This week, I took a much needed break from my normal routine. I gathered a few friends and went to Orlando to see Enrique and PitBull. It was awesome! We got a hotel and got ready- which might be the best part! Tracy did nails, Jessica did make-up, Jacy got the room, I poured the wine! We went to a tapas dinner downtown then walked to the arena. We danced until midnight- literally! PitBulls dancers were a bit much for me, but we had a great time! We slept in a bit, got breakfast and headed back to Jax by lunch. So many people helped me to make this happen- with the kids. Phil is still making me pay for it. But, I really needed a break. #worthit! The next few days I came down with a nasty head cold. It forced me to go to bed early, which is what I really needed. Voss (and sometimes Abby) still wake up every night but going to bed when they do allows me to get in more hours. I also really appreciate the ability to take real cold medicine now that I'm not nursing or pregnant. Monday was a MOPS Monday, with the recap here. That encouraged me to have "the talk" with Ellie this weekend. We went on a 2 mile walk together and I think it was really good. My Ellie Belly is growing up! Thursday was a marathon day. When I finally got in bed I was so proud of myself for making it the whole day. The girls had Thanksgiving lunch at school. The thing is, Ellie has lunch at 11 and Marly has lunch at 1. So, I stayed the whole day chasing Voss around the school. We even went back after dance and golf to see the science fair projects. We went to a quick TF dinner then took Ellie to her first basketball practice. The other kids and I went to the library- which turned out to be a great deal! Friday Kim hosted us for a morning backyard play date. The littles and I took the van in for an oil change. That night we went to the OPS Married People Night Out. It was just what we needed that night! Phil and I had a date at Bread & Board then did the ministry gathering. The theme was support. We talked about "back up singers" in our marriage. Who supports us. It was a great way to think about it. Saturday Phil took Abby to a Birthday party. I took the other kids to play with the Newtons at the park. That night we went to the Kuders for a dinner party. They were so hospitable- it was a great night! Sunday was mass and breakfast then a Birthday party in SSI. A bit far for a party! I stayed up reading the Handmaid's Tale for book club last night. It turned out to be a good one, but it took me a while to get into it. Elizabeth hosted an amazing meeting last night- complete with a 4 course meal! I hosted a manatee play date that morning and was totally wiped out. I don't know what it was. Normally I can handle a crazy play date, but that nearly did me in. I pushed the party further by doing a double header last night. After book club, I went to the MOPS girls night at Tiffany's. Right down the street so it was a late night cap. I'm just waiting to crash now. But another #worthit for those awesome conversations and connections with my gal pals!
I'm really enjoying this phase of life where Voss takes an early nap and the girls are at school. I get a break! Of course I should be doing useful things like chores, phone calls, cleaning or at least some yoga but all week long I am so obsessed with this show, Black List and I eat Halloween candy. It's been great! Monday was a MOPS leadership meeting, Tuesday was a play date at April Rice's. It was so nice to catch up with her! Wednesday we had a lip stick play date then lunch at Lola's. That night Phil and I got to go to the Florida Forum. We saw Tom Brokaw! It was so neat to hear him speak! Thursday was coffee club at April Norris's to discuss Gender Equality in the Classroom and Boardroom. It was a small group but I think we had a great discussion! The afternoons are crazy with dance and golf, but fun at the parks! Thursday, Abigail's school did a family fun night with a science lab theme that was pretty cute. The girls didn't have school on Friday (thank you to our VETERANS!) so we went to the zoo. Another gorgeous day! We went to the Rattigans for lunch after. Lots of time to run around. That afternoon I packed up and headed out. I dropped the kids at my parents for the weekend. Phil and I headed to Marywood for an Engaged Encounter weekend. Perfect time for tweaking our marriage, right before the holidays when things get super stressful and out of whack! It's always tough to get down there, but once we do, it's so nice! I think I had the best sleep I've had in a long time! In reading our talks to the couples we are reminded of what we should be doing and how we should be living. We had 2 masses in 2 days and I even got in a confession with my favorite, Fr. Tim. Only 8 couples but such a nice weekend! I even got a jump start on Christmas cards! Today was low key, unpacking. Ellie finished her science project- yay! Marly and I played monopoly. Ellie and Phil played a little golf. Voss and Abby played in the dirt at TCC where we sat outside for a nice dinner and watched the Jags win! This November weather is making me smile!
