Around Here Week 31: 07/26-08/02

Saturday, August 8, 2020

A glimpse into what it is like to live in our home just this minute (week 8 of 'green phase' and masked required in all indoor public still starting on time with in person instruction, but possibly no spectators for fall sports). 

photo cred: Mama Roxby Photography

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 335+ hours (of 1000)
Up 29 hours this week - still so so hot. 

Reading Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson (only one more chapter to go!) 

Fly Elimination mission update: I discovered this blog (laughed so hard from her writing and vlogs - she is so so funny and informative) and I'm combating my fly problem two fold. First, with a piece of shrimp in a mason jar with a paper cone. And secondly, I purchased my first batch of parasitic wasps. They should be here some time next week!

Celebrating big time on Sunday with a two'fer at church. Gemma made her first holy communion and Red was baptized! We had all of their godparents able to attend and several family members there to witness the big day. Gemma did a beautiful job on her reading and the service was special despite all the covid limitations (limited parishioners attending, masks required). Grey acted as an altar server and the organist and vocalists sounded perfect. Afterwards, we all spent the afternoon at my parents' house for a little celebration with food from Flair of Country and sheet cake. Such a special day for my special babes.  Thank you to everyone who helped us celebrate!

Getting a day to work on chores with no big kids! B went to work and a dentist appointment on Monday while the four biggest kids spent the day with my parents and sisters at Laurel Hill State Park swimming and playing. (thank you!!) After so many weeks of covid-family time with these kids who I adore with every fiber in my body, it is such a relief to be able to clean up a little bit without one of them making another mess in another room (hah!) 

Cherishing Red in this exact moment, gosh how I love the 3-5 month stage. He has been waking himself up at night by rolling over now and when I went in to get him reset, he reached out and held onto my fingers in the dark, like 'hold on momma, stay with me for a minute.' 

Making a chore chart. The kids are pretty good at helping when they are asked, but I really wanted a place to point to and not have to figure it out on the spot everyday. Plus, some routine and structure is good to get back into, especially with school on the horizon again. All the kids have 1-2 chores each day (there is also an Everyday checklist that includes brush teeth, tidy room, make bed, and help mum&dad if they need it with anything else, Hah). Even Redland has chores - they include things like "Look cute" and "Slobber a lot" and "Make everyone smile." Truth be told, he's the best kid right now on completing his chore chart. (Although for real, Gemma loves her a task list, so she's kind of killing the chore chart everyday). 

Back patio project working. Brandon and his dad pulled up the railroad ties and cleared out all the mess to prep for cement. Then B and my dad set up the forms for the cement pad, including building a brace for the cement 'wall' and we all crossed our fingers that it would hold up come pouring time. B, my dad, and Jon poured the cement on Friday with almost no issues (even though the wall brace was creaking something fierce) and it looks so beautiful. B and I moved the big picnic table to the side patio - so it's all clear and ready for the next step, the roof! 

Introducing Red to baby food. He has been staring at the kids eating for the past few weeks and he is really struggling to stay asleep through the night (even though he was doing great before). He just seems so very hungry so that moment he hit the four month mark - I gave him a try and it was a huge success. He's obsessed; he wants all the food. So far, he's only had bananas and some oatmeal but he gives them a massive thumbs up. 

Taking professional family photos at our house with the dear, sweet Mrs. Roxby (the kids' STEAM teacher). She spent Friday evening with us snapping photos and chatting. It was all so relaxed and comfortable, even Brandon had a good time with that (hah! Dads!) She sent me a sneak peek and it was perfect - I can't wait to see the rest. We love you, Mrs. Roxby!

Camping at the Que. Grey got to spend a night with his buddies while their family camped. He spent a lot of the time fishing (his favorite). Then we all headed out for Saturday night to camp to celebrate my mom's upcoming milestone birthday. My dad had reserved our favorite site, so we had a beautiful view and the kids' favorite swimming spot at our disposal. We ate good food over the fire, the kids did a ton of fishing, we sang Happy Birthday over some gobs, and the kids even got to put on a light show for us with sparklers. Brandon took our big tent to sleep with the kids (Red and I went home for the night), but Grey and everyone else (my parents and sisters) set up their hammocks for the night. I was at home in bed when I was started awake by heavy rain. I immediately texted B to see how it was going there and he said the hammock sleepers were awake and under the canopy. I found out the next morning that the tarp they had over their heads had collapsed from the weight of the collected rain and they all ended up making a run for it to sleep in their cars! Grey slept in his Aunt Kitty's car!  

Summer sporting with the last week of baseball. Grey had three games this week to close out the shortened season (thanks covid). 

