I was able to feel some freedom this week! I ran to book club on Monday (I was playing the part in showing up sweaty and smelly while discussing Wild.) It's been a long time since I ran without kids. It was tough, but felt great. I also got to go out (sort of) on Tuesday night. I picked up my brother and parents at the airport. We went out to dinner at the Brick on the way home. I got to catch up with Erik and his recent tragedy. And I got to hear about my parents amazing trip to Denmark. Wednesday, Suzanne and I surprised Erik while he performed improv with the local crowd in town. I even got up and did a scene! It was a fun week. I spent lots of time catching up with my bro, which is nice. We were invited to the beach to spend the day with the Boozers, which was nice. Great way to kick off the week! Lots of rain this week, which was a nice touch to the insane heat we are having. Even the 4th of July was sorta rained out. Luckily we got out early enough to enjoy some boating fun at FYC. I finally gave paddle boarding a try and loved it! I'm so impressed with Ellie on the kayak! She was out there paddling around all by herself! We did lunch with my parents and then watched the amazing fireworks at TCC. We had stayed up too late the night before. We did a PH with my bro and our neighbors. Before that we did dinner and pool up at FYC. That's becoming a fun tradition. Voss had a hearing screening this week (since they don't do that at the birth center, I had to take him in for a check). All is good, of course. Today was a busy day. We slept in until 9! Can you believe that!? We went to our neighbor's Birthday party with a super rocket water slide! The Freemans know how to throw a party! We did the contemporary mass then a Thai dinner with the neighbors. Now I have to pack up for a quick, emotional, exhausting trip to Mississippi tomorrow. But, I'll talk about that in the next post. For now, I'd like to leave on the thought going back to Independence Day. We are so blessed that we live in a country where we can sit together over a bottle of wine and have differing opinions and still laugh and enjoy the company. Cheers to my coffee club. I love it!
You know where you can find us most of the time: the pool. You may have to look around at a few different pools, though. This week we added my parents pool in a few times, just to spice things up since they are in Denmark for the week. We also got to try the San Jose pool and check out their chocolate milkshakes! An afternoon play date with the Mitchells. That was after the zoo, after we dropped my parents at the airport. We attempted a swim meet at Epping Forest one afternoon. It was not too much fun. We had to drop off our swimmer and park all the way on San Jose Blvd then take a golf cart ride back to the pool. All this (with the kids) then the meet was rained out before Ellie was able to swim a race. Blah. We did a fun dinner out with the Bentons one night. I brought my friend, Chrissy dinner one night to congratulate her on her sweet baby boy, Keadin. Phil's parents came in town. We took them out to TCC to celebrate Pop's 81st Birthday- wow! They took the girls to Ocala for the weekend while we worked an Engaged Encounter weekend. We had 11 couples. That's where the love in the air title is from. Look at the picture of Marywood, the retreat center. It's so peaceful out there. So romantic watching these young couples prepare for the sacrament of matrimony. It's always a nice, refreshing time together. Voss came with us and I think he's teething so that's been pretty rough. He's actually up crying for me now, poor guy. I better dash up there. I hope this tooth pops soon!
I am so blessed that I was able to spend Father's Day with this guy:
If you know my dad, you know I'm pretty lucky to have him as my father. This guy doesn't know a stranger. He has the whole room engrossed in whatever story he's telling. He'll make sure you're having a great time. He is quite a leader- once commanded thousands of people, currently runs a great company. But he's gentle enough to constantly remind me through words and actions how much he loves me. I've learned amazing life lessons by watching him live his life: How to love by seeing how he loves my mom. Choosing family over career. Taking care of his sisters. And how to throw a good party. We are so fortunate to live right down the street. So we can pop over for a visit on a random Sunday. He can come to flag raising at Ellie's school or to the swim meet this weekend. It's so cool. Please raise your glass (wine? coffee? diet coke?), for this guy, my dad. Thank you for being you. Happy Father's Day. I love you.
And you know I have to give some love to my baby(ies) daddy. This guy.
They scream and run to the door when he comes home. They love his "monster game" where they growl and chase each other around the house. He's the one who throws them up in the air in the pool as they squeal with delight. They take naps together. They have dance parties with Youtube together. Soccer in the front yard. Tennis. They love their daddy. You do a great job, Phil. Happy Father's Day!
