We’re Chicago bound hopefully… I say hopefully because we’ve made it as far as the runway in Detroit and now are parked on the tarmac. My hopes of getting into the city and situated before snowmageddon and Chicago rush hour are starting to dwindle. Ugh! I hate driving in the snow and I hate driving in rush hour traffic.
We had a nice flight from FLL to Detroit. Including some vintage Saved By the Bell episodes. They did make me feel a bit old, but also had me reminiscing about Saturday mornings. Afterwards we had a nice run down (don’t worry mom I walked) the terminal from gate A60 to A9. And now we wait!
While we wait here’s some things I’m looking forward to in Chicago:
Getting to hang out with my BFF Jenny
Hanging out with our hockey family
Watching the beautiful snow fall from the comfort of my hotel bed
Catching up on sleep after only getting 4 hours of it last night
Lou Malnati’s pizza
Thankful that I’m not on keto- see above!
Finally exploring the Schaumburg IKEA after driving by it for year. It works out since I need more lingonberry and cloudberry jam
And especially hanging out with Goalielocks
Good news is we’re ready for takeoff!!!! Chicago here we come!
And they’re off to the frozen tundra for a weekend of fun, family and of course hockey. Luckily the Mayor will be playing at our old home rink, so they’ll be plenty of family to support him. It’s also pretty nice that they get to stay at Hotel Grandma and Grandpa instead of a Holiday Inn!
Goalielocks and I will be heading north to Chicago Friday for his tournament. I’m keeping a watchful and anxious eye on the weather. I absolutely hate the idea of having to drive in a snow storm, but at this point it seems inevitable. I look forward to sharing our adventures this weekend on the blog. You can be sure it will include a lot of good Chicago pizza!
It’s Thursday eve, or hump day as we affectionately call it in corporate America. There’s something magical about the promise of a Wednesday. We’re oh so close to magical Friday afternoon. In our house, Wednesdays are also the only weekday where we can enjoy dinner as a family. It’s a nice rarity. Fortunately for me, the hubby usually has dinner done or in progress by the time I get home. It’s such a relief to not have to cook.
I was reminded tonight of the importance of being exceptionally specific when giving teenage boys directives. Sunday I had asked Goalielocks to bring down all his dirty clothes and towels, so he have clean clothes when school started. There was one crucial mistake in that sentence: the phrase “when school started.” Apparently, this freed the way for him to only wash the clothes he needs for this week.
When going upstairs to find my mouse, I noticed the error of my ways. His room still look like a clothes/bath towel box had exploded. Clearly, he hasn’t watched Tidying UP on Netflix. Or perhaps he misunderstood the directions to put all the clothes on your bed before figuring out what he could part with, but somehow I don’t think that’s the case. See when raising teenage boys, you have to be exceedingly specific and definitive in your directives. Moreover, you have to follow it up with turning off the wifi until the chore is done.
To be fair, both Goalielocks and his older brother Jake do their own laundry, so I can’t complain too loudly about his laundry. It’s just when Goalielocks does laundry, he only does 10%. Marie Kondo would lose her mind! Now for the good news. With the youngest in seventh grade, I’m a year away from only have to do me and my hubby’s laundry. That will be an awesome day!
An update to the thyroid, I’m still hyperactive and there’s inflammation in the gland. This is part of the process of they thyroid dying, but it’s taking forever and I’m impatient. Due to the thyroid, I’ve been running hot (low-grade fever) for the past several weeks. My heart rate has come down a bit since last week, which is a relief. It had a mind of its own last week, so I skipped the trip to Tampa with Goalielocks. After all if my heart rate Friday was 105 bps sitting at my desk while on beta blockers, my heart rate watching my goalie would have been dangerous. Good times!
While I wait for the hyperthyroidism to abate, I’m taking it completely easy. At this point, I’m not even non-aggressively riding my bike. We’ve had a cold in the house, so I’ve been taking fresh ginger shots with lemon to boost my immune system and reduce inflammation. It’s amazing how sweet a lemon tastes after drinking ginger. If you haven’t tried it, I do recommend it. For my S. Florida peeps, I recommend checking out Juiceberry in Boynton in Deerfield Beach or Smoothie Whirl’d in Boynton and West Palm. A solid online option is Jus by Julie’s boosters. When bundled with a cleanse, they’re 30% off through Sunday with the discount code Cleanse30. Since we’ll be traveling a bit in the coming weeks, it will be easier for me to have them delivered.
