You may recall that I waited until the week before Christmas to do any shopping. I am much better this year. I actually went to the town center 3 times this week, Walmart and another thrifting run. I drove carpool this week. I made it to HIIT and then tennis clinic on Monday. Kerri and I won in tennis on Tuesday- took a third set but Joe told us to aim for the backhand and we won that last set 6-0. I met Phil for lunch. I took my dad up to the Angels for Allison open house. Chilly evening was perfect for hot chocolate. Wednesday was another HIIT class, a church evangelical meeting and then the TCC open house party. I'm so proud we were home and in bed by 11. That might be a record for that party! Thursday Liz and I played together and had an epic tennis match. We won the first tie breaker in the first set 7-4, they won the second match 7-5 then we won the third set with a 7-5 tie breaker. Short dinky shots for the win and 4 hours of tennis! Wow! We had a MOPS party at Ashley's that night. I haven't been sleeping well this week. Stress over my parents, fab 5 phone call and getting things in line. We have a wonderful new caregiver, Bruce. He took dad to Target and out to lunch and a ferry ride. He even bakes cookies!I took mom to a therapy appointment and out to lunch on Friday. I drove Abby to her last bonbon rehearsal that evening. Ellie and Addison hung at the town center that night. We did a family movie night with pizza (not deep dish) and Best Christmas Ever. Saturday I took Marly and Addy to Target, dropped off a pair of mouse shoes then Phil, Sadie, Voss and I went to our last party scene rehearsal. Abby had to hop along so I could get her to her grand finale rehearsal. Marly luckily got a ride to hers and Ellie to hers. My mom's uncles came in town for a visit. I had them over for a cocktail before they met my parents for dinner. A crazy storm with tornado warning rolled in. It washed out Christmas in Avondale but we still popped in for the ending and to watch the FSU game. We stayed up too late to watch. Getting up early for mass was tough. I taught the Circle of Grace lesson in CCD. Voss and Abby played their soccer match in the rain. Voss beefed it up as a forward and almost scored twice. They ended up loosing 2-5 but no one seemed to mind. We had supper with Santa tonight at TCC. Moods were not in line with the holiday spirit. It was still a nice supper and we snagged the perfect table. We stopped by Jack's Lights then started decorating for Christmas around our house. We still have a ways to go. Here are the pics of the week.
I went with Abby to a field trip to the UNF nature trail. The national parks have spoiled us for nature trails. I'll just say that. Abby took a million nature photos while I caught up with one of my high school pals, also a chaperone on the trip. I finished the book club book, Deacon King Kong just in time for book club at Lauren's. I loved it! My brother, Matt was in town for the week. I met up with he and his new girl friend, Tara at Mellow and then the Casbah after book club. The Hogans popped in, too. Tuesday, the younger two had a Thanksgiving lunch at school. Phil worked from home and it was nice to have two lunches with just them. Suzanne met us out for dinner at High Tide then Buckners with Tara and the Sassers. Ellie spent the night at Olivia's. We got up early on Wednesday for the 4th Annual Turkey Tri. It was the perfect misty morning with a rainy ride home. We rode to TCC on bikes, ran about 3 miles in Venetia then swam our age in laps (I did half my age). Then we rode home (Ellie ran). It was a great work out. We hosted my parents and Matt for dinner. I made a Mississippi pot roast. It was nice to have a family dinner before heading to Miami the next morning. We were on the road by 7:30am and had a pretty easy drive down. It was Phil's idea to go on Thanksgiving morning to avoid traffic. I was pretty bummed to miss the Macy's Day parade but I got over it. We arrived in time for lunch and then forgot that Phil's family eats Thanksgiving dinner, not lunch like my parents. So we were ready for dinner when it came later that evening. I ate way too much. We had a nice walk around the neighborhood. Abby loves the vegetation in Miami! We went Black Friday shopping the next morning. Vanessa, Ryan and the kids met us for lunch. It was so nice snuggling my niece, Isidora. She's so big! We were fighting over holding her. Leftovers for dinner were perfect. We left the next morning for the grueling drive back to Jax. We tacked on an extra hour of traffic. Ugh. We said goodbye to Matt and he did half the drive back to VA. We gassed up and took the boat to the boat parade (my favorite thing Jacksonville does!) It was a perfect night. I made a snackle box. We got the FSU-UF football game going on Ellie's laptop. The kids were starting to annoy me and then it started raining. I was so bummed we left before the fireworks but it was probaby a good call. We watched the rest of the FSU game snuggled on the couch and we barely pulled it out in the end. It was great! This morning we went to mass then TCC bfast with the Hershorins. Now we're working on science projects on a rainy Sunday. Here are our pics of the week.
