Well, really...it's always a Birthday party around here! Between our family and everyone else's, we seem to always be celebrating something. That sounds like a pretty great way to live! Don't worry, we also have plenty of temper tantrums too...but who wants to hear about those? A great way to kick off the week is a MOPS Easter Egg hunt! The weather was perfect (hot & steamy...just enough to melt the chocolate all over the kids faces so that when Abigail crawls through the mulch, it sticks). Yes, I am the mom who let my kids eat ALL of the candy from inside the eggs that morning in the park. I am also the mom who put yogurt covered raisins in the eggs we brought, but didn't realize the boxes don't fit in the regular sized eggs. So yes, I was the one who scotch taped the eggs together with the box popping out the sides. Very classy! Phil went to Savannah for a work training thing so I packed our day (more than normal) as a distraction. We went to see the Suter's new house first thing that morning then headed to ballet (without ballet shoes of course since I can't think of everything) then school for Ellie and dance again. Then we met the Kerkezi's for a super early dinner before heading over to Owen's baseball game. Those Mandarin baseball families are intense! We lasted for all of 45min for the game but at least we got to see Owen hit. Yay, Owen! And the girls love playing with Alex at the field! I stayed up to watch the first episode of Game of Thrones, starting out a new series to watch. WHAT? You people are really watching this?! My sister Katie told me to keep watching. My mind will never work the same, I think! Wednesday was a low key morning. That afternoon we had the Browns and Freemans over for a play date. Thursday we caught up with the Mitchell's at the park after school then headed down to Orlando for another Disney weekend! This time to celebrate Ellie's Birthday! I got an awesome priceline last minute deal for the Caribe Royal. I think this was our best one yet. Awesome price, a suite and amazing pool, free parking and no resort fee, 5 min from Epcot! We had an early morning reservation at the Crystal Palace for breakfast so we got into the park before it officially opened! A fun morning in the Magic Kingdom using our new Magic Bands! And a fun evening in Epcot! Abigail was in rare form by the evening and just wanted to be held. Teething maybe? So, we left unusually early and headed back to put her to bed. Phil took the older girls down for a night swim so everyone was super happy. We spent the next morning at the pool then went to Downtown Disney for Ellie's princess appointment. The scratchy dress was still an issue but she powered through. Disney got us. They actually have a place where a little girl can really turn into a princess. They call it the Bibbidi Boppity Botique. No kidding. Then, she was in a princess parade! We were then upsold into doing a carriage ride through the Port Orleans resort...cause you can't just get dressed up for the drive home! It was worth it, though. As we were headed home, Ellie said this was the best Birthday of her life. I actually cried a little. I can't help it. You couldn't either so don't be judgy. The best part of our Disney jaunts is that we have Sunday to recover. So, that's what we're doing now. Well, sort of since I am leaving for DC tomorrow. You'll hear about that next week! For now we are enjoying Palm Sunday...going to mass then the Penance Service tonight. It's Spring Break!
This was a big week for Elizabeth- my new 5-year old! In one breath, I feel like it's flown and in another breath it seems like about 5 years have passed. It was so long ago that she was a tiny baby...I've had 2 more since her! But, I still feel like she's my baby.
We didn't do Birthday parties this spring so we're celebrating in lots of ways. Disney is not until next week. This week was lots of fun! Marly and Ellie started taking ballet in the mornings twice a week. It's a sweet, little class- perfect for us right now! So, Ellie had 2 dance classes on her Birthday one in the morning and another in the afternoon. We picked up her re-made pearl necklace, talked to lots of family & friends who called to wish her a Happy Birthday, brought cupcakes to her class (Hello Kitty) and went to Chuck E. Cheese. She seemed really happy and said she had a great day. Yay! We also spent a morning hiking and picnicking in the park, went to see Princess Belle at the library and had our last official MOPS leadership meeting. Our evenings were full, too. I went running with Shea on Monday, nice to pick that back up! Phil went on a guy's night one night and I had Chrissy come over and we caught up. She asked me to be her bridesmaid, which is really exciting! Friday we went to a cocktail party for a friend's 1st Birthday at the River Club- very swanky! Saturday, I went to Gainesville for a MOPS Leadership day while Phil had the girls. They went to RAM and the Cummer. My parent's took Ellie for the afternoon to spend some QT for her Birthday. That night we hosted wine club. The theme was South American wines. I was displeased with the turn out, but it got better and we had fun! This morning we took it easy. We took the boat to Sophia's 2nd Birthday. Lots of fun down the street! Phil went to play Frisbee and I took the girls to mass for Fr. Vic's 50th Anniversary celebration of being a priest. Wow! We polished off Ellie's Birthday weekend at the Arena for Disney on Ice. They loved it (especially the cotton candy)!
