet heading south to Atlanta before heading to Florida. The Mayor is enjoying a movie, while Goalielocks has been watching highlights from yesterday’s Vikings game. There’s no studying happening, so hopefully that means they did their work already. Meanwhile, I’m here blogging away on my iPhone.

I’ll close out tonight’s blog with how much we enjoyed our time in Chicago. The people, the service, the food was all incredible. From the moment we got to the rental car counter at Hertz until we pushed back tonight, we were met with nothing but kindness from the people of Chicago. The only nasty people we came across were crazy hockey mom and grandmas from other states. We, of course, were on our best behavior. Seriously, Chicago and its people were amazing to us this weekend!

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Norway is Calling

Norway is Calling

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday Night Mayhem

Monday Night Mayhem

It was Monday night Mayhem when I received an urgent call from my Hubby as I drove to the rink for his and Jake’s game.   Unfortunately, their team’s goalie wasn’t going to to miss tonight’s game.  They wanted Goalielocks to suit up and play for them in the championship.  Never mind the fact that Goalielocks at 14 isn’t old enough for adult league.  But from a maturity stand point I’m not sure most beer league players are old enough to play in adult league, so Goalielocks would likely fit in perfectly.

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He was not to keen on the idea of being pummeled with pucks from beer leagurers living out their childhood fantasies of playing in the NHL.  However, the Hubby and Uncle Jon convinced him that nobody on the ice could shoot as fast or hard as anyone on his current team.  It took some convincing, but he eventually acquiesced as we drove back to grab his gear.

They held the game for us and our gear.  Consequently, Goalielocks quickly got dressed and took to the ice.  For Goalielocks, the game was a much slower pace than what he’s use to, but he was busy from start to finish.  He played phenomenally.  I’m pretty sure he’s the only goalie in beer league that can do the split.  This nice little trick caught the other team by surprise a couple of times.

Unfortunately, they pulled him with 5 minutes left in the 2nd when an adult goalie replacement was available.  Apparently, you have to be an adult (chronologically speaking) to play adult league.  While they’ve made exceptions for goalies before (in a pinch), it’s better from a liability standpoint to have an adult goalie in net.   He came off the ice smiling, but was still bummed he didn’t get to play the whole game.

Goalielocks walked into the locker room to get undressed and with a smile said, “they owe me a lot.”  And he would be right, he was kept very busy in net tonight.  Fortunately, he gave their team an opportunity to win.  In the end, he watched the third period from the stands with the rest of us fan.  Unfortunately, the goods guys lost 3-1.

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While he didn’t play the whole game, I could see that he enjoyed the opportunity to play with his family.  Likewise, judging from their reaction, they enjoyed the chance to have him in their net.  Of course the best part of the night, for my boys, was the free pizza, wings and beer post game.

Sometimes all compasses, all roads, and all maps lead us back to the same place.  For my family, our compass apparently only points us in the direction of the rink.  Moreover, forget the compass for a second, when I got leave to work or my house, my iPhone tells me how long it will take to get to the rink.  Such is life as a hockey mom and I wouldn’t change it for the world!

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P.S. Goalielocks also gets bonus points for making his mom dinner.  He made me awesome scrambled eggs and waffles!  The waffles were amazing!  Finally, the scrambled eggs were divine.

Tonight’s song is Adeste Fideles (O Come All Ye Faithful) performed by Celine Dion.  I love this song.

Gut punch

Gut Punch

Today was one of those days that was akin to a gut punch.  The kind of day that brings you sorrow, angst, sadness, and grief. As if we haven’t already been here enough in 2017… Ugh.  This year has been tough and the last 24 hours indicative of its toughness. Unfortunately, my SIL lost her mother last night.  This is one of those times its tough to be here because we’re not able, as a family, to be there for her, my bro and their kids.  Right now all of us wish we were there with them.

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Meanwhile, in another corner, a mother’s worst nightmare is playing out in a horrific way and we’re all powerless to help.  If anything today has reinforced, the delicate nature of life and its unpredictability.  Life, our days on this earth, are not promised. We can choose to exist, which most do, or we can choose to live.  We can choose to make a positive difference in the lives of those around us regardless of our circumstances.

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Nonetheless, today left me wanting to do nothing, but gorge on Neuhaus chocolate tonight.  I’m proud to say that instead I went to aerial yoga.  This was definitely the healthier way to work through today’s sadness and grief.  Tonight’s class was a bit difficult as I hurt my hip some how, so I had to be careful with my left side.  Incidentally, the inversions are getting much easier with each class.  Additionally, my alignment in handstand/headstand is much better in my mat classes now.  Aerial yoga is definitely improving my practice.

