We are just returning from a long Sunday drive back from Blue Ridge, GA where we spent the week in cabins with my family for Thanksgiving. The scenery is amazing up there- a true fall view. Our cabin was called River Mist and you really could see the mist from the river rise up to it after the rain early this morning. The weather was perfect for us. Cold on the first day but warm by the last day. We did all things family- eat and drink a bunch, play charades, get into squabbles, hash through drama, tease each other, judge each other and drink some more. The kids had a ball playing on the rocks near the river, doing crafts, Frisbee and some light hiking (mostly just back and forth to our cabin since it was up on the hill). I loved catching up with my siblings. It's always a treat to have the fab 5 together! We really do have so much to be thankful for!
I read an article or heard in mass or somewhere to take a look at your life and see how much you give. I'm lucky that I'm in a phase of life right now where I feel like I give a lot. So much so, that I sometimes don't brush my teeth or get any kind of privacy. I have lots of little people who depend on me, so I really have to give a lot right now. But I think back to this summer when I saw one of my new swim mom friends with her 5th baby in a carrier as she was volunteering as a timer at a swim meet. When I told her to take a break and let someone else do that she said, "Well, everyone has some excuse." That really stuck with me. In our engaged encounter talks we talk about stewardship and give examples of things we do as a family. Mine is having the girls help me make meals for other moms. Sometimes I cheat here. I outsource and let someone like Stouffer or Terry do the real cooking. This week, I did it. Two meals in two days, and man that was tough- yet totally worth it. We started our running club back up on Monday. I ran there, we walked around the forest then I got a ride home...hey, gotta start somewhere! We had a gardening play date where the kids got to plant their own flowers or green beans. Check out the picture below of Marly's progress. Ha! I took the younger two to the Whole Foods story time on Tuesday then had lunch with Phil. I ran the kids to school on Wednesday while they rode bikes. That was a great work out! We stopped and had a walking play date with Jessica and Ali in the forest on the way home. That afternoon we had a Thanksgiving play date at the Freemans where the kids decorated boxes that were later filled with food to give away. We went to Moe's for a MOPS fundraiser for dinner. That night I met up with Emma and some of her friends to celebrate her Birthday. Lots of fun! Thursday morning was ballet then I tried to score lockers at the Duval County auction, to no avail (I'm trying to organize our mud room). That evening I went to the Jags game with my parents and sister. And we won! I loved spending time with them! Friday we began with a Thanksgiving mass where the kids brought up the boxes they had decorated (so sweet!) then we went to an awesome coffee club at Anna's new house to discuss the Syrian refugees. My phone has been blowing up with interesting follow up articles ever since. I can't stop thinking about it, really. I just boxed up a few extra carriers to send here. We had a Thanksgiving lunch with Ellie at school then brought up all the piano scrolls to donate to the school's yard sale. I tried to give away our table but couldn't fit it in the car! My mom came over for a quick visit. Then the Nixons came over for bikes in the street and Thai take out. Saturday was pretty quiet. We went to TCC for breakfast then a family bike ride and Christmas pics. We had a sitter come early and went on a date night to the Riverside wine festival. This morning we went to 8:30 mass then just sorta hung out. Checkers, tennis and lots of family time. I made chicken & dumplings in the crock pot for dinner- yum! We're excited for Thanksgiving this week!
This time of year we're often forced to look at the bright side with canned food drives, daily thankful posts on Facebook, all the junk emails I get and even conversations at parties. It's a good thing. I got into a deep convo last night, out of the blue. A friend was complimenting me and the kids and it got us talking about how incredibly thankful we are. That thought really does keep me up at night. Does it ever run out? I am just so incredibly blessed. Does this mean the kids teenage years are going to get me? I have no answers for this, but it sure makes me want to pull up my rosary app on my phone again for another thank you. Really. Just look at these kids, how can you not smile when seeing this pic?
This was Veterans week so we started out with a special flag raising with my dad. It was so special to have him there! Watching the kids get so excited that Papa was there! It made me think about how I would have loved that as a kid, especially when he was deployed. MOPS was an emotionally charged meeting- a panel of mother-in-laws! Jess did a great recap here. That night we had book club to discuss The Ice Twins. Pretty spooky! Great timing! I listened to half of it and read the other half, so that was interesting. I brought a friend dinner, my latest crock pot chicken stroganoff then did a PH with Tracy. Phil and Ellie were off for Veterans Day on Wed so we did a family day at the beach. I think I crammed too much in that evening- kids night at TCC then I dashed out to make it to hear a speaker for another Re-threaded girls night but I was late (again). You know I stayed for a night cap, though. I brought dinner for another friend on Thursday then after ballet we did a work out play date with the Stevensons. (I'm trying). Friday we did another ballet class then our standing park play date. That evening was the Riverkeeper Oyster Roast. My kina party! The weather is finally getting cooler, fire pits, lots of oysters and lots of drinks. I loved it! Saturday we got up early and Phil and I went to help put together packets of beans and rice for the homeless. Then, we went on a rare breakfast date to Maple Street. We got the kids from the babysitter then went to the Willowbranch library for their grand re-opening then down the street to a park for a picnic fundraiser. Then we went to Ella's Birthday party. A busy day! Today was much more quiet. Phil had a morning tennis match. I went for a long run. We did the evening mass. It was nice to take a break. It was a good week!
