Around Here 2: 01/06-01/12

Thursday, January 17, 2019

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

Intentional Outdoor Hours:  1+ hour (of 1000)
We got one afternoon of 50 degree weather and some sunshine that was total bliss. The big kids and I got outside until it got dark and the (literal) thunderstorm clouds rolled in. Other than that, my outdoor hours seem to be accumulating only from our cold weather chicken duties of switching out the water and collecting eggs. My poor girls, they must be so bored all day coop'ed up (hah chicken puns), I wish I could speak hen and tell them spring does return after all this cold and wet.

Reading The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult. I also started reading some new Spanish learning novels to share with my students (Clase de confesiones, La bella mentira, y La perezosa impaciente) that arrived this week from my classroom fairy godmother, Ashley. You are so sweet and considerate (she included boxes of tissues too for a healthy start to the new year!) I just can't even believe I am blessed enough to have someone who constantly cheers me on in the classroom. gracias, gracias, muchisimo gracias.

Celebrating Orthodox Christmas at lunch at Gigi and Pappy's house and then with our traditional sleepout under the Christmas tree. This year, we took all the rest of the Christmas decorations down (including all the ornaments!) but the kids were happy to sleep under our 'naked' tree (lol). Orthodox Santa came and brought one gift for the girls to share and one for the boys to share. For the record - as of January 12th, our 'naked' Christmas tree is STILL UP. #lawdhelpme

So proud and inspired by my cousin Heather who is always the kindest and most thoughtful person I know, but this week gave birth to a beautiful baby girl for a couple who so desperately wanted a baby but couldn't do it on their own. Heather, you are just incredible and being a surrogate is only one (albeit a really big, selfless, brave one) of the million examples of things that you do for others all the time. I am so proud and lucky to know and love you.

Feeling grateful that 'lasterday' is still going strong in this house thanks to Vially. So is 'lasternight,' 'lasterweek,' and 'lasteryear.'

Passing my last (?) PRAXIS test before I can register for online college classes to finally square up on this certification. I took the Fundamental Knowledge test on Saturday and after two hours of ELA, Math, Science, and Social/Civil Studies questions - my brain was mush. But I passed so onward and upward.

Meeting up with the Vordrans for a playdate! B and the girls decided to drive me out to my test (since the weather looked a little iffy) and we made the lastest last minute plans with the Vorndrans at the trampoline park near my testing site. Everyone jumped and wore out their energy while I tested, and they we all went out for Mexican afterwards. It was so wonderful to catch up and so incredibly nice to be with friends who also know and accept this is such a crazy time in our lives (with little kiddos) and when we can squeeze in a short visit then it's awesome, but when we can't - no hard feelings. xxoxo love you guys!
...meanwhile the boys had a sleepover with my parents and had a blast playing in the snow and Grey even got to try out his new snowboard. He's obsessed.

Basketball season'ing with two games this week for Brandon's team and two games for Greyson's Duke Andrews team (we had to miss his first CT game because of overlap - he was so bummed). He also had three nights of Booboo's basketball practice which keeps us buzzing around all week, but with the help of my parents (thank you!) we usually only have to either pick up or drop off. This is always the point in basketball season where exhaustion starts to set in and I start apologizing to all our friends and family about how we sort of fall off the face of the earth. Even though I have attended (next to) no games, it is still tough on our family to have a Daddy running back and forth to games/practices every day of the week. Just sending a thank you to all of our friends and family who tolerate us through the next few weeks, we always roll out of basketball season a little ragged.

Teaching review in Spanish 1 as we prepared for the Unit 3 test (#weloveGimkit). I have finally decided to just bail on teaching old school all together in Spanish 1 because it just does not do anyone the kind of good that teaching through novels and comprehensible content does. So, please excuse me while I realign my curriculum map for the 43rd time until I figure out what works best de nuevo. Spanish 1 Honors worked through Somos Unit 4 while learning about habla, toma, and quiere ser. Spanish 2 had all their privileges taken away (for forever?) because I have had it up to there. More on my thoughts about being a teacher in 2019 to come soon. Spanish 2 Honors started the Somos Unit 13 (el chico del apt 512!) and Spanish 3 Honors finished the preterito Super 7 interview and started Los Tres Cerditos fluency unit. On SeƱor Wooly Friday, we did an embedded reading of the Feo song and it was an awesome exercise in using their skills in listening, speaking, and reading in Spanish. After they read each level of embedded reading, they could come to me to listen to and answer some questions in Spanish about the passage and then 'level up' to the next embedded reading. Gah, I loved listening to them work their way to figure out the answers and understand the questions #geekforlife

Making Hawaiian meatballs in the slow cooker, tomato soup and grilled cheese (and burning the soup on the bottom of the pot, I have been trying to get that thing cleaned for days!), super delicious pork chops and stuffing bake, and a fridge clean out day on Sunday. Brandon and I have been doing really good at making all of our weekday lunches on Sunday. The first week we had three days of beef chili (3 day work week), and this week we had five days of salads (two plain salads, 2 days of flavored tuna on top, and 1 day of taco meat on top).

