The last week truckin' along through February. I played a lot of tennis. Julie and I won together on line 1 on Tuesday. A tough match but we pulled it out in a third set once we figured out how to break a serve. Beck and I won together on line 2 on Thursday; much easier, then stayed to watch more tennis wins. I listened in on a call on Tuesday afternoon diagnosing my dad with vascular dementia. It's not a surprise but still an emotional week talking through options and game plans. I'm grateful to be right down the street. Aging is tough, but what are you going to do? I let Abby have friends over on early release Wednesday. We spent most of the time waiting in the food truck line for slushies, but it was another gorgeous day. Rachael and I met up with the Centola sisters to see Cats that evening. Meh, everything I've ever heard about it was correct. Dancing and costumes were good but that's about it. We googled the plot at intermission to try to figure out what was going on. I did a day of fasting on Thursday. Black coffee wasn't so bad. Friday I went with Abby on a field trip to MOSH. It was so great to be back on a trip with the school again. That afternoon she and Voss went to Camp Immokolee for the weekend. Crazy that the younger two can do a sleepaway camp! We played mafia with some friends that evening. I ended up watching Inventing Anna with Ellie on the couch until 2am! Lazy Saturday morning (more IA) then we took Ellie and Marly to get new dance shoes. We checked out a Peruvian restaurant for lunch. That evening Ellie babysat AM, Marly came with us to the FYC oyster roast. Great weather and delicious oysters! Sunday morning, Ellie and I read. Marly altar served. After CCD we went to breakfast at TCC. It felt so odd to have a table of 4. I missed the younger two. Marly and I went to my parent's to zoom in for Katie's surprise baby shower in CA. We did another Sunday Funday tennis round robin with 4 courts full of friends! It ended with a martini at the Pow Wow after. The younger two were melting after their weekend but I think they both had a great time. Here are the pics of the week.
Monday was Valentine's Day, which means sugar overload times 4. We didn't do anything special since PB considered this a Hallmark Holiday. I went to tennis clinic on Monday, rode with Catherine to Amelia Island on Tuesday. Julie and I won on line 1. We all went to Chowder Teds for lunch after. That afternoon the Benton family moved in. They are building a house that is taking forever to be finished. They are house hopping in the meantime. It was wild and crazy and so much fun. Ellie and Charlotte were thrilled to be roomies. Voss was also happy to have a brother roomie in the mix. Abby was bummed she didn't get an extra. Not sure how Blythe felt about bunking with Ellie and Charlotte. We made it work. We got in a few parents nights out with Taco Tuesday at LaNap and prosting at the Bierhall. Emma, April and I did a mural tour of Avondale and Murray Hill. The sun came out again, we brought the dogs, it was a great day! At MOPS we had Noelle Pomeroy, a sex therapist. That one is always a good meeting...although I forgot to remind the group to let the expert talk...there were too many suggestions rolling around. Erik and Kelley flew into town for the weekend Thursday evening. I went over to greet them that night. I had a PTA nominating coffee meeting Friday morning to get things going for next year at Stockton. I went to lunch with M&D, Erik and Kelley at Trents and then they came with me to pick up kids from school. Erik was taking selfies with fans once the middle school bus arrived. Marly spent the night at Addy's. Phil and I went over for lobster and to meet Kelley's parents, who flew in from Chicago. They are super cool. Phil had us all laughing to tears. It was a lazy Saturday morning. Phil had kids doing yard work. We walked over to have the kids meet Kelley's parents. Suzanne and the boys joined us for lunch outside at Tijuana Flats. Perhaps our winter is over? The weather has been gorgeous. We helped tap the keg at the Cochrans on Saturday afternoon while the kids ran wild in the backyard. Voss loved all that boy time. That evening, Phil and I went back to my parents for Erik and Kelley's engagement party. It was a small group of my parent's friends (and Fr. James) catered by Christine. We stayed up to westcoast time zones. Sunday morning was rough....we made it to Sacred Heart's later mass. We did a tennis round robin with the Hollands, Williams and Howards then got the kids for a TCC Sunday Funday for dinner. Monday was Presidents Day. We rode bikes to the Forest and went back and forth between the Hollands and Nixons. Kids are already swimming in the pool...we had a bathing suit crisis to prepare. I rode back to the forest for book club at Kathleen's that night. We discussed Don't Tell Me You're Afraid. It's too sad to give too many stars. Kathleen did a great job with the Somalian cuisine and the conversation is always good with these ladies. Here are the pics of the week.