Since 2010, I’ve been a loud and proud hockey mom, now I’m mom to my favorite referee. Oh yes, my Goalielocks has become a zebra. The oft maligned position in sports is as critical to the sport as it is criticized. It’s a tough position with lot’s of pressure in any environment. When you throw crazy hockey parents on top of that it’s a lot.
There are a lot of great reasons for your kid to become a referee many of which I’ll cover here. I’ll start with the obvious: they make good money as a teen. I’m so excited for my second born to have his own income. There’s no better way for him to understand the value of a dollar then by earning his own. In order to make the same money at a normal “teen” job, he’d have to work more than double the hours. With his intense school schedule and travel hockey schedule, refereeing is the perfect part time job for him.
Selfishly, it’s been nice because I’ve learned a lot. We’ve got a couple of rule books around the house and I watched some of the modules with him. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about the rules from my referee friends. (Extra bonus is that he now gets to work with these fabulous people.). Nonetheless, there’s still a knowledge gap. Thankfully, when I’m watching a game and have a question about a call or a rule, he can explain it to me.
It’s also a great way for hockey player to learn the game and see it in a different light. Goalielocks has been in net for close to a decade and before that played out as a forward. When you referee a game, you see it in a whole different way. One that gives you appreciate and enhances your knowledge of the game. What could be bad about that?
In addition, to enhancing their knowledge of the game, refereeing gives young referees the opportunity to learn important life skills. Hockey is a fast game and being able to see and make the right call is awesome. The ability to make decisions under pressure is a crucial skill that will translate well into adulthood.
Lastly, and I’m sure I’m missing many reasons, it teaches them conflict resolution. There will be times that calls are made that coaches, parents and players will disagree with. As a referee, their job is resolve that conflict as professionally as possible. These conflicts can be highly emotional and aren’t always easy to solve, but this teaches a valuable life skill. Where else can a teenager get that kind of on the job experience?
As for my young zebra, he refereed his first squirt game with his mentor. It was his first full ice game, but he picked up quickly. As his games progressed yesterday, it was fun to watch him grow increasingly confident in his role. He capped off his day by scorekeeping a couple of rec games, so he could learn how to use the clock.
For all my Florida hockey parents, your kid can start refereeing at fourteen. The referee seminars are held in the fall throughout Florida. If you have any questions, let me know!
Looking for referee gear, you can shop his look here:
There’s no dignity in aging that is for damn sure. Along with radiation, isolation this pretty much describes the last couple months of my life. You may recall that I tore my tendon last summer while running. It was a complete buzz kill and put me on a boot and scooter for ten weeks. The injury, a tear in the posterior tibial tendon, was a surgical injury. Unfortunately, in my pre-op blood work they found that my thyroid had gone rogue. I went back two weeks later to ensure it wasn’t an anomaly and sadly it was not.
Now I was sidelined with a torn tendon and a rogue thyroid. I guess they weren’t lying when they said there’s no dignity in aging. Since my thyroid was hyperactive, I was no longer a candidate for surgery, so I opted for the controversial and expensive stem cells injection. Further complicating matters it the fact that our tendons ability to heal is heavily influence by the thyroid. Thus its unlikely that I’ll see a full recovery in the tendon until my thyroid has stabilized. #winning Nonetheless, between the torn tendon and the hyperthyroidism, I’ve been unable to do cardio since late July. It’s been quite the adjustment both mentally and physically.
My visit to the the endo was pretty straightforward. We were both confident that was the culprit behind my hyperthyroidism given that Graves Disease runs in my family. She did stress that I was lucky to have found the disease early as it progresses quite rapidly. Moreover, she laid out a plan of action to confirm our suspicions: more blood work and a thyroid scan and uptake test. If the diagnosis was confirmed, we proceed immediately to RAI (a.k.a. radioactive iodine) treatment. The nice thing about my endo is that she does’t make me come in to get test results or discuss next steps. Naturally, I have my appointments, but it’s nice not having to go into the office each step of the way.
