And then the cold weather was gone. Back to the gorgeous winter weather that we're used to! I've been working on the "behind the scenes" spreadsheet for next week when I go on my sister's bachelorette party- I can't just skip town for a few days! We had a MOPS Monday, "live google" they call it. I'm just sorta tired of talking about potty training. But I enjoyed the breakfast, coffee and conversation. We did story time and park as usual on Tuesday. Wednesday we brought dinner to a new mom and visited with an old pal, too. It was so nice to catch up with April! We did early release golf and religion class. Phil didn't make it out of his meeting in time so I had to do a last minute scramble to get the girls and Tug. We sold a bunch of Girl Scout cookies. The girls went to neighbors and did some Facetime selling as well. Thursday was an awesome coffee club discussing the defunding of Planned Parenthood. Friday I hosted a manatee encounter play date for MOPS. It was chaotic for sure, but super fun! We had CEE that night. It was a small turn out and we were bumped to the cafeteria. But, it was still fun. We started the Discernment process for new leadership, so that's exciting. Saturday morning was lazy. We did a girls run. My friend Jenny came by for a quick visit and to take my picture for an art piece she's doing. Then, Phil and I went to a family friend's wedding. We got to hang out with our ole pal, Fr. Tim. Gorgeous reception at the Garden club. This morning we took it easy again. Then, we did a Sunday Funday on the boat. We went to TCC for lunch then the Hollands for dinner. It was the perfect day! So, we're just enjoying a Florida winter. Nothing to complain about. So much to be thankful for!
It's 2017. We're still saying, "Happy New Year" as our greeting. Still getting back into the swing of things. The first half of the week was closing out the winter break. We did a rainy day play date at the Mitchells. Board games and catching up. Our last day was pump it up then the skyway downtown to the libray and sweet pete's for ice cream. Wow! Busy day! The first day back to school was intense because we ran/ rode bikes to school. We had a play date with the Stevensons then we met Phil for lunch then bought a bridesmaid and flower girl dress. Abby had ballet, the older girls has girls scouts. Time to sell some cookies! Contact me if you'd like some! I had a Friday fun lunch with my old work pals. Those first few days back were tough! Rough afternoons. Friday we did first Friday with lots of friends at TCC. Saturday was cold. I tried to hybernate. Donuts and coffee got me up! We did a fun day at the Suters, then Ellie's basketball game. Early night for all. Today was mass and breakfast. Crafts in front of the fire. We had dinner at the Nixons. It was nice to catch up. We did a lot of deep cleaning this week. We have a contractor coming tomorrow to demolish our closets. So, we cleaned those out. While I was at it, I cleaned out Voss's, too. I can't stop sneezing from all the dust! Looking forward to the new sitting room!
The week after Christmas is always so hard. This year we planned a trip to Miami. It was a great way to spice things up. We had a nice visit with the Bravos and Reinsteins. The trip there and back wasn't pretty. I didn't do so well with my planning. We left at bad times, I didn't bring anything for Voss to do in the car (rookie mistakes). The visit was low key. We tried the American Girl doll store and was quite overwhelmed. We ended up getting out of there was cheap as we could and had a nice, family lunch. Awesome dinners by madre, hair cuts, lots of coffee and cheesecake. The weather was amazing. Fun parks, new dresses and shoes. Phil and I even got a hot date. It was nice. We came back to super cold weather. I wanted to see the boat parade, but our boat wasn't ready and it was too cold. So, we tried watching from TCC. We saw a few boats headed out, but most of it was so far away. We did some glow sticks and night tag, then headed home. I was so happy to have a fun Birthday party to go to on Saturday. It was a great day to be out at a park. Phil got in a tennis game. The girls got a fun play date after with sparklers. It was a fun NYE. We had a sitter come late, and went to my pal, Ashley's surprise 40th Birthday party. The surprise was a success. We rang in the new year with bubbly and backyard fireworks. The best part for me, though was the after party with our babysitter and her dad (picking her up), such a great conversation! Today was laid back; late mass, paddleboating, cleaning and taking down Christmas decorations. I have high hopes for 2017. We are so blessed, I really can't ask for anything more. My resolution is to read the bible. Maybe writing it down will make me do it. I read all these books, but I've never read the bible cover to cover. This is the year!