Another week of cold and rain. I am snuggled in doing puzzles and listening to The Lincoln Highway, Black Cake and Holes. Tennis was rained out on Tuesday so we did a group fitness class. Julie Rice and I played together on Thursday and won in the third set against Deerwood. Ellie had her first tennis clinic (she and Marly are getting back into it). Tracy and I met at Maple Street for breakfast to celebrate her closing. I met my parents at La Nap and then went to a podiatrist. I've been having pain in my foot for months thinking it was due to some old tennis shoes. Turns out my bones in my feet are too long so I was fitted for a support pad to help. Voss and Abby had their annual check ups. They are healthy and doing well. I got some library books for Voss to work on controlling his anger. Voss went to a Grant's Birthday party that evening. Phil and I stayed late talking around the fire with his parents when we went to pick him up. Saturday we did a tennis round robin with a bunch of couples. Then we went to a dinner at the Rice's to say farewell to Fr. Jose who moved to Gainesville. After the dinner, we headed to the MOPS & POPS Valentines social at the Spencer's. We were able to enjoy their new back yard while the rain took a break. We stayed too late with the Marquez' at Mellow Mushroom. Sunday we went to mass and religion class then breakfast at TCC. Emma helped us out and drove Ellie to the dress rehearsal of her winter concert. We picked up my parents and went to watch her. She was amazing! Such stage presence and that smile! I hope to post the video soon. We watched the first half of the Super Bowl at XTreme Wings. I loved the halftime show with my friends from the 90s! Here are the pics of the week
I may have just made up for all of Dryanuary this week. I played a lot of tennis this week. Clinic on Monday, Kerri and I got smoked on Tuesday. Vanessa and I have been hitting together, Monday, Friday and then with the family on Saturday. I got my teeth cleaned and helped sell hands for the High Five campaign at Stockton. Phil and I got an unexpected date night on Tuesday. My amazing neighbors took the kids out for dinner. We had margaritas at High Tide on Feb 1st. I had lunch with Jamie on Wednesday and then Steph and Jess on Thursday after MOPS. Diana Davis filled us with marriage counseling at MOPS on Thursday. I caught up with my parents at adoration and lunch on Friday. Ellie had some youth group friends over and then babysat for the Cutlips. We met Laurie and a bunch of friends up at TCC for her Birthday dinner. We ended up taking it to the base with a PH at the Foxes and then a nightcap at the Cochrans. My mom and sister went to check on Aunt Susan in ATL so we checked on dad over the weekend. We celebrated the life of Clara Rasch on Saturday. Marly was so honored to altar serve in the mass. The reception was so special with speeches and a poem read by Tessa. Later there was an after party at Fishweir Brewery. We were reminded of how awesome the Rasch family is. Phil and I taught class on Sunday and then went home to make breakfast when the Benton's called us for an SOS. We met them for brunch at Blue Fish, then drinks at the Brick. It was a cold, rainy day. Perfect for an Irish coffee while watching the Olympics (at the Brick). We picked up the kids and headed for Sunday supper at La Nap....too many Traveritas! Whew! Here are the pics from the week.
