And then, poof...summer is over. This was our last week of summer. We tried to cram in a few more summer fun activities, but we also sat inside and watched a bunch of TV, too. I'm a bit worn out from all this fun! Monday we did Hanna Park splash park and beach with my pal, Kat and her kids. It was a great beach day! On the way home we stopped for a visit with my cousins, Ed & Sherry- great timing as the sky opened for an afternoon thunderstorm! We had a fun MOPS play date at Leo's house. We spent two afternoons in a row at the FYC pool for lunch and swimming. My mom helped me one day when we had double open houses. I took Ellie to her's first thing in the morning. We met her teacher, Ms. Day, saw her classroom and a few friends we already knew. First grade! Wow! A few hours later, I took Marly to hers. She's starting in a new school this year for VPK. We first went to chapel, then to her classroom and met her teachers. We already knew pretty much the whole class from MOPS! I'm sad to be loosing my big girl helpers during the day! My high school pal, Chrissy came over with her 2 month old, Keadin who is bigger than Voss! Later that night, Jan and Tracy came over for a MOPS webnar. We didn't get much out of it, but it was nice to catch up and have a little girls night. Phil did a last hurrah of basketball on Tuesday and tennis on Thursday because Friday morning, he had a vasectomy. He's out of commission for a bit. The procreation chapter of our life is officially closed. I have mixed feelings on this. I feel "done", I guess I was just hoping for a more holistic approach. Maybe it just makes me uncomfortable because now my lack of faith is obvious when it comes to NFP. This weekend we laid super low. No plans at all on Friday. Things got squirmy for sure! Saturday I did a bunch of chores then loaded everyone up for a day at the TCC pool. Phil came with us and sat in the shade and then watched some tennis. He's not very good at staying in bed all day. We even went to wine club that night! Early night for us, but maybe too much for Phil. This morning we went to mass and then a movie marathon day so far. Just taking it easy to prepare for this exciting week!
I was getting stressed just sitting in my house. So. Much. Clutter. So on Monday I started working room by room. All week I've been cleaning out, giving away; bags on the front porch for people to pick up, bags to the thrift store, lots in the trash! I feel much better sitting here this week. Although there's always room to go! We stayed in all day on Monday. The kids wrecked downstairs while I started in my room. Tuesday we went to music and movement at the library to get out of the house. But that afternoon Ellie went to play with Cora, Marly went across the street to play and I spent naptime finishing with Ellie's room. She had taken cereal boxes and milk jugs out of the recycling bin and made "crafts" in her room. What a treat that place was to clean out! Wednesday we met the Suters and Rices at Pump it Up then a fun CFA lunch. That evening Gara and I did a babysitting swap so we could do some back to school shopping at JNJ. For once I was prepared! I took Ellie with me. We had a list and a time limit. We had a pizza dinner with the Leens after our shopping. Thursday we had a morning pool date with the Thivierges and Hollands and a pm pool date with the Suters. I broke all the rules and took the kids to the Dreamette for dinner. Eh, I had a gift card burning a hole in my pocket and thought we'd maximize the fun for a Thursday night (while Phil was out playing tennis). Friday we had a play date at the Melin's beach condo as they wait for their new house to be built. We walked over to the beach. Eight moms and lots of kids! I rushed around that afternoon prepping for CEE. We had the August gathering. I think it went well. We raced home for the babysitter and met lots of fun friends for a night on King St to celebrate Dave's Birthday. Bar hopping and ubering through McD's made Saturday morning painful. We finally rallied and did a family trip to Lowe's. Trying to knock through our house refurbish list! I snuck out and went to a baby shower at the pool. What a great idea! No kids or gifts, just sitting in the pool with a nice drink chatting with moms. So much fun! I had to leave to take Ellie to a Birthday party but we came back to FYC with the family. Turned into a fun night, too! Last night we all went to bed early, I over slept and was late to help serve breakfast at St. Marks for MOPS. We did a ph with the Suters. So the afternoon was shot. Looking at design ideas for our living room, visited my rents then we went to mass tonight. I also worked to potty train Abigail this week. Each whole day that she was dry she gets a piggy-back ride around the house, that's the reward, ha! Just soaking up this summertime! I even sat all by myself on the porch one night this week with a glass of wine watching to sunset. So nice!
