Abby and I still continued to test positive so we stayed in quarantine for 10 days (as per the school requirement before coming back to school). The rest of the family went back to school and work, most of them happily. Abby and I had plenty of quality time together. She played lots of Minecraft. I also forced her into some online work and packets were sent home for her. Her teacher ended up being out the whole week, too...due to COVID. I'm not sure she missed a whole lot. The girls went to dance as usual. I am blowing through the Bridgeton books, walking and doing house projects. Too much cookie baking and eating. The kids were out of school on Friday (weather day) and Monday (MLK day). I was hoping for an NC cabin escape, but Phil talked me out of it with traffic and crowd concerns so we stayed put. It was a boring and quiet week...which was probably good for all of us. On Saturday, we busted out of quarantine by spending the day at the beach. It was cold, not that that stopped 3 kids from swimming! We walked, ate lunch and just enjoyed the beach. It was nice. Phil and I went to Krista and Richard's engagement party that night...where I learned almost everyone there had had COVID the same time I did. Fun night meeting all their young friends and seeing the start of a sweet story. Marly spent the night at Addy's on Sunday. Ellie had Harley over. Voss had Luka over on Monday and Abby had Marlee. Lots of play dates to keep them happy. I went to Heather's for book club to discuss We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. She did an amazing job, as usual. 2022 is starting out at home in the quiet. So far, so good. Here are the pics of the week.
I did have two days of peace and quiet. They were glorious. I was in my nightgown when dropping off the younger two. I took Spot for a run. I put away Christmas decorations while listening to Tom Hanks. It was uneventful and wonderful. Wednesday evening while walking with friends in the park, I felt tired and congested....not a bizarre feeling for the first week of Dryanuary. Abby was super crabby, but I thought it was part of the transition back to school after a lazy Christmas break. I made her go to dance. The next morning, she was still crabby and said her throat hurt. She's usually ready and eager to go to school so I thought I was being generous by giving her a "me" day. I helped stuff packets at JWJ and then went to MOPS. Kate did a vision board meeting where we talked about our dreams and plans for the new year. I knew Abby would need a negative COVID test to return to school so I stopped by CVS after MOPS and picked up two home tests. Abby was reluctant and still crabby....but better after a morning off, I convinced her to do the science experiment of the COVID test. Boy, did that thing light up! Two lines, dark and quick....reminded me of taking all those pregnancy tests long ago. I was so sure we both were just run down and had a cold but after her positive test, I took one, too. Sure enough, mine did the same thing. I immediately texted Abby's teacher, then the vice principal to help pull the other two kids then Phil to pick Ellie up. Once everyone was home, Phil took the rest of the kids for a PCR test. My amazing friend, AM dropped off a Terry's Kitchen chicken tetrazzini and veggies. Lots of blaming, emotional outbursts, slamming of doors and fleeing rooms. What a night. The silver lining was watching Back to the Future as a family. Abby was back to normal. The next morning we all slept in. That was the worst day for me. I hardly made it out of bed. Fighting. Way too much screen time. I did finish the family Christmas video. Check the videos page. Phil's test came back negative. My sister, Katie emailed me a Papa Johns gift card and that's what we had for dinner. Back to the Future II and Theraflu (for me, not that it worked....it just felt good on my throat). Saturday was a little better, but still rough. I was congested, weak but moving around more. Everyone else has great energy and feeling fine. Ellie, Marly and Voss' tests all came back negative. Phil took Abby for a PCR test. Sunday was better. I listened to the first Bridgeton book, The Duke and I. It was a great escape while taking down the outdoor lights and washing the couches. Phil decided to re-paint all the white trim and doors in our house. Open, white paint. In Our house. Full of children and animals. Great idea. Phil was happy to be busy and the house does look better. Marly caught up on lots of online homework. We watched Iron Man and Avengers. We decided to keep everyone out again today. We still haven't gotten Abby's results and I feel odd sending them back when I am still feeling COVIDy. I went and got a PCR test today. Hoping to send them all back tomorrow, but we'll see. I'm trying to stay positive and think of all the things to be grateful for...that we're all fully vaxed and only Abby and I tested positive. That her case was so mild. That we have a nice, large home to quarantine in. That I went on a grocery run on Monday and had produce delivered on Thursday. Hopefully Rona is on it's way out. Here are our pics of the week.
