I know spring hasn't technically begun. But I'm going to go ahead and call it over. I'm not packing up the jeans, I know it'll still be chilly. But this was the last week of February. Phil was mostly out of town. It was cold and rainy. Hey, we live in Florida. I'm over this. I did have a few flecks of sunshine. Aunt Del was in town this week while my cousins were in Disney World. Mom took us all to lunch at the Yacht Club one day. We had lunch with Ellie at school another day. I got a sewing lesson from Aunt Del one afternoon. Friday was the best- lunch at Café Nola with my mom and sisters (Katie flew in Friday). The girls spent a lot of time at Kids Park this week. We turned a cold, rainy Saturday into super fun with a beerfest and night out with the Bentons at Pele's then Bold City. (I don't think Voss likes beer, though). Phil is keeping very active- tennis Thursday, the Ortega River Run on Saturday and more tennis today. Lots of coffee and hot chocolate was drank to keep us warm. Awesome meals- chicken pot pie again- perfect! So farewell winter! We are looking forward to spring!
Monday was President's Day, a day off for some. In a weak moment Phil asked to play golf and I said yes before thinking. So that's what he did Monday morning while I braved it on my first play date with all 4 kids. And of course I picked something zany, like a park downtown, riding the skyway and a candy shop...because the story time down the street would be too easy! So thankful I had a team of MOPS pals helping me. And yes there was a second when I almost lost Abigail on the sky way. Ellie said it was a super fun day and that was worth it. Book club was that night at Sarah's to discuss The Light Between Oceans. Voss came to his first book club meeting, I think he liked it. Fat Tuesday was a super busy day for me. Somehow I got put in charge of Shrove Tuesday, the MOPS fundraiser pancake dinner at St. Marks (it was because I complained about it last year). Aside from a rainy day lunch at Simply Sarah's with some gal pals, the day was very stressful. We raised lots of money so that's what's important but I have got to learn to bow out of some things! Wednesday I sorta spent the morning hiding, I didn't plan anything. I needed my strength for the afternoon activities. The older girls had gymnastics then we met friends for the Fish Fry at church then Ash Wednesday mass. I was ecstatic to see Phil walk in the cry room to join us at mass- my day of flying solo was tapped out. Thursday morning I had a follow up at the birth center. It was so nice to see Shea, my midwife again. That afternoon and evening we spent time with Aunt Susan, my mom's sister. She came in town for Voss's Baptism. I'm sure Aunt Susan was wiped out after spending a few hours with us at the worst time of day- she even got peed on! (Although I was so happy to have her!) She even came with us Friday morning to Marly's circus performance at school! That night we got a sitter and went to a welcome reception at TCC for all recent new members. Voss came with us, too. We ended up having dinner after with some new friends- the McClures and Duntons. That was fun! Saturday, Ellie, Voss and I went to Charlotte's cupcake Birthday party while Phil took the middles to story time downtown and the candy shop (again). That afternoon the family began to arrive. Phil's parents arrived then the Reinsteins delivering a dresser for Voss's room. That night we brought Voss to my parents to meet his Godmother. They also arrived from Mississippi (via Pensacola) that evening. After a big breakfast thanks to my in-laws, we went to St. Matthews for mass and the baptism. Voss did so well, pretty much slept the whole time. I'm so proud of my new little Catholic man! We had a reception here afterwards for the family and a few church friends. I finally got smart, after 3 of these things and got it catered! Yay, me! That meant I was able to relax and enjoy it...and the morning of was nice, too. Good thing, because Phil left during the reception for a work trip to SC for the week. Not cool, Ameris! I'm in the trenches here...solo. Phil's family left today while I was at MOPS. We had Shannon Miller speak to us! Very cool! Then we did a play date at the Freemans, since nap time wasn't happening. Potty training in their backyard was way more productive! After girl scouts tonight we're all back. I have a nice sized glass of wine and the girls are asleep. Voss is thinking about it.