It was a rainy, November week (yes, I made the car listen to one of my fav songs a bunch this week!) I got in 3 HIIT workouts: Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I did tennis clinic on Monday, too and was wiped. That was it for tennis for me for the week, though. I drove middle school carpool, went to flag raising at the elementary school. We had two back to back fundraisers for elementary and middle school this week. Marly still cooked dinner for my parents and continued our weekly tradition. I went with my parents to my dad’s check up and we found out he had torn his rotator cuff. We had a family attorney talking about wills at MOPS. We had our last board meeting before the Nutcracker on Friday. Almost all set for the service night (my role). I did a bit of thrifting on the way home. The Hogans treated us and took us by boat to the Oyster Roast. We had way too much fun supporting the St. John’s River! It turned into a perfect night downtown. Saturday was rough due to our fun. We had a long Nutcracker rehearsal. It’s all coming together! We did an early pizza supper catching up with the Johnson Hardisons. Ellie babysat. Early bedtime for the win! We went to mass and CCD class then picked up dad for the kids soccer game. Our turn to bring snacks. We won! We did another family soccer match and got whooped by the Cummings. We had Chinese food and watched the Grinch to kick off the week. Here are our pics.
I went to a PTA board meeting and then to tennis clinic. I spent the afternoon packing and getting life in order to dip out for the rest of the week. Tuesday morning, my mom and I ubered to the airport and met up with Suzanne. We flew together via Boston to San Diego. It took all day. I finished The Great Believers and started Deacon King Kong. We all watched Book Club the Next Chapter. Steve and Henry picked us up from the airport. We went to their house and got to see Katie and meet Virginia. Sweet baby! She reminds me of baby Abby. Katie took us over to the cottage on the ocean where we stayed. My friend, Meagan hooked us up with that upgrade. Steve went ahead and stocked it with treats for us. I took a hot shower and zonked for the night. Still on east coast time, I got up early and drove back to the Kuklas to do the early shift with the boys. Later, mom and Suzanne met up with us and we all took Henry to school (he rides his bike and we walked). Walking around Coronado feels like Disney World. The Kuklas treated us to a place like Biscotti’s for lunch. Mom, Suzanne and I went shopping on base for the Sip & See we hosted that night. My dear friend, Vanessa opened her home to us. It was so great to see her again, along with my swim team pal, Nicole. A book summit friend, Melissa also came to the party. It was really nice to meet Katie's friends and celebrate both she and Virginia. On Thursday we slept in. Suzanne and I did yoga on the beach. The Kuklas came over after dropping off Henry. We had a relaxing morning opening all their gifts and talking about the party. I treated us to lunch at the golf course. Steve dashed out early after a disturbing call from school. We met back up with them at the house and walked with Henry to gymnastics class. That evening we all went back to the cottage for burgers on the grill. It was the perfect sunset and visit together. Katie stayed to hang while Steve took the boys back. The last morning we slept in and had breakfast at the navy lodge. The Kuklas came back over for more beach time. We packed up and checked out. We walked around the Coronado Del then went to Henry’s for lunch. We headed back to the Kuklas and relaxed around the house with more baby snuggles and fun with the boys. Steve made us an amazing steak dinner and Katie took us to the airport. Our flight was delayed so we switched and got one through JFK and made it back to Jax still in time for Nutcracker. The red eye was brutal but I don''t know a better way to do it. The kids and Phil all did well without me. The village took over to stay with dad while we were gone (boating with Catfish, lunch and a benefit dinner with the McKinney’s, Veterans Day ceremony honoring Dad at the church with the Hicks’ and then sleepovers with Hoss and my kids) and all the transportation for my kids. Abby’s bon bon rehearsal took the help of 5 of my friends and neighbors! Phil played in a tennis tournament at TCC. Sounds like it was an epic week beginning on Wednesday. I was hoping to catch him in the last match on Saturday afternoon but their opponents forfeited. Such a bummer. They walked away with lots of swag and a 2:1 winning record. I did go watch a few hours of tennis after Nutcracker practice. Voss spent the night at Jake’s. Phil picked up a deep dish and we watched Inside Out. I was wiped out after that red eye! Ellie and I read at mass on Sunday. The girls altar served. We still couldn’t convince Voss to do it. Maybe next time. I had to be stern in my CCD class with some boys slacking on participation. We picked up my dad to come with us to Abby and Voss’ soccer game. They tied again, 2-2. I’m loving this overcast, chilly November weather! We played Sunday soccer with the Fredlands and 2 Hogans. Dinner was burgers with all the fridge veggies and family movie night, Elemental. Another excellent sleep to get caught back up. I am amazed with myself with how much we did this week! Just, wow! Here are the pics of the week.
