Day One Chicago

Day on in Chicago has been fun. We beat the storm in, which was fabulous. In fact, it really didn’t start to snow until nighttime. After leaving the airport in my sexy Buick rental car, we hit Target to pick up some snacks and drinks for the room.

For Goalielocks, Target was just one more delay in eating a nice, hot slice of Giordano’s pizza. We checked out and quickly headed to Giordano’s thinking the storm would stay at anytime. Fortunately, we could leave our groceries in the car as we ate. I definitely miss that ability in Florida where we have to race home so our freezer items don’t melt!

Giordano’s was the perfect anecdote to a long day of travel. Our short layover in Detroit afforded us no time to eat. Consequently, we were quite hungry. The beauty of deep dish pizza, at least for me, is that one piece will leave you satiated for the rest of the day. In fact, neither Colin nor myself ate the rest of the day. Our late lunch at Giordano’s was enough to tide us over for the rest of the day.

The snow was absolutely beautiful this morning. We got about five inches at the hotel. The major roads appear to be relatively clean with some of the side roads still quite slippery and snow covered. I’m truly not looking forward to driving forty minutes southwest for tonight’s game. As for the temperature, it’s still pretty comfortable. The wind, however has picked up quite a bit, which is blowing snow everywhere. Meanwhile in Minnesota, my Mayor and hubby were enjoying sub zero weather.

Our hotel is nice enough and centrally located to the mall and Dunkin’. I dropped Goalielocks and his friends at the mall this morning, so they could do something other than look for ponds near the hotel. While they canvassed the mall, I headed to Ikea. I love that the store reminds me of my Scandinavian travels and the AirBnB’s we stayed in that were filled with IKEA items.

After the mall, Goalielocks and his boys headed back outside to cause trouble. They found some nice snowballs. The majority of which seemed to end up on Goalielocks’ pants and hoodie. He’s now down to one pair of pants that isn’t soaked or muddy. His nice Adidas joggers got a bit muddy after he broke the ice at the edge of the pond. You can only imagine how happy I was upon hearing that story.

While Goalielocks wrecked yet another pair of pants, I decided to do some yoga. I took a risk and did a vinyasa video from Fightmaster Yoga. It felt incredible, but it definitely got my heart rate pumping. I did modify some of the exercises to bring my heart rate back down. I’m not sure if it was the fact I’d only drank coffee today or Graves’ disease, but it was annoying either way.

Meanwhile in Minny, my Mayor is having a blast with his team and has already hit White Castle twice. Like I’ve shared before, he’s got an iron gut. At present, he and his team are playing at outdoor game not far from my Aunt and Uncle’s house. Tonight they’ll head down to the Excel Energy Center to see the Wild attempt to play. Last night, the Mayor got to see one of our favorite coaches and his mite coach, Coach Ryan. It’s awesome how hockey introduces you to great paths and how your paths keep crossing through the game we all love.

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Chicago Bound… Hopefully

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
  • Giordano’s pizza
  • 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!

Dignity in Aging

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!

 

Changes

Over the past several months there’s been some changes in our lives. The major change has been a new position for me at work. While the move was lateral, it came with a significant uptick in duty tempo and responsibilities. My role changed in mid-February, which coincides with the stoppage of my daily blogging. I love writing at night, but frankly I’m completely exhausted by the time I sit down to write.

The good news is I love my new role and my new team. Last week some of us participated in the 2018 Mercedes Benz Corporate Run in Fort Lauderdale. I had high hopes for a stellar finish, but the two enormous bridges, my tendons and my endurance had a different idea. Perhaps I’m being too tough one myself after all it’s my first race post injury and with orthotics, but I don’t think so. Of course, the upshot is I know have a new baseline to work from.

This past weekend the Hubby and Goalielocks headed to the west coast for hockey, while I stayed behind. The Mayor headed to Epcot Saturday after an exceptionally early non-hockey wake up call. This was his first time to Disney and he had an absolute blast! He would love to go back some day, but if given the choice he’d rather go to the Keys or back to Atlantis. (He’s a smart boy!)

Saturday I didn’t do entirely too much other than get my hair cut, run to BJ’s to pick up groceries and relax. I spent much of the day following the Humboldt Bronco story, which continues to devastate our hockey community. Life is far too short and far to precious. In honor of the Broncos, I wore green today. Moreover, we’ve put our sticks out in tribute as “the boys may need them.” Please continue to hold these families and their community in your thoughts and prayers.

