This week we celebrated our military heroes. The girls were out of school for a bit. We had lots of free family time. We also had some sickness pass through. I think Ellie and I had a night of food poisoning, although I can't figure out what it was. Phil had a cold (meaning he thought he was dying and stayed in bed all day- of course that was his day off of work). Now we're passing back some sniffles, nothing much, not enough to hold us back from anything. But that means everyone is sleeping more (or should be sleeping more). Living in Jacksonville we're surrounded by military heroes. So, I usually take it for granted- missing my ID card to military discounts and the nice gym on base. It takes a day like Veterans day, reading all the Facebook postings, to remind myself that I really am thankful for all those who have served and all the rights and liberties I have. That's pretty amazing. MOPS was wonderful on Monday. Ellie liked going on her day off so it was a win-win. The speaker was Dr. Linda Miles talking to us about relationships with husbands, mothers and in-laws. She gave some really insightful points- so much so that I've had a few post-therapy sessions with friends this week! I had a down day and worked on getting "the new boy"'s room ready. I moved all Abigail's clothes out and now she's sleeping on the bottom bunk with Marly on the top. I had been stalling this move for so long, not prepared for the battle. It turns out, it was a super easy transition. 'Bout time something was super easy around here! Now I just need to masculinize the room and move his things in (from the dining room). Maybe one day this week? I'll do a before and after shot so you can see it. I had a day of appointments on Thursday starting with a birth center appointment. Everything is going well. I got a rH shot then headed to get an ultrasound. I'm so glad I arranged for Gara to watch Abigail for me. That was an awful experience. I had to wait an hour to get in and was almost late to pick up Marly. Luckily, everything seems to be fine. My low-lying placenta must have grown up with the baby. He kicks like crazy! It's pretty neat that if someone touches my stomach, he kicks them! Friday was a busy day! We started bright and early with Dunkin Donuts (I signed up to bring a dozen for a teacher book fair preview at Ellie's school so we all got a treat, too). Then, we had a playdate at the Fire Station. Then, we had a play date at the Harmon's. I hadn't seen Jamie since she became a stay at home mom so it was so nice to catch up with her. We went out with a fun new group Friday night. The Boozers and their pals: Deimlings, Trobaughs and Wilhelms. Dinner at the Brick then drinks at Mojo's. Just what we all needed- a night of belly laughs! I love that! Saturday was low key. This was the first weekend in a long time with no plans! It was chilly so we went to OP mall to ride the train and get a few new clothes for Ellie. She loved that! We all took a nice, long nap that afternoon as it got colder. We met the Applegates at Moon River and checked in with the Bentons and Dearings while there. Today we went to mass, missed seeing all our Catholic buddies, so we headed over for breakfast at TCC, which Jan was right, it IS an amazing deal! We caught up with our old neighbors, the O'Steens then did a family shopping trip to WD. After nap we took the boat out for a spin. It warmed up today so it was a nice afternoon. We enjoyed lots of family time tonight, all about the Bravos, no trouble!
In the past, a closing has been a joyous occasion- champagne, high fives, hugs and happiness. This week, was a milestone for the Bravo family. Phil and I learned a lesson of hard knocks. We closed on a property we purchased back when we were blissful, DINKs. For a time we were doing great, getting our hands dirty in real estate. After a while, the dirty hands got old (pulling a dead cat out from under the house on my lunch break) and even sad (a tenant stealing the copper out of our AC system causing lots of damage$$). We've finally decided to end the nightmare and got someone to buy the house- meaning we had to bring a big, fat piggy bank to the closing. So, while we were happy to get rid of it, we were sad to take a nasty hair cut. Lesson learned. Let's say good-bye to our little nightmare:
It was a week of ups and downs. Some moments I felt like Super Woman- baking squash M&M pancakes for breakfast <things I snuck squash into this week: pancakes, muffins, smoothies and chili>, researching and walking to vote, planning a cool nursery 2 play date at the park and taking the girls to a Frozen Princess party at Chick Fil A...then other moments I just couldn't get it together when I was anything but a super woman- lots of temper tantrums and fighting (the older two are already at it), a whole mile walk with a crying toddler, a crabby mood that I couldn't shake, dual meltdown while I'm trying to get blood work done (perks of being O-), toys everywhere, lunches un-made, rooms a wreck (and no I haven't even started on "the new boy" room (as Marly calls him). I'm glad that I have friends I can hang out with and let the sloppiness occur and just being around other moms makes it better. As Gara pointed out, at least we were able to have an adult conversation at lunch with the children were quietly tearing apart her living room pulling out dozens of puzzles and dumping all the pieces on the floor. So while the moms were putting them all back together, they moved on to destroy another room. And Stephanie always welcomes me with a big glass of good wine (that somehow tastes fine while pregnant -since most wine doesn't). I have a good village! I paid it forward by bringing the Mitchell's dinner and meeting baby Mollie and dropping off a nursery thank you for a new worker and bringing dinner and lunch to Kathleen who had to burry her dad this weekend. I got out of making dinner twice (CFA) and Zoie's for Ellie's school fundraiser. Friday evening Phil found me hiding out on the porch in the dark (time change) while the girls were having a major dance party while waiting for him to come home. We did a low key dinner at TCC then headed to bed early. Saturday I made breakfast and we headed to Alex's soccer game and dropped Abigail with my parents for the day. Then, we took the older girls to Tallahassee for the homecoming football game! Being back on campus was so nostalgic for Phil and I (and romantic). The girls and I toured my sorority house. I showed them my old rooms. Future legacies?! We were so lucky to meet up with the Thoresens and they got us into a fabulous tailgate party at the new Old School club. The girls were super excited to go to the game! This was Marly's first FSU game. Ellie hasn't been since she was a year old! They loved the cotton candy and watching Chief Osceola and Renegade! It was nice to pull out a win and do the chop with thousands of fellow fans. It was a long walk back to the car, and an even longer drive back to Jax (especially when you're the one driving and everyone else is sleeping). This morning was even more painful. We got up and went to 8:30 mass. Donuts motivate us all. I got to sneak out for a pedi party to celebrate Mercedes' pregnancy. Later, after a power hour, we walked up to get Chinese food for dinner. It was a good way to end the week.
It seems like last week was more Halloween-ish than this week. I had to actually go looking for it! It started with hosting book club on Monday night for the book the Haunting of Hill House. I don't think the book was all that great, but the conversation was: spooky stories, who believes in ghosts, exorcisms, oh my! Going to the dentist (really, that should be done after Halloween, right?), seeing all the jack-o-lanterns at the zoo for spooktacular and then on Halloween we has spooky pancakes at iHOP and then went to the library for a special Halloweeny story time. We also did some not so Halloweeny things: at MOPS we had a speaker discuss disciplining our children. We had a play date with Willow. I've been much better at planning playdates for Abigail. Last week I hosted all her buddies from the MOPS nursery. We're going to do a weekly thing, it took off well. I had an appointment to check on baby Bravo. He's doing well. Marly and Abby got to hear his heart beat with me. I'm 26 weeks this week and feeling fine. I discussed nap time last week. I'm doing my HypnoBabies again this time and practicing at nap time. Potty training Abigail is going well. Five out of 7 days this week she's pooped on the potty (is that TMI?) It's a big deal here because it's been very little work on my part, she tells me and I take her diaper off. Nice! Ellie had her last soccer practice and last game this weekend. It was freezing cold out there watching her, but this has been a good experience. I'll think we'll do it again! We started out trick-or-treating at 5pm. The Leens came with us down our street. It was nice to have some pals. After our street we went to the Nixons for the twins Birthday party/ more trick-or-treating in their hood. So much fun! The girls had a ball! Saturday afternoon we had some friends over for chili and to watch the GA/FL game. Today we went to mass then Phil took the older girls to play tennis while Abigail and I took a nap. Later, the Suter's came over for a power hour after looking at a house in our hood for sale. Some young, fun family better buy it! Daylight savings time is here and so far no one has noticed. We'll see! Now the cool weather is here, November is too!
