The Hurricane threw me off. First, my room is in disarray. The carpet is ripped up and rolled to the corner so my furniture is all over the place. It's amazing how un-zen that can make me! Also, I'm reading the book club book, The Girls. It's putting me in an awful mood. It's an awful book. And I'm getting all emotional about politics on Facebook. Deep Breath. So, this was a hard week to get back into the swing of things. In fact, I wouldn't exactly say that I'm back. I'm still all over the place (but aren't I always!) Voss and I did story time and lunch at the park on Tuesday. We went to the Choice Wine thing that night and it was much better this week. The topic was about making the most of the moment. Always a good conversation. I totally forgot that I had planned a play date with my friend April and was bringing her dinner. So there was a scramble on Wednesday morning. I picked up a Stoffer's lasagna and bagged salad and donuts at WD and headed to Julington Creek. Luckily, April is cool like that and we had a nice visit. My mom and I went to check out bridesmaids dresses for Katie's wedding on Thursday. I totally flaked and forgot about Abigail's ballet class that afternoon! We went to the FYC Halloween party. I was so busy trying to get homework done and everyone dressed and ready! Agh! Neat party, though! On Friday we met Kim and her kids at the new Boone park (mine fell asleep in the car of the first half of the play date!). Then we walked to Mellow for pizza. The weather has been perfectly fall. Awesome park weather! We went to dinner at TCC for a make-up first Friday. The kids loved the glow sticks on the lawn. Voss got a cold and started wheezing so we didn't stay too long. He was creeping me out yesterday with his forced breathing. We've been using his inhaler. We ran in the Stockton Fun Run. We signed up to do the 5K but we only made it about 1.5. We chilled out most of the day. Phil took Marly to watch a tennis match. We went to the Assumption fall festival. Ansley came with us and then babysat for a few hours when we got to go to a yummy client dinner at Orsay. We went to mass, met up with Ansley's mom and headed to Elisa's butterfly Birthday party. Voss was much better today. Those 2 naps yesterday helped! Marly had a soccer game and team pictures. We took a little break then went to Leo's Birthday party. A full day! I'm hoping to be back in the groove next week!
Well the week started out great. Monday was my Godson's 10th Birthday! The girls rode bikes and I ran with the younger two to school. We did flag raising (still trying to figure out how to do that with multiple kids, who do you stand with?). Then, I ran to MOPS. We had a leadership meeting. Afterwards I got a ride with Vanessa's mom to Mellow for lunch. We did have a brief scare where we locked my kids in her car with it running as we were leaving. Luckily, Abigail can get out of her car seat and climbed into the front seat and rolled down the window! Amazing! That night was the Choice Wine program at St. Matthews. I wasn't a fan of the break out group this time. We had a closed-minded old man who gave me a nasty vibe. Tuesday was rainy, a storms a comin'. Voss and I did storytime then played in the library for a while. That night Phil took Ellie to her first Reconciliation class- prepping for her first Sacrament in December! Wednesday I braved it and took the younger two to a corn maze. It was supposed to be a MOPS play date but I was the only one who showed up. It was rainy and we got wet. But it was fun! They closed the place early. On the way home I got a call telling me school would be closed for the next two days. That's when we started making plans. Phil lived through Hurricane Andrew. No way were we staying in town for this one. Hurricane Matthew was on it's way to hit Jacksonville Friday afternoon! I called Tallahassee for hotel rooms but they were sold out for Friday night! I talked to my cousin who was in Orlando for a conference and calmed her down. It gave me an idea. Orlando! Yes, it was still in "the cone". But the storm was projected to ride the coast. Maybe we could get a Disney vacation out of this? While Phil tied down everything outside, I booked a room in Orlando through the weekend and packed us up. We left that night and checked in. We ended up with