I'd say this was a productive week. I cleared off the dining room table (It's so hot, we have to eat inside!) I usually store my projects in the dining room so I had to make some room so we could use the table. That was also the night of the eggplant episode. Where I made this amazing local fare recipe to accompany grilled shrimp skewers and Phil walked in and said so the kids could hear him, "I'm not eating that." I'm sure you can guess how that night went down. I'm in this new phase of life where there is very little down time. I've always had a nap time break since this whole motherhood thing started. It may not be every day or everyone, but it was there and I depended on it and planned for it. Now that window has closed. Abigail is really the only one who still needs a naptime. Voss naps but he's not really on a schedule and can still nap anywhere. It's harder to entertain the big kids during naptime than it is to continue the play and let Abby nap on the way. Also, bedtime is smoother if Abigail is exhausted. So, that's what we've been doing- just powering through. This is new for me. I'm learning to adjust my energy levels and game plan. Swimming takes up our mornings. But then we just keep going. We had lunch and play with our cousins one afternoon, coffee club to discuss Caitlyn Jener another afternoon, power hour with the Suter's (it'd been too long), story time and an oil change. Lots of dinner at the pool this week. We've been crashing FYC a bunch. Voss had a weight check and he's a pound and inch bigger! Yay! We are out of the red! Ellie had another swim meet on Saturday. A rough start (major backstroke DQ). I think we stayed out too late swimming the night before. But she got over it and finished first in her heat in freestyle, swam her first butterfly race and did another relay with pals. It was SO HOT that morning. I'm so glad we found a spot inside to play with leggos for the other kids! We went to the Applegates open house last night. Today we spent the day swimming and boating at my parents. Coffees not cutting it anymore. Someone was telling me about B-12 the other day. I will have to look into that...
With VBS every night, I got a break from cooking dinner. I'm having a hard time getting back into the swing, even with our yummy local fare delivery on Friday. Maybe just writing that will entice me to get back in the kitchen. We had some fun dinners out. One night we had Mossfire margaritas with the Bentons and Thakkars. Summer is officially in full swing. We have super swim team in the morning. That means we start at 8:30 with Ellie's practice at the FYC pool. Then we pack up and go around the corner to the TCC pool at 9:45 for Marly's practice. There's a small posse of moms doing the same thing. One even brought DD coffee for all of us one morning. For Ellie's practice all the kids play in the baby pool since the practice takes up the whole pool. But for Marly's practice the deep end is open. By then, Abigail doesn't want to play in the "baby baby pool" anymore so I usually give in and take her in the big pool. But that means I bounce on my tippy toes (good thing I'm tall) while holding Voss and hoping his face doesn't go under while Abigail swims back and forth to me and the wall. At least I'm keeping cool. One morning, I had Ansley (our mother's helper) come and got to take a break in the shade nursing Voss. That was a fun day. April and her girls came over for a bounce house play date. Ansley helped keep the peace then too. We had a babysitter come that evening for the younger two. We dropped the older two at VBS then met the Freemans and Applegates at Candy Apple to have dinner before the Gypsy Kings concert. It was a great show! We continued the party at Dos Gatos and ran into more friends. We ubered home. Going downtown the next morning as a family to look for the car before swim team was fun. We powered through and did story time after swim team. We signed up for summer reading. It's cool now that Ellie can actually read her own books! Friday night was super low key. We went to Ellie's afternoon swim team practice (there's that option, too) but it was rained out so after a quick dip we showered and came home. It was a low key Friday night with the kids in bed early, burgers and shakes and entourage for us parents. Saturday morning we took it easy, slept in, made squash pancakes, bacon and eggs. We went to a pool party with the Stevensons then spent the afternoon on the boat. We tried to do some tubing until the tube ripped. The Freemans got a new boat so we sorta did a boat play date with them. We picked up the Applegates and headed to TCC for a dip in the pool. We came back just in time for the babysitter and headed to wine club. Of course we decided we needed to do some Latin dancing at the Latin House after wine club. So, Sunday was fun. We made it to the later mass at 10:30 then lots of naps happened (none at the same time, including Phil's). It was a low key day. I ended the night at the Thoresens to watch the season finale of Game of Thrones. Wow! Today we had the morning off of swimming so we went to Pump it Up. Ellie had a swim meet this evening. I'm so proud of her! First in her heat for backstroke, 2nd for freestyle and her first freestyle relay race! We are enjoying our summer so far!
