Jaxty's Place

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

MSP Weekend

It’s that time of year…dance recital season! Carl flew to Minnesota this past weekend for the first of three studio’s recitals on Saturday (three shows total). He was blessed to stay the weekend with our old neighbors and friends, Neil and Lou. We appreciate their hospitality so much…thanks Lou (who is a blog subscriber).

When he wasn’t watching hours of girl’s dancing, he was able to visit with old friends, including my former BFF, Deb.

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He stopped by our former church on Sunday morning and saw many familiar faces, including Andrew and Emily, who visited us in JAX our first year.

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But most importantly, he visited with Kelly on Sunday, seeing her new apartment, which is in a converted historic mansion turned into 16 rental units.

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They hit the streets of Minneapolis to watch the annual May Day parade.

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Because it included this performer….

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Kelly’s boyfriend, Avram!

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He was also able to meet Avram’s parents, who both participated in the parade, and see Avram’s mother’s “art car.”

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He met several of Avram’s other relatives as well, including his brother and grandparents.

He saw Avram’s family’s float called Mr. Chompers…

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and even got to ride it in the parade for a bit.

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It was a beautiful Minnesota day to spend outside with our lovely daughter. I wish that I could have been there too.

Oh, and Carl loved his rental “car” this weekend….

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I’m glad that he had a great weekend in Minnesota. One set of recitals down, two more to go!

 

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Bunco

At the beginning of March, I posted the following on Instagram…

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My mother commented that she wanted to play Bunco when she came to visit. Since we had such fun the first time, I decided to celebrate mom and Sis’ last night in JAX by inviting our neighbors and some friends over for another Bunco night.

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Seeing as we were without air conditioning all week* during mom and Sis’ visit, I kept my eye on the rising temperatures. Of course, it reached 92 on the day of the Bunco party.

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We did our best to keep our guests hydrated and it actually was not unbearable at the outside two tables.

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The inside head table was a little toasty so people would be rooting to lose so they could move to one of the tables outside…ha!

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After we completed 4 rounds and awarded prizes, with Carl winning $5 for getting the first Bunco and me winning $10 for the most wins, half the guests left but our favorite neighbors stuck around for a few more hours.IMG_6493

It was a fantastic evening of fun, laughs and a cocktail or two (or twelve in some instances)! I’m so grateful for great neighbors who make life in JAX so fun. And I’m glad that they enjoy spending time with my relatives as well. Good times!

*Some friends from church recently replaced our aging a/c unit, giving us a fantastic deal. However, right before mom and Sis arrived, they discovered an issue that needed to be addressed but couldn’t get to it until later in the month so we were without a/c for a few weeks. It really was not bad temperature-wise until of course, we had a houseful of company one night. We all managed to get through it and they will now have something to harass us about for years to come!

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Cumberland Island, GA

On Saturday, Carl and I made the 1-1/4 hour drive up to St. Mary’s, Georgia with our friends, Dee and Eddy. Twice a day, a ferry shuttles visitors to Cumberland Island, only accessible by boat.

Georgia’s largest and southernmost barrier island offers a rustic getaway with over 50 miles of trails and roads, as well as 18 miles of undeveloped beach. Cumberland Island is home to pristine maritime forests, undeveloped beaches and wide marshes. Cumberland Island is also home to about 140 feral horses that roam freely on the island.

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Since it was a 45-minute ferry ride each way, Carl was smart enough to suggest bringing a deck of cards so that we could pass the time playing our favorite Camp Cards.

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Once on the island, we took a leisure 4.5 mile walk around the southern end of the island.

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The first part was through the cool, tree-covered pathway.

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The second part was on the beach along the Atlantic ocean coastline.

At the southern end of the island, we explored the ruins of Dungeness, the Carnegie family mansion and extensive grounds. The 1880s property was destroyed by an arson fire in 1959.

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This is the mansion in all its glory prior to the fire.

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It was in that area I caught my first glimpse of some wild horses, grazing in the marsh in the distance.