I became famous this week! A few months ago I applied to an ad from one of the many mom-ish facebook groups I'm in. The advertisement said something about looking for moms with babies (ages 2 and under) who'd like to compare prices at Walmart and get a gift card and free groceries. So, I sent an email, did a phoner and casting call. I was chosen as an alternate and then got the call to come in last minute. I was lucky to line up 2 sitters to cover my "shift" on Tuesday so I could go play movie star. We met at a Dunkin Donuts on the southside and each got $250 in cash. I could buy 35 items. So, I went wild, taking my time (without children climbing on me) to read labels and choose the 35 things I'd buy with free money. I had a shopper pal with me logging in everything as a put it in the cart (little stressful). Next, we went to Walmart and they took me groceries to compare while I went in the back to get my hair and make up done! There was another girl who was also chosen for the shopping spree and got her hair & make-up done, too. We both got a $250 gift card to Walmart! But then I was chosen for the commercial. I was sorta thinking she got the better deal. She got all the perks but then got to go home and not pay for a sitter for the rest of the day (like me). Ah well, but then I wouldn't be famous (sarcasm). I'm not sure why I was picked...maybe my groceries had the largest difference? So, for the next 4 hours we filmed all over the Walmart. It got old saying "Oh my goodness" and "that's amazing" over and over. I have an appreciation for real actors. It took us all afternoon for a :30 spot- imagine an hour long episode! Wow! And I looked so cool (as cool as one can look in a Walmart) with the camera guy, light gal, sound guy, Walmart manager, make up chick and host! When I got home at 4pm, I was wiped out! How are you working women doing this?! Man, I went to bed at 8pm that night! So, here is the commercial if you missed it (not sure how since it's playing nonstop for the next 2 weeks!) So, what else happened this week? Well, we had a mops meeting (not impressed with the speaker from Wee Spout Naturally freaking everyone out about getting cancer from disposable diapers), park time, story time, play dates- one with April and Elizabeth and another one at Gara's for MOPS. Dad came over for dinner one night since mom is out of town on a girls weekend. Jan brought me lunch one afternoon so we could catch up with end of the year MOPS. We had an awesome book club discussion for The Husband's Secret at Heather's house. I was able to sneak out for a girls night with my old running pals- Heather, Shea and Erin after a family pizza dinner with the Suters and Stanelle's. Saturday was pouring rain so of course we go to the outdoor mall- the town center. Did some shopping and eating then went all out for Amanda's Birthday party last night. I had never been to Derby House, but it was so yummy! Then, we went bar hopping and clubbing until really late. Lots of fun, but you know today was rough. A beautiful looking day, but pretty chilly. I got caught up on some house projects. Oh, the life of a local celebrity- ha!