We are blowing through the 12 Days of Christmas. On the 3rd Day of Christmas we drove to Orlando and checked into the Swan. We decided to do Disney instead of horse back riding and zip lining. We rode the Disney skyliner, paddled the swan, rode the ferry and bus to the Ft. Wilderness resort to the Chip & Dale campfire to roast s’mores. On the 4th Day we got in early to Epcot and ran to do as much as possible before the main gates opened with the Christmas crowd. The single rider line was a stroke of genius (after learning to lie about Voss’ age by a month) and we were able to do Test Track many times and get into Soaring before it was too busy. We made our way through the World Showcase by eating and drinking lots. The kids did the country passports and Ellie helped me with the scavenger hunt puzzle app. The younger 3 melted and tuckered out before dinner. I walked them back to the Swan, got them settled, ordered room service and met Phil and Ellie back out to continue the fun. We scored a walk in to the steakhouse in Canada. Epcot fireworks are definitely the best. The next morning we hit up the Swan pool and headed back to Jax. Phil and I took Voss to walk 9 holes of golf on the 6th day of Christmas. The course has been let go as they prepare for the remodel. That was our last go for a while. Voss was more interested in getting balls out of the water and playing with pinecones. We went to dinner with the Norses that night for O’rSay happy hour. I had way too much fun and paid the price for the next 24 hours. We’ve been watching a lot of Yellowstone. The kids have been glued to electronics. I listened to the Beekeeper of Aleppo, a horribly sad, yet gripping story of a couple fleeing Syria. Ellie had a babysitting gig with a church nursery. Marly spent the night at the VanWies for NYE. Phil and I took Ellie with us to TCC for their fairly casual party. Dancing and watching all the Jax fireworks on the water. Fresh Grapefruit juice and the 12 Days of Catmas puzzle has filled our days. On the first day of 2022 we took the boat to TCC and played couples tennis with the Guthries, Burhytes and Fredlines. We boated with the Bentons to check out their new house then picked up the kids at the VanWies. We are so lucky to have all these great friends navigable by water. I had blackened catfish, collard greens and black eyed peas at Mojos with the Bentons for a late supper. Charlotte spent the night and we all slept in. Another lazy day. I started another book- to kick off the Page Turner Challenge, Tom Hanks, Uncommon Type. Dryanuary has begun and I already miss a glass of red wine with our grilled steak dinner tonight. But Lord knows, my liver needs a break! We went to mass tonight and heard of the Three Kings, more carols from the Yazdiyas gorgeous voices. Trying to get everyone back on schedule for school starting soon. Here are our pics of the week.
