I had lots of feel good soulful moments this week. I’m feeling at peace and very grateful. Kerri and I had a great match way out at Sherwater on Tuesday. They are always so nice to play against and even toasted our win with Prosecco. I met Jamie for lunch afterwards enjoying my fav raw salmon bowl. For the cherry on top, I met my high school pals for drinks and apps, Chrissy and Jacy talking about our parents and aging…also planning a girls trip to Africa! I did a HIIT class and errands on Wednesday. My dad came over for dinner while mom hosted book club. He was in great spirits and we had delicious Southern Steer chicken and Brussel sprouts. Thursday, my sweet neighbor took Marly to a breakfast Bible study with Young Life. Kerri and I had a long match at Julington Creek and lost in a 3rd set tie breaker. I was wiped out after that! With the help of a bottle of wine, 2 hrs of Delta online chat and woozy texting with Phil from Lillian’s, I finally booked our flights to Ecuador for the summer! Now I can breathe easier and skip in my steps! Friday morning, I drove carpool, packed up and went to tennis clinic (windy day made it wacky). Kerri whisked me away for another beach weekend, this time on the Atlantic Ocean in Fernandina. I was so flattered to be included on Kerri’s beach girls weekend; wined, dined and chauffeured! I followed them around while shopping downtown. We had drinks and apps then back to the condo for more. Night walk on the beach, lots of laughs and a few debates. Two nights of fabulous sleep listening to the waves crash. Bloody Mary’s and lunch out. We walked to the Ritz for hot tub time. I finished listening to Democracy Awakening while walking on the beach. Saturday was a gorgeous day. Phil held down the fort and raced all over town: babysitting gigs for the girls, Voss’ first baseball practice of the season, dance class for Ellie, cake making party for Marly, two sleepovers and a play date for Abby. Aunt Suzanne also jumped in to help get Ellie to a Birthday party. Whew! And I got to tap out of it all! Today we are getting everything back to normal. A Birthday party for Voss, mass and CCD, homework, Target run and family soccer. Here are the pics of the week.
I’ve been hacking this cough all week. Sounds like I have tuberculosis. I even lost my voice for a few days. I got my days of carpool mixed up and was a hot mess on Monday. Ellie had to get a cavity filled that morning. I got to see Abby get reader of the month at flag raising. I joined Vanessa for a lesson since I missed clinic. Our match on Tuesday got rescheduled so I went to a barre class instead. Phil and I went to a Valentine’s Day live ball Tuesday night. It was fun, but I was feeling crappy. Valentines Day fell on Ash Wednesday this year. I took the kids to 6:30 mass and then dropped them all off at school. Then I hopped in the car and tagged along with Phil to a business meeting in Orlando. I walked the streets of the gorgeous downtown while listening to The Women, powering through my fast and cough. That afternoon we checked into our hotel and hit the scene at Disney Springs. So much live music and tasty drinks. We even saw a Cirque du Soleil show that was amazing! We had a great night of sleep and then enjoyed coffee in the hot tub. It was a fabulous get away. The village showed up to hold down the fort at home. My amazing neighbor took Marly to get her braces! Rides to and from dance and school. I went to tennis clinic and a Nutcracker board meeting on Friday. We had a family sushi dinner that night. On Saturday morning we got up too early and headed across Florida. We had a long weekend minivacay in Navarre. The weather was crap but the gulf coast is still so gorgeous. The Mallette cousins came out that Saturday afternoon. The cold didn’t slow the girls down from a polar plunge. The rest of us loved the hot tub and heated pool. We went to our fave, Old Bay Steamer for dinner. So delicious! We went to church on the beach and then tried to check out the outdoor market in Ft. Walton but it was too cold. We bought hot chocolate and soup and went back to the condo. It was a wonderful afternoon reading The Queen of Dirt Island, working on a puzzle, napping and just relaxing. I walked on the beach listening to my book. We went to Juana’s for dinner. Later, I braved it with the girls and did a night polar plunge then hit up the pool and hot tub. Another great night of sleep then a relaxing morning with coffee and Marly making breakfast. Another quick walk, polar plunge and then soak in the hot tub. Now we are driving back to Jax. I’m ready for book club tonight to discuss The Queen of Dirt Island. Here are the pics of the week.