Congratulations to Phil and I on being married for 10 years! I think that's certainly something to celebrate! Marriage is no easy venture. I've read lots of marriage books, listened to many marriage & family speakers/seminars and been on a few marriage renewal retreats. And I still plan to do all of those things some more. I was relieved that I didn't have to convince Phil to take a trip to celebrate. We've been discussing that for about a year! The trouble was agreeing on where to go! Napa, Europe, NYC, Chicago, Savannah, Charleston, skiing, all inclusive resort? Finally, we agreed on a cruise! You'd never think you'd actually fight about where to vacation! Ha! We left Ellie here in Jacksonville with my parents and drove the younger two to Miami to stay with Phil's parents...and off we went out of Ft. Lauderdale on a 5 night Western Caribbean cruise on Royal Caribbean's Liberty of the Seas. It was AMAZING! One of the perks we both agreed on was the vacation starts as soon as you step on the ship. We spent a lot of time in the adults only pool. We did one of those "all you can drink" packages. So we were utterly gluttonous the whole week! The ship alone is a vacation: rock climbing wall, surfing zone, shows, bars, clubs, ice skating, salsa lessons, piano bar, basketball court, ping pong tournament, golf driving competition, mall, art gallery, casino, and then remember the constant eating and drinking and sunning! I took naps, slept in, read my book. I even brought one of those "couples conversation starters" books! Ha! Fancy dinner, fancy drinks, lots of dancing, oh my! We went to Belize City, Belize. We chose a shore excursion to see the Mayan ruins. We rode on a bus for two hours to the Guatemalan boarder to a city called Xunantunich. These ruins were fairly recently discovered so we were able to actually climb up the pyramid and walk around. Super cool! Our guide was actually a Mayan decendent and talked about growing up with the stories and playing on the ruins like a playground before they were fully excavated! After the tour we had a Belizean lunch at a nearby restaurant. So much fun, I don't Belize it. LOL! We also went to Cozumel, Mexico. We took a water taxi to Costa del Playa then to see more Mayan ruins at Tulum. We weren't able to do as much exploring, more looking but there was a lot more shopping. Also, we had lunch at a resort right on the beach afterwards, which was fantastic! This was Phil's favorite part, I think. We met friends from all over- Australia to St. Augustine! It was just so nice to have a break! Coming back has been a rough transition! We're still on island time, mentally! We picked up the younger ones from Phil's house then drove back up to get Ellie. A nice, low key reunion. Friday, I jumped right back in and went to coffee club at Theresa's while Phil played golf. That night we had a CEE social. Saturday we discovered this new restaurant on the river and had lunch there, then went to the Naugle's for a little party. Sunday we went to mass then met the Applegate's at Pele's for brunch. Lots of unpacking and laundry. Ho Hum. Now you can check out our pictures!
A little behind on the posting, but you guys are cool with that, right? Folks seem to fuss a lot about the whole time change thing. Back before kids, I'm pretty sure I did, too. But now, it doesn't seem to make a difference. It's not like the kids care if we are an hour ahead or behind...they still wake up when they are ready and fall asleep when worn out. The good thing about springing ahead is the longer days. Phil loves coming home and having more "time". This means summer is upon us! Can't wait! Isn't Florida living great!? We kicked it off with a MOPS Monday. Annie Pajcic gave a talk that was a bit heavy on the religion for me, but I think she had a great response from the group. We hit Stinson park that afternoon with the Browns and Suters- an awesome day running around the field. Tuesday we did the zoo to check out the new tiger exhibit. It's not just tigers, but a whole new wing. That was pretty cool! Wednesday was sorta a nutty day. We spent the morning bringing some friends dinner. I've given up on making dinner- I cheat and use Terry's Kitchen. Instead I use my time to monogram something, throw together a salad and swipe a box of girl scout cookies from our stash (it's better for everyone that way). The Thompsons had their 3rd baby and live on the Southside and the Klusmans just adopted their 4th baby and live in Middleburg. A bit ambitious for me to do both in a morning- but heck, both of these families need grub, the least I can do, really! Ellie was late to school but no one seemed to notice. That night I ran over to Steph's for an AMAZING girls night! Massages, pedicures, booze and sweets- does it get any better than that?! Thursday we went to Murray Hill library again. They had My Gym there giving a preview and the girls loved it! We spent the afternoon packing. It took a lot to get everyone packed up for different adventures the following week! Lots of paperwork, too- since we were leaving the country I probably went overboard prepping, but hey, why not? We had a coupon for Kids Park that was about to expire and a gift card to Mitchell's so we took advantage and did a sorta date night on Thursday night. I had Lobster- and really, how do you go wrong?! Friday we had a fun treat celebrating Alex's Birthday at Pump It Up. I just love the parties during the weekday! Ellie had the day off (like Alex) so it was perfect. Phil came home early that afternoon and we were off. I will save that adventure for it's own blog post. So, stay tuned! In the meantime, check out my new found fame: A friend of mine interviewed me...how flattering.