Once my blood work came back abnormal the second time, my GP referred me out to an endocrinologist. Apparently, in South Florida they’re in very high demand. I initially made my appointment in early August for late October. I was none to pleased with that timeline. Fortunately, an appointment opened up in early September.
In late October, after more blood work and thyroid scan/uptake test, she called to confirmed that our initial suspicions were correct. It was Graves Disease, an autoimmune disorder that attacks the thyroid gland causing it to be hyperactive. My next step would be the RAI treatment. Fortunately, I was still able to go overseas and enjoy all that Sweden, Finland and Denmark have to offer before completing the RAI treatment. Admittedly, I was far from 100% during the trip, but I still had the most amazing time. (I’ll be sharing more from the trip in the coming days.)
Once I was back on the continent, the appointment was set and my family I prepared for the three days I’d spend in complete isolation. (Fellow moms, I know what you’re thinking – complete silence and alone time= complete gift. You’re not wrong.) This was also the run up to the Purple Stride event and I was serving as Chair for team and personal development for the first time. We had to buy a lot of disposable plates and silverware, since my dishes couldn’t co-mingle with the family’s dishes. I also bought a lot of cough drops and throat spray as throat pain is one of side effects of the treatment.
Early November 19th, I headed over to DCA where they’d administer the RA-131. By this time, I was anxious to get it over with and get back to normal. They called me back and then there was a problem. When they called to schedule, they neglected to tell me that a negative pregnancy test had to be on file. At this point, I was quite aggravated and not willing to move my appointment. It was, after all, their mistake.
Fortunately, I was able to negotiate a compromise with the tech and radiologist. I quickly left DCA and headed to CVS where I bought the cheapest pregnancy test I could find. I hurried back to DCA, took the test, handed it to the tech and got my RAI. Sadly, I forgot to take a picture of the mini-keg the pill came in. I did have some trepidations as the tech handled the keg with thick lead gloves as she pulled the pill out of a thick glass test tube from within the keg.
The following days were quite uneventful. I worked from home effectively only missing conference calls since my throat hurt and my voice was weak. I binged watch all of the shows and movies I can’t ordinarily enjoy in a house of boys. To be honest, I was a bit disappointed that my neck didn’t glow. I had grandiose plans of making a video of me singing radioactive with a glowing neck, but alas that couldn’t happen. Since the boys were off that week, they took times dropping off water and food to my room. By the end of the three days, I was ready to see civilization again.
As I mentioned, the boys were all home from school that week. You would think that while I was in insolation things like the dishes, sweeping, and putting away clothes would have been taken care of, but alas they were not. No sooner had I left my isolation than I was already willing to go back into it.
It’s been almost six weeks since the RAI and my thyroid should be slowing down by now. However, my thyroid, as mentioned before has gone rogue. It is now more hyperactive than it was before. Needless to say, I’m quite disappointed. I cannot go back to working out until my thyroid is no longer hyperactive. So say a prayer that when I go back to my Endo in six weeks, my rogue thyroid has been reformed and on it’s way to being normal or hypo.
In the meantime, I’ll continue taking the beta blockers and trying to adhere to a sedentary lifestyle that’s miserable. The disease has made watching Goalielocks in net a bit perilous. Fortunately, the beta blockers keep my heart rate and rhythm from being totally ridiculous. Thankfully, the Mayor is a second year peewee and not in a checking league, so his games are still pretty relaxing for me. (You know I had to bring some hockey into it!). I’m utterly exhausted day in and day out, which is a major downside of the disease and the meds I’m on. Sleep is hard to come by when your thyroid is hyperactive. The beta blockers make it even more difficult. One thing is sure, when this is over and it will be soon, I’ll be quite grateful for good health and the ability to be active. I cannot wait to run again!
Since today is World Pancreatic Cancer Awareness day, I thought I’d write about why I stride. Stride of course refers to Pancreatic Cancer Action Network’s annual 5k called Purple Stride. This Sunday, as we’ve done since 2015, Team Deb Force Five will be off to the races at the Broward-Palm Beach Purple Stride. While it will be my first as part of the event team, it will also be our second Purple Stride without Debbie, which brings me to why I stride.
