The morning after the 4th of July, Abby, Voss and I got up early and I drove to Orlando. We flew on a direct flight to San Diego to visit my sister. She moved to Coronado in January. Her husband left 3 weeks later on a deployment. Then, COVID happened. Katie has been a rock star. It has not been easy. Her son broke his leg, turned 1 and she recently fired her nanny. She offered to fly out me and some kids. So fast forward to now. We wanted to help celebrate her Birthday. My brother Erik and his girlfriend, Kelley came for the weekend before us. We got to spend Sunday together. It was so nice to catch up. We got take out and sat outside in the gorgeous weather. I played the role of nanny. Katie worked. I took the kids to the beach. They are a quick, pretty walk to Hotel Del Coronado (the one Disney modeled their resort after). It honestly felt like a resort everywhere we went on the island! We came home for nap time then went back out to the Bay that afternoon. The time change got me that night. The next day was Katie's Birthday. We went to another beach on base that morning then she had a few appointments. We got pizza and TikToked all over town. On Wednesday I took the kids on a bike ride adventure. We found another little beach facing downtown San Diego. Awesome sites all over. Katie took us back to the airport that afternoon. Uncle Steve was due home the following day. It was such a nice visit. I'm so grateful for the time we had together! We flew back to Orlando and then I drove (in the rain) back to Jax. We were up for swim team the following morning. My parents and lots of friends helped with the older girls while I was gone. They were supposed to go to an art camp but it was moved to virtual so I got a refund. Can't handle anymore of that right now. We used Thursday to get back into the swing of things. I went to Walmart. Early bedtime for all! Friday was swim team then play for a bit after. Paige was still in town and came to meet us at the pool for a while. Her mom ended up in the ER so she left quickly to check on her. Ann Marie, Phil and I did a Costco run to prepare for our scalloping trip. Marly spent the night with her pal, Addy and made a shelf! We went to a concert on the water. Our friends, the Osborns hired a band to play on their dock. We all came out to relax and listen. It rained a bit and then turned into a gorgeous night. The next morning, Phil and I played in the Malavi Washington Wimbledon tournament. We won in our bracket! Thanks so my ringer, Phil. It was a super hot day, but fun! We came home to cool off and then went back to the club for dinner. I was hoping to sit in the pool but there was a thunderstorm. I was glad to have it cool off! This morning we went to mass then breakfast. We were invited to the Livingston's Birthday party with an awesome water slide. Another hot day at TCC! It's like a COVID bubble at the club; maybe not as secure as I am thinking. But I'm so grateful for the pool, tennis and staff making it all happen up there! It's so nice. It really was a great week!
I spent a lot of time stressing and worrying and waiting. The week began just fine. I was invited to play tennis with Keri, Christian and Ashley. I lost both sets but still was happy to get out. I donated blood on Monday; a quick 7 minutes. I wanted to see if I had any COVID antibodies; maybe I’ve had it and just didn’t know it? The kids went to swim team in the morning. One morning the coach pulled them out bc Voss said his throat hurt. (In my opinion, it was from screaming at his sisters that morning, but it freaked the older kids out nonetheless). We did DCPS lunch every day, me included. Ellie had lacrosse practice. The kids had lunch in my parent’s back yard on Wednesday. They sprayed each other with the hose; good ole summer fun. We learned to make ice cream with frozen milk cartons. We got a front porch delivery; lots of fresh fruits and veggies this week! I even made a carrot soup and froze it for a cold winter day. Ellie went to help the Cochrans. Abby and Marly has friends over to play. Voss went to play with the neighbor’s nephew.
I got to start a new book, maybe not a good one to read during the Pandemic; Across the Wire. On Friday we had a big river play date with all our friends who are going to Steinhatchee with us. It was hot, but a perfect afternoon of crazy fun. The rain came. Saturday was the 4th of July. I got up and played in a tennis match. Kat and I joined a summer league. We can’t have guests at TCC so we had to play at Ringhaver park. It was an adventure- sweeping rain off the court, they took out a tape measure to measure the net! We lost but scheduled a rematch! We spent the rest of the day at the TCC pool. They canceled fireworks but still did pool games. Phil and I made it across the obstacle course. We had lunch at the Grove and then dinner on the back patio. It was a great ending to the week! We even got to spend some time with Paige, my brother Matt’s girlfriend. She was in town for the holiday. We did an adult firework party at the Smiths that night. I am thankful to live in a country where we can exercise our independence!
