Around Here Week 25: 06/19-25

Friday, July 1, 2022

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

Studerbabies farm fun!

photo cred: Uch

photo cred: Erin

photo credit: Uch


Intentional Outdoor Hours: 353+ hours (of 1000)
Another whopping 39 hours this week outdoors to add to the tracker! Plenty of sun, swimming, sports, and wonderful outdoor time! We got to take Violet's friend Giada with us to the baseball fields on Friday night and when I dropped her off I apologized to her mom - "sorry, they are all absolutely filthy!" and her sweet mom replied, "That means it must have been a great time!" and I was like - yes, true indeed! Full disclosure - there is a whole lot of baths via pools and lakes these days (hahaha, summer perk)

Reading not too much - we had a lot going on this week so I was pretty distracted. By the time I was getting into bed at night, I was getting through about a paragraph before passing out cold. (hah!)

Appreciating the amazing Dads we have in our life on Father's day (but also every day!) We finished up our Ohiopyle getaway with our family on Sunday and then headed home to unpacking and laundry. But B and I spent most of the afternoon drifting in an out of sleep in a snuggle up in the double up with the two babies and that was actually a perfect Father's day. (thank you to our Dads, our kids' goddads, and all the daddies out there loving and raising babies!)

Sending Grey for a evening of fun at his friend Mary's pool party (thanks for the invite!) and then he snagged a sleepover with his friend Gabe because those two boys sure know how to sweet talk their mommas (amirite, Jenn? hah!) 

Having another great week of Studerbabies Farm & Free play with some repeat families and some new faces too! 

Honoring the first day of summer by building some rock cairns at Greenhouse park with the kids. 

Getting things organized for Ariel's graduation party. I offered to be party planner because I love that stuff - so this week, I confirmed with our family and friends making food, pulled out the tablecloths and other decorations, and made my final grocery/packing list. 

Celebrating our Chummie who made it to retirement! He has worked at the water authority for 40 years! The company hosted a celebration for them at the Boulevard Grill and we were all so proud to attend in his honor. Kitty put together a little jar full of photos of Chum attached to popsicle sticks in case his co-workers already miss him (hah! love that idea!) The kids and I crafted up a Chum's Official Retirement activity spin board and there was plenty of delicious foods and drinks. So proud of my Dad and grateful he gets to have wide open days of retirement in his future! 

Shouting "Hey!" as Gemma plays the fight song on repeat on her trumpet on the back porch. You know the one. It's whole family participation around here when we hear that trumpet blaring the tune - hah! 

Visiting Laurel Hill State Park one afternoon with all the kids (7 kids and 1 mom! thank goodness for helpful big kids!) I figure either we stay at home while the kids bicker all day and wreck the house - or we venture out and get tired and dirty and the house stays exactly as dirty as it was when we laugh (LOL). We snagged two hours outside, I was able to swing by Walmart for my pick up order, and then we were home with 7 worn out kids! 

So grateful for the baseball and all star soccer season with Heather. In all our years raising these kiddos up, our sports seasons haven't overlapped and we've had to plan around all the kids' schedules to get together. But this past season (finally!) Grey and Caleb played on the same baseball team and we got to see each other multiple times a week at the games. Thank goodness for that because chasing Liv and Reddy around is such a challenge. Heather knows the way to both their hearts through fruit snacks (hah). And then Caleb and Gem both played all star soccer and we were able to coordinate food and drinks for the long soccer tourney days. So thankful for this season - probably both the first and last - but grateful to have got it at all! (love you! xxo)

Offering my reader's eyes and suggestions for my Uncle Steve who sent me his book about his childhood growing up in our big family (he was one of 14 and one of my grandma's brothers!) It was so wonderful to read some of the stories and I was glad to have the chance to give him some feedback while being inspired to just write the story on your heart! 