Around Here 1: 12/31-01/05/2019

Sunday, January 13, 2019

A look into our life just this moment.

Intentional Outdoor Hours:  less than 1 hour (of 1000)
Really doing a pretty terrible job of getting outdoor hours, but I am also sort of settling into this idea that it is best for my body and soul to mirror the seasons. Instead of getting frustrated with the short daylight hours and the cold in the winter - what if I did like the Danes and cozy up, read, drink hot tea, and go to bed early. As the days get longer, I naturally get less sleep because I squeeze every moment of sunlight out - so maybe I should treat winter as my rest and recuperate so that I can be at full efficiency.

Reading The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult to start the year off. The girls and I watched Dumplin' on Netflix and loooved it.

Celebrating the new year with friends and family. We spent the early evening visiting our besties Jon, Linds, and baby Tessa at their house. The kids were so so happy to play with Tess and the noise level was at a full blast with the five of them and their dog Bo running amok - just how we like it. Then we headed back in towards home to watch the ball drop with our Gilmore family at Uncle Ray's house. Since the kids got a little catnap in on the way home from the Kochs - we had four of four kids awake to welcome in 2019 at midnight (albeit, Rusty was pretty cranky). We cheers'ed our cups and kissed our way into the new year.

Listening to Grey retell his first experience pheasant hunting when he went on new years day with Brandon and his Gilmore cousins. Cousin Jesse has an awesome dog, Gunner who did amazing in the field and Grey actually ended up shooting a pheasant, while B got a chukar. They were so proud - Grey is hooked!

Buying a new planner and loving it. hello new year.

Working on creating my list of 100 small things for 2019 and struggling a bit. I have a lot of frustrations about the state of the world and the state of my mind. ugh. I'm trying to dig deeper and be really specific and intentional about my choices. It's taking a long while, but I think it's going to ultimately benefit my heart and soul for the year.

Attempting to register for my online college courses only to discover that I have one more PRAXIS test to take yet (!) So I signed up for the Fundamental Knowledge test for this month (5511) to try to get it done in time to register for the spring semester. B claims its all a money scheme and was like, "so you graduate high school, and undergrad, and grad school and pass a praxis Spanish test - but you have to pay over a hundred dollars to take a fundamental skills test, yeah okay" but it is what it is - so I've been brushing up on my Math, Science, Social/Civil studies, and ELA skills for another two hour test. Testing for hours is terrible - and to think this is what we do to our babies every year in the state tests!

Basketball season'ing - Brandon had only one game this week, and I have yet to get to more than a half a game this year! With Grey playing basketball and having practices two to three nights a week and two games a week, usually at the same time as B's games - it's just not happening. Grey is getting noticeably more comfortable in each basketball game. We got the schedule for his CT team and the two leagues will only have one game overlap! And bonus - these early morning basketball games end perfectly in time for Saturday brunch with grandparents and aunts!

Teaching again after our long winter break. Yeesh, that first week back after break can make ya a little weary. My hallmate teachers and I were laughing about how even after only a three day week - we were barely making it to Friday. HAH. Spanish 1 did some brain review and learned about 3 Kings day (including watching some Dora in Spanish which had them all cracking up). Spanish 2 started Somos Unit 7 and Spanish 2 Honors worked on 2019 goals in Spanish and learning about 3 Kings day, and Spanish 3 Honors used the past tense to ask and talk to each other about their winter break activities.

Making pork, hot dogs, and sauerkraut in the crockpot for New Years (PA tradition), haluski and breaded rand chicken tenders in the air fryer, B made his and Greyson's pheasant and chukar  (so delicious!), kielbasa and periogies, and fancy fried ramen noodles with leftover chicken.

End of Year Review: 100 Small Things

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

oh, 2018. I can't say I hate to see you go, but, if I'm being honest, they year did have some dazzling moments in there too. There were some great days, and some good days, and plenty of meh days, and quite a few of terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days in there too. I had high hopes for my 100 small things list that I made at the beginning of the year, and despite lots of changes and hitches in our giddy-ups, I still ended up accomplishing 48 of my original list of 100 small things.

We also finished a few other non-officially listed tasks that I included below because even though they don't count towards my total completed, they were still important to making me the kind of a person I want to continue to become, or our home the kind of home we would like to have for our family. Which is really the whole point of 100 small things each year; trying to take little steps towards becoming the person I hope to be someday.

So before I share my 100 small things list for 2019, let me review and reflect back over the year of accomplishments and partially completed, and non-attempts from the previous year. Shoot for the moon, eh?

