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.
I went to clinic on Monday and then spent the afternoon getting life back together after a crazy weekend. Lots of PTA stuff to iron out. On Tuesday, Keri and I played golf (we were terrible), I brought Mrs. Bricknell her Birthday gift and then took Mrs. Sutton, my neighbor out to lunch as a thank you for being so wonderful to us and my kids. That afternoon we went to Walmart to activate the switch witch. The kids each picked out a toy and traded in their Halloween candy. Although, I'm finding hidden stashes in their rooms. Ugh. My pal, Rachael has COVID so Keri ended up able to come with me to see Fiddler on the Roof on Wednesday night. We had dinner ahead of time with Tracy and Katie at Bellweather. The show brought some nostalgia my way with the music. So many classic tunes. My mom and MIL walked together to light candles at our wedding to Sunrise Sunset. We had a craft meeting at MOPS making ornaments for V for Victory. Friday, Spot and I got in a run before all the rain came. I went to adoration then Crystal River with my parents. It rained the rest of the day and night and then all day Saturday. I actually liked the rainy time. It forced me to catch up on all the JWJ PTSA membership forms I needed to enter into the online system. I also finally made the summer road trip video. Marly spent the night at the Freemans. Ellie and I had ramen for dinner. Voss played Minecraft. Phil took Abby on a date night to Moon River pizza. Saturday was more of the same. Phil discovered leaks in our house and had a friend some to looks and asses some damage (looks like our balcony is the problem). The older girls went to nutcracker rehearsal. I worked on science projects with the middle two and tried to get Marly organized. I went through clothes and made pumpkin cookies to give to neighbors. I listened to The House of Gucci. It's pretty meh to me. Saturday night Phil and I had a date night to TCC. No frills, but it was probably good to change out of my bathrobe (you know I'm usually in it while driving my kids to school). This morning we went back an hour. We were still sliding into mass just in time. We taught CCD after then had breakfast at home. Voss had pictures for soccer then his game. Great defense (except while he was goalie). The ringer on his team enabled us to win 6-5 (after scoring all 6 goals!). We went to dinner with the Bentons at High Tide. Early bedtime for all thanks to daylight savings. Here are our photos of the week.
It's so fun having all these kids and getting to do Halloween kid style over and over again. Yes, it is exhausting with all the costume changes. DIY to save a $20 here and there. I am very grateful I wasn't nursing a baby or hauling a wagon full of non and semi-walkers. Now that was exhausting! For the elementary kids it was Drug free week so they had dress up themes each day. I wonder if all this hoopla works. Just say no, or maybe sample a bit and moderation is key. Or watch out for addiction. We had a patrol parent meeting on Monday, talking about the DC trip this summer. I plan to go with Marly on that. I played tennis with Julie Rice on Monday in clinic and then in Tuesday's match (against the same ladies Rachael and I played in Fernandina). So much fun but ended in a loss, which you know I just hate. We won the first set 6-4, then lost the tie breaker in the second set maybe 5-7 then lost the tie breaker in the third set 6-8. Lots of tennis! Luckily the weather has been awesome all week. I played a fun match with Jennifer, Sally and Liz on Wednesday to redeem myself a bit. Our match on Thursday was rained out. I stayed in my nightgown as long as possible hoping to continue by horror movie marathon I started this week. But, Phil and I had a lunch date working through our weekly drama. It's this time of year where money starts flying (that actually probably happens all year around here, but less holiday drama) so I'm trying to set us up for success. Ellie got a cavity filled along with some sealants. MOPS led the rosary that night, which was really Katie and I. Super stressful at first but it worked out and was actually nice. Friday I went to adoration with my parents, then brought a family dinner then Sunny's for a delayed Birthday lunch. I thought Friday night was a family pumpkin painting party at TCC but it was actually a drop off babysitting thing. We sat in the bar instead, which was okay. Ellie babysat Ava May. The Cochrans had a 40th Birthday blow out that night. Way too much fun ending in Phil and I walking home around 1:30am. Saturday morning I got up and went walking for coffee with Rachael and Tracy, always a treat catching up. Then, the VanWie's picked us up on their boat and we met up with the Summons yacht to tailgate for the GA-FL game. Wow! Now that is the way to tailgate! So much fun people watching and enjoying a gorgeous day. That night we went to the Johnson- Hardison's for a family Halloween party. A great practice for Halloween! Nice, family fun complete with party games. We all went to bed early. Marly altar served on Sunday. Low turn out for CCD, maybe because of Halloween? I played a bit of tennis with my sister, Phil gave her a lesson to prep for our tennis tournament next month. Voss won her soccer game with a few good saves in goal (and the kid on his team who scores all the goals!). Phil and I made a steak dinner then off to trick or treat! We started with our street first as usual, then my parent's house then off to the forest. This time, Ellie was trick or treating with Addison and Charlotte so we parked there. Marly went with Addy. Phil and I followed Voss and Abby around. One of Voss' friends hooked us up with a golf cart ride so we went all over the neighborhood. So much fun and so much candy! I stayed up to conclude by week of Horror, with Chucky. Also this week I saw Halloween Kills, Nightmare on Elm Street and It. Nothing is scarier than Game of Thrones, though. I guess I'm numb after that. Here are our pics of the week.
