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?
We finally had our first MOPS meeting and wow- it was amazing! Jessica did an awesome job of creating an open, honest tone. We went around the room and introduced ourselves, saying what we could release to feel more free. We were all so emotional and felt comfortable already sharing with each other. It was quite a sight to see! Lots of tears, lots of laughs, new friends, old reunions, a bit of drama- all on a Monday morning! It's going to be a great year! Monday was my dad's actual Birthday. After MOPS we went to lunch with my parents and Erik then hung out before he had to head to the airport. I had book club that night to discuss 3 Dog Life. I wasn't a huge fan. Still a good conversation, though. I already finished next month's book, My Favorite Thing is Monsters. That should be a much deeper conversation! We did a park play date and story time on Tuesday to discuss this article, kina like a coffee club. Great talk! That afternoon we went to cocktails for Cowford at the Creels. Super fun Tuesday night ending with a PH! So, Wednesday was a bit off. I kept thinking it was Thursday for one. I hung out all day waiting for my new washer & dryer that never came! The afternoons are busy with dance, golf, religion and girl scouts. Lots of time in the car; I'm still trying to figure out some sort of routine. Abigail stuck something in her ear Wednesday night while we we're reading books. I tried getting it out to no avail and think pushed it further. So, that was stressful. I finally got it out Thursday night with warm water then tweezers. Whew! I had a play date with my pal, Kat on Thursday. We did the park and then La Nap for lunch. It was nice to catch up. It's been so hot this week! I feel like I can't stop sweating! Friday we did an indoor playground at Trinity. That place was awesome! Ellie got a bad progress report so we're trying to get a few ducks in row and iron out some kind of routine for her. I'm hoping this opens her eyes and makes her take it up a notch. We will see! We played with the Hoggatts in the Wine & 9 on Friday evening. It's always so fun! Lillians was not a good idea afterwards, though. The big girls went to their first dance on Friday night. They loved it! Saturday it rained all day. It stopped for a bit so Ellie and I went for a run- much needed for both of us! I worked on the kid's baby books all day, did laundry and took it easy. It was nice. Phil and I got sushi and watched Straight Outta Compton. It was good. Phil went to Target and got us fitbits. We've been playing with those all day. Today was another rainy low-key day. We went to the Hershorins for brunch after mass. Afternoon poker. Then, I worked on a bunch of sewing projects and finally finished the silhouette project I was hoping to do for the 4th of July! Now of course I'm staying up too late again. It's just that the house is finally so quiet, I can actually think!
We are dealing with some post hurricane stress. We had all this adrenaline pumping for the storm, but now that life is getting back to normal. We're exhausted and left to clean up. Phil and I had a few heart to hearts this week, which was really good. We had a date night at home, making pizza together and finishing watching Narcos. We also got a last minute date night out on Friday. We signed up to do a marriage seminar at the church where Abby goes to school. The kick off was a date night; drop your kids for a pizza party and go have a date! We played a few holes of golf and then had dinner at TCC. It was awesome! The girls had lots of dance this week. Ellie had golf with the big kids. We had some fun play dates. Monday was the beach, walking in the forest, pick a park Friday. My mom watched Voss for me so I could go to the Young Lives luncheon. I bought a new washer and dryer, but it won't be here until next week. I've been doing laundry at my parent's house. I pressure washed the garage and the drive way and cleaned off/dried out all the toys from the garage. Pretty nasty stuff! We had the flood insurance guys come to inspect. We also had a contractor come to assess. Walls need to be torn out, crawl space cleaned out, possibly new ACs and water heater. I bought a new jogging stroller from Craigslist. Abby got to go to Poppy's bowling Birthday party. The older girls and Voss and I went to Joanne's for a Girl Scout event making sit-upons. Voss got loose and ran around the store and I lost him. The Joannes staff was awesome about radioing around the store and helping me find him. He has really become a handful lately! Pushing, bad attitude and obsessed with trains! He is super excited about our new skeleton Halloween lights. Yes, we already put up our decorations- we needed a happy! My youngest siblings came in town to help celebrate dad's 70th Birthday (tomorrow)! Kate & Steve flew in late Friday. Erik flew in late last night. We went to Alex's soccer game then to Suzanne's house for lunch. I spent the afternoon baking. The meringue was an epic fail! I spent 4 hours on that sucker! Turns out you can whip the egg whites by hand, you have to use an electric mixer! The girls made a huge mess making chocolate covered bananas. They ended up melting today, the kids ate them but it was groose. At wine club last night, Kerri offered to come over today to help me fix the meringue. She saved the pie and my day! Wine club was fun, lots of good conversations! Erik ended up meeting us out at Mellow for the after party. Turned into a 3am-er. A bit painful today, but totally worth it! I was good to catch up with Erik! Today we did mass, then TCC, then Kerri made meringue. Phil played tennis. Then we all went over for Papa's 70th Birthday party. I made mojo pork in crock pots, Suzanne did beans & rice. It was a nice family party. We even concluded with a family rosary. It was really nice!
