A picture is worth a thousand words…

I’ve been remiss in my blogging, once again. Here’s all the stuff I wasn’t blogging about…

Before Paige’s college suspended all greek life, her sorority held their philanthropy event- a Red Dress Gala for women’s heart health, and had a couple of social events.

She also spent a lot of time studying…

We loved having the whole family together for Thanksgiving….

Tim and I decided to be tourists one day, and took a trolley tour in St. Augustine (We’ve never done that before! 😳😂) We walked all along St. George Street And did some Christmas shopping, had lunch, and had a fabulous day.

The family went for a nice hike in Guana over Thanksgiving weekend before the kids had to get back to classes. It was a great way to end the weekend (after eating all that turkey 🦃)!

Clay got to spend a day out on the water doing some research before exams, which he appreciated!

I spent a weekend tackling a couple of projects- repainting our patio set, and chalk painting this table. I love how it turned out!


Level Dance Company performed in the homecoming parade, and Paige had a reunion with her Paris friends (from study abroad.)

Family Time

Paige came home last Friday and we had such a great weekend, spending some much needed family time together! Paige caught up on her sleep, ate some good food, and she and I had some mom/daughter bonding over shopping (as one does💁🏻). 

Saturday evening we all had an escape from all the awful, terribleness in the news every day (or so it seems) and went the WellRed Comedy Tour, which was hilarious and just what we all needed. 

The rest of the weekend seemed to speed up and go faster and faster as the time came for Paige to have to head back to school, but was mostly spent walking on the beach, or just hanging out, talking and just catching up. It was a fantastic weekend but we’re going to miss the munchkin until we see her again over spring break!

It was nice to see a bit of Clay this weekend too – he’s usually in class, or at work or in the library. Lucky us… both kids were around this weekend! 😊

This is what I usually see of the kids…Snapchat pictures they send to me to let me know where they are…

Hurricane Matthew

This time last week we were keeping an eye on the weather and watching all the forecast tracks and “cone of concern” for Hurricane Matthew. At first, it didn’t look too bad….and then some of the models, particularly the more reliable European model, had the storm coming right up the coast of Florida- and right over St. Augustine. 

By Wednesday evening we knew we were under a mandatory evacuation order. We left our home Thursday around noon. At that time, we were expecting a Catagory 4 storm, with wind gusts over 100 mph, and a catastrophic storm surge. 

We left our house not knowing if our home would be flooded, but from the forecasts at the time we expected it. I managed to pack a few, very few, memories in plastic bins to bring with us – stuff the kids had made when they were younger (a ceramic armadillo, impressions of the kid’s baby hands, a cross) my grandmother’s pie plates, my great-grandmother’s China, some pictures. Not enough…but a few things. I walked out of our home not knowing if anything would be left when we returned. That’s a weird feeling- walking away from everything you own and wondering if you’ll ever see it again. 

We stopped by the beach on our way out and watched the waves pounding the shore, the wind whipping salt and sand everywhere, and the dunes – hours before Matthew hit – already being eaten away by the surf.

We spent the next few days ensconced in a hotel on the west side of Jacksonville- about 45 miles away. We were safe, and comfortable- we only lost power in the hotel for about an hour Friday evening. We watched news updates on the storm. We saw the pictures of the storm surge flooding the streets of Jacksonville Beach and beautiful, historic Saint Augustine. What we didn’t see, and what made me increasingly nervous, was anything about Vilano Beach. 

And then, finally, reports and images began to come in from Vilano Beach. 

Debris along A1A and the parking lot of a favorite restaurant a couple of miles from our house. 

Vilano Beach, the reporters stated, was one of the hardest hit areas. There were very few photos coming in as no one was allowed back on the island until the bridges were inspected, and then the National Guard had to clear debris,and then buildings needed to be inspected for anyone needing assistance…and for safety. 

Meanwhile, we worried. 

Finally, the bridges were opened. We headed home. 

As we got closer to our neighborhood, we began seeing the marks on the houses. 

And then we got home. There was debris in the streets of our neighborhood and in the yards. But…the houses appeared undamaged for the most part. A few shingles loose here and there, some broken screens, a few trees down. Our house was fine! Absolutely fine! It looked exactly the way we left it. Miraculously, we only lost power in the neighborhood for about 20 minutes, so we didn’t even have to clean our refrigerator and freezer of rotten food! The neighborhood’s beach access and pavilion were destroyed, however, and some of the marshfront houses did have some flooding from the surge. 