Want to enrich your marriage? Go hang out with a bunch of couples excited to be together, oogling over each other, planning their wedding and sharing proposal stories. I even blushed thinking of our engagement almost 12 years ago! As you can guess we just came off of another Engaged Encounter weekend. We began with 19 couples, ended with 13, awesome team, fun priest, lots of love in the air. It was a great ending to our Bravocation. Phil took the whole week off so after the beach, we still had him home on Thursday and Friday. That was nice. We did a PH, just the two of us Wed night (how romantic). Thursday we went with the Applegates to the FYC pool. Phil played tennis that evening so we headed over to the Freemans for a play date and dinner. Friday, Voss had his 6 month appointment. He's only gained .15 in the last month so now he's 13.15lbs and 25.75 inches. Sorta small. We gotta bulk this baby up! We got in a bit of skiing that afternoon before the sky opened up. I tried to have Marly get up with me but I think I need a new strategy. Packing a prepping for CEE that afternoon and we were off. The girls went to my parent's house and Voss came with us. I think the girls had a great time, swimming, boating and tubing with Mimi and Papa. We had a stressful start on the weekend, I made a few mistakes, but we got into it fine by Friday night. Back to the real world for Phil tomorrow. A low key week for the girls and I, finally!
We enjoyed some time with our cousins from Denmark. Monday was sorta low key. We borrowed our neighbor's kayak and put the paddleboat in the water. It's so cool watching Ellie puts around in the cove by herself in the kayak (this was before my neighbor told me he saw a 10 ft alligator under our dock!). The Danish cousins finally woke up and did some paddleboating. Later we went to a MOPS bowling play date, the girls first time bowling. Not my favorite pastime but I think the girls enjoyed it! Then we picked up Phil and went to the Suns game. The Danish cousins had never been to a baseball game before. I don't think I did a great job explaining the rules. It was hot and after hotdogs, french fries, crackerjacks, cotton candy and the playground, we were done. Tuesday began the girls week at camp. Ellie did a tennis ang golf camp and Marly did a pee wee tennis camp, both at TCC. When the cousins finally woke up this time, Marly's day at camp was already done. We met Suzanne and the boys at my parents house and taught the cousins how to water ski. Pretty ambitious with 6 kids between us! Mom helped with Voss and picked Ellie up from camp. Suzanne spent the whole time in the water helping the girls get set up and fetching the rope. I drove the boat. We finally got them both up and gave Owen a try. So neat watching someone water ski for the first time! Dad came home early and took everyone tubing. We left quick to head back up to TCC for Ellie's swim team awards banquet. Her first trophy! I'm so proud! Wednesday morning while the big girls were at camp, the littles and I went to a play date at the Stevensons. It's always nice catching up with my gals. My mom watched the middles that afternoon while I took Ellie back to school shopping. It was nice to spend some alone time with her, even if we were doing chores. Thursday we finally did a regular TCC day. Meaning we spent the day at the pool and had lunch then picked up Ellie from camp. We had chicken fingers and slushies and just pooled it. Relaxing and nice. That night while Phil was at tennis, I had a girls night in. Meghan and her friends from the Edel conference came over and brought Thai. We drank wine and homemade amaretto. Friday was the last day of camp for the girls. I drove around to meet the moms in my group for MOPS. Yes, I'm going to be a group leader again! This was my first leadership role I had in MOPS, this is me stepping down slowly. I didn't go to the retreat last weekend so I got my folder this week with my group, the Golden Goodness group. We have some fabulous women, I was excited! The girls helped me bake chocolate chip cookies and I got some cheap wine and delivered it to my gals. We spent the afternoon packing up for our Bravocation! We got a last minute babysitter and went out with the Applegates. We did dinner at Mossfire and drinks at Blacksheep. We tried so hard to make it an early night, but you know we're not good at that. We ended up in the Wendy's drive thru! Saturday morning we got up and headed over to Navarre for our family vacation. The drive over was great- loving Phil's phone as a hot spot for wireless! (That's what I'm doing now, too) We arrived just in time to take a dip in the gulf then met my cousins (Abigail's godparents) at Juana's. They came back for a dip in the pool. I loved catching up with them. On Sunday we rented chairs and an umbrella on the beach. We made friends, saw lots of jellyfish and just relaxed. We came back up for lunch and a long naptime. That afternoon the Hilley's came out to spend time with us at the beach. We went nextdoor for a causal dinner on the beach, but then the sky opened up. We ran across the parking lot to this Italian place with more indoor seating. It was a cluster, but we enjoyed catching up with our ole pals. On Monday we went to Juana's for breakfast then to the Big Kahuna's water park. We stopped at Deweys for an early dinner. Tuesday we did the chair umbrella beach day again with long naps. Then we went out to Old Bay Steamers for an amazing dinner! This morning we got up and packed up and spent the last morning on the beach. It was a great break for our family, lots of together time- just what we needed!
