My Birthday week! One of my favorite times of year! I did lots of things for me this week. It was the week of parties, too. It began with the MOPS breakfast with Santa. Easy peasy with just one child who was excited to tell Santa he wants an aircraft carrier for Christmas. A rainy day, perfect for reading my new book, Atlas Shrugged. Playing in the muddy park and getting steps with my pal, Tracy that afternoon. I got an amazing massage by Sherry (she truly has the gift of touch!) and a facial by Travis. My friend, Heather hosted a luncheon for the St. Vincents Foundation. We heard this amazing cancer doctor tell us all the great things happening in that world. I got to see so many friends in one room- one hell of a Birthday party! TCC hosted lots of fun things this week. Their open house was fabulous as always! We were even serenaded as we walked in the door! We did first Friday seafood dinner with friends while the kids did tennis. We also went to the breakfast with Santa. Crowded, but still a great party. I loved that Santa told Marly she didn't need a phone and told all of them to be kind to each other! We went to Phil's work party and the Engaged Encounter party. The night of my Birthday we met friends at a brewery for their cookie and beer pairing. I already got my Christmas cards printed. You can see the new look for Bravofam. Andrea is amazing!! Lots of card writing, wrapping, monogramming and cutting this weekend! We did the Birthday party shuffle today- Phil taking the older two to Velocity. Me taking the younger two to a ballet party. We met at the Jingle Jam to see Marly and Abby perform. Whew! I'm wiped out! But so happy to be alive!
This new season of life gives me time to sit and think. I don't know if I've ever had time like this to just take some deep breaths. Oh well, back in the day I had lots of time like this but I didn't realize it was so precious. I really am grateful for all that I have. It feels good. I love when the weather gets cool this time of year. It was actually cold for a little while there. I even brought the plants inside. We had a MOPS craft day making bath bombs. I got to meet some new members. There was a girls night that night, bowling. I really like meeting new people. I'm hoping the wild goose chase of dentists has ended. I took Ellie to Arlington for yet another appointment. The consensus is that we are not going to touch her baby teeth with cavities. I'm hoping that's the right call. Mom came with me to see a poetry reading in San Marco. I don't think I'd ever been to one. It was pretty neat. We had coffee club to discuss the fires in CA. It was a great conversation. I'm sad that it feels like coffee club is dying. There isn't interest like there once was. Maybe I need to look in a different crowd. The afternoon craze of driving kids places and playing in the park is real. I'm grateful for the park walks with my pal, Tracy. One afternoon is was raining so we just walked back and forth across the front walkway of the dance studio. I'm sure we look like nuts, but I've been hitting my 10K steps every day. Many nights you can find me walking up and down my street! Friday we went back to the park. We did the St. Matthews family movie night on Friday night. I finished the 2018 book challenge. I finished listening to the book that was published the year I was born, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting. It was odd. Now, I've started Atlas Shrugged. It was a cold, rainy weekend- perfect for reading! On Saturday I stayed in my nightgown until about 10am! Ellie had her first basketball game. Later we went to Christmas in Avondale. The rain scared many people away. Not us! This morning we did mass then another St. Matthews Date Day. Phil and I ubered to the Jags game for our date. It was fun- we even won! We headed to the beach for our family photo session. It was perfect! We ended with dinner on the beach in Sawgrass- what a great weekend!