We currently have three different types of diapers being used in our house- it's nagging at me! I'd like to say Abigail is 50% potty trained. That's half as many diapers (in one child) I need to change- I'll take it! It was a tough week...there were a few times I felt totally overwhelmed. Getting a break is tough! So here was our week: Monday was an awesome meeting with Tabitha Johnson at MOPS. We had to take Ellie to girl scouts so it was a crazy night. Tuesday's morning activity was an oil change for the minivan (we are officially living on the edge!) That afternoon we did a park play date with the Hinkles and Browns. The mentor moms brought over a fantastic dinner from Zoe's complete with wine, brownies and ice cream. Wow! Wednesday we went to the Stevensons for a play date. It was early release (smack in the middle of nap time so that didn't happen). We met the Thakkars and Freemans at the park after school. We did the gymnastics- religion class shuffle again- my energy levels waning. Lots of temper tantrums (it feels like they just take turns sometimes...someone is always crying!) Thursday I met Tracy for coffee then had a park play date with Abby's pal, Landon. That afternoon we did another play date at another park. Dad joined us for dinner that night. Molly made an amazing chicken pot pie! Friday we made it to story time (it's been a little while). That evening Phil took the big girls to a father daughter dance at TCC. They had an awesome time. I tried to spend some TLC with Abigail. Voss has been pretty time consuming, too. Saturday we took it easy. I feel like I go room to room cleaning and putting stuff away, an endless circle! We picked up Ellie's girl scout cookies and went to lunch at M Shack. We had an afternoon play date at the Stevensons then went to visit my dad. He watched the girls while Phil, Voss and I went on a dinner date at TCC for Valentine's Day. This morning we a rough start for mass (the nights have been tough, no one seems to be sleeping). We came home so Abigail could nap (much needed). Later we did lunch at Mellow Mushroom then played at the park. We did dinner at the Applegates for a Mardi Gras party. There was gumbo and king cake and lots of beads. The girls are finally in bed on time (although Abby is crying it out) so maybe we are back to normal...a new normal? Whew! We're trucking right along here.
We've hit the ground running! Monday was Voss's due date! It was also Phil's first day back and my first day with all FOUR kids! I was saved by a MOPS Leadership meeting...because of course it was cold and raining! We had lunch at CFA so it was a fun morning. My friend Renee brought dinner and hung out for a bit so we caught up during naptime. Tuesday was coffee club at Katherine's to discuss the legalization of gay marriage. That afternoon we met the Browns and Hinkle's at the park. Ali had made us dinner that night, which saved me again. I wasn't feeling well and was asleep by 7pm. Wednesday the Leens had us over for a super play date, complete with smoked pulled pork for lunch! Melissa came over for a visit during naptime- I used to babysit for her when she was a little older than Voss. Crazy! We did the gymnastics- religion class shuffle that evening. I realized I had some mastitis, which explains the early bedtime the night before. Of course by the time I realized it, it was almost over! Thursday, Voss had his 2 week check-up and Abigail had her 2-year check up. Voss is back up to his birth weight, and then some with 9.2 and Abigail weighs 28lbs and looking great. It was a good appointment. We came home and did some potty training. That afternoon we went to Phil's office to sell girl scout cookies and visit with the cousins. Simmons brought us dinner that night. I'm loving all the dinners and getting to taste new recipes and not have to worry about it. It's been really great! Friday was pretty lame- a whole day of potty training. You know I was ready for a night out after that! Abigail has been doing great, though. Phil, Voss and I went to the TCC first Friday happy hour then met up with some pals for the MOPS & POPS Valentines Day party. Such a fun night! Phil made a yummy breakfast on Saturday morning. We took our time getting up and going then went to the park for World Thinking Day to support the Girl Scouts. Later, Phil took Ellie to a Birthday party while I tried to make nap time happen. It's been tough with the middles lately! That night we had the Nixons over and got Thai take-out. This morning we went to mass then went to the Freemans for a party to celebrate Carl signing with JOI. We took the boat and picked up the Applegates. The way home was pretty dramatic with Phil falling in the water! Cold! We made it home in time for the Lochrie's dinner arrival. I set up for MOPS tomorrow, should be a good one. Now I'm ready for bed! We're getting into a groove- each day seems easier (maybe I shouldn't say that in case I jinx it!).
