Another week at the house. Lots of highs and lows. Grateful moments and frustrating moments. We got into somewhat of a routine. School work in the morning, bike to school for lunch (Spot even came with us by the end of the week; because I needed to add more stress to that 4 mile bike ride). More school work then bike/run/walk to my parents to swim in the afternoon. They don't hang with us, obviously. They stay inside or visit from the balcony to keep the distance. I did a zoom happy hour, played Cards Against Humanity and did a power hour this week to combat stress. I screamed a lot (someone says, "Mom!" every few minutes). I started a Swear Jar- and already have $2 in there). Phil is very stressed out. The government stimulus means lots of work for the banks. Hopefully it'll turn out to be a good thing! I'm enjoying hiding and reading The Time Traveler's Wife. Ellie turned 11 on Wednesday. The first half of the day I was sad for her. No Birthday party or time with friends. She got lots of calls and messages. She got take out from TCC. We went shopping at Walmart then made Shirley Temples and went on a boat ride. She wanted Chinese for dinner but apparently there's no such thing anymore. Phil, Ellie and I ended up driving around at 9pm trying to find a dinner place open. We ended up at Taco Bell/KFC- which she loved. She and I stayed up until midnight watching Splash. So then I decided she had an awesome Birthday. No school for the whole quarter! I think she was happy. I am very proud of her. This weekend we played tennis, went boating, had two movie nights. Today we watched mass at the National Cathedral. The kids took out a palm tree to decorate our door for Palm Sunday. Phil organized a neighborhood scavenger hunt. I made carrot soup for dinner (I think I'm the only one who liked it). Marly made blueberry muffins. So yeah, here we are in these surreal times!
This week was much more stressful. Having to monitor 3 kids in virtual school was tough for me. I lost it many times. I'm impressed with the way the school (and county) got everything up and running so quickly. It took me a few days to figure out the system. I'm still trying to figure out where everyone's assignments are. It seems like Ellie is independent. She logs in first thing in the morning and is half way through before I'm out of bed. She is organized. She even made stations to keep all of us on track. Three kids sharing one laptop (and then by Tuesday I figured out how to get some of the programs on the iPad). So now we have a TV station (I loaded YouTube with educational channels for kids), STEM (legos, puzzles and games), reading (I made a book club with Marly and some of her friends and loaded a library book on the iPad) and laptop for school work. Ellie has also been helping with the morning announcements each morning (videos have to be sent by 5pm the night before). Check out their YouTube channel. She's been a huge help to me. Right now she's organizing the clothes in Marly and Voss' room! So it takes all day to get everyone through school work- not that any of them are sitting there all day- but taking turns and me looming over them is all day. I'm not getting much of a break (except when I kick them all outside or go hide in one of their rooms and read). It's a lot. I haven't gotten much direction from Voss' school. He had a volcano due that we made and exploded; that was cool! I'm trying to find ways to entertain them and then also forcing them to entertain themselves. The girls and I are reading Little Women each night. We also go on a family walk/bike ride each night. It's been nice having Phil home. He is under a lot of stress. I lost it when he took over my reading chair! Our 16th Wedding Anniversary was on Friday. We got TCC take out and watched Ozark (new season on Netflix). I finished reading Master of the Game, which was fabulous! I also tried watching Tiger King, which was terrible. To alleviate stress Phil and I have done THREE power hours this week, not healthy, I know. But mental sanity is important here, too. Monday we Facetimed my brother, Matt. Wednesday with the Strassers and Saturday with Tracy and the Shads (all from a distance). Maybe I should be more scared? It's all surreal right now. I'm just sorta going one day at a time. All the group texts blow up my phone and are overwhelming. I'm trying to make this fun but also keep the kids away and healthy!
