There's a lot of love going on around here. That's refreshing to talk about, so let's. The older girls has their awards ceremonies at school to recognize them for the first half of the year. I'm so proud of both of them! They both were awarded good conduct ribbons. Ellie got a ribbon for all As & Bs (just one B, one quarter in math) and Marly got all Es (which is like all As)! They both did so well! We had a MOPS leadership meeting, which is always fun. Then, we went to the park, which was just what I needed. Friendship love for sure! We did storytime and the park as usual on Tuesday. I stayed up super late Monday night to finish, the Nix. I wasn't a fan of the ending, which is a total bummer. We ran to school one afternoon and let the girls ride their bikes home, something different. Phil had a big work week. Abigail had a Love Day party at school. We went to chapel then to her class for the party. Voss blended right in. They were so sweet. It was early release with golf so we ran in the hood a bit. Religion class that night. On Thursday, I got 2 bags of sand and put them in one of our plastic pools to make a sandbox for Voss. Having sand ALL OVER our house totally sucks. But, Voss LOVES his new sandbox! Every time we go to the park he ends up playing in the dirt. So, I had to bring it home. We finally finished passing out all our girl scout cookies. If you owe us money, paypal it. Otherwise I'll forget to ask. Thursday night I went to a ladies night at TCC. I was pretty nervous at first but it ended up turning out super fun. There was even an after party at Lillians! Friday was a bit rough to start. We went out to our friend's farm for a MOPS play date. Hayride and feeding cows and horses. So cool! That night we took the kids out for pizza to celebrate Ellie's reading logs (free pizza!). Later, our friends Zoe and Andrew came over for an after dinner drink. It was so fun catching up with him! I tried to sleep in on Saturday. I made eggs benedict and we ate in front of the TV. Busy morning with cookie pick up and delivery, Voss and Phil getting a haircut and the girls going with me to pick up my race packet. Then, we met some friends out on the river for a voyage to a new brewery on the other side of the river. A new adventure for sure! It was a beautiful day to be out on the water! That night we got a new sitter and went to a friend's surprise Birthday. I hydrated and made it an earlier night. Phil kept going. This morning, I got up and met my sister and did the Breast Cancer Half Marathon. It was a great day for a run. Chilly and foggy with a breeze. I was so glad to finish before the sun came out- because those 4 miles on JTB are brutal! Suzanne and I ran together for the first half. Thanks so her, my pace was much faster! 10:45! It took forever to get back to the car, but we finally made it home. It was such an awesome race! I feel sore, but really good. Phil went with Marly to sell girl scout cookies at Lowes. They sold 100 boxes! I went to happy hour with some new friends- a liberal ladies fest. It was nice. I took the kids to contemporary mass. We got to witness Ellie's religion teacher's son get baptized. McDs for dinner! Now time for me to go to sleep, too!
We're just gliding our way through the winter. The morning are chilly but then it turns into perfect park weather. Nothing to complain about. We had a fun MOPS play date at a friend's house then went to lunch with the Trexlers. A usual park play date after story time on Tuesday. My friend Katie hooked me up on Wednesday. An old lady driving by and criticizing my parenting ruined my day. She not only gave me early shopping passes to JNJ, but she also watched the younger two for me so I could shop. Ellie got a new wardrobe, which she is proudly showing off around school. The Applegates invited us for fried chicken at FYC so that spiced up the week and the religion class routine. The groundhog decided winter will continue, but I'm not sure that matters much for us here in FL. We had a little family of manatees hanging out near our dock this week. The coolest video is here. It just doesn't get old! So cool! Ellie had to stay home from girl scouts for bad behavior. Hopefully a break will fix things. I took Voss to ride the train at the zoo. He loves trains. It turns out that the zoo train is the cheapest one in town. He loved it! We rode that sucker for 3 hours! Friday we did a park play date with friends. No frills- just enjoying the dirt at the park! We got a last minute sitter and did first Friday sans kids. It was a fun twist, but a reminder that we need a chaperone. Way too late night out. Saturday was rough. Phil took Marly to a Birthday party. I got to snuggle and read my book. Phil also picked up the Girl Scout cookies. We spent the rest of the weekend eating cookies, sorting cookies and delivering cookies. Lots of math, lots of organizing and lots of cursing. Thank you for all of those who supported the girls by buying cookies! They should be en route to you! Ellie had her last week of basketball. Last practice and last game. I give this sport a thumbs up! I think this was an awesome intro for us. She played so well. I'm really proud of how well she's come along. We met the Bentons at European street after for dinner. Phil did a guys night and I went to bed reading. Mass this morning with breakfast. More cookie work. We headed back to TCC for a pre-Super Bowl party with the Hoggatts. Running on the lawn and dinner on the patio- super nice! Now we are home drinking wine and eating cookies, watching the Super Bowl and playing with our new toy, Google Home.
