All I Ever Wanted

“All I ever wanted, all I needed was you…” Yep, my happiness can easily be summed up with the lyrics from a Depeche Mode song. Now all I want for Christmas is all three of my kids under the same roof. Our airman made it home safe and sound for Christmas earlier in the week. Hence the lack of communication here. Obviously, I’ve been spending my time with him these past few days. However, I’m working today and he’s out on a lunch date with his beautiful girlfriend, so here I am.

The reunion between Jake and our puppies was absolutely priceless. After all this time, they remembered him like he left yesterday. There was a lot of excitement on their part. In fact, Athena, who is not a cuddler at all, spent Sunday morning cuddling with him on the couch. A dog’s love is wholesome, complete, and unconditional. It was a beautiful thing to witness. Initially, we let out just Maya and Athena, so they could reunite with Jake without interference from Anakin. Eventually, Anakin joined the party and welcomed Jake home with lots of kisses to his ears.

We headed to church with Jake to surprise Mel, who was signing that morning. It was a fabulous service. Afterwards we headed to brunch with Mel and her family. Goaleilocks had to work, so he and Papa Nerd stayed home. As for the rest of the time, I’ve really made no plans. Whatever my boy wants to do that’s what we’ll do. Lord knows he has plenty of structure in the service. In the mornings, he’s been hitting the clubhouse gym, which pales in comparison to his gym on base, with the Mayor. I went with them Tuesday, so I could complete my leg day workout. My workout schedule is all sorts of off this week. Nevertheless, the clubhouse gym provided a much needed opportunity to amp up my workout.

I’ve been baking for our Christmas brunch all week. Initially, I had some pretty ambitious plans, but I have decided to keep it simple this year. Mostly because it took three attempts to get the mint cookies completed since the dough goes quite fast. Yesterday, I baked another batch of mint cookies, the joulutorts (Finnish star cookies,) and mint bars. I’m going to start my caramel rolls this morning, so everything is ready to rock and roll tomorrow morning. I’ll also get the pulla baked today. Both take significant time to make, but most of it is not active time. There’s a lot of waiting involved for both breads. Late this evening, I’ll knock out the Krumakes if I’m up to it. Those could be easily made tomorrow morning before guests arrive. We will be filling them with whipped cream, cloudberry jam, lingonberry jam and blueberry jam.

Speaking of cookies, my dear friend Brian dropped off his famous Christmas cookies Tuesday afternoon. It was such a gift to see him. Naturally, we really enjoyed the cookies. In fact, they didn’t see Tuesday night. Moreover, my airman and him were able to speak about their experiences in the Air Force. It was nice to be a party to the conversation. As we celebrate Christmas Eve tonight and Christmas tomorrow, my heart will be full. Rest assured we will savor every moment we have with all three of our boys during the holiday season. While our hearts our full of gratitude, we hold in our heart the servicemen and women that aren’t able to be with their families this holiday season. Lastly, we send them and their families our love, gratitude and prayers.

Here’s a list of our day’s activities:

*I read The Red and The Black, Stendhal by Fyodor Dosytoevsky

*It’s day 4 of BBG 3.0 week 7, which means it is cardio day. However, I still have to complete the arm workout.

*I’m so excited!!!! He’s here!

*We’re headed to church with Mel and her family for Christmas Eve. Afterwards, we’re heading to my brother’s for some appetizers and games.

*I will, hopefully, finish my baking.

*I am enjoying the MN Christmas blizzard from afar. Our temps are a bit warm today as we head back into the 80s.

*I actually know that today is Friday and I’m pretty excited about it. It’s here and I’m pretty damn excited about it!

*Today I ran two miles and walked a quarter of a mile. I’ve started running with Anakin outside since the weather has been nice. He’s much faster than me, so it’s been quite the adventure. Fortunately, he hasn’t killed me trying to pursue a lizard or mouse.

*Today’s word of the day is rejoice, which is pretty fitting for my current emotional state.  

*I love the footprints the puppies leave on the patio when coming back in every morning. I’m a bit sick of them tracking in the mud on the freshly vacuumed white tiles. It has been so humid here in the mornings that they’re getting a bit muddy in the backyard.

*I took my puppies including sweet Anakin for a walk. Today Anakin is wearing his Christmas bow tie. He looks mighty dapper if I say so myself. Naturally, I bought all three dogs Christmas outfits. I can’t wait to share the pictures with you. You’ll love them.

Today’s song of the day is Carol of the Bells performed by Lindsey Sterling;

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Happy Monday!

Happy Monday is a blog title that I have never used in the three-plus years I’ve had this blog. Admittedly, Monday’s are usually associated with unhappiness. Rather they’re associated with the desire to bang your head against a brick wall as you deal with the inane life that is corporate America. You know the kind of day where you’re in meetings all day that could have been emails and the most intelligent response of the day was “yada, yada, yada.” Now that I’m out of that life, I’ve found Mondays to be much nicer.