Fall sporting as it kicked off this week with equipment handout. Brandon is coaching the majors football team while I take on the minors cheerleaders. We are just moving up with our 'kids' that we've been coaching for the last two years - so pretty easy peasy. To coach, we had to make sure all of our clearances were up to date and had to complete the yearly concussion online training. Grey and B had the official weigh in day on Saturday morning and practices will start next week. We still have a lot to figure out as the governor of PA and the PIAA is suggesting that there be no spectators for the games, but things change on the daily around here - so we will see what happens before the first game!

Making so many leftover meals from our catered food from the party (pork tacos, pork over mashed potatoes, leftover berry salad, baked sliders with leftover rolls). We grilled out turkey burgers and another night grilled country-style pork ribs. 

Around Here Week 30: 07/19-25

Friday, August 7, 2020

A glimpse into what it is like to live in our home just this moment (week 7 of 'green phase' and face masks required in all indoor public spaces). 

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 306+ hours (of 1000)
Up 19 hours this week including some swimming and stunting in the pool with the kids and my sister. The weather is still incredibly hot here and the AC has been on the most it has ever been on since we've moved in nine years ago. With no shade, it's pretty brutal by the early afternoon around here. Luckily for us though, our back patio roof supplies were delivered this week (!) It will be a really big project but one that will be so worth it - I.can.not.wait. to sit out on the back patio during a thunderstorm, or in the afternoon reading my book in the shade enjoying the warm weather. Oh, it will be just bliss. 

Reading and finishing Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo. I really enjoyed it (it was in verse) and this was the second book I've read by her and both were beautifully written YA books. 

Researching fly killing methods like a crazy person. The flies in the goat pen are making me nuts (there are so many!) so I've been researching all the web to find the best methods to combat my arch nemesis. Random fact about me: I do not kill any bugs (or any animals) ever. I scoop up bugs in the house and take them outside, I save worms on sidewalks before drying out, the boys know they are not allowed to shoot groundhogs (even though they live in our sandmound) if I am home - I do not want things to die....except flies. I loathe flies and will go on a fly-murder spree when they are in the house. I love spiders because they eat flies - I name spiders and whisper thank you to them and hardly ever take them outside when I find them in the house, I just move them to our house plants (stay with us and kill these flies, I love you is what I whisper to them!) So anyway, we purchased this fly killing trap from Tractor Supply and Grey tried to set it up without reading the directions, and let me just tell you that the fly bait inside (that was leaking all in my kitchen sink) smells like an actual corpse and it lingered for about 3 days. So maybe it would have worked if we would have followed the directions, but good grief - the smell. 

Getting hearty eyes when Rusty asked me out of the blue, "When I'm big and I'm the Daddy, who is the momma?" I told him that he will get to choose and he said, "Oh, okay. Then I choose you." 

Visiting the vet when we thought Bullet was checking out for good. He woke us up at 3a on Monday morning breathing so rapidly and crying out anytime he had to move the tiniest bit. By morning, he was still laying around, breathing weird (slowly and labored) and refusing to eat or drink. He made every effort to avoid having to change positions. Brandon took him to the vet and he got a clean bill of health but some pain pills because he's old and it appears to be his joints bothering him (he also has lyme's so that makes sense). He is 11 years old, but I swear that dog is going to live to be 20 the way he makes me nuts. 

Preparing for our big Sunday event - Gemma is making her first holy communion and Red is getting baptized on the same day. I ordered the sheet cake, confirmed our caterer, ordered Red's baptism outfit after I couldn't find Grey/Rusty's in the attic (oops, maybe donated it), and double checked with my parents about the after party at their house (thank you for hosting!) Gemma has been practicing everyday her reading (she's doing the second reading in church) and then we had a dress rehearsal at the church on Saturday morning to make sure we were all good to go. The kids got their confession done and received their rosaries, communion lapel pins, and custom masks (sewn by a parishioner!). 

Buying lots of calamine lotion as Brandon has most of his body covered in poison ivy (arms, chest, stomach, legs). He spent so much time clearing out part of our land last week in the dry weather that the poison ivy must have been kicked up in the dust and just covered him. Gem helped him quite a bit and so she has some spots on her as well (stomach, arms, and face). Poor things are so miserable and itchy. 

Starting the back porch roof project this week. Brandon tore out the cement slab that needs replaced and pulled away the railroad ties that were rotting on the retaining wall. Our roof materials are awaiting their time to be used for the project, but for now they are sitting in the backyard covered with tarps.

Rolling my eyes so much at the other huge project I have going on right now - switching clothes bins. Goodness gracious, I hate so much. Last year, in the midst of back to school and pregnant with Red - I stuffed any clothes that weren't working for any kid into huge garbage bags and literally wrote a note to myself that said, "Sorry Tab, I love you though." Ughhhhhhh, I know past Tab that you were busy and pregnant - but this is awful. We got tons of hand-me-down donations throughout the last few months too from friends (thank you!) but also - I have a clothes volcano explosion going on in most of the upstairs room. I need all the bins, and all the time, and all the kids not interrupting or touching piles. 