Well, we're in a really odd time right now. It's actually pretty surreal. I can spend hours telling about all the pros. The weather has been amazing; perfectly spring! A whole week to unpack, do laundry and adjust from our trip. Lots of time to sleep in, watch TV, work on puzzles, organize closets- really just whatever we want. Lots of time together, to read, fight, play; all of it. Everything is canceled; school, dance, shows, etc. But the social distancing is not easy. I still went to book club on Monday night after spending all day reading the book; Me and Emma. It was an awesome conversation until 2am! Marly went on a kayaking play date. Our neighbors rented a bounce house and ordered pizza on Tuesday for their grandson's Birthday. It was just them and us. Phil and I have played a lot of tennis- no big groups, less than 10 people. We had a zoom MOPS meeting and a Netflix party girls night. We went boating on Saturday and tied up together, but today we anchored out on our own. So, we've been pretty inconsistent with that. As the week progressed, more things closed and tension is higher. Phil working from home is stressful. It's nice and calm yet still stressful. It's all bizarre. We watched mass on YouTube this morning from the archdiocese of Toronto. Maybe that's when it kina hit home, maybe. I'm thinking about all the people who aren't sitting lightly tonight. Praying for all the sick and unemployed right now. I'm really hoping this goes swiftly!
We took a vote on what to do for spring break. It was a narrow win, but snow sking was the victor. That sure worked out for the best considering this Corona Virus going around! We booked a cabin (just the week before!) with the Hershorins and headed out on Sunday morning (in the minivan). We lucked out with the weather and didn't ever need all wheel drive. Phew! Our cabin was pretty high up there! We arrived on Sunday night and did tacos for dinner. We rented skies on our way in. Lots of Nora Jones and boxed wine. On Monday we headed to Beech Mountain. The little kids went to ski school, easy peasy. Phil and Marly had a rocky start. They had to take it easy and spend more time on the bunny slope. After another hour, Marly was good. Ellie took off, no prob. She was going on black diamonds by herself by lunchtime. We took a beer break (which did nothing for my motor skills). Anyway, it felt so great being out there! It's tough skiing with non skiers. But I think the whole family had fun. Ellie helped with Abby a bunch. I actually found her walking down the blue and held her hand the rest of the way. Voss even made it on the ski lift for the green. I was so proud of all of them! Crock pot pork tenderloin for dinner! Tuesday we took it nice and slow in the am. We ended up tubing at Sugar mountain and almost had the place to ourselves! It was cheaper and less crowded all week, actually. I loved that part! We went to a brewery on the way home. Wednesday we went to App Ski. Voss and Abby went to ski school again. Phil convinced them to take Voss for the afternoon- yay! They were both skiing down blues by the end of the day! Phil got much better, too. App ski is an easy, family place to go. It's small enough to keep track of everyone and makes you feel good for going on a black (which equals a blue at the other places). The weather was sunny and mild. Ellie even skied in a t-shirt (until she fell and that snow is cold so she put her coat back on). I remembered my GoPro- yay! Finally! Thursday was another low key day. I finished listening to Panchinko, my book. We went on this hike to a water fall. We let the kids pick out a treat at the Mass General store. Then we went to a winery. Friday, our final day was Sugar Mountain. No ski school for anyone, which meant I was holding a hand most of the morning, Abby needed some extra love after a fall. It was a big resort to keep track of all the kids! Phil told me that night he let Abby go on the lift all by herself! She couldn't even reach the safety bar! Wow! Glad I heard about that later! Voss went on the big blue with Ellie, Marly and I. They were awesome! We all loved it! We packed up and headed home the next morning. I tried convincing Phil to extend our vacation since school was canceled. But he insisted on coming home. On Sunday we went to mass and bfast. We took the boat out and picked up my dad. My mom, Suzanne and the boys headed to the panhandle. We went to TCC; it was a rager! Sunday Funday and spring break continues!
