Around Here 8: 02/17-02/23

Thursday, February 28, 2019

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

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 12+ hours  (of 1000)
Snagged a few hours being stuck outside in the iced over yard (LOL, see below) and most of the time I earn from taking care of our chicken girls. I've been daydreaming about sunny, warm days when I walk out the front door with no socks or shoes and sit on my front porch drinking a morning cup of coffee and reading a book. come on, groundhog! I thought you said spring was on its way!

Reading and finishing Educated by Tara Westover for our Books & Brews book club. I think what I liked most of the book was Westover's thoughts on how the past is created and changed through the memories of those that remember and past it on. How history and the past is colored and tainted and malleable.  I started Five Feet Apart by Rachael Lippincott next before I dive into our next book club book The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray.

Helping Gemma get rest and get better. Poor thing was so sick on Sunday morning and we were running back and forth between the bathroom and her bedroom a few times trying to minimize mess and bed sheet switching. She was completely exhausted and could barely lift her head, it was so pitiful! And while I'm buzzing around trying to get Gem taken care of, and B is getting ready to head in for CCD and Mimi's house - Violet decides she wants to heat up pizza and sets the microwave for 13 minutes. The pizza caught on fire and Grey ran into the kitchen and turned off the microwave but there was already about 2ft of smoke on the ceiling! I texted our CCD director and told her that it was one of those mornings as a mom and there was no way I was going to make it in time to teach. Oh sheesh, it is funny now - but was not fun or funny on Sunday morning! (also, nothing like a microwave pizza fire to remind you to update your smoke alarm batteries - here's YOUR reminder too!)

"Ice skating" in our yard, lol. After the sleet and rain on Sunday night, our entire yard was completely iced over on Monday when I stayed home with the kids on the Presidents Day holiday. Grey and Violet wanted to penguin slide down the hill, so I took some water out to the chicken coop and all three of us were trapped at the bottom of the hill after sliding down about 200 miles an hour. I couldn't even get into the chicken coop because the locks were all iced. Grey was half laughing/half shouting "HELP!!" and Violet was sobbing with her hat pulled off and one boot on. For a moment I was like, "Wait, what are we going to do here?!" When down the hill like superwoman (after being sick for 2 days with no snow pants, nor boots, nor gloves, nor hat) comes Gem sliding on her butt to try to rescue us.  Good Grief! We finally managed to all get near the chicken coop (on our bellies swim style) and then rock climbed up the hill using the iced over footprints from previous trips to the coop. Brandon and I went out later to give the chickens their water and I insta-storied it and it was a total circus.

Raising a freshly minted seven year old Gemma. Our girls birthday was on Wednesday and lucky for her - it was also a snow day home from school! We sang over blueberry breakfast cake, measured her height (she's as tall as Grey was at 7 and a half!), and she picked dinner (meatball sandwiches and a side of spaghetti - hah!) We made together chocolate chip cookie cake with some icing for the top for after dinner. Gem has been watching "Nailed It" and baking youtube shows, so when we have the icing ready she says, "Can we use a piping bag so I can pipe on some rosettes." I about died laughing. I let her and thought her face was going to crack from how big her smile was. We are busy planning her birthday sleepover which will be Just Add Magic themed!

Celebrating more birthdays! The day after Gemma's is our Pappy's birthday and we headed over to Pap and Gigi's to celebrate with dinner and singing. And Violet and Rusty felt very cool and 'big kid' when they went to their own friend, Hunter's, fifth birthday on Saturday. It was Jurassic Park themed and the kids had so much fun running around and seeing their 'school' friends outside of daycare/preschool. For the favor, they got a diy'ed dinosaur dig kit and Violet spent almost the rest of the night and much of Sunday digging her dino out! She was a determined little paleontologist! (thank you Ms. Kayla - we can discuss the mess that came along with that later - hahaha, just kidding!)

Cheering on Grey as he continues with his CT basketball league. He played a pretty aggressively on Saturday at the game and ended up slamming his noggin off the floor fairly hard. He took a little sit and got some water and then was back out there. He had 11 points - his personal high so far! Gemma still likes learning to keep the book and carries it to his game and is so proud when Grey asks her for his official point count at the end of the game.