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Here, let me get closer.

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There were lots of interesting buildings to see and we enjoyed listening to the self-guided phone tour on Eddy’s cell phone.

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While stopping for a snack break in an open field, we saw a few more horses much closer.

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After over 4 miles and four hours exploring the island, it was time to catch the ferry back to mainland. We played more Camp Cards and saw dolphins on the return trip!

It was a beautiful, warm, sunny day that was just perfect for exploring this beautiful place just a short drive from home. Thank you Dee and Eddy for a great day together!

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Easter Sunday

I hope that you all had a very blessed Resurrection Sunday and know the love and sacrifice of our Savior, Jesus. He died so that we may live. Rejoice in Him!

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After bringing Zack to church with us, we returned home to welcome our friends from church, Michelle and John.

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After enjoying some appetizers on the lanai, I put some sirloin steaks in the smoker.

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While they cooked, we played some Camp Cards.

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When the steaks were ready, we enjoyed a delicious low-carb feast with steak, mushrooms, cauliflower potatoes, brussel sprouts and salad.

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Then John took a nap in the hammock :).

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He eventually joined Carl for a dip in the pool.

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Actually, that was about as far as they got. Water’s still a little brisk!

We played a few more rounds of Camp Cards while the food settled and we made room for dessert. It was a very relaxing day spent with good friends, good food, conversation and cards.

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We are very blessed!

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Wordless Wednesday: Before and After

From Jeff’s wedding in 1983…

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A little less hair, a few more pounds…but looking good, guys!

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They really haven’t changed a bit!

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CBHS Reunion

Thanksgiving week, when we visited with Carl’s friend from high school, Bobby, the guys discussed how it had been way too long since the last reunion of their core group of friends from their high school soccer team. Back in 2001, we organized the first reunion of the guys at our house in Minnesota, complete with visiting the amusement park at the Mall of America, golfing, a tour of the MN Vikings facility and a preseason football game (although actually Bobby canceled at the last minute that year since it was shortly after 9/11). The following year, they all (including Bobby) met up in Memphis and toured all their old hangouts.

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Then life happened and the young families got busy and they didn’t meet again until now 🙂 . With two of the guys now living in the Atlanta area and Bobby traveling there frequently for work, Atlanta was the natural choice for the location.

Carl and I drove in on Friday afternoon and spent our first night at Jeff and Waverly’s beautiful, expansive house in the woods.

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We stayed in the guest suite, complete with our own entrance, bedroom, bathroom, sitting room and kitchen. Sweet…they are lucky that we didn’t decide to move in!

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That evening, Steve and Anne drove over from the other side of town for dinner. (Bobby and his wife were not due to arrive until Saturday late morning.)

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In the morning, the three guys and I went for a brisk, 38 degree hike up Kennesaw Mountain.

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It was cool to see the cannons left on the mountain from the Civil War.

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After our hike, we all showered and dressed and then met up with Bobby and his wife, Jessica, for lunch, where we were seated at a table next to Kirk Cameron from the 1980’s TV show, Growing Pains and star of a series of Christian movies in the past few years. Jessica and I were particularly smitten and tried to work up the nerve to ask for a photo but we didn’t (other than sneaking him into our photo below).

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After lunch, we went to a local escape place.

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These are all the rage across the country and if you haven’t heard of them, they place you in a locked room with a series of clues and puzzles that you have to solve to figure out how to get out of the room in a designated amount of time (an hour).

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Despite our best efforts and getting down to the last puzzle, we ran out of time to escape. Losers!!

We then headed over to Steve and Anne’s house for dinner and the guys spent time looking at old school yearbooks, photo albums and other memorabilia.

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We ended the night sharing our favorite group game with them, “Say Anything.” It was a lot of laughs.

 

I love the fact that these old friends of 35-years can get together and pick up just like it was last week. And we were all impressed that the guys all married so well and the wives could join in just like we’ve been friends for years too (although I’ve met them all at various times over the years, we really don’t know each other very well and some of the other wives have never met).

