I sorta feel like it was a whole week of partying. That's a good thing but I'm seriously wiped out! Monday kicked off with a water park adventure to the St. Mary's Aquatic center. We had a good group: my sister and her boys, the Bentons, Thivierges and Stanelle's. That night I had a girls night, book club. I was cramming to read the book, unsuccessfully. JB told me about this app, OverDrive where you can read a checked out library book on your phone. Amazing! I still need to finish, the Diary of a Stage Mother's Daughter. But we had a great discussion at Kathleen's house. Tuesday and Wednesday I did a swap with Gara. First I took the big kids to see a dollar movie while she stayed home with the littles. The movie wasn't working so we got lucky and got to see the Minion movie. Not that my kids really cared, Ellie was still scared and wanted to leave early. As long as the snacks kept coming, they were good. The next day I took Julianna and Gara took my big kids to the movies, except she got the theater wrong and ended up taking them to see Inside Out. Spoiled kids. I had an afternoon play date with Kat. She made a scavanger hunt around her new house for the kids. It ended with us taking them to Sweet Frog for ice cream. That night I went to the Women on the Water class at FYC. Too bad the weather was crummy or we would have gotten to practice docking power boats. Instead we stayed inside and drank lots of wine (1/2 price bottles night) and learned knots and how to properly tie your boat. Great class! We had a post scalloping party at the Applegates to eat the rest of the scallops and drink the rest of the booze. Seems like we're all still friends, which is a total win! This was Ellie's last week of swim team, she was very ready to be finished. She had her city championship meet on Thursday. I'm so proud of her! She got a ribbon for being a heat winner in backstroke! Great way to end the season! I did lots of monogramming this week. A huge order for Steph and sercis for the girls weekend in Savannah to celebrate Miss Katie's 30th Birthday. I was thrilled to sneak out on Friday morning and head up to GA. A whole day and night kid-free! Wooo Whoo! I think this will be the start of an annual's girls weekend with my sisters, mom and Aunt Susan (mom's sister). We began with a relaxing lunch at our hotel. Followed by champagne in the pool then a trip on the Savannah Slow ride- a biking bar to tour the city via pubs. I loved it! Totally touristy, but who cares! We came back and had aps in the room before heading out to a seafood dinner right on the river. It had the spirit, but maybe we arrived for dinner too late? Still, a great night with my gals and a fun celebration for my baby sister's 30th. Too bad SQ and I had to dip out early. Suzanne had Monica's funeral. We had the CEE summer picnic. So, SQ dropped me off at the gas station on the corner of 295 and 103rd (seriously). Phil picked me up and we headed over to the southside to set up for the pool party. We had a pretty good turn out. Lots of fun and a little bit of business. No naps were in my future as I unpacked and tried to get our house back in order (I think that's a never ending job). We kept the celebration going and helped surprise JB for his 40th Birthday. Today was rough. I took the kids to mass and put 3 out of 4 in the nursery (Voss's first time now that he's 6 months!) We had a latin lunch and lazy afternoon. We headed to my parent's house for dinner. One last farewell meal with Katie. We also welcomed 2 of our Danish cousins to town. Looking forward to spending time with them this week. Great way to close out the week, with a sunset boat ride!
The week began with a fantastic coffee club at April's to discuss gun control. This was a hot topic for our group that kept us on topic pretty much the whole time. It was our turn to host the Suter/Leen/Stevenson play date this week. It was one of those crazy ones, with kids everywhere. I think there's still a chocolate handprint on the wall of the staircase. We did a family date night to Walmart to shop for our big weekend- scuba gear, fishing license and goodies! We did dinner at TCC for kids night and ended up having a super fun night with the Bentons and 2 new TCC friends, the Eyrics and Johnsons. Lots of river rats swim team in between. This was Marly's last week of swim team. That flew by! Ellie still has one more week. I packed us all up and we headed out to Steinhatchee for a scalloping trip- a vacation we've been planning since January! Twelve adults, 17 kids and 3 babysitters! Three houses, 2 rented boats for 2 days, 1 boat without a key for one day, 1 boat with an overheated motor on one day. We really had a wonderful time! Phil convinced me to leave the younger two back with the babysitters so we could really spend time with our friends and the older two. I loved holding hands with the girls while pointing out scallops for them to grab. I think they had more time swimming in the water from boat to boat and playing with their friends. The first day of scalloping was not as successful. We got a late start and were learning the ropes. We finally hit a few good spots the second day. It also helped that our neighbors went over the max limit and gave us their overage- ha! So much fun relaxing with friends, funny conversations and even some skinny dipping! What a great trip! Hopefully this becomes an annual event. Today was rough getting back. Lots of temper tantrums as we packed up. We did the contemporary mass this evening with an early bedtime.