Spring sports season'ing with the start of indoor baseball practices two nights a week for Grey and now Brandon who is going to be head coaching Grey's team this year. I got my coach's folder for Violet's AYSO soccer team and selected my practice schedule nights - but we have a few more weeks until that starts. Violet is super excited to start soccer and will tell anyone within ear shot, "I'm playing soccer this summer!" Gem is moving up to U-8 so she'll have a 'real' coach (hahaha, not her momma) and I'm excited to see how she shines. Gigi and Pappy got her new soccer cleats because this girl is still growing like a weed!

Teaching for such a short week between Presidents day, 2hr delays, and a snow day - hah! Spanish 1 continued reading Capibara con botas, Spanish 1 started reading Brandon Brown Quiere un  Perro while Spanish 2 just finished Brandon Brown! Spanish 2 Honors is working through the Somos Unit 14 from Martina Bex and Spanish 3 is continuing to work through La Casa de la Dentista.

Making blueberry breakfast cake for Gem's birthday, and pancakes for breakfast whenever possible because RustMan is a pancake eating machine. We had chicken and veggie casserole, Korean ground turkey over rice, and meatball sandwiches and spaghetti.

Around Here 7: 02/10-02/16

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

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

Intentional Outdoor Hours:  10+ hours (of 1000)
Just slowly snagging hours, but really doing it only as they are convenient for me (hah). I haven't made yet this year a concerted effort to spend a significant amount of time outside like I have in the past - but just trying to go with the flow and do what feels right and is needed (ie. chickens) - it feels good to not be so hard on myself because I'm still trying to snuggle up and live like the winter; knowing that once the snow starts to melt and things start to grow again - i'll be racking up outdoor hours.

Reading Educated by Tara Westover with my Books & Brews book club which I purchased at our local Books-A-Million store after I wandered into it even though my whole family knows I'm not to be trusted in a bookstore (hah! I was alone though, so no one was there to stop me!) I reasoned that it's been some time since I bought some new books, right? So I snagged this, this, this, this, and this (...gulp) I spent nearly an hour walking between the shelves and reading covers and flaps and putting down and then picking up again and putting down in an attempt to show self restraint, only to ultimately pick it back up again and add to my stack. I purchased a new chapter book for Grey too (Who was Jackie Robinson?) and two books for Gem (Fly Guy books) oh, and a new Valentines book, and two for our Easter collection (this & this). #sweetLordhelpme The cashier was like, "um, I hope you have a rewards card, because...girl!"

Snuggling up for another week of weird school days. We had two 2hr delays and a snow/ice day at my school. Our big kids had an extra snow/ice day thrown in there (they hung out with Gigi while we schlepped to school). I taped out Four Square on the living room floor with washi tape for a big win while we played 800 games of family four square to get those cabin fever wiggles out.

Celebrating Gemma's birthday early (multiple times!) Gigi made us all lunch and we sang happy birthday to Gem and Pappy (who have birthdays only a day apart). Then we got to sing a double stack of chocolate chip cookies with Gemma's bestie and cousin Audra

Spreading love on Valentines Day. I made some pink icing cinnamon rolls on Valentines eve for snack after the big kids were in charge of prepping their school party fruit donations. The babies helped them clean and pick all the grapes off the vines and Grey and Gem were in charge of cutting the strawberries into heart shapes. All four kids have Valentines parties and Brandon brought me lunch at school (Yamatos!!) Daddy brought home bouquets of flowers for the girls and I (they love this tradition so much!) I made frozen pizza for dinner and used the pizza cutter to make it into a heart shape and we had sprinkle cake box mix cookies for dessert.

Letting the kids have all the fun! We had a classmate's birthday party at Glo Golf for Gem, a sleepover birthday party for Grey with the Conn twins, a sleepover at our house with cousin Caleb, and a playdate visit with our Gilmore cousins from out of town! B and I had a little fun squeezed in there. He went to the St. Greg/Barnabas gun bash with our Gilmore cousins and I had my glorious afternoon in the bookstore followed by a quick eyebrow wax which made me feel like a human woman again (LOL, but seriously).

