Vernon Volumes text

Vernon Volumes text

Sunday, September 24, 2023

Graydon Sleepover

Saturday afternoon, we went to Creekside Highschool to watch Graydon's I9 flag football team. Afterwards, he came home with us to spend the night and hang out with his cousins. We threw the football around outside, he shot hoops with Connor, we played a lot of ping pong, and we won a squad game of Fortnite together (mostly thanks to Connor). We set him up on my laptop in Connor's office and he has fun gaming with the kids and hanging out with us. 

This morning Millie Mae ran up to see if he was here and unfortunately woke him up pretty early. I made him some scrambled eggs and toast before I went to tennis and then he went with us to lunch at Beach Hut cafe in the afternoon, where he enjoyed a big plate of French Toast. He's such a good guy, and we love hanging out with him. The Gobles are going to watch the Chiefs vs Bears this afternoon with us, so we have a lot of quality time with our buddy Graydon.


Paige at Adult Clinics with Shawn

On Saturday, Paige played in the adult clinics at our club with me in the morning. We did the 10 and 11 o'clock clinics and I was a little worried that Paige would either have trouble keeping up with the adults, or that someone wouldn't want to play with her since she was young. Thankfully I had nothing to worry about and Paige was one of the stronger players in both clinics and impressed everyone. She enjoyed the clinics and already asked when she can join us again. 

Andrea was playing tennis with some friends, but we snapped a pic with her and Paige on the way out since they both were wearing similar outfits and looked like twins.

14U USTA Team Tennis - Paige


Paige started team tennis at our club this last week and they had their first match, against the other PVIC team. She played line one singles and line one doubles with Abby. Sadly, she didn't win her matches, but she is improving and hit some great shots and had good rallies. She's still stuck playing boys, and I'm looking forwards to high school tennis when she'll be only playing other girls.

Millie Mae with Shawn in the Jeep


Paige has been doing a high level junior's clinic at the club on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Connor goes with her on Thursdays so he can drive her that day, but Connor has a night class on Tuesdays so I usually take her to tennis. While she's playing, I go to the beach with Millie Mae and Millie loves to run around and roll in the sand. She is usually pretty worn out afterwards and to keep her car carrier a little cleaner, I will usually hold her on the way home. Paige snapped a pic of Millie in my lap on Tuesday as Millie was dozing off.

Chiefs vs Jaguars Game at the Gobles House


Week 2 of the NFL season, the Chiefs came to Jacksonville to take on the Jaguars. The Chiefs lost their first game, and we were worried they'd lost to the Jags too, but thankfully they managed to scrape out a victory 17-9. We watched at the Goble's house and Paige's friend Saylor came along too. It was a bit hot, but we threw the football around in the street during halftime and after the game and I snapped a pic of the kids in their Chief's gear.

Sunday, September 17, 2023

Paige and Saide with the SUP

Paige's friend Sadie came over yesterday to eat lunch with us and then hang out at the beach. The girls wanted me to bring the SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard), and I inflated it for them and hauled it to the beach. Millie Mae went out with me on it once last year in water that was half as wavy as yesterday and it did not last long. We got swamped and separated with a medium sized wave, and Millie swam back to shore. After one try I realized it was a bad idea unless the water was super calm, and we gave up.

Yesterday, the waves were pretty intense and I told the girls I didn't think it would be a good day for it, but they insisted on giving it a try. They actually did better than I expected, and got out past a few of the breaks and both got on the board together. Unfortunately it didn't last long and they were both treading water as the SUP got washed back up the beach. I collected the SUP and they took a break, but were determined to give it another try. This time it lasted a little longer, but eventually they got swamped again and this time I insisted they quit. The SUP definitely floats more than a surfboard and I think that makes it more difficult in some respects when pushing it out on the waves. 

It was still a beautiful beach day and the girls enjoyed swimming in the waves and in the pool. Millie and I wandered around looking for shark teeth and we found a couple dozen small ones and one nice medium sized one. 

