Around Here Thirty Seven & Eight: 09/09-09/22

Sunday, September 24, 2017

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

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 466+ hours (of 1000)
Only up 16 hours in two weeks which isn't anything to write home about, bummer. The weather has been beautiful though and we've snagged some outdoor hours at football practice and games. I got in a walk or two with the pups and we had a family outside work day when we prepped the landscaping for the fall.  We bought new beautiful mums for the season and got our bushes all trimmed up for the last time this year. The leaves are starting to change too and the view atop our mountain is breathtaking.

Reading The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls (again) to get a quick reminder for my local book club. I'm still struggling with managing all my normal stuff with our new schedule so it's not been great on the reading for fun category. We had our monthly Books & Brews book club meeting at Press Bistro and it was such a little slice of Heaven on a Monday night.  Great food, great chatting, giggling, and a real moment of soul recharging (xxox!) We picked our next months book The Tenth of December by George Saunders and while I wait for it to arrive, I happily dipped back into Anne Lamot's Bird by Bird.

Footballin' as the season is in full swing. Grey had his first two games already and played with his short cast and all. I warned him that if it even looked like he was being too rough with his arm, his momma was going to come out on the field and drag him off! hhhahha. He did great though and QB'ed short cast and all. They've won both ! The two practices a week are the perfect addition to keep Grey focused on trying his best in school (if he's not doing well in school - no football) and to get his energy out too. The girls love going to practice too as they get to play with all their friends who are football player siblings too!

Thanking first responders to honor 9/11.  My students and I created cards in class to give to our school's resource officer (and retired state policeman) and then later that evening, we all went over to deliver cookies and a thank you card to our favorite first responder and neighbor Mike who is a retired state policeman and our kids' resource officer at their school.  Mike was actually a first responder to the Flight 93 crash and we got to hear a little bit about his experience and see photos from his time helping out there.

Discovering Rusty has another double ear infection with almost no signs; he is a tough little man! He had some teeth coming in and was cranky because of that, but since he didn't show any signs last time, I took him as a just-in-case to the Peds and yep, double ear infection. He was smiling and being flirty the whole time with the RN and she said, "geez, this little guy has got a high pain tolerance!" He got three new teeth this week though and now on his antibiotic, he's feeling much better. Still crazy (changing his diaper is like trying to wrestle an actual crocodile).

Taking our spin on the ole sinus infection wheel of fun. We all had stuffy heads and noses which is such a bummer but also a standard back-to-school routine, so whatevs.

Opening an etsy shop for Greyson as he's still in fly-tying mode. He was so excited to put some of his flies together and gave them all names and collection names. It was a lot of fun to see him so excited about something that didn't involve tackling, jumping, or throwing a ball for a few minutes. Bless the sweetest #huntingdad we know Wade James (of Adliv Collective) who went and sold Grey's shop out within minutes.  I told Grey he had a notification in the store that he sold his flies and he fake-passed out on the couch with the hugest smile on his face.  He got them all packaged and was so proud to mail them out - only to be even more proud when Wade posted a video of him fishing with the flies and saying the fish were hitting them hard and they were a great product (seriously, Wade, you are so kind and fueled our boy's passion!) Booboo has been busy trying to restock his shop (and making lots of flies for free to hand out to his family and friends - hahha, worst salesman, just like his momma).

Working with Gemmi Ro with her letters and sounds.  She is still well behind her classmates as I expected would happen because she struggles with recalling names in general.  We are so very grateful for her teacher, Mrs. Roman (hi!) as she has so much patience and encouragement for our girl despite her struggles. I've been reading up on Dyslexia a little bit and pieces of it really sound like Gem (seeing the whole, big picture but not the individual parts; difficulty rhyming, difficulty recalling names/words, being more 'right-brained').  I know some of my readers have some personal experience with this and this is me reaching out on any thoughts/insight.  I'd love for this to be the thing and then we can start working towards a path to coping with it - is there an official screening? am I just reaching here and being over label-y? I know we are both frustrated though, she looked up at me during rhyming homework words the other day and half whimpered, "momma, this is just so hard for me" and I gave her a hug and said that I could see that but I was so proud of how hard she tries.  ugh, raising babies is so tough on the heart.