I went to the HIIT class and then tennis clinic and my arms were sore all week! That class is so good. Kerri and I dressed as wonder woman and won our match on Halloween. I started watching The Fall of the House of Usher, a creepy Halloweeny show. We went trick or treating on our street, then to my parents and then in the forest. It was a fun night with family and friends. We got up early on All Saints Day and went to mass downtown before school. I dropped off at all 3 schools then got asked to sub up for B. I was happy to but then ended in a loss, which was a major bummer. It was nice to walk it out that evening during dance. My parents came over for a Greek chicken bowl dinner. Thursday morning, Suzanne and I drove with my parents to Columbus, GA for Aunt Susan's funeral. It was a day full of emotions. I think the funeral was as good as it could be. It was nice to remember happy stories of Aunt Susan yet the last 3 years were pretty rough thanks to Dementia. Bill's family did a nice job with the ceremony and reception. Listening to Brittney Spears book was a good thing to keep the ride light as we admired the GA fall foliage. Friday was a rainy, chilly day. I went to a HIIT class and adoration and lunch with my parents. Ellie and Marly both had babysitting gigs. I took Abby to bon bon rehearsal. Phil and I went to Renee's 40th Birthday party at FYC and partied too hard. Saturday Phil took Ellie to UNF for her Great Decisions meeting. She ubered for the first time to Nutcracker practice. Marly and I went downtown to kick off the middle school book fair. Marly wrote and read some poetry in the book store coffee shop. It turned out great, although I was apprehensive to how it was going to go. Voss went to a friend's rock climbing Birthday party. Abby went to a friend's jump zone Birthday party. Phil and I went to Nutcracker practice. That night we dressed German for the Oktoberfest themed wine club. It was an early night. Today we were early for mass thanks to the time change. We brought up the gifts. Abby and Voss tied in their soccer game today. The whole fam came out to cheer them on. We all played family soccer with a whole group of people. I think it was 12 on 12! Dinner at LaNap to cap off Sunday Funday. Here are the pics of the week.