Study Time - Connor and Andrea


We often joke that Connor is Andrea's full time job. He has a lot going on to keep track of, with high school classes, dual enrollment with college classes, tutoring for the ACT test, his work schedule, and his tennis practices. They are cute together and Andrea's been helping him study for his sign language coursework recently. Connor got a 100% on his last test, and they were both so happy that all their hard work paid off. I help out with some of the writing assignments, but Andrea definitely does most of the work with Connor and helps to keep him organized.

Middle School Flag Football Practice with Paige


Paige recently tried out for volleyball at her school with her friend Sadie, but unfortunately they didn't make the cut. It wasn't too surprising since neither have ever played volleyball outside of gym class, and it's a primary sport for many girls. Paige joined the school's flag football team along with some friends, and she's been going to practices on Friday nights and Saturday mornings. Their coach is the father of one of the girls and he's amazing how seriously he is taking it. In their last practice he even set up a camera to record things and sent clips to the parents with different videos and he's really getting to know all the players. We're looking forwards to the games starting soon!

Monday, September 4, 2023

US Open - New York Visit - Shawn and Andrea - Walking Food Tour and Bike Tour

Andrea and I went to New York in 2017 and decided that we would go with the kids this year. Andrea planned the trip to be over the Labor Day holiday so the kids wouldn't miss as much school, but as the date got closer we thought that maybe it would be more fun as an adult trip instead. Amanda and Ryan graciously agreed to let our kids hang out at their place Saturday-Monday, so we changed our reservations and the kids were also happy they wouldn't have to miss any school. The other two nights we were gone, the kids stayed home alone and got themselves up and to school by themselves. It was the first time for them staying overnight alone.

We flew out super early on Friday morning and after dropping our bags off at the Conrad Hotel we headed straight over to the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. Well, we kind of headed straight over. I pulled up Google's recommended subway route and we got aboard a train. While we were sitting on it, Andrea pulled up another route and we decided to maybe change to that route. We ended up getting turned around somewhere along the way. The ride took about twice as long as it should have, but we got there eventually. 

Friday and Saturday were forecasted to have the best weather and although we hadn't necessarily intended to go to the US Open immediately, the weather made it necessary. Friday's high was in the low 70's and it was actually a little cool in the shade at times.

We didn't stay too late on Friday as we were pretty worn out from our early morning flight. We got back to the room and I got some pizzas from a nearby place that sold 99 cent pizza slices. It was kind of nuts that for $11 we got five slices of pizza and a couple of cokes. I told Andrea that our entire dinner cost half as much as one of the chicken nachos we bought at the US Open earlier in the day.

Friday Matches:

  • Taylor Townsend vs Karolina Muchova in Louis Armstrong
  • Iga Swiatek vs Kaja Juvan in Louis Armstrong 
  • Jennifer Brady vs Caroline Wozniacki in Arthur Ashe
  • Austin Krajicek & Jessica Pegula vs Laura Siegemund and Sander GillĂ© (Mixed Doubles)
  • R. Montgomery & C. Ngounoue vs M. Kolodziejova & L. Noskova
Saturday morning we headed out to the US Open after picking up some muffins from a nearby bakery. Our trip in was much smoother than on Friday and the weather was great again on Saturday. We only watched a few matches in their entirety, but we did wander around and watch a few of the other matches and took in the event in general. Friday we'd purchased actual Arthur Ashe tickets, although we never sat in our specific seats. On Saturday we only got grounds passes since the ticket prices were absurd this year. The grounds pass got us in to all the general seating areas of all the matches, except for the matches in the Arthur Ashe stadium. Since we were at the tournament in the early rounds, there were lots of matches going on all over the place and there was plenty to see. 

Saturday Matches:
  • Madison Keys vs Ludmila Samsonova on Louis Armstrong
  • Aliona Bolsova & Rebeka Masarova vs Taylor Townsend & Leylah Fernandez
  • A few other doubles matches that weren't the most exciting or memorable
We were going to stay for one more match, but we were getting tired and decided it would be better if we could beat the rush and leave a little earlier. We stopped off and grabbed some pizza from the same place on the way back to the hotel. After dinner we realized that we'd had chicken nachos for lunch and pizza for dinner again, exactly like Friday. Not the height of NY cuisine, but we both enjoyed it and that's what counts. We later learned from one of our guides, they are changing the pizza shop to $1.50/slice soon.