I remember the day clearly. I had travelled with work to Orlando to present for the first time as part of our Military Roadshow. It was a pretty big deal and I was super excited. We were driving up as a group and heading back that evening. The presentation went swimmingly, so I spent my afternoon getting caught up on work. And then my husband called, hysterical.. I was convinced something had happened to one of our kiddos. When he finally calmed down, he told me the devastating news that Debbie had been diagnosed with stage iv cancer. Instantly, my knees went week and I started to slide down the wall as I too started to cry. At that point, the origin of the cancer was unknown, but the prognosis was dire.
At the time of her diagnosis Debbie was 40 years old. She wasn’t a smoker, she ate exceedingly healthy and was an avid runner. She didn’t fit the profile for a pancreatic cancer patient, but I think that’s the message. According to a a recent study, pancreatic cancer will be the 2nd deadliest cancer by 2020. Lung cancer is projected to remain the deadliest cancer. While other cancers have seen a decrease in mortality rates, pancreatic cancer has not. Researchers pointed to a combination of factors as to why mortality rates for pancreatic cancer have not declined. Risk factors including an aging population, the relative growth of high-risk minority populations (African Americans and Ashkenazi Jews) and the underfunding of pancreatic cancer research.
Debbie was committed to finding a cure and research for better patient outcomes. She was an avid supporter of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network and the work they do to drive pancreatic cancer research. Unfortunately, this can’t be done without money. Pancreatic cancer patients and their families, like Debbie and her family, deserve better outcomes. They deserve a survival rate well over 9%.
We lost Debbie almost two years ago, but some days it feels like it was yesterday while others it feels like it’s been years. Even still Goalielocks asks why they couldn’t do more for her. I stride because I’m committed to ensuring that pancreatic cancer patients and their families have better outcomes. I’m committed to helping drive research forward. This disease has stolen so much from so many. It certainly has from me.
You can support PanCan and Team Deb Force Five in Debbie’s honor: http://support.pancan.org/site/TR/PurpleStride/PurpleStride?team_id=14831&pg=team&fr_id=1573
We spent today exploring Stockholm, its history, its food and its drink. Our day started with a wonderful and real authentic continental breakfast. It wasn’t the paltry continental breakfast every hotel at a hockey tournament tries to sell you. This breakfast was legit. There were no watery eggs or overcooked bacon to be had. The only similarity is that this breakfast also had a waffle maker, which we definitely enjoyed.
Our time here in Stockholm is short, so we wanted to maximize our time and see as much of the city as possible. The best way to do this, especially in the winter, is the hop on and hop off buses. They run continuously throughout the day with several stops and a narrated tour to boot. If the weather were a bit warmer and my ankle/foot completely healed, this would be a perfect walking city. Truly, if my foot was better, we’d probably have walked most of the city.
We grabbed the bus at Stockholm’s Central nation, which is super nice. We somehow managed to missed it twice. Once it was our fault, the second time it just drove by. When the third bus came by, we were sure to be first in line. We sat atop the bus and rode for about half the tour before realizing we should have grabbed the headphones downstairs. The bus takes you through all the major neighborhoods in Sweden and provides a lot of great information about the sites.
We rode the thing throughout the complete loop before deciding to hop off at Gamle Stan near the Royal Palace. As soon as I exited the bus, I was cold. We were dropped off right across from the palace and not far from the water. The wind was whipping off the water with no buildings to slow it. I was getting cold fast! We made our way up the palace stairs to check it out. Our timing was sublime as we entered the courtyard right before they started the changing of the guard. I filmed it in its entirety, but I almost froze my fingers off!
As soon as the ceremony ended, we made our way into the Palace to check out the Royal Apartments, the museum and find a bathroom. The Palace is stunning and a beautiful example of the baroque design style. Throughout the palace, the artwork was sublime. At every turn, every room there were a myriad of paintings, sculptures and tapestries. There was one drawing room in particular that was full of portraits of the royal family. It reminded me of Harry Potter and a couple of other movies where the eyes in the portraits follow you as you move through the room.
After exploring the palace grounds, we headed to find food. We explored the palace while past the lunch hour, so we decided to go for dinner. At the recommendation of our bartender last night, we headed to Aifur. It was an adventure through Gamle Stan to find it with two pit stops at Stortoget, the oldest square in Stockholm, to get coffee and mittens. Finally, we headed down the hill to Västerlånggatan, the main thoroughfare, to find Aifur. I tried to behave, but couldn’t help perusing a few of the stores along the way. Humorously, when we finally found the restaurant it wasn’t opened yet. Naturally, we killed the half hour at Corner Bar enjoyed a few drinks.
