Around Here Twenty five: 06/16-06/22

Friday, June 23, 2017

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


Big Jack! Our resident toad.

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 245+ hours (of 1000)
Up 32 hours this week.  I made a goal of getting at least three hours a day and succeeded and way overachieved on a few.  We racked up hours in the beautiful sunshine this week and I got in quite a few walks with the dogs.  I even cleared a path in our woods to the farm trails behind our house so we could get there easier (and so the kids could explore).  I had a double header volleyball game on Tuesday night and Rusty and I did quite a bit of mowing yesterday to get ready for this weekend.

Reading and finishing Dark Matter by Blake Crouch in three days.  It was a great, fun read - I recommend it! For my next book on the Inspired Reader's Book Club Summer Checklist, I borrowed a YA book from our library this week (two checks off the list for one book!) The Girl from Everywhere by Heidi Heilig.

Library Haul: 16 books [we're making a goal to visit the library once a week this summer (for lunch! free lunch to kids on weekdays from noon-1p at the downtown library).  And so I'm also going to list our favorites of the books we score for the week].  Favorites:  Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik, Yawn by Sally Symes (set us all off on chain reaction yawning spree! so funny!), Hide and Snake by Keith Baker, Night Creatures a Scholastic First Discovery Book, and Food Chain by M.P. Robertson (Grey thinks this book is hilarious!)*

Enjoying Idlewild & Soakzone.  Our whole family went out on Friday with Gigi and Pappy and had a great day (B took off).  We were so surprised to see that Violet is exactly 36inches tall and loves riding the big rides!  She rode the paratrooper with me and the Loggin' Tobaggin' with all of us for goodness sakes!  It was such a fun day and Pap and Gigi had packed a whole picnic lunch with a throw-away charcoal grill! Right when we were getting ready to leave early to make it home for baseball practice, we got a text that practice was cancelled - so we ended up staying for most of the rest of the evening!  Then the three big kids GOT TO GO AGAIN on Tuesday with Abba and Chum!  (Best Christmas gift ever local Floodcity families!  Buy Idlewild season passes on Black Friday for the kids and grandparents!) The kids and my parents spent the at the park with Aunt Uch and had a blast riding rides, water park'ing, and watching the little song & dance shows (Gem is obsessed).  It was glorious to see them so tired and happy at the end of a long, fun day!

Party hopping on Saturday.  We enjoyed a fun and delicious bbq at the Rummell's house where we got to meet our newest cousin Baby Austin.  Then we headed over to our friend Sara's bridal shower. The girls love attending bridal showers and feeling like their one of the grown up ladies.  We rushed to try to make it to Grey's game (he got called up to play with 9-10yr olds with three of his little friends) but we rolled up right at the very end of the game.

Celebrating Father's day at the Quemahoming Dam all day long.  It was perfection.

Continuing our summer holiday celebrations with lighting sparklers for Juneteenth and taking the dogs for a nice long dusk walk and grilled dinner on Summer Solstice.

Preparing for Beer Olympics this weekend!  We got the garage all cleared out and the grass mowed. The rules have been printed, the shirts and kegs ordered, and one final grocery trip and we'll be all set to go for our ninth annual event!  The penultimate!

Blogging!  I wrote a post everyday this week because the creativity was flowing, and when you got it - you got it use it up! It felt good to get a little bit of time with something that is just mine this week.  Literally every single other thing in my life is shared with someone else - my meals, my time, my attention, my energy.  But this little corner of my life is just for me and it feels good to cultivate it and spend a little self-care time over here getting my brain and heart out. (thanks for hanging out!)

Making  slow cooker cheesy chicken and rice, grilled honey garlic porkchops, one of my favorite dinners - chicken cordon bleu pasta since we got some delicious ham from my dad & mum (thank you!).  And I made camo cupcakes to celebrate Father's day (using this icing technique).

*all book links go to my Amazon Associates pages and any purchases send a nominal fee my way for recommending.  thanks for supporting Team Studer

Father's day at the Que

Thursday, June 22, 2017

We celebrated Father's day at our favorite local spot, The Quemahoming Dam (I included it in my no bummer summer list!) with our Dadda, my Dad (Chum), and Brandon's Dad (Pappy-) - plus Abba, Gigi, Aunt Uch, Kevin, and Aunt Kitty! We reserved a small pavilion (it's only $25!) and spend the day enjoying the beautiful weather, grilling out on the charcoal grill for a delicious picnic dinner, swimming in the dam, fishing, skipping rocks, playing on the playground, and even kayaking.  It was honestly such a perfect day.

First, the gratitude that I have that my children know the joy and comfort of all the people that love the very most in one place at one time runs so so deep.  I know it is a blessing beyond belief that we are surrounded with family and friends who first love our babies, but also like each other enough to spend whole days together in harmonious peace (even whole vacations together!) This gift is never one that escapes me and for one that I am so truly grateful for.  

Secondly, we have such good Dads in our lives.  

Brandon, who will forever be the single greatest thing I have ever given my children; a man who loves them, and encourages them, and celebrates all their weird little quirks, and who in deliberate and obvious ways so very much loves their mother.  

