Ellie is home and the family is together again. I'm hoping she'll write up her own blog review of her trip. So, stay tuned! Monday was Indigenous People Day where we talked a lot about the horrors of Columbus and crimes of settlers. The girls went to dance as usual that afternoon but no school so we had a day to recover. I finished A Million Reasons Why and balled my eyes out. Tuesday, Kerri and I played together in a great match against Pace Island. We won in a tie breaker in the 3rd set. We definitely got our monies worth! Wednesday, April met me at TCC for some DEAR time. I started Queen Bees and Wanna Bees and have already referenced it a few times this week. I've only read the intro. Thursday, I helped Emma pack, got an amazing massage with Sherry and did Hispanic heritage month with snow cones and burritos in food trucks at Stockton. Lauren came over for a wine date, we brought Anne dinner and met her new baby GIRL. I redeemed a perfectly timed frappuccino from my sister, Katie. I went to adoration with my parents but instead of lunch, I went to a tennis clinic. It was insanely muggy and humid, but a good lesson. Ellie had Robin and Amelia over to get ready for ballroom dancing. Ha! They are the atypical dance bunch! I was bummed that TCC started the "drive in" movie an hour early, so no one was really into it when we arrived on time. I drove the Nutcracker carpool on Saturday morning. I was so bummed to realize I forgot my book on the counter at home- to read during their rehearsal. I remembered the library and downloaded the book to listen to while getting in some steps in the creepy alleyway behind the studio. It was so perfect for our creepy book! I picked up a deep dish pizza on the way home and gorged myself. It was incredible! We had a MOPS Halloween party that afternoon. It was fun and festive. I ended up leaving Phil and the younger two. Marly spent the night out and Ellie opted to stay home. I met Rachael and friends out to celebrate her 40th Birthday. Wow, what a night. After a fun dinner on the rooftop, even after some rain, we went to Dos Gatos then The Loft and ended at the Island Bar! This morning, I actually felt great; fueled by a night of chicken soup for the soul! We did mass then CCD then bfast on the porch with some real fall weather. Abby and I worked on her science project (which actually did not turn out, so we need a plan B), then Phil and I went to Voss' soccer game. A Sunday Funday with friends for dinner and loving jumping into the fall! Here are our pics of the week.
TCC was closed all week to set up for this big tournament this weekend. I played tennis with Kerri, Rachael and Julie at Boone Park to prepare for our match in Julington Creek on Tuesday. Almost all of us pulled out a win, which is great. That afternoon I went water skiing with my brother, like old times. It was super fun, but I was super sore almost all week. I had a last BBQ lunch with my parents and brother and now he's back in WA. That night we celebrated Anne's pregnancy with a low key baby shower. Tracy made an amazing chocolate cake and my mind was blown learning about hot sauce on popcorn. The evenings were easier without having Ellie's extra dance classes or waiting for her bus, but we have missed her! She's having so much fun getting spoiled in Ecuador. On Thursday we painted rocks in memory of Pregnancy and Infant Loss at MOPS. Lynn's son died of SIDS and they have a rocks for Owens page. It was neat to be able to honor Owens and their family. One of Voss' classmates has COVID. So, we kept him home from school on Friday. He loved a day off playing Minecraft. Phil had some bank friends in town on Friday for the tournament. The rain canceled the afternoon portion but we were still able to enjoy some golf in the morning. We crashed dinner with the VanWie's that night. The next morning, Marly had Nutcracker. Phil met up with his friend Andrew and his family for golf. I had a play date with Tracy and her girls. That afternoon we took the kids to the tournament. I'm just blown away with how well TCC has transformed into this big tournament. It was so neat to get so close to Phil Mickelson and Annika Sorenstam! We tried to make a party happen at the Hemphills that night but I think we were all so tired. This morning, the girls and I rode bikes to the tournament while Phil took Voss over for his soccer game. We met up with them to watch Voss score a goal! Abby stayed at the tournament with Ava May. Marly went with Phil to Miami to pick up Ellie. Voss and I and Andrew went back to the tournament. We followed Vijay Singh and watched Phil Mickelson win the tournament! I drove Andrew back to his uncle's so he could catch his flight back. Now I'm trying to settle the younger two so I can have a quiet night with Ted Lasso and Chinese take out. Here are our pics from the week.