Another cold, winter week and another Birthday to celebrate! I had 3 nights in a row of girls nights. Monday night at Chrissy's, Tuesday with MOPS at Kate's and Wednesday with Rachael and the Centola sisters to see Dear Evan Hansen (which was terrible in my opinion, by the way). I think 3 in a row after a month of nada, did me in. I nursed a cold all weekend. I tried to get in as much tennis as possible to make up for a month of not playing. I did clinic on Monday, played in a round robin on Thursday and then Sunday Funday mixed doubles. I went to lunch with Jess on Monday to start planning some summer fun. Marly and I toured James Weldon on Tuesday. She said she likes it and wants to go there, which works out well. I filled out her magnet app so hopefully I did it correctly this time. I cheered Voss on in his awards ceremony. He cleaned up with all Es, perfect attendance (first semester) and citizenship! Marly and Abby's awards ceremonies were on Friday morning. Abby got perfect attendance, honor roll and citizenship. Marly got citizenship. I brought Abby to Firehouse Subs for a Birthday lunch and dropped off cupcakes for her class. After school, three friends came over and we went to Claire's at the mall to have Abby's ears pierced. She was so brave and excited! We stopped at the pet store on the way out then came home to continue her party. It was much easier than the one last weekend. She had 3 friends spend the night (one came late, after the mall and one left early before the sleepover). Phil took the other 3 kids to the VanWie's for dinner so we had a quiet house. She opened gifts, I grilled hamburgers. They had cupcakes and ice cream and played in her room then watched Encanto. I think it was 11 before they were all asleep. Marly made blue pancakes the next morning. My parents took Abby on a shopping spree on base. Saturday was a cold, lazy day. Phil and I took Spot for a walk. I enjoyed leftover veggie soup. The kids and I watched Frozen 2, Phil went to Wine Club. Sunday, Ellie and I read in mass. Marly served. We had a family breakfast at TCC after CCD class. Phil and I played doubles with the Williams, Bulgins and Paul & Patti combo. It was a fun day. Phil and I went out for a much needed sushi date to get back on the same page. The love boat took us down! Here are the pics from the week.
Yay! Everyone is back to school! It was a nice, quiet, cold week. I listened to Bridgerton books and worked on this 1000 piece puzzle. I did a fasting day, ran with Spot and tried to get myself back to normal. I hosted coffee club on Wednesday to discuss vaccine mandates. It was great to get a group back together again: Gara, Rachael and Jessica. Ellie had an ortho appointment. Marly had math club. Lots of dance classes as usual. Amber hosted the MOPS meeting talking about style and body image. It was a good one. Friday I went to adoration with my parents, then brought Voss lunch and cupcakes at school to celebrate his Birthday. Vanessa invited me to play in the Steeg tennis tournament so I put together a practice for us with Robin and Patti. We got smoked but it was a good starting point. Ellie had youth group. Charlotte spent the night. Saturday was rainy and very cold...what a day to host an Iron Man Birthday party! We kicked it off with Krispy Kreme...the Bravo Birthday tradition. Voss is excited to be 7, but threw a few tantrums even so. The girls were a great help in setting up Avengers obstacles for Voss and his friends. Phil had a disaster of a time at Walmart picking up cake and balloons. It spoiled his mood for the day. Voss invited 6 buddies, but only 3 came because of COVID. It still felt like a lot. I think it's my fault for making the party last so long. I don't know what I was thinking. This party was much different than the princess parties I'm used to. Lots of wrestling and hands on combat. I couldn't leave the room! I was happy to tune out and intro Bridgerton while cleaning up in peace after the party. Sunday we went to mass then CCD then to TCC for breakfast for VDub's Birthday. We ended up making a day of TCC with mixed doubles tennis then dinner after. It was a Sunday Funday (and me with my hot water in a mug!) Here are the photos of the week.
Abby and I still continued to test positive so we stayed in quarantine for 10 days (as per the school requirement before coming back to school). The rest of the family went back to school and work, most of them happily. Abby and I had plenty of quality time together. She played lots of Minecraft. I also forced her into some online work and packets were sent home for her. Her teacher ended up being out the whole week, too...due to COVID. I'm not sure she missed a whole lot. The girls went to dance as usual. I am blowing through the Bridgeton books, walking and doing house projects. Too much cookie baking and eating. The kids were out of school on Friday (weather day) and Monday (MLK day). I was hoping for an NC cabin escape, but Phil talked me out of it with traffic and crowd concerns so we stayed put. It was a boring and quiet week...which was probably good for all of us. On Saturday, we busted out of quarantine by spending the day at the beach. It was cold, not that that stopped 3 kids from swimming! We walked, ate lunch and just enjoyed the beach. It was nice. Phil and I went to Krista and Richard's engagement party that night...where I learned almost everyone there had had COVID the same time I did. Fun night meeting all their young friends and seeing the start of a sweet story. Marly spent the night at Addy's on Sunday. Ellie had Harley over. Voss had Luka over on Monday and Abby had Marlee. Lots of play dates to keep them happy. I went to Heather's for book club to discuss We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves. She did an amazing job, as usual. 2022 is starting out at home in the quiet. So far, so good. Here are the pics of the week.
