The kids went to their favorite week of vacation bible school this week. I am embarrassed to say that it was at the First Baptist Church downtown. I am sorry Catholic friends. Please stay with me. It was FREE. The frills were amazing- incredible crafts, snacks, songs and activities. The kids have been talking about it since last year. So, who can argue with a free pro-God week? (Apparently some moms in some of the Catholic FB groups I'm in.) Anyway, it was a great week. Monday I was a little lost. I didn't make any plans, really. After drop off I went by CFA and cashed in one of my free breakfast cards then went to Stitch B*tch club to work on ripping some monograms off of Voss's old outfits. It was just a chat sesh, which was nice. Of course time flew. We went to the library that night and Ellie had her friend, Charlotte over to spend the night. If you brought a friend to VBS you got a special treat. The older girls were really into that. Charlotte and Addy and my nephew, Alex came with us on Tuesday to VBS. Drop off and pick up is nuts since it's such a huge church, but I figured out the details last year- arriving early and picking up late to grab an already paid meter spot. Tuesday, I met some fellow moms of four for a kid free avocado toast breakfast. It was so nice to have adult convos. I was hoping for swim team and gym time that night but it rained both Tuesday and Wednesday nights and it all was canceled. Wednesday I went with my doula, Sherry again for an amazing facial at FSCJ. I was having a minor allergic reaction to something on my face and neck and it felt great to have cold creams and massage for almost TWO hours! Sherry has the gift of touch. I love her! I brought both my nephews to Tracy's for a pool party after VBS. Rowdy crew but so nice to hang with the ladies for a bit. The rain came at the perfect time as we headed to piano. I snuck out that night with Rachael to check out the Open Mic Poetry night at the Silver Cow. I've had this on my calendar for months and finally made it to one. It made me feel really good about the diverse art scene in Jacksonville. It also got me out of my funk! Thursday I went to the gym (really trying to lift weights a few times a week), cleaned up a bit and tried to read my book for my free time. I'm all in to Jodi Picoult's Nineteen Minutes. I can't stop reading it. Friday I got a pedicure and met Phil for an early lunch. It was an excellent ending to my week of freedom! That night I met up with some Sacred Heart and camp friends to see New Kids on the Block. First, I went to the wrong dinner location to meet up. The concert was just okay. I remembered that I wasn't a huge NKOTB fan back in the day; and it's not like their music got any better. I did enjoy Naughty by Nature and Salt N Pepa, though. And of course it was fun seeing everyone. It feels like every woman my age was there! Saturday we went to the beach for the day. The Smiths and Cochrans met us out there. It was hard to leave. We made it to Corked Crew that night. Busy party weekend! Sunday was super low key. We went to mass and had a large group for breakfast. But then we didn't leave the house the rest of the day. I read, Phil played tennis, the kids cleaned their rooms. We needed a catch up day for sure!
And all of a sudden, it's July! Wow! I'm dragging my feet this summer to slow it down. We've been doing a lot of nothing. Lots of YouTube watching, rain storm watching, playing on my phone. I read my bc book, finished Michelle Obama's book and listened to the MEN podcast. Good stuff all around! We had a swim meet on Monday. We went to Orlando on Tuesday- just for the day. My friend, Liz was in FL and we visited her for the day then stopped at McDs for dinner to catch up with my cousin, Natalie. It was a good visit all around. Wednesdays are full with piano and water polo after swim team. We had the last kids eat free. Thursday was the 4th of July. We spent the day at the pool with swim team, then back for lunch and swim via boat then later for the carnival and fireworks. TCC did not disappoint. It was amazing! Happy Birthday, USA! Friday was more swim team then extra kids for play time. First Friday that night. Saturday we played in the Malivai Washington tennis tournament. It was so muggy. I should have had a bloody to chase to wooblies away. My pal, Kristen and I played okay, but it's just the beginning! Still an awesome, tournament. Phil and his partner won, so that was cool! Dinner at my parent's that night after a wicked rain storm. Mass this morning then Jack's Birthday party. The Freemans are wonderful hosts! Another fabulous summertime week!