On Sunday morning, my parents, sister and I flew to Washington to meet up with more Vosses to celebrate my brother's change of command. We had a layover in Atlanta then Seattle then rented a car and I drove to Anacortes. My brother had a fish dinner for us that night then off to bed. West coast time nearly did me in. I was up super early on Monday morning. Mom, SQ and I got coffee and learned about a ferry to Guemes Island. We picked up dad and went to check it out. So cold! The Kuklas, Erik and Kelley arrived soon after. The ladies all went to the Majestic for lunch to celebrate Katie with a Baby Sprinkle. That night Matt's outgoing, CO treated us to dinner at Anthony's. We sat at the fun table. The next day we took it easy in the morning (had my nephew, Henry over for a morning play date). Then, off to the change of command. It was so cool seeing my brother's world and hearing about his squadron and meeting his friends. It was awesome to have the Fab Five together again! We stopped at Deception Pass on the way back to the hotel for lunch and chill time. Matt hosted us for a reception after at a nice place on the water. The next morning, Suzanne and I got up and took a ferry to Friday harbor and walked around the shops for an hour before coming back. We met M&D and Matt for lunch then we all drove to Seattle. With some nasty weather coming in, we wanted to be closer to the airport for our flight out. I insisted on Lyfting us to the Space Needle that night. It was amazing! We walked to sushi for dinner (where we had to show proof of vaccination to walk in) and then to the Pike Place Fish Market (but it was closed). We flew back to Jax on Thursday. My in-laws came up to be with Phil and the kids while I was gone. They were the home base for the kids going on different play dates and sleepovers. They stayed for Christmas Eve to see Ellie lector and Marly altar serve. It was neat to have all the grandparents together. We made shrimp and pasta for dinner then got the kids to bed late for Santa's arrival. The Bravos left after breakfast on Christmas to drive back to Miami. We had a lazy morning, playing with gifts and watching the Christmas Story. Ellie and Voss got hover boards, Abby and Marly got laptops. Minecraft has taken over the dining room table. I got a new minivan and an Apple Watch! Voss and I watched Polar Express last night, an excellent ending to Christmas Day. This morning, Marly made waffles. We all slept in. Phil and I played tennis with the VanWie's while the kids ran the club. We are having a lazy afternoon and have plans to go see an outdoor showing of Elf tonight. Merry Christmas! Here are the pics of the week.
Another week packed with fun! We had tennis clinic then I spent the afternoon finishing my book club book, The Snow Child and listened to A Man Called Ove while making cookies for the MOPS cookie swap and Ellie's school teacher appreciation exchange at school. Not that I baked, I made Ritz dips instead. We had cupcakes and prosecco to celebrate Tracy's Birthday at the park during dance class. I got in my overalls and headed to book club to discuss the book and do our ornament exchange. It was a fun night. Robin and I played well together against Jax Golf & Country Club on Tuesday. I had enough time to do a little Christmas shopping after our match. We had our team tennis party that night. The captains did a nice job, I ended up with an extra gift (perks of closing down the party). Wednesday, Kerri and I walked 9 holes of golf, I did a quick Walmart trip then met my parents and the Herons for a seafood lunch. Thursday I went to April's for a gift wrapping party then volunteered in Abby's class for STEM day (our experiment was much like her science fair project talking about chlorophyll in leaves.) I was scrambling preparing for Friday and teacher gifts. That night my parents had a Christmas party. I went for close to 2 hours then had to pick Marly up from dance. Friday I went to adoration with my parents then spent the afternoon at school for Marly and Abby's class parties. I was wiped out by the end of it! They had a winter festival that evening, like a fall festival. It was a last
hurrah" for the 2021 school year. We had our neighborhood party that night. It was a great turn out, maybe the best ever! Lots of new neighbors on Santa Cruz! We hosted the tail end, I made a Grinch drink. Saturday, the girls and I went to the Freemans for a mother-daughter gingerbread making party. We went to mass and then the McDonalds party. We all stayed up too late. Sunday morning came early for me. My parents and sisters were caroling at the door to pick me up for the airport at 7:15am! Here are the pics of the week.
