Vernon Volumes

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Saturday, November 30, 2019

Thanksgiving at Wild Dunes 2019 - with Alex, Laura, Grandpa Rick and Grandma Alice



For Thanksgiving this year, we met Alex, Laura, Grandpa and Grandma in Isle of Palms South Carolina at the Wild Dunes resort. In the past, we took the big SUV for the drive and this time we decided to try and drive our Tesla. It was a bit of a squeeze, but we got everything in and since this year our rental included some bikes, we didn't have to worry about the bike rack. We got in on the Sunday before Thanksgiving and spent the first part of the week playing tennis in the mornings and in the afternoons I'd work.

We've always enjoyed the tennis clinics at Wild Dunes because in the mornings they have the kids tennis clinics at the same time as the adult clinics. This trip, for the first time, we requested that Connor play in the adult clinics with us. On Monday we warmed up with him and then one of the staff offered to let Connor try working out with the academy players on some of the other courts. We encouraged Connor to try it out and unfortunately it was a bit intense and the players were quite a bit bigger and older and better so Connor didn't enjoy it too much. On Tuesday, Connor stayed with Andrea and I and we really had a lot of fun playing with him and seeing him compete with all the adults. Unfortunately on Wednesday, one of the other adults tried to bring a younger player and the pros decided that it would be better to keep the kids and adults separate, so it kind of ended our fun with Connor in the adult clinics. They did allow him to play in with us on Thursday, but we were a little uncomfortable about it by then and when Connor played on Saturday (he took off Friday), he went to the kids clinics. He's improved a lot and definitely could hang in there with the adults, hopefully in the future it will work out better as he gets bigger and older.




Alex and Laura arrived Tuesday evening and Grandma and Grandpa arrived on Wednesday. This year Andrea rented us a house in Twin Oaks (#3) and we had three bedrooms so Alex and Laura stayed with us while Grandpa and Grandma stayed across the street in the hotel. We did some puzzles, played games, played tennis, rode bikes, and the most fun we all had was pickleball.

On Thursday morning we did our regular tennis clinics and skipped the parade. At 1pm we went to the Sweetgrass Pavilion for the Thanksgiving buffet.








We don't tend to like buffets, but the Wild Dunes Thanksgiving buffet is pretty amazing and big. They had 3 kinds of turkey, ham, roast beef, and all kinds of sides and desserts. The smoked turkey and regular turkey were the favorites while the "Drunken Nutty" was a bit odd and not well received. During dinner we went around the table to say what we were thankful for and what our favorite food and favorite desserts were as well. The kids also did a "Lemon Challenge" with Alex and Laura.






After the meal we snapped some pics with the props outside the buffet hall.




Overall, one of the hightlights of the week was the pickleball. Grandma and Grandpa brought their pickleball gear and the tennis center had equipment they'd lend out for free. There were four courts that were a bit cramped together, but it was a nice setup and the courts were usually not busy so we got to play a lot. It was nice that we had 8 people in our group, so we tended to have two courts going at a time with all kinds of matchups. In the end, it was VERY clear that Connor was the star player. Connor was pretty much able to win with anybody he played with and it was virtually impossible to squeeze a ball past him or pop it over his head. Paige was surprisingly good at pickleball as well and she cracked the ball with her tennis strokes and was so quick and able to track down every ball that came over the net. On Saturday, Andrea and I played against Paige and Connor and they destroyed us. We had some exciting points with a lot of volleys at the net and tons of action, but the kids were just too good. I was proud of both of them, but honestly a bit frustrated that I couldn't find a way to beat them with Andrea. We definitely tried hard to win!


We took a few videos early on in the week of the pickleball action, and although they were pretty nice representations of pickleball, some of the points later on in the week were amazing and I wish we'd gotten them on camera.



This time of year it gets dark around 5pm, so we had a lot of time in the evenings to relax together, snack, and watch some tv. We watched some football, soccer, and we all enjoyed the "Great British Baking Show" on Netflix. Andrea ordered us a couple of pumpkin pies and a super tasty apple pie from Kudzu bakery and they were amazing. We enjoyed eating at McAlister's and Page's Okra Grill, but we also had two evenings where we got to enjoy Alex and Laura's cooking. On Friday night Alex and Laura did a lot of work to make everyone homemade lasagna. I think it took a little extra time since they had a little helper in Paige with them who enjoyed the entire process. We took a quick pic before we dug in, and sadly Paige's tummy was upset and she didn't get to enjoy the lasagna with us.



The house we rented turned out to be one of the coziest and comfiest. The house was a bit small, but it was nice since we had a garage and were able to plug in the car, and the covered patio out back was finished stylishly and had a super comfortable couch.







On Saturday afternoon, I went with Alex, Laura, and the kids to the beach and we threw the football around, climbed on a big hollow log that someone planted in the sand, and drew a heart on the beach with "Vernon Fam 2019".