After Saturday, the weather was hot. Instead of the low 70's it was in the low 90's. We decided it would be miserable sitting in the sun at the US Open and opted to do some sightseeing instead. Sunday morning we met up with a tour guide Alex to do a High Line and Greenwich walking tour. After about an hour and a half, we met up with the rest of our group to do a Food Tour. The group was small, and our guide did a nice job of showing us the interesting landmarks and history of the area. 

We started the food tour at a French bakery where we tried a Merveilleux pastry. 

Next we stopped at a British shop where we had a warm cheese, onion, potato pie. Sadly we forget exactly what it was called.

We stopped on the street of the apartment from the show "Sex and the City" and Andrea got a pic with the front door.

Of course we had to try some New York style pizza. Our tour guide was aghast at our choice to eat the 99 cent pizza slices the past couple of days. We had pizza at Bleeker Street Pizza and then went next door to Taco Mahal to try an Indian chicken curry taco that was super flavorful.

We stopped by the apartment used for the show "Friends" and then we insisted on stopping on Cornelia Street so Andrea could take a pic outside of Taylor Swift's old apartment for Paige.

We ended our tour with cookies and cupcakes at Molly's Cupcakes. After the tour, we realized that we'd gone even further South and farther from our hotel. We wandered back the way we came and stopped by the Chelsea market and walked a bit longer on the High Line to see some of the paths that we'd skipped earlier. We ended up walking a total of 10 miles.

We wrapped up our day with some tennis on TV in the hotel and then Ice Cream at Van Leeuwen. Andrea loved the Honeycomb flavor the best and I got the Mint Chip and Pistachio flavor, the Pistachio was the best.

Sunday was another hot day, so no tennis for us, but we did schedule a bike tour of Central Park. The tour started off a little awkwardly at a super skinny storefront where we waited in a long line while the staff tried to maneuver bikes past everyone. We finally got started, walking our bikes to Central Park and then we jumped on and got going without much instruction. Although our tour guide told us that we should obey traffic laws, be careful, and to stop at lights, he did none of those things and it was a bit stressful trying to keep up with him. As it was Labor Day, and a warm day in NY, it was crowded. There were horse drawn carriages, pedicabs, casual bikers, serious bikers in their fancy gear, scooters, roller skaters, dogs, and people everywhere. Our tour guide ran right through red lights, split between pedestrians on the crosswalks, and our group got separated a number of times. 

The worst moment was when one of our tour members had their chain slip off and our guide had to ride back to help him. Our guide had stopped us in the center of the road and told us just to clump together and that we'd be fine. He said that although people would probably yell at us, we should ignore them and we were invincible together. We would be "titanium" he said and that we'd be fine. After getting complained at by a few people, Andrea and I pulled off the road to a sidewalk nearby and eventually everyone else did too as it was super uncomfortable stopped in the middle of the road. 

We survived, and nobody got injured, but we were relieved when it ended. It was not a relaxing ride.

For lunch on Sunday we picked up some sandwiches from the Deli near our hotel, Premier Deli Cafe, and watched tennis on TV while we enjoyed the air conditioning. 

In the evening we got back out and decided to take a leisurely walk around town. We went back to Central Park and wandered around, enjoying all the wild and weird people. We watched some pickleball, a roller skate dance party, volleyball, and saw lots of picnics. On the way back we decided it would be fun to get a pedicab, so we flagged down a guy that was eager for work and he cheerfully drove us around for a half hour. 

For dinner, of course we had more ice cream from Van Leeuwen. This time from the Times Square location, so I snapped a pic of Andrea and her waffle cone with the NY lights behind her.

Overall it's been a fun visit and we are thankful that the weather's cooperated for the most part. A little cooler would have been nice, but it is still an improvement from the Florida summer heat we've been living with.

We enjoyed our time in New York, but it will be nice to get home to our quiet life in the suburbs!