The week began nice and easy. Voss and I spent the morning at the park. We saw friends come and go. Even my high school friend, Petra's kids! After, we did a loop downtown to buy Nutcracker tickets. I did an afternoon park walk with my pal, Tracy to walk off some stress during ballet. Perfect! That night was book club to discuss Radium Girls. It was a tough book to read, not sure I'd recommend it. But still an important topic for us to know about and appreciate the sacrifice. Rachael and I went to Tracy's for an after party. Tuesday I ran, went to the Thrift store and the grocery store. A little something for everyone. I helped make talking turkeys in Marly's class. We had a dinner in St. Augustine with Phil's work friends. I finally got to see all the lights. So much fun! I like his work friends so far. The kids were off on Wednesday. We took the skyway to MOCA. Phil met us for lunch then we all went to a piano class. That night we went to TCC for kids eat free. Later, we went to a fish dinner to welcome home Matt, Aunt Susan and Bill. Late night fire pit on the dock was nice. Thursday morning we got up early and ran the Thanksgiving Classic 5K. It was early, but a good family activity. We came home, Marly made pancakes then we went to the Harmon football game in the park. Then, we went to Thanksgiving lunch at my parent's house. We had recorded the parade and all sat together watching it after lunch. It was such a nice day. Crummy weather towards the end, but that made it even better. Black Friday started slow. We finally decided to do a family run to get moving. Phil went hunting with my dad and brother. Ellie and I put up decorations. Later, mom and I got a pedi. We ended up going to TCC for salads for dinner. SO much eating!! Saturday we did a family day of golf. The weather was perfect. I think everyone had a great time. The only bummer was FSU's loss to Florida. Ugh. I hate losing. We celebrated Mark's Birthday with an oyster roast, then went to see the boat parade downtown. That's one of my favorite things to do! We went out later with Matt to Latin House Grill and discussed future travel fantasies. This morning we went to mass then breakfast. It was a low key day, which we all needed. Early bedtime with the rosary was perfect. I enjoyed spending so much time with my brother, Matt. He's really been through a rough time with Hurricane damage. There wasn't too much drama this Thanksgiving. Just enough to keep it interesting. Another reminder of how lucky we are- so much to be thankful for!
We got some rain early in the week and it finally brought that cold front we've been waiting for. And then fall and winter showed up together! I liked it. It was nice to finally be cold and not sweating all the time! I helped in the book fair at school this week and then spent lots of money on books. It's nice to see them excited to read, though. I got in a few good runs and I've been really trying to get in my 10K step goal. You may see me walking up and down my street at night trying to get it in! Marly and I went to her reconciliation class and even had a round table discussion about examining our consciences. Voss and I went to the Little Learners program at MOSH. It was okay. He loved riding the sky way the best. Ha! It was Thanksgiving lunch at one school and a Thanksgiving program at preschool. Lots of turkeys! We had a nice TCC lunch after Voss's program to celebrate. We got a married people night out date night on Friday. We ended up getting sushi then walking on our street. We had a lot of down time this weekend. It was pretty nice. Abby and I watched this Halmark-ish movie on Saturday afternoon. We did family zoo day that morning and the wine fest for Emma's Birthday that night. Today we went to mass, early thanks to our altar server who needs to be on time. We had breakfast at TCC then a visit with Mimi and Papa. Phil helped the girls build a treehouse, which makes me nervous to watch. It was good to see them spending the day outside, though! I finally finished my book club book and am onto another one. We had a Sunday Funday in the hood- shucking oysters at the Weisses. You know that's my favorite thing! It was such a nice night, with a dangerous bike ride home. Excited for Thanksgiving week!
After that last week, when I was feeling depleted, I needed to do something to get out of my funk. I don't know about you, but when I'm feeling down, helping someone or doing something nice for someone makes me feel better. On Monday, I offered up to watch a bunch of people's kids. You'd think it would be super stressful, but it wasn't bad at all. Maybe the only con is that Voss came out with a little cold. Luckily, it's already cleared up. But I was feeling guilty giving him a few breathing treatments. But seeing these worn out moms dropping off their kids really made me feel better! On Tuesday I did a Costco run and dropped off a few items for the farms girls and made a few meals for moms with new babies. Those chicken enchiladas are always a good one (for us, too). Phil did a jalapeno challenge that night. The girls earned some cash and everyone ate veggies. Yay! I got to go on a few girls nights. We did a movie night Monday for Indivisible. I should have looked it up before, I don't think I would have opted to go. But still a good movie to see- especially this week of Veterans Day. Election night was hard to watch. I'm thankful I had good wine to drink and great group texts happening. I'm proud of duval turning