a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom suite! It was perfect! We got up early Thursday morning and headed to Epcot. It was overcast and a little drizzly, but we had our Mickey ponchos! The weather worsened and they closed the park at 5pm. By then, we had done everything! We did have some stress getting groceries (since our reservation in Germany didn't work out). Publix was a mad house! But we had a nice Red Baron pizza dinner at our dining room table. While we slept the storm passed Orlando. We spent the next day in our PJs watching movies, reading library books, braiding hair and eating cheese poofs. It was great! We watched the Hurricane go up the coast to Jacksonville. By then, Orlando opened back up. The next morning we went to the Magic Kingdom. Great day! We stayed for the light parade, one of the final ones! We had to switch out of rooms but stayed in the same hotel, since we extended a night. Our neighbor sent us pictures of our house. No power, but everything seemed fine. School was closed for another day. We decided to stay another night in Orlando. We did the hotel pool then hit DIsney Springs. We did T-Rex for lunch, rode the water taxi to Port Orleans then had ice cream for dinner! A new hotel and the presidential debates! We got word that our house had power so we came home this morning. We did a great job of turning the school closure and storm anxiety into a family Disney vacation! Turns out we do have some water damage in our master bedroom, the guest room and perhaps a few places in the ceiling. Now that it's dry, it's hard to tell (maybe until the mildew sits in?) so places are still popping up. Yuck! And we have some nastiness in the yard from the river and lost our shed. We are so thankful for our fabulous vacation, our homes, lives and each other. 'Eh I've been fighting Matthew for years ;-)
Another week with the Bravos. I'm not reading any books right now. I'm waiting on my book club book from the library. In the meantime, I'm reading some MOPS Starry Eyed stuff that they send me. There's some good stuff in there. The theme is a lot about slowing down and having a good time this year. One of the practices said to capture daily snapshots (mentally). I liked that. I thought about how the water looks like it has sparkles when the sun is setting. Or Abigail picking flowers on our runs. Or reading with Marly on the white couch. Or Voss giving me a hug. Sweet moments. I also have been reading a lot of political articles. I got so caught up in a friend's immigration post on FB. I had trouble sleeping one night. Whew! It is fall, which means maybe the mornings are a bit cooler. There's a nice breeze here or there. But it's still hot. Here's the recap of our MOPS meeting on Monday. I'm doing that blog now, too. Phil and I stayed up Monday night to watch the debate. I feel like it was sorta like watching my parents fight. Voss and I did story time and the park again. I convinced a few friends to join us at the park for a picnic this time. That was nice. We had Choice Wine again on Tuesday. This time talking about finances. Ugh. Wednesday I hosted coffee club- Clinton vs Trump. Although we were all Clinton supporters so we all just agreed on everything. We need more conservatives to show up! It was a busy afternoon with golf, soccer and religion class. Phil and I got Chinese and watched This is Us, my new favorite show. Voss and I had a pool play date with a little pal, Clay. That afternoon Phil and I got a last minute sitter and went to a new Mojos opening. It was a nice date night. Friday we went to St. Simon Island for a play date. No pictures but I sat on a raft in the pool playing catch with Voss. Super nice! That afternoon, we played in the Wine & 9 with the Napoleons. It was such a gorgeous night. Lots of wine with fun friends! Late night, though! We slept in on Saturday and had a nice breakfast. Marly had a soccer game. Phil played tennis. We watched the Wizard of Oz. That afternoon we went to Regan's 40th Birthday party at this new place, South Kitchen. Then, we headed to OP to have dinner at Phil's boss's house. A busy party weekend. It was nice to take it easy today. The Bentons came to bfast with us after mass today. Then we did Sunday Funday. A bit breezy out on the paddleboard but still so nice! Happy Fall, Y'all!
