This is the first time in a while where I did not plan a Birthday party for myself. It ended up being okay. My friend Aubree offered to host a scavenger hunt party for me; but we just couldn't find a date that worked. Then it occurred to me that I didn't need to do anything. Instead of making more work, just enjoy all the parties I was invited to! On Monday I watched the Applegate children, including my Godson, Huck. That evening, my pal Amy picked me up and we did a MOPS girls night out to see the movie, Bad Moms Christmas. It was a pretty horrible movie. They all seemed to like it; but I thought it was awful. However, I enjoyed the gal pal time at TGIFs before and after the movie! Tuesday was my Birthday. I'm now 38! I had a conference with Marly's teacher to kick off the day. All is well. My friend, Laurie took Voss for me for the morning. I went to Kim Skinner's house with my friend, April for a holiday brunch and hear her speak, complete with a lamb walking around the house in a diaper! My friend, Aubree made me an amazing s'more cake! Kim brought me a cupcake and champagne at pick-up. That night was the Holiday Open House at Timuquana. It was nice of TCC to host a party for me ;-) Wednesday we had a MOPS Leadership meeting then I went to Stephanie's house to help stuff luminary bags for a school fundraiser. Poinsettias, Steph's Caesar salad and lots of mom convos! TCC did a gingerbread house party in the afternoon. The younger two were running laps through the club high on sugar! It worked out great between the girl's activities- dance and golf and then religion class. We ended up staying for dinner. Thursday my friend, Trexler watched Voss for me while my parents took me to lunch at the Wine Cellar. It was a cold, rainy day- beginning to feel like Christmas! My mom got me all this new make-up! I'm excited to try it out! Phil took Ellie to basketball so it was super nice to have the evening off. Friday I got up early and ran. It was probably the only 2 hours of the day that it wasn't raining! We went to mass for the feast of the Immaculate Conception. Cry room baby! It was a great day for a white mocha at the Trinity indoor playground. I spent the afternoon getting ready for my neighborhood party. The Progressive dinner ended up not progressing- just staying at my house. I made a bunch of turkey stroganoff. It only lasted a few hours, but it was a pretty stressful party. Saturday morning we got up and went to Ellie's basketball game then to TCC for breakfast with Santa. I'm so proud of my coordinating plaid outfits! I made a dress for Abby, skirt and hairband for Marly, shorts for Voss, bowtie for Phil, scarf for myself and then I spruced up one of Ellie's dresses. I think it all turned out so well! TCC always does so well with the breakfast. It was a great party! Phil had the festive idea to go see a family movie- another cold, wet day! So we saw Coco. It was a great movie for our first family movie! We played monopoly and went on a family bike ride. It was a great day! That night the Applegates picked us up and we went to the CEE Christmas party. That sangria! Wow! We went to the Kuder's for a nightcap- petting their sweet dog, drinking wine by the fire was an awesome way to close out my Birthday week! This morning we did mass then breakfast. I'm loving this cold weather! Tag on the lawn. Chores then Tracy's Birthday party with a PH, cake & ice cream and pepperoni rolls! My mom, daughters and I went to a Christmas concert by a local chorus, the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit!
This week has been a slow scramble. I just can't get it together. My house is a wreck. It's taken all week to decorate for Christmas- and we started on Monday. I had this sweet vision of family decorating that was quickly destroyed by Marly opening Christmas gifts that had come in the mail and Ellie breaking a wine glass that I wasn't even using. There was lot of fighting and crying and screaming. Tacky Christmas Pandora blaring. Not what I was hoping for. So, I had to do it in pieces. I ran a lot this week. I watched a lot of Blacklist- trying to take a breather. We had MOPS on Monday. Bunny read from the Unplug the Christmas Machine book. It actually made me a bit more stressed! It reminded me of all the things I needed to do! I ordered more Christmas gifts online. I am working on sewing Christmas outfits for the family. We got 2 new ac units this week. The Irma damage is officially cleaned up! I'm still putting the guest room back together. Maybe next week I'll get a good before and after pic! The kids are all into the Christmas spirit. They do make it more fun! Voss and I went to the zoo. Abby, Voss and I went to open gymnastics and the train park. We did first Friday this weekend and met some new friends. Phil played in a tennis tournament. I single mom'd it to Ellie's first basketball game. They lost but she played so well! We went to Christmas in Avondale then wine club last night. Tonight we had the first mass of Advent in the refurbished church. It was great to get back in there! I got a massage from a gift certificate my brother gave me last Christmas. It was wonderful! We watched the Jags game at TCC (they won!) then went to Mellow for dinner. Ready for another party week!
