Wow! What a trip! We got up early on Sunday morning. My super nice brother, Matt drove us to the airport at 5:30am (and of course daylight savings happened that morning). We took a flight from Jax to Ft. Lauderdale. I took advantage of one of those Southwest "Let's Fly Away" deals. I counted this as Abby and Voss's Birthday gift, too. The first family flight! It was easy peasy. We got right on, took up a whole row across and off we went. It was a quick 45min flight. Ellie and Marly got to watch the sunrise. Voss stared out the window the whole time. Abby played with her sticker book. A few complaints from Voss about his ears, but by then it was time to descend. We landed and I went to get my checked luggage (everyone else did carry ons but someone had to pack all the sunscreen!) We waited and waited and my suitcase never appeared. Turns out they took it off before we even arrived. Not sure what happened there. The only other snafu was that our uber driver refused to pick us up because we didn't have carseats. We ended up getting a taxi the whopping 5 minute drive to the port and we were good to go. Check in was quick but the ship had delays in boarding. So, we and maybe 200 other people had to sit real close together and wait to board. It was hairy. I made friends with some Canadians that we then saw throughout the trip. We finally got on and then it was great. We had lunch and got to try out the water slides and boogie boarding before the lines got too long. It was like we had a whole extra day! My brother and parents arrived and we caught up with the Hershorins. Let the party begin! My brother, Matt came with us to dinner the first night. We had the early seating and my parents had the late seating. The service was so slow. That might be my only complaint. Everyone was so nice but it just took forever. We went to the welcome aboard show and then the kids went to bed. We met up with my parents in the piano bar. Matt and Phil could only take so much but my parents and I sang away. I can't believe my mom know the words to Baby got Back! The following day was a day at sea. We started WAY too early! We had to wait for the grab and go dining to open and then were the first ones in the hot tub (until the pool opened). We got to see another sunrise. Adventure Ocean (kid camp) to the rescue! We ran some laps until I saw a random cardio dance happening at the pool deck. I jumped in while Matt and Phil hit the gym. We met up after to try the rock climbing wall. More breakfast then time to get the kids for lunch. Ha! Marly stormed out of lunch. We had Ellie bring her burger to the room. Then we lost them for the next hour. Guest services ended up finding Phil and he had an embarrassing conversation. Behavior was better after that! Phil, Brian and Matt did a quick 3 on 3 basketball tournament. Too bad they were up against a pro! We did a family dinner that night for formal night. Too bad it was still so slow. We met my brother and parents for the captains toast. We put the younger 3 down then Ellie and I went to see a dancing show. I was so tired! I had to crash. Phil and my brother kept going. The following day came bright and early for the tendor to Grand Cayman. From there we got on a shuttle ride to a dock then took a boat to stingray sandbar. They threw out squid and the stingrays came up. I even kissed one! It was so amazing. The water was beautiful. The kids were nervous at first but eventually got the hang of it. We took the boat back then the shuttle to Panama Jack's for lunch and beach time. Then, back to the ship. We got icecream and went swimming then got in line for ice skating. Abby hung out with my parents. She wasn't up for it. We did an adult dinner while the kids headed to Adventure Ocean. Wednesday was more adult time- dance class, ping pong tournament (Matt was 3rd and Phil was 2nd!) Then we headed out to explore Costa Maya, Mexico. Phil got us a taxi and went to this private beach. I was very skeptical at first. After a massage on the beach (for $15) I felt much better. It was an amazing massage!!! We ate cerviche and drank Corona. Gorgeous! More ice cream at the pool. We all went to another show then I went to dinner with my parents. Late night bar hopping. That sky bar is my favorite! Thursday we were in Cozumel. We went to a water park beach. They had all these inflatables out in the ocean that you could swim to. The older girls loved this. We spent a lot of time out there! I was wiped out and swam back to check on Phil and the littles at the splash park/water slide. We were supposed to check in from the dock. It got close to time to go and I couldn't get there attention from the dock/they were ignoring me. I ended up having to swim out to get them and we almost missed the bus back to port. While we're swimming back a boat comes super close to the inflatables and starts yelling that there's a shark in the water! Woo! That was close. Luckily we made it back! It was another formal night. Phil and I had a date night. Matt went to bed early and I did, too soon after. Phil and my mom stayed out late with the Hershorins. The last day was at sea. We took it easy at the pool. Aubree made this amazing expresso milkshake. Phil and I spent lots of time people watching from the sky bar. Pizza dinner and Adventure Ocean for the kids. Ellie watched the final show with us then headed there, too. She made a Canadian friend. I made a cheese plate then we sat in the prominade with the Hershorins drinking (me wine and the guys tequila shots!) Late night for the last night! Saturday morning came quick. Getting off the ship and through customs was easy then getting a rental car was good to go. We drove back to Jax and spent the afternoon unpacking and doing laundry. It was an early night. This morning was rough. Ellie got us all up in time for mass so she could serve. She even got to carry the cross. Phil spent the day at TPC. The Applegates came with us to breakfast. Back to reality! We just sorta bummed around all day on this soggy, rainy St. Patty's Day. It was nice! What an awesome spring break!