Here is a week with Marly & her blog. so Ellie did this on Monday were you pick a name from a bowl & who ever you got you had to right a very nice letter to your secret person & you have to secretly put it some were in there room & you can not tell anybody your person. Also i had to do a swim meet then on Tuesday we went to Quinn's house and we played in her pool & for LUNCH we had PIZZA&WATERMELON&juice me & Quinn played dress up & then we played with her circus stuff! then on Wednesday, we went to kids eat FREE & i celebrated my birthday & i got a big piece of CAKE!!!!! and then we went to target & i got a squshy it was white but i got to color them & there was a teddybear,donut,hot dog & they had to dry over night! & that is a week of Marly!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Hi, it's Ellie, this week my mom said that I could right the blog from my perspective. Here we go! On Monday morning Abby, Marly, and Voss all went to VBS at St. Matthew's while I went to water polo practice at TCC . Mean while my mom was at home with Spot,cleaning. Later that day my mom hosted book club. On Tuesday we went to VBS and after noon swim practice. On Wednesday we had VBS while my mom got facials with her friend Sherry. Later we had piano and we drew some pretty awesome pictures. Then we went to swim team and had dinner at TCC. After dinner I went back into the pool to play water polo.On Thursday we had VBS and we picked up the two older Applegate kids and Nora for the swim meet at Deerwood. When we got home we heard that spot had busted through the screen on the porch and got out. Luckily one of our neighbors had kept spot at their house until we got back from the swim meet. Friday was the last day of VBS and there was an ice cream party at the end for every one. Later that day spot got out again, someone put him on the porch and because of the hole in the screen he got out and ran into the mud on the other side of the road, once we got him we washed him off and he will be spending a lot of time in his crate now. Later we went to a dive in movie at TCC. On Saturday my dad played Tennis while we spent the day at the pool. On Sunday we went to church with the Applegates and invited them to brunch with us and the smith's. After my dad played tennis while we went to Dreamette with the Suters.
It took a bit to ease into a summer routine. I'm not even sure if we're there. I drop the kids off at swim team in the morning (which is a whole new world for me- no more wasting away in baby jail in full sun AKA the baby pool, while glaring at the fab moms in the shade reading or playing on their phones). I made it to the other side! Besides, there's no baby pool anymore anyway. Emma and I walk our dogs and talk like adults. Sometimes I bring Spot home, change into my suit then head back to the pool for another hour of play until lunch. I'm trying to do salads and healthy options. No plans usually in the afternoon, other than a dentist appointment and piano one afternoon. We got a lot of much needed rain this week. We did kids eat free on Wednesday- a fun party night in the middle of the week. Water polo was canceled due to rain for Ellie that night. Friday morning during swim team, Phil and I went to Bobby's retirement ceremony right on the TCC lawn. It was so neat to be there for that. I worked hard to finish a silhouette order on some fanny packs. Once I finally finished we headed to the Suters for a play date and did our nails with Tracy's professional collection and stamps. Dinner poolside at TCC then back early for the swim meet on Saturday. It was neat to have all 4 kids swimming. I kept feeling like I was going to miss a race. They all did so well. Ellie and Marly have the speed this year. Being top in their age groups is going to be nice. We stayed for lunch and relaxed in the Grove. It was so nice. We came home for a bit of a break then Phil and I headed back for dinner with the Freemans and Smiths then to FYC for the Trader Vics party. Not as impressive as usual, I think. Being moved inside really takes the glamor out of it, especially on such a nice night. Fun running into my parents, especially since my dad and Phil were dressed alike. Ha! We went to the Smiths for pepperoni rolls and to check out their monstrocity of a dock afterwards. Sunday was tough thanks to that late night. Mass and breakfast at TCC celebrating Phil for father's day. We actually took an afternoon nap then headed out to TCC in the boat. Early bedtime for most. I walked over to celebrate my dad for Father's Day- an evening wine night watching some golf. Late night Chinese take out with Phil to end the weekend. Hello summertime!