One time I was in Babies R Us trying out double strollers when I was pregnant with Marly. I was telling whomever I was with how important it was to me to have the ability for both children to recline so they could sleep at the same time. This mean, eavesdropping lady overheard me and jumped into the conversation- cackeling at me- saying "your children will never nap at the same time." At that moment, I vowed to make tandem nap time happen. And I did. And still do with the next pair of nappers, and plan to continue with the future set. Fast forward to present times- being pregnant means nap time is ultra important for me. Nights might not always be a success so I rely on that catch up time. Don't walk away from this thinking I have a perfect record. I don't. Naptime does sometimes fail. But I am always going to aim for the moon on this one. This means the day must revolve around the naptime window. The window shuts fairly early because Ellie needs to be picked up from school. And then the afternoon craziness begins right after that (que multiple crabby, whiny children) with park play dates, home work, dinner prep, soccer and religion class. Man, I need a nap just to get through that part! The window for nap is also sometimes tough to open: morning play dates, picking Marly up from school, the fine tuned procedure to get Marly to nap, and the extra long pre-nap book she chooses. And then I'm sure you can guess that the actual overlapping of nap can be a challenge. If one of the forementioned goes awry, the whole process goes out that window. So this week we had some interesting nap time obstacles. First, those beloved Blue Angels. Yes, a symbol of America- right here to entertain us in J-Vegas. Most residents are thrilled to look up and see the aironatics right over their homes. This lady is holding onto her rattling China cabinet praying for the roaring to stop. Next, is late night fun. You know I'm a sucker for that one! Who's going to turn down a movie with their mom and sister? Too bad a start time of 10pm on a Wednesday is the only time we could agree on! And then sometimes I just had too much coffee or Halloween candy and I'm not tired enough to nap- don't you hate that?! I know, what a complaint! Good thing we had lots of fun things happening this week to keep us wired and pumped full of sugar. I guess we'll just sleep when we're dead.
Halloween is happening! Anna arrived in the mail just in time. We've been playing Frozen all week. We've also been feeding the neighbor's cats, reading lots of books, enjoying the cooler weather and having some fun. Monday was a MOPS meeting with the behavior specialist who did that potty training seminar I went to a few months ago. Tuesday Abigail had a play date with her buddy, Sam. Wednesday we went to the beach. Timuquana has this new reciprocal membership with Sawgrass so I thought I'd check it out. The younger girls and I headed out right after dropping Ellie off and WOW! This is going to rock my world. A great place to go right on the beach. Amazing! We even went back today with Phil and Ellie. So nice! We got into the Halloween spirit- paining pumpkin nails and heading to the pumpkin patch on Saturday morning. Last minute we got to go to Halloween Doors & More that night (thanks to Regan!). That was a crazy day because Ellie's game was smack in the middle of the day then we raced home for naps before getting Frozen for the party. Phil and I used to volunteer at Halloween Doors & More back in the day, but this was our first time going as parents. It was super cool, just how I remembered. The girls had a ball. Getting them bathed and in bed after was a nightmare (meltdowns when I took their make up off). Still worth it, though. Chrissy and Tripp came over for a night cap while Phil watched FSU beat Notre Dame. We did an Engaged Encounter gathering on Friday night. It was nice to catch up, we hadn't been in a few months. We discussed the NFP chat from the last weekend we did. Today we slept in a bit then had breakfast and went to mass. After the beach we went to the Sleeth's pumpkin carving party. I did a Spiderman pumpkin. It just looked cool and do-able. We didn't win, yet again. But, it was still pretty good. We finally got the girls down for bed after a wild evening. Now we're eating Halloween candy. Dangerous!
In the effort to enrich our marriage, brighten our children and save some cash, we decided to get rid of cable. This is something we've discussed doing for some time, just didn't have the guts. Our bill went up recently (whatever promotion we were on ended) so we bit the bullet and went brave. It's been a tough week, not gonna lie. One rough afternoon when I needed some Ellen, I discovered that when you cut cable that means you have no channels at all. Today we bought some "rabbit ears" and now we have 30 channels, but clearly we have more like 20. After a week of this, it's not too bad. Most shows we love are still available for free online and thanks to Katie we have HBO-Go, which is endless entertainment as it is. The only thing we're really missing is the Walking Dead, which of course premieres tonight. Meaning the Bravos must get creative. Thank you Thoresens for saving us tonight! Another fun thing this week is that we're participating in a Local Fare fundraiser for MOPS. This is forcing me to add lots of vegggies to our diet and try new recipes. We're feeding our neighbor's cats for a few weeks, which the girls are loving. Why get a pet when you can just go next door and play for a bit, teach responsibility then head out? More fun things; we had a MOPS leadership meeting on Monday, which saved me because you know I was exhausted after driving back from Miami. We did a fun lunch playdate at McDonalds afterwards. Tuesday I had an appointment to listen to baby boy Bravo. He's growing great and has a nice heart beat in the 140-150s. My due date window has grown from perhaps Jan20-Feb2. I'm