I'm late to the punch on the blog. The first week of March was nice. I hosted a pm MOPS playdate for the first time in a while. Kids rode bikes in the cul de sac. Voss had his bookfair at school. It was Muffins with Mom on Monday but I swapped with Phil for Donuts with Dad on Wednesday since he had a meeting. My parents went on Tuesday. The girls had a Celebration of the Arts at school on Tuesday, which was sweet. I went out for apps and drinks with Regan and Lauren on Wednesday. It was so nice to catch up with them. We had a MOPS mother in law wisdom panel on Thursday. It reminded me to call and check in with my MIL. Friday was play day at school. I did a swap with Vanessa. I watched her twins in the morning then she watched Voss in the afternoon. Spot and Annie had their own play date! I played dodgeball all afternoon. It was fun. After school we celebrated Marly's Birthday party. We started with Krispy Kreme for breakfast. After school, I took her and some friends to the mall to Claire's to get her ears pierced. She chose these beautiful diamond earrings. We got milkshakes then went swimming at TCC. The pool is heated but it was still cold when we got out. Phil took the other kids to First Friday. We went home for pizza, cake and Descendents, the movie. Some of the party left but most of them spent the night. I was worn out. The next morning, Ellie made pancakes for the Birthday crew. My parents took Marly to the carnival to celebrate her Birthday. Saturday was her actual Birthday. And now we have a NINE year old! Phil came with me across town for a tennis match (we lost). Then, I spent the rest of the day packing up. We drove around stressing about a rental car. We had reserved one but when we went to pick it up, we found out it didn't have all wheel drive (the whole point of renting one). We even went to the airport and went desk to desk; no one has 4 wheel drive rentals in FL apparently. We went to mass instead (me still in my tennis clothes). Ellie stayed up and helped me pack up the car. The next morning we were off for our spring break adventure!
February is still happening! Swimming in the river on Monday and bundled up in the rain on Tuesday. Just a FL winter. I had my annual check up, which was always so exciting. I'm in good shape. I went to lunch with Fr. Donal on Fat Tuesday. Broccoli cheddar soup was perfect (especially when I spent the rainy morning eating oreos and looking at cabins for spring break). We had a girls night out on Tuesday at La Nap with my friend, Katherine and some of her pals. She had a double mastectomy this week. Lots of prayers and happy vibes headed her way! I headed to Tracy's for an after party to watch the debates. Always therapeutic watching with the liberal ladies! Ash Wednesday was very busy. I started out by taking Voss and Ellie to 8:30 mass then both of them to school. I went with my parents to Rotary where my dad gave his terrorist talk. I finally got to listen and video and that was really cool. Hoping to edit that video soon. I'm very proud of him! It was early release (and raining). I was super late picking kids up from school, and then went back to pick up more kids. The chaos was real. I went to lunch with my parents and sister on Thursday and brought dinner to Kat's family. Early bedtime felt great! Friday, Voss and I rode the zoo train and ran into lots of field trips. Ellie and I went Thrift Shopping and picked up our race packets. Phil and I played Cosmic Golf with the Cochrans, Foxes and Van Wies. It was so cold, but a neat event! Saturday morning we all did the Ortega River Run, thanks to Ortega Orthodontics. We ran the 1 mile fun run with the kids and then the 5 miler. Totally nuts; no training. I'll have to see if my time was better, it definitely felt better than last year. The Freemans had an after party. I was there for a bit then played in a D-team tennis match. We lost in the tie breaker, which was such a bummer but still fun. I was so tired at this point, yet powered through. Next was the MOPS 20th Year Anniversary Party. I was the MC. We had been planning this party for months. I think it turned out awesome! There was maybe 65-75 moms there from the last 20 years of MOPS at St. Marks. It was so neat to see the impact of this group on so many women. It was a great party, but I definitly breathed a sigh of relief after! I stayed until 12:30am helping with clean up. I attempted an after party, but ended up ghosting and coming home. Good idea because Spot chewed up a couch cushion that I had to deal with. Also, I volunteered to help pass out the Best Lent Ever journals and got roped into lectoring at mass this morning. Woaw! Bfast then a tennis match with Cutlip, Kuder and VanWie. It was a beautiful afternoon! Then, Sunday Funday in the Applegates cul de sac with kickball and a rosary around the firepit. Happy Sunday!