Monday I got back into the groove with a HIIT class then clinic and then the grocery store. Kerri and I got beat by St. Johns. It was so windy and chilly and far away. I can't stop toggling between grimacing and rolling my eyes at this awful book I'm listening to (let's blame that for my head not being in the game), Pucking Around. Kerri and I won the first set 6-2 then lost 5-7 then got smoked 0-6. It still stings. I came home and watched the end of Lessons in Chemistry to help morale and made chicken & dumplings from scratch. My dad came to hang for a few hours. Wednesday was a morning of appointments with Marly getting a braces consult, then a filling and then my annual appointment. My lab work is all good, better than it was 2 years ago. That night Katie, Rachael and I saw Hadestown. We went to dinner at Bread & Board (so good) then walked to the show. I'm not a fan of Greek mythology but the music, set and ending were amazing. Marly had a WyldLife breakfast meeting at the neighbor's. I'm really hoping she loves this! Kerri and I got another go and did so much better. We played Palencia this time. We won the first set but then started tanking again in the second set. At one point we were down 1-4 but we came back and ended up winning in a tie breaker in the second set. That felt good! Dad came over again for a little while to visit. Marly and I went to her pal, Sophie's dance ensemble. We met friends for dinner at Taverna before. It was such a good dance concert! I was impressed. The only down side is now Marly wants to go to Episcopal. Friday morning I organized the lost and found at the middle school and started setting up for the dance. I met Rachael, Jessica and Anne for a walk downtown to celebrate Jess' Birthday and hear about her journey with a child fighting cancer. I went back to middle school for the Valentines Dance. It wasn't as well attended as the homecoming dance, but it was kina nice. I met some new 6th grade parents and we had a quick PTSA meeting. I came home and crashed. I got the chills and took a TheraFlu. I was done. Phil worked the elementary dance with the younger two. Ellie babysat. Marly and I started watching The Summer I Turned Pretty. Saturday morning I took Ellie to dance and slept in the car the whole time. I felt awful. She went on a double date to the book store. Love it! I layed on the couch with Marly all afternoon. Ramen and DayQuil to rally for the 5th grade parent night out that night. Only 3 other couples joined us but we had a lovely time...ending with tea and cake at Biscottis. Sunday we went to mass. Voss went to Grant's Birthday party. Laser tag and video game truck! Phil and I played tennis with the Hollands. It was so nice to hit with them again. We all went to Lillians to watch an awesome Super Bowl. Marly is in heaven with her shirt she made and being in the winning side! Here are the pics of the week.
The week began with a Birthday for Abigail. We had CFA for lunch and then cupcakes for the class. Tuesday we went to tour middle school. It was impressive, even the third time around! And then Wednesday was art day and I volunteered in the 5th grade with Aborigines dot art. So, Abby and I had 3 days in a row together (but no tennis or work outs for me this week) on her Birthday week. We had a Chinese medicine expert and a new location for MOPS on Thursday, questionable, yes. I had lots of soul enriching time with friends this week. Gotta love that! My high school pal, Alex and I had lunch at the Brick on Tuesday. Kathleen and I went to Mrs. Crosby's viewing on Wednesday night. (My dad came, too). April and I had lunch and walked around the Cummer on Thursday afternoon then Laurie and I walked during dance that evening. Hilary and I met in St. Augustine for coffee on Friday. Then, Steph hosted a 'Dryanuary is over' lunch on Friday. I got in trouble for not being home on time according to Phil so I got to enjoy Chinese Food and Lessons in Chemistry on a Friday night while the family went out for pizza. Ellie went to Saturday dance class with Ms. Natalia. She is committed now! Abby and I walked and enjoyed dangerous donuts! More Abby and I time. Marly babysat all morning. Phil took Voss to practice baseball. That afternoon we took the boat to the Grace Note grand opening. Perfect day with live music and craft beer. I finished off the last week of January so well with a 36 hour fast and blood work for my annual. Yay! Marly babysat that night. Ellie took all the kids home (including dropping Marly off for her babysitting gig) and then ubered back to join us. This morning we were a bit late to mass then CCD and bfast at TCC. I took a Valentine pic and now it's a rainy Sunday. Perfect day for a bunch of nothing. Phil and I are going to a Young Lives benefit dinner tonight. Voss said he's making baked potatoes for dinner. Here are our photos of the week.