I've been pretty nervous this week of COVID being upon us. Cases in FL are blowing up. Our zip code alone is the highest in the city. Pretty freaky. We are still doing our usual; not too social distancy. Ellie had power boating camp all week. It was intense. She was wiped out. On Tuesday, I let Abby and Marly have friends over to play. We tried to go to afternoon swim practice but rain canceled it. Wednesday my nephews came over after swim. I made them help me bring a bunch of bags of clothes to donate downtown to the homeless shelter. It feels good to have all those out of the house. I went through Abby and Voss' closet again to make sure. I picked up a friend's children for the afternoon, too so it was a busy house. Yay for afternoon swim practice. I was even able to sneak away for ladies tennis night. There were only 4 of us. Luckily we got in an hour before the sky opened up. Down to the Grove for political talk. Thursday, I was invited to play in another 4 some. Spot was upset that I didn't take him running as usual so he shredded a pillow on my bed! It took me almost an hour to clean up- feathers everywhere! Friday was funday at swim team, which means lots of donuts. Phil and I got to see Ellie dock a boat and she passed her exam to get her boaters license. We sang to Pops for his 86th Birthday! He is looking good! We went up for a hot night at Yappy Hour. The Sahara Desert is flying across the sky (I thought it was a joke, too) It's been so humid and dusty! Phil ended up taking Spot home. We stayed for dinner, maybe too late because Saturday morning was rough. Ellie and I got up and headed to her first lacrosse match. For being over tired she still did a great job! She even scored a goal! I had never even seen a game before so that was neat. Phil went to church with Blythe for Confirmation practice. Later, Phil and I played tennis in separate matches then we met the Freemans at the pool. A downpour delayed the evening. It was nice to catch up with them. This morning we all slept in and took it easy. They had a special noon mass with the Bishop for the Confirmation kids and their families. It was really nice to be a part. It was so cool of Blythe to choose Phil as her sponsor. It was a sweet ceremony and then we were treated to the Brick for lunch. We all went to TCC to swim after. The car said it was 102 degrees on the way home! Ellie is having Charlotte spend the night. I need to go rescue my phone from TikTok. We walked up to Hot Wok for Chinese Food. I'm going to donate blood tomorrow to see if I have some COVID antibodies. I'm very curious.
Abby got to go to a camp this week called camp Sunny Smile. With so much being canceled lately, teenagers hosting camps at home are trending. Abby was the only one who fit this gender and age description so she got to go. She made slime, tie dyed another shirt, made crafts and had lots of fun. It was nice for her to have her own thing to do. She got to have some play dates after with her friend, Sammy. The kids had a swim meet on Monday. They split the team into two groups- green and blue and then swam against each other. It was fun! I got to do lots of fun things this week, too. Monday was book club to discuss Catch and Kill. I think the Podcast is better than the book. Sunny had quite the spread in her back yard. We drank Harvey Wallbangers and stayed up late discussing race, gender and lots of things in between. I went to Wine Not Wednesday tennis. This week was way more fun and less cliquey. It ended with Rachael and I at Lillians. The kids had lots of cousin time. Owen on Wednesday and both boys on Friday. After we picked up Abby from camp we went to the beach with some friends. I brought Spot, too which was sorta nutty. Marly got to spend the night with her pal, Ava Mae. I got to go to a girls night at Tracy's. The Masseys gave us a car load of hand me down clothes. I've spent a lot of time this weekend sorting and going through them. It was very overwhelming! Saturday we celebrated Father's Day with my dad. He took SQ and I to lunch during the week and helped me put bumpers on the dock. It was nice to do a project with him. My arms are so sore! We grilled sausages. Ellie made a homemade apple pie. Suzanne made a potato casserole. It was a nice day together in the pool. Then we all went to mass together during a thunderstorm. Sunday we got up and headed out on the boat to Ft. George. That's how Phil wanted to spend Father's Day. It was lots of fun, very hot and a long day ending with dinner and pool at TCC. This morning everyone was wiped out! Ellie had her first day of power boat camp. The other kids went to swim team then we picked up my Godson, Huck for the day. My neighbors rented a water slide for all the kids. It was awesome! A full day of fun and now everyone is in bed by 7:30pm!