I ran around this week prepping for the weekend. Whew! Lots of fun things happening. I had lunch with new PTA friends from JWJ. It's definitely a step into the bigger pond, even from the PTA standpoint. Wednesday was early release and I invited a friend over for each kid. It was school spirit day at Tropical Smoothie so that took up the bulk of the play date. Extra friends in the park was fun, too. I dipped out early to shower and meet up at a fun rooftop restaurant to pre-party for Hamilton. We've been waiting for this show for years! Suzanne and Dorothy met up with us as well as Tracy and her family. The show did not disappoint. It was possibly the best theatrical show I've ever seen. I was glad I watched it on Disney + ahead of time with the subtitles on. It would be great if more history stories were made into fun raps. And of course, life in general is more fun with singing and dancing! The next morning we got up, dropped the younger two at school and then I drove Ellie down to Miami. She played on my phone, did a little homework and took a nap while I listened to A Well Behaved-Woman. It made the drive delightful! I went to my in-laws house, picked them up and then took them all to the airport. They are in Ecuador for Leo (Phil's cousin)'s wedding and of course to visit family and see some sights. Yes, I know it's nuts to let Ellie skip out in the middle of the school year (missing Nutcracker practice was a big deal, too) but this is such an amazing opportunity for her, we had to take advantage. Of course she is having a ball! It took me 7 hours to drive back to Jax (traffic in south FL), not a ball for me...but I was enjoying that book! Friday, I ran a few more errands and then picked up some page turner friends, then my mom at the airport (she had been in the panhandle with my dad and brother visiting family) and headed to St. Simons Island for the 4th annual Page Turner Summit! It was such a wonderful weekend! We stayed at The Park at SSI in separate cottages. First we grabbed a margarita or sangria and welcomed each other. It was a group of 24 book loving friends! Then, we got into costume for the Fashion Forward Fiction Show where we dressed as a fictional character from a book we'd read this year. I was the tiger from Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo. Next, we Taco bout some books and then paired a wine with a book we'd read for the challenge. Of course we drank and stayed up too late talking. Saturday came early. We had delicious quiche for breakfast and then Kim and I did Spinning Summaries where everyone had a minute to answer questions about books they read for the challenge. Kim and Mindy made a delicious cauliflower soup and sweet potato salad for lunch. Then, Kasey did this If You Liked this, then you'll like that book suggestion. We basically spent time friending each other on Goodreads. Kathleen ran a session on Agatha Christie and the Page Turner of the year we read, The Mystery of Mrs. Christie. Too bad the book wasn't more like Gone Girl. I took a nap then played tennis with Suzanne and took a quick dip in the pool. Mom and Suzanne made a champagne based Page Turner cocktail. Sunny and her sister went all out with the tablescape for dinner including a game where we had to guess the book based on a recipe card. Chef Franciso and his team out did themselves with apps and dinner with a perfect night outside. We watched Crazy Rich Asians while eating chocolatey movie snacks then off to bed! Sunday morning we played bingo with breakfast salad and frittata. Then, we played the white elephant game with a book swap and wrapped it all up for next year. I drove the group home and cleaned up the house. The kids and I went to mass. Abby lost a tooth! It feels odd without Ellie. Marly is sleeping in Abby's room to keep her company. It's sweet. Here are the pics from the week.
I played a bunch of tennis again. Clinic on Monday, killed it with Rachael on Tuesday with a spa experience thanks to Julie. I had that mint in my water all week! Simons and I played together on Thursday and won with a great match tie breaker. I'm enjoying it. Mittens had her first vet appointment with Aaron out in PV. She's dicey in the car and likes to try to climb under by my feet! Time for the box, girl! I had lunch at the pool after my match with Rachael. Kat and April met us. Too much sun but it was nice to catch up. Marly got her first pair of pointe shoes that afternoon. Then, I went to a MOPS movie night to see Cruella. It was really good! My brother, Matt came in town Thursday night. He was delayed getting in but we had a nice nightcap to welcome him. I had my intro gut health study appointment on Friday morning. Bummer that I'm in the control group. Then my parents, Matt and I went to adoration and then lunch at Trents. Mom and Matt came with me to pick up all the kids from school. Everyone was excited to see Uncle Matt. Ellie had her first ballroom/manners dance class on Friday. Emma had us over for hair and drinks and then we went together. It was sweet. Phil and I went over to my parents for late night steak dinner. Erik flew in and surprised my dad for his 74th Birthday (on Saturday)! It was awesome! Lots of laughs and wine. Saturday we took it easy in the morning. The weather has been gorgeous all week...perhaps it's fall? The girls got picked up for Nutcracker, although Phil had to drive out to pick up Ellie. We walked to my parents to visit with my brothers. My dad had a Birthday party that afternoon with some friends. Catered by Christine, yum that pie! I loved sitting out on the dock that night with my siblings (missing Katie!) and telling childhood stories with Ellie. It was very sweet. Sunday, Ellie read and Marly served. We did religion class and then went back to the rents for the Jags game with a soccer halftime game. Erik had flown out earlier that morning (out of Orlando) so his was a quick trip. Matt is here for longer. The girls had a costume fitting in Mandarin. We went to Tijuana Flats with some mice friends then off to bed to start off the week for the kids. Matt came over for a nightcap. I'm listening to a fun book, Malibu Rising. I finished Nightwoods quickly for book club last night. Here are the pics from the week.