The new MOPS theme for this year is a good one: Fierce Flourishing. It's the 'embrace rest' bit that I'm real into. Last year's "bravely you" didn't really speak to me. I'm already pretty brave. But, this rest stuff sounds good to me. It's something I'm not good at. In case you don't click on the links in my blog, "Embracing Rest: Perhaps it is time to let go of exhaustion as a status symbol and productivity as a measure of worth. What if one of the most life-giving activities that would contribute to our flourishing is welcoming rhythms of rest and play into our lives? Creating healthy rhythms in our life is one way we nourish the weary spots in our soul." Sorta ironic since I'm staying up to write this post. But hey, I am proud of myself for the rest I took this past week. My mom took the middles all day one day this past week. We ran/bike rode/strollered to my parent's house to drop them off then I ran back. I took a shower and actually got back in my pajamas. I cuddled with Voss and took a nice nap. It was an amazing day. I feel so productive after just one day "off". I just needed a quiet moment to re-align myself. It exhausts me to look around at my dis-organized/train wreck house. I clean up one area and start on the next. I look back and what I just fixed is now being tackled by my children. It's just the way it is right now. I am so thankful for Linda! She came today so I'm currently sitting in as good as it gets. Phil played in a tennis tournament on Saturday. I was able to sneak out in the morning for a pedi. The older girls were invited to a luau down the street. The littles took a nap and once again I got a huge break! I need to do that more often...sleep. This was Ellie's last week of school. I now have a first grader! And I now have all four children with me all day. I forgot about the looks and comments I get! Ellie had her first swim meet on Monday! Still a bit of a fever but she was awesome! She swam in 2 events: freestyle and back stroke. I hosted book club that night. I'm still trying to finish the book: Madame Tussaud: A Novel of the French Revolution. I made yummy crepes and turned the porch into a creepy wax museum. We spent most of the time talking about Caitlyn Jenner, though. We enjoyed a beach day at Bunny's condo. It was nice and overcast, perfect for the kids! We went to April's house for a play date. Friday we had a morning play date with Alice then picked Ellie up for early release on her last day. Then, we headed to the pool. We stayed all day! A friend was celebrating her Birthday so it was a perfect kick-off for summer. We even powered through a rain storm and the cancellation of swim team. They never opened the pool back up so we went over to the Yacht Club pool and kept going until 9pm! (This is why we were so up for a restful weekend!) Sunday evening was the start of VBS. While the older two were at "camp", we went to dinner with a bunch of friends. Tonight we let them have their sans kids dinner while we did a pseudo date at e-street. This morning was Clara's Birthday party at the splash park. Our neighbors brought over the coolest gift for the girls- legos! They love their new toy, I do too...especially during nap time! Cheers to getting more R&R this week, too!
A whole week, a whole string of precious moments. Here are a few I recall from this week. Going to tea with just Marly and me. We met her friend, Kinley and her mom (Kinley's Birthday present). Cozy tea was way more expensive than I thought it could be- but I got a date with just the two of us (her friend was late) and she had her first cup of real (caffeinated) tea (chocolate peppermint)! Pulling Abigail's bestie (Avery) out of the pool after a super mom friend (Jessica) happened to notice her pink hat in the big pool! This was a super long moment, one I will never forget. If we were just moments later. A moment later. Sitting around the table at Tracy's with a bunch of MOPS friends laughing so hard that my belly shook. Voss smiling at me. Getting a text picture of Marly from my sister of her with a huge smile eating ice cream with her Godmother. Yelling, "Surprise! Happy Birthday!" For a friend's surprise 40th Birthday party. Snuggling in bed nursing Voss while listening to the rain. Falling into bed exhausted and sore from holding, bouncing and rocking Voss all afternoon. Waking up to Abigail saying, "Mom, will you snuggle me?" Sitting on the porch with our new neighbors listening to the awesome music from the party across the river. Getting a text picture of Ellie at her first ever girl scout camp. Sitting on the floor of China (in Epcot, yeah we did that today) with a child with a fever, nursing a baby while 2 other children were over tired...so all 4 literally on top of me. Going on a last minute, sunset boat ride with my parents. Some sweet. Some sour. All of them still precious.