Abigail and Voss were born a week apart (and 2 years). Voss turned two last Sunday and Abigail turned 4 this Sunday! We've been talking about and then celebrating these two for a while. They are so cute! Monday was a MOPS Monday. I need to do the recap here. Phil came home sick from work- stomach bug. He sorta went in and out on Tuesday and Wednesday. I toured a new school for Abigail next year and helped watch Mabel. So, Voss had a little pal. We did story time and the park on Tuesday. Abigail celebrated her Birthday at school with fun princess cupcakes! I got in a 10 mile run that night and some yoga the next morning. Abby, Voss and I met friends and went to an assisted living facility to play memory and a few other games with the residents. We packed up then headed to pick up the big kids from school then headed down to DIsney! We checked into our awesome hotel, Coronado Springs then headed to DIsney Springs for Abigail's Bibbity Bobbity appointment. Voss loved riding the train. We did pizza for dinner then headed back to the hotel. It was a rough night for me and Voss. I woke up with a sore throat. We did make it to Epcot but maybe the Storybook dining was too much? The kids loved it, though. We are recovering from our sicknesses. We put the 3 younger kids in Kids Park so Phil and I could actually watch Ellie's basketball game. We did make it to the Vogts potluck, too. Mass and breakfast on Sunday- with a candle in Abigail's eggs! We went to the Hollands for a Sunday Funday. So, it was a great celebration all in all!
With Monday being MLK's holiday and me headed out of town at the end of the week- there wasn't much between but prepping and packing! We went to the YMCA with the Nixons Monday morning to check it out. There's a lot of pressure to join around here. And yes, it is an amazing deal with the childcare and beautiful new facility. I don't think I'll regret saying, that my time home with the littles is so quick. I don't want to use it at a gym. One day, I'll have extra time to work out. For now, I'm putting it on a back burner. Meanwhile, it's great to know I can go for the day for the whole family for $15 (that's cheaper than kids park!) After a pilates class, we did lunch in the park then a play date with the Stevensons. I had a girls night out with my ole pal, Boozer that night. It was so nice to catch up.Tuesday we did story time and the park as usual. I was feeling rough that night- maybe food poisoning or a stomach bug? I had a few day body cleanse. I was able to get a night of 12-hour sleep out of it, though! On Wednesday, Abigail, Voss and I rode the train in the mall and had lunch with Phil while out picking up my bride maids dress and Ellie's flower girl dress for Katie's wedding. She came in town that afternoon along with Aunt Susan. They all came by for a visit that afternoon. I did all my last minute organizing for the cruise. Just what it takes to leave the house for a few days! I have such an amazing village of friends! On Thursday morning, we started early. The big girls rode bikes to school while I followed along with the van. I took Abigail to school and then dropped Voss with my pal, Trexler. She kept him and Abigail after school and for dance class. Another friend helped get Abby from school. Other friends helped get the big girls from school and to the Hollands for the afternoon before Phil could come get everyone. On Friday, Meghan kept Voss all day, Vanessa kept Abigail all day and also the girls after school again! Whew! She also took Marly to a Birthday party for us on Saturday! Suzanne drove us down to Pt. Canaveral Thursday morning to get on the Carnival Liberty- Last Sail Before the Veil to celebrate my sister, Katie's upcoming nuptials! You can't complain when on a cruise ship in the Caribbean! Also, Katie's future MIL, Patty, SIL, Liane and Steve's Godmother, Kris all joined us! It was so nice to meet them all! We really clicked so well and already acted like a big, happy family! Suzanne and Katie shared a room up on the 9th level. Mom, Aunt Susan and I were together on level 6, a room away from the Kukla klan. We did some boozing, eating, dancing sunning, reading, relaxing, lots of chatting, processing the inauguration and just getting to know each other. Friday we spent the day in the Bahamas. We walked through Atlantis. My stomach was pretty queezy that day, still. I went to bed earlier, after the evening show. A good night of sleep helped. The next day at sea was much better! Suzanne and I did 3 mile runs each morning. I was hoping to get in more, but that's all I could do on a treadmill! I took lots of showers- loved the shower spa! We spent the last night around the piano bar. It was such a nice weekend! Sunday we arrived early and got off the ship. It was nice to be welcomed warmly by the whole family. We did a little celebration for Voss's 2nd Birthday! The girls helped make a bright blue cake. We did a PH and La Nap with the Suters (just keeping the party going!) and then too much fun at an after party at the McGraths. Why don't I just go to bed?! A few days of "break" before the party keeps going to celebrate some Birthdays!
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!