Tuesday we had our last day of school. Phil played golf. I went to the dentist to get a cavity filled. Abby and Voss went to play with the Cutlips. We got all packed up. Wednesday morning we got up and headed out to Blue Ridge, Georgia. My parents rented cabins. We stayed with Suzanne and the boys. Katie and Steve drove in from DC/VA. Aunt Susan, Bill and her friend Candy came in from Atlanta. Candy made this amazing lasagna for us that first night. Aunt Susan made a scallop appetizer. We played charades. The first night is always so fun getting together! Thanksgiving morning, Phil made breakfast. We had a lazy morning watching the Macy's Day parade. Mom and Dad got a take out Thanksgiving lunch from a local restaurant. It was a beautiful day in the mountains! Aunt Susan brought all these fun toys/books for the kids to play with. Steve played the guitar that night around the fire pit with s'mores. We watched Fried Green Tomatoes. The big kids got to stay up and watch Descendents. It was a great day! Friday morning the guys got up and played golf. Suzanne and I took the kids into town, which was a bit of a cluster. Everyone was moody and we got the date wrong for the parade. We decided to hit up the orchard instead. The day got better when Voss took a nap, Suzanne took all the kids by the river and I drank a beer on the balcony and did some Black Friday shopping online. Steve made us crabcakes for dinner that night. We watched Love Actually and Phil took the kids back to our cabin. Saturday we did putt putt and then sifted dirt for gems. It was super hoaky, but the kids loved it! We did this quick waterfall hike on the Appalachian trail. I thought that was super neat. We dropped all the kids off at Aunt Susan's cabin. She did this super sweet cookie tree decorating with them! The rest of us went for a kid-free lunch in town. Then, Suzanne, Phil and I checked out a winery. That was super neat! We hosted chili that night for dinner. Katie and Steve drove back to get a head start on the drive. Family can be crazy and frustrating...but we really have so much to be thankful for! Check out this awesome video I just made- here. This morning we packed up and headed out. Now we are on the hellish drive home! Ugh!
This week, I took a much needed break from my normal routine. I gathered a few friends and went to Orlando to see Enrique and PitBull. It was awesome! We got a hotel and got ready- which might be the best part! Tracy did nails, Jessica did make-up, Jacy got the room, I poured the wine! We went to a tapas dinner downtown then walked to the arena. We danced until midnight- literally! PitBulls dancers were a bit much for me, but we had a great time! We slept in a bit, got breakfast and headed back to Jax by lunch. So many people helped me to make this happen- with the kids. Phil is still making me pay for it. But, I really needed a break. #worthit! The next few days I came down with a nasty head cold. It forced me to go to bed early, which is what I really needed. Voss (and sometimes Abby) still wake up every night but going to bed when they do allows me to get in more hours. I also really appreciate the ability to take real cold medicine now that I'm not nursing or pregnant. Monday was a MOPS Monday, with the recap here. That encouraged me to have "the talk" with Ellie this weekend. We went on a 2 mile walk together and I think it was really good. My Ellie Belly is growing up! Thursday was a marathon day. When I finally got in bed I was so proud of myself for making it the whole day. The girls had Thanksgiving lunch at school. The thing is, Ellie has lunch at 11 and Marly has lunch at 1. So, I stayed the whole day chasing Voss around the school. We even went back after dance and golf to see the science fair projects. We went to a quick TF dinner then took Ellie to her first basketball practice. The other kids and I went to the library- which turned out to be a great deal! Friday Kim hosted us for a morning backyard play date. The littles and I took the van in for an oil change. That night we went to the OPS Married People Night Out. It was just what we needed that night! Phil and I had a date at Bread & Board then did the ministry gathering. The theme was support. We talked about "back up singers" in our marriage. Who supports us. It was a great way to think about it. Saturday Phil took Abby to a Birthday party. I took the other kids to play with the Newtons at the park. That night we went to the Kuders for a dinner party. They were so hospitable- it was a great night! Sunday was mass and breakfast then a Birthday party in SSI. A bit far for a party! I stayed up reading the Handmaid's Tale for book club last night. It turned out to be a good one, but it took me a while to get into it. Elizabeth hosted an amazing meeting last night- complete with a 4 course meal! I hosted a manatee play date that morning and was totally wiped out. I don't know what it was. Normally I can handle a crazy play date, but that nearly did me in. I pushed the party further by doing a double header last night. After book club, I went to the MOPS girls night at Tiffany's. Right down the street so it was a late night cap. I'm just waiting to crash now. But another #worthit for those awesome conversations and connections with my gal pals!