Our electricity is on. We have running water. Our biggest problem is no cable or internet- and, really, that’s such a first world problem. We are certainly not complaining, especially considering what others are having to deal with…

Before/after of condemned houses on Vilano Beach 

The moat at Castillo de San Marcos (the fort) is filled again. 

Thank God the storm weakened a bit before it got here and it took a last minute wobble to the east. Matthew came to our little barrier island as a Category 3, not a 4. We had a 5-6 foot storm surge, not 9-12 feet. As bad as things were and still are for so many…it could have been so much worse. 

Thanks to everyone who thought about us, prayed for us, and checked in on us. We are still in shock that our home and all our belongings are okay. We’re incredibly grateful. And we’re incredibly humbled by the power of Mother Nature. 


In 2 days, 9 hours, and 21 minutes Paige will be home! Not that I’m counting, or anxious to see her or anything. 

She is excited to get home, but at the same time she really does not want to leave France. She has had such a wonderful experience and met some really great friends. 

Last weekend Tim had a layover in Paris and was able to uber over to her dorm and have a quick lunch with her before her group left for Versailles. 

Other than the trip to Versailles, she’s been trying to pack as much into her final week in Paris as she can. A trip to Musée d’Orsay, another visit to La Tour Eiffel, hot chocolate at Angelina, drinks by the Seine…

I know she’s sad to leave, but she’s had a wonderful experience and learned a lot. 

And it’s time to come home. 

New York, Part Deux

I should probably begin by explaining that Tim has a hotel room in the city for the month, courtesy of his company. And so we decided to take advantage of that, since New York City is very expensive… Anyway, Clay had classes, so Paige and I flew up last week for a few days. It seemed like a great idea since the forecast was for rain here…and we had a boil water advisory for our little beach area. Sadly, I didn’t bring my (real) camera this time, so snapchat photos will have to suffice. 

We left Thursday and got to spend that day with Tim before he left for work. He surprised us with tickets to Something Rotten, which was fabulously funny and absolutely great. We loved it! 

The next day Paige and I headed to Chinatown to do a little (ahem!) shopping on Canal Street.  After a bit of haggling, we walked to Little Italy for a quick snack and to rest our feet and people watch for a bit. 

After our respite we headed on to Greenwich Village. We did a bit more shopping, a lot of walking, and finally had a late lunch/early dinner at Famous John’s (Thanks for the recommendation, Theresa!) It was delicious!

While we were noshing on our pizza, we checked on the status of our lottery entries for some of the sold out shows we hoped to see – Hamilton, in particular. Sadly, but not surprisingly, we did not win. So we opted for discounted tickets for an old favorite. And it did not disappoint. 

Saturday was museum day. We went to The Met and we spent hours there, yet probably were only able to see about a quarter of the exhibits. It was all just amazing. And slightly overwhelming…so much to see!

And Sunday (when it started raining in the city, and the sun came out at home) we decided to head home. 

It’s good to be back. Thankfully, the boil water advisory was lifted right after we got home. Perfect timing! 😊 I love visiting NYC…but it makes me appreciate my quiet, peaceful, tranquil home even more. Although…it might be worth the frenetic pace and constant barrage of sirens and honking horns to have access to those museums…

Happy Days

Clay got home from camp a week ago and has been busy settling back into his off campus house (which is only about 15-20 minutes away from our new house…) and catching up with his roommate. He’s also been doing some fun projects with one of his professors – he spent one day out on a boat in the inlet observing and counting dolphins. He’s managed to sneak in some fishing here and there as well, and he’s been keeping us supplied with fresh flounder!

He had a great summer at camp and can’t wait to go back next year. 

And now, Paige is home too. We picked her up a few days ago and shuttled most of her stuff back with us…only to have to do it all in reverse in another 10 days or so to move her back into her fall dorm. She was very happy she decided to start with summer session – she learned her way, mostly, around campus and got comfortable with a new routine without the hordes that will be there in a few weeks. But she’s quite happy it’s over and that she has a couple of weeks to relax. She’s especially happy that the roommates will be changing. She didn’t have a great roommate experience over the summer…but her fall roommate is wonderful! She’s very excited about fall, and her classes (as a side note, she is only 2 credits away from being a sophomore!), and football games (Go ‘Noles!), and making new friends. 

I’m so happy to have both my kids around for a couple of weeks. I’m so proud of them, both….but I sure do miss them when they’re gone! 

I know this time is going to fly by, though. We are going to be busy scheduling hair appointments and doctor appointments and making sure everything is ready for the dorm (cold medicine? Check. BandAids? Check….) but we’re trying to schedule a little down time as well.