Weekly Update

Tofu & Turtles

“Be like tofu,” she said with a grandmotherly smile, “take on the flavor of Mayo (the hospital, not the food). Absorb its unique culture.” And just like my college days, I’ve been practicing taking on the flavor of Florida.

The culture here is quite the mix. I’ve been mistaken as Spanish speaking multiple times, with people speaking Spanish to me as if I must know the language. I do know a few phrases “Me gusta helado” (I like ice cream) and “Me llamo Laura” (my name is Laura). Both important phrases that have gotten me quite far in life and here in Florida.

This has been a week of firsts for us: Chad’s first nationals golf tournament, first alligator sighting (in the zoo), first dolphin sighting (at the beach, about 20 yards away from where we were swimming), and first time snorkeling in the ocean.  

We spent 7 nights in Palm Beach while Chad played in his tournament. The girls and I explored the area while Chad played in the tournament:

  • Manatee Lagoon – was a bust since it is not Manatee season. No manatees were spotted, but does look like a cool spot during manatee season.
Manatee Lagoon
  • Palm Beach Zoo – we saw their “white alligator”- which is pretty much the creepiest thing I’ve ever seen and a normal alligator (also creepy due to how well it camouflaged into the pond).
The only picture I have from the zoo. Alice was experiencing the effects of a sugar high.
  • Palm Beach Science Center – captivated us for hours. They had a lot of fun exhibits with my favorite being a neuroscience exhibit and the girl’s favorite being the kids area.
Science Center
  • Loggerhead Marine Life Center— A turtle hospital that cares for injured adult sea turtles and also cares for baby sea turtles who had trouble making it out to sea. While we were there, we were able to watch them do an ultrasound on a sedated 290 lb turtle. I was fascinated by all of this… my sidekicks however, were not.
The babies!!!!
An injured adult sea turtle
  • Juno beach – was gorgeous, but were unable to swim there due to big waves & “unsafe conditions”.
The waves @ Juno Beach

While we weren’t out exploring, we spent a lot of time at the resort hotel pool. The girls made a few “friends” who were fun at the beginning, but then turned into normal 3 & 4 year olds. As we tried to leave one day, 3 year old friend Gracie said, “NO! YOU CANNOT LEAVE!” And then I happily left her with her mom. There were sharing wars of course. But also fun things like the game of “let’s see how much water we can dump on mom’s head” and endless alligator rides. The childless women of the pool, luxuriously sunbathing in peace while sipping pina coladas, shot smiles of amusement as they watched me give endless alligator rides. Whenever I hopped out of the pool to reapply sunscreen or grab a drink of water (not vodka unfortunately), dictator Alice would yell (in a tone eerily similar to mine when they are in trouble), “MOM! GET IN THE POOL!” Jeepers, kid.

PGA Resort Pool

We came back a day early since Chad finished his golf round earlier than expected. After 7 days of hotel living, we were so ready to be back “home”. It feels lovely to be back in our Florida place, where we don’t all have to share one room. The girls don’t sleep well when we travel, so I’m enjoying full nights of sleep again.

On Saturday we went to the beach, where we saw the dolphin and a live sand dollar (which I learned is a living creature). To top off a lovely day, we stopped for ice cream on our way home at “Sweet Melissa’s”, where we are becoming regulars.

Building Sandcastles at the Beach.

The past two days have been gloriously humidity free, making 90 degrees feel… might I say, cool? *** Of note, our AC is finally fixed- thank goodness. We are looking forward to 3 weeks of no travel and then will be heading back to Minnesota for my sister Amelia’s wedding!!!

Sending love back home,


Weekly Update

Next Female Tiger Woods

Well folks, we are officially 2 weeks into our time here in Florida. I have yet to spot an alligator, but am always on the lookout because I value my life.

Adjustment is a trajectory. The girls are finally sleeping through the night after about 7 days spliced with night time wake ups. Avery continues her pattern of joining us in bed at some point in the middle of the night; luckily, she always faces me so I get the snuggles and Chad gets the kicks.