Jesus' Birthday week! It's here! Doing all things festive- wearing the clothes, jingle bells, carols, music, cookies, fun! Monday was a MOPS Christmas craft play date at Riverside art center. They did an awesome job with rotating crafts, story & music and crafts. It was perfect! I brought a few extra kids so it was nice to have such organization. We played in the park after. Just what I need on a Monday! Book club was that night. I didn't read the book, no regrets skipping City of Bones- it's terrible. I got in a 6 mile run on my way there. Then, Regan threw a nice, festive dinner party. Voss and I did story time on Tuesday and loaded up on Christmas books. Too cold for the park, though. That night was perfect for hot chocolate and looking at Christmas lights. We drove out to one of those neighborhoods where the music goes with the lights. The kids loved it! Wednesday was a day of caroling. We started at Brookdale Assisted Living Facility with a great group, even some hot chocolate! Then, we went to All Saints Nursing Home with a smaller group. We were sorted melting by then. But, I think it was great for the kids and moms and residents. Win-win! Kids night at TCC that night. Fun group, that ended with shots, thanks PB! Thursday started pretty stressful. I was maybe 1 aisle into doing my major Christmas and grocery shopping with only Voss, when I got a call from school saying Marly was throwing up. I couldn't pick her up for another hour, which made me feel awful. Snuggling on the couch and a long nap and she was fine. She was bummed to miss her class party, though. That night we went to FYC for Christmas games on the lawn. Phil went to play tennis and I went to visit with my brothers who came in town. We helped fly the neighbor's drone into the river. Friday we did a girls run to wake up my brothers then we paddleboated to the Hollands for a fun day. No school! We went to my parents that night for a mojo pork dinner with cousin, Ed. Late night catching up with my brothers. We continued our 2nd annual Christmas Eve tradition of brunch. Matt made eggs, Phil did the bacon, Suzanne did casseroles and I did lunch. Drinking games, the Christmas Story. We went to 4pm mass at St. Matthews. Ellie was asked to bring up the baby Jesus to put in the manger. We all walked in together. It was pretty cool. After mass, the Nixons had a sweet open house. It was a great way to end the night. Santa did come that night and took the Elf with him, after she took some awesome selfies on the kids new ipad we gave them. We had a fun morning with cinnamon rolls and the Disney parade playing with toys. We took the boat to my parent's house for a crown pork lunch. I took the boat home and put it in the lift (#girlpower) then took the van back. Low key night with pie and the Griswalds. The next morning we got up and headed to Amelia Island for a boat tour. Too bad the weather was foggy and rainy, they had to cancel. We tried to make the best of it with a trip to the Ritz, seafood lunch then we hit the zoo on the way home. Afternoon boat cruise on the Ortega then an early dinner and bed for the kids. I went running and picked up Chinese food for Phil and I. My brothers came over later for a PH. Late night but so worth it to catch up with them! This morning, Ellie made us eggs. We went on a family run to say good-bye. Then, packed up. Now we're headed to Miami for round 2 of Christmas!
Wow, what a week! We had a MOPS Monday with a talk on Incorporating Christ into family life. Here's my recap. Ellie had basketball practice. Then I went on an 8 mile run! Tuesday was pretty intense. We had Ellie tested for gifted downtown. We've had her tested twice at school. Once in kindergarten (I heard it was easier before they turn 6) and then again this year. She was really close the first time and sorta close the second time. So, we decided to give it one more go and have her tested privately. So, Voss and I took her for the test. Turns out our Ellie is very smart, but not gifted. Lots of thoughts surrounding this topic and lessons learned. Glad to close the chapter and move along though. We've been watching lots of Christmas movies and getting into the spirit. White Christmas, lots of crummy Netflix specials, Home Alone and the Grinch. We baked ginger cookies for the neighbors and the girls school. The littles and I went to MOSH for a play date. I was running like mad learning to use my Silhoutte cutter and made a bunch of Christmas gifts. Wednesday began the jingle bell rockin with 3 Christmas parties in 3 days! First up was Rotary at FYC. I got into a great conversation about raising kids. Next was Phil's work party- on the rooftop of Black Sheep. So swanky! We had a great time! Number 3 was MOPS, which was of course so much fun! Friday was a morning of Christmas programs. First was mass with my nephews then their Christmas program. Owen was Joseph and Alex was an angel. Next was Abigail's as she sang to baby Jesus as Mary. We went to lunch at her favorite, FireHouse afterwards. Saturday, Phil played in a tennis and golf tournament all day. We did a run then my dad watched Voss while the girls went to lunch then the Nutcracker ballet. It was so neat to see the older girls get into it, especially the first act! This was Abigail's first time so she was really excited. Both she and Marly fell asleep by the end! We took it easy last night, finally! We took the wagon to look at lights on our street and went to bed early. Today was another busy one! Mass, breakfast (with a table for 19!), then a Birthday party at the park- saying good-bye to another navy family. My cousin, Natalie came for a visit with her kids. We had a cousin play date. We ended the night with luminaries in the forest and a rosary by the Advent wreath. I think we're ready for Christmas!