Of course Irma is the title of this post! She has taken over our lives for the last 2 weeks! The first week was the anticipation and anxiety as we watched the cone. She kept changing her path- when and where do we evacuate? Lots of fighting, packing, preparing- trying to figure out what the best thing to do was. And it's not like planning a vacation- I mean, these are big issues if you make a bad call. It was so stressful! And then we had the actual storm. A few hurricane parties to take the edge off. The Suters hosted a few. One at the Yacht club Friday night. A post party at TCC the following Friday. Then lots of pool side parties in the hotel. We evacuated to a hotel in Orange Park, which we were incredibly lucky to get! It turned out to be a good idea, because we had power (except for a bit the night of, along with a tornado warning siren). Phil was able to go the next morning to the house. He could only make it to Ortega Farms Blvd. Then, he saw a neighbor with a boat that took him to our house! Imagine being dropped off to your front door via boat! It's not every day the Weather Channel is on your street! See the clip here. The garage and guest room flooded. We were within inches of having water in the main house. We really got lucky. A few neighbors were a lot less lucky. The tide went up so high the windshield in our boat cracked when it went into the roof of the boat house. We got power back in our house on Tuesday night. Phil checked out of the hotel on Thursday. There are still many residents without power in town. My parent's house was fine but the yard lost a few large trees and the dock and boat are totaled. Phil's car flooded in our garage as well as our washer and dryer. He felt much better after getting a new car on Friday, and even better getting the old car towed out of the garage today. I know we are lucky everyone is safe. But man, this whole hurricane thing sucks! We are trying to get back into the swing of things. I've sorta been in a fog all this week cleaning up. We went to Birthday parties yesterday. Ellie and Marly went to a retreat with the Servant Sisters at the Home of the Mother. It was the perfect thing for them to do that day! Ellie even got to go to Confession. The younger kids and I went to Annie's Birthday at Engine 15. Then, the whole family went to the Deering boys nerf gun war Birthday party. Today, Phil and I celebrated our Godson, Huck's Baptism. That was really special to be there for that! Later we had lunch at Mossfire to celebrate. Then, we went to the Hershorins. Aubree and I snuck away for a cocktail with the liberal ladies happy hour. We ordered pepperoni rolls and said the rosary on the way home. School finally starts back tomorrow! We're so ready to get back into the swing of things!
We just took a day off on Monday. It was rainy. I stayed in my PJs until about noon. It was really nice! The littles and I needed a morning off. Plus I needed to prep for the afternoon fun. I'm maxing out on dance and taking advantage of the family discount! Both Ellie and Marly are taking ballet, tap, jazz and acrobatics. Abby is taking the same combo ballet and tap class as last year. This means we are at dance every afternoon! This week I had to tweak some logistics (i.e I was 30min late picking up Marly thinking they were hour long classes when really they are just 45min each). Next week we add in golf so that should be exciting. The Applegates drove to religion this week so we had the first week off. Voss and I did story time on Tuesday. I had to cancel my Wednesday plans and head to Costco to get my tire repaired. I ran over a screw on the way back from dance on Tuesday. Roadside put on a spare for me in the garage, which was awesome and super quick! Voss and I did a Costco run while we waited. We road the train in the mall on Thursday- he loved that! My dad watched the kids on Thursday evening while Phil and I divided and conquered at the big kids school open house. Phil went to Marly's class and I went to Ellie's. So far they are both doing really well. It seems like 3rd grade is about to get hard for Ellie. We shall see! Phil went to the guys night at TCC for an hour, then I went to the MOPS girls night for the rest of the night! Maybe too much fun! Friday the littles and I went on the trails at Ringhaver park. It was a gorgeous morning. The Applegate girls came over for the afternoon and we went swimming at the Hollands. Such a fun Friday! That night was first Friday at TCC so we did it poolside. We should have been doing that all summer! Saturday we did a girls run then took the boat to TCC for swimming and lunch. Phil took Ellie to play golf. Marly and I played checkers. I also finished the summer video here. We had a new babysitter, Hodson. Phil and I went to TCC to watch FSU loose to Alabama :-( We still had lots of fun with the Hoggatts and then after partying at the Kuders. My bad is that I ate wings before I went to bed, that had been out too long. So, Sunday for me sucked. I was sick all day! As a trooper we went to mass then a BBQ at the Suters. You know I was sick when I took a nap with Voss at the party and packed up my crew to leave at 6pm. Our whole family was asleep by 8pm! A great night of sleep was good for all of us! Phil played golf this morning. It's Labor Day! We took it easy then headed to the pool for glitter tattoos, pool games, water slide and balloon fun! We ended the day at my parent's house for tubing, swimming and classic burgers and dogs on the grill. After yesterday, I can't help smiling and feeling better! The only pro to having a sick day (aside from loosing 5 lbs!) is perspective when you feel good again! Fall 2017 here we come!