The first week of summer was a bit bumbling as we came up with a new routine. On Monday we were so wiped out we just spent the day getting back into the swing of things. We walked down to my parents to rifle through their plant throw aways and got some pots and things for our garden. I’m trying hard with my succulents and I’m trying to grow some onions. The kids had St. John’s VBS each night which means Phil and I had a week of date nights. That was super nice! The first night we went to E-street (where Philip got a free dinner) then we played some tennis (of course I got beat). The rest of the week we had swim team in the morning. I’m finally in this new league where I don’t have to sit and watch kids in the pool during practice. It’s amazing! Emma and I walked the dogs while the kids had a hard morning practice. It was great! Most of the time I’d bring Spot home then come back to the pool for some extra play time. Tuesday I was not prepared so we went home and had lunch then hit the library to get signed up for summer reading. That night we went for some adult swim and dinner at the Grove at TCC. Wednesday we went out to El Jefe with a bunch of friends. Thursday we took the boat out and I did some water skiing. Friday was a fun practice with donuts. Emma and I had our own fun pool time with pina coladas at the pool. That night we came back for first Friday. I headed out for a MOPS reunion planning meeting (celebrating 20 years at St. Marks!) then we had a girls night to say farewell to Savannah. I had to dip out because we had an early flight out. Saturday morning, I didn’t even need an alarm. We got up super early and Phil, Voss, Abby and Spot took us to the airport. Ellie, Marly and I flew up to DC to meet baby Henry. What a delightful weekend! I was thinking we’d be sitting at their house all weekend passing the baby back and forth. We did a bit of that but headed out to MD to spend a day on their awesome boat right when we arrived! It was a gorgeous day! A little too choppy to swim in the bay, but sitting and chatting was perfect! Steve and Katie had a date night that night. The kids and I did our own date night. We walked to a pizza place down the street. It was fun! The next morning we went to mass then my old preschool pal, Laura had us over for brunch. It was so nice catching up and meeting her family. We took it easy that afternoon. Steve grilled burgers for dinner. We watched the Sound of Music together. Monday it was rainy. We headed to the mall and dipped in a few Smithsonians. We got out of downtown for a late lunch and donuts back near Katie’s house. They went on another happy hour date that night. I snuggled my sweet nephew while my girls guzzled Nutella and whipped cream for dinner. This morning we took Henry for a nice walk while Katie got some rest. We met Steve for lunch then headed to the tidal basin to see the Jefferson and FDR memorials. Steve made us Taco Tuesday for dinner then off to the airport! We are en route to FL now. It was such a sweet trip to visit them. It’s neat seeing my baby sister as a mom. She and Steve are such great parents and Henry is sweet as can be! I wish they lived closer! I’d say summer is off to a great start!
Wow, y'all. I did it! I made it to June! I know I called the last few blog posts crazy Mays, but this week took the cake. I was all over the place. I'm amazed at myself sitting here and thinking about it all as I look over my calendar to write this post. It was the last week of school for the girls. Yes, there was a lot of movie watching and blah blah at school, but there was also a lot of sprinting on my end; monogramming teacher gifts, planning the 2nd grade class party, talent show and let's not underestimate the afternoons of dance rehearsal and swim team happening at the same time! I know that was a run on sentence, but imagine all that in real life. Oh, it gets more crazy. Voss and I went to a pool party at his friend, Niko's house. Glad he got a fun thing in there with all this running around. We went to kids eat free for dinner on Wednesday. It turned into a ladies dinner with a bunch of kids as Laurie, Savannah and I caught up. Thursday was the most insane day. It was all the class parties. I just popped in to say hi for Abby and Ellie. I was at Marly's for most of the time facilitating rock painting. I had just enough time to let Spot out and refill my water bottle then went back and picked up Ellie and Abby (a friend took Marly to rehearsal). We went to San Jose for Abby and Voss's first big kid swim meet! Speed was not the name of their game, but I'm super proud of them! After their races, we came back to pick up Marly and drop off Ellie for her rehearsal. Luckily, she was able to sneak out early because we made it just in time for their talent show performance! The girls did a tap routine. I was able to borrow costume dresses from last year so they all matched. It was cute! Here's the video. We had a McDonalds dinner after all this with the Strasser's. In the middle, I got a call from the principal of the school telling me they had indeed made an error and Ellie was awarded as a patrol! Geeze! After the last month of hell, I can't tell you how relived I am. Thank you to Phil for being so assertive! She was on the morning news the following morning. She's thrilled! Back to McDs for last day of school sundaes then home for a quick lunch then off to downtown for dress rehearsal. I loved sitting in the front row watching all the dances with all my dance mom pals. It was actually fun. We did uber eats for Vale for dinner. My friend, Laurie saved me by taking Abby and Voss to swim team so I could just sit and relax and watch. It was nice. Phil and the girls went to the airport Saturday morning to pick up his sister. It was so nice having her in town for the weekend. Phil played in a tennis tournament. We spent the morning at the pool. We came home for lunch and got ready. I was so worried about getting everyone ready on time that we were super early. I'm not used to that. It worked out great, though. We picked up my mom and my dad watched Voss. Suzanne met us there. I packed wine and snacks and we just enjoyed the show. See the videos section for all the girls dances. I posted all the dances from dress rehearsal. We went out for pizza after. What a fun weekend! We went to mass and breakfast on Sunday. Phil played tennis while Vane and the girls went to the pool. I stayed and kina organized while Voss took a nap. We went back to the theater for the Wizard of Oz with the symphony. It was the perfect thing to do on a Sunday afternoon. We had Bono's BBQ for dinner, rosary, reading and bed. I got up at 4:30 this morning to take Vane to the airport. She went right to work! It was a great visit!