It's Nutcracker Week! Because of COVID last year, there was no Nutcracker performance. The year before, they double casted with dancers sharing costumes and splitting up performances. This year there was none of that. So, Ellie and Marly performed in all the performances. Marly was in the reenactment scene in the second act....a quick mouse run across the stage so that meant she had to go to ACT II rehearsals and stay for the whole show. These kids are WIPED OUT! After clinic on Monday, a group went out to lunch at the Brick for my Birthday. My pal, Anne Marie treated me. Very nice. I volunteered for the Tuesday Act I dress rehearsal. Wow...in the basement of the Florida Theater with a bunch of mice and soldiers! It was an experience. Marly ended up with impetigo on her face (an infected cat scratch), which went so well with all that stage make up! Ugh. Thankful my friend, Lauren hooked me up with an antibiotic lotion. I hosted a womens holiday party on Wednesday during the day. It was so nice to see so many fabulous women and finally host a big soiree again. That afternoon I took Marly to her act two dress rehearsal. My friend, Tiffany saved me by bringing her home so I could meet Rachael, Tracy and Katie at Juliets for dinner before the show, Come From Away. It was stressful getting there (and awful service at dinner), but what an amazing show to see in the middle of the stress! Julie and I got to play together in a tennis match at San Jose on Thursday with a quick win. I helped sort race shirts for the fun run. That night was Phil's bank party. We dropped off a carload of dancers downtown on our way. Back to San Jose for the party. They did a nice job with fun conversation. We ended up with an after party in Mandarin on our way home. Tracy got me in with the homeschoolers to the school show on Friday morning. It was neat seeing Ellie, the soldier in the lobby before the show. I'm the mean mom who brought them back to school for the afternoon. Back that evening for another show, luckily they got a ride home after the first act that night. The rest of us had a quiet night in (with Yellowstone). Saturday morning we were up early for the Stockton Fun Run. The patrols raised a ton of money! Thank you to my parents, Cogent Bank and Terry Vereen for sponsoring our sweet patrol. It felt good to get in a run in the middle of the chaos. We had enough time to get ready for the matinee performance. Our family went to support the girls for this show. Yay for the fan club! Phil was not excited about spilling wine on his pants. They had the cast party that afternoon and then Lauren saved me by taking them back for the evening show and Melanie for bringing them home. Phew! Love that village! The Applegates had us over for a movie night that evening. Fun catching up with neighbors. Sunday morning, Ellie and I read and then instead of religion class, we all went to confession....can't think of a better thing to do when everyone was crabby and overtired in the middle of the craze! We went to my sister's for a family gingerbread house party. The cousins loved it (dogs, too!). Owen grilled hamburgers and hotdogs for all of us. It was nice to get together. That evening was the bike parade at the school. Our friend, Andrew joined us for the ride. We stayed a little later than I hoped, but we were still in bed at a decent hour. Wow! What a week! Here are the pics.
Oh wow! I have some catching up to do. We are certainly amidst the holiday craze. I had some tennis fun this week. I started volunteering at the outreach center down the street, putting food in people's cars. They line up starting at 5am for the food pantry opening at 8am. I have lots of mixed feelings about this, which makes me want to come back for more. Especially going from that to tennis clinic. Tuesday, Kerri and I had a much needed win together. We skipped out on golf on Wednesday and played on the B team. We ended up loosing, which was such a bummer...in the third set! The younger three got their 2nd COVID vaccination on Tuesday night. I got my booster. We all felt fine, but after my tennis match on Wednesday, I had to lay down for a minute before the evening festivities. Feeling weak. Don't worry, I rallied. That night was the TCC Open House party. I joked that it was so nice of TCC to host my Birthday parties. Lots of fun events at the club! Great party with great conversations and excellent food. I never made it to the photo booth or the dance floor. We had MOPS on Thursday. Anne set up the perfect meeting with a toy swap, reindeer games and relaxation drills. Alex, my nephew, spent Thursday night with us. It was nice to have some cousin time. Too bad Spot ate his science project! I took him to school the next day with enough time to take the younger two. I ran around on Friday morning decorating the Stockton tree for Christmas in Avondale (way more stress than necessary). April brought me lunch and we sat in the hot tub on a gorgeous winter afternoon- perfect Friday afternoon! We had a low key night when Ellie went to youth group with deep dish pizza. On Saturday morning, Phil played tennis early. I came up after for the ugly sweater social. It was fun playing with new people. Julie and I beat some B players! We stayed after for an epic almost all day lunch with tequila shots and bloody marys. I took a breather at home, getting the kids and house situated. We went to Christmas in Avondale that evening. Chilly weather, loved seeing so many people. Last year was so quiet and now it feels like double! Sunday was my Birthday! I'm now 42. We went to mass. Ellie and Marly altar served. We had our last religion class. Ellie, Marly, Phil and I drove to St. Augustine for zip lining over the Alligator Farm. It was so awesome! I highly recommend it. We came home in enough time to get dressed up for Supper with Santa at TCC. I wish the food was less of a kids buffet, but it was still so nice of TCC to host another party for me. We ended with wine in the living room, I love that! Here are the photos from the week.
