We've got fires on the west coast and hurricanes and noreasters on the east coast. Rain and maybe even a chill happening here in north Florida. Hurricane Sally hit the gulf coast. My parents are still waiting on a damage assessment for the condos. The river is over the bulkhead at our house. I spent most of Monday getting the house back to normal after the weekend. I guess that's my thing these days. I finished Women in the Window and started listening to Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. I listen to his Podcast so it feels like I've already read it. I did take over Tuesday for MOPS, which wore me out. Lots of posting. Laurie and Jamie hosted a really nice Birthday lunch for Stephanie. Afternoon of dance, then tennis in the rain. Wednesday, Allison, Kerri and I played 9 holes of golf then Kerri and I went to round 3 of the golf clinic. Another afternoon of dance. Thursday we had a MOPS meeting doing freezer meal prep. That's always a good one. Friday I went to adoration again then lunch with Sunny. Phil and I played in a tennis party that night to celebrate the new lights on the courts. RBG passed away. That set the tone for the melancholy weekend. What a legend. But still feelings of unrest with the pandemic and an election looming. Ellie had Cora over. Marly spent the night at the VanWies. Saturday was a nice, calm day of nothing. It rained all day. I finished reading Florida by Lauren Groff- a perfect book to read on a rainy day. Abby had her friend, Abigail over. Phil and I played in a tennis party again- this time a Birthday party. Late night after. This morning was mass then the first day of religion class. Phil and I went on a quick Panera date. The VanWies had us over to watch the Jags game. Another rainy day.
I think rain rain means fall in Florida. That's about all we've got. I'm okay with it. It's not too much that it's flooding. It cools things off and gives me an excuse to sit inside with a book. I'm listening to another one and trying to catch up with the reading challenge. I finished 9 Perfect Strangers but then realized Hulu's not coming out with the series until next year so it's not going to count for this year- back to the drawing board. I went on an Aldi field trip with my MOPS pal, Tori and spent way too much money. Trying new things, though. So far, so good. We had a PTA zoom call- getting things geared up and trying to figure it all out. I went to a Dynamic Catholic meeting then a tennis match with some heavy hitters- Danielle, Rebekah and Francis. Wednesday was a country club morning- I played tennis with Keri, Christian and Beth then went to round 2 of the golf clinic. I picked up Thai lunch for Ellie and I. This was her last week of distance learning Wednesday; now she is back full time. Village Dance started back this week. It was nice to be back in the park every afternoon (no fighting over screen time). Spot was happy, too and I got in some great steps. Rain or sauna, we are out there. The girls seemed happy to be dancing again (I think they are used to wearing masks all the time). Kate hosted a MOPS movie night to watch Mulan. It was pretty good- not like the animated version. Thursday my sister and I had a "liquid lunch" donating blood. I don't have the antibodies but I'm wondering if she does. I met my parents for lunch at Trents afterwards. It's nice spending so much time with them. Friday we rode bikes to and from school. It's so nice to not have to push a jogging stroller or coddle a child on training wheels. I must say, I am enjoying this phase. We had a nice, peaceful ride to school. I went to adoration with my parents again at Sacred Heart. This time I said a rosary. I'm liking this new tradition. I hosted a liberal ladies lunch with Rachael, Tracy, Jessica and Zoe. So much enriching conversation. Phil and I played in a Wine & 9 with the Napoleons. We only got about half way through before we were rained out. More time in the living room. This weekend was fairly relaxing for me. Lots of rain. The kids spent the bulk of their time with the Hayes kids across the street. I organized Abby's clothes and listened to "Women in the Window" and have been politically debating my brother all weekend. Phil played in a sneaks and cleats tournament. The tennis was mainly rained out. Ellie and I went to the TCC pool on Saturday and crashed a Birthday party. We kicked off the celebration for Stephanie's 40th at O'rsay (ended up back in the living room). Rainy morning mass then breakfast. Ellie went to tie dye masks at the Bentons. Phil took Voss to soccer "try outs" or more like placement for the league. We had dinner with the Bentons to kick off another week. And here we go!