It was a full week! I was grumpy in the beginning then all of a sudden a last minute girls night totally changed the week for me. I really wanted to go to the P!nk concert. So many friends bailed/wouldn't commit. Tuesday was the MOPS fundraiser, Shrove Tuesday. I even volunteered for the early shift so I could sneak out. When I walked into the pancake dinner I was not going to the concert because I had no one to go with. By the time I left, I had a date and even a ride. It was awesome! My soul sister (this MOPS thing), Jolley and I had been trying to get together forever but our schedules just never aligned. She made the night happen. She picked me up, we scalped tickets and got amazing seats. Claire even scalped her own ticket and met us inside. It was such an awesome show! What a night! It's amazing how spontaneous fun can change your mood and energize you! I loved it! Wednesday was Ash Wednesday- the start of Lent. My pal, Tracy stamped me up for spring break. We did the fish fry at church then got some ashes. I'm listening to Matthew Kelly's Lent devotional as my thing for Lent. I know it's not much. I'll try to come up with something else as we get going. I just hate to go big right as we go into spring break. Thursday was Marly's Birthday. We continued our tradition of Krispy Kreme for breakfast. I brought CFA for dinner and we got Sonic milkshakes after dinner. She got lots of calls/texts and FB messages from family and friends. It was really sweet. Friday after school I picked up a van full of her friends and the party began. Marly picked out a bunch of old school party games- bobbing for apples, egg and spoon race, charades, balloon toss- lots of screaming girls, oh my! I was grateful my friend, Theresa ended up staying and helping. Pop ins from Mimi and Papa and Aunt Suzanne were great, too. Most of the girls were picked up after the movie around 9:30. A few spent the night. That part was actually calmer. I finished Where the Crawdaddies Sing and all the kids were asleep by 11. Pancakes with sprinkles for breakfast. The bacon was a huge hit! More bobbing for apples and outside play that morning. I was very happy when all the party people left. I made myself a bloody mary and began the laundry and packing for our spring break trip. The older girls and I went to confession then we all did 5:30 mass. Spring Break- Here we go!