Playdating with the Fiores at Ebensburg Pool on Friday! We got to meet up with our besties at a perfect halfway point. The kids had a great time swimming and as always I was grateful to get to catch up in person with Kate. Sophie made us donuts and they were both beautiful and delicious. I got to leave Liv and Wells at home with B, so I was able to dedicate my focus to Reddy and the big kids. Kate hung out with Red for awhile so that I could swim and slide with the big kids - much to their delight. Isn't much better than Mom getting in on the fun! 

Celebrating our cousins' graduation at their party. Our cousins (twins!) Brody and Casey graduated from high school this year and we spent the evening at their party swimming, slip 'n sliding, and eating incredible food (Flair of Country never disappoints!) 

Sporting with another basketball open gym for Violet and Gemma and an all star soccer practice for Gemma. B and I played in our volleyball game at Roxbury (thank you Chum & Uch for watching the kiddos!) Grey had his baseball championship 3 game series with his CT team and they won the first, took a hard loss on the second, and then came back to win the third for the championship. Grey hit two dingers that last game, one of which was a walk off. He was so pumped. On Friday, his all star sanction team played in the CT tournament. I had worked a double shift in the concession stand to cover our family for the weekend and hired Gemma and  her friend Peyton to hang out at the field and watch all the kids while Grey played and B coached (it's always a circus!) Grey had a tourney game Friday night and then another on Saturday (they won both!) Gemma had her last all-star soccer tournament at Kidsport on Saturday. Another long day of soccer in the blazing heat - five games from 8:40a-3:20p in 90+ weather! They got second place again, but Gem had a great time playing! Thank you to all the coaches who love and help raise our babies up! 

Making leftovers from our weekend getaway took us almost the whole way through the week before we had a couple nights of take out. I ordered pizza right to the baseball field when Grey had a night game and then we had a championship celebration at Tollgate with some teammates after the game on Thursday. We had Chum's retirement party for dinner on Wednesday and then loads of concession stand food on Friday when I worked a double shift. Not a great week of meal planning - but some weeks be like that. For the soccer tourney on Saturday I made meatballs (for sammies), peanut butter powerballs, and funfetti muffins. I whipped up a batch of sugar cookies to include in the baseball tourney bake sale too. 

Keto check in: teriyaki salmon and veggies, chicken salads (thank you Uch!), kielbasa and veggies, and pulled pork. aw man, having some kind of adverse reaction to almonds which is a huge bummer because I love them so much (they're like my go to Keto snack!) Every time I eat them though I'm getting terrible GI stuff so I'm taking a break to see if that fixes my struggles. 

Around Here Week 24: 06/12-18

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

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

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 314+ hours (of 1000)
Up over 37 hours this week: snagged at the baseball field, Rusty's party, and plenty of time hiking and enjoying the outdoors at our getaway weekend in Ohiopyle. 

Reading How We Show Up by Mia Birdsong and The Secret History by Donna Tartt

Celebrating Rusty's birthday with a Spiderman/bouncy house party at our house. We rented a bounce house/water slide from Flood City Rentals and it was a huge hit! I made cupcakes and then DIY'ed some chocolate webs for them (thanks Pinterest!) We had hamburgers and hot dogs, the grandmas brought sides, and Rusty was so happy to have his friends join us for the day. (thank you all who came and helped our Rustman feel special!)

Catching up with the Vorndrans! So grateful they made the trip in from Pittsburgh for Rust's party (they are his godparents and our dear friends). They stayed after the party and the kids got extra time to play and I was so grateful to have time to chat and hang out together - it's so hard with growing kids, activities, and life to squeeze in the time with good friends. (thank you guys!!)

Loving Reddy's progression in speaking. He is really getting it now and saying all kinds of things more clearly. After two years of not hearing actual words come out of his mouth, it's startled me multiple times this week to understand him exactly. "Lay with me." "I like beans." "Hit the ball, Mom!" Granted, we still have plenty ways to go yet (lots of initial sounds missing, some letter sound struggles, still baby gibberish rants, etc) but it feels miraculous to be able to two-way communicate with him now.

Catching the NBA finals on the projector outside on the back porch. Go Warriors! 

Swimming at Pappy & Gigi's one afternoon. I took all the kids plus Wells - to their house and Gigi made us spaghetti lunch! Perfect summer afternoon!