1. Limit phone distraction/scrolling using the anti-social app 
2. 1000 hours outside  - 529 hours/1000
3. daily yoga (app and after school class!)
4. facetime weekly date with Kitty
5. afternoon hot tea
6. walk during school lunch at least two times a week
7. writing retreat with Loni
8. unsubscribe from junk email
9. screen free Wednesdays  **although inconsistently
10. clear out phone photo album of old stuff already backed up
11. implement a morning routine
12. implement a nighttime routine

1. Read 12 new-to-me books  - 22/12
2. Figure out cert plan and put into motion
3. watch 10 TED talks
4. review 3 books for Blogging for Books -1/3
5. revamp the curriculum plan (summer break) for all levels
6. write 100 blogposts -54/100
7. take Spanish Praxis
8. learn to drive stick shift
9. participate in a writing challenge (or writing course)
10. listen to podcasts while folding laundry
11. create an efficient and easy tracking system for my planner (water count, exercise, outdoor hrs, etc)

listened to the Dirty John podcast and now watching the series on Bravo! 

1. finish Mud on the Mountain
2. zip up my wedding dress
3. eat mindfully
4. track water intake of at least 6 cups a day
5. walk/run 30 miles a month (360 miles for the year)
6. run/walk the Jim Mayer trail
7. paddleboard on the Que

8. try a local gym class
9. leave a pair of glasses in the car for night driving

hit 10,000 -12,000 steps regularly using my new fitbit
participated in our school step/weight loss challenge and won 2nd place with a 9lb loss)
joined WW online

1. finish 2016-17 family yearbook
2. finish 2017-18 family yearbook
3. participate in screen free week 2018
4. celebrate YES Day! (June 30)
5. join the PTA
6. sign Violet up for a painting class at the community arts center
7. take a photo of Violet in my wedding dress (same photos as Gem at 3y!)
8. run in a 5k with Greyson
9. create a 1second video

10. teach B how to french braid
11. create a 2018 family gratitude jar

raising 10 chickens
enrolled Gemma in a musical summer camp

1. co-ed volleyball league
2. nsfw
3. proper celebration of our 10 year anniversary
4. last will & testaments!
5. grown-up only dinners with food the kids don't like (they can eat pizza/mac&cheese)
6. make our bed a no-phone zone
7. babysitter secured date night once a month- got a date night in every single month! This is the first time since we've been parents that this ever happened. Big thank you to our personal Marry Poppins, Miss Hannah for helping to make this happen - she is always ready when we need her. We love you!!
8. nsfw
9. greet B at the door when he comes home from work
10. have B teach me how to play poker
11. play nsfw poker (hah)
12. have a schedule check-in once a month

march madness tourney competition

1. AKT plus kids trip!
2. Sundays at Mimi's for breakfast
3. properly celebrate Mimi's 80th birthday

4. finally (!!) celebrate Kate & my birthday
5. AKT 35th birthday trip
6. find a special way to thank our Beer Olympics friends - make the 10th annual event really special
7. respond and comment thoughtfully to blogs and instagrams that inspire me
8. scf & girls sleepover
9. grandma & kids trip make a comeback!
10. participate in our neighbor's community garden
11. reconnect with my favorite friends via phone call or email

1. donate blood at least six times this year
2. volunteer in Grey and Gemma's classes (parties, mystery reader, etc)
3. create three packages for Raph (Worldvision)
4. send snail mail to the Gilmores

5. recommit to our 12 Months of Kindness project - make the tasks kid-centered
6. CVAA human library
7. volunteer for kids' sports/leagues in a meaningful way oh boy, did we ever! B head coached the minors football team and was an assistant coach for Grey's baseball season, I helped with sponsors for baseball season, coached Gemma's AYSO soccer team, co-coached flag football cheerleading, and helped organized the CT youth football banquet.

delivered chicken eggs to our neighbors & my Home Ec class at school
wrote 2 letter of recommendations for my high school seniors

1. visit Kitty and Ryan in Bermuda
2. Flight 93 memorial
3. family Idlewild trip
4. camping with the Stankan family in Pine Creek
5. sleepover with the Gilmores

6. try three local new-to-us restaurants
7. No bummer summer list creation & completion with the Fiores
8. visit PA Grand Canyon
9. take family to 1000 steps

1. finish basement bathroom
2. roof a porch
3. get a kayak (or two)
4. make Lisa's gram's cinnamon rolls
5. purchase new oven mitts
6. makeover our mailbox

7. make the kids' rooms their own (research, new mattresses, re-paint, curtains, storage, etc)
8. finish outdoor fire pit
9. finish steps into the house
10. power wash the siding
11. update the photos in the stairs hallway

epoxy'ed the garage floors
new garage doors
cleared out (finally) the garage clutter
Brandon built a chicken coop 

1. finish Beer Olympics planning toolkit
2. encourage Grey to create more flies for his etsy shop
3. attend two expos with The Hunting Daddies

4. expand The Hunting Daddies child's clothing items
5. take professional photos for The Hunting Daddies website
6. meet with our financial planner for a check-in
7. start a cash savings jar