It really does take a village. My village sure showed up this week. It was nice. I took the Applegate girls to the zoo for the MOPS play date with my crew. It sounds nuts, but really it was so nice to have built in playmates. I had a sweet morning on Tuesday. Voss and I went to storytime then had a picnic at the park. Still a bit hot for the park but it's getting there hopefully. Phil and I went to this Choice Wine program at church that night. We started the class on Valentine's Day, if you remember, at St. Luke's. But we only went to the first one. So, we picked this up since it came to our church. The video portion is rough but the discussion afterwards is great. And I'm a sucker for babysitting and wine! Wednesday was a Costco day. Then, a busy afternoon. Marly had soccer practice then Phil came to grab the girls and bring them to the Applegates to Meghan could drive them to religion class and Dave picked them up. Bam! Awesome, village action! Thursday we did a morning play date with our pals, Nico and Mabel. Voss ran over to Nico when he saw him at the zoo! Phil and I went to a prospective member mixer at TCC. Jess took the girls to and from Girl Scouts that night. The village again! We had such a great time meeting some new people and convincing some to join TCC. Friday I paddleboarded to a play date. So cool! That play date was another village move- awesome! That night we brought dinner to the Harringtons to celebrate their baby twins. It was chaotic with nine children running around! But, it was fun to spend time with them! Saturday morning after breakfast, Phil went to play in a tennis match. We ran to TCC to cheer him on, then we went to Marly's soccer game! The village came to cheer her on! My parents, Suzanne and the boys. Jersey Mikes for lunch then the afternoon at FYC. Fun afternoons with the Applegates and Nixons! We stayed for the kids dinner then headed home. Caroline came to babysit late. We met some of Phil's work friends for dinner at TCC to show them around. They are planning to join. This morning Voss woke up with goopy eyes. I defrosted my last pack of breastmilk and have been squirting his eyes. So far, so good! Phil stayed home from mass with him so he could rest. It was a relaxing day. I made a lion and scarecrow costume. Then, we went to celebrate my dad's 69th Birthday! Suzanne and I made shrimp quesadillas. I made a 7 layer dip. Dad had his favorite, lemon meringue pie! It was so nice spending time with him on his special day. I'm so thankful for my village!
I did get my 7.5-ish hours of sleep for the next few nights. I think. I don't have one of those bracelets that actually tracks it. I mean I went to bed around 11 and got out of bed around 7. Sure, lots of things happen between those times. There's lots of bed hopping. Random kids appear. There was a Buckman bridge nightmare in there at some point. But, I tried. It was one of those weeks where fun stuff just happened. I like that. We went to a breakfast play date with the Leens, Trexlers, Suters and Blaizes. That was pretty neat. Then, Tracy and I went to Joanne's for some MOPS star fabric. I got all the stuff to make some Halloween costumes. Wednesday was early release so the girls had golf. I took the littles in the pool and forgot their bathing suits. So, we just winged it. I think they loved that! Marly had soccer practice then I booked it with the older two to the kick off for religion class. It was a mass then meeting the teachers. Whew! What a day! I've been good about running each morning- just a 2-miler. I threw out a MOPS FB play date on Thursday. BLTs and lots of baby boys! Ballet was a bust for Abby. She fell asleep before class, which I thought was okay. But she woke up crabby and cried for 30min of class then fell asleep AGAIN! Blah. That night was girl scouts and Phil played tennis so that was a bit intense. Friday we did a ballet play date with Abby's friends, Alice and Katie Jo. It turned into an all day party! We had CEE that night. The Oehmanns did a fantastic enrichment. It was a good meeting. After putting the kids to bed, I went out for a GNO with some ole gal pals. We saw the new Bridget Jones movie. It was pretty corny but still good to get out. I didn't get home until 2am then had to monogram Birthday gifts for the next day. Suzanne, mom and I left early Saturday for the Girls Day Out. It was a really great day! We heard from a great chef showing us how to get in more veggies and a breast cancer survivor convincing us all to get a mammogram. I went to a session on the importance of sleep, which was so ironic since I was running on 3 hours! I know it's important but I'm just not good at sleeping. I mean, my motto is to sleep when I die! I wonder how many years this will take off my life? I'll keep trying to get some sleep, I guess. I also got a facial, massage, vision test, skin cancer test, spinal exam and heard a session on disease prevention. Plus, got some much needed QT with my mom and sister. It was perfect! I came home and 10 minutes later, a babysitter showed up. That was great! Phil and I met some friends out at the new brewery location downtown. It was so cool! Oompa band, brats and a rooftop bar. After, we had a nice dinner at TCC watching the harvest moon. So nice! This morning was mass, TCC bfast with the Hoggats then Sunday Funday at the Hollands. Another great week! I'm going to go ahead and get ready for bed. We'll see how this goes.