I'm really enjoying this phase of life where Voss takes an early nap and the girls are at school. I get a break! Of course I should be doing useful things like chores, phone calls, cleaning or at least some yoga but all week long I am so obsessed with this show, Black List and I eat Halloween candy. It's been great! Monday was a MOPS leadership meeting, Tuesday was a play date at April Rice's. It was so nice to catch up with her! Wednesday we had a lip stick play date then lunch at Lola's. That night Phil and I got to go to the Florida Forum. We saw Tom Brokaw! It was so neat to hear him speak! Thursday was coffee club at April Norris's to discuss Gender Equality in the Classroom and Boardroom. It was a small group but I think we had a great discussion! The afternoons are crazy with dance and golf, but fun at the parks! Thursday, Abigail's school did a family fun night with a science lab theme that was pretty cute. The girls didn't have school on Friday (thank you to our VETERANS!) so we went to the zoo. Another gorgeous day! We went to the Rattigans for lunch after. Lots of time to run around. That afternoon I packed up and headed out. I dropped the kids at my parents for the weekend. Phil and I headed to Marywood for an Engaged Encounter weekend. Perfect time for tweaking our marriage, right before the holidays when things get super stressful and out of whack! It's always tough to get down there, but once we do, it's so nice! I think I had the best sleep I've had in a long time! In reading our talks to the couples we are reminded of what we should be doing and how we should be living. We had 2 masses in 2 days and I even got in a confession with my favorite, Fr. Tim. Only 8 couples but such a nice weekend! I even got a jump start on Christmas cards! Today was low key, unpacking. Ellie finished her science project- yay! Marly and I played monopoly. Ellie and Phil played a little golf. Voss and Abby played in the dirt at TCC where we sat outside for a nice dinner and watched the Jags win! This November weather is making me smile!
We started the week with a MOPS Halloween party! We did a costume parade at the nursing home then party at the park. I did "take over Tuesday" for the MOPS Instagram page. It was more exhausting than I thought! It was fun, though! Halloween was Tuesday. Abigail had a costume parade at school. Voss wore a semi-costume for story time Halloween fun. I was stressed that evening. Getting the kids ready, we ran late, it took longer for our street- touring all the Hurricane damage, pictures with neighbors, a canceled babysitter for the weekend, my parent's house, then to the forest. We did a hayride, chilli at the Nixons. It was a great, chilly night! The day after was a sugar coma. We had a nice dinner at TCC for kids night then the big girls and I went to mass for All Saints Day. Thursday, Voss and I rode the train at the zoo. The cooler weather was really nice. Friday we went to the air show. It was a gorgeous day! Long gone is the cool weather, but the sky was clear and it was neat to get close to the planes and helicopters. We didn't stay long, though. We watched the Blue Angels from the front yard after school. So awesome! We visited with the Kuklas then went to a spaghetti dinner then came home in time for the babysitter. We picked up the Hollands and headed to Gourmet on the Green, a super fun wine tasting on the golf course. Gorgeous night! Ended at Lillians, of course. Saturday the kids and I ran in the Purple Stride 5K to support Tracy's dad's "Guy's Gang". I'm so proud of the kids! They ran so well! The after party was super fun, too with face painting, balloon artists, snow cones and a slide! Phil played golf. We met up with him after and watched the Blue Angels at TCC. We came home in time for another babysitter and ubered with the Kuders to the Cowford Ball. Super fun, western event! After party at the Creels with pepperoni rolls! Saved by day light savings! Mass and breakfast with the Masseys after a marathon weekend! Today was more relaxing. Laundry, science project and Blue Angels by boat. Another gorgeous day!
