We Made It

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.

If you go:

Our restaurant tonight: PolPette

The Ice Bar: Ice Bar by IceHotel Stockholm

Hotel:  https://www.freyshotels.com/

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Wanderlust

Wanderlust is defined as a strong desire to travel explore the world. Growing up I have always wanted to travel the world, but travel is expensive and so are kids. When I was young, we weren’t rich (weren’t poor either) and didn’t travel often.  If we did travel, it was normally within the state.   We took an amazing trip to California when I was thirteen.  This trip remains one of my favorite memories from childhood.  In addition, I was fortunate that my parents sent me on a couple of amazing class trips.  My goal growing up was to travel the world and see the sites.  Our last trip, Norway, fed my soul and reawakened my wanderlust. Moreover, it awakened the wanderlust in my kids.

There’s nothing better than exploring our globe and our heritage with the ones you love. Now that I’m getting older and have more money, I’m starting to see the future I’ve always wanted. A future that included exploring the world with my family and seeing all that this life has to offer. I’ve been so excited that this “future” is starting to become a reality.  Moreover, I relish the opportunity to share these experiences with my family.

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After traveling to Europe in high school, I fell in love with European history, architecture and art. The opportunity to traipse around the continent is a complete dream.   Norway was a complete dream as it combined my love of European history with my own heritage.  Moreover, it was made even better by the presence of my entire family and grandma.  For as long as I live, I will never forget the look of wonderment on my Grandma’s face as she looked up at the mountains and hills on the Kongevegen in Borgund.  You can’t script a moment better than this.

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I cannot wait for my next trip!  The future I have always wanted and worked so hard to get is close at hand.  Words are not adequate to describe how hard I have worked to get from the ground floor to where I am now.  Countless hours and years of dedication to achieve the results I have achieved and make my future possible.   All of my adult life, I have been working towards this future.

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As much as I love travel, I enjoy sharing these experiences with friends and family more.    A belief that travel and exploration is inconsequential and a needless expense has stalled my vision for the future. As the wind was knocked from my sails, a crushing pain has taken hold in my chest. The realization that what is important to me does not matter to the one I love most has been a crushing blow.  Nonetheless, I’ll pick up the pieces and move forward my plans for the future somewhat altered, but still intact.

 

 

Exploring The World

There’s nothing I enjoy more than exploring the world with my family and friends.  Last month, we were in the Bahamas for a fun and relaxing trip with family.  This weekend the Hubby is headed West for an adult hockey tournament with Goalielocks, while the Mayor will head to Epcot with school.  Jake will be working, which means I’ll have an entire Saturday to myself!  (Say what!?!?!)  If I didn’t have all these blisters on my feet from starting to run again, I’d probably go get a long over due pedicure.  I’m just a little concerned about picking up an infection with the blisters, so I’ll probably go shoe shopping instead.

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Before I get to my super Saturday, I have a 5K on Thursday night.  It’s all about the preparation with these races, which means I’m facing an uphill battle.   I’ve trained pretty steadily for the past two weeks, but it isn’t going to be sufficient to yield favorable results.  My goal is to get back under 30 minutes, but I don’t think this will be that race.  Nevertheless, it feels great to be running again.  To be clear, it feels good after I’m done running not while I’m running.

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Next weekend I’m headed to the islands for a well deserved momcation.  I can’t wait to be on a beautiful island with incredible women and incredible beaches.  Its been a hell of a first quarter and this is the perfect way to recharge my battery for the second quarter.   Honestly, I cannot wait to disconnect for a few days while in the company of great people.   Plus, you cannot beat the beaches in Turks and Caicos!

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One of my goals has always been to travel more and see different places.  The trips don’t have to be long, but just enough to get away for a bit and explore a new city.  Consequently, I’ve been thinking that for the boys’ birthdays, it would be better to take them on a weekend getaway than buy them something.   I love the idea of shared experiences over material goods.  I’ll let you know how that goes.  Lastly, Goalielocks hit the ice for the first time in earnest since his injury almost two months ago!