The thing about this phase of life is that there really is no down time during the day. Remember that other phase of life when there was an awesome naptime window? Sometimes I had to fight for it- and sometimes I too got to partake. Well, that ship has sailed. It makes me think how different the little kids lives already are compared to the big kids. Life used to revolve around that naptime. Now, Voss and Abby just snooze when they drop. I'm still rocking the mornings with play dates and activities, just like I've been doing for EIGHT years now. With Abby in school two mornings, it's just Voss and me. But I do a quick blink (or spend too much time on Facebook) and it's already time to go pick up Abigail. We went to story time and switched out books. I was sad to see that the awesome storytime guy, Josh is no longer at our library. I've got to do some work to find him. MOPS is back in session, thank God! We had a play date at Clarke House on Friday, the kick-off dinner on Thursday and our first meeting this past Monday. Whew! I missed those girls!! We had a play date with Nico on Thursday morning, a great catch up sesh with some gal pals. So yeah, I'm getting some great QT with the littles. But then after I pick up Ellie and Marly, things get taken up a notch. Gone are those pm wine play dates and last minute trips to the park! My house is shaking with melt downs, home work battles and dinner prep. I should take a video. I bet you think I'm exaggerating. It really is that crazy. I turn to hip hop dance music to morph the tantrums into a dance party when things get really bad. Wednesdays are going to be insane. I predict that now. I got a bit of a taste this past week. Marly has soccer practice. And this week we had school spirit night at Lillians, which was fun. By fun I mean Phil and I took turns chasing Voss into the arcade area and watched he and Abigail eat M&Ms off the floor. Thursdays Abigail has tap/ballet after school, then I got the big girls from school, picked up dinner for a pal. When I went to pick up Abby from dance, I was nervous because I could see her dance teacher holding her. But then I got closer and realized Abigail fell asleep in the middle of class! Wait, what!? I really meant, they nap when they drop! We rushed home for dinner and last minute homework then the big girls had girl scouts. Marly is a Daisy and Ellie is a Brownie. This was just an info meeting, which worked out bc then I had to rush home to meet the babysitter so Phil and I could go out for the MOPS kick off party. It was at Burrito Gallery. Super fun! Friday night we met the Nixons at FYC for a dinner outside. Perfect weather! I was super smart and brought a can of glow sticks for the kids to play with on the lawn. I met one of Ellie's new pals from school. The next day her mom invited Ellie to spend the afternoon with them. They went to the town center for shopping and lunch then came back and played at her house. So nice! I made the girls run to TCC (and back) so they were pretty mad at me. Phil had a tennis match so we came up to meet him and go swimming. He won! We went to lunch at Simply Sarah's and just took it easy- watched the FSU game. That night we hosted a Mafia night. Super fun! I even dressed up! It was a neat group of friends. Sunday we did mass- the prodigal son- always seems to hit just at the perfect time! We did breakfast at TCC. The Bravos came in town. I took the middle two to Tabby's Sweet Pete's Birthday party. We went on a boat ride then had a rotisserie chicken dinner. I went out to meet up with some pals to celebrate my friend, Lauren's Birthday. We had drinks and apps at Taverna. Monday was a super day. The Bravos stayed home with the littles. I took the bigs to flag raising to honor Sept. 11. The first MOPS meeting was a little hectic, but so great! I loved seeing everyone and meeting lots of newbies! It was Mercy Monday so I took Ellie with me to confession. She receives her first reconciliation in December! I grilled salmon for dinner. Then, I drove the westside carpool to Book Club to discuss, Me Before You. Wow, it was intense! I lost it talking about working at Camp I Am Special as a teenager. Today was a lot more relaxing. It's so nice waking up to the smell of my MIL making breakfast! They came with me to take everyone to school. We went for a walk then I went on a quick run. By then it was time to pick up lunch. We met Ellie and Marly for lunch. Too bad I got Ellie's lunch time wrong so we were late getting to her and she had to eat fast. After Marly's lunch it was just time to get Abby from school. Now the Bravos are on their way home. The littles and I are watching a show and it's about time to get the bigs. What a pace! I feel like I need a coffee to ramp up for the afternoon! On your mark, get set...