Our daily pattern is beginning to emerge. We usually wake up around 8, eat breakfast and then either head to the pool or beach. We (me, Avery and Alice on weekdays, Chad included on weekends) stay until one of us has a meltdown, and then we head home for quiet time.

Quiet time is the worst. The girls refuse to nap, so I force them to do quiet activities. In return, they force me to be a good mom and read to them for an eternity. Here’s the thing: I like reading, but kid books are the worst. I’m not saying this because their content is bad. I’m saying it because they force me to read the same 7 books at least 2 times a day. So every day at quiet time, we read “Strega Nona’s Christmas” (actually a cute story that I’m not sick of yet), and 6 Paw Patrol books. Every day, the girls have the exact same argument over which book we should read first. Then we all get into an argument over whose turn it is to turn the pages. Then I threaten that if anyone whines one more time, I’m going to stop reading. Then someone whines, and just like that, quiet time is over.

Our evening schedule hasn’t fully emerged. It obviously always involves dinner and usually ice cream in one form or another. Sometimes Chad plays a round of golf and often I’m able to fit in a run as the sun begins to set and Florida cools off a bit.

The other night we played our first family round of mini golf. Here is how it played out: 1) Chad was wearing his golf attire to remind us all that he is basically a professional. 2) Chad spent a lot of time coaching Avery on her grip and swing. I felt like I was witnessing the birth of the female Tiger Woods. I should have videotaped it so they can play the clip in inspirational golf commercials when she’s famous. 3) Avery was decent. I was a little jealous, but I’ve learned to accept the fact that I will never have hand-eye coordination. 4) Alice and I hung out. I would putt horribly and then she would run, pick it up, and drop it in the hole. She’s my girl.

Surprisingly, nobody attempted homicide by golf club blow to head. Most likely person to do that? Alice. She has anger management issues. Like I said, she’s my girl.

All in all, we are really enjoying our time here. Sending love back home,



Run, Forrest!

I went on my first run in Florida. My motivation to head out the door was the exact same as in our MN days. The girls were grumpy and I needed a break. I laced up my shoes and snuck out of the house, leaving Chad in charge of our children who I lovingly refer to as “the terrorists”.

Before I continue my story, I’d like to clarify that I did let Chad know that I would be going on a run. I didn’t sneak out without informing him. That would be unkind, although I have strongly considered it on many occasions.

I was expecting the heat to be unbearable and the run to feel miserable due to my lack of consistent exercise in the month leading up to our move. As I slowly but surely began the first leg of my run, my mind flashed back to my last Minnesota run. I remembered soaking up the views of pine trees and enjoying the characteristically cool weather that I knew I wouldn’t have in Florida. I remember the pit in my stomach as I wondered whether this (moving) was a really stupid idea. But as I finished that last Minnesota run, I remember feeling peace. Or maybe acceptance. Or maybe I was just too dang tired to feel anything else but okay with what we were doing.

And just like then, I felt okay now. I soaked in the tropical beauty of Florida. I enjoyed the sunny weather. The sweat. The endorphins. And the knowledge that I could eat double dessert tonight without feeling guilty. I warily eyed the ponds I ran next to, expecting an alligator to jump out at any minute. I thought about what I would do if I was attacked by an alligator. If he got one leg, should I tourniquet it and hop off on my remaining leg? Nah, I was too tired. I would just let the gator win and finally rest in peace for the first time since having kids.

Our time in Florida is off to a good start! The girls are needing some time to adjust- they’ve been pretty grumpy and are requiring more sleep since getting here. We have made it to either the beach or pool every day (minus one when Avery had a fever) and are starting to meet the people in our gated community. We are by far the youngest people- but everyone is very sweet and seem to be enjoying having some cute (terrorist) kids around.

Hurricane Dorian hasn’t really impacted where we are living. A few businesses boarded up, but the only thing we’ve noticed is a bit more rain. Our thoughts and prayers are with those in the Bahamas who got pummeled by the storm.

Sending love to all back home,