Thursday was the Immaculate Conception. I took the younger kids to mass, then had a last minute coffee date with Meghan and Liz. It turned out to be really nice. That afternoon I picked up my nephews from school, then the girls then Abby from dance. It was a crazy afternoon but the cousins had so much fun. I had to go to a girl scout cookie meeting but was able to do it bit of Christmas shopping before, without kids, so that was nice. The Christmas party season has begun! The weekend started early. It was super cold and the MOPS cookie decorating play date was supposed to be at a park. So, I offered to host it. Total romper room/ Lord of the Flies! It turned out to be lots of fun. I was wiped out by pick up time. We went to a crafting play date at the Trexlers. We did some afternoon snuggles and snoozes then rallied for La Nap to celebrate St. Juan Diego. Saturday was sorta lazy. Family breakfast then a family run. Ellie had a basketball game with coach Phil. Last night we hosted the CEE Christmas party. It was awesome! Great turn out, great Mojos BBQ, great company, great drinks, great fire! This morning was mass, TCC breakfast then relaxing at home (or putting out quite a few fights and bad attitudes!) Tonight was our neighborhood progressive dinner party that morphed into a party at one neighbor's house. A weekend of partying! And here it begins!
Somewhere along the way, I learned if I didn't like the way something was done, to do it myself. If you throw your own party, you get it just the way you want it. So, that's what I do. I'm sure some folks think I'm nuts, or maybe even cocky. But, I think it's important to celebrate yourself. It was a MOPS Monday with an ole MOPS mom speaking about interior design. Here's my recap. We had coffee club at Tracy's on Tuesday to discuss the electoral college. It was a great conversation that did get a bit spicy. We had a small group play date at the park and ended up playing in the river! Early release golf, a manatee stuck in a storm drain on our run! My pal, Trexler watched Voss while I snuck out and got a massage! Maybe that's when my Birthday party began! It was so nice! Then, we had a fun play date after! The littles and I had a fun zoo date on Friday. That night was first Friday at TCC. A bit chaotic with an extra child. Still, glow sticks on the lawn is the jam! Saturday morning was our first breakfast with Santa. TCC does such a wonderful job with this party! I actually put together a bed that morning, you know, before getting everyone dressed in coordinating, monogrammed outfits. I should get a medal for making that morning happen. We decided to do a room change- in the middle of the bustling holiday season. We turned Ellie's room into a play room and moved her back in with the middle two. We call it the sleeping porch- sorority style! We got rid of Ellie's queen size bed and bought a simple twin bed. I put that bed together "from scratch" as Ellie says ;-) I think they all like it so far! After breakfast, Phil left to play tennis. I finished upstairs then cleaned all downstairs. My sister Katie was in town for the weekend. She came at the perfect time, for me to go get the keg! Ellie had her first basketball game! She did so well! Lots of shots, but no points (yet)! We met friends at Christmas in Avondale after the game. The Thivierges are so smart. They got to Mellow Mushroom super early and got a table out front. They ordered pies for us and they were ready right when we arrived. Perfect! We wore the kids out then put them to bed. Time for my Birthday party- an old school keg party. I did a lot of word of mouth, FB posting and texts. So, it was a hodge podge. I was hoping for more people, but it was still a great group! We played flip cup, PH and keg stands. Dan played his guitar, the fire pit was roaring. Such a fun night! I rallied the next morning and took the kids to mass then breakfast with Santa (again). We had a relaxing day working on Christmas cards. Then Bentons came over for paddleboating and help finishing the keg. I fell in the river pulling the boat up- Ugh! Monday was my actual Birthday. Rat race to school, then the little kids had another breakfast with Santa, this time at MOPS. We went from there to coffee club at Vanessa's to discuss the Dakota pipeline. She's such a fantastic hostess! Another awesome conversation! I picked up the girls and headed to the dentist. I got a bunch of holes filled from where I have acid damage (throwing up during pregnancies!!!?) My sister helped watch the kids. Glad that all worked out! Phil took Ellie to basketball. I ran to Stevenson's house for the MOPS Leadership dinner. It turned into my Birthday party! So awesome! I'm so blessed to be surrounded by a great group of women! They made my day so special! Yesterday my parents took me to breakfast. Voss and I had a relaxing morning. We had a babysitter come and Phil and I took Ellie to her first Reconciliation then out to dinner. She really enjoyed the time with just the 3 of us. I'm so proud of her! I even got to go to confession, too! Dinner at Biscotti's- the best part was the chocolate mint cake! Today was quiet, too. Our road was being refinished so Voss was thoroughly entertained. He loved watching all the trucks. We went on the paddleboat after I got it all fixed up after my last mishap. Abigail and I finished the Christmas cards. We had spirit night at TF then religion class. It's time for Christmas!