Oh, here we are, with another week just flying by. I finished listening to The Map Thief, which I enjoyed. Now I'm reading Mistress of the Game and loving it. Another drastic change in the weather and we had winter for a few days. Then today felt more like spring. I finally started planning spring break. I've got all these texts with summer plans in the works, and I'm just trying to get through February! Voss was Student of the Week this week. We made a poster and he was honored at chapel. Wednesday night we went to see Bandstand at the performing arts center. I really liked it. We went to this Ramen Noddle place for dinner before. Then to Tracy's after to watch the Debates. I really liked the group viewing party. I'm still a Bernie fan, but Elizabeth was on fire. It was a good time. Thursday was slow. I totally missed my friend, Trexler's Birthday and feel like a schmuck. I threw together a last minute MOPS meeting and I think it went well. We talked marriage with Barbara, a marriage consultant. It was good group therapy, I think. I even figured out playground access and planted a seed for church sponsored date nights. Friday night Phil worked from home. Voss had Gideon over to play. He's obsessed with this Styrofoam plane the Kuklas gave him for Christmas. I finally nailed down a vendor for a PTA school supply fundrasier. Ellie had FC spend the night. Marly went to get basketball party. We walked up to Fast Wok for dinner. Phil and I tried to watch the Pharmacist on Netflix. Saturday morning was bfast and sleeping in (with ear plugs). I played in a tennis match at Jax Golf & Country Club. We won! The girls altar served for a funeral and got some cash. We all met for lunch at Firehouse. That evening we hosted Corked Crew with wines from Willamette Valley. No one wanted to brave the cold for the fire pit. Still a fun night. This morning was slow. We did our usual mass, CCD and bfast. I worked on some embroidery. Ellie went to Charlotte's sushi making Birthday party. We did a Sunday Funday tennis 8-some. Spot ran the neighborhood. We got him a new shock collar; gotta get this guy in order! We ended the night at my parent's house with a neighborhood Mardi Gras dinner. Delicious gumbo!
A fun week of love! Spot and I went to Ponte Vedra for his first check up. After we did a walk on the beach, which made me think- what the heck am I doing? We went to a Valentine cookie decorating play date. I hosted book club that night and it was kina a bust. I made a carrot soup and s'mores for the fire pit, but it was like 70+ degrees out there. So it was hot and wet so it was smoky and just not a good vibe. I didn't like the book, but the conversation was at least good. Ellie and I went on our last middle school tour, Darnell Cookman. So cool that my old pal, Luis was a teacher on our tour! Now, we just need to do the magnet app! I went to my friend, Rachael, brother's funeral. I don't even know what to say there. My friend, Rachael is so strong. I'm truly impressed by her and proud to be her friend. That night, I went to the One Vibe dance class. It was tough, but I'm so glad I did it! All on high heels! I was sore for pretty much the rest of the week! Wednesday, I got a passport! It was a belated Birthday gift from my sister, Katie! Then, my mom and I went to lunch at FYC. Phil and I went on a much needed date. We tried a new Willamette Valley wine at TCC. It was a really, nice night. Pre-Valentine's celebration. I spent another morning at the dentist, the last time until May, I hope. We were supposed to have dance practice on Thursday but no one showed so Anne and I had a drink at Lillians. Friday was Valentine's Day. Voss and I went to the nursing home to deliver Valentine's. It was all fine until one of the kids got their foot run over by a wheel chair. It turned bad. Luckily, she's okay- but the nursing home didn't handle it well. Voss had a play date at a buddy's house. I went to help with art day at school and then Marly's class Valentine party. Lots of crafts and sugar! Phil took the girls to the Valentines dance at school. Voss and I went on another date to McDonalds. I took Ellie and Leo to Marywood for CISV camp. It was neat to see her at Camp St. John (where I did Camp Risk and I Am Special). I went by my sister's house on the way home to catch up. Saturday morning, I drove out to the beach again (lots of listening time for my book) for a tennis match. We won after a tie breaker! Costco pizza for lunch. That night we went to the Hershorins for dinner. They do such a nice job hosting! Quite the spread, fire pit. It was nice! Sunday was a bit rough. We went to mass, religion class/bfast then back to church for the Dream Event. It was kina neat, but just long. It started pouring, we went to dinner at Panera. Soup was perfect! Early night for all! Today is President's Day. Marly, Abby and Voss went to gymnastics camp. Phil and I played some tennis, I lost every game. We had a bloody mary on the river after. Ellie came back from camp. The 3 of us went to Fire House for lunch. Ansley came over to interview Phil and I for her class project on marriage. Now he's playing tennis. The kids are at the neighbors. I'm watching more Shameless. So much love!