Dinner at Aifur was quite the experience. The restaurant is an homage to Scandinavia’s Viking heritage in its decor, its food, and its staff. Consequently, the dining room was set up with several long tables with benches on both sides. On the tables, there were candelabra, silverware and glassware in keeping with the theme. Each of the dishes on the menu were inspired by the Vikings.
We started our meal with a charcuterie board inspired by Ragnor himself. Largely, it was compiled of different types of sausages, including reindeer heart. Surprisingly, the reindeer heart sausage was tasty. I enjoyed the reindeer sausage with some cheddar chess on a cracker. While I had the elk sausage on bread with cheddar and boiled apples. It was a nice exploration of the different types of sausages from the region.
Our main courses were just as yummy. Jon and I enjoyed venison with hash browns on root vegetables served on a creamy mushroom sauce. Jake had the porcini risotto, which he thought was okay. I really enjoyed it! Brandi had the dwarf chicken also served with the risotto, which was also quite tasty. We accompanied our dinner with Mead from Poland.
The best part of dinner, aside from the company and the food, was the atmosphere. Every time new guests would arrive, the host/hostess would announce them to the dining room sharing both their party name and where they’re from. It was fun to guess where our other dinners guests hailed from. I’d be lying if I said we were good at that game. Nonetheless, it made for a fun night. Lastly, as we ate, we enjoyed live traditional Scandinavian music keeping with the restaurant’s theme.
Post dinner we walked back to the hotel and then headed up to The Capitol Bar at the Scandic for the first of two night caps. I ended my night out at the bar downstairs with a great apple beer from Belgium. While I got ready for bed, the rest of the party closed down the bar and went on a fast food run. Sadly, there were no Doritos burgers tonight only zombie burgers from Burger King.
Tomorrow we’re off to Helsinki for several days. Stockholm has been a blast and we’ll definitely be back!
After nearly nine hours aboard a Boeing 787-900, we made it safely to Stockholm. The 789 was quite comfortable and I actually managed to get some sleep! Yay! If I had to guess, our bartender Laura’s heavy pour at the airport helped this mission. Nevertheless, it wasn’t enough, so I’m totally exhausted now and its only 10:00 PM in Stockholm and 5:00 pm back home. Once we got through customs and got our luggage, which was quite quick, we grabbed a snack and drink (coffee please) at 7-11 before hopping on the express train into the sitting.
Much like my initial impressions of Norway, Sweden reminds me a lot of Minnesota. Speaking of Norway, we flew over Fjord Norway on our approach into Stockholm’s Arlanda airport. The region looked absolutely beautiful from 40,000 ft with the mountains covered in snow. As for the train, we arrived at central station in a brisk 20 minutes. Fortunately, our hotel is mere half of block from the station.
Our hotel is adorable. We have four bed and a beautiful patio overlooking Stockholm. It’s the perfect place to store our beverages and stinky shoes. The view is pretty fabulous as well. Once we got situated in the hotel room, we got ready to head out and about to find dinner.
We started our exodus looking for a meatball place, but found the maps and google searches aren’t too successful here unless we’re on wi-fi. We walked for several blocks in the brisk evening air until we happened upon a place called Polpette – combination of Italian and Swedish cuisine. The restaurant was beautiful inside with friendly waitresses and hostesses.
Our dinner started with drinks, my bro and I enjoyed a lingonberry margarita, while B enjoyed a glass of wine and Jake stuck with water. We started our dinner with an appetizer order of sourdough cheese bread and fresh caprese. They were amazing. Unfortunately, we ate them so fast we didn’t even stop to take a picture.
For the main course, I enjoyed a flank steak on a bed of gratinized mashed potatoes. Jake had Swedish meatballs, Brandi has pasta Bolognese and Jon had fettucine with steak. Our main courses were beautiful and delicious. My meal came with the bonus of an asparagus spear wrapped in bacon- yum. Honestly, the food absolutely hit the spot. We enjoyed our meal and the hospitality of the staff at Polpette. If you’re ever in downtown Stockholm, I recommend you pay them a visit.
