The week began with an awards ceremony at Ellie's school. I'm so proud of my girl! She received three awards: Citizenship (behavior), All E's and S's (As & Bs) and a reading award! Awesome job! The next day Marly had a special friendship chapel. It was neat to spend time with her at school. Phil and I got a mid-week date night. We went to see Yanni in concert. What a great show! Phil started coming down with a bug, but he powered through. (Luckily, Yanni is the perfect show to sit through if you don't feel well and want to relax). He went on to stay home the next two days and finally started feeling better this weekend. Great timing because he and Abigail went down to Miami to visit with his mom, as she recovers from her surgery. Ellie went to an ice skating Birthday party today. So fun! I didn't know what to do with myself with such a quiet house this afternoon! It was so nice! We watched my nephew swim in a meet on Friday afternoon. Story time, two fun pm dinner play dates, another one with my pal, Kat. I did some shopping at Wee Trade. I went to bed super early Friday night. I got up at 4:30am and went for a long run since the race is next weekend! We had lunch with the Freemans and Bentons at European Street. It was a cold, rainy day but we did just fine. We green lighted the Harmons for an afternoon cocktail. I got to get out for a girls night to surprise my pal, Laurie for her Birthday. Dinner and dancing with the gals! The Freemans had us all over to watch the Super Bowl tonight. Great day for a bowl of chili! The kids had a ball running around inside and out. Another Sunday Funday!
That's what Abigail said to me today, "Being three is so much fun, mommy!" This girl cracks me up! She is so funny! We had another fun party week to celebrate her Birthday. She got to have 2 ballet classes this week! We did a ballet Birthday for her on Friday morning. Her dance teacher came to teach a class to a bunch of her little dance buddies. Lots of screaming! Lots of tutus, wings and wands! Abigail had a blast, so it was totally perfect. I had the idea to make ballet bags for all her guests. I wish I took a picture of them all hanging on the stairwell. So sweet! So, I spent a lot of time monogramming and making them this week! MOPS on Monday was a sexologist. Pretty intense! I did an awesome 11 mile run, prepping for that half! We had a girls night at Angels for Allison. Then, the after party came over to work on the keg on our porch. We had an afternoon play date at the park with our cousins then Ellie got a tooth pulled at the dentist. New toothbrushes for all! We had kegs and eggs on Thursday morning and Stockton spirit night at Hurricanes. We had an awesome CEE gathering the night of Abby's Birthday. We're getting lots of new St. Matthews people involved. Yay! It was Abigail's Birthday week, but Marly rocked the party circuit on Saturday! The first one was pajamas and pancakes at 9am. So cute! Phil took her to the next one with a zip line, fishing and horse back riding! Ellie borrowed her dance card for the next one- a shark pool party! She came home right when the babysitter arrived. Phil and I headed out to the Stanelle's 40th Birthday party at Riverside Liquors. We ended with dancing at the Latin Lounge, always a good time! Today after mass, I headed to FYC for a super fun baby shower luncheon. Then we met up with the Farms friends for a floatila boat afternoon- Sunday Funday! We ended up ordering pizza and working on the keg more tonight. Great way to end the night at the fire pit!
We have so much to celebrate and be thankful for! Voss Philip is one year old! We made it! So far, it feels like that first year is the most difficult. Adapting to a larger family size, a new person, around the clock nursing, frequent doctor visits for check-up and shots, keeping them out of harm...oh all this while also parenting THREE other children AND being a supportive spouse! Not an easy deal thus the need for some celebrating! We started the cold week at the alligator farm on MLK day. Phil and Ellie were both off so we went as a fun family day with the MOPS play date. That meant, Phil was there with a bunch of moms and kids. We had lots of ballet lessons, hot chocolate, a make-up golf lesson, I did a 10.9 mile run, party planning, furniture buying and house organizing! And all of a sudden, it's Voss's first Birthday! Ellie had the day off so she helped with the party planning. It was a rainy morning but we braved it with rain coats and rode the sky way downtown to the candy shop. We met the Mitchell's for lunch. The girls filled boxes of candy. Super fun! That afternoon the Reinsteins came to town. The girls performed ballet for them until the pizza arrived! Birthday pizza for dinner! That night Phil picked his parents and sister up from the airport. They went out to a nice, late family dinner at Black Sheep. We woke up on Saturday morning to bacon and pancakes! Yay, Abu! After breakfast, we took our circus to the circus! A little crazy, to do that right before a Birthday party, but you know that's how we roll. We had 85 people here to celebrate Vossy boy! It was a high of 44 degrees that day. Luckily, we discovered that the bounce house fits in the garage so we turned it into a kid zone- ball pit, riding toys and all. We had a guitarist come play and a keg and hot chocolate too! It was super fun! We did a mac and cheese bar. We're so thankful for all the people in our lives who helped us make it through this year! If you weren't one of the 85 people at the party, please don't be upset. There's a good chance you'll be at a Bravo party this season. We have another one next weekend! Today is another cold, recovery day. Whew! Happy Birthday, Voss! We love you!