Happy Easter!!

Happy Easter to the blogosphere. I don’t know about you guys, but I started my day with a sensible breakfast of eggs. While the breakfast of eggs part was true, the sensible not so much. Unless, of course, your breakfast of eggs was made up of Cadbury eggs.

Our egg/basket hunt was a bit disjointed as Jake had to leave for work before Goalielocks woke up. While we could have woken him up to hunt the hunt, it’s better to let sleeping beasts lie. Though shall not wake up a teenager unnecessarily. We’ve learned that lesson the hard way.

The boys enjoyed their baskets. Admittedly, they were quite simple, but we’re trying to move towards a less is more kind of lifestyle. Fortunately, I planned the candy but well so as to leave enough extra Cadbury Eggs for the hubby and I to enjoy.

For the majority of the day, we chilled at home binge watching the Trailer Park Boys. If you’ve never watched this show, you’re missing out. The show follows the unbelievable antics of three friends in a trailer park. Unfortunately, for these guys the park provides a pretty toxic environment.

We also made so progress on the remodel project we’re starting in our family room and kitchen. After some debate over paint colors, we narrowed it down to three choices. Consequently, we headed to Home Depot to get some samples. Afterwards, the Hubby painted the sample on to the wall in two areas, so we could make an intelligent case. Here are the colors? What are your thoughts?

Lastly, the Piggie and I got in a good four mile run this afternoon. Admittedly, neither my speed nor my endurance is where I’d like it to be heading into Thursday’s race. While I’d love to finish the corporate run (5K) below thirty minutes, I don’t think I’m there yet. Anyway, I’ll let you know how it goes on Friday.

The Pain

Oh the pain of a great vacation ending. Naturally, I felt this pain wholeheartedly when I returned from the Bahamas last week. It was hardest to leave the world paradise that is Atlantis. I’ve always thought the first day back at work post vacation was the hardest. After all, there’s nobody to deliver delicious strawberry daiquiris to your desk.

Today left me questioning my preconceived notion. See this vacation was a little bit different than most of our vacation. Usually we all go back to work or school at the same time or there is a protracted period before the boys return to school. This time Hubby and I went back to work last Thursday while the boys chilled at home until today.

Based on the mood of my youngest children today, I’m thinking that the first day back to school may be the hardest. They’re clearly overtired or overstimulated. I’m sure they’re equally upset that nobody’s delivering virgin daiquiris to their desks. All in all, it’s made for an interesting night and an early bed time for both of them.

Lesson learned my friends. Next time to our collective return to reality aligns like this, I’m planning a happy hour. That’s right I’ll be commiserating with my girls over work as the boys drive themselves crazy over their return to normalcy. Seems like a solid plan and I bet most happy hour places even serve delicious daiquiris.

Tough To Swallow

It’s a bit tough to swallow that our vacation ended days ago and I’m still exhausted. Fortunately, the dinner I made in the Instant Pot was not! I love the convenience and quick turnaround of this magical device.

Tonight’s dish was Ropa Vieja and it did not disappoint. The meat (a roast) took only 90 minutes to cook. Once the 90 minutes had elapsed, I was able to easily shred the beef with my fork. I then added in the peppers, so they could cook without contaminating the entire meat (everyone, but me hates peppers) and added the olives.

What’s even better is that while the roast cooked, the Piggie and I were able to run an arduous 3.5 miles. It was not my best run and the first time in awhile I’ve logged over 3 miles. Fortunately, the weather was entirely perfect. There was not a cloud in the sky. It was a perfect (at least weather wise) run with temperatures in the upper 70s to low 80

During the 3rd mile we alternated walking fast with sprinting. We started with intervals of 1:1 and then moved 1:2 ratio of walking to running. Unfortunately, I still sucked at running. Yesterday’s run was pretty fast and relatively pain free. On the other hand, today’s run was arduous as it’s worst and painstakingly hard at it’s best.

So yesterday’s run was great. Well, except for the squirrelly incident. It was just after mile marker 1, when a grey squirrel popped out from behind the bushes. The Piggie couldn’t control herself, she had to chase. Meanwhile in my head, I’m saying “squirrel” and cracking up. Fortunately, the squirrel quickly made its way up a tree and out of sight. I was dying laughing literally and figuratively, when I had to stop and catch my breath. #squirrel

Despite the difficulty of today’s run, the Piggie and I were able to go the distance. We didn’t quit when it seemed impossible. Rather we kept fighting to breakthrough the wall. Luckily, or perhaps unluckily, we’ll be back at it tomorrow. With only 11 days until the corporate run, I’ve got plenty of work to do! I can’t wait to run tomorrow!

