Grad Party

We celebrated Goalielocks’ and his friend TK’s graduation with their grad party over the weekend. While TK is his friend, he and his family are considered family to us. It’s been amazing to watch the two grow up and go through the trials of elementary, middle school, high school and hockey together. So much has changed since they first became friends almost a decade ago.

Our friend Garlic Bob catered the event with an epic taco bar that was capped off with a nacho cheese fountain. Boy, can he cook! His food is always delicious and on point. We sampled his taco bar at a friend’s grad party last year and I instantly knew we wanted him for Goalielocks’ party. It was absolutely a no brainer.

I was a bit worried the tropical weather that dumped nearly a foot of rain in our area would keep a lot of people away, but we only had a few cancellations. Goalielocks played hockey in Dade County, which was underwater for most of the weekend. Unfortunately, that made it unsafe for his Miami based teammates to make the drive, which was a bummer.

I tried Pink Whitney for the first time at his grad party. Pink Whitney, of course, is the ubiquitous hockey mom drink of choice. I’m surprised it took so long for me to try it. I love it. It was so good! A couple of observations about the drink, it’s good, but it’s a bit sweet. Also, a group can drink a small bottle in minutes. To cut the sweetness, I recommend pairing it with sparkling water on ice. This would make it much less sweet and more refreshing.

The grad party was a rousing success. We finally headed home with two cars full of kids just after 12:30 am. Everyone had a great time celebrating the two boys graduation. I think, the highlight for me was the two boys cutting the cake and feeding each other. It was super funny. The cake, of course, was super yummy and beautiful. Hanh makes the best cakes! They’re always beautiful and super tasty without being too heavy in your tummy. It was a great night!

Volleyball Banquet

Last night we had Goalielocks’ volleyball banquet at the high school. It was a nice dinner with both the boys and girls volleyball teams. He’s played volleyball the last two years, but there was no banquet last year due to Covid. Dinner was courtesy of Olive Garden, which was good. Fortunately, it settled in my stomach. I was a bit worried as my stomach had been quite sensitive lately.

While we ate, the coach, the senior captains and the underclass men gave their speeches. They were nice, brief and to the point. After the speeches came the awards. Goalielocks was awarded a letter in in varsity Volleyball. After the awards, the kids switched into active wear and the girls took on the boys. The girls beat the boys, which wasn’t super surprising given the talent on the girls team. A lot of Goalielocks’ team was relatively new to the sport. It was a fun way to end the volleyball banquet.

We’re currently driving to the west coast for hockey. There’s nothing I hate more than driving on state road 60. It’s honestly the worst road in the history of roads. In fact, the entire of state road 60 should be at least four lanes instead of one lane each way. There’s nothing more disconcerting than your car shaking as a semi speeds by heading the other direction.

My outfit for the volleyball banquet

We’re still a good two hours out from our resort. While we’re heading west for hockey, we thought we’d make it worth the parents’ while by booking an nice resort. Consequently, we’ll be staying at the Saddlebrook Resort and Spa. The resort has a couple of incredible pools, which is where I plan on spending my day tomorrow. Since we only have to be playing this year, our game schedule is nice and light.

Took a Break

I took a break from the blog over the past month to focus on really living and feeling the emotions of the last four weeks. Since I’ve been gone, I had a fantastic vacation in the Turks and Caicos with my favorite moms and my middle son graduated high school. Many emotions come with high school graduation, ranging from relief they made it, sadness because a chapter is closing, happiness because a new chapter is beginning, and pride for all they accomplished.

This time around, we were missing Jake, which made the moment bittersweet. We were all so excited to see him walk at graduation, but definitely were missing Jake’s presence. And I think Jake was bummed he missed the moment as well. Nonetheless, Jake was with us in spirit through Flat Airman Jake. He skipped out on the graduation ceremony as he doesn’t like speeches. He didn’t however skip out on dinner as. Flat Airman Jake loves hibachi just as much as Jake and the rest of our family love it.

For graduation, we had my folks and Luke’s dad in town for several days. It was nice to see my folks and Grandpa Steve after not seeing them for a long time. In fact, this was my parent’s first trip to visit us since the pandemic. They had come down in 2019 for Thanksgiving to see Jake off to BMT, but haven’t been able to return until Goalielocks’ graduation. Fortunately, for our guests, the weather was absolutely beautiful for most of their stay. In fact, it was quintessential Florida winter weather. Beautiful temperatures and low humidity. Unfortunately, we knew the shoe had to drop some time and the heat and humidity would come roaring back. The weather changed while they were here, but thankfully only during the last few days of their trip.