We had a good week. Phil took the week off and I must say, I'm blown away with how hands on, "Mr. Mom" he's been! I told him he's changed more diapers this week then he has all year! No joke. He's been a HUGE help! I'm nervous for tomorrow when he goes back to work. Monday, Ellie had an awards ceremony at school and got a ribbon for all S's, which I think means all A's? The whole family went to cheer her on (including the crying baby and running toddler and tired mom, clapping from the courtyard window). I then took the middle girls and Voss to his first MOPS meeting. We arrived just in time to hear Kerri give an awesome talk on eating healthy (perfect timing!). On Tuesday, we met Ellie for lunch at school and then she showed her brother for show & tell. It was the sweetest thing! Wednesday, Phil took the middle girls to Pump it Up, while I slept, nursed and watched the Today Show. I've been working through the nursing. It's been painful so I took a day off and pumped all day to give myself a break. That helped a lot. Thursday was Abigail's Birthday! We threw a glorified play date for her party. About 10 2 year olds came over and brought their favorite riding toy. The Sanibel Speedway made another appearance. The party was perfect for Abigail. I'm pretty sure she loved eating cake the most!
Suzanne and the boys came over to celebrate later that afternoon. Her big sisters helped her open all her gifts. Lots more cake was eaten. A MOPS friend came to bring us a delicious dinner. And then, because we didn't have enough excitement that day, Ellie lost her first tooth! So, the tooth fairy came to visit our home for the first time! She gave Ellie a dollar for her tooth! Friday, I went to visit the lactation consultant, just to make sure I'm getting it right. She spent an hour and a half with me and was very helpful. You'd think by the 4th child, I'd have it down...not so much! Meanwhile, Phil took the middle girls to story time downtown. We met for lunch at Lola's. It was tough staying in on a Friday night (for Phil mostly). I'm eager to climb into bed at night! Saturday morning we took it easy. Then, I took the younger 3 to Marly's pal's Birthday. Elsa and Olaf showed up and serenaded us and led games outside. Phil took Ellie to her pal's bounce house play date. We all took naps (except Abigail who climbed out of the crib- her last resort- then colored all over herself in pen). We were so grateful to get a dinner invite from the Freemans. Not sure we'll get many of those anymore! Stephanie made an amazing chicken parmesan and we had a bottle of champagne. Such a fun night! This morning we made it to 8:30 mass, had donuts with our pals then met Jenny at the park to take our picture. After a late lunch at TCC the entire family is now sleeping. I know what I should be doing...but when else can I enjoy a quiet home?! After nap, we'll head to my parents house to watch the Super Bowl!
It's a good thing I did some prep because look who came early!
The week began busy. I brought breakfast and said farewell to the Judernatz family, moving to NJ then flew over to the OPS open house to check it out for Marly for VPK next year. We did a park play date with the Browns and Cowers that afternoon. Wednesday we did a super play date with the bounce house and Leens, Suters and Stevensons. We did our gymnastics, CCD, pizza routine that night. Thursday morning I woke up early with contractions. No way! This baby was supposed to be born in Feb! I have a Birthday party to plan (for Abigail) and a baby shower (of my own) to go to that night. So, I tried to just do my usual and maybe the contractions will go away. (That happened with Abigail, btw). But these contractions were hard...where I had to breathe through them when they came. They started out coming every 30min-ish. So, I took the girls to school and Abigail and I went to WD. I was supposed to go to a birth center appointment but was bumped. I told them to have the midwife rest up, just in case! The contractions got harder and closer together as the day progressed. By 5pm the girls were driving me nuts, I'm trying to make dinner (it's a tough time of day anyway!). I told Phil to get home. That's when things picked up. I started timing the contractions and they were 4min apart. Phil brought the girls to my parents house, then came back to get me and we headed to the birth center. Shea was the midwife on call. When she checked me I was 8cm! It went fast, yet super painful. The pushing was intense. Even with the 4th child, no one was "falling out"...this was tough! My voice was hoarse from the screaming, just saying. But then he was born, and it was all good! The birth center experience was amazing. I loved it! It was such a calming, peaceful environment. We're all hanging out and joking afterwards. Phil went out and got me a BLT, I took a shower. We were back at my parents house around 12:30. We all spent the night there that night, which wasn't ideal. I didn't sleep much due to the girls waking up, Voss slept through the night. The cute part is that I got a great video of the girls coming into my room at 4am to meet their brother. Friday morning Phil took the girls to school. Marly had a PJ party at school that he took she and Abigail to. I spent the day napping, nursing and relaxing. It was nice. It was cold and rainy- great day to snuggle my newborn inside. Saturday was a bit more busy. A lactation consultant came to visit that morning- great perk of the birth center! Apparently I've been doing a few things wrong this whole time. So, I've been working on breaking some bad habits. It's still pretty painful- engorgement and contractions, ugh. Then, I had to jump in the car and drive to a pediatrician appointment. That was pretty annoying- she did the same thing the midwife did right after his birth. I came back to my parents house, had lunch and took a nice nap. Then, I packed up and came home...it was time. We all went out to my cousins house for a little family reunion and to celebrate my cousin's engagement. Voss has been a great eater, so that's what we did most of last night. This morning we took it easy. Phil made breakfast. We went to the later mass. This afternoon, Voss and I went with Marly to Kinley's amazing princess Birthday party. Wow! Check out this party! The link to the pictures is HERE. We put the girls to bed then my parents came to babysit and had set up a really nice candlelit steak dinner for Phil and I. It was very sweet. So now we are a family of 6! I'm still letting that sink in!