Thanksgiving was so much fun this year. We have so much to be thankful of. We are thankful that our family could come together and be together, that Andrea's been feeling better and was well enough to compete in tennis and pickleball, and that the weather was almost perfect (just a bit cool at times) all week. Happy Thanksgiving!

Thankful Paige


Paige put together a "So Very Thankful For" poster at school and we loved the pic and everything she wrote, she's such a sweetheart.





Monday, November 18, 2019

Paige's last USTA match of the season



Paige's team had their final match of the season on Friday 11/15/2019. The team played against the other PVIC team and Paige played doubles with Zoey. Their match was very close and they were behind for most of the match. The girls rallied and at 7-7 they played a 7 point tiebreaker and managed to win. After the match, we thanked Taylor for being our pro and haling out and we snapped a pic of Paige and Zoey with Taylor after we gave him a thank you card.


Great job team! (Cailyn didn't play on Friday so isn't pictured)


Thursday, November 14, 2019

Shawn's 40th birthday


I turned 40 this past Monday. I honestly can't believe I'm 40, it doesn't feel like it, but according to the calendar it's true. The Thursday before my birthday we got family pictures done and afterwards we celebrated my birthday with a nice French dinner at JJ's Bistro.




On Friday, Grandpa came to get the kids after they were done with school and Andrea and I drove to Georgia for a weekend at the Sea Island resort. It was our first time there and it was fun to explore the area and try the restaurants. We did two hours of tennis on Saturday morning and Sunday morning and spent the rest of our days biking around, watching football, and relaxing together. The weather had just turned cool and breezy, so we enjoyed the hot chocolate and snacks that they supplied daily.









On Monday morning, which was my actual birthday, we at a late breakfast and then drove back home so we could make it to a doctor's appointment for Andrea. After Andrea's appointment, we met everyone at Nona Blue for a birthday dinner and although I wouldn't let everyone sing for me, I did enjoy a yummy banana dessert and made a wish on the candle. 



It is a bit of a struggle for me to feel old, but Andrea and everyone have been so sweet to me, making my weekend special and making me feel better. Looking forwards to the next chapter in my life and feeling blessed for all the wonderful people around me. Love you guys!

Flu shots


Paige has been freaked out for a while about getting flu shots and it's really been bothering her any time it's come up. Finally we decided to go and when we broke the news to her she was very upset as we expected. We all went as a family to the doctor's office and Paige pouted the entire time in the waiting room. When we were called back we decided to let Paige choose the order and of course she wanted to go last. Connor volunteered to go first and was super brave about it and said it didn't even hurt at all.


When it was Paige's turn she ran in to the corner and refused to budge. Andrea gave her a pep talk and calmed her down and then Paige agreed to go ahead with it in Andrea's lap. She sat still and was a big girl about it and admitted afterwards that it barely hurt at all. All of our arms ached for a few days, but we were all brave and got it done!


Sunday, November 3, 2019

Connor's last U12 USTA match of the season



On Friday, November 1st 2019, Connor had what may be his final U12 USTA team tennis match of the season against Jacksonville Golf and Country Club. Connor's team's been together for a few years now and it's been fun to see them all develop and improve. Connor played line 1 singles and line 1 doubles on Friday and won them both. His singles match ended 4-1, 4-0 and his doubles match was 8-3. After the match, the boys all threw around the football in what may have been their favorite part of the match.

I put together a short video with a few highlights from the match.

Halloween 2019



Halloween this year fell on a Thursday, which wasn't the worst, but was a little odd in the middle of the week. After school, the kids didn't have any homework, so they got to relax a little while before trick-or-treating. Paige wanted to be a witch this year and we'd gotten her a cute orange and black costume a few weeks ago. Connor hadn't really wanted to get dressed up and we weren't even sure if he'd want to go trick-or-treating. On Thursday afternoon a few of his friends texted him to see if he was interested in going with them and he decided that sounded like fun. As he's done in previous years he threw on a football jersey and went as a football player.




At 6pm we drove the golf cart to his friend Cole's house and he hung out with his friends Namath, Cole, Charlie, Jackson and Ethan until it got dark and then they all went out together.


On the way back from dropping off Connor, we stopped at a neighbor's house that we've been getting to know better lately, and Paige went trick-or-treating with Anika, Natalie, Anika's brother Yosh, and with Casey and Keagan after we stopped at their house. The kids enjoyed jumping on and off the golf carts and we were surprised that it seemed like there were a lot more kids in the neighborhood this year. We mostly stuck to the houses near us and it was a nice chill evening.








After we got home around 9pm, Paige switched on our lights and she hoped to hand out some candy, but everyone had wrapped up by then. I picked up Connor a little while later and it turned out he'd traded all his candy for a gigantic pile of Snickers bars!