It sure doesn't feel like fall around here! It was been so hot this week! I had to put the pool bag back in the car! The week began with a family trip to the dentist, one of our favorite things to do around here- and perfect for after Halloween! We had some fun things this week- Phoebe's (AKA Heebee to Abigail) Birthday Birthday (on a Tuesday afternoon, gotta love it!) My Golden Girls MOPS group did an awesome girls night that was a spa night. I was stressed getting massage therapists to come but it worked out great! I got a massage from my doula, Sherry and a facial from my old pal, Traci. I've been doing well with the working out- one day I did a total of 8 miles- just taking kids to school and then ballet (and back)- in this heat! It was a pretty low key weekend for us. We had and Engaged Encounter gathering on Friday and then my sorority sister, Sam and her husband came over for a visit. Saturday we did the zoo and then watched the FSU game (so sad) and ended the night partying in the cul-de-sac. Today it's been raining all day (hoping it brings some cooler weather). After mass we went to my parents and caught up with my sister and her boys. We just sorta took it easy. The Freemans came over for a drink. Pretty quiet all in all.
You would be so proud, we had a few down days, with no plans and early bedtime! Friday night was the Nixon twins Birthday party (we stayed out too late<again>, not too bad since it was a kids party!). We had the Engaged Encounter 40th Anniversary mass and picnic out at Marywood. Halloween was such a beautiful day, it was a great way to start it off. We had some nap times, bike rides then the trick or treating began! In keeping with tradition, we did our street first then went to the Forest. I think we all had a ball. Today was tough, even with the falling back time change. It's the sugar rush! I hid all the candy but they seem to have anticipated that and squirreled some away! Today is All Saints Day. Before mass, the older girls and I researched their name saints so they were excited for their mass color sheet. We had breakfast at Timuquana then let the kids run around for a bit. Abigail took an awesome nap. We went on another bike ride (Voss's first!). Really just a low key day. Pizza in the OP. Time to put up turkey décor!
Phil's parents were here with us from Sunday to Thursday morning. I did my best to take some breaks. We all got great haircuts. I'm now layered and dark (bit of red, even!). I went all out for a girls night (3am!?!), got my nail done, a fun coffee and even a massage. It was so nice waking to the smell of bacon and not having to take the whole crew to school drop off or pick up. Gosh, just having an extra set of hands is so nice! And my mother-in-law even cleaned out my fridge! It was a nice visit! Phil played in a tennis tournament and almost won! He and Vaughn lost by 2 points in the final championship on Sunday! It was neat watching him play. I know he loved it. We had another super party weekend. There was the tennis kick off party on Friday. We had a long-standing night out with the Hollands and Thivierges on Saturday then a client dinner on Sunday at O'rsay (yay!). That's why it's taken me a few days to catch up! Saturday was a marathon of a day. It began with the Stockton fun run, then I had to go to my old boss's funeral, Marly went to a pal's Birthday party, we had a pumpkin carving party that evening. Don't forget tennis watching and the babysitter arriving for our night out! Whew! We were saved by MOPS on Monday- a cooking meeting- yum! Yesterday and today have been down days. I went on a long run with the littles yesterday and a work out video today (I'm trying!). This afternoon we visited St. Maria downtown. That was a neat experience! Lunch with my mom and sister and just catching up. We're in the thick of the fall, I love it! Book club "social" and the Walking Dead, oh my!
Don't worry. This week was way more low key. We do have to catch up sometime. With Monday being Columbus Day, Phil was off. Ellie still had school. I had MOPS, which is always nice. I sorta felt 'less than' since I was one of 3 people without the souped up nice camera. I did learn some tips for taking pics on my iPhone, but still. I practiced this week. We did some fun things like music & movement at the library, weekday Birthday party for William, coffee club to discuss the presidential candidates. We had lots of down time, too. I organized Voss's winter clothes. We went to my sister's for a movie watching party for my brother's plane. My mom helped me a bunch, watching the younger two so I could go read to Ellie at school during lunch for literacy week. She also had a parade that we went to on Friday. This weekend was nice. We went to the Bentons on Friday for chili and bike riding. Saturday I went to a women's brunch. Later we did happy hour with the Stevensons. I was asleep by 8:30pm! Today we celebrated Stephanie's First Communion and Phil's parents arrived for a visit. Just re-charging the batteries over here.