With the circus in town this week, we clowned around with them as much as we could. At MOPS, I gave away a 4-pack of tickets. Rebecca won and we decided to go together. It was a relaxed meeting- the white elephant gift exchange- the cat book makes me laugh so hard! Willow came over to play on Tuesday morning. She and Abby are so cute together! That afternoon we had a park play date with the Browns. So nice to catch up with them. Wednesday we went to the Suter's for a play date, another nice catch up session. The Leens and Stevensons came, too. We left from there to listen to the Ringmaster read a story at story time downtown. Then, we got to have lunch with him! My favorite part was learning that before this, he was on Vampire Diaries! We did the gymnastics/religion/Wednesday routine again, which is so nice! You are going to get tired of me posting gymnast pics. Thursday my mom picked up Marly for me so Abby and I could go downtown and have lunch with the elephants. This site never gets old- watching them devour loaves of bread and other yummy treats in one gulp. It was super cold but Abigail and I didn't mind! Friday Ellie was off of school so we planned a play date with one of her school friends (and MOPS pal) who lives on the water on the north side. That was a fun way to spend the morning, then headed to the birth center for a check up then to St. Marks for a MOPS fundraiser. Emily came to babysit while we prepared dinner for a speaker series with Becca Stevens. What a powerful series! I got home much later than I thought but Phil and I were able to finish watching a movie we borrowed from mom, 3 Days to Kill. Saturday I slept in and Phil made breakfast, which was so nice. The girls and I walked up the street so Ellie could sell girl scout cookies. We drove around to check out paint colors since we need to re-paint our house and had lunch at Pinewood deli. After nap time we headed to the circus. I think Marly liked it the most, especially since she's already pals with the Ringmaster. Ellie and Abby seemed way more into the lolly pops and cotton candy. Abigail was done after the first half. It was still a fun, family activity and we got to spend time with the Cowers. We went to the Nixons for dinner afterwards. A fun night with our church friends- the Applegates and Freemans, too...although none of them were at mass the next morning. I guess that means we stayed too late! We picked oranges and grapefruits after mass. The sun finally came out this weekend after a dark week- ah, the beauty of Florida! The Boozers had us over for pizza that night. Lots of belly laughs with them and the girls enjoyed Sam's play house. Today is MLK day so we had another fun day to play. Phil played golf while the girls and I met up with the Mitchell's to watch the MLK parade. Then, we headed to lunch at Sweet Pete's and then upstairs to get some candy. Super fun morning! A family walk this evening had us chatting with neighbors. Ellie had girl scouts and the rest of us went to European Street. I just returned from a massage with my amazing doula, Sherry. Great way to start off a week! I did more nesting this week- finally went through all the baby girl clothes! It took me a few nights, but I got through it. The car seat is installed. Bag is packed. Clothes are ready to go at my parents house. Things are about to really become a circus!