Chum and Pappy, our Dads, who have taught us each nearly every important lesson of our lives.  And then, graduated to grandfather status and just straight kills it.  These kids of ours are so blessed with grandpas that not only teach them so much, but go out of their way to create special little activities that are unique to them and to each child.  Like golfing, and quad riding, and fishing, and always being up for a game of soccer or catch in the yard.  

And so many Dads we know; our friends and family, the kids' uncles and godfathers.  I will never reach the end of my gratitude for the examples of good men that my children have in their lives.  (thank you to all of you good, decent, and kind men in our life). 

Rusty James is One

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

My Rusty James,
In the impossible nature that is time itself, you have grown a whole year's worth of it now.  You've celebrated all the holidays once and all seven seasons (the four natural seasons and then also football, basketball, and baseball seasons which include enduring practices and games along with us like a champ).

You've learned to smile, to feed yourself, to point and demand something, to reach your arms out to be picked up.  You've learned to roll over, then do the giddy up crawl (one leg bent, one foot on the floor), and then walk - now, nearly in a run with arms outstretched.

You've learned how to navigate the dogs' swinging tails that are inconveniently yet perfectly parallel to your eye level. You can sign to us certain words to get your point across (hungry, sleepy, outside, play) or you've found other ways to get your point across (that high pitched screech you give all of us).  You give the sweetest, gentlest little gaping mouth kissas, then pull back and smile - making us all swoon.  You love to clap; a life encourager already, you are.

You're a sneaky little bugger, always getting into things you're not supposed to and wrecking the place as best as you can.  You give Violet a run for her money always trying to steal her snacks and drinks and toys because she's the only sibling who doesn't outright just hand whatever it is you want over to you.  You love chasing Lulu or toddling up to her and trying to pat her while she lays there with a sideways look on her face knowing she can't yet trust this human yet. 

And your Gemini zodiac is well ingrained in your personality already as you flash between polar opposite attitudes.  You are a sweet, smiling, independent playing, curious, little darling.  Or inconsolably mad, flailing your head back (and you've got quite the melon, dude) to demonstrate just how serious you are about your unhappiness.  I think back to those first few months of colic and often wonder if that wasn't just your Gemini sign shining through. (Gratefully, your 'nice twin' is the dominant one).

You give the most precious hugs and snuggles and at random moments in the day.  You'll see me sitting on the floor folding laundry and you weave over the piles, laboriously climb into my lap and bounce your feet as I organize your sister's shirts; as if to say - oh, yes, here's a good spot to sit and rest by momma for a few minutes.

You have a little ET-run that you do when you see your Dad and grandpas; unsteadily walking as fast as you can to get them to be lifted up high and in their big, strong arms.  You know that Booboo will play rough with you and joyfully smack him right off the forehead which delights Grey and sends him into fits of giggles.  Booboo loves calling you, 'Bad baby,' and it somehow comes out as the cutest term of endearment.  Gemma dotes on you like a little momma and you are so clearly confident in her abilities to hold you and care for you that it makes me laugh and also feel grateful that you two have each other.

And you and Violet...oh sheesh - the two of you make a hysterical little pair - both of you standing only so tall and needing me so much still.  You two often times stand in front of me, side by side, gazing up at me with big round eyes both wanting the same exact thing at the same time (a snuggle, a hug, to be held, a bubba, attention).

It's fun to see all the little pieces of all the branches of our family tree finding their little bits in you.  The tufts of curls at the base of your head, just like your great Grandfather Jim Adams.  The way you scrunch your nose up like he used to do too.  Gigi says you remind her of Daddy more than all the other babies have at this age.  And Abba says when you smile you look just like baby me.  Lots of people have noted how they think you look like Chum or Pappy.  You have those big eyes like Gemmi, and that crazy boy destructive mode like Booboo, and a go-with-the-flow attitude like Violet. But you are also distinctively and singularly YOU.  

You love opening and closing doors (cupboards, the wagon door, the door on the little red and yellow car), you like carrying around long, stick-shaped objects (markers, pens, pencils), and you are fascinated with rocks - the bigger the more intriguing.  You prefer Lola to the dogs and love eye contact and 'talking' face to face with people.  You haven't found your love of books yet, but you do like flipping board books pages and flaps (it's kind of like opening doors!)  And riding the tractor or taking a loop around the yard in the Barbie Jeep with your sisters are some of your favorite activities.  

RustMan, you are such a joy.  You are so obviously part of our family; one of us,  that to imagine us here before without you seems like a dream.  It breaks my poor momma's heart to see you growing and learning and becoming a toddler.  Everyday you gobsmack me with some new little thing you learned or figured out.  My babiest baby.  And maybe it's because you are you, or because you're the littlest and I'm fabricating it in my momma's mind - but I swear, even a year later, I can still smell the heaven on you, just like a new babe.  You are adored, RustMan, truly, by each of us.  You bring smiles to this whole house just because you are you.  

I'll love you forever and ever and ever.
Even when you get big
(and even if you grow out of your heaven smell)
your momma.