As we slip into March, I find myself doing lots of must do's this week. Ellie has been fighting something this week, she just seemed off. She came home early from school with a slight fever on Monday. She got her spacers in this week, too. Hopefully she (and all of us can stay healthy). We had a stylist come to MOPS this week. Not sure I agree with it all (do I really need a black blazer) but it did make me re-think a few outfits and try harder. And I rocked a few things from my closet I hadn't worn in a while (cheetah pumps to book club and purple silk to a party). Book club was good Monday night discussing The Red Notebook (I read it on the way back from NC). We met at Whole Foods, which ended up being pretty neat. Tracy came over for a nightcap after. That made for a slow Tuesday. I had a dentist appointment and got FOUR cavities filled! How the heck did that happen?! I was miserable after! So sore! I was supposed to play tennis with my friend, Renee to prep for our weekend but she had an ER visit with her son. It was all I could do to deliver a meal to the Websters. I was a wreck. Wednesday was better. I took the car in for an oil change and check up and got a chance to play with Renee. Abby and Voss had their 4 and 6 year check ups. They are nice and healthy. Although, Voss could hardly move his leg that evening after getting his shots. We did a rainy night sushi date during religion class. Katherine and I had a nice catch up morning at the beach. It was a perfect morning out there, complete with a free mojito. That evening I went to Deerwood to kick off their member guest tournament with Renee. We hit around and had some dinner and drinks. I was nervous, but it worked out fine. Friday morning she was back in the ER with her son. So, the pro found someone for me to play with. That was pretty awkward but I made a new friend; Holly. I visited with my parents and brother that morning. Voss had a circus program at school. We raced back over to Deerwood for our first match. Holly and I did well, but lost in the tie breaker to these scary chicks. Luckily, Emily helped grab the kids for me from school. It was First Friday with a fun, yet rainy night out. The next morning was my tennis match. We won that won but the afternoon was rained out. It was nice to have a low key afternoon at home. That night was Aubree's surprise 40th Birthday. Brian did such a great job pulling it off. He even flew in her sister. Fun party catching up with lots of fun people! This morning I got up early to play again. This time the final match, with a quick win! Renee and family came to cheer us on in the end. I came home in time for a TCC omelet. Then we did a boat day today. I feel a little guilty about skipping Abby's tap spring recital. She didn't seem to notice. We went to Whiteys then TCC for dinner. It turned out to be a gorgeous day. Spring is here for sure!
Um, hello? Is this February? It's more like April! The weather is gorgeous...maybe even hot! This week I spent unpacking and re-assimilating. Family drama and some therapy and maybe we are back on track. Feeling some sibling unity. Lots of afternoons on the boat and this evening at the beach. It's hard to believe this time last week we were dealing with snow! It's been rainy but that doesn't slow us down. I watched RBG at my pal, April's house. Trying to save money so no grocery shopping- just waiting for the fridge to be cleaned out. A bit of running then the Ortega River Run this weekend. Why is it so hard on actual running day? Bloody Mary's at the Freemans after was nice and then an evening at the beer fest. This morning was Fox's Baptism. It was nice to catch up with the Applegates. I finished Matthew Kelly's Biggest Lie. I'm excited to pass it along to keep the conversation going. And is it spring already? Was that it for winter?
Monday was the sex therapist meeting at MOPS. I was super bummed to leave early (although, sounds like I left at a good time). Ellie had 2 teeth pulled. Those cavities finally caught up to us and she isn't in anymore pain. She had another one filled yesterday. One more appointment for spacers and we'll be good to go! The tooth fairy brought her an electric tooth brush so now she should be keeping it clean! That night I went to a dinner for my friend, Jessica's Birthday. Her mom hosted a dinner party for some of her friends. It was such a great night with amazing food and wonderful conversations! I truly filled my cup! I was supposed to play tennis with my friend, Renee on Tuesday. We even signed up for a tournament together. But her son was sick. So, I went paddleboarding instead. The weather was gorgeous. It was just me. It was nice. That evening Marly had a communion prep class. After, I met the TCC moms for a sushi Birthday dinner for Melanie and Allison. Wednesday, Voss and I brought Valentines to the nursing home with some MOPS friends. Emily hosted a sweet after party. Great conversations with new friends. I had a TCC membership meeting that night. Three nights out in a row! Valentines day was atypical. I spent the morning packing up. We rented a suburban, picked up the kids from school and drove to North Carolina for our first ever ski adventure! The only rough part of the ride was that there was no DVD player in the rental. I was not prepared for that. I think the kids were pretty good considering they spent more time than usual being bored. I