I sorta feel like it was a whole week of partying. That's a good thing but I'm seriously wiped out! Monday kicked off with a water park adventure to the St. Mary's Aquatic center. We had a good group: my sister and her boys, the Bentons, Thivierges and Stanelle's. That night I had a girls night, book club. I was cramming to read the book, unsuccessfully. JB told me about this app, OverDrive where you can read a checked out library book on your phone. Amazing! I still need to finish, the Diary of a Stage Mother's Daughter. But we had a great discussion at Kathleen's house. Tuesday and Wednesday I did a swap with Gara. First I took the big kids to see a dollar movie while she stayed home with the littles. The movie wasn't working so we got lucky and got to see the Minion movie. Not that my kids really cared, Ellie was still scared and wanted to leave early. As long as the snacks kept coming, they were good. The next day I took Julianna and Gara took my big kids to the movies, except she got the theater wrong and ended up taking them to see Inside Out. Spoiled kids. I had an afternoon play date with Kat. She made a scavanger hunt around her new house for the kids. It ended with us taking them to Sweet Frog for ice cream. That night I went to the Women on the Water class at FYC. Too bad the weather was crummy or we would have gotten to practice docking power boats. Instead we stayed inside and drank lots of wine (1/2 price bottles night) and learned knots and how to properly tie your boat. Great class! We had a post scalloping party at the Applegates to eat the rest of the scallops and drink the rest of the booze. Seems like we're all still friends, which is a total win! This was Ellie's last week of swim team, she was very ready to be finished. She had her city championship meet on Thursday. I'm so proud of her! She got a ribbon for being a heat winner in backstroke! Great way to end the season! I did lots of monogramming this week. A huge order for Steph and sercis for the girls weekend in Savannah to celebrate Miss Katie's 30th Birthday. I was thrilled to sneak out on Friday morning and head up to GA. A whole day and night kid-free! Wooo Whoo! I think this will be the start of an annual's girls weekend with my sisters, mom and Aunt Susan (mom's sister). We began with a relaxing lunch at our hotel. Followed by champagne in the pool then a trip on the Savannah Slow ride- a biking bar to tour the city via pubs. I loved it! Totally touristy, but who cares! We came back and had aps in the room before heading out to a seafood dinner right on the river. It had the spirit, but maybe we arrived for dinner too late? Still, a great night with my gals and a fun celebration for my baby sister's 30th. Too bad SQ and I had to dip out early. Suzanne had Monica's funeral. We had the CEE summer picnic. So, SQ dropped me off at the gas station on the corner of 295 and 103rd (seriously). Phil picked me up and we headed over to the southside to set up for the pool party. We had a pretty good turn out. Lots of fun and a little bit of business. No naps were in my future as I unpacked and tried to get our house back in order (I think that's a never ending job). We kept the celebration going and helped surprise JB for his 40th Birthday. Today was rough. I took the kids to mass and put 3 out of 4 in the nursery (Voss's first time now that he's 6 months!) We had a latin lunch and lazy afternoon. We headed to my parent's house for dinner. One last farewell meal with Katie. We also welcomed 2 of our Danish cousins to town. Looking forward to spending time with them this week. Great way to close out the week, with a sunset boat ride!
