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.”

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Super Saturday

Super Saturday

Today was definitely a super Saturday as I spent it at the rink with the Mayor and his team.  Fortunately, we were local playing two games down in Coral Springs.  Moreover, the scheduler did a great job as his games were perfectly scheduled.   Consequently, I was able to pick up the race packets for the Purple Stride event after the team lunch.

The Mayor came out on fire this morning in game 1 against the Panthers scoring a beautiful goal on his first shift.   He ended the first period with a goal and an assist.  His team has come together nicely and really plays for each other.  In the second period, his line-mate BK came to visit me in the Sin Bin.  The ref sent him to the box for for interference after he took down the kid that had just leveled the Mayor.  He came into the box and said “there’s no way I was gonna let him get away with hitting the Mayor.”   Honestly, when a kid comes to the box for defending their teammate, I’m never mad.  Sticking up for your teammate is what good teammates do.

That penalty was in the second period, but BK would be back to visit me in the 3rd.  The Mayor took the puck on our blue line and started heading towards the offensive zone when a linebacker of a player boarded him in the neutral zone.  The player really should have been called for a 2 and 10, but whatever….

Fortunately, the Mayor wasn’t hurt.  He skated hard down to the offensive zone, where the same kid had just checked his line-mate BK into the boards.  The Mayor laid this kid out.  I gotta be honest, I was proud of him for sticking up for himself and his teammate.  The hit was a real beauty and would have been perfectly legal if they were bantams.  While the Mayor may be small in stature, he is large in personality, strength and presence on the ice.  Undoubtedly, the player he laid out will remember him.

Afterwards, we headed to Lefty’s for lunch with the team.  My brother met us for lunch, so the Mayor was totally stoked.  Originally, I hadn’t planned on staying at lunch because I had to pick up the packets.  My bro was able to take the Mayor back to the rink, so I could go to Boca to get the packets.  Meanwhile, the Mayor was super excited to spend some time with his uncle.

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Both J&B and then Rich were able to join us for the second game, which was a much tighter contest.  It was a fun game to watch and the kids worked hard together.  They enjoyed watching him play.  The Mayor use his new stick even if it was a little tall for him.  He was just a little excited about it.   At the end of the day, I love watching the Mayor’s squad play.  They create an atmospheric experience at their games.  Undeniably, there is nothing better than watching these kids come together and start playing for each other.

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Now it’s off to sort shirts and put together the packets for tomorrow’s race.  Undoubtedly,  I’m nervous for the race since my training has been non-existent and I hate sucking.  If you haven’t donated to the team or still want to join (it’s not too late), you can donate at this link or register at tomorrow’s event.

Tonight’s song is “Machinehead” by Bush.

Kenny and Ringo

Kenny and Ringo

Today was all about Kenny and Ringo.  No, not Kenny Rogers and Ringo Starr.  Rather, our new veiled chameleons Kenny and Ringo.   Since we’re off hockey this weekend, the boys were able to spend the money they earned over the summer.  Both Goalielocks and Mayor had been vacillating  over what to buy for quite some time and I’ve been try to steer them away from video games or electronics.  Unquestionably, we were not in need of a new animal, but I’d rather get them a new pet versus a new electronic device.

We headed to Petco for what should have been a 15 minuthe trip.  My boy’s indecision quickly derailed what should have been a quick trip.  Instead of merely picking up a pair of crested geckos, our trip turned into indecision hour.  At one point, Goalielocks even tried to try and enlighten me as to why the sand boa would be the perfect pet.  I hate snakes, so I was not going to buy him one.  Once he accepted that a snake wasn’t in his future, he and the Mayor vacillated between the chameleon and another bearded dragon.  My vote was for the chameleons and that they name them Boy George and Karma.

After about an hour or deliberation, they ultimately decided on the chameleon since we already have a bearded dragon.  Goalielocks decided against the crested geckos as their genders were unknown due to their age.  In order to make sure we got everything the chameleons needed, Goalielocks made good use of his phone to do some quick research.  Sadly, the boys did’t like my suggested names of Boy George and Karma.  Instead, they opted to name them Kenny and Ringo.