We had a full week of festivities to celebrate Vossy Boy. I'm still hurting a week later from the HIIT class on Monday. I snuck out of clinic early to bring cupcakes to Voss' class and McD's for lunch. He was so bummed his Birthday fell on a Monday this year. "Why did they do that, Mom?!" I had to laugh and explain that the days change every year and that he could celebrate all week! That means I also ate way too much cake this week! To kickoff literacy week, I read in Voss and Abby's class (Magic Treehouse and then Double Fudge). We had Voss' favorite lasangna and blue cake for dinner. On Tuesday I skipped tennis for a SAC and DCCPTA meeting, only to find out the DCCPTA meeting was moved to Thursday. So it turned into a weird morning where I just spend way too much time editing the summer road trip video. I think I finally finished it today, though. Mom checked out the TCC bridge group and dad hung with me for the afternoon. Wednesday we had a PTSA coffee meeting and then I ran errands, took Spot for a walk then had a recall appointment with Honda for something electronic. Dad came over while mom went to book club. We listened to Ian's Cutco sales pitch and bought another knife. Thursday, Kerri and I got to play together at Jax Golf (and win!). I got some amazing book recs for next month from Hillary, my new friend. I met Jess and Steph for a catch up lunch at Bodrum. Friday I took my parents to the WJCT Lunch & Learn, the current landscape of Alzheimer's. We had Tidbits and enjoyed the presentation. I'm so glad mom was open to going! My biggest take away is that memory loss is not a normal sign of aging like I thought it was. My dad was mad I wouldn't let him take the mic during the Q&A. Mom was mad they were not further along in the treatments. So, it was a rough afternoon. I didn't get much of a break before the super sleepover to celebrate Voss and Abby's Birthdays. Phil luckily took the boys to play laser tag. Ellie sat with the girls at the TCC pool (we had two gorgeous days of weather!) while Marly and I went to WD. I whipped up a batch of chili for Abby and hotdogs for Voss. More cake and candy! I was very much ready for bedtime that came too late. Phil set up a family zip lining date at UNF to celebrate the Birthday kids. It was so much fun! We had burgers for lunch then had a chill afternoon. Marly saw a movie with Addy. Ellie had a dinner date with friends. Phil and I went to our friend's change of command at FYC and then the Nutcracker board dinner. This morning we served at mass and now we're taking it easy. After all the Alzheimers talk this week, I am trying to do a 18hr fast. Ugh today is no fun for that. Here are the pics of the week.
It was a rainy, cold week and so no tennis for me. I drove the Korean carpool to Landon on Tuesday where the kids got to skyway to the mayors office for a visit. I checked out a barre class at TCC. For our last night with Jisan, she made us classic Korean ramen. The next morning I bid farewell and took them to Landon where they later went to the airport. All in all, it was a wonderful visit. Bruce Almighty took a full time job so we had to bid farewell to him, too. I helped with dad to give mom a break this week. He came with us to the kids dentist. Two kids with cavities and one kid referred for braces. My parents came over for dinner where I made minestrone soup. It was perfect for this cold weather with great veggies. We ate it all week. I helped with the caffeine cart for teachers at the middle school. Then we had Noelle talk to us at MOPS. She is so good! I am having the worst sweet tooth! We celebrated Paul’s Birthday early with cake at Lillian’s on Thursday night. I took my parents to adoration on Friday after a run with Spot. Phil and I had a date lunch to Trent’s. That night we surprised Ashley turning 40 at the Lark. It was a fun mix of people! I took Ellie to her dance class on Saturday morning. Suzanne made me breakfast and we had a nice visit. I then took Ellie to meet a friend at the town center. You know how I feel about that place. I listened to my book, A Song Flung Up to Heaven while walking around. It was SO COLD! Ellie and Marly went to Panera and Chamblins to do homework, Phil and I went to Laurie's Hygge party then Paul's 60th Birthday party. This morning we were a bit late to mass and got to experience the service from the back. We had a full religion class then took the middle two to brunch at TCC. Marly and I went to WD. We had a soccer Sunday match and then Tijuana Flats and Charlie Brown movie night. Here are our photos of the week.