Yahoo! The terrible two's are over! (That is what I am declaring, let's see if Marly follows suit!) I guess this means I should change the Temper Tantrum of the week on the side bar. We will be having no more of those! Monday was a beautiful day! We did a work out play date that morning. Gina had me do 100 lunges! My legs just stopped aching! We had the Browns come over in the afternoon and the big girls had a ball playing outside. Tuesday we met the Jones' and Rices at a park in Mandarin for a play date. It was great catching up with them. Mother Earth decided to bring cold and rain with Lent- how fun! MOPS did a Shrove Tuesday fundraiser Tuesday night with pancakes, bacon and sausage. Abigail ate 8 pancakes! Wednesday we went to Ash Wednesday mass first thing in the morning. Then, as a Birthday gift for me, my mom watched the girls while I got a facial. It was awesome! Perfect for a cold, rainy morning! Thursday we hit up the grocery store early then sped over for the Murray Hill story time. We brought cupcakes over to the Freemans that afternoon for a pre-Birthday play date. Friday we got up early and headed down to Disney World to celebrate Miss Marly turning 3! We just love that place! Her favorite is Dumbo so we made sure to do that first. We even did a character dinner at the Crystal Palace...but I'm not so sure she was into meeting any characters. She has been talking about it a lot. I pricelined a hotel that morning and got an awesome deal at the World Marriott. The girls loved the splash park that next morning! Friday was cold but Saturday was super nice again. We took our time, got a late check out and drove back home that afternoon. That night I took the big girls to see Disney Jr. Live downtown. We went to the Landing for dinner then walked over to the show. They just loved it (especially Ellie!). Such a fun Birthday weekend! We forgot about the time change on Sunday morning and had to go to another Catholic Church down the street (the beauty of being Catholic, right!). We went to the park that afternoon to play and watch Phil play Frisbee. That evening we went to the Thoresens for dinner. So much fun catching up with them! Wow, I have a 1 year old, a 3 year old and a 4 year old. Wow! Three years ago, Marly joined our family. Such a sweet baby! She still is such a sweetheart!
I don't know if it's really spring, but the weather is nice and February is over so I'm calling it springtime! The girls and I are sitting outside watching the fishermen close to our dock (one guy just caught something!). Phil is out playing golf with some "work friends" in Orange Park. A pretty SUNday! Monday we had a MOPS Meeting about gardening. I spent lots of time rolling my eyes. I hardly have time to bathe, when am I going to water the plants? And the speaker was even suggesting using pots so you can move them as the sun moves (YEAH, right!). Meanwhile, Ellie has been asking all week if we can plant some seeds. I don't believe it, but yesterday we actually planted some seeds! I found carrot, watermelon and cucumber seeds in the junk drawer (an old party favor maybe). Then we actually bought radish (suggested by the speaker as good for kids to see), scallion and cilantro. I'll keep you posted. Don't get your hopes high! I decided to make an effort to get the older girls to work on their biking skills. Marly needs to learn how to pedal and Ellie needs to ride a 2 wheeler (no more training wheels). So, we've spent a few afternoons practicing that this week. It's exhausting for me! I have to bend over and use my hands to show Marly how to pedal. How else do you do that? And run alongside Ellie holding her shoulder while she works on balancing. Marly had a few fun treats for her Pre-Birthday week. Suzanne took her for the day on Tuesday. They had some QT while Alex was in school then Marly got to play with the boys. She was so happy! Meanwhile, we enjoyed our break over here. We were too late for storytime so we did double parks and then Abigail and I went thriftshopping for some summer dresses. My parents also took Marly for most of the day yesterday to give her a Birthday treat. They went to lunch, Marly got a new pearl for her necklace- lots of alone time with mimi & papa! Lucky girl! We did some other fun things this week: Coffee Club at Gara's discussing if Goldiblox or Lego friends really encourage girls for STEM. We checked out the Murray Hill storytime and Friday I threw together a last minute playdate in the front yard with bikes. We did 2 power hours (not good while bathing suit shopping!). One on Monday- last minute with Kevin and Alfred. Lots of fun! And then another yesterday- an afternoon party at the Leens. Those jalapeno poppers were amazing! Friday we went to a wedding next door! Stephanie got married in her grandparents back yard, right on the river, an amazing view! With a setting sun in the background- it was so neat! Grandpa, Al gave such a great speech/toast! Very special. We still had time to rush to the CEE gathering so we could talk about our weekend. It's been fun! I'm excited about all this wonderful weather! Happy Spring to you!