I've tried to be intentional with a lesson in Thanksgiving this month. Every day, the girls and I have written thank you notes. They can choose to whom and which note card to use. Some are mailed, others given. I even did a few online. It was a good thing for all of us. The girls were off on Wednesday. I cleaned out my closet and cabinets and came up with a bunch of bags to bring downtown. I made the kids help me carry it all in, then take a tour of the facility. I don't know- they still seem to ungrateful and snotty sometimes. I'm close to taking away all their toys and having them spend time with another family. Not sure what else to do. Monday the littles and I went on a super fun play date to Rebounderz. Then, to lunch with MOPS pals. Voss and I picked up race packets, had a coffee/muffin date then went to story time on Tuesday. We loaded up on Thanksgiving books, including our favorite. That evening we went to our friend's farm to help feed the cows. A chore for them is super fun for us! Thanksgiving morning we got up and ran in the Thanksgiving Distance Classic- a 6K with the whole family. I'm so proud of us! A great new family tradition! After, we turned on the Macy's day parade and got cookin'! Phil took the turkeys to the Applegates and fried one and smoked one. My dad spent all week fixing the paddleboat. The grandkids had a ball watching the manatees. It was a gorgeous day. Mom, Dad, Aunt Susan and Bill came by boat. We had a great day together! The only glitch was one of the kids kicked a water pipe and broke it (night tag in the front yard). We had to turn all the water off and call a plumber Thanksgiving night. Pretty stressful. Luckily we got it fixed and all is good. I was happy to get a hot shower that night! We set up all our Christmas decorations the next morning. The kids were so excited! I think we were decorated inside and out by 10am! We went on a manatee adventure, CFA for lunch then a PH with the Suters. Phil did a guys night. Saturday, Ellie made us eggs, we did a girls run then celebrated Sofia's 2nd Monster Bash Birthday. They always do such a great job with the theme! That evening we went to the Hollands to watch the FSU, UF game. Happy to see a win! This morning was mass, b-fast then another relaxing Sunday. Phil took the girls to play ball again. I worked on Christmas cards. Another manatee adventure! The boat took on some water so I had to unplug it, drain it and pull it up. We toasted tonight at dinner that the paddleboat will live forever! Ha! Thanksgiving leftover wraps for dinner! Family rosary and the first purple candle- yay! Happy Thanksgiving!
We're getting ready for the big day next week! I'm hosting for the first time, so it's a pretty big deal! I posted on MOPS asking for tips and recipes. I got this brussel sprout one and a family cranapple one. Phil's planning to smoke and fry a turkey, with the help of our neighbors. Suzanne is doing the traditional broccoli salad, stuffing and shrimp appetizer. Marly and Ellie are in charge of this app and mashed potatoes. There will also be mac&cheese, rolls, fruit salad, gravy and pies for dessert. It's going to be good! We've been working on turkey napkin rings, courtesy of the Highlights magazine this month. I even got a white table cloth for this idea! At MOPS on Monday, Jan gave a great mentor mom moment on being thankful. Here's the recap. We also had a school choice wisdom panel. I was pretty stressed, but thankful we're making good school choices. Tuesday was special because we surprised my dad and supported him as he was awarded the National Distinguished Eagle Award. I'm so proud of him! It was really nice to have lunch as a family honoring him. Great help from the village helping with childcare, too! We did a Thanksgiving craft playdate that afternoon. Wednesday was a fun morning with the dentist. Always a treat! They are so good to us! It was early release with golf practice then religion class. The girls had a Thanksgiving lunch on Thursday. Ellie had her first basketball practice that afternoon and loved it. This is going to be great for her, I think. She's been dribbling the ball in the yard all week to practice. I love it! Then, girl scout that night. Friday we stopped in to mass to see Padre Pio's relics, then to an assisted living facility to hand out our Thanksgiving crafts we made. Then, Abigail had her Thanksgiving program. Lunch at La Nap. That night was the oyster roast. Yay, Riverkeepers! Saturday, Phil had a tennis match. We did a girls run, prepping for our race on T-day! Ellie had another b-ball practice. Another afternoon at the Hollands then pizza in the cul-de-sac. We were all asleep by 8pm! Nice! This morning was mass and a chaotic b-fast. Phil took the girls to play b-ball at my parents. I made turkey strogenoff for dinner. A crazy family rosary then bed. A great convo with eavoss tonight! And a nightcap with Old School. We have so much to be thankful for! We are truly blessed!