drove the last bit in to our cabin. It was in a town called Vilas and pretty easy to get to. My brother, Matt arrived soon after we got the kids settled in bed. The Smiths arrived after that. We kicked it off with a late night welcoming everyone in. Friday morning, we got up with my breakfast casserole and headed to Beech mountain. For the kids Christmas gift, we gave them ski school. Talk about a win-win! It was an all day thing, including lunch. Marly and Ellie were ready for a green by the time we left. It was awesome! I think Voss and Abby were ready to go back to the cabin- but they enjoyed playing in the snow in the end. We were all wiped by the time we came back. I had a turkey stroganoff in the crock pot for dinner. Perfect! The kids went in the hot tub while I did the last touches and we had a great dinner. The next morning was relaxing with a lazy morning. Matt made eggs ranchero and sausage. More hot tub time. We found a tubing place, drove up to Hawks nest to find it sold out, then drove to Sugar mountain and got tickets just in time. Tubing was so fun! We met the Smiths for a BBQ lunch then tried to go back to Sugar (bad idea) but childcare was already sold out for Sunday. After a frustrating hour, we finally secured and made a plan to hit Appalachian mountain the following day. We stopped by a place to rent our ski gear. Matt's Mississippi mudroast was amazing for dinner. We were all ready for bed! Sunday morning we got up early to make it to Appalachian on time. Marly, Matt and Phil made bacon and pancakes and we headed out. It was raining and cold and the outlook was not good. The Smiths stayed back and weren't feeling well. Phil took Voss to the childcare and I checked Abby into ski school. Matt got the older girls set up and we headed out. It was wet and icy at first. Matt stuck with Marly and I stuck with Ellie while Phil tried to figure things out. We took a break and sat by the fire to warm up and dry out. Hot chocolate and protein bars and we were back to normal. The afternoon was much better. The layer of ice was mostly gone, everyone cheered up. Abby even had fun, too. It turned out to be a great day! The younger two played in the snow while we went on one last run. The only bummer is that my helmet got swapped and now we're being charged for it. I'm hoping it turns up. Claire made Cincinnati chili for dinner. More hot tub time and heads up game night. We packed up and headed out early, early Monday morning, The rental had to be back by 2! The good news is that we had plenty of time that night to unpack and re-organize for the school week. What a great winter break! I'm so appreciative of my brother, Matt who helped so much with the kids. They love spending time with him. He was an awesome ski instructor, mountain driver and little brother. Phil did so well with uncharted territory! I think we'll be ready to head back up next year!
Right after I talked about the cold and darkness, it turned into a beautiful week. We wore shorts like a spring day. Ha! It was warm for a run and I was tapering so I did 2 short runs. We had a marriage challenge at MOPS. It was really good for Phil and I. Dares, shares, and had me going through and posting all our wedding videos. So neat to look back at all of those! I Kon-Mari-ed all my nooks looking for the DVD the videographer made but can't find it! Now I'm tempted to make another one. Phil and I visited with our new therapy pal, Al for a marriage tune up. The rules for fighting are back on our fridge. And we did a CEE weekend. Those are always good for re-kindling our love. Perfect timing for us! We got to stay in the big house which is like a B&B. It was so nice! Marywood is really looking good with all their improvements. We had a huge group- 19 couples! And quite the dream team! I dipped out to run the breast cancer half marathon this morning. Dude, it was rough. I thought I was more prepared, but I was dieing. I ran it in 2:40, which is my norm I think. Maybe it was the slow podcast I was listening to (Oprah's New Earth series) or running through neighborhoods for most of the race. I'm not sure, but I'm wiped out this evening. Hopefully a good night of sleep will bring me back to normal. Emily had the kids all weekend and did a great job keeping them busy. Major shout out to my friend Chrissy who came all the way to my house to get my FitBit charger I left! Ellie had lots of friend time. She had 2 championship basketball games this week. Phil brought her to one and the Snowden family to another. That was a good season, but I know she's ready for it to be over. Marly had her First Reconciliation on Tuesday. Phil and I went to her ceremony and took her our for a special dinner at Biscotti's. I'm so proud of all that hard work she's done to prepare for her 2nd Sacrament! Admitting sins is a tough one! Ellie and I got a date the following night at WEE Trade. She was so excited to pick out lots of outfits and even some bathing suits. Milkshakes for the ride home! I got to do some fun things, too- bloodies and tennis with some old and new friends and a MOPS girls night at Black Sheep. I spent one whole morning organizing all of my sewing and crafting supplies. That feels great! Oh! And our boat was delivered this week! We've gotten to take it out for a few spins. I need to beef up our bumper system on the dock! It was a good week! Ready for Valentine's week!