Oh geeze, we are really on fast forward now! What did I even do on Monday? Maybe it took all day to get the house in order. Let's go with that. Tuesday I had a "The kids are finally back in school" brunch with just a few moms. I usually host a rager, but COVID. I may have to do a bunch of small brunches. It was nice to catch up with some pals- Stephanie, Meghan, Jessica and Laurie, the ole Steinhatchee gang. I went to a golf clinic on Wednesday- back to the basics. Thursday was our first MOPS meeting of our 2nd year. I was definitely scrambling this week with that- feeling very overwhelmed and under appreciated. I had to switch my thinking to love and then it was better. The St. Marks MOPS saved me with childcare. Becky helped me figure out nursery. I stayed up late making name tags. Maybe next time I won't procrastinate. The meeting ended up being great. It was a bit scrambled but we had a good turn out and kids who napped well after. Phil and I went to a Jim Furyk info session after for a golf tournament happening at TCC next year. Sounds exciting. We also kicked off the first of 3 nights chilling in the TCC living room. The next day I went to adoration with my parents after a run with Spot (he fills up at lot of my time). I had never been before. It took a bit to get acclimated. It was a nice way to spend a Friday morning. I met my friend, April at the pool after for DEAR (drop everything and read) time. The kids are all doing well in school. We learned how to submit the correct file format for Ellie in science- that took a few days of headaches. Marly's bestie switched schools this week so that was sad for her. A sleepover on Friday helped smooth things over, but she's still missing her a lot. Voss' teacher complimented his manners, he got a perfect score on his sight words test and got perfect behavior all week. Abby decided she really does not like shrimp so much that she threw it up at the dinner table tonight. Good one, Phil. We are struggling with communication in her classroom- not that she minds at all- good behavior marks and sweet wallflower attitude. We did First Friday but it was so crowded so we went inside and had crab legs before making our way to the living room for round 2. Saturday I did the tennis clinic then Phil and I played the Howards. My old pal, Kat was back in the mix at clinic. It was so hot out there! We had ribs at my parents house, swam and then all went to 5pm mass together. Ellie babysat the Applegates. Phil and I went back to the living room, this time with the Hemphills. It was still just too hot to sit outside. We ended up at VDub's Pub (getting him out of bed to turn the lights on- ha!) We all slept in on Sunday and headed to breakfast as usual. We played a round robin with the VanVies and Hershorins then went home for a break. We went back in the rain for the Labor Day fireworks (postponed from 4th of July). My only rule was that the kids had to stay outside- since they were inside all morning at breakfast and tennis. Despite the rain, the fireworks were still fabulous. I let the kids play for a bit after- when I went to gather them, guess where they were....INSIDE! Oh the wrath! Also, we came home to find that Spot had destroyed another pillow on my bed! Rough night for us! This morning Phil and I got up early to play the Rachels (and lost :( then the Hershorins for breakfast. Ellie and I headed to TCC for the Labor Day carnival while the 3 littles stayed back as punishment. I'm hoping a lesson was learned. Phil made fish and shrimp for dinner. Family rosary, books and early bedtime. Here we go fall!
Here I am, in a new phase of life. I could get used to this. The kids had their first full week back to school. Everyone was right, the time does fly by- but I have so much more of it. It's glorious! Ellie loves middle school! Her day starts early- dropped off at the carpool by 7:15am. She seems to be juggling her classes okay. She gets to see lots of friends, has made some new ones. I've friended some of her teachers. It seems like a great place. She even loves the bus ride to the elementary school. So far so good. Abby and Marly are moving right along. They each are happy to have a friend in class for starters. Abby is a little bummed about spending so much time in the class room (even for lunch). I'm debating talking to the teacher. Abby said it was too hot to be outside by the end of the week. Voss was good to go in the beginning, By the end of the week, he cried almost every morning on the way to school. We've been working hard on his sight words all week. He has his buddy, Giovanni here a lot before and after school. That's been a good distraction. It's busy and loud! Monday I watched Little Fires Everywhere on Hulu so I could compare it for book club. It was a great