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Carl and I stayed at Steve and Anne’s stately house the second night.

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After a terrific breakfast in the morning, we headed back home.

It was a great weekend and we are so happy to have spent time with all of these old friends all weekend. It’s quite notable that this group of friends that all married young are now all still together for 25+ years (33 years for Jeff and Waverly, 31 years for Carl and I, 29 years for Bobby and Jessica and 27 years for Steve and Anne)! That’s quite an accomplishment. We are going to ensure that it is not another 15 years before we all gather together again!

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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.
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Melissa

This past weekend, I found out that my old across-the-street neighbor from Minnesota was flying into Orlando for the week with her boyfriend. I invited her to drive up to Jacksonville for the Jaguars game on Sunday (Carl had a few extra tickets) and dinner at our house. I am so happy that they took us up on the offer! (I also invited them to stay for the night but they decided to drive back that night.)

It was so great to spend hours talking and laughing as if a day had not passed since we were last together. I love friends like that!

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We loved meeting her new boyfriend, Pat, and are so happy that they are so happy together. I have seen Melissa through two rough marriages and some very hard years with her kids but she is in a great place now and it’s a joy to see.

It blows my mind to think that Melissa and I have been friends for over 17 years and have seen our children grow up together. Where does the time go??

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Saturday in the Burg

My friend, Dee, was disappointed that she couldn’t make the October craft night, where we made the wooden pumpkin set. I told her that I would give her a private class if she had us over and had her husband prep the wood pieces for us. So on Saturday, Carl and I drove out to the boonies (about 40 minutes from our house) to Middleburg, Florida (aka, “The Burg”).

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Dee did a fabulous job and her pumpkins turned out so cute. This is definitely my favorite craft night project to date.

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Since I had started preparations for a November craft night that didn’t quite pan out, I had the makings for 20 Thanksgiving cards which I brought with me as well. Dee had fun making a bunch of cards for her family. I’m not going to show a photo though since my relatives can expect to see the card very soon.

Since we were out in the boonies, Dee and Eddy decided it was only appropriate to take us shooting so we drove to their son’s property with their guns and Eddy set up a target for us.

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After giving us some basic safety instructions, Eddy let us both try shooting their pistols.

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It was scary but exhilarating at the same time! It is amazing the amount of power in that little pistol and I can’t imagine being hit by the force of that bullet. I actually did not do too bad for my first time shooting ever…all my bullets hit the target (shown by the circled bullet holes).

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I know just what to get Carl for Christmas now.

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This was my best Charlie’s Angels pose…I look like a maniacal dork!

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After our shooting adventure, we returned to Dee and Eddy’s house for a fabulous dinner of lamb chops, asparagus and salad.

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Since Dee and Eddy are starting a low-carb diet, we spent a lot of time coaching them on what to eat and sharing the tips that we’ve learned along the way. We wish them much success on their low-carb journey!

Finally, we ended the night with a few rounds of Dominoes (for which I failed to get a photo). It was a super fun day and evening with our good friends and we are so happy to have them in our lives. We look forward to doing it again soon!

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Thanks Dee and Eddy for a great day!

 

 

 

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Block Party

On Sunday, Carl and I hosted a block party for our end of the street. I made invitations on the computer and then last week we walked from house to house to try to personally invite all of the neighbors. If we couldn’t get them after two tries, we just left the flyer on their door.

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Of the 13 houses invited, 9 showed up (at least for a little while) which we think was a good turn-out.

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We put up three tents on the driveway for shade since it is still in the low 80s around here.

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I set up some tables with some Fall decorations to hold all the food. People were asked to bring their own meat and drinks and a side dish to share. We provided all of the paper goods.

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It was a really great time building a sense of community with those around us. Everyone stayed for over 4 hours so they must have been having fun. Plus, they all asked if we could do it again on regular basis (like once a quarter or every 6 months).

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I’m so grateful for the chance to make all of our neighbors our friends. Good times!

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