We got back into the swing of things just in time to watch a storm roll in. But hey, we needed some rain and we sure enjoy some cooler weather- so we just put on some rain boots and plugged along. Since soccer was canceled all week (Marly's first week!) we spent the afternoons catching up on reading charts and going to bed early (the kids did, not me- I'm not good at that). Voss and I had to re-do MOPS name tags and run errands one day. On our other day together we did a train play date at the mall. That was way better. The kids walked up (in the rain) to the voting poll with me. Ellie and Marly had their first early release golf clinic. Glad that wasn't canceled at least! By Thursday afternoon, Hurricane Hermine was headed for Steinhatchee then headed across the state to us. Well, aside from a good rainstorm, we didn't feel it. School was canceled on Friday. Phil went into work. I took the kids to a play date at the Harmons. It was perfect- an awesome way to spend a day off! That evening we did First Friday at TCC. So fun! We had a lazy Saturday morning, Ellie made us peach pancakes. I burnt the bacon (and ruined the weekend, according to Phil). The girls and I went on a run- Phil took Voss for a haircut. I read a bunch of my book, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. (It's SO GOOD!) That night we did a family night out with habachi dinner and a visit to the Halloween store. Sunday we went to mass then bfast at TCC with the Applegates. Then we went to my parents for a Sunday Funday. The Herons came over. Ribs and a boat ride. Still kina rainy and breezy. Today was another lazy morning, I stayed in my PJs until like 1pm reading Me Before You. Phil took the girls to play tennis. Then, we all went up to TCC for Labor Day festivities. We ended the weekend with brats at the Applegates. Now, Phil and I are watching the first FSU game of the season. Fall is really here! Happy Labor Day!
Abigail had her first day of preschool! Monday was open house when she met her teachers. She's in the same class as her older sisters so we already knew the teachers. I'm so happy to have her in there. The school is so sweet and the teachers are the best. Abby and Voss played in her new classroom and on the playground. She was very excited. We went out for popsicles after to celebrate. On her first day the next morning, she was a little shy. But after playing in the classroom for a bit she warmed up. She loved her first day! She was sad not to go the following day. I have her going two mornings a week. She did get to go the next day, though. We left on Wednesday at lunch for a Bravocation sort of thing. In case you haven't been following along, Phil and I are the local coordinators for Engaged Encounter. The National convention was in New Orleans this weekend. We decided to bring the kids. Which maybe wasn't the wisest choice- pulling them out of school to go to sin city. But, they had a cool childcare program during the convention. We just got a babysitter while we did a CEE weekend earlier in the month. And hey, family time is priceless, right? So, there you have it. We had dinner at Old Bay Steamers, our favorite place to kick off our vacation. We stayed in Navarre for a bit on the way over. The beach was pretty sea-weedy thanks to all the storms. But we still enjoyed the gulf and the perfect sand! We met up with our ole pals, the Hilleys. We headed over to NOLA on Friday. The kids loved the "trolley" rides all over town! We went to the Mardi Gras museum and walked along the Mississippi river. The convention began that evening. Phil and I had a bit of time to hit up Bourbon street after we dropped off the kids. Nice! I think the best speaker was on Saturday morning, Fr. Alello gave an awesome talk about upping your prayer life. There was lots of affirmations for our work in the ministry, which is always nice. We met some of our counterparts from Mobile and Tallahassee. There were also friends from Singapore, MX and Canada. We did a vow renewal on Saturday night then had an awesome shrimp and oyster dinner. Then we all hit up Borboun street for a few hours. Lots of fun! Sunday morning there were closing remarks and a mass. I volunteered to read for mass, but that was before I knew there was no childcare during mass. Picture our whole family up there on the altar as I read. Wow. Very intense. Just a few humiliating meltdowns in the front row. We couldn't get out of there fast enough! The perfect way to shake off all the grime of sin city was to stop for pizza with cousins on the way back to the beach. We love the Mallettes! This morning we woke up and had one last swim in the gulf and got all the seaweed off in the pool. We packed up and are now on I10 headed back to J-vegas. Yep, we're going to milk this summer-thing.