blue and taking over the house! Wednesday we played at the park, helped a friend pack. The afternoon was stressful. Phil went to a Friends of Stockton fundraiser while I went with the kids to the teaching mass. I ended up meeting the "TCC bad moms" out for Abby's Birthday. I was just in time for the nightcap. Thursday I was supposed to meet Kat for lunch but she bailed on me. Instead I brought a bottle of wine to April and went thrift shopping- the best retail therapy for me! I spent about $150 and got 12 dresses and 5 pairs of shoes! Don't worry, I pulled out 12 dresses to give away. Not much closet space! That night we did a girls night helping a friend put Ikea furniture together. The kids were off on Friday. Phil took off, too. We had a relaxing morning with a big breakfast. We did a family movie day to see the Nutcracker in 3D. It was so good! I loved it! We did a pizza lunch after. We were supposed to play glow in the dark golf that night but the rain ruined that plan. It finally cleared up. We sat on the back porch of TCC while the kids ran with glow sticks. Not too bad. I even walked home. Saturday Ellie had altar server training. I worked on some silhouetting. We did a family day in St. Augustine and toured the Castillo de San Marco. It was a nice afternoon. Phil and I went on a date that night to Ruth's Chris then an evening with Ira Glass. It wasn't as amazing as I was hoping but I'm still so glad we went. Sunday was mass- with Ellie altar serving! I am so proud of her! We did TCC breakfast with the Applegates then just sorta hung out all day. We ran/rode bikes to my parents to hug our favorite veteran. Marly went to a Birthday party. We ended up going to TCC with the Bentons- more running on the lawn with glow sticks. This time Memorial park did fireworks for us! Fried chicken night! Today the kids were off of school again. They all came to MOPS with me. Mae did her behavior specialist talk. It's neat how MOPS has changed her speech! We did lunch with the Smiths then an afternoon of dance, basketball practice, science project finishing touches and more silhoutetting. Trying to ease into the holidays with some peace and zen and lots of giving!
But letThis week was just hard. Maybe it's that it was basically cloudy and overcast all week. Fall is really here- the weather is perfect! But there isn't much sun and that can zap a mood quick. But 3 kids in elementary school- 3 folders to look through, 3 sets of paper, 3 balls to juggle all the time. Someone always needs me- spelling words, online homework (and logging in more than one kid on the same day in the same browser is rocket science), reading charts, who has PE today, new shoes, Birthday parties with gifts to embroider, fighting with dental insurance and holding kids down for a cleaning and still a cavity to be filled- it all just came at me this week. I went on a field trip with Ellie's class on Thursday to MOSH. It about wore me out- all the other kids! STEM day at school- 3 different students but only one time block (which was already overwhelming- how could I have actually handled all 3!) plus a lab tour. All Saints Day mass. Deep breath. And Wednesday was Halloween. I spent Tuesday making Voss's Maleficent costume. I think the family costume was a success. The girls were the fairies- Flora, Fauna and Merriweather (no one knows whom was who). Total mom win for re-using their dance costumes! I was a tired Sleeping Beauty (in my PJs- a win!) and of course, Prince Philip. Ooddles of candy and I'm the one that can't step back! On Halloween we all ate our heart's desires worth then the day after I let them each pick out 5 pieces to keep. Then, we went to Walmart and I let them each pick out a toy to trade their candy in. Brilliant! Now, I'm donating the rest to my friend Tiffany who works for Hospice. The MOPS Halloween party with a parade through the nursing home was a great way to kick off the week! Voss was a hit in his astronaut suit- he wanted to wear it all week. We did a zoo trip on Halloween. Phil and Vaughan played in a tennis tournament this weekend- the TCC member guest. It was a great tournament- awesome turn out, childcare and free beer! But let's talk about how OVER I am with tennis this weekend. The kick off was Gourmet on the Green. I wasn't good at moderation. Lots of fun but Saturday was a wash. Shame on me! The older girls went to this neat garden camp at the Garden club. The littles went on a play date to the Cutlips. I totally wasted my 2 hours of kid free time driving up and down Roosevelt and watching tennis. I took 3 kids to the Right Whale festival at the beach and saw my pal, Kelly. That's always such a neat festival. The drive about did me in, but the kids loved it. That evening was Phoebe's Birthday party. We were supposed to watch The Greatest Showman outside but there were technical difficulties. Still a fun night! Phil slept through it after playing tennis all day. This morning we did mass then Ellie and I had a quiet breakfast together while the others enjoyed the childcare. We went home to work on her science project- the effect of watching TV before bed on your sleep. Which we couldn't determine thanks to her "constant" variable going awry on Friday night. Made for a good write up, though. Just what I wanted to do during precious kid-free time. Another Birthday party, this time at the Rattigans, while Marly went to Pepper's. I love the village! Finally, an early night and getting organized! Whew! I am spent!