As a mother of 4, there are some days when I'm rockin' it and think, "I've got this" and then there are other days when I just can't get it together. I'm treading water with my head bobbing at the surface. Maybe not even days, just moments. I can have a great morning then a crummy afternoon. Things can change in minutes. This week was full of those. Lots of cool pool play dates. One of my rock star moments was a MOPS play date at Adventure Landing. I encouraged my neighbor to go and was feeling brave. Marly loved the slides. I think Abigail cried the whole time but I still made her go down the slides. They both loved the lazy river. Voss was such a good baby, soaking up the shade in his carrier. Great day! This was Marly's last week of school. It sorta snuck up on me. I didn't realize the last day was a party and I didn't have her teachers gift ready until the next day. Lots of scrambling and bobbing there! We spent lots of time at TCC. River Rats began this week so that's our afternoon activity! I hosted a play date there with Abby's pals one morning. We spent lots of time there this weekend. Don't worry, Phil got in a lot of tennis, too. It felt like another 'weekend of Phil'. We went out to celebrate his Birthday (yes, it was a month ago)- Mojo's then Mellow. Lots of fun! And fun catching up with folks we don't see too often. Voss had his 4 month appointment. He's a little under weight, so we need to bulk up on feedings (more bobbing) and starting some rice cereal. We had our first CEE gathering as local coordinators. I think it went super well, we even recruited the Applegates- yes! The community loved our new meeting place (St. Matts) and our fun enrichment (the couples version of the chair game). I hope it built some confidence in Phil that we can do this. Memorial Day is upon us, as we remember those who have given their lives for our freedom and celebrate the start of summer. I'm watching the sun set while listening to the snores of my whole family. It's going to be a good summer.
Monday was our last MOPS meeting of the year. Another ringing the bell game with lots of laughter. Another summer of finding fun adventures to go on with my crew, plus one this time. I'm looking forward to it. The link is live to apply for MOPS in the fall. I highly suggest this for any mom with young children. MOPS is amazing, and has saved me so many times! I went to a Mother's Day tea with Ellie at Daisy's. It was very sweet. I did better with exercising this week. After the tea and then a family run on Tuesday evening. Wednesdays in May at Stockton is walk/bike to school so we did that. This time Marly's training wheels were on better so I had to do a lot more running to keep up. Four miles, whew! I took Thursday off, but Friday we did a morning run. It's so hard getting back into it. I'd rather sit on the couch and eat ice cream (don't worry, I did a lot of that, too ;-) We had a fun pool play date at Jessica's parent's house. I'm so proud of Abigail and her swimming. She's really got the hang of it now. We pulled the kids slide up to the pool and she was sliding in and swimming to the steps. So cool! We hosted a play date here with our Wednesday friends. I showed off my grilling skills. I've been doing that all week. Ellie had a fun BBQ picnic at school. My mom came with us to have lunch with her. That was nice. Marly had her final program at school and then an ice cream social. She only has one more week of school! We went to the Applegates Friday night to grill out. Stayed way too late. We started slow Saturday morning. I got up and made eggs. As we ate on the porch we decided to hit the ground running. We got a late start but got the courage/crazies to take the boat to the zoo! We got to see dolphins! It was so cool! They came right up close to the boat! We had a nice lunch at the zoo and walked around for a bit (it was so hot!) We went straight from there to Brooks' construction Birthday party. Very swanky! We came home, showered and then Phil and I went back out in the boat to the Nixon's for the MOPS End of the Year party. Lots of fun, maybe too much. Today was super rough for me. We missed the early mass. Phil went to the store to get real bacon. We had a nice porch breakfast again. We split up for the day. I took the younger 3 to Charlie's choo choo Birthday. Phil took Ellie to Beckett's park Birthday. Fun party weekend! We went to the contemporary mass this evening and then a family dinner at "Teena-wanna-fats". Love this spring!