hoping it's the latter so Abigail can have a Birthday party. Abby-cadaby had a playdate before the appointment with her buddy, Willow then after the appointment we had ice cream for lunch. That afternoon we had a quick play date with the Cower boys before dinner. Wednesday was a big day. We went to the Sykes & Cooper Corn Maze for a MOPS play date. It was so HOT! Other than that, the girls had a great time. Carpooling made it even more fun. Thursday I stayed in with Abigail to work on potty training. No M&Ms were given. It's a slow process. The thought of potty training 2 more children just overwhelms me. Abigail seems to want to go- she tries to take off her diaper and tells me when its dirty, but I can get her to go on the potty once to see how to do it. I just need some one on one time with her. Ha. That night my dad came over for a Birthday dinner (a week late, I know). The girls went nuts and loved having him there. I think he enjoyed it, too. My mom's been out of town on a European Viking cruise with her sister, so I think he enjoyed a distraction. Friday was nice and low key- a morning walk/bike ride then story time. We put the girls to bed early and got burgers and watched Up in the Air. Saturday began with pancakes and a dance party then Ellie's soccer game. Phil took the girls to Leo's 2nd Birthday with a train while I went to Metro Diner to celebrate baby Mitchell #3 with Katherine and some sweet friends. After nap we went to Elisa's 2nd super sweet rainbow party. Abigail went nuts (well, we all did) at the candy table. The sugar high is still going thanks to the party favors! This morning was mass, quick visit with my parents then Dunkin donuts (clearly we needed more sugar!) Target (for those rabbit ears) then some pizza for lunch. This afternoon we went to Losco park for the FFC family fun day. Good thing we could run out some of that sugar high! Phil made tacos for dinner. Now we're just waiting for the WD kick off!
This week I went all the way to Kentucky for some soul candy. Have you read Chicken Soup for the soul? That's what I'm thinking...lots of that, inside and out. What I mean is, a conference for moms. Picture 3,000 mainly kids-less moms, it was pretty sweet. Sleeping in, a comfy bed all to myself, sessions on managing anger, sex, mothering daughters, family values, friendships and faith all going with the "Be You Bravely" theme. I even was able to have a few fun nights out, one meeting up with an ole pal, Deborah who recently moved to Louisville. The week began like many others- an oil change, last minute play dates (one with Abigail at Willow's house and another with 6 crabby kids walking through the hood), a canceled midwife appointment and book club with a fantastic adoption discussion on Orphan Train. Wednesday after Ellie's religion class, the girls and I drove down to Miami. I got in at 1am then turned around and left their house for the airport around 6:30am- a crazy start for my vacation- but hey, that's what you gotta do sometimes. It turned out to be a win-win. I got a much needed break, the girls had a fun weekend with their grandparents and Phil had a weekend to miss us ;-) I met up with some Jacksonville friends in Atlanta then we all flew into Louisville together. I think the break out sessions were much better than last year but the main sessions weren't as powerful. The one workshop on anger was totally worth the trip out there. I'll try to do a re-cap with my notes for MOPS and post it again here. It was good stuff. I flew back early Sunday morning, made it to Miami that afternoon then drove back to Jax late last night. In all my travel time I was able to catch up with my siblings and a few friends on the phone, which is always nice. Now I'm renewed and re-energized- a happy mama!
I'm finally getting into the swing of things with the girls in school. We are reading lots (even me on my Kindle, thanks Ali!) and Ellie got 100% on her sight words quiz this week- yea! I ran around like a nut at MOPS getting the nursery in order, but I was still able to relax at the meeting. It was almost a chilly, rainy week- overcast mostly so it maybe felt like fall? We even had the first day of fall...not that it matters much here in FL, our fall is more like December...but it was a nice feeling to have a break from the sauna of August. So we played at the park a few times. Once we met Jean up there with her boys since she's in town still. We had coffee club at Suzanne's to discuss the latest with the Jacksonville Landing. I had a lunch date sans kids mostly for Stephanie's Birthday. She hosted a rockin' play date at her house on Friday. I feel like we were outside the whole day. Our weekend was super low key...finally! We went to Moon River for pizza on Friday night. Saturday Ellie had an early soccer game. We dipped into Maple Street for brunch afterwards before heading to RPDS for a Parenting with Purpose seminar. We sat in this great session that was discipline vs. punishment and picked up a few tips. We took a wonderful family nap then went to TCC to watch the FSU game. This turned out to be a great idea. They have flat screens set up on the patio facing the river with comfy couches and chairs. So, Phil and I sat and ate and watched while the girls ran all over the lawn. We had the place to ourselves, too. To top it off, the 'Noles pulled out a win- whew! So, it was a good night! This morning we went to mass and saw a bunch of friends. We snagged the Applegates and hit up Metro Diner for a crazy-kid breakfast. So, a lot of eating out this weekend. Not really in our plan, but it sure makes my job easy. Some of us did a super early naptime so we squeezed in a trip to the park and now we're back working on sight words and pseudo potty training (that means Abigail is diaper-less and the older girls are in it only for the M&Ms <Lucy cleaning up lots of messes>) Happy Sunday to you! I keep seeing this: Happy Fall, Y'all!