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.

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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Another Day In Paradise

Another day in paradise, here in the Bahamas. I started my day with a grueling run along the beach. To be clear, it was grueling since it was my first run since November. The scenery, however, more than made up for the difficulty of the run. Truly, it felt great to be able to run against. Although I have serious work to do before running in the Corporate Run.

After an awesome breakfast, we headed over to the cabana to setup shop. It’s a lot easier navigating this place when you have a singular meeting point for the entire day. Not too mention ample seating and areas out of the sun.

After getting setup at the cabana, A, the Mayor and myself headed to the lagoon to snorkel. I don’t know what the current water temperature is only that it is far too cold to be swimming it. It took me a long time to get acclimated to the water. Once I did, however, the snorkeling was fun and we saw a lot of fish.

After awhile we tired of the lagoon and headed for the beach. The beach is absolutely stunning, but there are street vendors on the beach that are a bit obnoxious. I have no patience for them. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a ton of fish in close to the beach and the jet skis were already all over the place. While there is reef off of the beach it’s a little too far from shore and too close to where the novice jet skiers are riding.

The rest of our day was filled with sun, sand and water. I enjoyed the rapids ride with H. We had a blast in our double tube. Meanwhile, the boys were all over the the place having a great time. We finally headed back to the room around 5:00, so I could get ready for an adults only dinner. Don’t worry the kids got fed! Moreover, I’m pretty sure they enjoyed their Dominoes as much as we enjoyed Nobu.

Nobu was fantastic albeit the last fish was slow to come out. I had left early since Goalielocks was needing to go lay down in our room due to a headache. J ordered the food for all of us and I’m so glad she did. I tried dishes tonight that I never would have tried if she hadn’t ordered them. All of the dishes were absolutely fantastic. I left full and satisfied, but not stuffed.

After a brief and very unsuccessful run in the casino tonight, I’m ready for bed. We have another action packed day on tap, so I’ll definitely need my beauty sleep! Good night all!

Sleepy Saturday night

It was a welcomed and overdue sleepy Saturday for the first time since August. We did nothing today, but relax, grocery shop and put a dent in the laundry. It couldn’t have been a better day for it as the afternoon and evening hours were cool and rainy.

The Mayor and Hubby went down to Fort Lauderdale to fish and hangout on our friends’ sailboat. It’s a tough life. I wasn’t feeling 100% and desperately needed to get the grocery shopping and laundry done, so I stayed North. Not to worry, however, as I’ll be headed down that way tomorrow morning to collect the Mayor and enjoy a nice brunch.

Goalielocks and I hit up Kohl’s before hitting up the aquarium store. We picked up a new led light for the coral tank. Of course, it would have been foolish to think I could get out of there with just the light. We picked up another snail and a coral frag. Suddenly, we have a real nano coral tank going on. Goalielocks has done a phenomenal job setting up and managing the tank.

While Goalielocks worked to acclimate our tank’s new inhabitants, the Mayor was busy fishing up a storm in Lauderdale. After fishing they enjoyed a nice dinner inclusive of mermaids, king crab and stone crab. Meanwhile back home, we enjoyed a tasty frozen pizza. Based on the pictures and videos, it would appear he and his buddies are having an amazing time. We’re heading to bed early since we’ll be losing an hour of sleep tonight and we’re heading to an early brunch in Fort Lauderdale. Have a wonderful evening!

Friday Eve

It’s Friday eve to a weekend full of hockey.  My Mayor and the hubby are headed to Georgia for an outdoor tournament.  Yes, you read that right.  They’ll be playing on an outdoor rink in Georgia.  In fact, I’m a little bummed that I won’t be able to see how the organizers pull this off.  Meanwhile in Florida, Goalielocks’ (my tendy) team will be playing Saturday.  If we happen to lose the first game Saturday, we’ll be playing an additional game on Sunday morning.  Here’s hoping we win, so I don’t miss aerial yoga.