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We excitedly headed home with our new creatures, their home and all the accouterments that came with them.  It took the three of us about 25-30 minutes to put together the cage.   Amazingly,  nobdoy was harmed in the building of the cage.  After all was said and done,  I was pretty proud that I was able to put together the cage with Ikea-like directions.  With the cage built and ready for its new inhabitants, we set it up on the Mayor’s dresser.  He’s totally stoked to have new roommates.   After helping the boys build the cage, I left the rest of the setup to them, while I made muffins and dinner.  My boys are super excited to bring home their new pets.

Aside from our new pets, our Sunday was pretty low key.   The Mayor has been nursing a serious cold and wasn’t sounding fantastic.  I woke up to go to pilates only to go back to bed as my sinus headache throbbed.    Kids are definitely the gift that keep on giving. If I’m being honest, sharing is not always caring and I was really hoping the Mayor wouldn’t share his cold with me.  I certainly don’t have time to get sick.  I’m hoping both the Mayor and I are feeling better tomorrow.  If the sinus pain doesn’t abate for either of us, we’ll have to make a trip to the doctor.

While I’m wallowing in the pain of a sinus headache and likely sinus infection, the Mayor’s handling his cold much better.  As I wrote my blog, I began to hear the sound of the tennis ball hitting the front door.  You hockey moms know what this means. They’re practicing their shot in the house.  Good times!  The good news ts that they were using a tennis ball and not a puck.   Moreover, Goalielocks was shooting on the Mayor who was wearing Goalielocks’ gear.  As Goalielocks shot on the Mayor, they were recording with the GoPro.  This, of course, means they got some great action shots and some choice soundbites from mom and dad yelling at them to stop.

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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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Sunset in Bergen

I can’t get over how late the sun sets in Norway. For example, the sunset in Bergen is after 11:00 pm.  It really throws you for a loop as it never gets darker than nautical twilight during July.   Here are some pictures in Bergen on our way to meet family taken around 9:30 and on our walk back to our apartment taken around 11:30.
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Living Life as a Paragon of Perfection (Not!)

In a world dominated by social media and social media influencers, the use of filters and the crafting of a careful social media presence exists far from the glare of the Hollywood lights.  We use Instagram to perpetuate an image of our lives that we want the world to accept regardless if it is accurate or not.  It has a created a society that looks towards almost unattainable and unsustainable happiness based on the false pretense of everyday life the social media has created.

Think about it.  When you select your Insta or Facebook profile picture, you’re going to pick the most flattering picture.  You may even select one with one of those ridiculous and fun Snapchat filters.  We certainly don’t select a picture where we look horrible that’s for damn sure.   The picture where we’ve clearly drank too much and are making the most ridiculous face that are friend tagged us in on Facebook?  We instantaneously remove the tag.

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The thing is we can’t pretend like this didn’t exist before the socials did.  It’s not like people picked their crappiest photos and worst moments to highlight on their Christmas cards.  Just like the photos we post to our profiles now, the photos selected and the moments shared always crafted a good picture.   Was it always accurate? Probably not.

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The problem with socials is that they exacerbate the perception that many of our friends are living lives that are the total paragon of perfection.   Meanwhile, their life may be a complete disaster or completely normal.   As I looked through pictures from graduation last month, I found myself laughing at the outtakes.  We had some great pictures, but there were some completely disastrous photos, which are pretty accurate of how life sometimes feels in a house of all boys.

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For today’s blog post, I’ve interspersed some of my favorite photos of the boys and the numerous outtakes.  You’ll notice one Christmas (2007) the Mayor decided he didn’t want to cooperate at all.  At the end of the day, social media can be a great tool to keep in touch with family and friends across the globe, but we can balance putting our best foot forward with the creation of a completing fake and narcissistic social media persona.

 

Worn With Pride

Uniform, jersey, sweater it has many names.  It is symbolic of the high level of commitment it took to attain it and symbolic of the club which is represents.  There are a number of great quotes involving uniforms about what it means to be an athlete.