We finished off the last week of January and now we're into February. I think it's the coldest, darkest month in town. We are doing all sorts of things to brighten things up. It was the last week of Dryanuary for me. I finished strong. I went to my friend, Katie's investiture and watched her officially become a judge. It was a really neat ceremony; I'm proud to know her! I even drank water at her reception. I lost a total of 11 pounds in January so the running, eating better and drinking less has truly paid off. I just have to keep it going. I didn't do so well this weekend. We played glow in the dark golf on Friday and then a Birthday party and girls night Saturday and the super bowl on Sunday. But I have been walking, Phil and I even did a "date" walk on Saturday afternoon. We went roller skating as a family yesterday. An awesome thing to do on a gloomy, rainy day. I channeled my skate n space 80's self. The week was good with a few fun things. Ellie, Phil and I went to a new dentist- my friend, Brittany. I love having good insurance! My friend, Jessica started a breakfast club to help with self growth. I think that's going to be a neat thing. It was literacy week at school with a vocabulary parade and reading at lunch. We celebrated Abby's 6th Birthday on Tuesday with breakfast donuts and dinner out to Panera. The Cochrans were there, too so we sorta took over the room! We brought cupcakes in for her class treat on Friday. It was also Marly's teacher's Birthday so with my room mom duties we got her gift cards and a fun coffee. Lots of fun things! Last night we all stayed up too late eating and watching the Patriots win the super bowl (again). The Cochrans invited us all over to the Smiths for a Super Bowl party. Ha! It was a fun night.
It was a week of ranges. The weather has been all over the place. Monday was MLK day. I got the kids in for a piano lesson then headed downtown for the parade. I met up with my friend, Chrissy and her boys. Lots of candy and a skyway ride (all over since I missed the stop). We had a tense afternoon and many more hot moments this week. Phil and I had a political standoff this week. It got hot. The good news is that we made up. We still don't agree, but we are working through it. I got out a lot this week, too. We finally discussed John Galt from Atlas Shrugged! It was so good. Heather was a wonderful host. It would have gone longer had I been drinking but dryanuary is still going strong. Tuesday was Voss's Birthday. I now have a 4 year old! We went to Krispy Kreme for donuts. My mom met me at school for a morning of awards ceremonies. In between we dashed back to Voss's school for his class Birthday party. We brought in cookies and ice cream for the morning snack! I made spaghetti for Voss's Birthday dinner. Phil went out for poker. Wednesday we went to Trinity for story time and to prep for the Birthday party this weekend. My friend, Laurie helped me that afternoon so I could sneak out and meet Rachael and the Centola sisters for dinner and Les Miserables. We stayed out late discussing the show and friend therapy for my political woes. It's amazing how a night out like that gives me so much energy! I did a 10 mile run on Thursday morning. It felt great; an awesome run to the Landing and back. I even got in a trip to Costco. Phil's parents came in that afternoon. I grilled some salmon burgers then headed out for a kindergarten moms night out. We had a good conversation about teaching our kids about finances. Then, I met some TCC friends out for Tiffany's Birthday. Friday, we went to Ellie's awards ceremony. Then, we went to a Birthday party play date then shoe shopping to no avail. We went to Latin House grill for dinner and dancing. Phil and I went out with my brother that night. It was nice to catch up with him. Saturday morning we woke up to smell of pancakes and bacon, thanks to my MIL. A few Cutlip kids came over to play while I cleaned out the garage. That afternoon we threw a Birthday party for Abby and Voss at the Trinity Indoor playground. It was maybe one of the easiest parties I've thrown! The best part is that the kids had an awesome time! Yay! We opened gifts once we got home. I was wiped out by then. Phil and his parents went back out to Latin House! This morning, Ellie got us all ready for mass again. It's been raining and cold all day! We did TCC for breakfast then headed to the boat show. The kids got fishing poles and we bought a boat! It's going to be a great summer! Woooo whooo! We've been organizing drawers, snuggling by the TV and playing with new toys all afternoon. Chili for dinner and a bilingual family rosary. I'm feeling very thankful for all the Birthday blessings!