The week started well- we ran/rode bikes to school on Monday. I ran to MOPS for a leadership meeting. I was crabby over the lukewarm coffee, then got some perspective and got over it. I always love those meetings. Childcare and time with fab moms. I ran home. A gorgeous, fall afternoon. Voss and Abby played on porch while I read with the doors open. So nice! We got a surprise visit from my parents and their friends via boat. We got an afternoon boat ride- and even went to pick up the older girls at school by boat. Super cool! That night I went to the MOPS girls night. First we did some sorting at DESC. What an amazing organization! Then, we went to Burrito Gallery for dinner and drinks. So much fun! Made some new friends, too! Tuesday was election day! I went to Tracy's for a morning play date. We watched the election hype begin. Abigail had a make up ballet class. Phil left for a work/golf trip. A much needed break for him! I walked up to the polls with all the kids and cast my vote. My neighbors came over to watch the younger kids while Ellie and I went to a prep meeting for her Reconciliation for next month. So exciting! After I got the kids in bed, I poured my wine, got my chips and salsa and turned on NBC to watch the election results rolls in. You already know who won. Thus my depression. So, Wednesday I was just in shock, and over-tired. It was just terrible. I threw out an all call for a play date and only one person came by for about an hour. We drank coffee and complained together. It was therapeutic. I took the younger kids for CFA for an early lunch. I went for a great run that afternoon. Soccer practice was good- we all shared our shock. Phil came home in time to take the girls to religion class, which was nice. We had a park play date on Thursday with some FFC friends in Mandarin, which means more time for me to listen to NPR. I actually thought Thursday was worse. Reading my friends FB posts and the stories on NPR- I burst out crying a few times. The thought of Trump as a president sunk in. It was like someone died- I went through the phases of grieving. I didn't expect this at all. More ballet and then we baked a pie for girl scouts. Good thing I have all these distractions! Friday was Veterans Day. We slept in and went to Maple Street for breakfast. Comfort food! Reading all the Veterans Day posts didn't help. It's kind of a bittersweet holiday for me. I'm so proud of my brother and my dad. But I can't watch a "welcome home" scene without loosing it. Those are sad memories for me. It was a gloomy day, but we went to the beach- a great place to be! We checked out the new Sawgrass. So nice! We attempted a trip to Costco. Blah. We came home and relaxed for a bit. I brought my pal, Jess dinner. Phil and I met some friends out at Brew at the Zoo. At first it was bad. I thought the time was an hour earlier, then the lines were insane. We ended up leaving and grabbing a drink then coming back to wait in line. Once we got in, it was fine. We found our friends, Andrew and Zoe- then the Rattigans. Still pretty crowded. Not sure we'll do that again. We slept in on Saturday. I made breakfast. The older girls and I went on a run. They are getting better. They both pretty much ran the first mile without stopping. Marly had her last soccer game. I'm so proud of her! She played so well and even scored a goal! We went to lunch with the team afterwards. She got a trophy! We continued the party to the Hollands after- and even ended up staying for dinner. It was a fun day! This morning, we went to mass then breakfast. We did chores and cleaning- a relaxing afternoon. Voss is fighting a cold. He's better today after a long nap. Listening to his wheezy breathing is awful. I went on a 5.5 mile run. We enjoyed the awesome weather. Phil grilled chicken, I made salad. It was such a nice night. We did a family rosary and did early bedtime. This was a wonderful start to the week!