Fall is really here. We're embracing it! We had a MOPS leadership meeting (or mini MOPS) meeting Monday morning. We did a crazy group gathering for lunch after at CFA. A fun way to start out the week. We started back up our weekly park play dates for Mondays. So, we got a good group out there. Abby and Voss went to a play date while Suzanne and I took my parents to breakfast to celebrate Dad's Birthday. After, mom took me shopping for cushions. We're doing some furniture shake-ups. I've become engrossed in houzz.com! The younger two and I had a great day at the corn maze! Mom and Suzanne helped me out big time by going to Marly's performance at chapel. I couldn't be two places at once. The girls had golf that afternoon. The younger two went swimming in the baby pool. A little too cold for me to swim, I think! Thursday I was stressed running around prepping for the CEE weekend. It was nice to splash in time with friends to keep me sane. Ballet with Abby, French pantry lunch with MOPS pals then I did a super pm chili play date. That began the weekend of partying! Friday afternoon turned stressful when Abigail locked me out of the house! She didn't mean to, she was overtired and couldn't open the door. She thought it was locked, so she "unlocked" it by, dead-bolting me and Voss out. After crying on the floor by the door for a while, she went upstairs. Meanwhile, I went to get the hide-away key. It was missing. Marly didn't remember what she did with it and went to the neighbor's house to play. Voss and I hung out on the porch. After an hour, I had to go get Ellie from school. She knew right where the key was! When we finally got in, I went upstairs and found little miss asleep in MY bed! Agggg! We went to a friend's gender reveal party but had to leave before the cake cutting because we had a sitter coming at 7 so we could go to TCC's Gourmet on the Green. There was a bad accident on the Buckman bridge, out sitter was an hour late! We finally made it out to the party and had a ball. I was happy to finally relax! There were 180 different wines to sample, passed hors-d-oeuvares, food stations and about 400 people! But we couldn't just stop there! We continued to the Bentons for more drinks and to listen to Dan play the guitar. Saturday morning I got up and made eggs benedict then started the Birthday party circuit. Phil took the middle two to Leo's Birthday party. I took the outside 2 to Elisa's Birthday party. Fun day for everyone. Later we went costume shopping then out for family pizza. Another babysitter came that night and we went out with our neighbors. We found a new, fun bar/dance club to watch FSU beat Miami then did some amazing dancing until way late! Sunday we rallied and went to mass. We took it low key. That night we went out AGAIN- this time to watch the Walking Dead at the Sunray theater. Nuts, I know! But, what would you expect?
A delay in updates, so sorry. I got some food poisoning/stomach bug and was out of commission for a few days. Well, not really out of commission, it's not like I got a sick day or even a break really...but I lost the energy for any extras, like this. The weather has gotten cooler so it actually feels like fall, which is awesome. Lots of rain, but in between we've been heading outside as much as possible. Lots of parks, the zoo and today even the beach. Phil and I played in the TCC Wine & 9 golf tournament. It felt great to get back out there. But you could tell it'd been a while. I didn't feel like it was for beginners as much as people said it was. It was more of a wine than a 9. The end result are the hamsters we got the following day. You know how I feel about pets. A Saturday afternoon trip to the pet store left me as the weak one. We walking in looking for goldfish and left with a pair of hamsters. Our new pets are Curious Hamster and Pluto. Phil and the girls love them. We had a salsa tasting play date at Moe's, a walking date with the Mitchell's, coffee club to solve the Syrian refugee crisis, fun play dates with the Freeman Birthday party crowd. One was even a Sunday brunch party at the Harmons (23 kids!) While I was supposed to be resting I did a girls dinner/baby shower for Anna, book club to discuss the Children Act and then a Rethreaded girls night. This weekend I actually did rest more. I think I was asleep by 9:30pm on a Saturday night! Friday, Phil and I went on a hot date. We did some bar hopping in San Marco. First we tried to win the pot at TCC to no avail then Ruth's Chris, the Kitchen and then Bistro Aix. Yesterday was my Godson's 9th Birthday! The older girls and I went out to cheer him on at his soccer game. Yay, Owen! We picked out one of the largest pumpkins in the pumpkin patch! We had to get the classic pic of Voss in the pumpkin. He's been feeling under the weather this weekend. But we still got him to smile. We walked to the Applegates and the kids played baseball in the cul-de-sac. Good ole 80's wholesome fun! We got a pizza delivered and ate it right in the driveway. Loved it! Today we did a family beach day then I took the older two to mass while Phil stayed with the younger two. They were both feeling warm and I didn't want them to be in the nursery. Marly had a cute field trip to the Fire station. Her first time on a school bus! She loved receiving all the letters from family while learning about the US postal service. She just loves school! She says she wishes she could go to school on Mondays and Fridays, too and that she wants to go to school with Ellie. I hope she feels that way next year, too! Abigail is now a super dancer in ballet class! I'm so glad she likes it! She enjoys her play dates and adventures with me but I think she mostly would rather be watching Daniel Tiger or Dora. I had an appointment with Ellie's teacher at school, just to make sure all is well. She said Ellie is one of the top students in class. Her report card worried me, I just don't get the E,S grading system. But glad to hear she's good. She said she loves first grade. Voss is crawling all over! He's had a tough week with a fall out of the wagon and a fever through out the weekend. He's still eating fine and a happy little guy. I'm enjoying the snuggles. Can't believe it's October! Wow!