We're having fun learning about Korea and introducing Jisan to all things America. On Monday, I snuck out for the morning to HIIT and tennis clinic then took the kids to the beach. It was a teacher planning day so still no school. The Kuders called the gate to get us into Sawgrass so we were able to use the club amenities and our TCC number still works there for lunch. It was cold. At first I was questioning my judgement to take the group out there. We had lunch huddled by the heat lamp and then headed down to the beach. It turned out to be a great afternoon out there. Ellie went polar bear and took a plunge first. Abby and Voss eventually followed her. I think Jisan loved putting her toes in the Atlantic and admiring the sea foam and the violent waves. We warmed up in the heated pool and then headed home. On the drive back we heard school was canceled for the following day due to severe weather. Ugh. It was windy and rainy but nothing crazier than our typical thunderstorm. My mom's friends came early to head out to Ameila Island for their girls trip so I was on Papa duty. He loved hanging out in the middle of the chaos. The kids all went to Target in the morning before the rain came. That afternoon they baked cookies, we TikTok'd and prepared for the next day. I made dad get up early for carpool duty on Wednesday. THEY FINALLY WENT BACK TO SCHOOL! Dad came with me to take my car in for a much needed tune up. We walked to Dunkin Donuts for breakfast then waited another 2 hours. Dad loved watching the cars being repaired and I made a good dent on our book club book. Jisan went to dance class with the girls that night. The girls had a field trip to some type of hydroponic garden at FSCJ. My dad's friend came for a visit while Kerri and I got spanked by Ponte Vedra (4-6, 0-6). I'd love a rematch. I'm hoping dad can get roped in a bit with Rotary again. We Facetimed his friend in CA and baked more cookies. Dryanuary is going fine but I'm having major sugar cravings which might be just as bad as the alcohol. Phil spent the night with Papa that night for a sleepover. They had a fire and stayed up watching the office. That made it easier for me to do carpool and let dad sleep in. He had physical therapy then we went to WD and picked up mom (back from her trip) for adoration. That afternoon I hosted a river play date (pretending like it's summertime) with hotdogs for dinner. We lucked out with a flat, clear afternoon on the river. Phil and I met the Georges for a late dinner out. Delicious Italian at Josephines. The girls went to Universal the next day. I took Ellie to a dance class in Fruitcove with her Nutcracker teacher (to try something different). She then had two babysitting gigs that afternoon and evening. We went to 5pm mass with my parents. Then went out for sushi with the younger two (sitting at the bar and watching them make sushi was very cool). I picked up the girls from Landon around 10pm after a fun day in Orlando. We all went right to bed. Ellie ubered home from her babysitting gig. Sunday we had a down day. Abby and I rode bikes and went orange picking with Papa. Abby juiced a whole bunch of them. Yum! Phil set up a Sunday Funday family soccer match again. We had a huge group and a huge field! We raced to Mandarin for dinner at Kim's Korean BBQ. It was neat to try all the Korean foods family style. Beth graciously took all the girls to a friend's house on the southside for a girls night. Angela went back and picked them up later. Loving all the carpooling and hang out support! No school on Monday to celebrate Dr. King. I snuck out again for HIIT and tennis clinic. Abby went to Michelle's. I took the other kids downtown for the parade. We then went to the town center to meet up with Ellie's friends for an escape room and Korean friends. Voss and I basically stayed in the book store so I could keep reading. I've been busting it to finish the Books of Jacob. I do not recommend. Marly threw a tantrum that we left the town center too early but the rest of us were done. Phil took the kids to KFC, I escaped to book club. Heather did an amazing job hosting us making all types of Eastern European cuisine. I got to rock my Turkmen clothing. Here are the photos of the week.