We started the week with a MOPS Halloween party! We did a costume parade at the nursing home then party at the park. I did "take over Tuesday" for the MOPS Instagram page. It was more exhausting than I thought! It was fun, though! Halloween was Tuesday. Abigail had a costume parade at school. Voss wore a semi-costume for story time Halloween fun. I was stressed that evening. Getting the kids ready, we ran late, it took longer for our street- touring all the Hurricane damage, pictures with neighbors, a canceled babysitter for the weekend, my parent's house, then to the forest. We did a hayride, chilli at the Nixons. It was a great, chilly night! The day after was a sugar coma. We had a nice dinner at TCC for kids night then the big girls and I went to mass for All Saints Day. Thursday, Voss and I rode the train at the zoo. The cooler weather was really nice. Friday we went to the air show. It was a gorgeous day! Long gone is the cool weather, but the sky was clear and it was neat to get close to the planes and helicopters. We didn't stay long, though. We watched the Blue Angels from the front yard after school. So awesome! We visited with the Kuklas then went to a spaghetti dinner then came home in time for the babysitter. We picked up the Hollands and headed to Gourmet on the Green, a super fun wine tasting on the golf course. Gorgeous night! Ended at Lillians, of course. Saturday the kids and I ran in the Purple Stride 5K to support Tracy's dad's "Guy's Gang". I'm so proud of the kids! They ran so well! The after party was super fun, too with face painting, balloon artists, snow cones and a slide! Phil played golf. We met up with him after and watched the Blue Angels at TCC. We came home in time for another babysitter and ubered with the Kuders to the Cowford Ball. Super fun, western event! After party at the Creels with pepperoni rolls! Saved by day light savings! Mass and breakfast with the Masseys after a marathon weekend! Today was more relaxing. Laundry, science project and Blue Angels by boat. Another gorgeous day!
We got some cool weather! Boots and jeans and jackets are on. We even went to a bon fire tonight and had s'mores! The girls had "just say no to drugs" week at school. Ellie was a cheerleader at flag raising on Monday. They got to wear fun outfits and things all week. We had MOPS on Monday. Here's the recap. I got in 2 5-mile runs this week. Hopefully I can add to it this week. Tuesday was story time and parks in the afternoon. So gorgeous! I went bowling for a MOPS girls night on Tuesday. I'm not a fan of bowling but it was still fun. Wednesday was chicken enchilada day! I made meals for 5 moms with new babies (and one for us, too). The hard part was delivering them around town. It literally took me all day! Thursday, Voss came with me to get a pedicure. It was nice! Then we met Mollie Ann at the park for a play date. Friday we did pick a park to Alpine Groves in Fruit Cove. It was neat exploring a new place. We had lunch with Phil on the way back. After school we went to Katie Jo's farm and helped with chores. I really did help this time. I even put eye cream on a cow's eye who had pink eye! After showers we got in PJs and drove through McDonalds and drove around looking at Halloween decorations playing spooky music. It was cute! Phil and I watched a horror movie called Backcountry. Saturday I tried to sleep in. The girls went to the retreat with the nuns at Assumption again. The littles and I had a play date with Abby's pre-school friends from last year. My sister fell down the stairs and broke her ankle. We said some prayers for her during her surgery that morning. I worked on a few sewing projects. Phil played golf. We went to the Creels to watch the UF/UGA game. We went to Missy & Billy's Halloween party that night then came back to the Creels for a night cap. This morning was rough. We did mass and breakfast. Ellie, Marly, Voss and I went to the beach to get samples of the ocean for Ellie's science fair project. We joined the Hershorins at the Right Whale festival. The kids loved getting the passport stamps and learning about the whales. It was cute! Phil took Abby to a Birthday party for Brody, a boy in her class. The Thivierges had us over for dinner to christen their new fire pit. Fun night! I'm loving the fall weather!