Hello! Happy Rainy Day, Monday! Makes me want to curl up under a blanket and read a book, I'll do just that in a bit once I finish this blog. Turns out blogging is useful for historical purposes, if nothing else. I was trying to remember what Phil and I have done for our past NINE anniversaries (as we gear up to celebrate #10!). I can hardly remember last weekend, let alone year 2! Looking back a few years has been super helpful. And recently I've added weekly pictures...wow, these Bravo girls are lucky to have me! Last Monday was a beautiful day. It was President's Day so we were able to get Phil home for a extra day, worked out great after working the CEE weekend! We had a fun breakfast at a new place in town, Maple Street then met some MOPS friends at the park. Later that afternoon we did power hour with half of the Suters and half of the Stevensons. That was a fun, new group! That made book club a little interesting later that night. I wish we could have gone deeper in the discussion for Orange is the New Black...but it just didn't get there. Tuesday we did our traditional park then story time with Ms. Isabelle. That night we got to go to the River Club for an amazing dinner with one of Phil's clients, then over to see the show War Horse (which was terrible <I probably could have told you that before, but it's not like they asked me which show I wanted to see. At least dinner was fabulous>). Wednesday we had the Leens over for a play date and on Thursday the big girls went to Kids Park and Abigail had her 1 year check up! She weighs 20 lbs and is 29 inches long! She is very healthy and now has 3 teeth! No walking yet, but I know it will be soon! We've had lots of afternoon park play dates, enjoying the gorgeous weather. I was so jealous of all my mom friend's Facebook pictures of everyone at the beach. So, on Friday I finally ventured out. Of course, that was the day forcasted for huge showers! I was all over my weather.com ap trying to race the rain. Success! It started pouring on our drive back and then all afternoon. But we had a great time that morning. Ellie was a little polar bear actually swimming in the surf! Abigail ate lots of sand and loved watching the birds. Marlyn Maria did a little of both but I think her favorite was knocking down all of our sand castles. That night we did a modified power hour with the Suter's (well, at least Tracy and I did since she's preggo and I was trying to prepare for my race on Sunday). My sister Katie stopped by for a bit and the Vogts came by for a night cap after their date. Saturday was a beautiful day! We took the boat to the Landing and walked to the convention center to pick up my race packet then had lunch. Later, I took Ellie to Charlotte's Birthday party at Doing Dishes- painting tea cups. We went to mass then dinner at my parent's house. Sunday morning, I was up and out for my run, the Finish Breast Cancer Half Marathon. This was tougher than the last one, but I still really enjoyed it. Lots of support cheering us on at the beach. The weather was perfect- 60's and overcast. I'm super sore though, as to be expected. Phil was not excited about me taking forever getting home- the shuttle back to the parking lot and getting caught in the rain trying to find my car. We spent the rainy afternoon relaxing. I'm glad to have those long runs out of the way, on to something new. I didn't even loose any weight doing these races! I did loose a toenail, though. TMI, sorry!