meeting. April had us socially distanced all around her pool outside. It was a great conversation. I played tennis on Tuesday, had a PTA zoom call then met Stephanie and Jessica for a Thai lunch. I watched the RNC all week and that good, blue feeling I had is now turning back to purple. It's not good. I've been politically charged on FB and debating abortion all week. It's intense. Wednesday was Ellie's virtual school from home day (all 6th graders in the county in public school, do virtual from home one day a week to stagger attendance at school). I spent the day pulling weeds and remulching the flower beds. Whew! I washed both white couches, did lots of laundry and just general house organizing- this could take a while. Everywhere I turn, there is more to be done. Of course we have a shower leak, which is turning into a bathroom remodel. Ugh$$$. I played golf with Keri and Abby (Allison was supposed to join us but her son came home sick- any little thing is a big deal these days). That night was a MOPS girls night pool party. We had a good group and stayed up too late. I tried to take a nap on Friday but my head was buzzing. I'm listening to the Nice White People Podcast and The Age of Innocence. That night I met Regan, Aubree and Tracy for happy hour at O'rsay. I maxed my 2 hour time limit and Phil threw a temper tantrum. Aubree and I went back to TCC to meet them for dinner. Spot was a handful. Oh Spot. He is getting us into trouble in the street- pooping in people's yards and we've been failing at picking it up. Hoping we can do better this week. Saturday was nice and calm. Marly made breakfast. Ellie spent the night at Robin's. Marly had lunch and swim time with friends at FYC. We tried to go see a movie but couldn't get 6 tickets (social distancing). We walked around the mall. It was too crowded and I got nervous. We left in the rain. Milkshakes for morale! Phil and I got a Cool Moose lobster dinner and caught up with the Shannons. It was such a soul enriching conversation. This morning was mass and bfast then Sunday Funday with the Nixons and Freemans. Family rosary with an early bedtime. I'm watching the Black Panter and recapping the week. Let's do this!
We are geared up and ready to go! Monday was the elementary drop off school supplise, drive through and meet your teacher. All a little odd with a mask on, but still great to be back! After we had a river play date with Ellie's new carpool friends to talk middle school and figure out logistics. That afternoon there was a PTA fundraiser with Kona Ice where Marly could run the field with some of her gal pals. I went to my parents to watch the kick off of the DNC and an awesome speech by Michelle Obama. Suzanne's ac broke so she was over there. Lots of red wine and late night political conversations. I stayed up late every night this week watching. I'm excited! Tuesday I played tennis, went to WD, had the Kerkezi boys for a few hours. There was lots of rain. We went to my friend, Lynn's house for a hair cut. She made us all feel normal again. Wednesday, the last day of summer, we loaded up with the Cutlips and spent the day at Ichetucknee Springs. It was an awesome day! The north end was closed so we went down from midpoint 3 times! We were there until 6pm! Later than I was hoping to put the kids to bed before the first day, but it was an awesome way to end the summer! Phil took Ellie to school the first 2 days of school. Temp checks at drop off, all was well. I got the elementary kids to school just fine, went for a run and then met my friend, April at the pool. Her dad recently passed away and it was her Birthday. She needed a happy. We caught up and had lunch. It was a delightful day. I finished reading Little Fires Everywhere and am now trying to watch it on Hulu before book club on Monday. Friday Phil worked from home. We met for breakfast then my parent's took us out for lunch at FYC. It was a fun day. The hours fly by! We did TCC for dinner and pool. Saturday was a lazy day. Phil made breakfast. Marly and I walked Spot. Lots of legos and electronics. We had popcorn and watched the new 'The One and Only Ivan' movie. We got take out Moon River pizza. Sunday we went to mass and were finally early! Ellie and Marly got to altar serve! The first ones back in the mix! We met the Hershorins and VanWies for bfast. It was the anniversary of Ann Marie's mom's death so we did a mimosa cheers to her. We were going to play tennis but the rain kept coming so we just stayed. We did a PH in the lobby and ended up having dinner at the Grove. An all day affair. Early bedtime for the first full week back to school. I snuck out for a last minute girls night at Tracy's. Lots of politics to discuss! I'm feeling good about this new phase of life! I could get used to it!