Brooks’ quote is legendary and I think most of us remember it from the movie Miracle or from the Lake Placid games.  The philosophy of playing harder for your team than for yourself is a key component of hockey culture.  It is also a critical component of what made his 1980 team so special.  In 1980, the team was comprised of college players mostly from University of Minnesota (Go Gophers!) and Boston University.   Just as they do today, my Gophers and Boston University enjoy a healthy rivalry on the ice.  In order to get his players to put their egos and these college rivalries aside, he needed to unite them around a common goal and that was playing for the name on the front of their jersey Team USA.   Brooks was a genius.

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Clemente’s quote speaks to the pride that athletes feel when they put on the sweater.   At the professional athlete, I cannot imagine how amazing it must feel.  Major League Baseball is the pinnacle of baseball and to make it to that pinnacle after years of hard work must feel otherworldly.  The pride he, and his family, must have felt the first time he put on that MLB jersey are something he will probably never forget.  I remember the first time my sons’ put on their travel hockey jerseys.  The smiles on their face went from ear to ear.  You could see the pride the felt in their achievements and they carried their heads a little bit higher.

Lastly, I’ll leave you with my favorite quote on a uniform and it comes from my favorite brassy gal Mae West, who as always said it best and wasn’t wrong.

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Imaginary Troubles

If you’re like me, ever since children entered the picture, sleep has been an issue.  While you may have been a deep sleeper before, you now wake up at the drop of a pin.  God forbid your dogs bark or your partner snores because then you won’t even be able to fall asleep.  The problem with this of course is that as you try to sleep and can’t, the mind starts racing.  Sadly late at night, the mind never goes to a good place.  It goes into your psyche and taps into your anxieties and fears.

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Once those ruminations start, they are hard to stop and you find yourself struggling to slow your racing mind.  These imaginary obstacles have your heart racing and your brain on overdrive.  When you do finally fall asleep, the anxiety may abate temporarily only to resurface the following day.   It is an odd facet of human nature that we are inclined to ruminate about a past that we cannot change and a future that we cannot predict.  These ruminations can become overwhelming if you allow them.

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If you find yourself obsessing over potential issues or obstacles in the future, stop.  Just as you cannot change your past, you cannot live by focusing on future problems.   To be clear, you can exist, but you cannot live.  Your life will pass you by if your time is focused on your past or on your future.   Focus on your present, the people you love and that which you can control.

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Life will hand you difficult hands, but you are much better equipped to deal with the difficulty than your worries suggest.  The struggles you worry about often seem insurmountable, but when faced with actual struggles you will overcome them.  Have faith in your strength and in the strength of your relationships, which will help carry you through the difficult times.

Tracing Our Roots

Growing up in Minnesota, my family was very proud of its Norwegian heritage.  Like many Minnesotans, our families had immigrated to the United States in the late 19th century from Scandinavia.   While factions of both my mom and dad’s family emigrated from Norway during this period, my mother-in-law’s family emigrated from Finland.  It has always been a dream of ours to trace our roots and understand where our family came from and why they emigrated.

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After many years of dreaming, it will finally become a reality.  This summer we will embark on an epic trip to explore our Norwegian heritage and trace our roots in Norway.  Not only are my kids going, but my mom, dad, grandma and my brothers and their families are going.  Together we will be able to meet our family that still lives in Norway and explore the seaside towns, the countryside and farmland where they once lived.

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We look forward to connecting with our heritage and the rich history of Norway while disconnecting from everyday life.  Kayaking on the beautiful fjords where one can see seals instead of alligators.  The beautiful mountains and mountain valleys will be a site for sore eyes since we barely have what can be called a hill here in Florida.

In the coming years, there will be more trips to plan.  With family having immigrated to the US from Finland, Germany, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, we have plenty of trips to make in order to truly connect with our heritage.   Our heritage is an important part of our identity, but more than that the experience of exploring the world with my boys is priceless.  Nothing beats living a life full of wanderlust.

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