The week started off fine. After taking kids to school, I went to say one last goodbye to Erik and Kelley then went to tennis clinic. I dipped out after the first dance drop off then went to book club at Kim’s to discuss The Twisted Ones. Such potential but a real let down. It was still a good convo salvaged by us coming up with alternative endings. I listened to How to Sell a Haunted House, which was pretty good. I got to play in tennis matches Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and won all of them! It felt great! Anna and I played Tuesday and got a donut. Kerri and my match was pretty easy on Wednesday. That afternoon I got a call from the care giver apparently my dad was being violent. I rushed over there and calmed him down pretty quickly. I took the care taker home and brought my dad back with me for the afternoon. My mom was upset about my aunt (she was on a ventilator) and I think it upset my dad, too but he didn’t know why he was so upset. An afternoon with us distracted him and I even made him walk it off in the park. Marly made a chicken pasta dish for all of us for dinner. It was a good reset for my parents. Kerri and I won a great match on Thursday. They were a great team. Lots of vollied lobs. Friday morning I woke to find out Aunt Susan had passed in the middle of the night. She had a heart attack and they couldn’t resuscitate her. We've spent the last few days telling fun Aunt Susan stories. The last few years with Dementia have been awful. I don't want to think about the last times with her. But the Aunt Susan we know was an amazing aunt treating us to fun things and showing up to support us in all the big milestones. She was always so fun and hip, with the latest recipe or in style accessory. Those are the memories I am using to seek comfort right now. Suzanne and I went over on Friday morning to check on my parents. We went to adoration together. My mom seemed to be feeling more relief than grief that morning and was okay. They all went to lunch, I ran late to a PTSA board meeting. So much going on in middle school this fall! Abby got fitted for pointe shoes! It was so neat that the company came to the dance studio! We raced from there to Abby’s bon bon rehearsal. After, we met the rest of the family in Avondale for trick or treating and live music. It was a fun night! Ellie had Addison and Charlotte spend the night. Saturday we had a relaxing morning with avocado pancakes. Phil and I rode bikes down to check on my siblings. Suzanne took my dad to drive Ellie’s dance carpool. Phil and I finally got the hard part of our dance down. Yay! It was a long rehearsal! Voss got invited to go to Spooktacular with our neighbors. Marly and Abby came with us to hang out with AM. We had a pre party drink w the VanWies then went to a GA FL party at the Walkers. They had an acoustic guitarist from TN and it was a gorgeous night with a full moon. Sunday Ellie and I read in mass (we practiced the wrong readings!) Marly and Abby altar served. We had breakfast with the Hershorins and Freemans. Abby and Voss won their 3rd soccer game! Such a fun team and they both played well. Suzanne and I brought dinner to my parents and surprised mom with her belated Birthday girls trip (next week!) My family had pizza and watched Hocus Pocus. We are ready for Halloween! Here are the pics of the week
It was one of those Sundays where I sat for a minute, impressed with myself for all that we did in one week. There is so much fun stuff going on. We are soaking it all in. Abby and Voss had friends over to play on Monday for the day off. Marly spent a few hours at the neighbors and came home feeling loved. Ellie did homework. Afternoon dance routine and back into the swing of another week. I didn’t get in for tennis this week so I hit up the classes at the gym instead. Chilly for water aerobics but I persevered. I hosted a soup swap on Tuesday with the farms gals. I spent all afternoon making a beef stew. Lots of work but I listened to the end of the Evangelization book and started A Love Approach to Dementia Care, which was wonderful! We stayed up too late chatting which was good for the soul, along with a freezer full of soups. My Aunt Susan choked on a pineapple piece this week and landed in the ER after a worker in her memory care unit did the Heimlich Maneuver but a piece was still stuck. So, it's been a scary week with her on a ventilator. My mom forgot to come over for dinner on Wednesday but showed up late so it was a nice, mid-week connect. Ellie took the PSAT on Wednesday at school (so cool that they do that there). I had MOPS on Thursday and snuck out to walk cryers on the playground to avoid the public school hater speaker talking about education. That night, Suzanne and I met up at the Alhambra to celebrate a belated Mother's Day gift we got for eachother. Suzanne got us in off the waitlist with these amazing seats and next two a great couple who helped us talk through Dementia. Legally Blond was so good. The talent was amazing! I headed to Lillians for a nightcap and closed it down with Jenny after watching the Jags