I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Summer is coming to a close. It's time to get geared up for the people to go places. We have been organizing school supplies (and reorganizing it since people keep messing with it), sewing masks, monogramming masks and backpacks, silhouetting lunch boxes and backpacks and water bottles. We are ready! I planned a fun treat for Ellie since most of her fun stuff was canceled. I invited her 3 besties to join us for a spa day but since most spas are not open or you have to be over 18, we went to lunch and got pedis instead. It was a really nice way to celebrate her. I haven't seen her that happen in a long time. Marly got sealants on a few teeth. We went to exchange a laptop we bought (it wasn't working) and got slushies as a little treat. I played some tennis and went to a Dynamic Catholic meeting. Lots of fun stuff planned and passing on the love for Matthew Kelley. I had a glass of wine in the rain on the porch with my pal, Cutlip. The rain kept coming (or said it was going to). It was the last week of DCPS free lunches. Marly did a lemonade stand with her friend, Addy (and her brother). She's been talking about doing this for weeks. I finally remembered to pick up the supplies. It was going great until a creepy man rode past a few times and exposed himself to the children. Luckily, they raced home to tell us. I filed a police report and posted on Nextdoor. Come to find out from cameras, the guy came back looking for them. Very scary. I'm thankful we've had lots of stranger danger talks. She is nervous to ride alone but I think time will help her. I was thankful for a backyard MOPS girls night to help me process it all. We picked up the cousins and did another beach day at Hannah Park. Kinda a MOPS play date, but only one St. Matts mom came. It was so cool to see so many live starfish and dolphin pods! I think they are all finally beached out. Ice cream on the way home helped. Friday Phil took all the kids to the mall (my idea of a nightmare). I got to stay home and read. Ellie spent the night at Cora's. Phil and I went to this golf lottery drawing for an upcoming tournament. He got in, lucky duck. Then the kids had a movie night in the pool. Nightcap at VDub's pub. Saturday we slept in then took the boat to the Julington Creek Fish place for lunch. It rained on the way and was a bit of a cluster. The food was amazing. I tried to water ski on the way home but it was choppy. We swam for a bit then a huge storm at TCC. We went home and got the kids settled then went to the Hemphills for a sing and dance along. This morning was mass and breakfast. Today we went to the Orange Park Community Theater to see the Yazdiyas in Mama Mia. It was such a great show and so nice to be in a theater! My sister and nephew came, too. Don't worry, masks for all and only 50% capacity in the theater. It was a great afternoon with the girls. Phil made a blackened fish dinner. We did a family rosary and a tumultuous early bedtime. Let's get this party started!
Monday was another lazy day. I went running, we got school lunch. The swim banquet was canceled again due to an afternoon thunderstorm ('tis the season). Tuesday the kids got their teeth cleaned and had serious conversations about how important flossing is. No cavities, but some are close. Ellie has two more teeth to go before braces. Marly is headed back for sealants. Phil and I went to FYC for a lecture series with the River Keeper. We learned about freeing the dam in the Ocklawaha river then stayed and had dinner with the Freemans, Bentons and Nixons. It was so nice to see the 'ole crew again. Wednesday we did a MOPS play date at the beach. We picked up Marly's friend, Addy and Spot joined us as well. The kids were ready to go by lunch but we powered through. It was an awesome turn out. I think these moms felt brave in numbers and you can be socially distant at the beach. It was good. Ice cream and a drive by at the Hickses on the way home. That night I went to a girls night with Regan to April's house to celebrate Katherine finishing chemo and starting radiation. It was an emotionally charged back yard get together. April moved her dad into Hospice and Kat told us all about radiation. Thursday we headed back to the beach, this time to Crescent beach. The VanWie's rented a condo and invited us out for the day. We got to meet their friends. Much more relaxing than Hannah Park the day before. The low point was my girls teaching Ava Mae the F-word. Ugh. The kids fled to the neighbor's as soon as we got home for their neice's surprise Birthday party. Lots of sugar! I finally got them home at 10pm! I enjoyed the quiet evening at home. Friday morning I got up and headed to Walmart for school supplies shopping. It took me 2.5 hours to go through 4 supply lists and I'm learning this morning all the items I forgot. Eh. More fun with the neighbors. Ellie and I went to the TCC pool to meet up with the Suters and Shads. More evening rain. It was a quiet night at home with Chinese food take out. Saturday morning, Phil and I got up early and headed to Marywood. I was surprised the Engaged Encounter weekend was still going to happen. We originally had 4 couples. Fr. Bernie (the priest we were to have on the weekend) passed away last weekend at the age of 93! Since then 3 more couples signed up for the weekend! Seven couples was a good number to keep spread out. Marywood looks gorgeous with the upgrades! It was such a nice, relaxing weekend where we could recharge our marriage, too. We had some good conversations. I loved catching up with the Gibsons, too. With 7 couples, we ended up with 3 scholarship donations at the end! That is awesome! No more TikTok so we tried Insta Reels. I ended up getting them to do a dance anyway. So fun! My parents were awesome and kept the kids for us while we were away. They also helped get the kids back and forth to check on the dog. It was so nice. We are grateful we have them here to help! Sunday turned into a funday with the kids play date at the Nixons while the adults did happy hour at Orsay. Yay!