It's fun to be able to live the fun of being a kid again- as an adult. I can pick and choose all the fun, festive things we do. The girls were off of school on Monday. They came with us to coffee club. We had an excellent discussion on gun control. It was neat that we all agreed that having semi-automatic weapons and attachments should be illegal. The conversation went into mental health, health care and race. Laurie turned it into Mason's Birthday party, too. Instead of our usual story time, on Tuesday we rode the skyway to Sweet Pete's to make pumpkin cookies. You know Voss loves trains. The decor freaked him out at the candy store, but he loved the cookies! He does love to talk about skeletons and ghosts but I think we freaked him out with Mimi's witch! Abigail wanted us to come with her to chapel at school on Wednesday so we did that, then went running and then to the indoor playground again. Voss was pretty much done by the time we arrived. Costco was our fun thing on Thursday. Friday the Bottin's rode with us to Conner's A-maize-ing Acres. That place was fabulous! I wish Voss would have been in a better mood and we could have powered through, but he lost it in the corn maze- attacking his friendemy, Parker. Other than that, it was a great day! After that we kept the party going with the fall festival at the girl's school. I had to work their class booths so that was a little crazy- Voss spent a lot of time in a bounce house unattended. After we burnt through 200 tickets we packed up and went to Married People night out at Abigail's school where Phil and I got a free date night and the kids pizza party. We found an envelope of gift cards that we thought we lost. So we went to the Town Center and restaurant hopped with gift cards. Yay Friday! I had a fun week of nights out. Monday I did a girls night with some high school pals- Chrissy, Jacy and Missy. I love the intelligent conversations! Monsoon sent us home early from the Burrito Gallery rooftop. I'm so into the new Netflix show, Blacklist. Thursday, Phil and I went to Dinner with Bill and toured the new ARC facility. It reminded me of my camp days- I love it! This weekend was pretty low key, which we truly needed! We met the Suters at RAM. Gorgeous weather! We went to Bold City for their 8th anniversary party. Maybe not a good idea with the kids. Later the Suters and Hershorins came over for cul-de-sac fun and checking out Halloween decorations. More pumpkin bread! Sunday was mass and we got to bring up the gifts! The Cochrans came with us to breakfast at TCC and for a tour. We met the Hershorins at the St. Matthews bazaar for more festival fun. I donated blood. It'd been a while! We went to the Hershorins for dinner. I was all set to watch TWD last night and realized watching live is not in our AMC package. I threw an adult temper tantrum so that's why I'm a little late in getting this out. Scary for everyone!
Despite the summer weather, we are jumping in with this whole fall thing. We're still doing park play dates and sweating a ton. But, we got a pumpkin. I got a bread maker. I'm smelling pumpkin bread as I type! We had MOPS on Monday. Here's a recap. A few things I didn't say is that there wasn't much advice if you have more than 2 kids. One thing I liked that she said is that it's all about your comfort level. Are you comfortable with chaos? No? Then, switch scenes! I love that! Voss has been waking up super early every day. It's been rough. My sleep tracker on my FitBit is not impressive. It was Duval goes to college week at school for the girls. They wore lots of FSU clothes! We did another indoor play date on Wednesday. The grocery store was our big activity for Thursday. Friday I went and got my nephews. We did the park then ice cream then back to the store to get all the things I forgot. I hate that. Phil's parents came in town that afternoon. We went to TCC for dinner and live music on the terrace. It was a great night! The Bravos had to stay in a hotel since our guest room is still out of commision. We went to Congaree & Penn farm for the Jax Moms blog play date. It was hot, rainy and crowded. The kids loved all the art projects- pumpkin painting, spider making and creative grain! We did Latin House Grill for lunch. Then we carved our pumpkin. We made cookies and pumpkin bread. Madre did my hair. Phil and I went to a salsa dancing party at the Freemans. They know how to throw a great party! Mass this morning, breakfast at TCC and the Bravos are on their way back to Miami. I went to a girls pool party. Such a nice break! We did a super early bedtime and hopefully I'm close behind!