I did have two days of peace and quiet. They were glorious. I was in my nightgown when dropping off the younger two. I took Spot for a run. I put away Christmas decorations while listening to Tom Hanks. It was uneventful and wonderful. Wednesday evening while walking with friends in the park, I felt tired and congested....not a bizarre feeling for the first week of Dryanuary. Abby was super crabby, but I thought it was part of the transition back to school after a lazy Christmas break. I made her go to dance. The next morning, she was still crabby and said her throat hurt. She's usually ready and eager to go to school so I thought I was being generous by giving her a "me" day. I helped stuff packets at JWJ and then went to MOPS. Kate did a vision board meeting where we talked about our dreams and plans for the new year. I knew Abby would need a negative COVID test to return to school so I stopped by CVS after MOPS and picked up two home tests. Abby was reluctant and still crabby....but better after a morning off, I convinced her to do the science experiment of the COVID test. Boy, did that thing light up! Two lines, dark and quick....reminded me of taking all those pregnancy tests long ago. I was so sure we both were just run down and had a cold but after her positive test, I took one, too. Sure enough, mine did the same thing. I immediately texted Abby's teacher, then the vice principal to help pull the other two kids then Phil to pick Ellie up. Once everyone was home, Phil took the rest of the kids for a PCR test. My amazing friend, AM dropped off a Terry's Kitchen chicken tetrazzini and veggies. Lots of blaming, emotional outbursts, slamming of doors and fleeing rooms. What a night. The silver lining was watching Back to the Future as a family. Abby was back to normal. The next morning we all slept in. That was the worst day for me. I hardly made it out of bed. Fighting. Way too much screen time. I did finish the family Christmas video. Check the videos page. Phil's test came back negative. My sister, Katie emailed me a Papa Johns gift card and that's what we had for dinner. Back to the Future II and Theraflu (for me, not that it worked....it just felt good on my throat). Saturday was a little better, but still rough. I was congested, weak but moving around more. Everyone else has great energy and feeling fine. Ellie, Marly and Voss' tests all came back negative. Phil took Abby for a PCR test. Sunday was better. I listened to the first Bridgeton book, The Duke and I. It was a great escape while taking down the outdoor lights and washing the couches. Phil decided to re-paint all the white trim and doors in our house. Open, white paint. In Our house. Full of children and animals. Great idea. Phil was happy to be busy and the house does look better. Marly caught up on lots of online homework. We watched Iron Man and Avengers. We decided to keep everyone out again today. We still haven't gotten Abby's results and I feel odd sending them back when I am still feeling COVIDy. I went and got a PCR test today. Hoping to send them all back tomorrow, but we'll see. I'm trying to stay positive and think of all the things to be grateful for...that we're all fully vaxed and only Abby and I tested positive. That her case was so mild. That we have a nice, large home to quarantine in. That I went on a grocery run on Monday and had produce delivered on Thursday. Hopefully Rona is on it's way out. Here are our pics of the week.
