Jaxty's Place

My place to ramble about my family, my crafts, my travels and life.

Spring Break

Anthony’s home for spring break!


That means that he is doing lots of surfing.


Since Sue and Karl weren’t able to come for their annual Christmas visit, they came for a week’s visit as well. With Karl’s recent broken leg, we convinced them to actually take an airplane instead of spending 12 hours driving in the car each way. Since they flew into Orlando, they only had to spend 2 hours in the car each way :).


We spent lots of time soaking in the Florida sunshine in the backyard.


We had a cold snap for two days and were able to enjoy a cozy fire one evening.

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We spent the evenings playing games together and watching a few movies.

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I did take Sue and Karl to the two 55+ Adult Communities (Dell Webb and Cascades at World Golf Village) in the hopes of convincing them to move to Florida. Although Sue and I found a house that we really liked at Cascades, it’s going to take some convincing to get Karl on board with a major move.  We’d love it if they were closer so that we could spend more time together and help them more as they need it, but it’s out of our hands. Time will tell what they decide!

We are grateful to have had Anthony, Sue and Karl with us for a while. Thanks for coming to JAX, family!



Kelly Visits Memphis

Since the in-laws weren’t able to come for Christmas, the kids really missed spending time with their grandparents. So I was very impressed and proud of Kelly and Avram for deciding to go to Memphis for a long-weekend to visit with the grandparents and Aunt Leslie.


While in Memphis, they visited our first house together, the one were we lived when Kelly was born.


They did some thrift-store shopping at some of Grandma Sue’s favorite places.


They played games together.



And of course, there was lots of yummy food and some “adult beverages” for those that wanted them.


I’m so glad that my kids enjoy time with their grandparents and take time out of their busy schedules to visit and/or call them on occasion. I think we did something right to raise such thoughtful, caring children that value family-time together.


I’m glad that you all had a great visit!


North vs. South

It’s temperatures like that that make me grateful to be living in Florida now.

Instead of breaking records for the number of below zero days in a season or the amount of snowfall in one day, Jacksonville is breaking records for warmest December days on record.


While my Minnesota friends are posting about bitter cold, I am sitting by the pool reading a good book or walking along the ocean with my husband. And I could not be happier!

I am so excited that Kelly gets to escape from the MN winter to join us in Jacksonville starting tomorrow. We can’t wait to see you, Kelly!


A Very UnMerry Christmas

For as long as Carl and I have been married, we have celebrated Christmas with his parents. Of course, it was easy the first 5 years since we were living near them (and even with them the first Christmas) in Germantown, TN at the time.


1987, which is actually our second Christmas as a married couple but although we were together in 1986, there was not one single photo of all of us.


1989, pregnant with Kelly and celebrating in our first house.


1990 and Kelly’s 1st Christmas!

When we moved to the Chicago area in 1991, Sue and Karl either drove up to us for Christmas or we drove back down to Germantown on the 26th, alternating each year.


1991 in our second house in Carol Stream…we even brought Grandma Miklas from the nursing home to celebrate with us.


1992 in Memphis at Jim and Linda’s apartment

After we moved to Virginia in 1996, Sue and Karl continued to make the trek to our house, especially since we had two of their grandchildren. They were blessed at this time though since Jim’s job with the airlines gave them free flights for a few years.


1996 in Ashburn, VA, our third house

When we moved to MN in 1999, they still came, despite the frigid temperatures and often mounds and mounds of snow!


1999, in our fourth house in Chaska, MN

I remember the one year that the neighbors had to help push their car up the hill by our house since the roads were so slick. They were troopers to faithfully come for 15 years.



We were all thrilled to escape the MN winters with our move to Florida in 2014 and continue to celebrate together.


So we were all so very saddened this week when my father-in-law, Karl, fell outside while raking the yard and broke the femur in his right leg. He underwent surgery on Thursday to have a plate and pins put in his leg. He is expected to spend around 5 days in the hospital and then go to a rehab facility for at least a week before going home to recuperate. Needless to say, they won’t be coming to spend Christmas with us, for the first time in 30 years :(.

It will be very strange not to have them with us for Christmas this year. And before you all suggest that we go to them, we discussed it but do not feel that Sue needs the added stress of 6 adults (our family of 5 plus Kelly’s boyfriend who is flying into JAX on the 23rd) descending upon her house while trying to care for Karl. His first few weeks will require as much rest as possible and he’ll probably be hopped up on pain pills as it is. And being in a two-story home, he’s probably going to have a make-shift bed set up somewhere on the main level. So for those reasons, we don’t think it’s wise to go to them.

We want Sue and Karl to know how much they will be missed and we are praying fervently for Karl’s quick and complete recovery. We look forward to returning to our tradition next Christmas!




Leslie’s Visit – Part Two

Sunday was the real reason for Leslie’s visit….NFL football! We also invited our friends, Dee and Eddy to the game, so after church the four of us (Carl and Zack were already at the stadium) headed off to the stadium in Eddy’s car. About half way there, I remembered that I forgot this in my church bag back in my car parked at church (I brought it into church because I had an extra pass and wasn’t sure which one I was supposed to give to a friend):

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Dee, Eddy and Leslie were all very forgiving and gentle and I am grateful that they didn’t make me stand on the street corner with a sign while begging for donations to pay for the $30 we had to come up with for parking. Such good friends!

Our first stop was Carl’s office to get free water to replace our bottles we had to dump out at the entrance to the stadium. We couldn’t afford the $6 a bottle of water at the concession stand after paying for parking. 


Carl escorted us to our seats which were apparently in the Denver Broncos section as we were surrounded by loud, cheering fans. Although in actuality, most of the stadium seemed to be covered in a sea of orange since Jacksonville fans are now comatose at this point in their 2-10 season.