We're still talking about race and pride month and praying for Aunt Susan. She's now back in Atlanta, safe at the Anchor hospital getting some tests. We had a week of swim practice, even in the rain. Spot got lots of morning walks and runs with me while the kids swam hard. They were nice and worn out. We went to our neighborhood school for lunch every day. It saved me from going to the grocery store this week. Ellie started lacrosse. She goes two morning a week with Duval Dash- a girls club. She's liking it so far. We had lots of cousin time. We took Owen home after swim one morning and on Friday did a cousin play day in the river. The kids had play dates with friends. Abby had Sammy over one day. I went to a Dynamic Catholic meeting on Tuesday, a Wine Not Wednesday tennis girls night, a Birthday party at Sunray Theater to see The Hunt for the Wilderpeople- a neat film based in New Zealand. We had a formal kidless night at TCC on Friday for a delicious steak dinner. Saturday we sang Happy Birthday to Abu, my glorious mother-in-law! I went to Herb Stanley's funeral with my parents. Super sad, especially with all the emotions of the week. But, it was really cool to have known a true saint. He was an amazing man. After, I joined my family at the pool. We had lunch and spent the afternoon there. I forced us to come home at a decent time and do an actual bedtime. Phil and I ordered a pizza and went to sleep early. We were wiped out. Sunday Funday started early with mass (lots of talk about transubstantiation), then bfast with the regulars. Phil and I were challenged by the Howards for a tennis match, which we won! We did a round robin-ish with the Hershorins and VanWies then we had oysters with the Howards. We took a bit of a break then back to the pool. This time we stayed for dinner, did the obstacle course and enjoyed a gorgeous evening.
It was our first official week of summer. It was nice to not have online homework to do every day. The middle two went to Camp Sunshine- a cooking and art camp run out of the Rachels house by teenagers. They tie dyed tshirts, made slime, bracelets, hair wraps, lots of glitter! They made brownies and cookies- Marly's new fav is making peanut butter cookies- YUM! Swim team practice was sporadic. Sometimes we skipped it altogether. Sometimes the middle two in camp skipped. Sometimes we went twice (am and pm). More people are coming to the pool so we've gotten to visit more. We did a tennis girls night on Monday night. I went to Shads pad on Wednesday and Katherine's new house on Thursday. Lots of girls time for me! I'm jumping into racial conversations. I haven't been to any of the rallies, maybe I will do that soon. For now, just starting lots of conversations and jumping in where I can. Reading lots and getting my facts right. I'm doing the discernment process, I think. Tuesday was a terrible day. It began beautifully. Voss went to a play date- his first in a long time. The middle two were at camp with play dates after. Ellie and I went to get pedicures. She's been such a great help to me lately. We had lunch with Phil- he went back to the office this week. I got a frantic call from Voss' friend's mom from the play date to come and get him. Apparently, he and his buddy were playing catch with their foster kitten. Voss threw it on the floor. The mom rushed the kitten to the vet. I called a child psychologist friend and she talked me down. Voss and I talked about gentle play with animals, making good choices and we took the violent video game he had been playing off the computer. Thank God the kitten is doing much better after his broken nose and concussion. Oh wow! Also, my Aunt Susan flew into town this week. Social distancing has not been good to her. She is here for some R&R and TLC. We are pretty sure she has Alzheimer's. She's headed back to ATL later this month for some testing. In the meantime, I'm trying to help my parents love on her. She spent time with us at the pool on Friday. The mimosas began at 11am sharp thanks to the wonderful staff at TCC. We were at the pool for over 12 hours on Friday. It ended with learning how to braid backwards and doing a TikTok Grease video. Saturday we celebrated Carl's 40th Birthday then Ashley Anne's high school graduation. A weekend of partying! The rain is here thanks to a storm in the gulf. We went to mass and breakfast then had a low key day of cleaning closets and doing laundry. Trying to get our minds right to start the week.