win. After my run on Friday, my parents and I went to adoration. Phil and I had a Thai lunch date then I headed up to the elementary school Fall Fest. I stepped in to help with the class booth for Abby's class then worked Voss' fun hairspray booth then sold lemonade with Abby for patrols. The weather was perfect and it was an excellent turn out. Phil took Abby to Nutcracker rehearsal. The others kids and I went to the airport to pick up Erik and Kelley! They came in town for the weekend before their babymoon in Mexico. We did a quick family dinner at the Grove. Early bedtime and almost 10 hours of sleep felt so good! Saturday we took it easy. Ellie and I did some driving practice in a parking lot then picked up Erik and Kelley for a visit. Suzanne brought muffins. The boys and I went to Nutcracker rehearsal. Much better this time! Suzanne took Ellie and the angels to theirs. Marly and Abby chilled. Ellie had her homecoming dance that night. I hemmed her dress (shorter than I would have liked) and Phil and I took her to meet up with her friends for dinner and pictures. Marly went to babysit. Phil and I popped into Sunny's Birthday party then drove a carload of girls to the homecoming dance. Then, we went to the HallowQueen's Come as you Were Halloween party. Her house is amazing! Halloween everywhere! We met Erik, Kelley, SQ and the Hogans out to Stout Snug to hear a fabulous band then kept going to the beer hall. Ugh. That was dumb. Sunday morning we went to mass. Ellie got to skip because she pulled nearly an all nighter after Homecoming. All my 6th graders were missing in CCD. Abby and Voss had their second soccer match, this time winning 3-1 and Voss with an assist! They both played great! We did a family soccer match after that with the Nixons, Strassers and Hogans. Erik, Kelley and SQ surprised Marly and took her to the Taylor Swift movie. She was on cloud 9! We crashed dinner at my parents and made a Caesar salad from scratch and brought fried chicken to compliment the shrimp & grits. Fun family night together! Here are the pics from the weekend
The weather has been perfectly fall all week. Phil didn't have work on Monday because banks are still celebrating Columbus. I'm grateful to be in a school system who does not acknowledge a colonizer who sold people into slavery so the kids were back in school as usual. Abby was awarded student of the month at flag raising. And she is so responsible...getting Voss ready for school each morning; putting out their backpacks and bikes. She's so good. I went to the school board meeting on Monday night. Those are always so interesting. Sally and I played on Tuesday and won (ending my loosing streak), although it was an awkward ending with a late line call. I took my dad to the Middleburg VA clinic that afternoon to continue the journey of VA paperwork. I went to another HIIT class on Wednesday then forgot I had committed to an evangelization meeting and came in late. I learned about this interesting YouTube video on the body of Christ and started listening to Forming Intentional Disciples. We walked in the park and Marly made pork tenderloin for dinner. My parents came over for a midweek dinner. Thursday my match was rained out, which worked out great because I was able to exchange Marly's point shoes (hope these will finally be good) and shop for Homecoming snacks for middle school. That evening we skipped dance to meet UE & AS at the zoo for Spooktacular. It was so neat to catch up with cousins and check out the zoo as it had been a while. The scare zones were really good! The kids all had fun. CFA dinner after for the win. I went to adoration with my parents then a Nutcracker board meeting then right to the middle school for the homecoming dance. The littles, Phil and I watched the OG Ghostbusters and had deep dish pizza. I was wiped out and went right to bed (after a chapter of How to Sell a Haunted House). Ellie went to a football game (not her own school) then spent the night at Addison's. Saturday morning we took it easy. Marly and Abby went to Target. The boys and I went to Nutcracker. Phil and I had practiced a part of our dance, come to find out what we were practicing from youtube 3 years ago had been changed slightly and was throwing us off. Phil stepped on my foot and broke my shoe. It was that kind of rehearsal. The girls both had rides to their rehearsals and it was a good Saturday. We went to the pumpkin patch and picked out a huge pumpkin then went to dinner at TCC. The kids went to the Grove. Phil and I had a date. Later, we met the Hogans at a new brewery then one last drink at O'rSay. Sunday we were early for mass and got to bring up the gifts. I got two new students in my religion class discussing Divine providence. Abby and Voss had their first soccer game and practice. They lost 0-3 but both played well. It's a great activity for them both. We cooked steaks for dinner and watched the Goosebumps movie as a family. Today is a teacher planning day finishing off the first quarter. I'm scared to check grades. It's been a rocky adjustment for many. Here are the pics of the week.