Our first week of January was similar to the last week of December. Lots of down time, screen time, no schedule. I did get to play a lot of tennis. Kerri set up fun matches for us to get back into the swing of things (see what I did there) and then we had a match on Thursday. We redeemed ourselves against Boone Park, even if we were on line 3. I got to sub in to B on Friday and Diane and I won against Eagle Harbor. I spent lots of time with my parents, trying to give my mom breaks because she is done caregiving and ready to put dad in a home. That's been all the drama of the week. We had a busy day on Wednesday with a primary care check up for dad on his torn rotator cuff (due to severe arthritis), then lunch date with mom at Trents then we all went to dinner in St. Augustine to see the Nights of Lights. It was rainy but still ended up being a nice time together. We celebrated the Strassor brothers buying Lillians on Thursday night (me with my soda water and lime). The girls had a sisters shopping day at the Town Center to spend all their babysitting cash. My brother, Matt took Voss, Dad and I to Firehouse then to see planes on base. Voss helped clean the boat while I had a counseling sesh with Bruce Almighty. That night we headed to the airport to meet Jisan, our Korean exchange student for the next two weeks! Marly made a sign and we got balloons. I think we lucked out. Her English is very good and she's open to trying new things and likes to ask questions and be involved. She brought us a whole suitcase of gifts and Korean foods to try! We met the other families from our school with students at Mellow for dinner. Poor Jisan was falling asleep at the table! She slept in until 11:30 on Saturday. Voss and I went down the street to celebrate Jack's Birthday bounce house party. Phil took the girls to CFA and the TCC dock to see the city by water. That evening, I took the girls for an early dinner at Five Guys then to Cotillion. Thankful I brought my ear plugs! This one seemed to last longer. Our group was not as excited about dancing but I love how they stay together. It was a huge dance! This morning I was so impressed Jisan was ready to go by 8:10. We made it just in time for mass to hear about the Feast of the Epiphany. High hopes for all of us following the star to a better relationship with God this year. Our first religion class back was really good talking about the wise men and the term humility. We went home to change then met the other exchange students for a BBQ picnic. We stopped by Lillians for Jisan to try gator tail and see the Jags make some awful plays. We met the gang at the park for family soccer. We had a huge group! Suzanne stopped by along with the Hollands and Dr. Agresti in addition to the usuals: Fredlands, Nixons and Cummings. We all went out for Dreamette after, a belated Birthday treat by the Fredlands. Ramen to warm up after by a smoky fire then everyone was ready for bed. Here are our photos of the week.
I almost like the 12 Days of Christmas better because I'm so wiped out. It's an awesome time to chill and lay around. On the second day of Christmas we went to the downtown post office to get passports! Yay! You know this makes me so happy! Abby and Voss registered for their first passports. Ellie registered for a replacement passport (since hers is in a garbage dump in Miami somewhere) and while doing all the paperwork for these appointments, I noticed Mr. Bravo's stampless passport expires next month! So, we did that, too. I drove away with a huge smile. Phil did the opposite ($!$). We got Voss' new laptop from Santa replaced at Urban Mining then had lunch at The French Pantry. On the 3rd day we went to the Ritz Carlton in Ameila Island while the maids cleaned our house (I mean how swaggor is that?!). We saw the gingerbread ship, Ellie and Abby bravely did a polar plunge, we had a nice lunch and warmed up in the hot tub. I'm not sure what happened the next three days. It was a haze of kids sleeping over here and there, 5 o'clock martinis with the Georges, family soccer, the older girls doing a bunch of babysitting, reading and listening to The Books of Jacob at the same time because it's such a bear to get through! We got a great group to watch the seminoles get a spanking in the Orange Bowl. We drank away our sorrows at Grace Note. Last minute, my brother, mom and I decided to go to the Jags game. Phil was not feeling well. Grateful it was a 24 hour thing and not a week long thing that's going around! We ubered right there to the front gate about 10 minutes after the game started. Matt got us great seats in the lower bowl. It felt so great to get a win after the loss the day before. A chamber of commerce day for Jacksonville football! Just what we needed. Ellie's babysitting plans changed last minute so I took her as my date to the NYE party at TCC that night. We got gussied up and dropped Marly for her babysitting gig (girl killed it that day in babysitting!) It was a sweet party but I was done and ready to start January after all the December debauchery! I've played tennis the last two days to get back into it. I made a beef Wellington for dinner last night with black eyes peas and collard greens to ring in 2024. Trying to get the kids back on some kind of schedule with less screen time, but ugh! Happy New Year! Here are the pics from the last week of the year!