Monday began with a blueberry picking play date. If you've never done it, it's really fun- almost therapeutic to pick blueberries. The aftermath is nasty. The girls probably each ate a pound while picking. We had a make up gymnastics class that afternoon. I packed dinner and we ate at the St. Matthews playground before girl scouts. Ellie had an awards ceremony. So proud of my little Daisy! Tuesday was cinco de mayo- one of my favorite days of the year. Tracy and I met for lunch at La Nap. They were having a problem with their gas so couldn't cook anything. No problem for us- we had a liquid lunch. Great way to celebrate! The party continued with our pm play date at the park and the drive thru liquor store ritas. Wednesday I got a break. Mom watched the middles while Meghan and I took the babies to the TPC. Beautiful day, walking the greens. We didn't follow anyone, just hung out. Early release so we did a pm play date then we did gymnastics and picnic dinner again. Ellie had religion class. I high fived Phil when he brought her home then met some MOPS pals out for our final leadership dinner at Blind Rabbit. Thursday I planned nothing. I just needed a breather. We had Ellie's school program that night. She was one of 3 children chosen to do the introduction. How cool is that! She did throw a temper tantrum after because she said we weren't watching her. We were talking too much. She had the second performance the next morning so we made sure to watch closely. Phil burnt the day and went with my parents and sister to TPC. After Ellie's show we did story time. That evening we got a sitter and met some new friends at FYC for dinner. Afterwards we went to our TCC and Phil played a pick up game of tennis (ha). Saturday we woke up early and began Phil's Birthday running our first family race. It was just a mile but I think it was really good for all of us. So what do you do after burning 100 calories? You go eat 1000 more at Maple Street. Phil's loving his jawbone gift. We spent the day at TCC. He played tennis for like 4 hours! We spent most of that time in the pool. I'm trying to figure out how to do this with a baby at the pool. It's already pretty hot. He liked putting his feet in the baby pool. That night we had a sitter come after bedtime. The Freemans picked us and the Applegates up for dinner at the Brick. Pretty low key, we were wiped out. (Of course I stayed up way too late watching Game of Thrones and eating a Sonic milkshake). This morning was a rough start. But I should screen shoot the image of all my children on top of me in bed fighting over who's gift I get to open first. This was one of the better mothers days for me, maybe even the best if only I could remember that far. Ellie and Marly made me sweet gifts at school. Marly painted a hand towel with her hand and feet prints. Ellie gave me green tea for when she upsets me. Cute! Phil had taken them out to get me a gift certificate for a pedicure. I wasn't expecting that! We did 8:30 mass with our friends then came home for early naps (I think everyone took one!). My parents and the Kerkezi's picked us up on the boat and went to FYC for a late brunch. We went back to my parents for swimming. It was such a relaxing afternoon! Bedtime and an evening run to the grocery store for me (so much easier). Happy Mother's Day! I hope you're day was nice, too!
We hired lots of babysitters this week. That means we had lots of fun things to do. That also means Voss has decided to fight a bottle. Monday was an emotional meeting at MOPS. We had Kristen Perez talk to us about body image. Seems like body image in our group is pretty low, which is sad. Interesting conversation, though. A rough afternoon dashing about and getting the time wrong for a make up gymnastics class. The first babysitter came Tuesday morning. I took my sister out for breakfast for her Birthday. It was so nice to catch up and celebrate her! Abigail's buddy, Alice came over while her parents moved. That evening our 2nd babysitter came. We went to Gourmet Night with Phil's Rotary Club. It was a chilly, overcast day so I guess they planned for rain. That's a bummer because Club Continental is so pretty and I feel like we didn't use the space. The good news is that I won a mani & pedi and ate LOTS of good food! Another babysitter (this time my sister) watched Voss while the middles and I went to the dentist. Abigail had her first appointment and did such a great job! We met Phil for lunch then headed to pick up Ellie for early release. We met some friends at the park to play. No gymnastics that afternoon due to a power outage so we were able to relax a bit before religion class. Thursday the younger two and I met the Rice girls at the zoo. Perfect day, kina chilly and sunny. That afternoon came another sitter. Phil and I double-booked. He had a TPC pre-party and I had a girls night at the Candy Apple. I think Voss pretty much cried the whole time. Poor Kayla (the babysitter). Friday we more chill. We went running/biking, Target then story time. Abigail actually got to nap in her bed for nap time- amazing! There was a CEE weekend and our first time as local coordinators. So, this week was super stressful for me doing all the behind the scenes work. I'm hoping it goes more smoothly as I do more. I made lots of mistakes. We had the Bentons over Friday night for a family night with Thai. We coned off the cul-de-sac and the kids rode bikes and scooters. It was a perfect spring night. Saturday I got up and made eggs and sausage. I took Marly to her buddy, Emma's Birthday party (she's been so excited about it for weeks!). I hung for a while then dashed off to Vanessa's baby shower for her twins. It was so nice to be kid-free (although my phone was blowing up). I went back and got Marly then we headed home. I took the kids to the pool so Phil could take a nap. He ran up to meet us. The kids had dinner and showers. Our last babysitter of the week arrived soon after. We went to the Rotaract Black Tie & Blue Jeans Gala. It was the 25th reunion- a blast from the past! Lots of fun catching up with everyone! This morning we had blueberry pancakes, another slow morning. We headed over to St. Joe's (the superdome) for Owen's first communion! It was a 2-hour mass at high noon. Mmm hmm. We were saved with burgers and dogs, swimming and ice cream cake at the Kerkezi's to celebrate. A low key evening with lots of catch up reading and early bedtime is how we ended it. I got to watch the sunset by myself on the porch. Not too shabby.