The club was closed all week due to the Furyk & Friends golf tournament. There's a love/hate relationship from the membership on that. Super neat to have all these amazing golfers so close right here in the neighborhood, not so fun having the club closed. This rift can be seen by the drama in the neighborhood this week. I felt very much the uber driver this week with middle school carpool and then twice to get pointe shoes for Marly (and need to go back a third time!) I'm on a loosing streak in tennis. I got to sub in on Wednesday for the B team. We were killing it at 5-0 then ended up loosing 5-7. Then, Kerri and I lost on Thursday, too. Not sure how to turn things around. My friend, Alex treated me to lunch on Wednesday at the Brick. My parents came over for dinner that night, too. I'm working on figuring out how to get the home health paid for getting in portals, asking questions and learning a lot. The fall weather has finally kicked in. I'm loving drinking coffee with the porch doors open! I had an attempt at making a moss man but Phil bulldozed it over. I'll try again this week. Thursday we had MOPS. I pretty much held crying babies the whole time. My labor of love. Phil and I went to the tournament on Friday. A gorgeous day, walking around seeing great golf. Matt surprised my parents and came in town for the weekend. After driving Abby to bon bon rehearsal, Phil and I went to the Festival of Flight for Angels for Allison. It was such a wonderful event. We celebrated a job well done after at Lillians. Saturday was rough but we kept going. Matt came with us to the tournament for a bit in the morning, then we all had Nutcracker. My sister saved me by driving the Nutcracker carpool for us to Fruitcove while Phil, Voss and I were in Hodges. It was a good practice. Then, back to catch the end of the tournament then watch the FSU game on the lawn. Suzanne, Matt, Phil and I went out for a Thai dinner. Sunday we went to mass then back to the tournament. We watched the Jags win and Vijay kept us interested with birdie beers. We set Matt up with a date maybe and then had a steak dinner at my parents. Here are the pics of the week.
Dad's Birthday was on Monday. I picked him up early to watch Abby as the captain patrol at flag raising then we found the VA office on base and started the paperwork to hopefully see if he can qualify to get some of his caregiver help paid for. I made it in time for tennis clinic and the grocery store. We had a family party and celebrated for dinner. Phil grilled steaks. Dad and I made his Caesar salad from scratch. It was a sweet party. Tuesday I went to the SAC meeting at the middle school then the DCCPTA meeting at the school board. Always so informative. I got to sub in for the B team on Wednesday. We lost but it was still fun to get in there. I met AM for lunch to catch up then raced back to the middle school to pick up Marly for early release. Then, we met Ellie's bus at an earlier stop and I took the two of them thrifting for homecoming dresses. We found some great items and stopped for ice cream on the way home (picked up some for the younger two, too since weather canceled Kona ice). We decorated for Halloween. Dad came over for dinner so Mom could go to book club. Marly made spaghetti and meat balls. No walking in the park due to the rain. Dad watched me make orgami flowers made from pages of a book to prep for the weekend's table scape. We had MOPS on Thursday and made fix it freeze it meals. Love that meeting! Friday morning I had coffee to discuss Nutcracker community night, went for a run then packed up and picked up the gang to head to St. Simons Island for the Annual Page Turner's Summit. It was a marvelous weekend discussing books we've read, want to read and all in between. There were 31 of us from all over the country staying in the cutest villa. We began with the page turner cocktail and getting unpacked then had a fashion show dressing as characters from books we've read this year. I was Granny June from The Firekeepers Daughter. Sunny won dressing as Thalia and actually jumping in the pool from our Page Turner book, I Have Some Questions for You. We had pizza for dinner. We paired wine with a book (Love Noir and The Idea of You by Robinee Lee). The next morning we zoomed with the author, Rebecca Makkai, learned charcuterie board making and span the wheel for questions to answer about all the books we read for this years challenge. We had a break and rucked around downtown SSI, took a quick dip then prepared the Judy Blume tablescape. I ran a session on book banning by watching part of the Judy Blume documentary then hearing from the panel of friends on thoughts on book banning. A chef came to prepare dinner for the night. We were blessed with a gorgeous evening answering fun questions inspired by Judy Blume. The next morning we ate breakfast (again by the chef), spun the wheel for another session then played the mystery book exchange. All in all, it was such an uplifting weekend meeting new friends, seeing old pals and talking books! Friends helped cover all the shifts while I was away. My daughters were amazing taking care of Papa. We went to evening mass then out for sushi with Mimi and Papa. Marly babysat the Sassers. Here are the pics of the week (more summit pics here)