After posting this photo on Instagram with the hashtag #jagsgamedaylive, I then spent the rest of the game looking for my photo on the giant screens, which was way more entertaining than the game for me:


After halftime, Leslie and I made our way over to the BudZone to harass our favorite merchandise seller.


After the game, we met back up with Carl and Zack for a ride home.


After getting home, it was time for cocktails, dinner and Camp Cards.


It was a great visit with Leslie and we are so glad that she came to spend a few days with us. We look forward to the day when she and her parents move to Jacksonville to be near us :). (Not that that’s happening but we can wish, can’t we!?)


Leslie’s Visit – Part One

On Friday, Carl’s sister flew in to visit us in our new home for the first time.


Friday was just a relaxing afternoon/evening at home (since Carl was working). After dinner, we enjoyed some hot chocolate/coffee spiked with Bailey’s for our inaugural bonfire on our new firepit patio (we just used the metal firebowl…Carl’s getting to the stone firepit soon).


After discussing movie musicals, I tortured Carl and Leslie by ending our evening with a viewing of 16-year-old-Kristy’s favorite movie, The Idolmaker. It was awesome…and I know they agree!

On Saturday, I had a Secret Diner assignment at a breakfast place by the beach and Leslie was chosen as my dining companion. Afterwards, we walked down to see the ocean and the still-damaged-from-Hurricane-Matthew pier.


Later that day, Carl, Leslie and I all headed down to see St. Augustine.


We stayed until after dark and had intended to ride the trolley to see the Christmas Lights, but with waits of over an hour, we just walked instead.


We then took Leslie to our favorite St. Augustine restaurant, Aunt Kate’s, since it was a beautiful night for seafood while sitting outside on the waterfront.



It was a really busy, fun day exploring the Jacksonville area. We are so glad that Leslie came to visit!


Thanksgiving 2016

Our last full day in Memphis was spent celebrating Thanksgiving with Carl’s family.

Carl’s Aunt Joanne; cousin Susie and her husband, Pete; and family friend, Pat all joined us.

I ate a lot of carbs and I don’t even feel bad about it. Holiday carbs don’t count, do they??

I am thankful for how richly God has blessed me and my family.

I hope your day was filled with family, food and fun as well.

Now let the Christmas decorating begin!! (Actually that won’t be happening until Saturday for me since as you probably read this, we are making the long drive back home to Jacksonville.)


More Fun in Memphis

Other things we did in Memphis…

  • Saw a bargain movie at the $3 theater.

  •  Played games, of course.
  • Visited Sue and Karl’s former neighbor, 93 year-old Marianne, a devoted woman of God who has been a positive spiritual influence in the lives of so many people for many years.

  • Visited with Carl’s high school friend, Bobby Williams.

  • (The guys) did some landscape work at Leslie’s house.
  • Shared meals together.

  • Just enjoyed each other’s company and cherished the time together. We are very blessed by our time in Memphis.

Karl’s 80th Birthday Celebration

Although today (Tuesday) is actually my father-in-law’s 80th birthday, since Jim left before the crack of dawn this morning, we celebrated yesterday. After some errands and putzing around the house yesterday, the four energetic adults decided to get some fresh air with a brisk walk around the lake at Shelby Farms Park.


When we returned, Karl had put Zack to work power-washing the driveway so Carl jumped in to help.

Sue made a great dinner of salmon, green beans and salad and then we decided to take a bunch of family photos to commemorate all three siblings being together for the first time in many years.


Jim, Leslie and Carl




Grandson, Father and Son

karls-80th-19After we got all of the photos out of the way, it was time for cards and presents. I made Karl a little sign because it’s hard to buy anything for people that already have everything they need.


Finally, it was time for cake!


It was a sweet family day celebrating Karl. There were several moments when Karl got emotional just reminiscing about days gone by or expressing appreciation to his family. That, of course, made everybody else tear up. It was really a special time together.

We are extremely grateful for Karl’s 80 years and the love and energy he has poured into his family. May we all have many years left together.





Thanksgiving Roadtrip

For the 15 years that we were in MN, Carl was not able to take time off of work during the football season. Since Carl now has a cushy job in JAX with very flexible work hours AND Zack is off of school for the whole week AND Carl’s dad is celebrating his 80th birthday on Tuesday, we decided that we needed to take a road trip to Memphis for Thanksgiving week. 

On Saturday, Carl, Zack, Harry and I drove the 12 hours from JAX to TN. Thanks to a very funny audiobook from our friends Dee and Eddy, the time went by very quickly. After arriving and freshening up, we met up with Carl’s parents, sister (Leslie) and brother (Jim) at a Greek restaurant for dinner, where they went after attending mass.  Jim flew in for a few days from Boston for his dad’s birthday so it was nice for all three siblings to be together for the first time in many years (we’re thinking 6-7 years).

After dinner, we had a taste test of two pumpkin liquors.

Carl and I preferred the Baileys but most of the others preferred the Whisper brand.

After a relaxing Sunday at home, we went to Carl’s cousin, Susie’s house that evening.

Susie and her husband moved to the Memphis area a few years ago so it was nice to see their new house, although it sounds like another job change might be sending them to Philadelphia in the coming year.

One of Susie’s sons, Max is in back with Zack

My father-in-law’s sister, Joanne, is visiting Susie and just celebrated her birthday so we had cake to celebrate both Karl and Joanne. They look pretty darn good for 83 and 80 years old!!

It’s been a nice visit filled with family. 

Thanks for the streamer in my face, Zack.

We are grateful for time together.