Whew! We're back into the swing of things! Welcome 15! Monday we jumped right back in with Ellie back in school, a MOPS Leadership meeting, McDonalds play date, cousins coming over to bounce, Ellie's awards ceremony for girl scouts and cookie selling kick-off (I can't believe they already sell this young!), then I raced over to book club at Heather's to discuss The Astronauts Wives Club. What a great chat! Tuesday MOPS did a fabulous play date at this indoor trampoline place called Rebounderz. I was skeptical to go with Abigail but it was perfect. It was toddler time and they all loved it! I invited my neighbor, Tiffany and they came to lunch with us after. Fun morning! The Nixons came over to jump on Wednesday morning. Ellie had early release so nap time was a flop. We powered through and had our first day at gymnastics for the older girls. They loved it! This is way easier than soccer...Marly and Ellie are each in their own class happening at the same time. Then there's a whole play area for Abigail. Perfect! We grabbed a $5 pizza then I took Ellie to religion class. Wednesdays are fun now! Thursday my mom came with me to see the drop off and pick up routine in case she needs to take over. We had a nice morning together- breakfast at Metro Diner. Then we crammed in a play date at Leo's and lunch with my ole pal, Erin before picking up Marly. Friday I had a birth center appointment then we did story time. I guess you could say I'm feeling some nesting tendencies. I am having a clothes problem. At the McD's play date my mom friends were psyking me up for cleaning out my closet. It was bad, I couldn't even close the door. I've gotten all these awesome maternity clothes they were just piling up! I pulled out 3 garbage bags of clothes (non-maternity) to give away and brought them to the thrift store. Much better! I still need to go through the baby girl clothes that don't fit Abigail anymore. That's next! I ordered a book for the girls to prepare them for their new brother. It should be here next week. I started to install the baby's car seat in Phil's car, but then decided it needed to be washed again (after sitting in the garage). Phil and I left Friday afternoon for Hammock Beach in Palm Coast on our Babymoon! My parents had the girls Friday night then Suzanne came and got the older two for Saturday then took all 3 to church on Sunday. Thank you!!! Phil and I got to stay in the lodge right on the ocean! Amazing! We had a nice Italian dinner on Friday night then I pretty much crashed. Phil went back out to the cigar bar but didn't last long. Saturday we got up and had an ocean front breakfast, went in the outdoor hot tub, played putt putt and had hotdogs for lunch. Then, Phil played golf while I enjoyed a facial in the spa. Amazing afternoon! We took an afternoon nap, had a sushi dinner, evening swim in the indoor pool and then a night cap watching the live band, Sidewalk 65. Today we slept in and had another ocean front breakfast. A rainy Sunday morning in bed- oh yes! We came home and Suzanne had all the girls here. We just sorta hung out, did homework and got back into the swing of things- real low key. I feel so refreshed and well rested! Like a took a big, deep breath! Ahh...
Phil had a "staycation" this week so we enjoyed full on family time! Monday, Katie left to fly back home so we went over to say our final good-bye's. Then, we headed to Amelia Island for a day at the Ritz. We swam, walked the beach and had lunch. As we were walking in, they were just cleaning up from the Gingerbread boat and putting the lobby back together so too bad we missed that! Tuesday we did the zoo with some MOPS moms. Loving our new zoo pass, Christmas gift from abuelitos. Wednesday, Erik took the older girls for lunch at CFA so Phil and I had a mini-date with Abigail (Target run and Panera, I wouldn't call it romantic). That afternoon I had a glorious massage from my doula, Sherry. That night we threw together a NYE party- Around the World like we did when I was pregnant before. It was a great party, but ran late so the first day of the new year was rough. Phil and I took turns napping and lunch was at Krispy Kreme, not a great parenting day. We went over to say good-bye to Erik. It was neat to have him around for so long this time. That evening we went with some friends to Timuquana to watch the FSU Championship game. I'm sad to say it ended in a loss. At least the kids had a great time running around and playing together so the day wasn't totally shot. Friday we spent the day in St. Augustine. Phil played golf with some work friends while the girls and I met up with my sorority sister, "Tiff Buck" and her family. They were late getting in so we didn't get too much time with them. Luckily we were still able to enjoy the pool, hot tub and playground while we waited. I had a great idea to head downtown for the Night of Lights, which turned out to be a horrible idea. We sat in traffic, couldn't find parking and ended up doing McD's on the way out. Saturday was a quiet, down day. Phil's been playing tennis pretty much once a day this week and took the girls to play that morning. That afternoon they rode bikes to the park. Abigail and I drove and met them since we need to get the bike with the baby seat fixed. The bounce house has been getting some fantastic use. Go Santa, it was a great idea! Today we went to mass then Abigail's buddy, Avery's Birthday party at the park. We took a nap then had Marly's buddy, Anderson's Birthday this afternoon- with a fire truck! Fun day with lots of sugar. Now there are 3 bouncing children running around upstairs instead of laying peacefully in their beds. Getting back into a routine this week will be tough. My New Years resolution is just to survive...same as it was 2 years ago. We're in the window when baby boy could be here any day. He sure moves around a lot and I'm feeling HUGE- but I don't think he'll be here until February. I've learned to pay no attention to the due date- those suckers come and go, and I'm still pregnant. It's going to be an interesting month, that's for sure. Stay tuned!