The week began with Solar Eclipse Day! I picked up the older girls early from school and went to CFA for lunch. Phil came home from work early. I was worried about too much exposure to our eyes, but it was totally fine. I'm so glad we got to eclipse glasses from the library- we wouldn't have seen anything without them. We ate moon pies on the balcony while watching. It was neat! A cloud came across during the total eclipse- but we could see the awesome before and after! The Hershorins stopped by that afternoon so it turned into a "eclipse party" for us. I had book club that night at April's to discuss Nightingale. It was such an awesome conversation. I love the diversity of our book club! Abigail had her first day of VPK on Tuesday! Voss and I got back into our story time/ park routine. The Applegates and I have a rockstar carpool- Dave takes the older girls in the morning and I take Poppy home from preschool with Abby. I am totally getting the sweet end of this deal! We had coffee club on Wednesday to discuss what to do about confederate statues and namesakes in Jacksonville, especially in light of recent events in Charlottesville. Laurie brought this article- I had no idea Forrest was actually a decent guy. My Danish cousins, Kirsten and Henrik came to the US to watch the Solar Eclipse. My parents, Uncle Bill and Aunt Jean met them in GA to watch it in Blue Ridge- their pictures are awesome! My parents hosted a big, family dinner with everyone (and Aunt Sherry and Uncle Ed) on Wednesday night. Suzanne and the boys were there, too. It was so great to catch up with everyone! Phil took the kids home after dinner and I got to stay up with everyone later. Voss and I rode bikes over on Thursday to visit, too. Friday afternoon we all went on a boat ride. The Florida August heat is no joke! The rains are coming, though. A hurricane hit Texas this weekend and we're getting all the outer rains. Perhaps that's the only way to cool things off? I had a friend from high school over for brunch Thursday morning. Fr. Bill recently returned from Germany and is trying to figure out what to do next. It was awesome to catch up with him! Friday, we went back to the Adventure Landing water park- the last day of toddler play. We did FYC pool and dinner that night. It was great to catch up with the Nixons. Saturday morning I went to Kristi's baby shower for her twin girls! Savannah and friends hosted it- but I loved seeing how she decorated the house on base- the same one the Harringtons, Hinkles and Bergers lived in! Phil had taken the kids to get library cards and new toys at Target so they were nice and occupied while he played golf that afternoon. I started this pretty depressing, Dark Places book. After a rainy afternoon/evening we decided to do a last minute night out and put all the kids in Kids Park. We met the Rattigans and some of their friends at Bistro Aix for a fun night out. We did mass and breakfast on Sunday. I was hoping Fr. Bill would join us, but we went to TCC with the Hershorins and Hoggatts instead. We went to Blake and Cody's pool Birthday party. Huge party! The Hollands are fabulous hosts! We did the Hershorins for dinner. A total Sunday Funday! Zoë came over for a night cap to watch the final episode of this season of Game of Thrones. WOW!