And just like that, Thanksgiving has come and gone and now we begin the hustle and bustle of Christmas. It's busy and crazy and stressful and absolutely my favorite. Monday was a fun clinic since we didn't have a match. It was Julie's Birthday so she, Rachael and I went to lunch at Biscotti's. It was delightful to sit and chat and just be together. I worked to get the neighborhood progressive dinner party invite out that afternoon. Still learning how to do anything on the Mac. Talk to me if you are a pro on this thing. Tuesday was cold. We played a fun match round robin with Julie, Rachael and Jane. I picked up my fixed up sewing machine and knocked out the rest of my orders. Our Christmas cards came in so I set it up to work on them on the drive to Miami. Phil and I went to TCC for a drink when he got home from work. Then, I headed out to a girls night for MOPS to Hot Pot, this Korean BBQ place. I was tired and it was a long night. I met Phil at VDub's pub for a nightcap. We got up on Wednesday and drove to Miami. It was a long, trafficy drive. Ellie and Abby were not good. I made the kids read aloud, Indigenous Peoples History of the United States (excellent Thanksgiving reading with the family). I worked on Christmas cards and ended up finishing the Will Smith book. We arrived in Miami and had an early fajita dinner, got haircuts and started a puzzle. On Thanksgiving morning, Abu and Marly made breakfast and then started on Thanksgiving dinner. Abby and I worked on the puzzle and watched the Macy's Day Parade. Ellie, Voss, Phil, Abby and I walked to the park. Vane came over. We ate dinner around 4pm. It was a delicious meal, filled with all the favorites. We left after breakfast the next morning and headed to the Everglades. We did an airboat ride, which wasn't amazing. We are so spoiled with river life and get to already see all there is to see in Florida that the airboat ride wasn't very impressive. Neither was the alligator show after. We waited in line to get our passports stamped and saw some real, authentic alligators hanging out by the entrance. That was pretty cool. We had gator tail on the way out. It was a long drive home. I think Spot got a little car sick. Phil and I stayed up watching Yellowstone. Saturday was a lazy day. We walked down to visit my parents. We put up Christmas decorations and our tree. Marly and I got tree trimmings to put in our fake tree so it looks fuller and smells great. We went with the VanWie's on their boat to see the boat parade downtown. We wanted to stay for the fireworks but we almost ran out of gas so we headed home. We did an adult dinner at Lillians then took the kids home to bed late. Marly altar served at mass and we brought up the gifts. Back to having coffee and donuts after; that was nice. We finished with decorating and more work on cards. We did the turkey triathlon, with some coaxing. Voss wiped out on his bike at the very beginning. I'm proud of him for powering through, but he wined the rest of the way. I didn't make him do the swim with open wounds. The girls rocked it! It was more of a polar plunge, it was a cold, rainy day today! To end the night, we went to the opening of Jack's Christmas lights. Amazing chilly, fellowship and fabulous synchronized lights! We have so much to be grateful for! Here are our pics of the week.