Now my children have tried to mess up my Happy Monday vibes with their virtual school antics. However, they were even onboard for the easy and happy Monday. That’s right folks we had no virtual school issues today. My boys were on top of it, which made me happy as a clam.

Naturally, I had a lot do work to do myself, but working from home and outside of a boilerplate environment is significantly less stressful from the corporate world. I was quite productive professionally and personally. I set several key meetings and made new connections in the professional realm.

In between my work obligations, I was able to fit in my BBG 3.0 leg workout and a run. This BBG 3.0 is no joke. Honestly, it’s quite a step up from round 2.0. I’m ready for it, but I know it’s going to hurt tomorrow. As for my run, it felt good. I find that intermixing my workouts between my work meetings and obligations has improved my effectiveness. Moreover, I feel energized and ready to tackle everything including the virtual school blues.

Alas, this happy Monday on which all the stars aligned for a great day will soon be over. Hopefully, I will write a joyful Monday post soon and not in another three years. I should also admit that I bought Anakin a new collar and bow tie. No lies, he’s simply the cutest puppy. On top of my cute puppy, I got some great pics of Jake and Mel from Utah. Their smiles always put a smile on my face.

Here’s a list of our day’s activities:

*I read A Room With A View by E.M Forster

*It turns out their are unique challenges to managing a U18 team. Thus it seems we may have a caravan to the Carolinas in our future.

*I ran a mile and walked a mile today.

*I cooked a wonderful meal courtesy of HelloFresh. It was easy to make and super tasty.


*After today, I am back in workout clothes, but my running streak stands at 6 days.

*I’m a little jealous that Mel is visiting Jake, but I love getting their pictures.

*BBG 3.0 week 2 day 1: legs, cardio and yoga

*I took my puppies including sweet Anakin for a walk.

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One Happy Mama

I’m one happy mama this morning. Yesterday I finally got to see my son for the first time since BMT graduation in February. Our flights were uneventful and quick. Needless to say, they couldn’t end quickly enough. The anticipation of seeing my boys reunited was killing me.

The reunion took place at Target since we don’t have security passes. It was an amazing and happy as I had envisioned. My boy looks great albeit quite grown up. Seeing them together made we one happy mama. Also, it was mighty convenient since we could pick up some supplies before heading to our AirBnB.

The weather was super hot with an ambient air temperature of 103 degrees. Fortunately, there is no humidity here at all. Consequently, it does not feel as miserable as South Florida. In fact, we got out of dodge just as a hurricane is bearing down on our coast.

Our AirBnB is on the Eastern side of the mountains in a small neighborhood. It’s a basement apartment in a single family home. The place is gorgeous and super nice, however, it was a bit hot last night. Nonetheless, it will serve as a perfect jumping off point for our Utah adventure.

Here’s a list of our day’s activities:

*I read The Song of the Lark, by Willa Cather

*We went to Scrambled for breakfast near the AFB. It was super yummy.

*We visited the AFB and shopped the BX before heading back to his dorm to hang pictures.

*Morning and afternoon meditation

*We’re going to go hiking this afternoon

*Today I wonder if anyone ever watched the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.

*Today my hubby sent me the best picture of my sweet Anakin.

*We are watching the hurricane from a distance.

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Our Sweet Anakin

This is a bit late, but I’m excited to introduce the blogosphere to our sweet Anakin. He’s our first foster fail. Once I saw his face, I knew he was ours and that I could never give him up. He joined our family on President’s Day weekend after Goalielocks spent his afternoon caring for him at the shelter.
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Goalielocks volunteers at the adoption center for Justin Bartlett animal recuse on the weekend. Anakin came into the center late on a Saturday afternoon and was afraid to be alone, so Goalielocks spent the afternoon comforting and playing with him in the back. When I went to pick Goalielocks up that day, I took one look at Anakin and knew we had to take him home. And that is how our foster experience began.

We made it official the next Friday when I completed the adoption process. From the first day of fostering him, he has gotten along tremendously with our older dogs. Athena would miss him when I’d take him back to the adoption center to be shown. He and Athena spend a lot of their days playing together, which has afforded Maya our old lady to relax more.


From the beginning Anakin has been the best puppy.  He’s got a great mix of puppy playfulness with calm.  Also he’s taken quickly to both potty training and obedience training.  Fortunately, he’s a very smart dog happy to please his family.  Moreover, he’s the sweetest most affectionate puppy.  Anakin loves to give us all kisses especially on our ears.  After a difficult year with lot’s of changes, he’s the perfect addition to our family.   He’s simply delightful.We love our little guy!

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P.S. while the world is shutting down due to the pandemic, non-profit organizations and the population they serve need our support. Justin Bartlett Animal Rescue needs our support as they continue to care for animals that are in their care. You can donate here: https://www.justinbartlettanimalrescue.org/info/donate

 

Difficult Day

It was a difficult day.  Sadly, today marks the year anniversary of Debbie’s passing.  I’ve written before about how grief alters how we experience time.  Truly, time is on a weird continuum when you’re dealing with grief and loss.  It feels like both a day ago and a decade ago since Debbie left us.  I remember waking up the morning after she had passed and thinking how cruel it was that the world kept going as if nothing had happened.  Meanwhile, for all of us that loved Debbie and held her dear, our world was completely devastated.  I sat in my car lamenting this fact when a beautiful cardinal flew next to my car window, stayed there for a bit and then quickly flew off.  It was an amazing moment.