It might be the tropical storm headed our way or this is just what happens this time of year. Lots of afternoon rain! Marly went to Ava Mae's on Monday and baked cookies to drop off for residents at an assisted living facility. We were supposed to have the swim team banquet that night (an outdoor pool party) but the lightening canceled that event. The kids were pretty bummed. Marly spent the night at AM's. I played tennis on Tuesday morning then took AM and Marly back to play at our house. Ellie has been begging to learn to ski. I got brave and took the kids out on the boat by myself- something I've been wanting to do for a while. She and Marly tried. Ellie was close. I finished reading a great book this week, "The Language of Flowers". It was a light, easy read- perfect for me at this time. That night, Phil and I went to a fundraiser for the Boy Scouts with my parents and sister. It was nice to catch up with them. It was a torrential downpour that night. So inspiring to hear of good people doing great things in town. Wednesday morning Ellie and I were up and out early for her middle school orientation. I am very impressed with all the COVID precautions. Half of the school is choosing to stay home and do virtual so class size will be amazing. The desks are spaced out, plastic dividers will be in soon. The school provides masks for all to be worn all the time except lunch and PE. No lockers, strict traffic patterns, lots of covered outdoor areas on a large campus. She's excited. We did some quick clothing shopping on our way home. The Mitchells and Norrises met us at the TCC pool for a play date. We got DCPS lunch and hung out on the porch. Tennis was rained out that night but Julie and I played singles after until almost 10pm. She killed me but I got in my steps! Thursday we headed to Summer Waves for the swim team trip. It was a little more crowded than I liked, but we kept our distance. The rain scared us away and we got ice cream on the way home. I think we're ready for the next level of water park! That night I went to my friend, Beth's pool party. I stayed way too late having awesome conversations. Friday, Voss went to Luka's for a play date. I took the girls on the boat for another ski date. Marly got closer. Ellie made it under the bridge! She's up! I'm so proud! We've just got to get Abby out there! Ellie's pal, Cora came over for a sleepover. We went to TCC for Yappy Hour. Spot was much better this time. I took him home then filled up the inflatables for movie night in the pool. Phil and I had dinner with new friends at the Grove while the kids watched a Goosebumps movie. Saturday we got up and out. Ellie and I did some water skiing then we met up with the Applegates and went to Pineapple point, a shallow area near Orange Park. The Freemans met us out there. We went to Whiteys for dinner. It was such a hot day! This morning we went to mass then breakfast. We're having a lazy Sunday. I took Marly on a walk and talk to discuss puberty. We ordered new school shoes thanks to Abu and Pops. Reading a legos is the theme for today. We needed a breather.