 

In honor of our impending hockey weekend, I’d thought I’d share some links to my favorite hockey related posts:

  1. Love They Tendy
  2. Skol Vikings!!!
  3. My Favorite Night
  4. Hockey Culture
  5. Split Saturday
  6. Hockey Mom Wisdom
  7. Hockey Season is in Full Swing
  8. Saturday Night in Tampa
  9. Split Saturday
  10. Wheels up
  11. Wheels Up Pt. 2
  12. Wheels Up Pt. 3
  13. The Trouble With Travel

After this weekend and next, I’ll have some great stories to share.  Goalielocks and I are headed to Boston next week for a tournament with his team.  It will be our third time to Boston for hockey.  Thankfully, I really enjoy the city and the surrounding area.  Lastly, I’m looking forward to spending some quality time with my Goalielocks.

Tonight’s song performed by the B-52s is “Roam.”

 

Life With Teens

Life with teens is oh so fun.  I knew getting into this whole parenting gig that we’d be in for it when our sweet, darling baby became a toddler.  Yeah, they were right.  When our kids were toddlers many a tear was shed by them and us.  In fact, for the first two years of his life, I was convinced the Mayor was an 88 year old man from Boca trapped in a toddler’s body.  He was that cranky.  However, it seems nothing can prepare you adequately for the beast that is a teenager.

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There are quite a number of similarities between the toddler and teenage stage that i have notice.

  1. Temper tantrums – While they once threw temper tantrums over losing blocks, not watching Caillou or other very serious toddler problems, as teenagers they now lose their ish over the simplest of things.  For example, you should always proceed with caution when asking teen to go to bed, take shower, do homework or god forbid to do a chore. c1f4170247f3ad17b1276bc1c2f8e137--raising-teenagers-raising-teenager-quotes
  2. Rock solid logic.  Have you ever argued with a two year old?  No, there’s a reason for that.  Its a zero sum game.  The beauty of teenagers is their intellect and their vocabularies are a little more mature.  For example, tonight I asked Goalielocks to take a shower right after practice, so he doesn’t keep everyone up with the commotion.  His response, “great well I guess I don’t get to eat tonight.”  Now mind you, he had pizza before going to practice.  Another favorite of mine is their argument that we want their animals today because we won’t take them to Petsmart or Petco immediately.  To date, we have not lost an animal due to a delayed trip to the pet store.IMG_1260
  3. Their taste is music is equally horrible as it when they were a toddler.  Only when their teens, the music is a much more insidious albeit still simplistic.  If you’re curious what I’m referring to check out the song “Gucci Gang.”  They also think Tupac wasn’t a real rapper and sucks.  No further explanation is needed here. You’ll be begging for the muscial stylings of Sesame Street in no time.
  4. Their personality is often amplified as both a toddler and a teen.  Did you have a strong willed toddler? Well, boy oh boy, are you in luck because you’re about to have a strong willed teenager.  (I’m praying for you now.)
  5. Stubbornness is a trait that both age groups excel at and is so pleasing to parents.    IMG_1475
  6. They’re silly.  At least they share some good traits, eh.
  7. Whether or not they will ever admit, teens need their parents.  In fact, they need us just as much as a teen as they did when they’re a toddler.  The dynamic may shift, the aggravation level will increase, but they will need you.  Moreover, they will need you as a parental figure and not a friend.
  8. As a toddler, you’ll clamor to enroll them into the best preschool.  While when they’re a teen, you’ll agonize over secondary and higher education options.   It is a bit overwhelming at first, but I’m hoping by the third one we’ll have it mastered.

Each and every stage of the boys lives has been an amazing chapter.  Our oldest is an adult, which sounds odd every time I say it.  My oldest has become an amazing man and is proof that the hubby and I can survive life with a teenager! Tonight’s song performed by Nirvana is “Smells Like Teen Spirit.”  I loved this song when I was a teenager attending junior high dances where we’d all bang out head to that song.  For me, it also represents Jake’s awakening into music.  It wasn’t too long after he started choir as a high school freshmen that he began to discover real good music.  Nirvana was one of the first, of many, bands he discovered.