The days and weeks sure do fly by! I played a lot of tennis this week: clinic on Monday, Rachael and I won our match on line 3 on Tuesday in Fernandina Beach and then Phil and I re-matched the Cummings on Saturday splitting sets. I did the MOPS take over Tuesday (I forget how much work that is to document everything) and then worked the nursery at the meeting on Thursday. What a romper room! Still celebrating the week of Steph with a Birthday lunch on Wednesday and then lunch with she and Jess on Friday. I'm trying to get the kids organized with their school assignments...it seems like a struggle for the middle two. I finished listening to In Cold Blood and reading a Chelsea Handler book (not a fan). Marly is student of the month for her class for the character trait of respect! Voss had a play date after school with Luka. Abby had a sleepover with Landis. Marly had Addy over on Friday night. We did dinner at TCC with the Freemans and Vanessa. Saturday morning, I drove the Nutcracker carpool again. We hosted Corked Crew that night exploring wines of South America. All our kids spent the night at the VanWie's. Sunday, the girls served, Phil and I taught CCD then had breakfast at home and started science projects. We watched the Jags game at the VanWie's. Football losses all around for us. Here are the pics of the week.
Oh dear, another two weeks of no blog. I'll have to back track a bit. I'm still enjoying all my time with a quiet house. I spent one week watching Ted Lasso. I'm playing lots of tennis now that the season as begun. I started high with Julie on line 1. After the loss I got bumped to line 3. Agnes and I killed it last week. Lots of driving all over the Jacksonville area to play- St. Augustine and the beach. I had a lunch date with April and Katherine at the beach and with Zoe in town. We went to the animal shelter and adopted a kitten. We named her Mittens. We had a huge scare the first afternoon. We lost her! We searched the whole house and then outside (thinking someone left a door open). We went to a TCC movie night in the pool to take our minds off of it. It was horrible. Our neighbor, Linda even came over to look in our house for her while we were gone. We came home around 11 and I heard her! She darted by. Turned out she was curled up behind the wine fridge! So crazy and so glad she's still with us. Since then, she's assimilated into our house very well. She and Spot play a lot, she also hides from him a lot. She's been good and the kids adore her, especially Abby. We've had lots of fun days at TCC. It's so fun having many FYC friends move over. It's like we have the gang back together again. My parents have been awesome with taking our kids out for fun- ice cream and to the base pool. We spent Labor Day at their house with the cousins. I went over to visit some old navy friends and of course we are still going to adoration together. We had our first day of Nutcracker practice. It's working out well with Ellie and Marly being in the same scene. I hope that continues. I made cute mouse masks for the girls. I listened to a great book by Alex Vindman, Here, Right Matters. We had our first MOPS meeting. It was nice to see a new group and Kate is doing awesome leading. Hoping to get the nursery up and running, that's always the tough part. Another fun weekend kicking off Steph's Birthday week and then last night we went to visit the Hilley's, friends who recently moved back from Italy. There's been a bit of cool breeze which might be our fall. I'm not walking in the park during dance as much as I thought, the girls schedules are a bit more spread out. After a thrilling open house last week (so much happening at once) and two PTA meetings, we are up and running. Here are our photos from the last 2 weeks.