We got some cool weather! Boots and jeans and jackets are on. We even went to a bon fire tonight and had s'mores! The girls had "just say no to drugs" week at school. Ellie was a cheerleader at flag raising on Monday. They got to wear fun outfits and things all week. We had MOPS on Monday. Here's the recap. I got in 2 5-mile runs this week. Hopefully I can add to it this week. Tuesday was story time and parks in the afternoon. So gorgeous! I went bowling for a MOPS girls night on Tuesday. I'm not a fan of bowling but it was still fun. Wednesday was chicken enchilada day! I made meals for 5 moms with new babies (and one for us, too). The hard part was delivering them around town. It literally took me all day! Thursday, Voss came with me to get a pedicure. It was nice! Then we met Mollie Ann at the park for a play date. Friday we did pick a park to Alpine Groves in Fruit Cove. It was neat exploring a new place. We had lunch with Phil on the way back. After school we went to Katie Jo's farm and helped with chores. I really did help this time. I even put eye cream on a cow's eye who had pink eye! After showers we got in PJs and drove through McDonalds and drove around looking at Halloween decorations playing spooky music. It was cute! Phil and I watched a horror movie called Backcountry. Saturday I tried to sleep in. The girls went to the retreat with the nuns at Assumption again. The littles and I had a play date with Abby's pre-school friends from last year. My sister fell down the stairs and broke her ankle. We said some prayers for her during her surgery that morning. I worked on a few sewing projects. Phil played golf. We went to the Creels to watch the UF/UGA game. We went to Missy & Billy's Halloween party that night then came back to the Creels for a night cap. This morning was rough. We did mass and breakfast. Ellie, Marly, Voss and I went to the beach to get samples of the ocean for Ellie's science fair project. We joined the Hershorins at the Right Whale festival. The kids loved getting the passport stamps and learning about the whales. It was cute! Phil took Abby to a Birthday party for Brody, a boy in her class. The Thivierges had us over for dinner to christen their new fire pit. Fun night! I'm loving the fall weather!
It's fun to be able to live the fun of being a kid again- as an adult. I can pick and choose all the fun, festive things we do. The girls were off of school on Monday. They came with us to coffee club. We had an excellent discussion on gun control. It was neat that we all agreed that having semi-automatic weapons and attachments should be illegal. The conversation went into mental health, health care and race. Laurie turned it into Mason's Birthday party, too. Instead of our usual story time, on Tuesday we rode the skyway to Sweet Pete's to make pumpkin cookies. You know Voss loves trains. The decor freaked him out at the candy store, but he loved the cookies! He does love to talk about skeletons and ghosts but I think we freaked him out with Mimi's witch! Abigail wanted us to come with her to chapel at school on Wednesday so we did that, then went running and then to the indoor playground again. Voss was pretty much done by the time we arrived. Costco was our fun thing on Thursday. Friday the Bottin's rode with us to Conner's A-maize-ing Acres. That place was fabulous! I wish Voss would have been in a better mood and we could have powered through, but he lost it in the corn maze- attacking his friendemy, Parker. Other than that, it was a great day! After that we kept the party going with the fall festival at the girl's school. I had to work their class booths so that was a little crazy- Voss spent a lot of time in a bounce house unattended. After we burnt through 200 tickets we packed up and went to Married People night out at Abigail's school where Phil and I got a free date night and the kids pizza party. We found an envelope of gift cards that we thought we lost. So we went to the Town Center and restaurant hopped with gift cards. Yay Friday! I had a fun week of nights out. Monday I did a girls night with some high school pals- Chrissy, Jacy and Missy. I love the intelligent conversations! Monsoon sent us home early from the Burrito Gallery rooftop. I'm so into the new Netflix show, Blacklist. Thursday, Phil and I went to Dinner with Bill and toured the new ARC facility. It reminded me of my camp days- I love it! This weekend was pretty low key, which we truly needed! We met the Suters at RAM. Gorgeous weather! We went to Bold City for their 8th anniversary party. Maybe not a good idea with the kids. Later the Suters and Hershorins came over for cul-de-sac fun and checking out Halloween decorations. More pumpkin bread! Sunday was mass and we got to bring up the gifts! The Cochrans came with us to breakfast at TCC and for a tour. We met the Hershorins at the St. Matthews bazaar for more festival fun. I donated blood. It'd been a while! We went to the Hershorins for dinner. I was all set to watch TWD last night and realized watching live is not in our AMC package. I threw an adult temper tantrum so that's why I'm a little late in getting this out. Scary for everyone!