Tonight’s song is “How Great Thou Art” performed by The Pentatonix.

Friday Afternoon Bowling

Friday Afternoon Bowling

Today I spent my Friday afternoon bowling at a team building event for one of our business partners.  On the heels of yesterday’s BBQ for our team, bowling and building relationships with our business partners was awesome.  Truly,  I spent a good part of my week building relationships and on employee engagement.  Is there anything better?

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Unequivocally, one of the things I love about my job is the people I work with.  Some are on my team, but many work across the organization in the departments we work with daily.  Silos are the greatest danger to any organization.  Make it your mission to remove silos from our place of employment.  Make it your mission to make positive relationships with the people that support your department, but may work outside of it.

 

That’s all I have for career/work advice tonight.  Let’s talk about the bowling.  I’m awful.   Truly I don’t have enough fingers on my hand to count the gutter balls I threw today.  Consequently, during our second game I switched to bowling from my left hand.  The first ball I threw left handed resulted in (gulp) a gutter ball.  I promptly followed it up with a right handed spare.   Thereafter, I alternated between the hands in resulted in a score that was double my second game.

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In fact, in game two I even led for a moment.  Albeit a brief moment.  For that brief moment between the 2nd and 3rd frame of game 2, I was in the lead.  Since this never happens, I simply had to take a picture of my amazing accomplishment.  Unfortunately, I followed it up with some more gutter balls before netting another spare and two strikes.  You can only imagine the awesomeness of my post-strike strut.

My AD and I had joined the white team.  There were five teams and we rocked it.  As sure as I was that I would torpedo the team, we killed it.  We had a blast!  It was such a great opportunity to meet new  people, connect with those we know and build positive relationships.  While I will never become a professional bowler (cue the small violin here,) I look forward to my next bowling trip my colleagues.  Special thanks to our friends TE and NM for the invite.

Tonight’s song “Smooth” by Santana ft. Rob Thomas.

Purple Haiku

Purple Haiku

In honor of Pancreatic Cancer month, I wrote a Purple Haiku.  I am by no means a poet, so please be kind.   Cancer is an insidious beast.  Nine years ago today, cancer took my grandfather from us.  My Grandfather lived a good life, but he wast was still taken far too soon.  Like Debbie, my grandfather’s cancer impacted his digestive system (colon) and had metastasized to the liver.

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I go Purple, including purple streaks in my hair, because raising awareness for pancreatic cancer can and will save lives.  Moreover, I advocate for meaningful research like the work the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network does because this is how we will find a cure.  Importantly, the goal of PANCAN is to double the survival rates of pancreatic cancer patients by 2020.  I am proud to support this cause for Debbie, for her family and for all of us.

By the way, if you’re wondering how you can join or support Team Deb Force Five, you can do so by clicking here.  So without more delay, here is my first attempt at a Haiku since high school.

Wage Hope

Now that you are gone
Our hearts are empty and broke
Grieving we wage hope

Purple stride is here
training has made us faint
yet we won’t give up
 
We run in purple
your spirit energizes us
record time is ours
 
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Finally, the song for tonight is “Believer” by Imagine Dragons.

Faint.

Days of Gratitude

Days of Gratitude

I continue my days of gratitude posts today in honor of my friend Debbie.   Today I am grateful for the time were able to spend with Debbie and her family.  Moreover, I’m grateful that we were able to help them in their time of need.  When a friend is faced with a devastating diagnosis or prognosis, what we call the “Meatloaf  rule” goes into effect.  Meaning whatever you need, we’ll do.  There’s no “but I won’t do that.”

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Last March after Debbie had gone into hospice, we were helping clean and bleach the floor.  She was going to hire something, but there was no need since we could all do it.  Admittedly, we like to keep things light in our house and love making people smile and laugh.  Naturally, we had to find a way to make them smile and laugh.  Unfortunately, for all of them it resulted in a sight they cannot unsee.

 

As we prepared to drive over, the hubby took his battered pair of jeans and cut them off as high as they could go.  Oh yeah, he  made himself some daisy dukes.  You should know that my hubby suffers from the disease no asatall. He proceed to put on the shortest pair of shorts I have ever seen and we drove over.