The week began with this shooting in Vegas. So much to think about. NPR has done some great stories this week. It was a windy week. I obsessed all week with backing up and organizing all of our pictures on google. I mean hours of my time. Voss took daily naps at home, for once- we'd been so out of whack. It was nice to get a routine. So, during nap time I did yoga once and worked on pictures listening to the wind howl around the house. It was pretty neat. I wouldn't say it cooled off. We still sweat at the park quite a bit. Monday was grandparents day at the girl's school. My parents joined them for flag raising and breakfast. It was sweet. I dipped out and went to the MOPS leadership meeting. It was a good one; a nice break! I got in a 5 mile run that evening. A week of dance, golf and park hopping again- loving the afternoon breeze! We had a photo session on Tuesday. Andrea was fabulous! How in the world am I going to choose 7 pictures!? We did dinner at Chick Fil A that night. Abby did pumpkin pics at school. Voss and I went running and did our own tour in the pumpkin patch. Marly went on a field trip to a corn maize on Thursday. Voss and I went to Wee Trade and got lots of great clothes for Ellie. Thursday afternoons are tough. It's just so much! I'm so happy Jessica brings the girls home from Girl Scouts- I think that would do me in! Friday we went to the zoo with Anne. I think the train ride was the highlight! Phil stayed home from work with food poisoning. Ugh. First Friday was that night. Hula hoops, jump ropes and trucks on the lawn! Kids up late! Phil got up early and played golf. We all went to the Amazing Acres Crop Maize. It was so fun! It was hot, though. I think since it's fall we expect cooler weather. So it feels extra hot when we don't get it. Sweating in the maize! We got ice cream on the way home. Ellie spent the night at her pal, Finley Cate's house. She was nice and spoiled. Clare babysat the other kids. Phil and I went to a football party at the McGraths. Our teams lost so we compensated with booze. So much fun, but out way late! This morning was tough. I sat with Aubree and all our kids at mass. The month of the rosary- makes it extra special when we do it as a family. We did brunch at Mellow with the Hershorins then sweat at the park after. They came over later for veggie burgers and brownies. Phil and I wasted a bunch of time watching OA this week. Now we're trying to get into something else. Suggestions?
We finally had our first MOPS meeting and wow- it was amazing! Jessica did an awesome job of creating an open, honest tone. We went around the room and introduced ourselves, saying what we could release to feel more free. We were all so emotional and felt comfortable already sharing with each other. It was quite a sight to see! Lots of tears, lots of laughs, new friends, old reunions, a bit of drama- all on a Monday morning! It's going to be a great year! Monday was my dad's actual Birthday. After MOPS we went to lunch with my parents and Erik then hung out before he had to head to the airport. I had book club that night to discuss 3 Dog Life. I wasn't a huge fan. Still a good conversation, though. I already finished next month's book, My Favorite Thing is Monsters. That should be a much deeper conversation! We did a park play date and story time on Tuesday to discuss this article, kina like a coffee club. Great talk! That afternoon we went to cocktails for Cowford at the Creels. Super fun Tuesday night ending with a PH! So, Wednesday was a bit off. I kept thinking it was Thursday for one. I hung out all day waiting for my new washer & dryer that never came! The afternoons are busy with dance, golf, religion and girl scouts. Lots of time in the car; I'm still trying to figure out some sort of routine. Abigail stuck something in her ear Wednesday night while we we're reading books. I tried getting it out to no avail and think pushed it further. So, that was stressful. I finally got it out Thursday night with warm water then tweezers. Whew! I had a play date with my pal, Kat on Thursday. We did the park and then La Nap for lunch. It was nice to catch up. It's been so hot this week! I feel like I can't stop sweating! Friday we did an indoor playground at Trinity. That place was awesome! Ellie got a bad progress report so we're trying to get a few ducks in row and iron out some kind of routine for her. I'm hoping this opens her eyes and makes her take it up a notch. We will see! We played with the Hoggatts in the Wine & 9 on Friday evening. It's always so fun! Lillians was not a good idea afterwards, though. The big girls went to their first dance on Friday night. They loved it! Saturday it rained all day. It stopped for a bit so Ellie and I went for a run- much needed for both of us! I worked on the kid's baby books all day, did laundry and took it easy. It was nice. Phil and I got sushi and watched Straight Outta Compton. It was good. Phil went to Target and got us fitbits. We've been playing with those all day. Today was another rainy low-key day. We went to the Hershorins for brunch after mass. Afternoon poker. Then, I worked on a bunch of sewing projects and finally finished the silhouette project I was hoping to do for the 4th of July! Now of course I'm staying up too late again. It's just that the house is finally so quiet, I can actually think!