My first time using a hashtag (#)! Just a couple a days of down time before the next big adventure. I really did have some down time (between swim team practices) where we took naps, played legos, or did pbskids.org. Then, I booked a babysitter, packed for Voss and I and got out of town. I went on a much needed trip to Charleston, SC for the Edel Gathering, a Catholic Moms Conference. My neighbor, Meghan invited me to crash her trip with her besties from college (one wasn't even Catholic), but a girls trip to Charleston? Heck yeah! It was a wonderful weekend of soul food and soul healing. Lots of mom-cheerleading speakers, amazing food, shopping and time cuddling my baby boy. Meghan's aunt lives in Charleston and met up with us a few times. She took us on a great tour of the city. They also got a babysitter for me for Saturday night so I could have a break. We were amazing karaoke stars and tried to continue the party to a piano bar, not so much. We got back late Sunday night (aimed for after bedtime, so smart). My poor sister, Suzanne didn't get a day's break. Her best friend, Monica ended her battle with cancer this weekend. It was a rough emotional weekend, processing death 2 people, so young. But, I was so happy to be at this conference, an excellent place to process and self reflect. Also great timing for our first Voss family women's prayer- to occur every 12th of the month at noon. Love that new tradition! All of this makes me hug my babies tighter and be grateful for each moment, even the ones when I'm screaming so much my voice gets scratchy.
The morning of the 4th of July I saw a missed call and voicemail from one of my uncles in Mississippi. His message said, "Lucy, I've been trying to reach your dad, please have him call me as soon as possible." I knew this meant someone had died. So for a few moments as I called my parents house and cells, I was trying to think of who. But when my dad called me back and told me my cousin, Parker, the Godfather of my only son had died. I lost it. Death is just so hard. I try to prepare for the worst case scenarios in my mind so maybe when it actually happens it won't hurt so bad. I didn't prepare for this. Parker? No. He hasn't met his Godson yet. I had all these ideas of sending Voss to Parker to hang out for a weekend of guy time when Phil and I aren't cool anymore. Parker would be the cool Godfather. That's what he said. On Monday morning, the kids and I packed up and caravanned with my sister and parents to Mississippi. Dad got a flat tire right outside of Jacksonville. Thus began a trip of hell. Lots of traffic and mom getting pulled over driving my van (I told her the lights were automatic...woops). What was supposed to be a 9 hour drive, took us 13. We missed the visitation. We finally got in and went to Uncle Bill and Aunt Jean's house (Parker's parents)- our usual first stop in MS. It was heartbreaking. The silver lining was getting to see my cousins and aunts and uncles. I was able to meet my newest cousin, Avery. The hotel was super nice, breakfast with family in the morning was really great. We had childcare for the mass, which was super nice. A fantastic lunch at the Caboose after (maybe not as fantastic since Parker wasn't there). Sweet tea! More cousin pics and family hugs and kisses. We ended at the cemetery to say our final farvel to Parker. Gosh, I miss him. We drove straight back to Jacksonville, got in at 1am. Lots of time to decompress in the car ride home. I'm not sure what will make this easier. Time maybe?