You are missing the Bravo Christmas card...you know, the Walmart card with a handwritten note from me on the back. This was not a mistake, I actually planned this. Last year, a friend of mine introduced me to the Holderness Family and challenged me to step it up. Turns out, this project was WAY more work than a paper card. I even begged my little brother to save me on Christmas Eve and help with the editing- talk about crunch time...he uploaded it back to my dropbox account something like 2am on Christmas day! Whew! Here it is, in case you missed it. I did get a break on Christmas day when my in-laws took the girls to church (again). I lay in bed and closed my eyes and felt 10lbs of stress melt away, that I didn't even realize I was carrying. All the gifting was done, house prepped, parties thrown, video card done, Christmas craze done and I really had nothing left that I needed to do but just sorta be. It was a wonderful feeling! I love Christmas time, but man it takes a lot out of me! Just read the craziness of the week of Christmas: We went caroling at the nursing home then to the Gingerbread Extravaganza. One of those days when my voice was hoarse from yelling at the girls and we failed with a McD's drive-through but then a friend posted a sweet picture of the kids holding hands and singing and walking through the nursing home- and it made me feel like; stop. Wow. I did do something right today! I had an appointment to check on the baby at the birth center and brought all the girls. Very crazy, but somehow crazy there is okay. We met the family at the Yacht Club for lunch. My brother, Erik is in town so it was great to see him and have both he and Katie here. That night we hosted the family for dinner- giant jenga and lasagna. I think it was a hit! Katie and Erik stayed late for Cardinal Puff. Christmas Eve, Phil went to work and I did some last minute shopping (not a good idea with the kids in tow). Mom and Katie saved me by taking the older girls shopping with them for a bit so I only had to deal with a clingy Abby (who is very clingy these days). Phil came home early and we went to lunch. I worked through nap time on the video (above) and then we scrambled to get to the children's Christmas mass on time. Walking in right as mass was starting meant the usher sat us in the 2nd row. Luckily we were seated among lots of friends but it was rough. Afterwards we came home for last minute wrapping and then to my parents house for the famous oyster stew. We did a Cajun Christmas and our secret Santa. Katie surprised me with a generous babysitting certificate for Emily. Yay! Maybe 30minutes after we came home and put the girls down, Phil's family drove in. We got them settled and set up for Christmas morning. Santa brought the girls a bounce house! That has been a huge hit! Christmas day was very relaxing. It was chilly so we spent lots of time curled up watching movies, eating an amazing pork lunch that Phil's parents brought up with rice & beans, plantains, yucca- YUM! We had a Christmas tree cake, lots of cookies from the swap. That night, Phil's parents and us went on a double date to see the movie, "The Imitation Game". It was pretty good! The day after Christmas was pretty lazy too. All the running around gave me a cold (being swapped around). I took the older girls with me to do some post Christmas shopping for decorations- success! We all went out to mShack for lunch. More bounce house fun and nap time. That night Phil and I went out with my siblings to King Street. Lots of fun! Ending with Krystals at 2am! Saturday morning Phil's family left for Miami. We did a donut run then green-lighted the Nixons to check out their new toys. Phil took Marly to her pal's Birthday party at Sweet Pete's. That night we got a last minute sitter and went to Black Sheep with the Nixons. It turned out to be a gorgeous night to sit on the roof! Today we went to mass then lunch at the Kerkezi's with the family. Now we are finally just relaxing and hopefully going to bed early...lots of catching up to do! I hope you all had a very, Merry Christmas. It's neat to be big and pregnant this time of year, thinking of Mary giving birth in a barn!