We are dealing with some post hurricane stress. We had all this adrenaline pumping for the storm, but now that life is getting back to normal. We're exhausted and left to clean up. Phil and I had a few heart to hearts this week, which was really good. We had a date night at home, making pizza together and finishing watching Narcos. We also got a last minute date night out on Friday. We signed up to do a marriage seminar at the church where Abby goes to school. The kick off was a date night; drop your kids for a pizza party and go have a date! We played a few holes of golf and then had dinner at TCC. It was awesome! The girls had lots of dance this week. Ellie had golf with the big kids. We had some fun play dates. Monday was the beach, walking in the forest, pick a park Friday. My mom watched Voss for me so I could go to the Young Lives luncheon. I bought a new washer and dryer, but it won't be here until next week. I've been doing laundry at my parent's house. I pressure washed the garage and the drive way and cleaned off/dried out all the toys from the garage. Pretty nasty stuff! We had the flood insurance guys come to inspect. We also had a contractor come to assess. Walls need to be torn out, crawl space cleaned out, possibly new ACs and water heater. I bought a new jogging stroller from Craigslist. Abby got to go to Poppy's bowling Birthday party. The older girls and Voss and I went to Joanne's for a Girl Scout event making sit-upons. Voss got loose and ran around the store and I lost him. The Joannes staff was awesome about radioing around the store and helping me find him. He has really become a handful lately! Pushing, bad attitude and obsessed with trains! He is super excited about our new skeleton Halloween lights. Yes, we already put up our decorations- we needed a happy! My youngest siblings came in town to help celebrate dad's 70th Birthday (tomorrow)! Kate & Steve flew in late Friday. Erik flew in late last night. We went to Alex's soccer game then to Suzanne's house for lunch. I spent the afternoon baking. The meringue was an epic fail! I spent 4 hours on that sucker! Turns out you can whip the egg whites by hand, you have to use an electric mixer! The girls made a huge mess making chocolate covered bananas. They ended up melting today, the kids ate them but it was groose. At wine club last night, Kerri offered to come over today to help me fix the meringue. She saved the pie and my day! Wine club was fun, lots of good conversations! Erik ended up meeting us out at Mellow for the after party. Turned into a 3am-er. A bit painful today, but totally worth it! I was good to catch up with Erik! Today we did mass, then TCC, then Kerri made meringue. Phil played tennis. Then we all went over for Papa's 70th Birthday party. I made mojo pork in crock pots, Suzanne did beans & rice. It was a nice family party. We even concluded with a family rosary. It was really nice!
Of course Irma is the title of this post! She has taken over our lives for the last 2 weeks! The first week was the anticipation and anxiety as we watched the cone. She kept changing her path- when and where do we evacuate? Lots of fighting, packing, preparing- trying to figure out what the best thing to do was. And it's not like planning a vacation- I mean, these are big issues if you make a bad call. It was so stressful! And then we had the actual storm. A few hurricane parties to take the edge off. The Suters hosted a few. One at the Yacht club Friday night. A post party at TCC the following Friday. Then lots of pool side parties in the hotel. We evacuated to a hotel in Orange Park, which we were incredibly lucky to get! It turned out to be a good idea, because we had power (except for a bit the night of, along with a tornado warning siren). Phil was able to go the next morning to the house. He could only make it to Ortega Farms Blvd. Then, he saw a neighbor with a boat that took him to our house! Imagine being dropped off to your front door via boat! It's not every day the Weather Channel is on your street! See the clip here. The garage and guest room flooded. We were within inches of having water in the main house. We really got lucky. A few neighbors were a lot less lucky. The tide went up so high the windshield in our boat cracked when it went into the roof of the boat house. We got power back in our house on Tuesday night. Phil checked out of the hotel on Thursday. There are still many residents without power in town. My parent's house was fine but the yard lost a few large trees and the dock and boat are totaled. Phil's car flooded in our garage as well as our washer and dryer. He felt much better after getting a new car on Friday, and even better getting the old car towed out of the garage today. I know we are lucky everyone is safe. But man, this whole hurricane thing sucks! We are trying to get back into the swing of things. I've sorta been in a fog all this week cleaning up. We went to Birthday parties yesterday. Ellie and Marly went to a retreat with the Servant Sisters at the Home of the Mother. It was the perfect thing for them to do that day! Ellie even got to go to Confession. The younger kids and I went to Annie's Birthday at Engine 15. Then, the whole family went to the Deering boys nerf gun war Birthday party. Today, Phil and I celebrated our Godson, Huck's Baptism. That was really special to be there for that! Later we had lunch at Mossfire to celebrate. Then, we went to the Hershorins. Aubree and I snuck away for a cocktail with the liberal ladies happy hour. We ordered pepperoni rolls and said the rosary on the way home. School finally starts back tomorrow! We're so ready to get back into the swing of things!