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.
How did another week pass? What did we even do? I read Happiness by Heather Harpham. The kids watched a lot of YouTube. Ellie listened to another summer reading book while playing lots of Minecraft with Voss. We had Ellie's friend, Harley for two nights then Ellie spent the night with Cora. Ellie had a braces consultation with Vaughan. She'll be getting her braces the day before school starts. Marly toggled between Addy and Sophia's house. Voss had a play date with Luka. Abby played a few holes of golf with Phil and I. We had lots of free slushies at the 7-11. I've been helping my parents with their Wifi. I went with my dad to get a new laptop. I'm still trying to figure out the spider web of their Internet. I'm pretty sure Xfinity is taking advantage of them, but I can't prove it. Stephanie had us over for a delightful afternoon in their gorgeous pool. The kids played in the river. I played a little tennis, not as much as last week. The Bentons had us over for a fun Olympics party for the opening ceremonies. I made jerk chicken and found Red Stripe beer and wore my Jamaican dress. We've been watching gymnastics all weekend. Abby has been practicing. The Weiss' hosted us for a party in the farms. It was nice to catch up with that crew as we hadn't seen them all summer. The COVID numbers going up makes us nervous, especially since Ellie is only half vaccinated and the rest of the kids have nothing. My nephew, Owen currently has COVID. We brought him cookies and Ramen on Friday. The girls served at mass on Sunday. We got to bring up the gifts. We had breakfast at TCC then Phil played tennis. We took the boat out to see the Let's Ride Band with the Tiny Dock Concert series. It was a gorgeous night on the water before the rain came last night. Today we went to Walmart and spent too much money on I don't even know what. I started the first chaotic round of school supply tracking for the school fundraiser. I am ready for book club tonight! I'm going to get strict this week with exercise and screen time for these junkies. Here are our pics from the week.
We had a week of blah. I played tennis almost every day. I went through periods of turning off the WiFi in the house, the kids would scream as if I'm murdering them. I'd turn on a timer (an hour or so) and they would have to find something not on a screen to do. D.E.A.R time, bike rides, fighting outside...all sorts of fun things. Marly spent the night with Sophia and had a play date with Ava Mae. Abby went to the Cutlip's for a play date and had Poppy over. Voss had Luka over. Ellie watched a ton of Vampire Diaries and finished one of her summer reading books. I don't think I'm winning any parenting awards getting them back on track. I went walking with Tracy and Rachael and caught up over coffee. I went back to Orsay for Beth's Birthday dinner, then went back to Tracy's for a girls night with some Moms Next friends. Friday morning Ellie and I went to cheer on Owen in the state swim meet. Then, we all headed for a family beach weekend at Sawgrass. This was Phil's way of wanting to participate in a family weekend. Hey, I'll take it! We spent the afternoon and evening at the Sawgrass beach club; listening to live music out by the ocean watching the sun set. It was awesome! We stayed in the villas at the Marriott out there. We all fell asleep early watching Shark Week and slept great! The next morning we went to Beach diner for breakfast and then to the Cabana Club. The kids loved jumping the waves together. I spent the afternoon in the spa and got a pedicure; heavenly! Phil and the kids played putt putt and went on a bike ride. We went to the Nineteenth at TPC for dinner. It was really nice. Then we watched Minions poolside. Sunday we did a Starbucks breakfast then played more putt putt before heading back to Sawgrass. We met up with the Kuders, Hershorins and VanWie's and drank and ate way too much and stayed too late. Too much fun! This morning I played tennis and then took the girls for their check ups. Both of them have sore arms after boosters and Ellie's first COVD vaccination! Woop! Woop! They are healthy and thriving so we got some free 7-11 slurpies! I finally finished A Prayer for Owen Meaning. It was such a great story. The 3 youngests and I went to the library (that sucker was 3 weeks overdue! I lucked out with the new policy of no late fees!). Voss got a library card. We all stocked up on great reading materials for some summer reading prizes. Check out our pics from the week.