Watching Jurassic World on repeat. Our fam is obsessed with dinosaurs eating people. LOL. We like dinosaurs in the general sense but we love the Jurassic park movies and our children got their grubby little hands on the remote the past few days and have been renting it straight from directTV at $5+ a pop every few days when the rental wears out.  Finally the old people in the house (B and I) figured out they were renting it every time and had to put a stop to it (Luckily for us - SpikeTV is running a huge Jurassic Park marathon this weekend and we just DVRed the first three movies.  Grey has been drawing dinosaurs and Violet thinks any weird noise at night is probably 'a vawsaraptor'

Planning (super last minute) for our Vially three year old biggie girl's birthday party! I looked at the calendar this week and my mouth dropped to the floor when I realized I had less than a week until our girl was going to be three! I texted out an invite (even forgot to send it to some VIP guests! ahem, Gigi, sorry I love you, haha) and was so overwhelmed with love as the generous floodgates opened and many texted back with offers to bring something to the party. #ihavethebestpeople We feel like it's sort of weird that Vially is going to be three (because wait, isn't she like four with that huge vocabulary and incredible genius girl brain?) but also so so grateful and happy to celebrate her. She is such a gift to our family and so often the most easy going and pleasant person in this house.  And her little voice, I die every time I hear her.  Nearly everyone who meets our kids say "aww they are all so cute, but that Violet!" or also "I might try to steal that Violet!" She is our beautiful, hilarious, sweet, kind, wise, squishy, lovable ball of joy. Oh Vially, we could eat you up like a little meatball baby, we love you so.

Surviving.  It's been a doozy of two weeks and we held on to the handles while this tilt-a-whirl life spun on the speed cycle. I was able to throw loads of laundry between the washer and dryer luckily all week, but they sat in the hampers clean until finally Friday night. I went through the house; folded all the clothes, emptied all the backpacks, cleaned the bathrooms and ran the sweeper. Paying bills, grading papers, and finishing next week lesson plans all still on the docket. I opened my planner to have my speeding ticket from last week, unpaid, fall out and I was had quite a startle to realize another few days and I would have had a warrant out for my arrest simply because I've been #momingtoohard to pay the bills.  sheesh.  Get it together, WOMAN! Family and friends - thank you so much for your patience, and support through this temporary lapse of sanity (LOL) - my standard 24 hour text response time has been bumped up to about minimum 72 hour response time (if any response at all, #ihatemetoo). I'm too lucky to have you as loved ones - i know this.

Starting to thrive though. By the end of these past two weeks, I just decided that I was going to do right by our kiddos first and then by B and then by everything else.  chores be darned, I took a more relaxed tone in the lesson planning (still serious learning, but with brake-pump on the urgency) and everything started to feel better.  The benefit of everyone in school or daycare during the days has been that the house isn't getting completely wrecked every day of the week, laundry piles up and meals are a little more thrown together - but our weekends have been tag-teaming the bigger chores (changing sheets, vacuuming, massive folding and putting away clothes) and it's been manageable. It feels like (as always in life) if I can just release my death grip on control a teeny bit, everything is easier and more joyful.  When will I learn!?

Making spaghetti, hawaiian meatballs, Italian chicken in the crockpot, frozen pizzas, and dinners supplied by each set of grandparents (thank you!)  I whipped up a batch of (boxed) blueberry muffins for breakfast and Gem was so happy to deliver some to our awesome bus driver Rob that morning.