This week my good friend, Chrissy got married. I was privileged enough to be her bridesmaid, a roll I wasn't quite used to. I finally got with the program this week and started beefing up my maid-duties. I had to tap into Chrissy's mom to get a steady stream of to-do's. It worked out well because Phil's parents came to visit this week, too. So, I was able to sneak off to perform my duties without being missed too much. I got in a few fun things, too like late lunch with my mom and a pedicure. The theme of the wedding was Steampunk, which has baffled me this whole time...but the best man gave a great speech last night where he talked about it being the perfect combination of both of them; her creativity/artistic syle- his mechanical/cars/tools style. Now it makes more sense. It was crazy and outlandish and not something I'd do...but perfect for them and I got teary quite a few times this weekend: the groom's mom's speech at the rehearsal dinner (I get the mom's perspective these days), helping Chrissy into her gorgeous wedding dress and hearing them exchange their written vows. I even got in a cardio workout- helping to bustle the dress and sprinting back to the hotel suite to grab the forgotten bouquet! I didn't take any pictures to post here, though. I've read too many posts about iPhone photo-bombs from professional photographers. So, I'll post a link here later when they come out. Other things we did this week: a play date at a splash park with MOPS, convention fundraiser cooking/catering with MOPS, Ellie's open house for religious education (her teacher will be a friend I knew back in high school who ran this awesome camp for teenagers so I'm so excited for this!), Ellie's soccer game in the rain (a WIN!), play date with the Thompsons who are visiting, walk to Starbucks with my friend Katherine, lunch with Ellie at school, an awesome FSU win, a great visit with my in-laws and a quick visit with my brother, Erik today while Phil was at the Jags game. So, we're exhausted but happy this Sunday-funday.
This week began with some sad news: my Uncle Freddie passed away. The week was a whirlwind as I spun off to Natchez to be with family and celebrate his life. It was pretty stressful, but well worth the trip. I brought Abigail and Marly with me and left Ellie here with Phil (didn't want her missing school). We left Monday afternoon and drove to Navarre to meet up with my parents (who happened to be there after spending a weekend with Katie & Zach). Tuesday we rallied with some FL cousins and caravanned to MS. That worked out really well! That evening was the viewing. The girls loved running around with their cousins. I wish I was able to take a super cousin picture, but it all just went by so fast. We spent that night up on the lake. We had a relaxing morning then headed back into Natchez for the funeral. I left right from the cemetery to drive back to FL. Suzanne came with me, which was nice to have another driver and extra help with the girls. I was home at 2am on Thursday morning so you know that day was rough. After taking the big girls to school, Abigail and I just vegged then we all took a nice afternoon nap. Ellie's open house was that night so a babysitter came to watch the younger girls while Ellie and I had a "date night". It was neat seeing her classroom and she loved giving me a tour of her school. Friday was pretty relaxed as well. A new friend from MOPS gave me all her baby boy clothes! I picked up my dress for Chrissy's wedding next weekend and took the girls to story time. We had a very low key night, ate dinner in (a take away meal!), put the girls down, then Phil went on a guy's night while I went to bed early. Saturday was Ellie's first soccer game! She did pretty well. I think she was most excited about Dunkin Donuts afterward. I was able to dip out for Lauren's Birthday lunch at Bb's. That evening we went to the Nixons for brats. This morning we went to mass then a super play date at the Suters. Now, we're just taking it easy prepping for the week. I'd like you all to raise a glass for my Uncle Freddie, a great man. Cheers!