When we got to the house, we knocked lightly so as to not wake Debbie.  John answered the door and Luke’s choice of wardrobe hit him like shock and awe.  He was clearly transfixed and mesmerized by the sexiness of Luke’s legs.  We entered the house and his family lost their ish.  When Debbie had woken up from her nap and came downstairs, her reaction to hubby was priceless.  She was laughing so hard, although I’m sure there was a shock and awe moment for her like John had experienced.  Nevertheless, we had succeeded.   Truly, you couldn’t help but laugh as you looked at my hubby in his sexy daisy dukes scrubbing the floor.

I’m so grateful that we were able to lighten the mood for awhile.  I should say (allegedly) that  the hubby did put on some basketball when he and John made a Home Depot.  I can’t believe John wouldn’t want to be seen in public with the hubby in Daisy Dukes!

As a reminder, our Purple Stride event is only 17 days away and we have a big hill fundraising hill to climb. You can join our team or donate to the cause at Team Deb Force Five.  Lastly, I’ll share a piece of advice I gave one of my kids tonight.   Life is way too shorts to let squabbles or arguments simmer.  As conflicts arise with people that matter, deal with them timely.

Tonight’s Song Disturbeds cover of Simon and Garfunkel’s “Sound of Silence.”

Rare free saturday

A Rare Free Saturday

Today was a rare free Saturday for this hockey mom and I took full advantage of it.  I started my morning up at Burn Fitness for their Circuit Burn class with Danielle.  It was my first time taking this particular class, which balances 5 circuits of strength training with running laps.  Undoubtedly, I expect to be quite sore tomorrow.   Nevertheless the class was a great compliment to my existing regimen.   Additional strength training is exactly what I need.

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Afterwards, I moved right into my aerial yoga class.  This was the second time  have taken an aerial yoga class.  Since Monica was away, we had a substitute today.   Our class was small and our substitute teacher was fantastic.  Comparatively speaking, I felt a lot more comfortable on the swing today than I did the first time.  I even managed to do a flip today.  #progress

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The nice thing about these classes is that by 11:15 I had already gotten in a two hour workout (including a run.)  While I would have enjoyed sleeping in a bit more, getting my workout out of the way early made for a productive day.  Further, since I had two great workouts, I was on the post workout high most of the day.  Can I tell you how productive I was today?  I actually got all of my errands done!  Unbelievably, this only leaves me with household chores and laundry to complete tomorrow.

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While I ran errands, Goalielocks had arranged with his teammates to go to stick and  puck at 3:00 pm.  This would have been nice to know before I got home from errands around 2:30 pm, but that’s okay.  The Mayor wanted to go too, but he’s battling a cold so he stayed home.   Notice how I still ended up at the rink on my rare free Saturday?

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I’ve never seen stick and puck so crowded.  The rink was full of hockey players.  Goalielocks and his teammates were able to carve off one half of the ice with some other players.  There was one that had forgotten his socks and had his shin guards on the outside of his pants.  At first glance, he looked a bit ridiculous and like someone that didn’t know what they were doing.  That was until he took a shot on Goalielocks.

Straight away it became apparent that this guy was no joke and was a serious player.  His shot was a laser.  He spent most of the hour shooting on Goalielocks and talking to him.   It turns out this guy played in the AHL for the Coyotes and saw some NHL preseason action previously.  His last professional stint was in Finland.  Due to a burst appendix, he’s currently without a team and is undergoing rehabilitation and retraining in Florida.

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You know why hockey’s the best sport in the world?  Here’s a pro rehabilitating from a major health condition that took the ice with my goalie and his buddies today.  Rather than put on airs of superiority, he worked with and shot on Goalielocks for the majority of the hour.  I could see them working together throughout the session.  He would shoot 5-6 pucks on Goalielocks in quick succession.  Afterwards, he’d give Goalielocks feedback and encouragement.  Goalielocks left the rink on cloud 9 today because of his experience with this pro.  Admittedly, Colin was proud since he was able to stop some of his shots.  At one point the guy’s shot was so hard that when Goalielocks caught the puck in his glove, his glove went flying off backwards.

Lastly, it’s always a good day when both mom and Goalielocks are feeding off our high’s from a workout.   The afternoon and Goalielocks’ great mood were quite disparate from his mood this morning.   Goalielocks found the anemone dead and that it broke the filter in the process.  Apparently our anemone decided to climb onto the filter ending both it’s existence and our filter.  Goalielocks was devastated.  Fortunately, I was able to get to Petco quick like to replace the filter and keep our clown fish George, star fish Bob and our crab Eugene alive.   After a busy day, I’m ready to chill on the couch while watching some Panther’s hockey.

Tonight’s musical interlude is The Cranberries – Dreams.  Growing up the Cranberries’ CD was one of the very first that I bought. It remains one of my favorite CDs.

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.

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.