Here comes that cold weather! Right now, I'm snuggling on the couch, Phil and the big girls are playing tennis and the littles are napping. I hardly know what to do with myself on a quiet Sunday afternoon. So rare! We split up this morning. I took the littles to Abigail's pal, Avery's 3rd Birthday party at the park. Phil took the big girls to play indoor putt putt golf. It was SO COLD at the park! It was sorta fun to finally get to wear our coats, mittens and hats! Lots of hot chocolate this week! I even melted Halloween candy to make it one afternoon! I had lots of good conversations this week- book club was good on Monday at Lauren's to discuss The Invention of Wings. Then we talked about Space Travel at my house for coffee club on Thursday. There was an Engaged Encounter weekend happening so I spent lots of time doing all that prep work. We had our first MOPS meeting back for the re-gift exchange. I was brave and went to story time at the Town Center. Lots of help from my MOPS pals. It turned out to be a great morning. Those belly laughs felt so good! I went to a Pure Barre class on Saturday morning. I'm so sore I can hardly walk- whew! What a work out! We went to our pal, John's 40th Birthday out in Hilliard last night- took a bus to a field to burn Christmas trees. Pretty neat! Voss took his first steps this week! Right in time for his first Birthday this week! Yay! I should find a fun crock pot meal for dinner tonight for after mass. Happy Winter!
Luckily Monday was mini MOPS- the unlucky part was that no nursery workers showed up so we didn't really get a break, having our meeting in the nursery. We did CFA afterwards and then did a work out play date at the park that afternoon. Hello 2016! I took the younger two to story time on Tuesday then my parents took Abigail for the rest of the afternoon! Loving Dad's retirement! I'd love to say I was productive, but I wasn't at all. I did get to cuddle with Voss, yay! We did the ballet shuffle that afternoon. I made a big grocery run, the freezer will hardly close! The weather has been cold and rainy. No golf on Wednesday. I made a ham soup that was amazing. Fr. Joseph came over and blessed our house. That was pretty neat. Abby had a lunch date with my parents on Thursday. And once again, I didn't get much of anything done. I'm working on Marly's magnet school application and Abby's registration for the fall. It's taking forever. I did a great yoga workout, though! Friday I took all the Christmas decorations down. By myself! We went to storytime and got a bunch of library books. I finally got my book club book and have enjoyed reading it all weekend. (Perfect weather to stay inside and read!) We went to first Friday at TCC and stayed a bit too late. Phil went back out for more. (You know I was excited to come back and keep reading). We finally got out and ate BBQ and went bowling. We had wine club last night. Storyime around the fire pit talking about why the bottle of wine we brought was special. Fun night! After mass this morning, I went for a 7 mile run- trying to prep for a half marathon on Valentine's Day. Phil played some tennis. We went on a sunset boat ride with hot chocolate. Yay! Happy Sunday!
It's that week between Christmas and New Years day. There's a let-down from Christmas, but everyone is on vacation and looking for stuff to do. We've had this super hot weather, which makes it seem more like summer break. Phil worked some but we also all had lots of down time. I think there was one day where I slept for 12 hours! Well, not really, there was lots of interruptions- but I went to bed at 8pm and didn't officially get out to start the day until 8am. You know we all needed a break! My brother, Erik gave me a roku for Christmas. We've been watching a lot of TV. My siblings have all left and gone back to their lives. Katie just left today. It's been so nice having all this time with her. I think we're all a bit spoiled by her being here. She really helped me out taking a kid or two or even being here to entertain them. We tried out this indoor bounce house place, Slinkees. That was a great way to spend the morning! We went to my Uncle Ed's house one day and had a huge cousin reunion. Some Hicks cousins were in town from DC. We went to the zoo with them the following day. We threw together some NYE plans- date night at Black Sheep, drinks at Volstead (the waitress remembered us!) then to the MOCA party. New Years Day was rainy and very quiet. Long naps all around with chili for dinner. I met my sorority sister, Tiff Buck in St. Augustine one morning to ride the carrosel and play on the playground. We went to brunch at the Suter's this morning- great way to spend a cold (yes, it finally got Christmas cold), rainy Sunday before going back to the normal routine. So, 2016 here we come! Maybe I will finally start that MOPS slogan this year, to get some rest!