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Grief is an interesting animal itself.  Its sneaks up on you and catches you unexpectedly.   Today brought back a flood of memories both good and bad.  I was at work when I first heard she was going into hospice.  My amazing friends and co-workers comforted and supported me.  Moreover, I was reminded of how much we all miss her.  Needless to say, it wasn’t an easy day.

As I ruminated over my day (typical Monday) and our dear friend Debbie, I quickly realized how lucky I am to be aggravated by inane emails or missed meetings.  At the end of the day, life is a gift that some times includes more than your average dose of aggravation.  The truth is without life’s lows or aggravations we wouldn’t fully appreciate life’s highs and truly happy moments.  So today, in the face of aggravation and insipidness, I chose to live like Debbie.  In fact, I even got in a nice run tonight.  She’d definitely be quite proud of me for continuing to run and not giving it up after the ankle injury.   Life may give us lemons, but that’s nothing some ice cubes, Grey Goose and sugar can’t solve.  #carpediem

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Debbie was diagnosed in 2015 with Stage IV pancreatic cancer after ending up in an ER with severe back pain.  The 5 year survival rate for this diagnosis is 1%, which is unacceptable.  Even in the midst of her battle against this disease, Debbie stood as a beacon of hope.  In fact, she served as the key note speaker at the 2016 Purple Stride Event in Boca Raton.  In her honor, please consider donating to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.  No family should have to endure the pain of losing their loved one to this insidious disease.  You can donate here: Pancreatic Action Network

Dancin’ in the Rain

Is there anything more cathartic than dancin’ in the rain? I tend to think not.  In all actuality, now that I live in a place where the rain is warm, I don’t even mind dancing in the real rain.  There’s no mystery to why I teach Zumba several week nights.  First, it helps cover the boys expensive hockey habit.  Secondly, and most importantly, it is my sanity keeper.  Even when I’ve had the worst day at work, I leave my Zumba class refreshed, happy and ready to take on the world.

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Dance has magical properties that lifts burdens from our shoulders.  I see it in my Zumba students and myself.  At the start of class, we all look a little more serious and stressed than we do at the end.  To be clear it isn’t only dance that achieves this, however, dancing in my mind is a lot more fun running.  Whatever gets you moving and gets your endorphins pumping will put you in a good space.

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So if you’re having a rough day and thinking about skipping your workout, don’t do it.  Get up and give yourself the gift of dance, running, weights, barre, hockey or whatever your workout of choice may be.  I know its super tempting to sit and binge watch Stranger Things 2, but put it off for at least a 1/2 and get moving.

“Dancin’ in the rain
Dee-ah dee-ah dee-ah
Dee-ah dee-ah dee-ah
I’m happy again!
I’m singin’ and dancin’ in the rain”

 

Celebrating Hubby

Tonight we should be celebrating hubby and his 35th birthday. Alas, he’s finally oldest enough to be President!  Unfortunately, we both spent our days toiling away at work.  I don’t know whose boss is worse his or mine…..  The problem of course is that after a day of work we had hockey practice.  Consequently,  we’re exhausted.

While he’s at hockey practice, the Mayor and I are making a nice hearty dish of Vodka sauce pasta for him to enjoy.  Jake had previously picked up a Menchi’s cake for us to share after dinner.  Afterwards we’ll give him his well deserved present and cards.

One of the things I love most about my hubby is that he’s a good man.  He’s undeniably honorable, smart,  honest, patient, loving, an amazing father, coach, craftsmen, etc.  Honestly, I could go on for days.  He’s truly a fantastic husband, partner and father. I couldn’t ask for more.  Happy Birthday Hubby!

A birthday rhyme:

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Take Pride

What does it mean to take pride in what you do?  Perhaps renowned basketball coach Red Auerbach said it best, “Take pride in what you do. The kind of pride I’m talking about is not the arrogant puffed-up kind; it’s just the whole idea of caring – fiercely caring.”

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My kids, as you know, are home for the first summer since 2008. Each week day, I give the kids of list of chores to complete.  Each day the boys are in a mad rush right before or right as the Hubby and I are getting home from work.   Of course, the result is substandard work on most chores, which drives me crazy.

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In order, to get the chores done correctly and on time, I turn off the wi-fi device by device.  Its akin to being put in the corner without a toy.  An electronic device without steady data or wi-fi is useless to most kids.  The goal in all of this is to teach them responsibility, how to do certain chores (i.e. laundry) so they’re well prepared for life and lighten our load.

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The real lesson here is whatever you do; do it well.  Don’t settle for mediocrity and take pride in your work.  Whether it is a household chore, school, a sporting event or your career; do your best.