More tennis to kick off the week! I did clinic and then a match with Kerri on Tuesday. We played line 1 against San Jose and lost. It was so frustrating. We won the first game 6-3, lost the second game 2-6 then lost the last one 4-6. Ugh! After clinic I got ready for book club. Kerri had given me a tofu Thai recipe to make for the theme. I also made sunbutter sandwiches and zucchini pizza bites. The author called in at 8pm to participate in the conversation. It was really awesome! It was early release on Wednesday so it was a short day for me. I made mushrooms and broccoli for the teacher appreciation luncheon and brought it to James Weldon. I'm listening to Will, such a fun book! We had MOPS on Thursday. Khristi gave a financial presentation. I started watching Million Little Things. I worked on some embroidery projects and broke my machine. Luckily there's a place in Mandarin that does repairs. It was Marly's teacher's Birthday so I collected and got her a few gift cards and flowers. April hosted a lunch for Kathleen's Birthday on Friday. Before that I went to UNF to conclude my role (control) in the gut health study. Ellie had the youth group crowd over after school on Friday. Phil and I went to wine club that night. Saturday was a lazy morning. The girls went to Nutcracker rehearsal. We went for a walk then Phil and I went to a Costco pizza date. Abby went to Celestial Farms with her friend, Michelle. Ava May came over for a play date. We met up with the VanWie's and went on the yacht for Anne Marie's 50th Birthday. It was a perfect November fall night. This morning we went to mass then breakfast at TCC. Voss had his final soccer game and won. He was so happy to get a trophy. Abby now says she wants to play. We worked on the puzzle and homework this afternoon. Ellie went to Harley's. Phil and I brought dinner to a friend. We did a rosary walk. Getting ready for the holidays! Here we go! Here are our photos of the week.
Yes! It was a week of tennis (more than usual). I did clinic on Monday then Kerri and I won the only line at Beach Walk on Tuesday. We did some cross training with golf on Wednesday. It was a rough start but we finally warmed up and finished okay. Phil also played a lot this week to prepare for the weekend. He played with the tennis director of Eagle Harbor. I played with my sister, Suzanne. She gave me a lot of grief during the week trying to bail. I stuck it to her and found her a racket and tennis shoes. I met the PTSA treasurer at the bank and got all that squared away for membership. I ran my first zoom meeting for them this week. I met Steph and Jess for a Thai lunch on Monday to kick off the week. The younger three got their first COVID shot on Tuesday! Funny that Ilya was in front of us in line. It was chaotic at Walgreens and took an hour but I'm just so glad it's done! The kids at Thursday off for Veterans Day and Friday for a weather day. Ellie, Phil and I went thrifting on Thursday. I let the younger two have play dates. Abby had a sweet friend, Marlee. Voss also had a sweet friend, Will but he may be too young for a play date. Ellie spent the night with Charlotte. Marly spent the afternoon with Addy then went to dance. Phil and I watched the kick off for the tennis weekend, an exhibition match between the TCC and FYC pros. Zach and Jen pulled it off and it was so fun to watch. Friday, Voss and Abby both went to play dates. Abby with Michelle and Voss with Zachary (my neighbors took him for an absolute fun Friday!) Marly and I met my parents for adoration. Then we watched the first part of Hamilton together since she's been singing it all week. We met Phil and Ellie for pizza then picked up Abby. Phil and I went up to watch the start of the tournament, although neither of us played yet. I've been working on a book club directory and tracking all the books we've read. Phew! Friday night was Gourmet on the Greens, one of the best parties at TCC. Suzanne came with us and we had so much fun. We went to an after party at Hempy's. The next morning we headed up for the tournament. Suzanne and I played Christian and Lindsay. They were the best to play first. So kind and we actually won! Later that afternoon we played Kerri and Cheryl and lost. We came home and went to bed early. AM ended up sleeping over. The Applegates gave Ellie a ride to mass so she could serve. Carolyn gave her a ride home. SQ and I played bright and early at 8:30am. It was cold! Robin and her friend beat us 6-0, 6-0. Robin's friend said she'd rather have a sister than a win. Wow. Lots of sweet comments about us playing together. That was nice. I loved it. Phil and his partner lost all their matches but it was fun to watch. I had to leave in the middle of his last one to take Voss to his soccer game. He was a great goalie. Voss has been out playing soccer all week! So cute! Ellie babysat our neighbors yesterday and AM tonight. I came back to get the middle two home to work on science projects then back to watch the final upset match. Ramen for dinner with an early bedtime. Here are the pics from the week.