Rainy Monday morning with flag raising and MOPS. The breakfasts have become so healthy with whole wheat muffins and power balls- I love it. I even grabbed a few fun snacks for later. They brought back the white elephant gift exchange. This time with dice and more gift swapping and stealing. The cat book came back which means lots of awesome belly laughs! Afternoon walk during dance and we got a sneak peek of the dance costumes! Tuesday was chilly again. I ran to coffee club for a great discussion on the government shut down. Always so good for the soul! More park fun that afternoon. Savannah, Jess and I went to see "On the Basis of Sex" that night. It was an awesome girl power movie. The girls got report cards. Not all A's this time- we added some B's, but still proud of the girls. I finished reading Atlas Shrugged. The library didn't charge me for turning it in a week late. I guess they understand it takes a long time to read that sucker. I loved it, though. I can't wait for the book club discussion tomorrow. I even made a shirt! Wednesday I helped watch one of Voss's pals. Too bad he was a little off and they didn't get along half the time. I walked again with Jess and Anne and it was super cold! I followed Anne to Aldi for a new shopping experience. It was interesting. I'll go back maybe without kids. First week back to religion class. Phil and I did a sushi date with Voss. Thursday I ran home after dropping off Voss. It was a great run- still only 7 miles, though. Tiffany gave me a ride back to school. We checked on our neighbor's cats and babysat a friend's hamster this week. Great entertainment for the kids. I'm so glad we returned Wonder alive. I got to go to a MOPS clothing swap and picked up a few fun dresses. Ellie got some shoes and all the girls got picture frames. Friday was an errand day. Not exciting for Voss. He finally fell asleep on a walk from my parent's house. After school we went to Kassie's farm and I helped her put nose rings in 3 calves so the mothers can keep their fat for the winter. That was a neat afternoon. Phil and I did a Married People Night out that night. We did another sushi date then went back for the marriage enrichment. Andy Stanley gave a great talk about assuming the best. Saturday morning started off nice with a great family breakfast. It went downhill quickly with a wardrobe disagreement. Ellie played a great basketball game then we attempted a family tennis afternoon. I wish our attitude matched the gorgeous weather. I was very happy to sneak out for a girls night. We got all dressed up and met at the rooftop of River and Post. We didn't end up having dinner until almost 10pm! It was nice to catch up with the whole Rotaract crew, though. This morning Ellie got us all up and ready for mass. We got to meet baby Fox and snuggle our Godson, Huck. We had breakfast with the Smiths. It was super cold again today. We spent most of the day snuggled on the coach watching Liminy Snicket. We met the Bentons for a Latin dinner. I had to do some Sanibel laps to improve upon my 3K steps. This cold makes everyone sleepy!
The first week back to real life of 2019. Monday morning we got up and drove out to the beach for a MOPS play date. Caitlyn even had smoothies ready for us- what a pal! It was a nice morning with the moms. The kids had a ball. A bit chilly for swimming (my polar bear kids did anyway). Lots of fun with jellyfish! We still had dance that afternoon so a catch up walk with my park pals. Tuesday was brutal with Take Over Tuesday. I didn't realize how time consuming it is to document everything. I ran and playing some golf with my mom. Gorgeous weather all week! I even did a live video of carpool pick up. I got a Sprout Kitchen delivery this week. It's like having a personal chef- healthy, tasty and delivered right to my door. Not stuff I would ever make, but that beet fennel soup was perfect for a chilly afternoon lunch. I walked with Jess on Wednesday morning then met the boy crew at the train park. We did kids eat free and caught up with the Smiths. Another run then cards with the girls. We played gin; I came in last! Friday morning Voss and I rode the bus with the Spencer boys. We went to story time with Mrs. Owl downtown. It was neat. That evening was the St. Matthews date night. We ended up having a date with Phil's boss at Wine Cellar. It was nice to visit with them and they were very complimentary of Phil. It made me proud. Saturday morning came early. Phil and I played in my first ever tennis tournament! It was a long day of tennis, but I had a lot of fun! We lost our first match; but it was close! We won the 2nd. In the middle was Ellie's basketball game. Both older girls spent the night out. The younger kids and I went to check out Tracy's new house and had a fire pit dinner. Great night for it! This morning we grabbed Ellie and went to mass then back to TCC for another match. We won again and even got a plaque! We stayed and ate lunch and dinner on the back porch enjoying the weather and Sunday Funday. Dryanuary is kicking my butt- but I still think this is a good thing.