I started the week with a 5:15am spinning class with my pals Christy and Vanessa. I'm telling you, it about killed me for the whole week! I just can't handle that early in the morning; it's not sustainable! I hosted my new small group play date for MOPS. It was nice to see some old pals and reconnect with new ones. It was also the big girl's first day of school. I walked them into their classrooms. It was pretty anticlimactic. We had ice cream bars as an afternoon snack. Tuesday we did a mid-morning play date in Alice's new pool. But the kids were crabby and I was, too. So hot and (still tired from Monday). I was eager to climb back in bed and keep reading my awesome book, The Nightingale. Those afternoon rainstorms are the best! We had a "gymnastics class" play date on Wednesday. Then, the super hot park! I went out that night with some high school pals, Jacy and Chrissy. I loved catching up with them! Thursday was Abigail's open house. She was super shy. Another hot, crabby morning. We got to meet her teachers and see all her classmates. Ellie had her pal, Finley Cate over after school. She ended up spending the night. Super cool, mom- I must say! Friday was super productive. I made up for my slacking all week long. I swam and ran, pressure washed the porch, picked up the Nixon twins and went to Adventure Landing water park for a play date. It was a great day! We celebrated Brian's Birthday that night with key lime pie at their house. Late night spoons game! Saturday Phil played in a tennis tournament. We went to solar eclipse story time, out to lunch and watched Phil for a bit. It was SO HOT! I don't know how Phil played out there! That night we went to the Counting Crowns & Matchbox 20 concert. It was so fun, but still hot! Today after mass we did a Progressive Boat Day. We started at the Creels for breakfast, then the Thivierges for wraps, Hollands for salmon, our house for gazpacho then the Applegates for dessert. It was such a fun day!
We didn't really take a family vacation this summer. When ever I got sad about this, I remembered that every day around here is pretty much a vacation. I mean, really. Well, we took a trip to visit Phil's family- and turned this into our family vacation. We had a good visit. We went to the Frost Science museum one day, a recommendation from Phil's sister. She met us for lunch at this awesome place in the Art museum across the way- right on the water. Gorgeous! We even got to go back to the museum. It was super cool! That night we did a low key dinner, family monopoly and then Phil and I snuck out for a drink at a local bar. The next day was a beach day. We rented kayaks and toured the canals of awesome homes! We did a pizza party at Phil's Godmother's house that night. We drove back the next morning after breakfast. Just in time for kids night at TCC with the Creels. Thursday was enough time for me to do laundry, clean up and get organized. The girls did a lemonade stand and made a killing! Friday was open house at school. My friend, Laurie watched the younger two. We met Marly's 1st grade teacher, Mrs. Litchfield. She's new to the school but seems fabulous! Then we went to the other side of the school to the big kids and met Ellie's teachers, Mrs. Williams (science and math) and Mrs. Roberson (language arts and social studies). We dropped off school supplies and filled out lots of paperwork! We all went out to a celebratory lunch at Tijuana Flats. That afternoon and evening was relaxing- early bed time with Phil and I getting take out and watching a movie. Saturday I had the MOPS leadership retreat. I'm loving the new theme! We had such a great time together planning the new MOPS year. You would think I've gotten my fill at this point, but man, I'm excited for another year! I'm in charge of play dates. After retreat we went to the Hollands for dinner and swimming. I'm having some allergic reaction to something on my face. Chlorine maybe? So, that's fun. Sunday was mass, breakfast and Sunday funday in the cove. We got caught in the rain and that added to the fun! Phil grilled, lots of kids and chaos- you know I love that. It was the perfect way to end the summertime!
We got a lot of rain and clouds this week. It was actually nice. The pools were cooled off, the plants were watered, we all took a deep breath. Much needed! I read an awesome book, Beach Music- the perfect summer read! We rode bikes to two pool parties: the twins Birthday on Monday and a MOPS pool party on Friday. We did another beach day with the Thompsons on Tuesday. We had a boat day with my dad all day on Thursday. Sore from water skiing- like old times! I did some back to school shopping with Ellie at JNJ's. We had the swim team awards banquet. Marly was the high point winner for her age group! We had a fish dinner one night with fresh tuna from Aaron's Louisiana trip. We kicked off the weekend with golf and First Friday dinner with the Napoleons. I did a paddle board race on Saturday morning. I came in last place! That was a first for me! Still an awesome experience! We went to Mabel's Birthday party last night. Ice cream sundaes! This morning we went to mass and breakfast. Now, we're headed to Miami to visit Phil's family.