Another busy week of fall fun. I think this is the time of year when everything is on fast forward from now on. But, it's fun stuff. I did loose my voice this week for screaming at the kids one night. That part was not fun, nor was the few days after of having to tell people I lost my voice after screaming at my kids. Abby and Marly are reading the 2nd Harry Potter book together, which I'd say is going well but one night it was too well and they knocked a frame over, which shattered into a million pieces all over Abby's room. I went to sleep with glass in my foot. So, no it's not all fun all the time, but you already knew that. We had book club at Kim's to discuss The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires. It sounds so hoakie, but it was really good. Kim went all out with the spooky, creepy theme. We had a great conversation around her fire pit. We had a biweek for tennis so Kerri and I played golf. She was a great caddie so I played well. What a perfect, fall day out there! That afternoon I raced to Mandarin to get new pointe, ballet and solider shoes for Ellie and mouse shoes for Marly. $$$ Attitudes were ripe but taco Tuesday helped to save the evening. Dinner on the porch with great weather should save any night. I tried to go on Marly's field trip but my volunteer check was slow to be renewed (they just allowed volunteers back this week so there's a backlog). I played tennis with Julie instead (and lost 4-6 then 5-7) at Boone park. I've been working on catching up on all the family videos. So, stay tuned for those updates on the video page. Thursday we had a Halloween party for MOPS. Amber brought her themed waffle irons with all the fixings. Then we played a guess the mom game and the chair game (my fav). I went to help Emma (and Sherry) pack. John got us lunch from Bodrum, which was so nice. They moved over the weekend and were stressed. I jumped on a PTA call while picking Marly up from dance and then Regan up to head out for dinner. The middle school PTA is completely different than the elementary school! We met up with Lauren, Heather, Kat and April and had dinner in a yurt. It was way more expensive than I was thinking, but pretty neat. Friday I went to adoration and lunch with my parents. It had been a while. That afternoon Ellie had a bunch of friends over to get ready for ballroom dancing class together. We went to the pumpkin patch for movie night. Such a sweet idea! A little drama with Ellie not getting invited to a big Birthday party many kids went to after ballroom. I'm grateful she's such a cool, confident kid. But not being invited still usually stings. Phil and I tried to watch a scary movie that night, but it was hoakie so we went to bed instead. Saturday, the girls got picked up for Nutcracker. Phil made breakfast and we walked to visit my parents. We finally carved our pumpkin, with a guy from Minecraft? Ellie went to hang with Robin for the afternoon then over to babysit for the VanWie's. The Hayes kids were over across the street so they all spent all afternoon and evening making a Haunted house. That meant Phil and I had a date day. We took the boat to TCC for drinks and apps. I worked on a few sewing projects and listened to This is How is Always Is. We went to the Camps Halloween party that night. She always goes all out. Of course we ended up staying too late. Sunday we got up early for mass. Ellie and I read, she and Marly altar served. Birdie Applegate was baptized. Phil and I taught CCD then we went over for the baptism reception. Voss had a soccer game. One of the kids scored all 6 goals which had them winning 6-5. It was impressive. Phil is now the assistant coach. We walked and bike rode to my parents for dinner and time in the hot tub. Everyone was ready for an early bedtime! Here are the pics from the week.
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.