We made our way back to Florida but first stopped for some Voss family time in Mississippi. We took my cousin, Amy's son with us (Colter) and swung by to visit more cousins before leaving Hattiesburg. My cousins work together as CPAs. I brought all the kids to their office for a chaotic hello before heading to Natchez. Uncle Carl and Aunt Glenda took us and Aunt Del out for lunch. It was neat catching up with my dad's siblings. Everyone seems to be doing well. We visited the Natchez Indian museum and then went to my cousin, Van and Jennifer's house. They bred puppies and let us cuddle them and do a Reels dance. Abby said that was the highlight of the whole trip! I finally pulled them away and went by my dad's childhood home then up to Lake St. John. Most of the summers of my childhood, I was able to play with my cousins at the lake. It was neat to take my kids up there to see another generation of cousins play together. It's technically in Ferriday, Louisiana about 30min away from Natchez, Mississippi. We got in just in time for a feeding time swim with my cousins Leigh and Lori and their children. Leigh made us spaghetti. The kids ran around, I drank some of Aunt Del's amaretto. Lori and I stayed up star gazing and me filling her in on my trip. I had coffee with Aunt Pat each morning on the porch of Del-Sa-No. Lori and her kids left that afternoon. The rest of us stayed, played Cadillac during an afternoon rain storm then back out for another lake swim. So nostalgic for me! Ellie said fun with the cousins at the lake was her favorite part! We packed up and headed out on Thursday morning. I went to McComb to visit Uncle Bill and Aunt Jean. We had fried chicken for lunch then they showed us around the farm and Parker's house. It was a nice visit. UB even stamped our passports! We made it to Dane's in Gulf Breeze for a late dinner. She's doing so well. It was nice to see her progress and get to visit with Michael and Rachel and of course, Jeff. We spent the last night at Papa's condo in Pensacola then spent a rainy Friday on I-10 for the drive home. I don't know if the kids will ever get back in the minivan. They were happy to be home. Phil has been so sweet and happy for us to be home. He picked up Moon River pizza that night. We did a family walk and watched Luca on Disney +. Saturday morning, Phil and I played in the TCC Wimbledon tournament. We actually won the whole thing! Our first match with the Hoffman's was close but we came through 8-6. Then we played Liza and Stephanie and then two older men. It was a fun day of tennis. We sat in the pool for a bit after then headed to O'rSay happy hour with the VanWie's. We ended up at the German speakeasy in Murry Hill. We slept in on Sunday and went to 10:30 mass. We had a nice, relaxing afternoon. I cleaned out the van and did a load of laundry. We're still trying to get back into the swing of things. The kids have been glued to electronics. I'm giving them a few days of R&R and then I need to whip them back into gear. We did a family rosary with early bedtimes last night. This morning Phil went to work. I played a fun match of tennis with ML, Rachael and Kerri then went on a grocery run at the WD. Now, I'm just trying to get the house in order and life back together. What a trip! Click here for the pics of the week.
Last I wrote, I was leaving Rocky Mountain area and headed to Evergreen to visit with my high school friend, Julia. She truly wined and dined us. Her boys were staying with their grandparents and her husband was at a boat show, so she opened her gorgeous mountain home to share with us. She cooked salmon for she and I and we sat out on her balcony overlooking snow capped mountains and caught up. It was truly a break. Julia helped Marly get set up to make waffles before heading off to work. It took forever to get moving but we finally did and went 30min to Idaho Springs to the Indian Hot Springs. It was sorta cheesy, but right up our alley. Ashley met us with her girls. We enjoyed the mineral water, probably disturbed people who were relaxing. We had a picnic lunch and went for another dip before heading out. I drove an hour to Denver and met Kit, an ole TCC pal for an early pizza dinner. She gave me the tip to check out the center of the continental US near Lebanon, Kansas. I drove 6-7 hours and found a cute motel in the town. Ellie and I listened to The Great Alone by Kristin Hanna; such a good story! I got pulled over about 30min from Lebanon. The speed limit went from 65 to 50 to 30 pretty quickly and I missed the 50. Thankfully I got a warning. The next morning was another slow start; we are all over the place with sleep schedules and time zones. We took some pics as the center and ran around a bit. I drove another 7 hours, finishing the book. I stopped for an early dinner in Kansas City, Missouri for some good ole BBQ. I googled and found the perfect place, called A Little BBQ Joint. We got into St. Louis after a long day of driving. I used Expedia to book a motel but there was a snafu and I had to find another one last minute. It left much to be desired; I would have rather slept in the van. We got up and out as quick as I could muster and headed to see the Gateway Arch on the way to Hendersonville, a town outside Nashville, Tennessee. I started Four Winds, another Kristin Hanna novel. This one is much more depressing. We arrived in Hendersonville (another 6-7 hour drive) at the Skwaras. Andrew was one of Phil’s best college friends. They have 3 boys ages 6, 3 and 2. The weather was perfect. We spent most of our time in their gorgeous back yard, visiting with the Skwaras, Andrew’s mom, aunt and uncle. There were fireworks every night. The kids caught fireflies, played Wii and jumped on the trampoline. We swam in Andrew’s mom’s community pool and got Sonic ice cream. Andrew made up an egg race. Jennie came to mass with us and played the guitar for us in a jam session. It was an awesome weekend catching up with old friends and relaxing. The kids got along so well. This morning we got up and again took forever to get moving. I drove 6ish hours to Hattiesburg, Mississippi to visit with my cousin Amy and her husband Robby and youngest, Colter. This is the visiting portion of our trip. I’m looking forward for to lots of cousin time this week. We are so lucky to have all this hospitality!
Click here to see our pics of the week: https://photos.app.goo.gl/169PpZhg8PdFJRKf6