The week began with a fantastic coffee club at April's to discuss gun control. This was a hot topic for our group that kept us on topic pretty much the whole time. It was our turn to host the Suter/Leen/Stevenson play date this week. It was one of those crazy ones, with kids everywhere. I think there's still a chocolate handprint on the wall of the staircase. We did a family date night to Walmart to shop for our big weekend- scuba gear, fishing license and goodies! We did dinner at TCC for kids night and ended up having a super fun night with the Bentons and 2 new TCC friends, the Eyrics and Johnsons. Lots of river rats swim team in between. This was Marly's last week of swim team. That flew by! Ellie still has one more week. I packed us all up and we headed out to Steinhatchee for a scalloping trip- a vacation we've been planning since January! Twelve adults, 17 kids and 3 babysitters! Three houses, 2 rented boats for 2 days, 1 boat without a key for one day, 1 boat with an overheated motor on one day. We really had a wonderful time! Phil convinced me to leave the younger two back with the babysitters so we could really spend time with our friends and the older two. I loved holding hands with the girls while pointing out scallops for them to grab. I think they had more time swimming in the water from boat to boat and playing with their friends. The first day of scalloping was not as successful. We got a late start and were learning the ropes. We finally hit a few good spots the second day. It also helped that our neighbors went over the max limit and gave us their overage- ha! So much fun relaxing with friends, funny conversations and even some skinny dipping! What a great trip! Hopefully this becomes an annual event. Today was rough getting back. Lots of temper tantrums as we packed up. We did the contemporary mass this evening with an early bedtime.
My first time using a hashtag (#)! Just a couple a days of down time before the next big adventure. I really did have some down time (between swim team practices) where we took naps, played legos, or did pbskids.org. Then, I booked a babysitter, packed for Voss and I and got out of town. I went on a much needed trip to Charleston, SC for the Edel Gathering, a Catholic Moms Conference. My neighbor, Meghan invited me to crash her trip with her besties from college (one wasn't even Catholic), but a girls trip to Charleston? Heck yeah! It was a wonderful weekend of soul food and soul healing. Lots of mom-cheerleading speakers, amazing food, shopping and time cuddling my baby boy. Meghan's aunt lives in Charleston and met up with us a few times. She took us on a great tour of the city. They also got a babysitter for me for Saturday night so I could have a break. We were amazing karaoke stars and tried to continue the party to a piano bar, not so much. We got back late Sunday night (aimed for after bedtime, so smart). My poor sister, Suzanne didn't get a day's break. Her best friend, Monica ended her battle with cancer this weekend. It was a rough emotional weekend, processing death 2 people, so young. But, I was so happy to be at this conference, an excellent place to process and self reflect. Also great timing for our first Voss family women's prayer- to occur every 12th of the month at noon. Love that new tradition! All of this makes me hug my babies tighter and be grateful for each moment, even the ones when I'm screaming so much my voice gets scratchy.