Obsessed With Shipt

Confession time, I’m completely obsessed with Shipt. For the uninitiated, Shipt is the grocery delivery service owned by Target Corporation. When you sign up, you can shop at stores close to your work or home and have the groceries delivered.

The first time I used the service was the day we returned home from the Bahamas. I desperately needed to grocery shopping, but I had no energy to desire to make that Target run. Consequently, I placed an order through Shipt for a Publix run.

It was amazing. My shopper communicated with me whenever necessary. She wasn’t a faceless being on the other side of the app. In the case that an item was out of stock, she did a great job providing replacement options. The entire process was completely seamless.

Naturally, as I got into a rhythm with my housework, my desire to make a Target waned. Frankly, I can’t cope with the snowbirds. Consequently, I sent two separate orders one to Target and one to Publix. While the Shipt App may be slightly more expensive, it does prevent you from buying everything you see at Target. In the end, we got all of our groceries and never left the house. Moreover, I spent less money than I would had I actually gone to the store.

If you’d like to check it out, click here. I can’t recommend the service highly enough. For the hockey mom, busy family on the go, working people, Shipt is the perfect way to save time and get things done without missing a beat.

Shipt

Take Me Back

Yep, take me back to the Bahamas. I don’t think I got enough r&r, strawberry daiquiris or sun while I was there, so I should probably go back. Returning to work after vacation is tough especially after such a sublime and peaceful trip. I really should have bought a talisman while on the island to bring me luck and get me through the day.

Nevertheless, with no talisman in hand and only sun kissed complexion to show for the trip, I returned to work and nearly 700 emails. (Hence the take me back!) I finally got through all of the emails, but didn’t feel super productive today. Thankfully, there’s always tomorrow.

We did get fabulous news today at work, which is so very exciting. As of this afternoon, we know service Purdue University Global. I couldn’t be more excited about our collective future!

I’m Back

I’m back after taking a much needed and unintentional break. Frankly, vacation got in the way of blogging. I had every intention of blogging the entire trip, however, we had so much fun I was far too tired to write coherently. Admittedly, the vodka sodas from the casino probably didn’t help either.

As I lay in my yoga silk, I’m reflecting fondly on our trip while lamenting the fact we never took a family pic. Whoops! Nevertheless, the trip was absolutely perfect! We had way too much fun in the sun while playing in Atlantis’ Aquaventure Park.

My Mayor had so much fun and stretched himself by trying things he was afraid of. He, Goalielocks, A and J has a great time swimming in the lagoon and seeing the wildlife up close. The lagoon was quite deep when the tide was in and had several barracudas swimming around, but none of that deterred him. He also worked up the courage to ride the slide through the shark tank. I, however, did not.

I did, however, work up the courage to go down what Goalielocks described as a “trash slide.” Atlantis refers to this slide as the Jungle Slide, while I refer to it an instrument of mental and physical trauma. In describing it as trash, he neglected to tell me it would go completely dark (I’m claustrophobia) or that it would fling me awkwardly into a pool where I’d nearly drowned. Yes, it was only 3 feet deep and I’m totally be dramatic.

Yesterday, the boys and TK had the opportunity to swim with the dolphins at Dolphin Cay. Thank you Auntie J! The Mayor, who is a nervous nelly like me, did amazing. I was so proud of him! The boys had a rookie dolphin that disappeared at times, but they still loved it. It was an awesome opportunity for them to get up close and personal with an animal indigenous to the Bahamas and Florida.

Last night we got in some shopping and more time in the casino. While we shopped and hit the casino the older boys watched all the boys. As we walked back to the Reef, we were taking bets as to which kids would still be awake. We entered the room and seeing only the younger boys and the Mayor awake, we lost it laughing. Both Goalielocks and TK had passed out. Fortunately, the Mayor’s a good babysitter and had the scene under control.

We had so much fun and so many amazing moments this trip, I could write forever. It was just the thing we needed after the last month. Moreover, after the last year we’ve had collectively, it was the pitch perfect trip. We came home sun burnt, but with full hearts (and stomachs) and many wonderful memories.

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