Around Here Week 25: 06/17-06/22

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

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

photo cred: Tausha Garrettson

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 253+ hours (of 1000)
Up 33 hours this week and I'm inching closer to my summer goal of hitting 40+ hours a week outside! I have been loving so much getting out in the morning with a cup of coffee and my book on the porch soaking in that early sunlight. I'm beating my outdoor hours at this time last year by about 30 hours which is pretty exciting. Looking even further back I'm beating my 2016 and 2017 time at this point in the year too (so fun to see what we were doing this time, teeny kids)! We had some new trampoline tricks learned this week - Grey learned to do a backflip and Violet can do a front flip!  Grey and Gem also learned to ride a bike together (Grey driving and Gem on the pegs)! And the kids have been hard at work on building up their fort in the woods behind the house and they invited me to come check it out (it's actually kind of impressive). The pups are always happy and eager to get a walk in and we got two in this week, but they could probably use more (me too!)

Reading and finishing The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney with the Book Love Foundation Summer book club. I have enjoyed following along with the discussion threads on facebook and really liked the book; it is an important and powerful read about the civil wars in Sudan and the refugee experience from a young girl's perspective. Then I read and also finished this week Where the Crawdads Sing be Delia Owens. I loved reading Kya's life and the perseverance to children in the harshest and loneliest conditions. It always touches me in some deep spot in my soul to know how humans can push forward and find a way to love and live even when it is unimaginably difficult. (Really had my heart aching to read it right now as I followed along with all that is happening at the border to the children there - you can help here at TogetherRising). I do have to be honest to say that I wasn't fainting with obsession over it like most people I spoke to about it. I loved all the beautiful details about nature in the marsh most of all.

Honoring the Daddas in our life for Father's Day. My sister Uch and I 'kidnapped' our Dad at 5a to take him for a sunrise kayak trip on Hinckston Run Dam. Unfortunately it was drizzling and really cloudy, so there was no sunrise to see (hah), but it was a perfect morning anyway. We kayaked in the light rain and took cover under some low hanging trees toward the bank when it downpoured for a few minutes. Then we had a big breakfast and then it was off to Pappy and Gigi's house for the day with lots of playing catch, running on the top of the pool cover, and even a quad ride to Devil's Rock (that overlooks our town). Gem spent Father's day at Idlewild with our Garrettson cousins eating her weight in funnel cake (hah, thanks for taking her Taush!)

Loving Rusty's new big boy haircut! Gigi cut his hair on Sunday and it looks so cute. It still curls up a little on top when it's clean and washed but the #georgewashingtonhairdontcare is gone for now and that's a relief.

Grateful for good surgeons and doctors who cared for my Dad on Monday when we got rotator cuff surgery. The girls and I visited him this week and he is doing well; he's a tough cookie (the kids heard me say this and now it's Violets favorite phrase). The hardest part is going to be getting him to just relax and let it heal - Dad problems, amirite?

Celebrating freedom on Juneteenth with sparklers in the yard!

Spending special time with family and friends. Grey had a special treat to go with the Conn family to the Steeler Youth football camp on Wednesday afternoon and meet former Steelers player Arthur Moates. Gemma had a sleepover with Rourie at the Stankans while Violet got a sleepover with Gigi and Pappy during Grey's birthday party. Then the next night both girls had a sleepover at Aunt Kitty's house, including temporary pink hair dye! We got a visit from cousin Heather and Caleb after a trip to the Ligonier farmer's market where they surprised us with some of our favorite finds - cheese curds & Jarr'ed mustard. (thank you!!)

Sleeping over at fishing camp for a very belated birthday party for Grey.  Grey chose 5 friends to join us and we headed out to our fishing camp in Bedford on Thursday night with a Sheila full of nine year olds (the conversations had me laughing the.whole.way). They stayed up until 2a and then were all up by 8a to spend the day fishing, riding bikes, building the fire up, and swimming the (freezing!) creek. It was basically all of Grey's hopes and dreams for a birthday party. Rusty got to come and tag along with the big boys and they were all so encouraging and patient with him. #nogirlsallowed #mommaisntagirlshesjustmomma

Party hopping on Saturday. We congratulated our cousin Mackenzie who graduated from high school this year; she's headed to nursing school at IUP and we are so proud. Then we headed over to Halen's pool party and our kids had an absolute blast swimming, snacking, and playing cornhole all evening. (thanks for having us Angie & Scott!) B and I were passing ships on Saturday as he participated in a fundraising trap shoot most of the day and I was with the kids party hopping. At the end of the night, we were both like - 'oh hi, who are you again?' haha.

Summer sporting with Grey's sanction baseball practices (two of them, and two more of them were cancelled due to thunderstorms) and I played volleyball with our Roxbury team in six games on Tuesday night (3-3). B had to miss our games because of a school board meeting. All four kids had to come with me for the full two and half hours we were at the courts - with the exception of Rust screaming, "I WANT ICE CREAM" they did amazing. The big kids took turns keeping score and chaperoning the little ones at the playground; my little park rats.

Making (for the kids) spaghetti, chicken fingers and fries (air fryer win!), frozen pizza, mini blueberry muffins, and pumpkin roll for Greyson's birthday party (his favorite).

Keto'ing and still loving it. Stayed the same this week for weight but when I look in the mirror, I like the reflection so much better. Not sure how that works, but even if the weight isn't going down - things are moving and shifting and my clothes feel better. I had a NSV (non-scale victory) on Saturday when I put on a pair of pants that I bought last summer but couldn't wear because they were too tight and they fit perfect as we did party hopping! Bigtime Yay! We had some good Keto eats this week including - steak'um & pepper 'fajitas', Big Mac casserole, buffalo chicken dip (with cucumber 'chips'), and old bay shrimp over garlic & butter zoodles. Breakfasts are always delightful with eggs, keto bagels, or bulletproof coffee.

