Exploring Stockholm

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

If you go:

Sightseeing bus: Hop On Hop Off Bus

The Palace: Royal Palace Complex: 

The Dinner: Aifur

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Back to Back

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.

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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.

P.S.  Don’t forget to join Team Deb Force Five!

TMinus Seven

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.

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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.

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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.

 

You Know You’re A Hockey Mom When….

You know you’re a hockey mom when Monday brings a respite from the hectic weekend.  Yeah, that’s right.  Today’s case of the MondayA brought a restful peace absent from my insane weekend.  It’s a diametric shift in the way you think for sure.  Who knew perusing emails and reviewing data could be so peaceful. 43951525_995802547265872_7100467683530899456_o

Our weekend was insane from the start.  I began my weekend with Goalielocks and the Mayor finding the perfect outfit for a quince and bar mitzvah respectively.    Shopping with boys is not for the faint at heart or the impatient.  We had the dressing rooms on lock for over an hour much to the chagrin of our fellow shoppers.  Nonetheless, we were successful.  Of course, Colin asked to check out to shoe store in the mall for some new Adidas before my wallet was even back in my purse – about that…

Saturday morning started early with the Mayor having to be at the rink by 9:00 am.  Goalielocks and I drove separately as we had to leave midway through the game for the Purple Stride meeting.  The Mayor’s first game, at least what we were able to see, was fantastic.  He scored an awesome goal, which thanks to poor vision and marked up glass I didn’t get a clear view on it.  Fortunately, the rink has video and I was able to pull down the video later.  Admittedly, I had to film it in slo-mo on my iPhone, so I could see it.

We left half way through the second to head to the Purple Stride meeting at Lucky’s Italian Market in Coral Springs. Once the Purple Stride meeting ended, we headed to Kohl’s to get him dress shoes to accompany his quince outfit.   We definitely had differing opinions over shoes, but he quickly realized comfort over form would win the day.  Goalielocks was a bit disappointed we didn’t have time to get to the mall, but the promise of a Pub sub won him over.

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The Mayor’s second game was a hard-fought contest, but in the end they came up a goal short.  We headed home so Goalielocks could shower.  While we drove the Mayor came into some Panthers’ tickets.  While I dropped Goalielocks off at the quince, the hubby and my Mayor headed to the Panthers’ game.  When all was said and done, we picked up Goalielocks just after 1:00 am and got to bed around 2:00 am.  This weekend left us exhausted.

Here’s some key hockey mom identifiers:

You know you’re a hockey mom when….

Monday is a restful day

Your dog’s crate smells better than your car or garage

$700 is a lot for a pair of shoes, but too little for a goalie helmet

Someone asks you your age and you give them your birth year

You yell at the zebra, but you’re not at the zoo

You’re on a first name basis with local urgent cares and ERs

You online shop at Pure Hockey, Hockey Monkey and Hockey Giant

You bring a megaphone to the rink.. oh wait, that’s just that one psycho hockey mom…..

Late Nights

I love playoff hockey, but the late nights get tougher with each passing year.  This year’s playoff run has been full of drama, fun to watch and a little gross (thank you Brad Marchand.). Admittedly, I’m sad that my Wild didn’t make it past the Jets in the first round.  Nonetheless, there are several Minnesota boys to support in the conference finals.   Of course, as I’m writing this I have the Mayor to my left – cheering on the Lightning and Goalielocks to my right cheering on the Capitols.    This makes for an interesting game experience.

My favorite moments of this playoff season are Dustin Byfuglien manhandling two players at once like they’re a toddler.  The man, pure and simple, is a beast.  He’s unequivocally one of the players to watch during the conference finals.   Check out these awesome clips of Byfuglien being Byfuglien.  The first clip even includes a nice view of Fleury’s ear tickle on Blake Wheeler.  Yeah, you read that right.

I can’t wait to watch the Jet vs. Knights game tomorrow night.  Both teams are incredibly fun to watch.  Plus between the the Knights’ amazing pre-game entertainment and introductions, you know with these two teams you’re going to get a fast paced, physical game. As for now, with the Caps/Lightning game winding down, I should probably head to bed.

P.S. I thought about posting the infamous licking video, but honestly can’t bring myself to give that guy any publicity.

My Mayor Turned 12!