Phil's parents stayed with us for the first part of the week. It was nice to have them in town. We all went to flag raising. Phil's parents stayed home with Voss while I went to MOPS. We had a meeting on healthy eating. I was inspired to eat more veggies, take some turmeric and maybe some red wine vinegar. I'm hoping to get a one page cheat sheet soon! That afternoon we did the ballet park shuffle then I ran to book club. We had a great convo for Before I Go to Sleep. Kathleen even got it catered. I went running and had coffee with Petra's parents on Tuesday. I even got in a trip to the grocery store. I did lots of monogramming and silhouetting this week. I finished a few projects I was working on and did a bunch of gifts. One of Voss's pals had a Birthday party that afternoon. Perfect for turning 4! Wednesday my sister Katie came in town and my brother came in late that night. It was nice to have them in town! Voss and I had a play date at the Suters. We did our nails and walked to lunch. It was nice to catch up. Thursday was a fabulous day! I went running then got a massage by Sherry, the best doula ever. Katie and I kina had a spa day. We both got massages then had facials by mom's pal, Travis. That evening, we had a nice steak dinner at my parents house. My brother's friend, Skippy is part of the Blue Angels team. Voss has literally been waiting a year to see them again! It was super cool getting to meet him! Friday morning we went to the air show. He gave us a VIP tour! Then, dad hooked us up with the Rotary tent. It was such an awesome day! We went home during the rain for a quick nap for Voss. I picked up the girls from school and grabbed Phil then went back and got to actually meet the Blue Angels! Very cool! We went right from there to the first Date Night at St. Matthews. The kids did a Halloween party. Phil and I went to try some autoban racing then out to dinner. Saturday morning we did a family breakfast then a run. The girls and I went to Katie's baby shower. It was so neat to honor her. I turned a few outfits from Voss's (that used to be Erik's) and are now Henry's! So sweet! We hung out a bit after then went to the Creels to watch the GA/FL game. That was the only win for us for the weekend! I watched a creepy show later that night, The Haunting of Hill House. Oh dear. This morning we did mass then breakfast. We watched the air show a bit and then the Jags game. Then to the Nixon twins Birthday party with a Blue Angels after party. Matt brought over spaghetti for dinner after. Such a surreal family weekend! I loved it!
A busy week of fall fun! We had a boys play date at Faith's on Monday. That's still such a new thing for me! I'm enjoying that fun group for me and Voss. The afternoons are always busy with dance and park hopping. The weather warmed back up so more sweating, but at least there was a breeze. I didn't have any fun plans on my mornings off so I just ran, listened to my book, Crazy Rich Asians and did stuff around the house. It's amazing how that time flies! I took Voss to Conner's Amazing Acres on Wednesday. Just the two of us. It was a good trip. My brother came back in town for a bit to take a break but he didn't last long and went back to the chaos of Panama City. He says it's like a 3rd world country there. I'm praying the rebuilding process happens quickly for all of them. Thursday was the fall festival at Stockton. I'm room mom for Marly's class so it's been tough getting people to help, but the shark tank booth was a success! I also had to volunteer for Ellie and Abby's classes, too. What a crazy, sugar-filled afternoon! We came home with 2 cakes from the cake walk! Phil's parents came in town. We went to dinner at Trents. Yum! The next morning we packed up and headed to Savannah. We lucked out with a late lunch at Fox and Fig, which was amazing! We checked out Forsyth park then raced to the hotel to quickly check in then Phil and I dipped out to Andrew and Zoe's wedding. It was so beautiful! I loved seeing my old pal, Kelly again. We danced the night away then kept going in downtown Savannah. The next morning came quickly with a hotel b-fast then sightseeing. We did a super neat trolley tour then lunch at the Pirate House. It was so cool that Kelly, Jon and the family ended up at the table next to us! We did the water taxi loop then headed back to Jacksonville. Later that night, I went with Regan to the Camp's super Halloween party. They really go all out. I should have taken more pictures! I didn't dress up and am regretting it. I'll have to make up for it next year. Sunday we went to a later mass because Phil and I were Godparents for the Hershorin boys. It was a great ceremony with our pal, Fr. Luke. The after party was the church fall festival with yet another cake walk! Check out the chocolate cake Ellie won! I was happy this festival had a pub! I spent 2 hours in the blood mobile. They went nuts over my O-! Luckily the Bentons gave me a ride home. Afternoon haircuts then a dinner date at Chophouse with the Applegates. Excellent end to a fabulous fall week!