Basketball season'ing with Brandon's team last game of the season! We made it another season (his 6th!) with Coach Daddy. It is nice to have him back home again:) Grey had only one basketball practice this week because of weather and then had his game with his CT team at the Y on Saturday. It was a loss, but Grey had a whole lot of hustle in there.

Teaching as much as I can squeeze into 2 full days and 2 half days with this wild weather! Spanish 1 is right in the middle of El Capibara con Botas and we had some hilarious Readers' Theater actors for Chapter 8 when el mono salta encima de la cabeza de Carlos y dice "Salta!" (#jaja) Spanish 1 Honors did the pre-learning for their next novel Brandon Brown Quiere un Perro which included the Martina Bex mini unit about Carrie la perra bailarina. Spanish 2 is already reading BBQP and Spanish 2 Honors started the Martina Bex Niños prisoneros unit. Spanish 3 Honors started the pre learning to read Señor Wooly's La Casa de la Dentista next week!

Making leftover mac and cheese with some hot dogs and burgers, left over pulled pork over nachos with pineapple and jalapenos, pierogies, heart shaped frozen pizza for Valentine's day with cake box mix sprinkle cookies, and Thomahawk take out

Around Here 6: 02/03-02/09

Sunday, February 17, 2019

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

Intentional Outdoor Hours:  9+ hours (of 1000)
Didn't get more than an hour accumulated this week but grabbed some time walking back and forth between the chicken coop. The groundhog saw his shadow, so anytime spring wants to start showing up around here would be fantastic. hah.

Reading and finishing One Beautiful Dream by Jennifer Fuliwiler and also finishing One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus. I really connected with One Beautiful Dream from a writing momma perspective. I gobbled up McManus's book like any good YA mystery, sorry family for ignoring you to read - hahha!

Endlessly grateful to my classroom fairy godmother, Ashley, who sent new Spanish novels my way and a whole bunch of Dove chocolate hearts with a note to me and my students for a sweet February. (thank you so much, you are beyond thoughtful and I am so lucky to have your support and kindness!)

Patching Gemma's foot back up after Grey accidentally ran over it with the hoverboard at full speed (?!!) It was more like a burn than a scrape and it's been making her crazy all week. It's right on the top of her foot so it's in a terrible spot with wearing shoes all day at school, poor thing.

Celebrating cousin Brookie's third birthday at her house with a dinosaur party!

School party supply gathering as the kids celebrated the 100th day of school this week. Gemma counted out 100 macaroni noodles to take into school. Grey started working on a valentines day box and then he and Dad ultimately decided on decorating their fishing krill instead to use as a box (hah). Next up, buying party snacks for the valentines day party and writing out all the kids' school valentines!

Basketball season'ing with three games for Brandon's varsity team this week, including senior night (thank you to the moms and boosters who made the game so memorable!) The kids and I made it to the CT game where we hung out with the Stankans and baby Sukey (!) Only one more game to go for the season and we get Coach Daddy back again (yay!) Grey played in the championship game series for his Duke Andrew league. They won on Monday night and then ended up losing on Friday and Saturday morning to come in second place. He was so bummed but always a lesson to be learned in sports - even when you lose; mostly how to take the disappointment.

Teaching through Señor Wooly to celebrate Wooly Week 2019! Señor Wooly is this wacky former Spanish teacher who has created a whole website (ie: Spanish teacher cult) t in which he teaches through weird and interesting songs. The idea is to captivate the students in these odd songs and music videos while using total comprehensible input in the target language to help them understand and be able to respond. It was an awesome week and one in which I feel like I grew a lot as a teacher too. I joined the Woology facebook page, tried out some new CI techniques, and we listened to so much Wooly music. We had fiestas to celebrate including wooly-inspired food, students who dressed up as Wooly characters, and had the new song: Una Canción Original stuck in my head for about 5 days straight. (even my own kids and Brandon have been singing it at home - jajaja!)

