Around Here Fifteen: 04/08-04/14

Friday, April 15, 2016

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


Intentional Hours Outside:  68 hours (out of 1000)
finally.  sunshine.  Even though it has only slowly crept into warmer weather this week, the sunshine alone has lifted my spirits quite a bit.  We added another 9 hours to our count this week! We had a warmish rainy day this week which inspired our muddle jumping in bathing suits one afternoon.  And we spent some time running bases at the baseball fields and cheering for Grey at his first machine pitch baseball game that was on Tuesday night (...we got his schedule this week, and it appears picnic-style dinner at the baseball field will be our new standard from now until early June.  I was almost kind of giddy copying the schedule into my planner and trying to imagine at one point in the season our little Studerbaby4 will be born!)

Reading and finishing (!) Better than Before by Gretchen Rubin and also finishing The More of Less by Joshua Becker this week!  Whoa, two books done in one week feels weirdly satisfying.  We are deciding our next Book Club book and I will be announcing it later today in our facebook group!  I also dove into The Last Child in the Woods by Richard Louv and that coupled with my goal of 1000 hours outside has me majorly inspired and feeling passionate about fresh air and wide open spaces.  

Celebrating our six year old boy with lunch at his school on Friday afternoon, then a soccer party later that evening - complete with his tradition (second year running!) of dunking his own face in his cake.  He had a blast and it was so wonderful to spend the evening with our home filled with friends and family and kids running everyone shouting joyfully.  (I swear, it felt like it was our LOUDEST party to date!) 

Clearing some major clutter in the kids' toy room which has been such a burden on my soul.  A few months ago, I bagged everything up and literally just threw it in the toy room and blocked the entrance.  And since then, the kids have requested almost no toys (!) There are some things that I have re-introduced back with wild success (baby dolls and barbies...Grey literally only plays with sports equipment).  So this week, Gemmi was a huge help going through all the bags, separating what stays, what gets trashed, and what gets donated.  We ended up with three big donation collections, two garbage bags filled with broken/worn out toys, and organized the rest for what will stay and be kept in to-be-built built-ins for the room.  

Volunteering in Grey's classroom twice in one week!  I was the 'mystery reader' on Wednesday and went in to do a read aloud (we read How I Became a Pirate which was gifted to us by my sweet friend Shelly!  The class loved it - thank you!!) and then again yesterday to help create the students' painted Earth Day shirts.  I even got to have lunch with Greyson and his class yesterday after the shirt painting and it was so nice to get in some one-on-one time with him and to chat with his friends. 

Feeling so proud of my baby sister Tasha (always, but especially this week) as so many inspiring organizations gathered at Point Park for the Little Red Mailbox ribbon cutting ceremony.  Tasha discovered the original LRMB in Kill Devil Hills, NC and got in touch with Sue Goodrich, the creator, and the two of them have been working together for the past six months to have the second LRMB location be our hometown of Johnstown, PA!  The mailbox and the journal inside stand as a place for hope, love, and reflections to share with the community and any visitors.  #proudbigsis 

Loving the time we got to spend with aunts and uncles this week!  There was the birthday party that lasted into the night with Uncle Jonny, Ninna, Aunt Uch, and Kevin.  Then we had surprise afternoon visits with Aunt Uch, Kevin, and Uncle Juice on Wednesday night where they agreed to play high energy games like helicopter, trampoline jumping, and soccer to the kids' sheer delight.  And then we got to see Aunt Kitty yesterday at the Little Red Mailbox event.  There is certainly something special about aunts & uncles and I always feel overcome with blessings when I see how happy they make our kids.

Donating maternity clothes, baby hand-me-downs, and purchased diapers & bath supplies to our local YWCA this week for our April task for our 12 Months of Kindness project.  I was inspired by a passage from the More of Less book (full book review coming next week!) that said, 'we realized that for years we had let some items that were desperately needed by others gather dust in our closets or basement.  And for what? Just in case our supply...suddenly proved to be inadequate?'  It took all of one minute to glance in my closet to see two huge tubs of maternity clothes that I have stockpiled (from all seasons, lots of sizes and styles, and most which I don't wear) and realize that they would be the perfect addition to our April Kindness, which initially I was just going to donate the diapers & bath supplies.  Between my maternity clothes clean-out, and the toy room organization - we were able to drop off about 8 bags and one big box worth of items that will find a home where they are actually being used!

Calling it early to bed almost everyday this week on account of exhaustion and lower back pain.  Gemmi and I even hopped into bed last night around 7:30p, sipped hot cocoa and she read some books to her future baby brother until we both drifted off to sleep around 8p.  Too bad for the reason for early bedtime but yay for the extra snoozing and the happier mornings when I've been able to get up and drink that first sip of warmth while the rest of the house still sleeps.  These days are numbered big time (32 weeks pregnant as of this week!) and so I'm kind of cherishing this time to be a party pooper at night and the lone early bird each morning.  

Making these blueberry muffins on Thursday to accompany our girls to our cousin Tausha's house as she watched them for me in the morning so I could volunteer in Grey's class.  They were quick, easy, and delicious - and I'm so glad that my sweet friend (and cousin) Heather taught me that kind gesture of dropping off breakfast or dinner when you have a family or friend babysit in a pinch.  She always does that when we get to have a playdate with our cousin Caleb and it is so thoughtful and appreciated (thanks Heather for always inspiring me towards kindness!)  We finished off this chicken, green bean, and potato bake in one night (no leftovers!) and the kids were saying, 'make this all day, Mum!' 

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