We are in the thick of it! It was the week of awards ceremonies with the girls on 3 different days. My parents helped support the girls, which was super cool. We brought dinner to 3 families; a new baby, a surgery and a funeral. It's super hot and the TCC pool is amazing! It truly feels like a resort! Swim team at the new pool started this week with water polo for Ellie on Monday. It's the perfect place to be after school. Gatorade for the crossing guards because it's just too hot! Voss and I went with some friends to the Jumbo Shrimp game on Monday and we visited with cousins on Friday. It was a good week! Memorial Day weekend was super fun, too! We stayed for dinner at the new pool on Friday. They put in this cool obstacle course in the pool. I still can't make it across the balance beam, even with a bruise to show for all my practicing. A few nights out at the new Grove is super nice. On Saturday morning I went to my friend Laurie's mom's funeral. I'm so impressed with her charisma. We took the boat to the pool that afternoon then back in time for 5:30 mass. Sunday we got up early, picked up my brother, Matt then took the boat way out to these sandbars. It was super fun! Back to my parent's for ribs and tubing. Monday was the ultimate party at TCC. Complimentary food stations with burgers, pulled pork, hot dogs and a taco bar. Cotton candy and an ice cream truck! Water slides, bounce house and the awesome new pool. It was fabulous. I was glad Matt and I started the day with the Murph challenge. My chest is quite sore from the push ups! (We did push ups instead of pull ups) After fun in the sun all day, I rode my bike to Regan's for book club to discuss Untamed, a great book about a wild woman on Cumberland Island. Night swimming is one of my favorites. Great discussion, too. We're all pretty wiped out from all the fun in the sun.
Oh, the collision of spring and summer...when school is wrapping up, but it feels like August. When spring activities (dance) are on full force (to make up for us having Saturdays free all year) and swim team is up and running. When I get the exhilaration of being many places at the same time. Everyone is over tired and hot. 'Tis the season, the most wonderful time of the year! No, really. I don't have much to complain about. There is still a spring breeze, sunsets are amazing and the jasmine scent on the porch is intoxicating. I had my last MOPS meeting at St. Marks on Monday. It was surreal. After 9 years, it just feels right. There was laughter and tears and all in between. Maybe it will sink in later this summer. I gave a little farewell speech and we played this fun scavenger hunt with pictures. Tuesday I went for a run then my friend, April came over to go paddle boarding. This was Voss's last week of school. I sorta failed on all of that. He missed his final performance because Phil and I were in Epcot last week. He missed his class party because I went on a field trip with Ellie instead. So, his last day just sorta happened. Even one of his teachers mysteriously retired a few weeks ago, after being with us since Ellie's preschool year. It was all odd. The good thing is that he didn't notice at all. He is very ready to stay home from school. I'm not sure that's a good thing. Wednesday was Ellie's 4th grade field trip to St. Augustine. My friend Laurie had Voss all day. Vanessa picked up the other girls from school for me and they all took them to swim for me. We didn't get back until after 6pm! Long day. It was nice to spend the day with Ellie. We went to a colonial village, the fort, trolley ride and then the old jail. I think we could have skipped the jail, but I thought all the other activities were neat. Quick dinner then off to religion class. It was a whirlwind! That night was the MOPS end of the year party at a new brewery in Murray Hill. I was really only there for the tail end because of religion class. Luckily, the party kept going! We went dancing at Loft and then to the Smiths for a nightcap. So much fun! Thursday I was a little slow. On my last morning off, I went running then walked with Spot to my parent's house to check on it and take a dip alone in the pool. It was glorious. I caught up with my sister, too. Friday the girls had play date at school. I took some Applegate children and Voss to the last day of toddler time at Adventure Landing. I wasn't crazy about the line to get in! Anne talked me off the ledge and it ended up not being too bad. There was a last minute scramble with carpool