The morning of the 4th of July I saw a missed call and voicemail from one of my uncles in Mississippi. His message said, "Lucy, I've been trying to reach your dad, please have him call me as soon as possible." I knew this meant someone had died. So for a few moments as I called my parents house and cells, I was trying to think of who. But when my dad called me back and told me my cousin, Parker, the Godfather of my only son had died. I lost it. Death is just so hard. I try to prepare for the worst case scenarios in my mind so maybe when it actually happens it won't hurt so bad. I didn't prepare for this. Parker? No. He hasn't met his Godson yet. I had all these ideas of sending Voss to Parker to hang out for a weekend of guy time when Phil and I aren't cool anymore. Parker would be the cool Godfather. That's what he said. On Monday morning, the kids and I packed up and caravanned with my sister and parents to Mississippi. Dad got a flat tire right outside of Jacksonville. Thus began a trip of hell. Lots of traffic and mom getting pulled over driving my van (I told her the lights were automatic...woops). What was supposed to be a 9 hour drive, took us 13. We missed the visitation. We finally got in and went to Uncle Bill and Aunt Jean's house (Parker's parents)- our usual first stop in MS. It was heartbreaking. The silver lining was getting to see my cousins and aunts and uncles. I was able to meet my newest cousin, Avery. The hotel was super nice, breakfast with family in the morning was really great. We had childcare for the mass, which was super nice. A fantastic lunch at the Caboose after (maybe not as fantastic since Parker wasn't there). Sweet tea! More cousin pics and family hugs and kisses. We ended at the cemetery to say our final farvel to Parker. Gosh, I miss him. We drove straight back to Jacksonville, got in at 1am. Lots of time to decompress in the car ride home. I'm not sure what will make this easier. Time maybe?
I was able to feel some freedom this week! I ran to book club on Monday (I was playing the part in showing up sweaty and smelly while discussing Wild.) It's been a long time since I ran without kids. It was tough, but felt great. I also got to go out (sort of) on Tuesday night. I picked up my brother and parents at the airport. We went out to dinner at the Brick on the way home. I got to catch up with Erik and his recent tragedy. And I got to hear about my parents amazing trip to Denmark. Wednesday, Suzanne and I surprised Erik while he performed improv with the local crowd in town. I even got up and did a scene! It was a fun week. I spent lots of time catching up with my bro, which is nice. We were invited to the beach to spend the day with the Boozers, which was nice. Great way to kick off the week! Lots of rain this week, which was a nice touch to the insane heat we are having. Even the 4th of July was sorta rained out. Luckily we got out early enough to enjoy some boating fun at FYC. I finally gave paddle boarding a try and loved it! I'm so impressed with Ellie on the kayak! She was out there paddling around all by herself! We did lunch with my parents and then watched the amazing fireworks at TCC. We had stayed up too late the night before. We did a PH with my bro and our neighbors. Before that we did dinner and pool up at FYC. That's becoming a fun tradition. Voss had a hearing screening this week (since they don't do that at the birth center, I had to take him in for a check). All is good, of course. Today was a busy day. We slept in until 9! Can you believe that!? We went to our neighbor's Birthday party with a super rocket water slide! The Freemans know how to throw a party! We did the contemporary mass then a Thai dinner with the neighbors. Now I have to pack up for a quick, emotional, exhausting trip to Mississippi tomorrow. But, I'll talk about that in the next post. For now, I'd like to leave on the thought going back to Independence Day. We are so blessed that we live in a country where we can sit together over a bottle of wine and have differing opinions and still laugh and enjoy the company. Cheers to my coffee club. I love it!
You know where you can find us most of the time: the pool. You may have to look around at a few different pools, though. This week we added my parents pool in a few times, just to spice things up since they are in Denmark for the week. We also got to try the San Jose pool and check out their chocolate milkshakes! An afternoon play date with the Mitchells. That was after the zoo, after we dropped my parents at the airport. We attempted a swim meet at Epping Forest one afternoon. It was not too much fun. We had to drop off our swimmer and park all the way on San Jose Blvd then take a golf cart ride back to the pool. All this (with the kids) then the meet was rained out before Ellie was able to swim a race. Blah. We did a fun dinner out with the Bentons one night. I brought my friend, Chrissy dinner one night to congratulate her on her sweet baby boy, Keadin. Phil's parents came in town. We took them out to TCC to celebrate Pop's 81st Birthday- wow! They took the girls to Ocala for the weekend while we worked an Engaged Encounter weekend. We had 11 couples. That's where the love in the air title is from. Look at the picture of Marywood, the retreat center. It's so peaceful out there. So romantic watching these young couples prepare for the sacrament of matrimony. It's always a nice, refreshing time together. Voss came with us and I think he's teething so that's been pretty rough. He's actually up crying for me now, poor guy. I better dash up there. I hope this tooth pops soon!