And then, "poof", Christmas is over. Well, not really. It's just beginning, really. It ends when Jesus is Baptized, right? But the anticipation is over. Gifts are unwrapped. Family has started to leave. It was a pretty quiet Christmas. I think the warm weather actually depresses me. It doesn't feel like Christmas (and I have no good summer clothes to wear right now). I'm trying to make the best of it. We went to the beach one day while Phil played golf. We've been paddleboat riding and boating, bike riding and enjoying the outdoors (when it's not too hot). We went caroling at the nursing home and made gingerbread houses. We called and sang carols. We're trying. We switched up the Voss family tradition of oyster stew on Christmas Eve. I thought Bravos were coming in town so we moved the Voss family Christmas to the morning/afternoon of Christmas Eve. We rode bikes over, did all the gift exchanges then got a boat ride home. We went to the children's mass at St. Matthews, got Chinese for dinner (maybe a new tradition?) then the girls made cookies for Santa. I think that was the earliest I've been to sleep on Christmas Eve in a really long time. Santa came! Ellie got a bigger bike and was super excited. Marly got a scooter and was not to thrilled. Luckily, she's warmed up to it since that morning. Abigail got a balance bike and Voss got a walker car. It all went pretty quickly. We had a huge breakfast of crack casserole and eggs. We watched the Disney Christmas parade, put up the bounce house (last year's gift from Santa is still going strong!) and just sorta hung out. The Freemans and Nixons came by on their boats. We toasted Jesus's birth and made an awesome cake. I had a pork shoulder in the crock pot for dinner. The following day we walked over to ride our bikes home, had a late lunch at a new burger joint. The girls are loving all their new bikes. We got Ellie a suitcase, Marly lego ice cream and Abby a Frozen sing along thing. Those are all a huge hit, too. We've been playing lots of Candy Land and especially Monopoly, the Reinstein's gift. Great family time! We went to an Ugly Sweater Christmas party on Saturday night. The McGrath's know how to throw a party! We left and met my siblings for a night out. We began at a Speakeasy in San Marco, Grape & Grain. Then, we went to the Volstead downtown and ended at dos gatos. We ran by Krystals then actually went back to the Ugly Sweater party! I didn't say we always make good choices! Sunday morning was actually pretty good. I was racing around to work on my dad's retirement gift. He finally did it this year! I'm excited to be able to spend more time with him now. We had a family party at the Yacht Club for brunch. We presented him with a gift card to Delta. We took a nice, long family nap. Then we rode bikes over to say good-bye to Erik (who was actually delayed and still in town). We ended with mass last night, which was perfect- the feast of the holy family.
I'm a little late in writing this post because we are partied out! No really. You know how I always do too much. And then I'm done. Well, this is it. Monday began with a good MOPS meeting. Mae gave us some child rearing tips. My question was on disciplining all kids when only one deserves it. I sampled the tip at the park that Friday when Marly lost it and I left the park. Not sure I have a for real solution there. That night was book club's Christmas dinner at Uptown Market. We did Seventeen Magazine quizzes that Lauren wrote. So fun! Marly started her star of week on Tuesday 💫! Ellie had a holiday sing along. Then, the littles and I went to a Christmas brunch at the Thakkars. On Wednesday, the star of the week had her Christmas play. To be honest, I was feeling a little crummy with the whole star of the week thing. I sorta feel like Marly got jipped because it was the last week of school. And my star of the week was a COW in the Christmas program. Not a star? Or an angel? I really grappled with saying something. But, you know me. But then, my friend took these awesome pictures. And it reminded me, how I have the cutest cow around.