Another week of festivities! On Monday I hosted a party I call Women Supporting Women. Women carry the heavy load usually this time of year: gift buying, wrapping, cooking, planning, hosting and coordinating- on top of everything else we normally do. So I invite every woman I know to come over and eat, drink and be merry. We even did a TikTok with my mom and Nutcracker friends. That evening, I went to the MOPS cookie swap. I was wiped from my party but kept the party train going. Grateful I made the decision to make the 5 dozen cookies on Friday because I have no idea when else I would have done that! The games played at the cookie swap were awesome! Tuesday, I spent the day at Stanton for the teacher soup swap. I got up early to start on the chicken soup; turmeric and garlic were perfect additions with this funk going around town. That PTA is off the chain with how much they do! Ellie and I did some quick thrifting on the way home. I was happy to have leftover soup (with fresh bread from Kerri) on a perfect soup dinner day! My dad came over to hang that evening, too. I went to Walmart, HIIT holiday class then April’s gift wrapping party on Wednesday. It was a great time to get myself organized. And then I ran around getting all the teacher gifts squared away. That is no joke! Embroidered pashmenias and gift cards all over town, oh my! Marly made panko chicken for dinner. My parents had a friend’s Christmas party so they didn’t join us. Thursday I took my parents to dad’s neurology appointment downtown. He still has Dementia but the neurologist suggested trying UF’s memory disorders clinic in Gainesville for a second opinion. Not that the type of Dementia matters but why not. Maybe there’s a cool study we can be a part of? I rushed to the elementary school after to help run Abby’s class party. I’m grateful Phil got there early to cover for me until I could get there. We ended up getting plenty of volunteers and donations and it was a great party! I re-used the jingle bell game from Monday night. It was the kids last day of school for the year. Ellie went to Charlotte’s for a gift exchange party. Phil and I picked her up then stayed for a drink with the Bentons. Friday morning, Marly and I spent the morning with my dad while my mom ran errands. Bruce, the caregiver is in the hospital with pneumonia and a collapsed lung! Last minute we threw out an all call and got a great group to go caroling at the nursing home, like old times! It was the perfect way to get in the spirit! We had lunch at Firehouse. That evening was our neighbor progressive dinner. This was one of the better ones. I failed on the luminaries but the turn out was good and my chocolate peppermint martini was delish! We had apps at the Sassers, soup & salad at the Langstons. Linda brought over rolls and smoked turkey for our house then Monica and Elmer ended with dessert. We met the Strassers for a nightcap at Orsay. Poor Lauren is feeling awful this week. Saturday was a lazy morning. I did some last minute gift gathering; printing coupons for my mom’s gift and laminated photos for dad’s wallet. Ellie came with me and my parents to mass at Sacred Heart for the 4th Sunday of Advent. We met the Johnson Hardisons at High Tide then Gracenote. Christmas Eve we played soccer with the Fredlands then went to the kids mass. I’m so proud of all my children for serving! Ellie read the first reading. The 3 other kids altar served. It was special. Phil and I made a delicious surf and turf dinner with our family. It was nice to have just us together. We opened gifts and watched Christmas Vacation. Santa seemed to have a much easier time this year. I can’t put my finger on why. It just seemed to go much smoother with a decent bedtime. The deal was 7am but Voss started around 3:30 to start Christmas. We eventually went downstairs together at 6:30. There were happy screams all around. We had a lazy morning with the kids playing with their gifts. I watched It's a Wonderful Life. Marly made Jesus' Birthday cake. We went to my sister's around 3 for supper. We had dueling crockpots of beef stroganoff. The fact that I came home with almost a full crockpot means SQ won. Hers was so good! I brought raw oysters and we had multiple cocktails. We did the white elephant gift exchange and just had family fun. It was a nice Christmas. Here are the pics of the week.