It was a MOPS Monday this week. I was scrambling and stressed to set up for the personal trainer and we didn't even get up to move. It was a power point deal. I was hoping to get 2 birds with 1 stone with a meeting and work out. That afternoon we took advantage of another beautiful afternoon with a super park playdate. We got 6 moms out there with lots of kids. That was last minute fun! Tuesday we did a park again before story time. The girls got neat flower shaped balloons. We met the Browns at the park in the afternoon and then they joined us for the Sacred Heart spirit night at Chick Fil A. Ellie was thrilled to have so many of "her friends" to play with, I thought she might explode! They even let the kids in the kitchen to learn to serve ice cream! Wednesday we did a Winn Dixie trip first thing, then went to the Leens for a play date. Those are always so nice since Gara is such a great hostess and they always have the cool toys and delicious lunch! Thursday we stayed inside in our PJ's all morning. The weather was nasty so it worked out. I tried to super read our book club book in time to pass it on to the next reader! I was trying to pump the girls full of good food to prep for Ellie's Valentine's Day party at school. Good thing because they ate tons of candy the whole rest of the day! That afternoon we had the Freemans and Weisses (neighbor friends) over for a play date. Phil and I have been trying to eat better and loose some weight. We didn't do so well this week. Phil easily tempted me with thai one night and then Thursday night we blew it out with power hour and Burger King. One of us needs to step up and be the motivator! I did do a 4 mile run with the girls during nap on Tuesday, but that's it. I have to get in a long run today or tomorrow because next week is the big race! Maybe after that we'll do some sort of body clense! Friday was Valentine's Day. I made heart shaped chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast. Then, we met some MOPS pals at the zoo. Ellie was out of school so we could spend the whole day and not rush out of there. It was a beautiful day! Later that afternoon, Phil and I headed out for a romantic weekend working on the team for Engaged Encounter. We were hesitant at first because we had to scramble for childcare. But, it was worth it to take the time out. We had 16 couples and a neat team to work with. It's amazing how much we get out of the weekend! We even had a fire pit with s'mores and wine on Saturday night. Fun! So now most everyone is taking a nap. We hope you guys were full of love this week, too!
The nicer weather brought some outdoor fun for us. Monday we went to the MOPS work out playdate at Gina's. I stopped being sore around Thursday! I got in a few good work outs this week, actually. I did a nap time run on Tuesday pushing the 2 younger kids for 4 miles. I did an early morning run (Abigail's been cutting 2 top teeth so she had me up one morning so I decided to make the most of it) on Friday for 6 miles. Then Sunday I did 8 during naptime. Phil wasn't thrilled I was gone for so long smack in the middle of a beautiful day. But, I've got another half marathon coming up next weekend so I had to get in a few runs before my taper week ;-) We had play dates with Tabby, Emily, Sophia and Ellsa. It was nice to catch up with all the moms! We also went to an FFC family night on family prayer. I think it was too over the top for us. We may check back in somewhere later in this series. We had a "mini MOPS" leadership meeting. We're getting a great team lined up for next year! Friday night I was in rare form after the Benton's Olympic Around the World party. We represented Germany. I think all the shots are where I went wrong. I was not ready for the V-day set up on Saturday morning. Phil was sweet to take all the kids to Lowe's so I could nap it out. It was a cold, rainy day- lots of indoor time for us. Luckily, we had the MOPS Valentine's Day party that night, which was super low key but still fun. Dinner was delicious, from Biscotti's. Sunday we went to breakfast before mass for the Holy Name breakfast. I felt a bit guilty because I think we're supposed to be fasting before and then Ellie chooses where we sit in mass- right in the front row. So, it felt like I was aglow in guilt. We visited with Mimi and Papa after mass. The girls worked on their Valentine's and we enjoyed the gorgeous weather. My roommate and sorority sister from college came over for dinner. I loved catching up with her family. We haven't seen them in years! They were so happy to sit out and enjoy the porch, coming from Indiana! Yuck! So, it was a fun week visiting with lots of great friends. What a blessing!