Grateful that Violet got her special day with my parents this week. She loved having one on one time with them and it is always a small blessing to be down one kid at home (but know that they are safe and happy and having fun). Thanks Chum & Abba!

Summer sporting with two rained out baseball games this week!

Making taco turkey salads, cheesy chicken and broccoli over cauliflower rice, buffalo chicken dip with veggie dippers. We ordered in pizza and wings when we had the Garretson kiddos over and I made funfetti muffins and banana bread for breakfasts this week. For our friend's birthday party on Saturday, I made jello shots and haluski. 

Around Here Week 29: 07/13-18

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

A glimpse into what it is like to live in our home just this moment. (week 6 of 'green phase' with masks required in indoor public spaces for the covid-19 pandemic)

Intentional Outdoor Hours:  287+ hours (of 1000)
Up 17 hours this week with some beautiful weather sprinkled with some summertime thunderstorms. The kids and I installed two tires in the goat pasture but haven't been able to convince the goats to balance on them yet (heh). We got in a lot of swimming, including a night swim at Pap and Gigi's. Red even got to take a few dips - he loves water so much! 

Visiting the chiropractor this week for Violet and Gemma. Violet has been running so awkwardly for awhile now and we were suspecting her hips were out of alignment, but it turns out her ankles are so flexible that she's overcompensating in her hips/knees so that she doesn't roll her ankles. She will be wearing a little brace during the fall/winter to stablize her ankles better so that after a few weeks, her ligaments can start to tighten up. Gemma got an adjustment and then also took an eye muscle & tracking test to see if her eyes are contributing to her reading challenges. The test showed that she does have difficulty tracking horizontally and has extended time on fixations of words. 

Practicing wearing masks. We have been stopped multiple times asking how we get our kids to wear their masks so well. First, we have really comfy masks that the kids love - I ordered these from Etsy. (the kids say they make them feel cozy and safe). Secondly, my kids are invested in staying safe because we have our Gigi and Mimi who are both high risk. Gigi is a pancreatic cancer survivor and Mimi is 82 with asthma. Wearing a mask is a small price to pay to keep our grandmas safe. They just get it. (I would vehemently argue that if your kids don't have someone close to them that is high risk then the only thing that you should be preaching is gratitude for your very blessed, healthy relatives). 

Preparing for the hunting seasons with licenses for Brandon, Grey, and Gemma this year. It will be her first time heading out with her Dad, brother, and grandpas and she is so excited.

Napping! Kitty, Uch, and Kevin stopped by with pizza and salads fro dinner on Wednesday (thank you!!) and then scooped up the four biggest kids and took them to the Ferndale Jubilee food trucks. Brandon and I had full intentions of cleaning up and meeting them at Gigi and Pappy's but then Red was asleep and so we laid down for "just a minute" and that was it - we passed out asleep for 2 hours. When I woke up I literally thought it was the next day. #exhaustedparentsprobs 

Checking our teeth at the dentist. Gemma, Violet, Rusty, and I all had dentist appointments this week and it was so good to get that item checked off the list. It was Rusty's first dentist appointment ever (thanks coronavirus). He was a little nervous, but he has the best big sister, Gemmi who let him lay on top of her during the appointment so that he felt safe (I was getting my check up at the same time as him). 

Picking blueberries with our besties at Stutzman farms. Grey wasn't feeling great, so he stayed home with Brandon and Redland. Gem, Vi, Rust and I went straight from the dentist office to meet Kate, Soph, and Charlie at the farm. It was a super hot day but we got several pounds of blueberries. We had enough to keep some fresh in the fridge and freeze 4 cups for those long winter months when we need a little summer boost in muffins or breakfast bread. Gemmi went home with the Fiores for a sleepover (best!)

Proud of my man as he was selected for the third team of best high school basketball players in our area of all of the 2000s. The article and all selections were printed on Saturday and we knew he was picked for something when the AD of our high school reached out to us for a senior picture from high school earlier that week. We got to dig through Brandon's memory box and smile at lots of old photos and newspaper clippings. The kids were cracking up at all the pictures of B and I with our young, not tired faces (LOL). 

Catching fireflies. We have had so many in our yard this summer, it makes the evenings feel so magical.

Summer sporting with two baseball games for Greyson this week, one of which got rained out. Brandon and I made the first volleyball match for our summer league and then had to skip out on the second match for Grey's baseball game. We knew we had to be available the following week for playoffs and miss Grey's game that day. But then we missed playoffs by the smallest bit - ughh! So it was actually our last game for the volleyball season - bummmmmer. We are hoping to have a little end-of-season picnic with our team that we love so much. 

Making buffalo chicken dip with veggie dippers, shrimp scampi over zoodles, chicken parmesan, ribeye steak and zucchini on the grill, zoodles and cabbage. I am still going strong on Keto and feeling the wonderful focus and attention that comes with it.