On graduation day, the weather was actually perfect. It was overcast, which kept us a bit cooler as we waited to get into the expo center. The Mayor and I timed it perfectly and were able to get awesome seats right on the main aisle with an unobstructed view of the graduates walking. Hubby and the grandparents came a bit later because they had stopped to get gas. Nevertheless, they didn’t wait too long to get in. It would be helpful if the district had a line for the seniors and those with disabilities. My father-in-law uses a cane and I think those with cane/walkers/wheelchairs should have an expedited entrance and not have to fight through the larger lines.

The ceremony itself was absolutely divine. For once the speakers gave practical advice like saving money and investing in your future. The valedictorian’s speech, Goalielock’s (aka Colin) friend, was poignant. After losing his father unexpectedly last fall, his friend continued to persevere and kill it at school and on the volleyball court. Furthermore, it was cool to see how the graduating class supported him throughout his speech. They had a unique high school experience, to say the least with a pandemic upending a lot of it. Yet the class of 2022 persevered and made it to the finish line. Post-graduation we enjoyed a nice hibachi dinner with family. I’m glad took a break to enjoy and live in the minute of my son’s graduation.

Milestone

Another milestone moment as we picked out Goalielocks’ senior pictures this evening. I can’t believe we have two kids that are now technically adults. I say, technically because of you know, you know. The whole process took an hour or two. It was long and stressful. Thankfully, his pictures turned out well, which made it difficult to pick.

In the end, we ended up with the platinum elite package or whatever the hell they call it. Senior year and high school graduation is definitely a milestone, but boy oh boy do they bilk the money out of you. All year everyone is coming at you asking for cash. Honestly, is it okay that senior pictures are now the same price as a cheap used car? Is the cap and gown really worth the price they charge? Anyway, I can’t wait to get the pictures that I’m going to pay for by selling my kidney. I’m only sort of kidding here.

Tonight we’re just chilling at the house. The Mayor was supposed to have games tomorrow, but the Makos weren’t fit to play. Naturally, the same league that wouldn’t allow Goalielocks’ team reschedule due to a lack of bodies, gladly allowed the Makos to reschedule. Our league has different rules depending on which organization you play for or are affiliated with. It’s an absolute joke. In just a few years, we’ll be done with this god forsaken league. I look forward to blowing up some of these folks in a book about our Florida hockey experience.

We Made It

We made it to San Antonio after a long, but fun day of travel. Our AirBnB is the cutest old house in all of San Antonio and in close proximity to everything. We did a trial run out to JBSA Lackland, so I think we have a handle on where to go early tomorrow morning. And now after a long day of traveling we’re off to bed since we have a very early wake up call tomorrow.

Moving On

Today was Goalielocks’ moving on ceremony marking the end of a fantastic three years at Logger’s Run Middle School.  Since day one he has flourished in Middle School enjoying the academic offerings and his many friends.  It was apparent tonight how much he enjoyed his school and how well he got along with his classmates.  Of course, for me, it was bittersweet as it marks the end of one stage and the beginning of another stage.  It seems like just yesterday he was graduated from preschool and now he’s off to high school.

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The ceremony itself was at his future high school in West Boca.  We found out yesterday that he has been offered a spot in the medical academy at West Boca with all of his friends.  He was absolutely ecstatic to learn that he’ll be continuing his school journey with the vast majority of his school friends.  We waited until tonight at dinner to give him the good news.

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We waited patiently in the hot, sauna of a gym for ceremony to start.  They started “Pomp and Circumstance” as the graduates filed into the gym.  Maybe it was the contacts or both our bad vision, but we didn’t see Goalielocks walk into the gym at all.  Once they had sat down, we didn’t seem him either.  Naturally, we started to panic a bit.  After a few minutes of concern, my hubby decided to go down and see if we could find him.

He headed down towards the entrance and start chatting with the principal and the police officers working the event, who assured him he was there.  The hubby headed up the other bleachers to try and find him to no avail.  Finally, the principal let him walk down the side and he found him.   Now we could relax and enjoy the show.

As I watched the video with Goalielocks tonight, he quickly pointed out that we actually got him on video.  How we missed him in the first place is beyond me.  Like I said it could be the contacts or the blonde hair.  Nonetheless, it was a fabulous night to celebrate the accomplishments of middle school while looking forward to the challenges and opportunities of high school.  

 

Another Milestone Moment

It seems like it was only moments ago that Zachary crossed the stage in East Boynton to graduate from VPK on a warm Saturday in May between hockey games.  Colin was in first grade and Jacob had just finished sixth grade.  Kindergarten was an approaching reality for Zachary, but where we are now (out of elementary completely and one heading to college) seemed to be in the distant future.  Only it wasn’t so distant.