I was able to feel some freedom this week! I ran to book club on Monday (I was playing the part in showing up sweaty and smelly while discussing Wild.) It's been a long time since I ran without kids. It was tough, but felt great. I also got to go out (sort of) on Tuesday night. I picked up my brother and parents at the airport. We went out to dinner at the Brick on the way home. I got to catch up with Erik and his recent tragedy. And I got to hear about my parents amazing trip to Denmark. Wednesday, Suzanne and I surprised Erik while he performed improv with the local crowd in town. I even got up and did a scene! It was a fun week. I spent lots of time catching up with my bro, which is nice. We were invited to the beach to spend the day with the Boozers, which was nice. Great way to kick off the week! Lots of rain this week, which was a nice touch to the insane heat we are having. Even the 4th of July was sorta rained out. Luckily we got out early enough to enjoy some boating fun at FYC. I finally gave paddle boarding a try and loved it! I'm so impressed with Ellie on the kayak! She was out there paddling around all by herself! We did lunch with my parents and then watched the amazing fireworks at TCC. We had stayed up too late the night before. We did a PH with my bro and our neighbors. Before that we did dinner and pool up at FYC. That's becoming a fun tradition. Voss had a hearing screening this week (since they don't do that at the birth center, I had to take him in for a check). All is good, of course. Today was a busy day. We slept in until 9! Can you believe that!? We went to our neighbor's Birthday party with a super rocket water slide! The Freemans know how to throw a party! We did the contemporary mass then a Thai dinner with the neighbors. Now I have to pack up for a quick, emotional, exhausting trip to Mississippi tomorrow. But, I'll talk about that in the next post. For now, I'd like to leave on the thought going back to Independence Day. We are so blessed that we live in a country where we can sit together over a bottle of wine and have differing opinions and still laugh and enjoy the company. Cheers to my coffee club. I love it!
You know where you can find us most of the time: the pool. You may have to look around at a few different pools, though. This week we added my parents pool in a few times, just to spice things up since they are in Denmark for the week. We also got to try the San Jose pool and check out their chocolate milkshakes! An afternoon play date with the Mitchells. That was after the zoo, after we dropped my parents at the airport. We attempted a swim meet at Epping Forest one afternoon. It was not too much fun. We had to drop off our swimmer and park all the way on San Jose Blvd then take a golf cart ride back to the pool. All this (with the kids) then the meet was rained out before Ellie was able to swim a race. Blah. We did a fun dinner out with the Bentons one night. I brought my friend, Chrissy dinner one night to congratulate her on her sweet baby boy, Keadin. Phil's parents came in town. We took them out to TCC to celebrate Pop's 81st Birthday- wow! They took the girls to Ocala for the weekend while we worked an Engaged Encounter weekend. We had 11 couples. That's where the love in the air title is from. Look at the picture of Marywood, the retreat center. It's so peaceful out there. So romantic watching these young couples prepare for the sacrament of matrimony. It's always a nice, refreshing time together. Voss came with us and I think he's teething so that's been pretty rough. He's actually up crying for me now, poor guy. I better dash up there. I hope this tooth pops soon!
I am so blessed that I was able to spend Father's Day with this guy:
If you know my dad, you know I'm pretty lucky to have him as my father. This guy doesn't know a stranger. He has the whole room engrossed in whatever story he's telling. He'll make sure you're having a great time. He is quite a leader- once commanded thousands of people, currently runs a great company. But he's gentle enough to constantly remind me through words and actions how much he loves me. I've learned amazing life lessons by watching him live his life: How to love by seeing how he loves my mom. Choosing family over career. Taking care of his sisters. And how to throw a good party. We are so fortunate to live right down the street. So we can pop over for a visit on a random Sunday. He can come to flag raising at Ellie's school or to the swim meet this weekend. It's so cool. Please raise your glass (wine? coffee? diet coke?), for this guy, my dad. Thank you for being you. Happy Father's Day. I love you.
And you know I have to give some love to my baby(ies) daddy. This guy.
They scream and run to the door when he comes home. They love his "monster game" where they growl and chase each other around the house. He's the one who throws them up in the air in the pool as they squeal with delight. They take naps together. They have dance parties with Youtube together. Soccer in the front yard. Tennis. They love their daddy. You do a great job, Phil. Happy Father's Day!