It was the first week of school for the big kids! Phil came to drop off on Monday. I went to the boo-who breakfast. I was close, but no tears for this mama! The girls did great with their seamless transition! To help, I distracted myself by taking the younger two to a MOPS play date at the Adventure Landing water park. They loved it- and I did, too. Great plan! And I was totally late with school pick-up, but if you're going to be late, the first week is the time! That worked out well! I am so blessed that little kid play dates popped up for me. We went to the Stevensons on Tuesday and the Thivierges on Thursday. Great for mama and the littles! Wednesday, we dropped off the bigs then took the littles to breakfast, Then, Phil and I went to visit our financial advisor. Not quite a date night, but still a necessary date. That afternoon we did pool and dinner at TCC with some pals. It was a nice break in the middle of the week! We did an Abigail-sized play date at TCC on Friday afternoon. We went to story time before- I did a mad-dash for chapter books for Ellie, I was pretty stressed about that piece! The bigs girls had their first sleep-over on Friday night- as if the first week of 2nd grade and kindergarten wasn't enough! We had a CEE meeting that evening. It went well. We had some new friends sign up, too! I went on a GNO and met some friends for drinks later. Lots of fun! On Saturday morning, Phil smoked the tennis court and I picked the bigs up from the sleep-over! ( So grown up!) I went to my pal, Jessica's baby shower for her sweet girl. So much fun celebrating her! We rode bikes and went swimming with cousins that afternoon. We did BLTs and family movie night. Later, Phil and I did a date night PH. Always nice. This morning we went to mass then b-fast at TCC. We did a Sunday Funday with the McGraths, Applegates, Hollands and a bit of the Nixons. Pizza for dinner. The kids had a ball, adults had fun, too. A great way to begin the week!
This was our last week of summer. I have mixed feelings about this. It has been a HOT summer, with too much family drama. Maybe I should have put the kids in more camps? I was trying to do a no frills summer. Maybe I should have worked them harder? Less ice cream, more girls runs. But that doesn't sound fun, does it? Let's hope the sass means they are ready for school to start. We did some fun "last week" things- like the base splash park with cousins and the beach with Mimi. We went to the pool with the Mitchells and fed cows with Katie Jo. We did some chores, too. Voss had his 18 month check-up. He's doing great weighing in at 27 lbs! We got new tires on the minivan. My sister, Katie was in town this weekend. She and her boyfriend came over Thursday night. We sat out and watched shooting stars. I grilled him, like a good big sister. Friday was a whirlwind of a day. It began with Ellie and Marly meeting their teachers, seeing their classrooms and dropping off school supplies. We did a bit of back to school shopping at JNJ. We went on the boat to the FYC with my parents, Katie and Steve. I raced home to pack and prep for Emily, the babysitter to watch the kids for the weekend. I picked up Phil at a golf course and headed to Marywood for an Engaged Encounter weekend. We had an awesome time with the 17 couples and the August Dream team! The Yazdiyas came to shadow. I know it's a lot to get out there, but once you are there, it's perfect. It really is good for Phil and I to keep on track, too. I did the #LoveYourSpouseChallenge this week. What a great way to end it! Today we went over to my parent's house. Phil played bball with the kids while I admired Katie's new ring. Yes! She and Steve got engaged Friday evening! I'm so excited for them! Now to help plan a wedding in March! We went to Firehouse for dinner at Marly's request- our brand new kindergartener! And tonight the toothfairy is coming for our 2nd grader who lost her first TOP tooth! I think we'll have to do some ice cream tomorrow to celebrate all this!