Around Here Week 48: 11/24-11/30

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

A glimpse into what it is like to live in our home just this minute.

Intentional Outdoor Hours:  682+ hours (of 1000)
I'm guessing its about the same (didn't get more than a few minutes outside a couple days this week) and plus with my phone out of commission, I actually can't tell for sure. I keep all my times recorded in a note on my phone. So I'll update next week!

Reading The Astonishing Color After by Emily X.R. Pan. It is a YA book and one of the Project Lit choices for this year. Our group isn't reading it yet, but I've been interested in it since I snagged it for my classroom this summer. I also stopped by the book store before heading to Verizon on Saturday (because I anticipated the long wait) and picked up The Girl in the Red Coat by Kate Hamer and I'm loving that so far too. Both are based around semi-depressing topics (a mother's suicide and a daughter's disappearance respectively) but they are both well written and have really quick chapters which makes them perfect reads for this season of the year (holidays) and season of my life (pregnant with baby#5)

Inventory'ing the kids' winter clothes. Such a task, but needs done every year to make sure we are ready for sledriding and snow play. We had everything but appropriately fitting snow pants for the two big ones. Abba & Chum came to the rescue there and we are all covered and ready to go for a big snowfall - bring it on, winter!

Laughing about our yard visitor. We have horses and a pony that live on the farm behind our house and the pony has been ducking the fence and walking the path through the woods to our house during the day. He was in the yard when we got home from school the other day and the kids were dyyyyyying laughing. We call him "Poe-nay" and the kids are obsessed even if he's not a huge fan of them and retreats back to his farm at the sight/sound of them. Rusty can't say any /s/ sound within a word - so he keeps shouting out, "Momma, I'm going out to see my little (w)hore" which is terrible but I laugh every darn time.

Finding out we have another BOY coming. Literally shocked. I was completely confident that it was a girl, so was Brandon, so were all the kids. So when the technician said, "it's a boy."I literally responded with, "what?" followed shortly by a baffled, "but they break everything" to Brandon. Still kind of processing this information but excited to meet this new little cannonball. The girls were initially disappointed (mostly because they guessed wrong....#same) but we've all moved into the territory of talking about baby brother with love and excitement in our hearts.

Speaking of baby brother, we've hit the halfway mark! 20 weeks so he's as long as a banana, or a paper airplane, or a pint of beer (hah). We found out at the ultrasound that my placenta is low-lying which means extra precautions and ultrasounds - but all is well right now. I am in the best possible hands with our midwife Meg (who is also our cousin) so I am not concerned. Following orders and being extra mindful as I have a tendency to just operate as close to normal even while growing humans - so this is even more reason to watch more Hallmark movies and relax, right?

Feeling grateful for family, health, and delicious food on Thanksgiving. We watched the parade at home in the morning and I stayed home with the (coughing, feverish) boys while B took the girls in to visit Gigi and Pappy for Thanksgiving breakfast. Then we all headed out to Kuma's house for lunch with the Studer/Gilmore crew. After filling our bellies to the brim, we then made our way to Indiana to my Aunt Mar's house for Thanksgiving dinner with our Adams family. At both places, we played this super easy and hilarious game that had everyone cheering and cracking up.

Switching to Christmas in our home. The kids all helped take down Thanksgiving decor and pull out all the Christmas boxes from the attic. We pulled out all the Christmas books, listened to Christmas music, and flipped the living room furniture all around to make room for the tree. The kids were entirely in charge of decorating the tree and then we had hot chocolate with candy canes. The girls and I are loving the 'Christmas kissing movies' and watched The Holiday Calendar and The Knight Before Christmas (both Netflix). We have pine candles ablaze, Gemma has been practicing Jingle Bells on the piano night and day to prepare for Christmas Eve at our house, and Marco arrived on Saturday evening! Tis the official season!

Bumming that my phone flat died on Thanksgiving. It has been busted in the corner for weeks now, so it's not all that surprising. Just a total bummer since none of the pictures I took Thanksgiving morning/afternoon/early evening saved to my google drive. Which means, I got nothing to show for our holiday celebrating, which really only matters for the yearbook, but still. Aunt Kitty spent the afternoon decorating her tree with the three little kids while I was able to trek to the mall to try to get a replacement on Saturday only to find out that I needed to call the warranty place and wait for them to ship a replacement. So a few more days of 'unavailable' status!