I'd say this was a productive week. I cleared off the dining room table (It's so hot, we have to eat inside!) I usually store my projects in the dining room so I had to make some room so we could use the table. That was also the night of the eggplant episode. Where I made this amazing local fare recipe to accompany grilled shrimp skewers and Phil walked in and said so the kids could hear him, "I'm not eating that." I'm sure you can guess how that night went down. I'm in this new phase of life where there is very little down time. I've always had a nap time break since this whole motherhood thing started. It may not be every day or everyone, but it was there and I depended on it and planned for it. Now that window has closed. Abigail is really the only one who still needs a naptime. Voss naps but he's not really on a schedule and can still nap anywhere. It's harder to entertain the big kids during naptime than it is to continue the play and let Abby nap on the way. Also, bedtime is smoother if Abigail is exhausted. So, that's what we've been doing- just powering through. This is new for me. I'm learning to adjust my energy levels and game plan. Swimming takes up our mornings. But then we just keep going. We had lunch and play with our cousins one afternoon, coffee club to discuss Caitlyn Jener another afternoon, power hour with the Suter's (it'd been too long), story time and an oil change. Lots of dinner at the pool this week. We've been crashing FYC a bunch. Voss had a weight check and he's a pound and inch bigger! Yay! We are out of the red! Ellie had another swim meet on Saturday. A rough start (major backstroke DQ). I think we stayed out too late swimming the night before. But she got over it and finished first in her heat in freestyle, swam her first butterfly race and did another relay with pals. It was SO HOT that morning. I'm so glad we found a spot inside to play with leggos for the other kids! We went to the Applegates open house last night. Today we spent the day swimming and boating at my parents. Coffees not cutting it anymore. Someone was telling me about B-12 the other day. I will have to look into that...
With VBS every night, I got a break from cooking dinner. I'm having a hard time getting back into the swing, even with our yummy local fare delivery on Friday. Maybe just writing that will entice me to get back in the kitchen. We had some fun dinners out. One night we had Mossfire margaritas with the Bentons and Thakkars. Summer is officially in full swing. We have super swim team in the morning. That means we start at 8:30 with Ellie's practice at the FYC pool. Then we pack up and go around the corner to the TCC pool at 9:45 for Marly's practice. There's a small posse of moms doing the same thing. One even brought DD coffee for all of us one morning. For Ellie's practice all the kids play in the baby pool since the practice takes up the whole pool. But for Marly's practice the deep end is open. By then, Abigail doesn't want to play in the "baby baby pool" anymore so I usually give in and take her in the big pool. But that means I bounce on my tippy toes (good thing I'm tall) while holding Voss and hoping his face doesn't go under while Abigail swims back and forth to me and the wall. At least I'm keeping cool. One morning, I had Ansley (our mother's helper) come and got to take a break in the shade nursing Voss. That was a fun day. April and her girls came over for a bounce house play date. Ansley helped keep the peace then too. We had a babysitter come that evening for the younger two. We dropped the older two at VBS then met the Freemans and Applegates at Candy Apple to have dinner before the Gypsy Kings concert. It was a great show! We continued the party at Dos Gatos and ran into more friends. We ubered home. Going downtown the next morning as a family to look for the car before swim team was fun. We powered through and did story time after swim team. We signed up for summer reading. It's cool now that Ellie can actually read her own books! Friday night was super low key. We went to Ellie's afternoon swim team practice (there's that option, too) but it was rained out so after a quick dip we showered and came home. It was a low key Friday night with the kids in bed early, burgers and shakes and entourage for us parents. Saturday morning we took it easy, slept in, made squash pancakes, bacon and eggs. We went to a pool party with the Stevensons then spent the afternoon on the boat. We tried to do some tubing until the tube ripped. The Freemans got a new boat so we sorta did a boat play date with them. We picked up the Applegates and headed to TCC for a dip in the pool. We came back just in time for the babysitter and headed to wine club. Of course we decided we needed to do some Latin dancing at the Latin House after wine club. So, Sunday was fun. We made it to the later mass at 10:30 then lots of naps happened (none at the same time, including Phil's). It was a low key day. I ended the night at the Thoresens to watch the season finale of Game of Thrones. Wow! Today we had the morning off of swimming so we went to Pump it Up. Ellie had a swim meet this evening. I'm so proud of her! First in her heat for backstroke, 2nd for freestyle and her first freestyle relay race! We are enjoying our summer so far!