Yesterday, my mayor turned 12!  I can’t believe our youngest has only one year left before becoming a full fledged teenager.  While he’s not in the teens by number, he’s certainly in a teen when it comes to his appetite and his demeanor.  Of course, the Mayor’s been feisty since he was born, so none of this is a surprise.   Fortunately, my Mayor is a sweet as he is feisty.

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His birthday weekend was pretty low key.  While the hubby helped my brother with the floors, Jake worked and Goalielocks was at a friend’s, my Mayor and I spent the weekend hanging out.  Saturday we upgraded his phone to the iPhone 8 as his iPhone 6 was starting to fail in everyday.  Undoubtedly the phone served us well, it simply wasn’t going to last one more day.  Thankfully, the demise of his phone was timed well with his birthday weekend. He was overjoyed today when he got home from school since his phone held it’s battery all day.

We also picked up a Fitbit for both he and Goalielocks since they’re going to start running with me.  In addition, we got some new workout clothes, a new wall ball, a curved agility ladder and an acceleration trainer.  All the things they’ll need to be in good shape going into next year’s hockey season.  If it weren’t for the slight fever and cold The Mayor had this weekend, we would have started our workouts this weekend.  Nonetheless, I had blast this weekend with the birthday boy and cannot wait to see what the next year will bring him.

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Tonight we had planned to start running together, but of course, life had a different plan.  This morning Goalielocks was beset by severe, localized abdominal pain.  When I left for work this morning, I assumed he had picked up his brother’s cold.  Apparently, I was wrong. #winning While at work, I checked on him periodically.  His symptoms were a bit worrisome as doctor google suggested, he likely had appendicitis.   I was both slightly worried and slightly encouraged that doctors google didn’t say he was dying.  For once, I thought doctor google might actually be on point.

I headed home early to take him into urgent care, so we could rule out appendicitis.   His symptoms were pretty well aligned to the condition.  After the year we had, I didn’t want to press our luck by waiting it out. I had visions of his appendix bursting as he binged watched Family Guy on Hulu.  It was not a good vision…..  Urgent care wasn’t able to rule out appendicitis as they couldn’t run a CBC and get timely results.

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Back to the ER we went….. You know it’s bad when they don’t ask for an insurance card anymore because they recognize you.  Or when the doctor comes in, he remembers treating your family before. #notwinning.   As with any trip to ER, we spent several hours of our lives waiting for lab tests, ultrasounds and consultations.  Fortunately, Family Guy was on and helped us pass the time.  Ironically, it was on the very episode I started watching last night, but missed when I went to take a shower.   I know feel like I have closure having watched the episode and several others in their entirety.

Thankfully, after a long wait, we were given the all clear by the doctor.  Both his blood work and ultrasound were negative for any abnormalities.  We left the ER with a diagnosis of gastritis and Zantac/Pepcid AC as a means to treat the discomfort.  We’ll continue to monitor him as he still has localized pain and will be following up with is pediatrician.  Thanks to everyone from the love, prayers and support today it is very much appreciated.  As a side note, the ER rejected my suggestion of a frequent flier program (i.e. every visit you get a stamp and your fourth visit is free.). Special thanks to my girl Jutta for the brilliant suggestion!  As for us, it’s time to reset the days without an ER visit to 0.

 
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Two Months and One Day

Two months and one day since our last ER visit. I told Goalielocks after his string of ER visits in late February and early March that he had met his annual quota for ER visits. Unfortunately, he didn’t seem to read that memo. Alas, we’re back in the ER.

This time we’re back in to rule out appendicitis after he started experiencing acute abdominal pain this morning. Unfortunately, neither our pediatrician nor the urgent care center could turn around a CBC test very quickly. Consequently, they referred us to the ER to ensure appendicitis was ruled out.

As I sit in the ER again, I’m starting to think they should offer loyalty programs like Dunkin’ or Starbucks. Perhaps after every 3rd visit, your 4th visit could be complimentary. This would at least save me significant money on my deductible and co-instance. It’s just a thought and likely one corporate healthcare wouldn’t support. For us parents, ER frequent flyers programs would be amazing.

I’m only somewhat kidding with that last suggestion. We’ve found ourselves in the ER entirely too often this year. As I type this, I’m sitting in the ultrasound room watching a fishing expedition. At least when I was pregnant, I kind of knew what I was looking at. On these ultrasounds, I have no idea.

They just finished the ultrasound, so now we’ll wait for those results along with the labs. Keep your fingers cross that it’s us a stomach bug and not appendicitis.

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.