Around Here Week 24: 06/09-06/15

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

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

Happy Birthday baby Ivy! 

Intentional Outdoor Hours:  220+ hours (of 1000)
Up 30 hours this week! I have been getting out most mornings and drinking my coffee on the porch with my book and it is such bliss. I am also doing my best to just get out and enjoy the weather instead of fretting over chores inside. We have been making good use of our fire pit already this summer and it makes me so happy.

Reading The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney along with The Book Love Foundation Summer book club. It's a beautiful book written in verse from the perspective of a young girl in Sudan during the civil wars. I am flying through it and loving the comments and thoughts on the facebook discussion with all the other people/teachers reading along with the book club.

Spending the day at Greenhouse Park with family and friends. My Dad and Mum organized a fun day complete with a pavilion, fire pit, and fun. We spent almost the whole day playing kickball, hanging on the playground, and splashing in the Stonycreek River. Grey and Chum even attempted a kayak trip down the river, but it was too swift for our sit-on kayak and they ended up flipping and narrowly escaping a rapid. Grey thought it was so cool and awesome (meanwhile, B was having a nervous breakdown - haha. he's the more nervous of the two of us when it comes to our kids and dangerous things; he can barely stand to watch them on the trampoline). It was such a nice day relaxing and being outside.

Taking both dogs to the vet and getting good reports. Bullet is almost 10 years old and Trixie is almost 8 years old now. Bullet is 96lbs and Trixie 93lbs. They got caught up on their vaccinations, new Seresto collars, and a clean bill of health covered for the whole year. Very thankful to the vet staff who knows Bullet has a lot of anxiety and lets us come through the side door because he cannot handle life.

Strawberry picking in Indiana, PA with the kids. We woke up one morning and it was perfect weather (sunny but not too hot) and so I loaded everyone up and we headed to Ben's Strawberries about 45 minutes away. It was a quaint and inexpensive little strawberry farm (only $1.75 a pound!). The kids were amazed by how many strawberries there were and loaded our buckets down with almost $9 worth of strawberries. I had to have a little informational chat with Rust that we only pick the red ones (after I saw him pick a few teeny tiny barely even green ones!) They were so juicy and delicious (and Keto friendly!)

Selling our wares at the local community market! I was very ambitious and carted all four kids and our (broken, busted) canopy down to to the community market in our little town on Thursday afternoon. We got all set up and tied down before it started torrential downpouring for about 20 minutes, but then the sun came out and we just had to hold the (broken, busted) canopy down when the wind gusts threatened to set us aflight through the parking lot. The kids brought their items; Grey - fly fishing ties, Gem - fresh eggs, Violet - custom artwork and we stayed from about 3 hours. It went okayish. Thank goodness for Gem's little friend, Molly and her family who were set up with their garden veggies and baked goods next to us to keep everyone playing and occupied. Mostly the kids were bored and frustrated that they weren't selling everything every second. Rust was a restless maniac and everyone was starving (duh). B stopped by after work and just shook his head and laughed when I said, "Why don't you just say, 'sweetheart, these seems like a difficult idea' when I say I'm going to do this kind of stuff!" It was alright and an important lesson and we might do it some more this summer but goodness, why do I do these things to myself (lol). The kids have an instagram @StuderFishandChicks and I'll keep ya'll posted when I decide to be a lunatic again and take four kids under 10years to the farmers market.

Being accepted to college...again! I finally had enough conversations with all the right people to confirm that I will need to take a student teaching practicum to be officially certified to teach in PA (which is odd because...experience and TFA and a masters doesn't count apparently, weird flex but okay Pennsylvania Dept of Ed). I actually love love love learning and school so I'm pretty excited about the prospect of being a student again, but who in the world at nearly 36 years old and a mom of four kids with a full time job and multiple volunteer positions has the time and money for this?! yeah, not me, but mommas find w a way - so I'm on it and will be 'graduated' in May 2020.

Spring Sporting with the final soccer games of the season! Violet and Gemma each had two last games this week and it is bittersweet. I made mini fruity pebble muffins for our Mighty Muffins' last game and the other parents all pitched in with snacks to give our crew a little end of season snack party. Miss Hannah was there to see Gem's last game and then brought her down to Roxbury for our volleyball games. She even stayed for all six matches and took the kids for ice cream during (thank you Miss Hannah - we love you so!) Grey had a playoff game with his team on Monday night and lost (he had a rough game with his snotty nose and nerves about playoffs), and that was it for regular season ball! He played up in two majors games later that week (a win and a loss) and had practice for his little league sanction team twice too.

Making for the kids chicken and veggie casserole, hot dogs on the grill, frozen pizza, and leftovers. The kids each helped in a small way to make Strawberry dump cake with whip cream icing after our day at the strawberry fields and we had lots of good breakfast food like mini pancake muffins (with toppings: bacon bits, sausage, blueberries, and chocolate chips!), egg sandwiches, and fruity pebble muffins.

Keto'ing and losing another 2 lbs this week (yipee!) We are still going keto strong and sticking within our macros each day. We had chicken & broccoli with alfredo sauce, cauliflower rice and ground turkey, pork chops (with almond flour) in the air fryer, jalapeno stuffed chicken, and lots of salads, bulletproof coffee, burgers, and cheddar brats.