The new MOPS theme for this year is a good one: Fierce Flourishing. It's the 'embrace rest' bit that I'm real into. Last year's "bravely you" didn't really speak to me. I'm already pretty brave. But, this rest stuff sounds good to me. It's something I'm not good at. In case you don't click on the links in my blog, "Embracing Rest: Perhaps it is time to let go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as a measure of worth. What if one of the most life-giving activities that would contribute to our flourishing is welcoming rhythms of rest and play into our lives? Creating healthy rhythms in our life is one way we nourish the weary spots in our soul." Sorta ironic since I'm staying up to write this post. But hey, I am proud of myself for the rest I took this past week. My mom took the middles all day one day this past week. We ran/bike rode/strollered to my parent's house to drop them off then I ran back. I took a shower and actually got back in my pajamas. I cuddled with Voss and took a nice nap. It was an amazing day. I feel so productive after just one day "off". I just needed a quiet moment to re-align myself. It exhausts me to look around at my dis-organized/train wreck house. I clean up one area and start on the next. I look back and what I just fixed is now being tackled by my children. It's just the way it is right now. I am so thankful for Linda! She came today so I'm currently sitting in as good as it gets. Phil played in a tennis tournament on Saturday. I was able to sneak out in the morning for a pedi. The older girls were invited to a luau down the street. The littles took a nap and once again I got a huge break! I need to do that more often...sleep. This was Ellie's last week of school. I now have a first grader! And I now have all four children with me all day. I forgot about the looks and comments I get! Ellie had her first swim meet on Monday! Still a bit of a fever but she was awesome! She swam in 2 events: freestyle and back stroke. I hosted book club that night. I'm still trying to finish the book: Madame Tussaud: A Novel of the French Revolution. I made yummy crepes and turned the porch into a creepy wax museum. We spent most of the time talking about Caitlyn Jenner, though. We enjoyed a beach day at Bunny's condo. It was nice and overcast, perfect for the kids! We went to April's house for a play date. Friday we had a morning play date with Alice then picked Ellie up for early release on her last day. Then, we headed to the pool. We stayed all day! A friend was celebrating her Birthday so it was a perfect kick-off for summer. We even powered through a rain storm and the cancellation of swim team. They never opened the pool back up so we went over to the Yacht Club pool and kept going until 9pm! (This is why we were so up for a restful weekend!) Sunday evening was the start of VBS. While the older two were at "camp", we went to dinner with a bunch of friends. Tonight we let them have their sans kids dinner while we did a pseudo date at e-street. This morning was Clara's Birthday party at the splash park. Our neighbors brought over the coolest gift for the girls- legos! They love their new toy, I do too...especially during nap time! Cheers to getting more R&R this week, too!
A whole week, a whole string of precious moments. Here are a few I recall from this week. Going to tea with just Marly and me. We met her friend, Kinley and her mom (Kinley's Birthday present). Cozy tea was way more expensive than I thought it could be- but I got a date with just the two of us (her friend was late) and she had her first cup of real (caffeinated) tea (chocolate peppermint)! Pulling Abigail's bestie (Avery) out of the pool after a super mom friend (Jessica) happened to notice her pink hat in the big pool! This was a super long moment, one I will never forget. If we were just moments later. A moment later. Sitting around the table at Tracy's with a bunch of MOPS friends laughing so hard that my belly shook. Voss smiling at me. Getting a text picture of Marly from my sister of her with a huge smile eating ice cream with her Godmother. Yelling, "Surprise! Happy Birthday!" For a friend's surprise 40th Birthday party. Snuggling in bed nursing Voss while listening to the rain. Falling into bed exhausted and sore from holding, bouncing and rocking Voss all afternoon. Waking up to Abigail saying, "Mom, will you snuggle me?" Sitting on the porch with our new neighbors listening to the awesome music from the party across the river. Getting a text picture of Ellie at her first ever girl scout camp. Sitting on the floor of China (in Epcot, yeah we did that today) with a child with a fever, nursing a baby while 2 other children were over tired...so all 4 literally on top of me. Going on a last minute, sunset boat ride with my parents. Some sweet. Some sour. All of them still precious.