Drinking all the hot drinks all the time. coffee, hot tea, hot chocolate. give me all of them.

Praying for safety for all the hunters - including my husband and oldest son - who spent the day in the woods all Saturday for the first day of rifle season.

Re-reading the quote below from Harlan Miller (on Daddydoinwork) as we move into the holiday season as the twinge of anxiety about all the extras we add to the season starts to settle into my heart. There are lots of things coming up in the planner (Marco the elf returns, school dress up days, school parties, house decorating, traditional get-togethers, cookie baking, all the gift buying, holiday traditions, school concerts, Santa letters and visits, etc, etc, etc) but I'm clinging to this quote like I have in seasons past to remind myself that the years are short and right now magic fills the kids eyes and hearts and it is the luckiest of all gifts to get to be their momma and have a front row seat to this beautiful madness.
"Probably the reason we all go so haywire at Christmastime that we don't quite know how to put our love into words"
Winter sporting with still only one night of basketball practice for Grey!

Teaching only two days! We had a short holiday week and then had our annual Volleyball tournament day on Wednesday for the early out day. I played on the teacher volleyball team and we went 3-0 and were headed into the playoffs before I had to leave a little early to make it to my ultrasound/baby doc appointment. Spanish 1 did a song lyric unscrambling activity and had a vocab quiz, Spanish 2 also listened to a song and worked with lyrics (one of my favs, Como los Vaqueros) and then took a vocab quiz, Spanish 2 Honors learned about the Chilean mining accident and how it compares to our own (close to home) mining accident at the Que and then watched The 33. Spanish 3/4 honors finished their La Llorona inspired short stories and turned them in right before break!

Making 'crispy hot dogs' in the air fryer with some baked maple bacon brussel sprouts for the Steeler game on Sunday. During the week we had orange chicken in the crockpot, Ranch Parmesan baked pork chops, and popcorn shrimp and pierogies.  For Thanksgiving I made two pumpkin rolls (with blue icing for a gender reveal with family) and two egg sausage casseroles for breakfast. We also used left over turkey in a creamy turkey noodle bake for first day of rifle dinner to warm our boys up when they returned home.

Around Here Week 47: 11/17-23

Saturday, November 30, 2019

A glimpse into what it is like to live in our home just this minute.

Intentional Outdoor Hours:  682+ hours (of 1000)
yeah, up nothing. not impressed with myself.

Reading and finishing Recursion by Blake Crouch. Mind blown, as always. I just don't even have words. Our Books&Brews book club met at The Back Door Cafe on Thursday night to eat ah.may.zang food and discuss Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

Calling in the Calvary this week as we were way in over our heads with all the places everyone needed to be. B had training every day this week at St. Francis, so he had to leave at the same time as me each morning. The Garrettsons put the big kids on the bus for us 3 times this week while Abba and Chum each took a morning too (driving all the way out to our house by 7a!) My Dad (Chum) picked up the kids from the bus on Monday and kept Gem after school (which she loved) and then kept the babies all day Thursday (#schoolskippers) until my Mum (Abba) took Violet to her well-check on Thursday afternoon for me. (thank you so so much!)

Listening to the sweet, melodic sounds at Grey's recorder concert. hah. But for real, they all did good and Grey was so proud to give me the thumbs up when it was time for Hot Cross Buns (which I've been telling him is my favorite of his repertoire).

Road-tripping to Hershey to see Jurassic World Live! B snagged box seat tickets for our whole family from an opportunity with work and the kids loved it. We are Jurassic Park fans around here and so to see it this way was such a treat. And since we were in the neighborhood, we stopped by for an afternoon visit with our Gilmore cousins to everyone's delight. The girls played quietly and sweetly while the boys all played loudly and dangerously and the parents all laughed and chatted. perfection!

Laughing as the kids all jumped around Monkey Joe's on the way home from Hershey. Our kids are movers so driving 6 hours in one day was not going to cut it in those antsy bodies. We let them hop, slip, and bounce those wiggles out before heading home on Saturday. What is better than a bouncy house? A whole building filled with bouncy houses!