Post dinner we headed back towards the hotel in hopes of finding pastries, but alas all the cafes were already closed for the night. Since we couldn’t find pastries, we headed to the Ice Bar in Stockholm. I’ve been to the Ice Hotel in Quebec City, but this was my first time at a year round ice bar.
We suited up and headed into the ice. Much like the Ice Hotel in Quebec, the Ice Bar had several elaborate ice carvings. This bar is done in a Viking theme, which makes for an impressive experience. It should come as no surprise that we spent tons of time hanging out on the Viking ship and throne while enjoying our drinks. Our bartender was fantastic and gave us a list of places to try before leaving Stockholm After several rounds of drinks, we headed back to the hotel for a night-cap and to get ready for tomorrow.
Wow, it feels like forever since I’ve actually had the time to post on back to back days. We had a busy day of hockey and hockey related activities. The morning started with the Mayor’s team fundraising at a Publix in Coconut Creek. Thanks to the store’s generous patrons, his squad raised over $800. Fortunately, he and the hubby were back in time to leave right way for Goalielock’s games.
Goalielock’s and his squad split the day dropping the first contest to the Hawks, but winning their second against the Toros. I had a blast in the box with Tonya and DB during the first game. Reunited and it felt so good! Unfortunately, during he warmups for game two Goalielock’s left leg slid out on him and he pulled his groin. Long story short, I walked out to hit the restroom pre-game and when I came back he was on the bench in a different jersey. It only took me almost the entire first period to figure it out. Needless to say, Goalielocks has been on solid regimen of ice for 20 and heat for 20 since he got home.
I’ve gotta give a shout to fellow hockey mom D. Green for the amazing ribbon she gave me. I freaking love it. It makes me wonder how the crafty gene skipped me entirely. Truly, I have not one crafty bone in my body. When I try to be crafty, it ends up looking like something you’d see on Netflix’s Nailed It. (love that show!) Nonetheless, since I don’t possess that skillset at all, I’m in awe of those who do it so well.
Between Goalielock’s game, the Mayor had a four hour clinic. We sent Goalielock’s to John’s house with the team, while we drove to Palm Beach to drop him off. After dropping him off, we headed over to meet the team for some grub. As for my Mayor, he’s completely exhausted after the craziness of his day. It’s not often that he puts himself to bed this early! Speaking of which, it’s time for me to head off to practice my Swedish, read a bit and head to bed.
It’s tminus seven until Jake, and my brother and his wife head to Scandinavia for an epic adventure. Jake and I spent our morning picking up a few last-minute items from Kohl’s. It’s going to be in the 40s-50s, so a light jacket should suffice. Since we live in Florida our fall wardrobe for Scandinavian weather isn’t quite up to par.
After Kohl’s we headed to Barnes and Noble. I’ve been reading book after book as I work my way through the top 500 fiction and non-fiction books. I’m currently reading One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez, but should finish it in the coming days. It’s delightful this far, quite the departures from Tolstoy’s Resurrection. I’d highly recommend both novels. For the trip, I bought Stieg Larsson’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Since paperbacks were 3 for $30, I was seriously tempted to by several books. I behaved and walked out with only two.
In addition to Larsson’s novel, I picked up a book on Swedish grammar. I love DuoLingo, but I needed to read through the grammatical rules. Every night I try to spend at least 30 minutes practicing Swedish before reading for the last hour before bed. I don’t expect to be fluent, but I hope to at least be able to communicate in Swedish while in Stockholm. As an aside, there isn’t DuoLingo for Finnish or Finnish grammar books at our Barnes and Noble. Please see video below for what I imagine I’ll sound like.
I am super excited, not just for the trip, but for November’s Purple Stride. This year I’m unable to run due to my left ankle, so I’m taking on a different role. For this year’s event, I’m happy to announce that I am the Team Chair. I’ll be in charge to driving team results and recruitment. Those of you on the fence of joining team Deb Force Five – now it the time to join. If you’re not in Florida that’s okay! You can join us as a virtual strider. Join by clicking here. I’ll leave you with one of Freddy Mercury’s iconic live performances. I, for one, cannot wait to see the Queen movie coming out next week.