Cruel and misleading, time is a mistress that pulls no punches.  It passes so quickly that none of us even notice and with the blink of our eye, our babies are no longer babies, but young men and women.  Okay, okay, the Mayor is only going into middle school so young men and women may be a bit of a leap, but to be fair his older brother graduated high school and its all happening in what seems to have been a blink of the eye.   I’m pretty sure just last Christmas, the Mayor was in his Exersaucer and Jacob was opening his favorite Goosebumps book.

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After thirteen years, three schools, three houses, three boys, two states and countless businesses (run by the Mayor,) our elementary career as a family is over.  No more awkwardly timed donuts with dads or muffins with moms on a Thursday or Friday morning.  No more recess, parents running interference or safety patrol for this family.  As the Mayor moves on to middle school, he gains independence and accountability for his studies.

It is hard to say bye to Sunset Palms since we’ve been there since it has opened and it has been great to our family.  We’ve had so many amazing teachers throughout the years at the school and Mr. Fleming is both Zachary and Colin’s favorite.  We were so lucky to be zoned for such an incredible school.

Saying goodbye to preschool was just as hard with Zachary graduated in 2011.   Each of his graduations or moving on ceremonies, signals a change of life stages for our family.   While the transitions in stage are a bit difficult and emotional, there is much beauty to be found in our life’s new stage.  I look forward to showing what life’s next stage has in store for our family and for the Mayor.

Everything Changes

As your whole world shifts, it is easy to get lost in the newness being both frightened and excited by the transition from childhood to adult.  While everything may be changing and you may feel slightly adrift fear not, the moorings that have always anchored you, the pillars that provided safety and guidance, will never leave you.

Regardless of your age or station, these pillars in your life will always be there to provide you strength, guidance, friendship and love.  While they will not always be with you physically, their influence will be unending.  While growth will sometimes be painful and you’ll yearn for your childhood, look forward and look upward.  Understand that with every discomfort or every failure comes an opportunity to learn, to grow and succeed.  Don’t be afraid to fail!  Be more afraid of not trying.

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Throughout your life, you’ll find yourself feeling adrift for different reasons and different transitions.  At each of these points, you will always think back on the guidance and love that was given by family and friends that became family.  In many cases, you’ll reach back out to these pillars for advice and that’s okay.

 

The Last Mooring

Tomorrow we will untether the last of your moorings as you graduates high school.   I’m still in a state of belief that this day has come, after all, it seems like just yesterday we were bringing you home from the hospital.  The point was driven home tonight as I drove to the rink with his younger brothers to watch you play a beer league hockey game.  You are now everybody’s favorite player because of your youth and because you can drive dad home post-game.

The process of letting you go and become independent doesn’t start tomorrow at high school graduation; it started way before you even set foot in high school.  I remember being struck by this fact when you started preschool.  When we dropped you off for your first day, it was tempting to walk in with you and get you situated, but on your grandma’s advice we didn’t.  You walked in to class confidently and got yourself squared away.  I won’t lie, there was a little pain mixed in with the joy of seeing you gain independence.  We parents like to feel needed.  This was the first time we as parents had unmoored one of his moorings.

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With each passing year, each new stage, trust was gained and with it more independence. More moorings were released.  While graduation tomorrow represents the culmination of this journey, even though the moorings are no longer tied to our dock, we will always be here to guide, advise, listen to music with, play hockey with and love you.

The Last Day of School

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It all started on a cool Tuesday morning in September in Blaine, MN in 2004 when we sent Jacob off to his first day of kindergarten.  His first year of school was fabulous and he made a lot of friends.  At our first parent/teacher conference, his teacher recounted to us how he was sat next to the twins from China.  The thought was that since he was such a chatterbox, he’d help them pick up the English language quickly.  I’m pretty sure their new words revolved around things like hockey, Halo, Buzz Lightyear and Star Wars, but hey at least it was a start.

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I remember being as equally emotionally wrecked sending him on that bus that day to kindergarten as I was on Friday.   Except this time instead of getting on a big yellow bus, he was (gulp) driving himself to school.  Almost 13 years later, his journey through school ended in Boca Raton a far cry from where it started (Blaine, MN.)

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Meanwhile, his little brothers have two more weeks of school…. Two weeks of radio silence at home during the day, now that’s quite the graduation present.  Throughout the years, Jake’s always been persistent, goal driven and kind.  While I’m broken up that this stage of his life is over, I cannot wait to see what he achieves next.

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