Having another great week at Studerbabies Farm & Free Play. We had a bunch of families on Monday and they got a surprise of being able to use our bounce house from Rusty's party - but even still the chickens and goats were a bigger draw (yes! nature for the win always!) Rusty even put on his Spiderman suit and surprised the little kids - they gave him hugs and high fives. It was the sweetest thing. Very grateful for Gem's help each Free Play session as she helps facilitate so much - from feeding the animals to helping kids play. She is such a helping blessing to me always. 

Packing and planning for our getaway weekend. Uch is so good about sending out a big family email giving us lots of packing suggestions and making sure everything we need is delegated between the family members (thank you!) I was in charge of meal planning the weekend and then we all took parts of the grocery list (thank you Walmart Pick up) and we were able to cover the whole weekend for food! 

Ordering our tshirts for Beer Olympics!

Finally finishing the clothes bins project and getting all the bins back up into the attic (well, almost all - I have two bins of boys' clothes that still need figured out). When I put them away, of course it was a super hot day - so it was probably over 100 degrees in the attic. Holy sweating -but whatever, it's done and I am so relieved.


Ohiopyle Getaway with our Adams family

We spent the weekend away at Ohiopyle State Park in a VRBO with my parents, sisters & fellas, and all the kiddos. It was such a beautiful place - right on the Youghiogheny river, so the boys were all overjoyed to get in some fly fishing time. The kids were obsessed with wading in the river and made some serious core childhood memories perched on rocks with the river pulling them from all sides; laughing and pretending to float away. There were train tracks right across the driveway - so the kids loved running to the window to watch the train go by and Grey may or may not have left a few coins on the tracks to be smashed by the train over the weekend. 

We took a day trip over to Cucumber Falls and Meadow Run Natural Waterslides. I know I've said it too many times before - but nature is so amazing and humbling. It was a beautiful perfect day hiking and I am so grateful that we have family that can still hike even in their 60's and are interested in hiking with us (even pregnant or with babies strapped to them). All the best memories happen outside - I believe that to my guts. 

My favorite part of extended family vacations though are all the moments in between of togetherness; everyone sharing meals around a big table, laughing and telling memories around the fire, playing games like cornhole and volleyball with mix-matched teams and forming random alliances. Such a great weekend and so very thankful to be all together. We also got to celebrate Father's Day and have a toast to Chum's last week of work before retirement! Kitty and Abba put together a scavenger hunt with treasure box together for the kids and Uch had a splash pad delivered for the babies right to the cabin! We had yummy food, refreshing drinks, deep belly laughs, three-babies-in-the-tub photo shoots, coffee on the back deck in the early sunlight, and very little personal space with all the kids all over everyone all the time (sharing couches, chairs, hammocks, laps, and holding hands). 


Sporting with basketball open gym for Violet and Gemma for one hour on Tuesday mornings. The high school coach holds the one day/one hour a week event for girls in grades 2-6 and it is such a great opportunity to build on and encourage the youth basketball program for girls! Thankful for it and very thankful that it is free! Grey had a basketball summer league game on Tuesday and B and I had to unfortunately miss our volleyball game that night due to sick kids and a school board meeting (big bummer). Grey had his last regular season youth baseball league game on Monday (bittersweet!) and then two playoff games with his CT team to clinch the championship 3 game series for next week!

Making pulled pork and baked French fry potatoes, Asian flavored ground turkey rice bowls, and leftovers from the birthday party. At our Getaway trip we had - spaghetti & meatballs, church picnic chicken with haluski, tacos and homemade guacamole (YUM, kitty!), sheet pan kielbasa & veggies, homemade pizza, and lots of snackies including funfetti muffins and chocolate chip cookies. 

Keto Check in: still going strong(ish) because we just feel better to be low carb, honestly. Down a total of 14.2 lbs since the beginning of April. We had air-fryer cauliflower, ground turkey with broccoli and alfredo. I also made our favorite snackie: Keto no bakes (shredded coconut, cocoa powder, and peanut butter!)