That night, we went on a date. A different sort of date. First, we went to the Penance Service, out to dinner at the new Spraga and then Christmas shopping at Walmart! Woo Whooo! We did lots of fun pm play dates! One with dinner at the Freemans. Another wine and Christmas cookies with the Stevensons. Then a work out one with the Stevensons. My sister Katie flew into town for Christmas. We've been spending lots of qt with her. She helped me do bath time one night! We met SQ for a late night movie (that kicked off all my partying!) Friday I took the night off, much needed! Saturday, the older girls, my sisters and mom and I went to lunch and the Nutcracker. I think the girls appreciated it more this year since they are both in ballet. It was so special to share with them! Right when we got home it was time for the next party, 12 Drinks of Christmas with wine club friends. Oh my! Lots of fun, but not worth the pain the next day. We started out fine. Went to mass then got a hole in our tire on the way home. We missed tailgating with my family but made it in the first quarter of the Jags game. It was lots of fun with the kids and my siblings! That night I took the kids to Nick's Birthday/luminary party. Monday we went caroling at the nursing home then sorta had coffee club at my house after. Except we didn't really get to the topic! I was so proud of the kids and their singing! They were awesome! Yesterday was emotional. My siblings and parents had a meeting downtown with their family lawyer to discuss their will. Lots of tough conversations but necessary to have. I did some last minute Christmas shopping. I went running with my brother, Matt last night. It was so neat, just like old times. So, we're right in the midst of the Christmas. We are having lots of fun! We have lots of bright stars in our life. 🌟
We just lit the pink candle today. Christmas is upon us! We kicked off the week with the MOPS Christmas party. We visited with Santa and had lots of treats. That night was the MOPS Leadership dinner at Mossfire. So, it was a fun party day. I went all the way to the beach to follow up with a missing MOPS pal on Tuesday. I think it was a good surprise, totally worth the trip! Ali and I also got to go to Taco Lu's. I finally took Voss in for his 9 month appointment (almost 2 months late) to find out he has an ear infection and needed a breathing treatment. That was terrible and I don't think it was necessary at all. Abby got a flu shot, too. Ellie got to go to the dentist that afternoon- getting everyone taken care of! Thursday, I ran everyone to school/rode bikes. It was crazy. We got a late start, Ellie's chain came off. I did a bit of pre-planning- I dropped off the car the night before (and ran home) so we could drive home after ballet. Tracy came over for a Birthday ph that afternoon. Friday we went to the zoo. It was a perfect day for it, we had such a nice time. We had a big party weekend. We had the MOPS Christmas party, Phil's bank Christmas party, the Engaged Encounter party and then our street progressive dinner party tonight. We even got to make Christmas cookies and watch the Charlie Brown Christmas movie as a family. It was a nice weekend. We're trying hard to remember the spirit of the season.
It's one of those gorgeous Florida December afternoons, where you probably want to wear socks but you don't want to be inside. The manatees are out, kids running around the yard. I'm overwhelmed and humbled- feeling totally loved by all the kind words in posts, emails, calls, messages, SINGING, money on booze and babysitters all to celebrate my Birthday yesterday. I'm just letting it all wash over and build up in my emotional bank account for when I need it later. It was a hard week. Something about coming back from Thanksgiving holiday and getting back into the groove of things. I don't know. We've all been at each other all week. I fell on a run one night and have a huge boo boo on my knee (kina surprised I didn't break anything), the kids are on a sugar rush and over-tired trading this pneumonia-like cough around. Egh. I didn't realize Ellie did have her homework packet before the break and totally could have worked on it on the long car ride so we scrambled getting that done last minute. Trying to eat better and get in those runs! The weather finally got cool this weekend but 80 degrees just doesn't work when you are decorating your Christmas tree. Oh and that was a nightmare. Lots of screaming and crying and fighting over who gets to put up what. You know us, we found a way to have a little fun, too. We had our first Christmas party of the season- an Open House at Timuquana. Awesome food and fun with pals- ending in Fireball shots at Lillians, oh dear. We also went to a friend's first Birthday party- I love the Tuesday afternoon parties! I hosted a work out play date on Friday. It ended with wine and cake, but at least we did a full one hour of stations! My Birthday was on a Saturday this year. We kicked it off with breakfast with Santa at Timuquana. It's such a fun party! The big girls went to a neighbor's Birthday party while the littles and Phil took a nap. I got a massage! That night we did a bar crawl for my Birthday starting at Bistro Aix with 15 friends. We continued to Kitchen then Sidecar then downtown to Volstead then dancing at Marks (that wasn't what it used to be). We finished at the Awful Waffle. So fun! We had a slow start but today has been really nice. The older girls went back to the neighbor's house to play on the bouncy house they rented. I went on a nice 5 mile run. We're just enjoying the quiet day. Headed to mass this evening. I'm so thankful!