Ooops...it's been a bit since I wrote the blog. The problem is our Sunday Fundays have been taken up a notch. I don't know why, but it sure is fun. I've been playing some tennis. Fun matches last week and boot camp this week. My doubles game has been crummy lately, so I'm coming back around. It is hot. There's been afternoon rain to cool things off and Hurricane Ida in the gulf. I read an awful book, If You Tell. Midnight Library was so good, especially the book club discussion last night. Lauren did a wonderful job hosting and the conversation was authentic. I just finished Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. I've had lots of fun lunch dates. One with Jess on a rainy afternoon. I met Vanessa and Lauren at a new Thai place in Riverside. I had a pool date with April on her Birthday. My parents had us over for a fish dinner one night. Kate hosted our first ever official leadership meeting for MOPS. We had a tennis meeting to discuss the upcoming season. Phil and I played in the Wine & 9 with the Guthries on Friday. We ended up watching the tennis expo from the 80s social and meeting the VanWie's for a night cap. Ellie got invited with her friend, Audrey's family to their house on Sapelo Island for the weekend. Wow! We took the boat to the pool and had a low key Saturday. Sunday after mass, Phil and I taught CCD. I'm teaching the 5th grade (with Marly) and Phil teaches Ellie's 7th grade class. We went with the Bentons to boast after and then spent the remainder of the day at TCC. We saw people come and go and had a great day catching up with them. I walked and caught up with my friend, Heather one morning and had a summit planning meeting with Kim and April. Phil and I took the Protecting God's Children class at St. Matthews (as prep for teaching). I had lunch with my friend, Kasey downtown. I went to adoration with my parents as usual on Friday morning. The kids seem to be doing well in school. As of right now they all have all A's! (Not many grades are in FYI...but we'll take it!) The war on masks in school has been tough to watch lately. I also can't stop thinking about Afghanistan. We were invited to a new friend's house for happy hour, the Johnson Hardisons. Then, we went to the Hemphills for song and dance. Marly and Ellie auditioned for the Nutcracker on Saturday. I volunteered as a floater for both audition shifts. Marly was asked to come back for the afternoon audition. We got donuts to eat our stress away and then went back for round 2 with Ellie. It was an absolutely agonizing evening for me. Due to COVID they said there would be lots of cuts because they aren't double casting (no costume sharing) and they are trying to have less people on stage. I was scared one child would get a part and the other one wouldn't. Marly is a mouse and Ellie is a soldier. Even better, half of their practices are together! Yay! On Sunday, Marly altar served and then we taught class. Phil and I met our friend Andrew for a drink at the German speakeasy then we had dinner at La Nap with the Bentons. Here are the photos from the last 2 weeks.
I wrote out a great blog on Sunday night (as usual) and then did a stupid, rookie mistake of closing out the wrong browser and lost it all. So, it's taken me a few days to go back and re-write. Here I am. Monday started early because I wanted to be at the school Meet & Greet early to get the school supply fundraiser organized. I think it went well for the first time but I know it can be better next time. Still so much better than me hitting the Walmart scene on tax free week for school supplies! In addition to getting all the supplies out (making my kids work), meeting the 3 Stockton kids' teachers, I took Ellie to get her braces on. She had to wait around after about a half hour for me, which was super not cool for her. I know she's a little sore but she's doing great with them. And of course we have the best orthodontist! Tuesday morning ran smoothly with the first day of school. Phil took Ellie. Marly rode her bike to get there on time for patrols (she worked the carpool line which was so sweet to see her) then I took Abby and Voss. That afternoon was not as pretty. The afternoon JWJ bus has been late and packed; trying to get into a groove, I guess. Ellie had an appointment to get her 2nd COVID vaccination. She was in a foul mood- overtired and hungry at the least. She threw an epic tantrum in the pediatrician's office as we waited. Happy to be through it and no, she did not get the first day of school ice cream after that. They are tired in the afternoons as we adjust to a new routine. It's been SO NICE having the house to myself all day (Spot, too). I played tennis with Julie. The last match she beat me 7-5 then we had to call the 3-3 game. So, we picked back up to continue. I won that game 7-5 then won the next game 7-5. So you know I'm feeling proud and cocky. I played that night with Anne Marie, Rachael and Aubree and didn't play as well. We had a nightcap in the Grove. I finished reading Murmur of the Bees and absolutely loved it! The Book Summit agenda is out and we're all getting excited! Friday I went to adoration with my parents, lunch with my mom and then drove out to Atlantic Beach to get the patrol polos that were sent to the wrong address. I got lucky that the girl was home and hadn't opened the box. I got them back to school in time to be passed out so the patrols could have them for Flag Raising on Monday. Phew! I picked up 3 extra middle schoolers to bring to youth group after school. Trying to keep that a cool thing. Marly's been hanging out with school friends on her way home after patrols. Trying to get this girl set up for success! Phil and I met up with the Napoleons and walked 9ish holes and then had dinner at TCC. It was a great night and fun catching up with them. Saturday it rained all day. Ellie had spent the night at Charlotte's. I enjoyed a lazy day of reading a great book. We really needed some family time. We played charades. Phil picked up Totinos and ice cream and we did a family movie night watching the Secret Garden. We walked to our neighbor's to watch the end of the Jags game and catch up with them. Sunday morning, Ellie and I read and Marly altar served. We met the VanWie's for breakfast at TCC. Later, they picked us up by boat for Sunday Funday.It turned into night swimming with a gorgeous view. Too much fun! Here are our pics from the week.