This week was way better! There was a lot of optional school work, which took off some pressure. We went to swim team in the morning. I walked with Spot and sometimes a friend or two. It was a nice start to the day. On Tuesday we went to the school to pick up all the kids belongings. Some of their teachers gave sweet gifts. After we ate school lunch at the Bentons. It rained pretty much all day. We went to get ice cream like we usually do after the last day of school. It was a fun treat with friends. The girls went to their last week of dance classes. The recital has officially been canceled. I got to walk in the park with Laurie. I played a fun night of tennis on Thursday night. On Friday we went to a play date with the Cutlips and Applegates before the Cutlips leave for the summer. That night we did dinner at TCC with the ole gang. It was nice to catch up with everyone. We ended up going to the VanWie's for a nightcap. That parlayed into them picking us up at 8:30 the following morning on their boat for a day on the water. We were supposed to meet up with some of their friends to go to shark tooth island. But it was muddy and slimy (with snails, which Abby loved since those are her new obsession) and no sharks teeth. We tried one other little island and then ended up at Ft. George. It was a great way to kick off the summer! We came home and got everyone cleaned up and settled then the adults went back to TCC for dinner. I was wiped out. I tried to go home, but Phil talked me into staying out. We had chocolate martinis at Biscotti's then the Hershorins. This morning we passed out books before mass for Pentacost. We had Ava Mae sleepover and come to mass with us. We all met back up for bfast at TCC then a mixed doubles tennis match then singles with Aubree. It was so hot we spent the afternoon in the pool. Lots of deep coversations over the weekend about racial tension. Lots of anger out there tonight. I'm praying for peace and understanding.
I thought this week was going fine until the weekend hit. I had book club on Monday. We discussed Devil's Highway. We could have talked for hours but ended up doing the chicken dance in a TikTok video instead. I stayed up late a lot watching Netflix. Instead of zooming for dance we actually went to dance. We are giving up on the social distancing, I guess. I'm not sure what else to do. I'm thinking of a COVID sleepover to just get it and knock it out. If that is even how it works, which I guess is not. There's nasty rumors of no school in the fall. It was nice to walk in the park again. Spot got oodles of energy out this week, maybe even too much bc it was hot. Runs with me in the morning while the kids were at swim, bike rides to school for lunch and then park time in the afternoon. I would even say we were busy. I played tennis twice on Thursday. And then Friday hit. I spot checked Marly's work and found out she hit submit without actually doing the work. I made her stay home from the pool on Friday to finish it all. I trusted her when she told me that evening that she finished all but one item that she needed help with. She got to come with Phil and I to a dinner party Friday night to play with Ava May. She was thrilled to be with us. It was so nice to be at a dinner party! I even took a shower and put on jewelry! On Saturday we took the boat to the pool and spent the day and night there. Lots of fun, but another late night. Sunday we actually went to mass with masks on. It was odd but I'm glad we went. We went to breakfast as usual. At home, I checked Marly's work and found out she lied! I lost it on her and said lots of horrible things. My voice is hoarse from yelling. We left her and took the boat to the pool. She finally finished it all but it really ruined the day. I was toast. I think I finally cracked. Phil tapped in to take over- at 8pm- way too late. Monday was better for me but worse for Phil. We played in a round robin mixed doubles match. He spent the day at home. I took the kids to swim in the rain, which was actually really nice. We had a fun Memorial Day dinner on the balcony. We did talk with the kids about the meaning of Memorial Day and looked up the numbers of people who have died. It was a sobering conversation. And now summer is upon us.