Another fun winter week in the FL; where it's 40 in the am and 75 in the pm! I worked the carpool line selling hands for the Friends of Stockton capital campaign. Marly called her Godfather and got some cash then went door to door and doubled it. Raising money for the school! We also did another middle school tour, this time to Kirby Smith. It was nice but she still likes JWJ better. The first part of the week was taken over with Marly's basketball playoff games. They won Monday but lost on Tuesday. I'm still addicted to Shameless but managed to finish the Library Book and The Couple Next Door. I spent more time at the dentist; 2 more fillings. For MOPS on Thursday we did a meal prep. It was awesome! A crazy wind storm appeared that night. I watched Phil win a tennis match. Jess hosted coffee club on Friday. We discussed the Super Bowl halftime show. A lot of comments about Shakiera and JLo being too risqué. It was a good conversation. Our weekend was pretty low key. Phil had a man cold so he was out of commission for the weekend. Ellie went to a CISV sleepover. I played in a tennis match on Saturday but we lost. Phil took the girls to a daddy daughter dance. Voss and I went to the driving range and then McDonalds. This morning we went to mass. Marly served. I did a pulpit talk for the Dream event next weekend. Ellie went to a Birthday party. We played tennis with the Van Wies then played kickball with the Applegates. We ended up at Sonic, which was a bad choice!
More magnet school tours, more Birthday fun, more Shameless for me. Dryanuary is officially over! I'm sitting here on the balcony with Spot and a Salty Dog, enjoying a cool, sunny super bowl Sunday. It was Literacy Week at elementary school so there were lots of fun activities. After Ellie and I toured LaVilla (the arts magnet) on Monday, I stopped in for a bit to read with the girls at lunch. I liked LaVilla but Ellie doesn't even want to audition. So, that one is out. Tuesday we toured Landon. Ellie liked that one second best so far (JWJ is still #1). We have 2 more middle school tours to go! It's tough because I don't want to get our hearts set on anywhere. We may like a school a lot but we are still at the mercy of the magnet lottery gods. The good news is that there are lots of options, assuming we don't get waitlisted everywhere. We brought Marly's teacher dinner and met her new baby. I had an Implementation meeting for Dynamic Parish. Still trying to figure out my roll. We kicked off Abby's Birthday on Wednesday at Krispy Kreme. She dressed as a Dalmation for the 101st day of school. She was so excited! And it was a half day. She had her buddy, Poppy come over after school. Then they went to WOW and CFA for a Birthday dinner. Thursday, my pal Tracy helped me get Voss to school so I could be there for the vocabulary parade. I think that's a cute idea. There was a PTA meeting afterwards. Friday morning, Abby and Voss had an early morning annual check up. They are both healthy, seeing well and growing well. Voss is 41lbs and 47 inches. Abby is 47lbs and 47 inches. Crazy that they are 2 years a part! They still are so sweet together. We took Abby to school then Voss and I went to a MOPS play date at the fire station. He was not impressed with the firetruck or station tour, but he loved the after party at the park. We had treats to celebrate a little friend, Thomas' Birthday. Phil picked up the kids from school; that was a nice treat. I finally finished How to Be a Muslim. I only gave it 2 stars but I'm still glad to have read it. I'm now onto a much more exciting book and also listening to a very boring book, blah. Abby and I picked up pizza for dinner. Phil took Marly to her last b-ball practice. We all watched Aladdin on Disney+. I still sang along! Saturday morning we tried to sleep in, had duck eggs for bfast then headed over to Marly's last basketball game (which they won so now they are in the play offs). Suzanne and the boys came to cheer her on. They took the older girls to lunch afterwards. Phil, the littles and I headed to Abby's Birthday party. We had it at Gyminators. Abby and 10 friends (and Voss) had a gymnastics class. It was so cute! Then, we had cake and ice cream. I think she liked it a whole lot! That night we were invited to dinner at a new friend's house, the Van Wies. They were super nice and had us all over. They grilled steaks and had 3 firepits going! One for s'mores! We stayed way too late and I lived up Feb first by drinking too much wine. So fun nonetheless! Voss made sure we were all up in time for 8:30 mass. I didn't realize that the girls were supposed to serve so we totally missed that! Religion class and breakfast. Phil and I crashed the Hershorins and Van Wie's tennis match. We all went to the Thivierege's new house. They hosted a lemonade stand for Abby's class as a fundraiser for the capital campaign. I heard they raised over $200! Now the kids are playing in the cul de sac. I'm hoping for an early bedtime and then some commercial watching for the Super Bowl!