Marly is the most popular Bravo of the week. She spent most of the week out. I went to a pilates class with Anne Marie on Monday (and am still sore). It was nice to catch up and spend the day together. She took Marly home with her and spent the night. I picked her up from there and met up with the Hayes for Langley's Birthday party. Marly got to ride the chicken limo with them and then spent the next 2 nights with them! She came home for a hot minute then she and Abby spent the night at the Suttons and then I finally made them come home (to Marly's dismay). Spot had a play date with Vader. My amazing neighbors took the kids to Mellow Mushroom for pizza. Phil and I went out with the Freemans and Rattigans to a TCC dinner. I played some tennis this week. Once with Patti, Julie and Katie. The wine not was rained out so Aubree came over for a nightcap instead. I played singles with Julie and lost 4-6 and then tied 3-3 in the second set. Ellie had her orientation for 7th grade. We met a few teachers and attempted the locker. I forgot how to do those things and sorta faked it. We tried to do a little back to school shopping but she doesn't like what I wanted to buy her so we walked out with 2 PE shirts and then had a bust at Walmart waiting on photos. I went to adoration with my parents and did a little more computer and around the house tech help. Ellie went to youth group with her Stockton pals. Two trips to Dreamette this week, one time I was dog shamed in the parking lot. Phil and I left late Friday to head to Marywood for a nightcap before kicking off an Engaged Encounter weekend. The Gibsons were supposed to work with us but had a death in the family so the Andersons filled in. We had 10 couples complete the weekend. It was gorgeous and relaxing and lots of time with Fr. Ed, the Greenfields (BTS) and Andersons. Phil and I had some good conversations as well as some down time. As usual on the weekends, we ate too much. Voss went to a classmate's Birthday at Chuck E. Cheese. My amazing neighbor took all the kids to mass then out for Chick Fil A. We took the kids to TCC for pool and dinner when we got home. It was chaotic, but I'm proud of them for staying home and working it out while we were gone. What a summer! Check out our pics from the week.
This is why people leave Florida this time of year. It. Is. So. Hot. That humidity will get you. It's intense. I did try to get the people in line at the beginning of the week. Thirty minutes of exercise and one hour of screen time each day. They could do extra activities to earn more screen time. I had Marly and Ellie help me organize the school supplies for the PTA fundraiser. We met some friends at Sawgrass for a beach day on Wednesday. Abby and especially Voss got fried. I felt awful. Totally a mom fail to trust a 6 and 8 year old to put on their own face sunscreen. Ellie spent the night at Harley's. She was going to spend two night but Harley got in trouble and Ellie came home after her tap class. Abby and Voss had a new friend over. It took me a while to track down the family, but we made some new friends. My amazing next door neighbors took Abby and Voss out to dinner one night so the older girls and I met Phil at Lillians for dinner. The next day, they took Marly to Wild Adventures for the day. Then another set of amazing neighbors had Abby, Voss and Marly over to spend the night and play all day with their grand nieces and nephews. I was grateful for lots of parenting breaks this week! By the end of it I gave in with screen time; especially when Abby, Voss and Ellie are all playing Minecraft together. FSA scores are out. I'm proud of the two schools we are in and I'm proud of Ellie and Marly on their 3s and 4s. I had my nephew a lot this weekend. My mom and sister went to Atlanta to check on Aunt Susan. It was nice to spend time with Alex. Abu got Ellie her first hair straightener. We got lots of slurpies at the 7-11. I pulled weeds and added pine straw (at night) to the flower beds. I got in a late night happy hour with me neighbor, Tiffany. Ellie went to adoration with my parents and I. We met the Hicks for lunch. Phil and I went on two dates this weekend. Friday was wine and charcuterie in the TCC living room (the Shads joined us). Last night was margaritas at High Tide and then later Phil's young TCC friends joined us. This morning we got up for mass then cooked a family waffle breakfast at home. We had a lazy afternoon, trying to help my parents around their house. Marly organized the pantry. I'm listening to Cider House Rules (after a few false starts with books this week). Olympics are still on and COVID is still going strong. Afternoon thunderstorms are keeping us cool, whew! Click here to see our pics of the week.