Well, we got to have a week in paradise. If you've never been to the Panhandle, you really should check it out. The sand squeaks when you walk on it. You can see the bottom of the gulf. It really is gorgeous. It was so nice to have this change of scenery. No, it wasn't perfect. Wifi was slow, especially with 3 schoolers and one worker (and me trying to listen to Podcasts). But then we took that as a sign to just go out to the beach. The weather was chilly for the beach and the gulf was rougher than usual. The kids didn't seem to mind the cold. I enjoyed the hot tub and just putting my toes in that confectioner sugar sand. The condos were pretty empty, but there seemed to be spring break '99 happening at the public beach next door. Restaurants were open for the most part (no Juanas). It took the final day but I had the great idea of taking the rafts across the street to the sound where it wasn't so rough. We got to visit with my cousins, Dane and Jeff one night and eat chocolate chip pound cake in the hot tub. We still had live lessons and zoom dance classes but we worked the beach and pool in before, between and after. We are lots of seafood. It was a nice vacation. I'm not sure I've ever had the opportunity to stay for the whole week- but it was nice! We came back yesterday and just took the evening off. Phil and I went on a date to Mellow. He had a guys night, I came home and watched more of my Netflix addiction. Today, Phil played tennis while the kids and I spent the day at the TCC pool. Easing back into life and trying to stay healthy. Happy Sunday Funday!
No, I didn't go to Mexico this week. But I sure have been thinking a lot about it. I read The Devil's Highway. It was a hard one to read. A very graphic description of what it's like to die in the desert. It made me sweat as I sat in my chair in the AC. I'm not sure who is the good guy or the bad guy. It should make for an interesting book club discussion. And then it was cinco de mayo. We ate lots of Mexican food. Phil and I got a lunch date to Hightide Burrito. Restaurants are sort of opening. A lot of people are pressing these conspiracy theories- it's all weird. More running and school. It was a cool, spring week. I wore pants and long sleeves a few times. Swim team began! Yay! So I got an hour to myself where I usually walked with Spot and listened to podcasts (about the author Luis Alberto Urrea) or another fun book I'm listening to by Amy Pohler. We also started zoom dance classes. The recital is maybe the only thing that hasn't been canceled so far. I kina like the zoom dance classes. I was doing jazz with Marly's class while making dinner one night. We partied a lot this week celebrating Phil turning 41 (yesterday). He's still stressed and not excited to age another year. We did some late night drinking and played lots of tennis. He got in some golf this week, too. His work friends surprised him with a zoom Birthday party. His assistant got him a cake with trick candles that I picked up. The kids insisted on putting 41 candles on his cake. We almost caught the guest bedroom on fire! The kids all got out for the first time. We took them to TCC for a bit to see the blue angels fly over. They didn't fly directly over but we could still see them. Phil and I went to TCC for a date night on the terrace the night of his Birthday. Today is Mother's Day. It didn't start out to well for me to be honest with you. I was feeling very overwhelmed and under appreciated. All I wanted was to sleep in and not hear them fighting. Ha! The day began earlier than I had hoped (I have been very good at sleeping in these days since I don't have to take anyone anywhere). Everyone was so excited to come to the beach. Ellie got the whole family packed up over the weekend. They were up and ready! We loaded up, dropped off Spot and headed west. I finished reading The Sympathizer on the way over. Not an uplifting one, either. Phil made great time and we stopped for a seafood lunch on the sound on our way in. We got settled then I went for a grocery run (the highlight of my day?) and met the fam on the beach after. It's getting better, don't worry. Gulf air is good for the soul. I'm so grateful to be out here! Happy Mother's Day to my mom (I hope she's enjoying the book, chocolate and wine I dropped off this weekend). I'm forever grateful for how she taught me to take care of myself so I can be a better mom. I also got to talk to my mother-in-law. I'm grateful for how she raised my husband to be such a wonderful man. And now that the place is quiet, I'm grateful for my 4 beautiful, smart, independent, healthy children. We're going to have a great week!