Despite the summer weather, we are jumping in with this whole fall thing. We're still doing park play dates and sweating a ton. But, we got a pumpkin. I got a bread maker. I'm smelling pumpkin bread as I type! We had MOPS on Monday. Here's a recap. A few things I didn't say is that there wasn't much advice if you have more than 2 kids. One thing I liked that she said is that it's all about your comfort level. Are you comfortable with chaos? No? Then, switch scenes! I love that! Voss has been waking up super early every day. It's been rough. My sleep tracker on my FitBit is not impressive. It was Duval goes to college week at school for the girls. They wore lots of FSU clothes! We did another indoor play date on Wednesday. The grocery store was our big activity for Thursday. Friday I went and got my nephews. We did the park then ice cream then back to the store to get all the things I forgot. I hate that. Phil's parents came in town that afternoon. We went to TCC for dinner and live music on the terrace. It was a great night! The Bravos had to stay in a hotel since our guest room is still out of commision. We went to Congaree & Penn farm for the Jax Moms blog play date. It was hot, rainy and crowded. The kids loved all the art projects- pumpkin painting, spider making and creative grain! We did Latin House Grill for lunch. Then we carved our pumpkin. We made cookies and pumpkin bread. Madre did my hair. Phil and I went to a salsa dancing party at the Freemans. They know how to throw a great party! Mass this morning, breakfast at TCC and the Bravos are on their way back to Miami. I went to a girls pool party. Such a nice break! We did a super early bedtime and hopefully I'm close behind!
The week began with this shooting in Vegas. So much to think about. NPR has done some great stories this week. It was a windy week. I obsessed all week with backing up and organizing all of our pictures on google. I mean hours of my time. Voss took daily naps at home, for once- we'd been so out of whack. It was nice to get a routine. So, during nap time I did yoga once and worked on pictures listening to the wind howl around the house. It was pretty neat. I wouldn't say it cooled off. We still sweat at the park quite a bit. Monday was grandparents day at the girl's school. My parents joined them for flag raising and breakfast. It was sweet. I dipped out and went to the MOPS leadership meeting. It was a good one; a nice break! I got in a 5 mile run that evening. A week of dance, golf and park hopping again- loving the afternoon breeze! We had a photo session on Tuesday. Andrea was fabulous! How in the world am I going to choose 7 pictures!? We did dinner at Chick Fil A that night. Abby did pumpkin pics at school. Voss and I went running and did our own tour in the pumpkin patch. Marly went on a field trip to a corn maize on Thursday. Voss and I went to Wee Trade and got lots of great clothes for Ellie. Thursday afternoons are tough. It's just so much! I'm so happy Jessica brings the girls home from Girl Scouts- I think that would do me in! Friday we went to the zoo with Anne. I think the train ride was the highlight! Phil stayed home from work with food poisoning. Ugh. First Friday was that night. Hula hoops, jump ropes and trucks on the lawn! Kids up late! Phil got up early and played golf. We all went to the Amazing Acres Crop Maize. It was so fun! It was hot, though. I think since it's fall we expect cooler weather. So it feels extra hot when we don't get it. Sweating in the maize! We got ice cream on the way home. Ellie spent the night at her pal, Finley Cate's house. She was nice and spoiled. Clare babysat the other kids. Phil and I went to a football party at the McGraths. Our teams lost so we compensated with booze. So much fun, but out way late! This morning was tough. I sat with Aubree and all our kids at mass. The month of the rosary- makes it extra special when we do it as a family. We did brunch at Mellow with the Hershorins then sweat at the park after. They came over later for veggie burgers and brownies. Phil and I wasted a bunch of time watching OA this week. Now we're trying to get into something else. Suggestions?