Monday we had a MOPS meeting- a marriage wisdom panel. Bunny and Wyndam are always so good. My old employer, Mrs. Trammel gave some words of wisdom for the single-ish moms. The 3rd couple had only been married 8 years, but I could agree with much of what they said. Nonetheless, it was all so good to absorb. Busy afternoon shuttling children around town and playing at parks. Tuesday I met my friend, Renee for lunch and saw another friend, Lindsay there. It's a whole other world without children in tow! The rain and the wind came as Hurricane Michael approached the panhandle. My brother, Matt evacuated here. It was nice to spend some time with him, although he was worried. Other than a tree on his garage, I think his place is okay. He got lucky. But we are still waiting to hear for sure. I went to a friend's divorce party. Complete with a cake and temp tats. It's a good thing, don't worry. I went to Kate's to watch her do some vinyl cutting, had lunch with Phil and worked on some monogramming. I got to go to a fun girls night decorating for Halloween at the new Sulzbacher Village, then drinks at a fun brewery. Friday was more of a lazy day. I dropped the ball on planning something fun to do. So we walked around at a pumpkin patch, got my oil changed and new breaks then met Phil for lunch again. That afternoon Phil and I headed to Marywood for another Engaged Encounter weekend. We had 13 couples complete the weekend. It's so inspirational watching them with their young love, work on their relationships. It just makes me feel good about the world. It also allows us to tune up our marriage. We did some writing as well. Lots of laughs, feel good moments and relaxation. The weather was perfect, too. We carved and baked some pumpkin yesterday. The Smiths came over for chili and to watch the Jags loose. If only the temp would go back down those few degrees so we can keep playing "fall"!
The weather may have dipped about 5 degrees, but we are calling it fall and rolling with it! Voss and I went to the zoo and pretty much saw the whole place. I finally wisely started with the Tigers. We even saw the Thomas the Train 4D movie. Busy ballet Monday with park play in-between. I did an impromptu girls night on Monday night and it was maybe even a little chilly to swim. The conversation felt good and the wine was delish. I got in a great run (my hip has finally stopped hurting), quick meeting at church and then picked up the older two for a dentist appointment. Cavities for Ellie and sealants for Marly mean we need to make another visit, which I'm really not looking forward to. Voss and I checked out a new story time near the train park. I was bummed we never saw a train. But Voss loved playing outside. Wednesday was my Godson, Owen's Birthday. We met the cousins for ice cream after school and even got to visit a Halloween store after. It was a dash to dance then religion after. Phil and I got in a sushi date (with Voss). I went running with my pal, April- then a coffee chat. Painter, Luis finally showed up after a 6 month disappearance. So, the house is finally done. Thursday night I went to a happy hour to learn about See the Girl. It made me feel good to know great things are happening right around us- but still a good gut check outside my bubble. And intelligent conversation with wine always fills my cup! Maybe I stayed out too late, though. My friend Anne saved me with some 'hair of the dog' on Friday morning. A chilly morning at the pool! I had a home room parent meeting that afternoon. That evening was the Wine and 9 at TCC. We played with the Smiths. Gorgeous evening, even if we did come in DFL. I played some good golf, though. The others must be cheating! Fun night at the club- ending with the kids running around the lawn way past bedtime with glow sticks! Saturday was relaxing in the morning. We headed out to Amazing Grace Crop Maze. It was typical FL fall, but not as bad as it's been. Pumpkin patch, hayride, cow train, petting zoo, BBQ, jump zone and snow cones in the crop maze! We all took a much needed break that afternoon. We met friends up at TCC for dinner. We watched FSU loose then crashed a wedding. The coolest was watching them leave via helicopter! Sunday was mass and breakfast while Phil played golf. We went to the Kuders to watch the Jags loose. Ellie and I snuck out to see Harry Potter at the Symphony. It was such a neat experience, her first time at the symphony! She now wants a wizard cape! Phil and I watched the season premier of the Walking Dead- meh...But it did make me feel in the season!