Ah, here we are in the dog days of summer! No more lacrosse. We went to swim team in the morning. I played tennis one morning with Christian, Julie and Rebekah. All the other days I walked/ran with Spot and Emma and her dog, Olive. We got free lunch at Timuquan then just sorta hung out the rest of the days. Sometimes there were play dates here and at friends' houses. The start date for school has been pushed back to August 20th and the RNC was moved out of Jax so that was a lot of chatter this week. I was a 'lady of the night' this week (according to Phil). I had book club on Monday to have a frustrating conversation about "What's Not Yours is Not Yours" since none of us could follow it. But the orzo salad Rachael made was incredible! Tuesday, we had a new member meet and greet for TCC. We're sponsoring a few couples so we got to chat and have a cocktail. Little bit of drama there, but it all worked out okay. I rushed home to get set up for my MOPS girls night. I am worried about some of these moms with babies- with no play dates or much interaction, they are loosing it. So, we did a porch girls night, spaced out. I think these moms really needed a night out! It was nice! Wednesday I did the ladies night at TCC. The pairings were bad, but I won a lot and got to play with some new people so I was good with it. Thursday, Ellie and I got Chinese food and watched Vampire Diaries together. She needed some extra love this week. She's been so helpful! Friday, her friend had a movie night in the pool at TCC. I took the littles home so she could stay. It was a sweet party. Tracy and Rachael met up with me for a nightcap. Saturday we went to my parents for a fun day. Phil took the kids and cousins tubing, while my parents, sister and I enjoyed some liquid sunshine with Aunt Del's amaretto. We met the VanWies for happy hour at O'rsay (the best deal in town!) and serendipitiously ran into the Norrises! I've been wanting to get Ann Marie and April together for months! We progressed to the rooftop of Black Sheep and then "VDub's Pub". This morning we went to mass, then breakfast, then tennis with the Kidds (great addition!) A dip in the pool to cool off then home for quesadillas. I had the great idea of resetting my passcode on my phone last night before bed. The kids keep taking my phone to TikTok and text their friends so I'm always resetting my passcode. Well, this morning I forgot the new code! I had so many failed attempts that I was permanently shut out. Thank you apple for your amazing security settings. I finally had to reset everything and have to start from scratch. So, if you texted or called me today, I may not be ignoring you!
We got up early Monday morning and drove to Steinhatchee, Florida. It's right across the state in the "arm pit" of FL- old FL (Trump territory, for sure). It was a little hectic getting everything situated. We thought we were going to have a fridge to put our food items when we arrived but that didn't happen. We also thought we had a boat for the 3rd day and that was not a guarantee. Well, after some tense moments, we finally got out on the water by 10am. We had 3 boats and six families! Lots of coordinating. But when you jumped in the gulf and only heard the sound of yourself breathing through the snorkel, holding hands with the kids and pointing out scallops and having them dive down to get them- that was pretty cool. The water is super clear and we could see all sorts of creepy things in addition to the scallops. We saw a sea turtle, shark, jellyfish, starfish, sand dollars, lots of fish, stingray, crabs and unknown things I didn't get close to. We were wiped out after that first day. We jumped in the cool pool at the Sea Hag (the fishing camp we stayed) and relaxed a bit eating watermelon while waiting on Hungry Howies pizza. Who knew their salads are amazing! The next day we had 4 families and 2 boats. Some other friends- the Osborns and Bowmans ended up staying an extra day, too. They showed us some good spots (since they had maxed out the previous day). Another fun day, less hectic for sure. Jessica cooked the scallops from the first night. I provided a charcuterie board for an appetizer. Lots of red wine and fun for all. The last day it was just us and the VanWies on one boat. We hit the honey spot right off the bat. With Norah Jones radio and all the kids pulling up their own scallops- it was so relaxing. We ended up quitting around 2pm then went to a sandbar to hang out. We tried to do a bit more scalloping on the way back but it was hot. We went back for another dip in the pool. Epic meltdowns. We went to a seafood joint for a tasty feast then over to the Freemans and Harmons house to visit. They arrived that night. We told them some good spots and then headed to bed. It was an intersting stay at the Mullet Shack (that's for real what it's called) at the Sea Hag. I went ahead and booked it for next year (it fills up that quickly!) All in all, I'd say it was a great trip! We took it easy that afternoon. I made the kids go to swim team then down for an early bedtime. Except Phil who went to tennis and kept the party going. Friday I played tennis with Keri, Christian and Ashley. Christian and I lost- blah! I went to WD and to split up bags of scallops. That night was movie night in the pool so see the Goonies! So awesome! Phil ended up with a man cold and went home early and spent all day Saturday in bed. It's just the sniffles, I believe. I did a tennis clinic then stayed after to play an awesome match with Rebekah and the Julies. It was hot but it felt great to be out there. I took the kids back to the pool for dinner and evening swim when it cooled off a bit. I'm reading this terrible book, What is Not Yours is Not Yours. This morning, we went to mass then to the pool for Natalie's Birthday party. It was nice and simple. Cupcakes by the pool with a few families. I walked down to visit my parents then cooked up some bacon grease scallops for an early dinner. We got a walk by visit from the Agrestis then did the prayer for vocations that our church gave us for 2 weeks. We did a not so devout family rosary then early bedtime for all. That gulf salt water did a cleanse on all of us this week!