pick up. I had too many kids packed in the van with the England kids and Ellie had Finley Cate sleep over. Addy came back over to spend the night with Marly. So, two extras made for a loud, crazy Friday night. Pepperoni rolls and pizza for dinner. I was asleep by 11:30- not sure how many else were, too. Definitely not PB who fled to Lillians ironically as soon as it was quiet. Saturday morning we all worked in the yard after the friends left. We re-mulched with pine straw. Over-tired, hot, crabby attitudes by all! The Smiths came over for dinner later that day. We grilled sausage and had some of their leftovers. It was so sweet holding baby Grant and spending quality time with them. And that sunset is awesome. Sunday was mass and then Birthday parties. The Kane triplets went all out with a foam machine on the water slide! I walked Abby from there to another pool party where she was psyked to make a Jojo bow! We rallied attitudes (thanks to the wolfpack) and took the boat to Wicked Barley for dinner. It was perfect! I stayed up to watch the Final Episode of Game of Thrones. Not as epic as I was hoping, but I think it was a fine ending. I'm eager to watch my brother's review. Hurry up, Erik!
Lordy! Lordy! Look who's 40! Phil Bravo had a big Birthday this week! So, of course we had to celebrate all week long!
Phil's family left on Monday. Vane flew and his parents had a LONG 9 hour drive home. Voss and I took our time that morning then drove to Adventure Landing for toddler time at the water park. I love that place! It was the only night of the week to catch our breath before the big party week arrived. We did family pizza night. Tuesday morning, April hosted a Beyoncé's Coachella viewing party. Good thing I had that soul filling morning to build myself up for the insanity of the afternoon/ rest of the week! Swim team has begun! But dance has not ended. So, that means I was driving back and forth to make sure we could do both. My dad was being honored at the American Values Dinner. It was so amazing to be there for that honor! I'm so proud of him! We came home that night to a crime scene. Spot had gotten out and sliced his paw open. I got to spend most of that night in the animal ER. Now we are figuring out how to care for him with his stitches! Wednesday morning we took it easy and went to the park for a bit. That afternoon was more dance and swim then we hosted a tennis round robin for Phil's Birthday. The weather was perfect. Matt, the tennis director did an awesome job with coming up with a theme for each round and pairing everyone. Thursday morning I go to take everyone to school and have our friend, Aaron take a look at Spot and take off his bandage. Turns out it was infected so we scrambled around to find a cone and meds. Phil and I got a late start but headed to Epcot for drinking around the world. It was an awesome way to celebrate Phil's actual Birthday! We walked back to our hotel, the Swan, which was very nice. We got up on Friday morning and drove back to Jax. That night was the Tomahawk cancellation party. So much drama during the week because they canceled it so we were lucky to have them put together something else, not as big. It worked out great. We had friends join us for dinner, drinks and live music on a gorgeous evening. Of course we ended up at Lillians doing jaeger shots at 3am. Phil played in a tennis tournament that afternoon. I stayed in my nightgown until 2pm. I was thankful to have a morning to get caught up on life. Also, this week we launched the new St. Matthews MOPS group. Registration is live! We went to the FYC pool with the Smiths that afternoon. We all got to hold baby Grant! Saturday night the whole family played in a glow in the dark tennis party at TCC. It was super neat! Sunday was Mother's Day and the final day of the week of Phil. It was tough getting up for mass, but we did it. Marly was excited to receive her 2nd communion ;-) We went to breakfast at TCC then headed out for a boat day. We met the Boring-Wagners and Applegates and anchored out in front of the Nixons. We all went to FYC for lunch after. We got caught in a storm for a bit, but made it up there just in time, really. The Freemans, Hollands, Thivierges, Smiths and many others joined us there. Such a Sunday Funday! After the rosary and bedtime, I was able to enjoy a sunset cocktail with my parents to toast to Mother's Day. It was really nice. Late night Sonic with Phil watching GOT was truly the perfect ending. Now to take a breather!