Feeling like an attraction when we go out as a family. We normally only all go out together if it is to a family/friends' house or a place everyone already knows us (church, school activities, sports); so it's uncharacteristic for us all to be somewhere together where there are strangers. Because #expensive and #weareloud and #wearealotofpeople. But we were  all out together on Saturday in unfamiliar territory with two parents, four kids, and a clearly pregnant belly and good grief - the questions, comments, and double takes. Yes, they are all ours. Yes, we have our hands full. Yes, we are tired. Yes, we know how babies get made. No, Rusty and Violet are not twins.  No, Greyson and Gemma are not twins. Yes, we are probably crazy. Like in real life, random parents with 1-3 kids were coming up to us at the bouncy house place being like, "how do you guys do it? I'm not kidding, do you have tips?" and we were like, "what? dude, it's chaos. just like at your house. only louder and messier because there are more of them. we don't know what we're doing either!"  As Brandon is telling people, "the shit has already hit the fan and all over the walls - what's another diaper at this point?"

Fall Sports season closing with the End of the year banquet on Sunday. All of our planning came together and the banquet went off beautifully. The food was delicious (Flair of Country), the kids loved playing Just Dance before dinner, the coaches received lots of handmade thank you cards from our craft table, and we had enough of everything (food, drinks, gifts), and best of all - it's done!

Winter sporting. yep. on to the next. Grey is playing on two teams in the Duke Andrews basketball league. So he has practices on Mondays from 4:30-6:30p. He's obsessed. And we all wished Daddy a happy "not the first day of basketball season" day on Monday which felt amazing.

Teaching Spanish 1 jobs & places vocab as we start Somos Unit 4 and they also finished their free write on the personal interviews and they were amazing!! Their initial reactions of panic when I told them they had to be a minimum of 100 words completely flipped into impressed and confident faces as most of them wrote well over 100 words for their essays. So stinking proud. Spanish 2 started the pre-research for their next novel El Silbon while learning about Venezuela and Spanish 2 Honors worked on finishing their short spooky stories (I can't wait to read them!) Spanish 3 Honors finished La Llorona de Mazatlan (!) and started writing their short stories inspired by her legend.

Teaching additions this week - I got another formal observation in by my mentor teacher for my college requirements, registered for my Spring college courses, ordered the Spanish club fundraising from Popcornoplis, I enjoyed my favorite school lunch of the year, Thanksgiving dinner (!), and our Spanish club visited the elementary school for their monthly visit (they taught numbers!). The prom committee and I met on Friday and organized all the raffle tickets to be distributed next week and discussed caterer options too. And I received the best gift from my classroom fairy godmother, Ashley, this week - a wax warmer for my room! All year, kids have been commenting that my room smells like feet (HAH), and we think it's because I have no windows that open and all the dancing that happens in there when we have to close the door to make sure no one is disturbed in the hallway with our music. So many kids have commented this week about how great the room smells with our new wax warmer. Thank you so so much, Ashley!

Making ham & potato soup, chicken & pasta alfredo bake, using left-over pulled pork to put over mashed potatoes, eating left over chicken with mac&cheese, and chicken quesadillas. We have been doing pretty well getting one meal a week at our dining room table as a family (other nights the kids eat at the kitchen table while B and I stand -hahahhaa, most parent thing ever - or the kids eat first and then we eat together at the kitchen table. Some nights we eat as a family in front of the tv watching The Voice!)

Around Here Week 46: 11/10-11/16

Sunday, November 24, 2019

A peek into what it is like to live in our home just this moment.

Intentional Outdoor Hours:  682+ hours (of 1000)
Up a mere 2 hours this week. It really does come down to the kinds of clothes that you wear that make it possible to be outside at any time. I keep forgetting to put gloves in my coat pockets (problem#1) but I have installed my favorite winter trick - wearing leggings under my work pants each day to work!

Reading Monster by Walter Dean Myers and finishing it just in time for our first Project Lit meeting on Friday morning with the students. It was such a wonderful way to start our Friday - with book club!- and the conversations were insightful. The students got our next two books - The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera. (I've already read them both!) Our next Project Lit meeting is set for our early out day before winter break and will include a movie viewing of The Hate U Give! Now I'm waiting on Recursion by Blake Crouch to arrive because I have an obsessssssssion.