We are blowing through the 12 Days of Christmas. On the 3rd Day of Christmas we drove to Orlando and checked into the Swan. We decided to do Disney instead of horse back riding and zip lining. We rode the Disney skyliner, paddled the swan, rode the ferry and bus to the Ft. Wilderness resort to the Chip & Dale campfire to roast s’mores. On the 4th Day we got in early to Epcot and ran to do as much as possible before the main gates opened with the Christmas crowd. The single rider line was a stroke of genius (after learning to lie about Voss’ age by a month) and we were able to do Test Track many times and get into Soaring before it was too busy. We made our way through the World Showcase by eating and drinking lots. The kids did the country passports and Ellie helped me with the scavenger hunt puzzle app. The younger 3 melted and tuckered out before dinner. I walked them back to the Swan, got them settled, ordered room service and met Phil and Ellie back out to continue the fun. We scored a walk in to the steakhouse in Canada. Epcot fireworks are definitely the best. The next morning we hit up the Swan pool and headed back to Jax. Phil and I took Voss to walk 9 holes of golf on the 6th day of Christmas. The course has been let go as they prepare for the remodel. That was our last go for a while. Voss was more interested in getting balls out of the water and playing with pinecones. We went to dinner with the Norses that night for O’rSay happy hour. I had way too much fun and paid the price for the next 24 hours. We’ve been watching a lot of Yellowstone. The kids have been glued to electronics. I listened to the Beekeeper of Aleppo, a horribly sad, yet gripping story of a couple fleeing Syria. Ellie had a babysitting gig with a church nursery. Marly spent the night at the VanWies for NYE. Phil and I took Ellie with us to TCC for their fairly casual party. Dancing and watching all the Jax fireworks on the water. Fresh Grapefruit juice and the 12 Days of Catmas puzzle has filled our days. On the first day of 2022 we took the boat to TCC and played couples tennis with the Guthries, Burhytes and Fredlines. We boated with the Bentons to check out their new house then picked up the kids at the VanWies. We are so lucky to have all these great friends navigable by water. I had blackened catfish, collard greens and black eyed peas at Mojos with the Bentons for a late supper. Charlotte spent the night and we all slept in. Another lazy day. I started another book- to kick off the Page Turner Challenge, Tom Hanks, Uncommon Type. Dryanuary has begun and I already miss a glass of red wine with our grilled steak dinner tonight. But Lord knows, my liver needs a break! We went to mass tonight and heard of the Three Kings, more carols from the Yazdiyas gorgeous voices. Trying to get everyone back on schedule for school starting soon. Here are our pics of the week.
On Sunday morning, my parents, sister and I flew to Washington to meet up with more Vosses to celebrate my brother's change of command. We had a layover in Atlanta then Seattle then rented a car and I drove to Anacortes. My brother had a fish dinner for us that night then off to bed. West coast time nearly did me in. I was up super early on Monday morning. Mom, SQ and I got coffee and learned about a ferry to Guemes Island. We picked up dad and went to check it out. So cold! The Kuklas, Erik and Kelley arrived soon after. The ladies all went to the Majestic for lunch to celebrate Katie with a Baby Sprinkle. That night Matt's outgoing, CO treated us to dinner at Anthony's. We sat at the fun table. The next day we took it easy in the morning (had my nephew, Henry over for a morning play date). Then, off to the change of command. It was so cool seeing my brother's world and hearing about his squadron and meeting his friends. It was awesome to have the Fab Five together again! We stopped at Deception Pass on the way back to the hotel for lunch and chill time. Matt hosted us for a reception after at a nice place on the water. The next morning, Suzanne and I got up and took a ferry to Friday harbor and walked around the shops for an hour before coming back. We met M&D and Matt for lunch then we all drove to Seattle. With some nasty weather coming in, we wanted to be closer to the airport for our flight out. I insisted on Lyfting us to the Space Needle that night. It was amazing! We walked to sushi for dinner (where we had to show proof of vaccination to walk in) and then to the Pike Place Fish Market (but it was closed). We flew back to Jax on Thursday. My in-laws came up to be with Phil and the kids while I was gone. They were the home base for the kids going on different play dates and sleepovers. They stayed for Christmas Eve to see Ellie lector and Marly altar serve. It was neat to have all the grandparents together. We made shrimp and pasta for dinner then got the kids to bed late for Santa's arrival. The Bravos left after breakfast on Christmas to drive back to Miami. We had a lazy morning, playing with gifts and watching the Christmas Story. Ellie and Voss got hover boards, Abby and Marly got laptops. Minecraft has taken over the dining room table. I got a new minivan and an Apple Watch! Voss and I watched Polar Express last night, an excellent ending to Christmas Day. This morning, Marly made waffles. We all slept in. Phil and I played tennis with the VanWie's while the kids ran the club. We are having a lazy afternoon and have plans to go see an outdoor showing of Elf tonight. Merry Christmas! Here are the pics of the week.