Making shredded chicken and brussel sprouts, ramen noodles, pulled pork in the slow cooker, french bread pizzas, and little noodle soup with copy cat red lobster biscuits.

happy valentines day, b

Thursday, February 14, 2019

I posted a picture of us for Valentines Day. It was our first picture together, all the way back from the Homecoming dance in 1999. We weren't even dating then, but we had been flirting with abandon for weeks. Gosh, your smile and persistence and that floating kiss was undoing me.  So we met at Ang's house to ride together with her and Tom (who are still together and married with four kids too!)

The face you made when I came down the steps was everything rom coms are made of and 20 years later I don't know that I've ever recovered from the way you make me feel like the brightest star in the night sky; that night or any day since.

The thing I love the most about this picture though is our hands.
Your hands are so gently and hesitantly resting on my waist.
and my hands shyly and awkwardly held high and in front of me because I didn't know where to put them.

because even then,
even before we were anything really
the touch of you felt electric
like if we lingered too long, we might start to spark

weeks later, when we finally had our first kiss, it only proved this theory
because to this day, we corroborate that electricity passed between our lips.

Now, all these years later, our bodies have been carved and polished into a complimentary fit. twenty years worth of shared triumphs and losses and heartbreak and babies and pets and homes and work and worries and laughter have obliterated that delicate consideration as to where to place our hands when we are near each other.

we know how we fit together
and all these years later,
we are well versed in the management
of controlled fires

happy valentines day, handsome.

Life Lessons: Sitting with disappointment

Monday, February 11, 2019

Greyson got to play in the championship series for his basketball league this past week and after a win followed by two close losses, his team ended up in second place. He was so bummed (tears) and when he came down from the team locker chat, he immediately asked for me to check his grades.

I knew right away that he wanted me to do that so I could see whether or not he'd be able to play the xbox when we got home (if he has a C in powerschool, he loses xbox privileges). And I understood right away that he was feeling disappointed and he wanted to get away from that feeling as soon as possible.
But I'm his momma, and I need to constantly be playing the long game.

So, I told him no. No I wouldn't check his grades because no matter what he had in there, we weren't going to go home and distract ourselves from feeling bad. We were going to feel this for a little while so we remember how it feels to lose, to be disappointed and we can work out feeling better together.

And we went home and called a screen free break and we figured our way through the disappointment. Grey whined/cried for awhile (both about losing and about not getting a distraction in the form of a screen). We made and ate lunch together, the kids had some chores to do, the kids played together around the house, and we talked about the game and about whatever else came to our minds. We figured it out until everyone seemed back to balance again.

Do I enjoy to see my child upset or disappointed? Of course not, but I also know that in the long run, it is important for him to learn to cope with feelings of disappointment. He needs to know how to deal with those feelings.

The thing is - we live in a world of readily available distraction - literally at our fingertips. As a high school teacher (and the wife of a varsity basketball coach), I see every single day the way kids don't have the coping skills to deal with disappointment or adversity. At the first blip of a challenge, more often than not, my students' first instinct is to shut down.

Many times, students will go so far as to try to remove themselves from even the possibility of failure; if they try they might fail - but if they don't try at all they won't fail (nor will they succeed but the risk of failure is great enough that the possibility of success doesn't matter).

We need to help kids get comfortable with the uncomfortability of failing. 

some minor emotional discomfort will strengthen their backbone for the future. Those get-back-up-after-defeat muscles need stretched and toned for the million more times in life that they are going to need worked. We need to practice with small disappointments now so that when the losses are bigger and weigh more, our kids will be able to withstand them; whether we are there to help or not.

I'm not claiming to have the answers; I'm still only about nine years into this parenting gig. But I lean hard into those before me (thanks parents and in-laws) and I look to my friends who are further along in this parenting journey than me - who have kids who are kind and decent and that I use as examples to my own kiddos. My students who are most resilient and successful are the kids who know how to face challenges head on without fear of failure, because they have the experience to know that failure and disappointment is not something to fear at all - but a chance to learn a lesson and get back up and march on.

let's play the long game, mommas and daddas.

*Greyson posed for this 'disappointed' picture a few days later at my request. it was between smiles and giggling about modeling