Enjoying the sight of our first snow of the winter season. It was really coming down and blowing there for a little bit which immediately had Grey and Gem asking about delays and snow days (hah! nice try!)

Calling in the village on Monday and Tuesday when the big kids didn't have school for Veteran's Day/Parent-Teacher conference day. Miss Hannah came to the rescue on Monday and kept all four kids home from school all day (we love you!) and on Tuesday, Mimi took the two big kids and then last minute Rusty too when he threw up (into my cupped hands) before we were about to leave for school! B had a conference in Pittsburgh, so he dropped all three off at Mimi's for the day while I carted (a not happy) Violet to day care. I ended up getting a call at lunch that she had a temp of 101 and needed picked up. I was lucky to only have 1 class left for the day and I could sneak away to pick her up and bring her home to rest and heal. B stopped at the hospital to visit after his conference and then went straight to the board meeting, so I picked up the other three from Mimi's house and we all about collapsed into bed that night after a such a busy and weird day.

Meeting Grey's teachers at the parent-teacher conference/check-in night. We had a nice chat and it was good to make sure he is on track. I missed this night last year and then ended up having a difficult year and so I wanted to make sure I touched base this year.

Having my belly officially 'pop' at 18 weeks (big as a sweet potato!) and my students have finally stopped saying "oh yeah, I forgot you were pregnant" since it's blatantly obvious now. This babe is flopping and swimming all around in there and besides the raging heartburn that sets in every evening around 8:30p, it's a pretty easy going babe. We are throwing around a different name every time we talk about the baby just to try it out (hahha!) and we each have our own favorites. We tried to take votes at dinner the other night but no one in the family could agree on anything. Most of our favorites fit within the color(ish) theme (Grey, Gem, Violet, Rust). Just like every other thing for this poor Studerbabe#5 we keep shrugging and saying, "We have time; we can think about that later."

Cozying up to celebrate Chum's 60th birthday! My sisters, mom, the kids, and I hunkered down in a cabin at Seven Springs for the weekend hanging out and sharing food and laughs to celebrate my dad's upcoming birthday. The kids loved the hot tub and despite a cranky night's sleep with the two littlest ones (still so tricky for sleepovers at this age) we had an awesome time just relaxing with our family.

Grateful to have our loved one home from the hospital and recuperating after a long two weeks!

Sighing and rolling my eyes all day every day because....archery season. Thank goodness it ended on Saturday! Now I only have to survive rifle season and I'll have a normal husband and son back in my life again (ugh, ugh, ugh) #outdoorsmanswifeprobs

Fall sporting for one last week! We turned in uniforms and equipment on Sunday and B stayed all afternoon to help get everything organized. Becky and I are in the final stretch to get everything squared away for the banquet (on Sunday!) and I sorted so many checks, registration forms, and matching online reservations that my eyes were almost crossed by the end of the night. But we got our caterers the final numbers, printed all the blank thank you cards for the kiddos, and created the Just Dance playlist!

Teaching the Super 7 verbs to Spanish 1 still by finishing up the personal interviews with two students from the class. We also talked about the conjugations for each depending on perspective. Spanish 2 played pictionary with their animal vocab words (always hilarious) and listened to the Joe Hayes reading of El Cucuy. Spanish 2 Honors started their spooky stories writing mini-unit and I started doing check-ins with the partners. Spanish 3/4 Honors worked through La Llorona Chapters 11-12 and we are all about ready to get to the end of this book!

Making a ham in the crockpot that we had with mashed potatoes and gravy, and then had left overs enough for all kinds of deliciousness including creamy ham and noodles. I whipped up some pumpkin/chocolate muffins and fruit "sushi" for our Project Lit meeting at school on Friday and made some Peanut Butter cookies on Saturday night in preparation for the football/cheer banquet on Sunday. I was so grateful to get two dinners delivered to us this week from our sweet cousin Heather. We enjoyed lasagna (Studer sized - haha!) and the yummiest ham&cheese baked slider sandwiches. Thank you so much Heather, you are such a blessing!