Around Here Thirty Six: 09/02-09/08

Sunday, September 10, 2017

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

photo credit: Morgan

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 450 hours  (of 1000)
Up only about 9 hour this week. We had a few visits that were outdoors and I made it to football practice once this week and got the sweetest surprise in a pumpkin spice latte from one of my favorites - is there anything like a warm drink that can lift spirits on a chilly day? yeah, no. (so appreciated Loni!) I'm not getting in enough time outside though for just regular life (dog walks, runs, reading outside) and I'm hoping to fix that this week (fingers crossed!)

Reading hardly anything. I got in a few pages of Emma by Jane Austen at bedtime. It was another week of minimal social media which is still nice. I feel pretty out of the loop on what's happening in the world, but nothing a quick check in to the news can't fix, so I'm still liking it.  I really would love to be blogging more, but we're just not in the groove yet with our new schedules, so thanks for hanging around despite my inconsistency. xxox

Celebrating birthdays and love all weekend! We birthday party hopped to sing and play and eat cake for Macee, Bennie, and Ivan three days in a row! And Brandon and I headed out to celebrate Sara and Alex at their wedding with my parents and sisters on Sunday while the kids spent the day with Gigi & Pappy and Caleb & Heather (thank you!!).

Surviving our first week of everyone where they are supposed to be. Big kids were in school, B went to work, I went to school, and babies started daycare/preschool. The kids did really great and there were hardly any tears any of the days! I'm making five lunches each morning (thank you Greyson for just eating school lunch, I love ya for it, buddy!) and trying to find a new system for kids' school papers and homework (we've misplaced too many under piles of stuff this year!) But we survived week1, so I'm counting it as a win!

Relieved to maybe have found Greyson's 'sitting' activity.  He has never been a big lego kid, nor drawing, nor reading - it's been all throwing, jumping, running, tackling madness since he's been alive. But this past week he became enthralled with tying flies (for fly fishing). He got to spend some time with Kevin checking trail cams followed by quite a few hours of fly tying with him and the Roberts family (thank you guys for all of his new-to-him supplies!!) And then several nights this week, he and Brandon sat up there trying out new flies and reading The Fly-Tying Bible. He's been coming home each day and running up to his fly tying desk before being called down after about 40 minutes for snack&homework.  It's been honestly amazing.

Swooning while Gemma announced, "but do you know who my best best best best BEST friend is forever and ever no matter what?" I said, "who's that, Ro?" and she said, "Violet".  #sisterscomefirst

Loving Violet's current version of words:  'lasterday' (yesterday); the /s/ sound for /f/ in all the words: soot (foot), sunny (funny), sends (friends); 'no, the real truth' (when she thinks someone is teasing her); 'Bobbies' (Barbies); and 'my high school' (preschool). Her third birthday is only a few weeks away (I've planned nothing yet, yikes) and I can hardly believe this little squishy munchkin is a full blown potty-trained preschooler who has friends of her own (their names are Shelly and Jack! --how about that Shelly?!) I think it's official: my babies grow up too fast.

Earning my first speeding ticket in the mom'est way possible. Ugh. I left school a few minutes too late and was rushing to pick up the babies from daycare to make it to the bus stop on time to get the bigger kids - the whole time thinking, 'I know I'm speeding but I need to get the kids.' and lo and behold, a cop pulled me over. I called B and told him he'd have to head home to the bus stop because now I really wasn't going to make it.  Such a bummer but I deserved it and hopefully lesson learned for the year right in the beginning so that I don't get myself into a more dangerous situation with rushing and icy roads come winter.

Visiting our county fair with my parents and sisters and Kevin on Thursday. We go together ever fall and it is such a small town joy. We went through all the animal barns, ate greasy delicious fair food (I had a deep fried ham&cheese sandwich and it was amayzang!) and rode some rides.

Feeling secure in our decision about me going back to the classroom.  It definitely makes for a more busy and wild week around here, but I truly love teaching so much.  I gave my students a quiz on Friday and as they were all quietly working with heads down doing their best to prove what they had learned about the Spanish-speaking countries, and I just felt overcome with this feeling of pride and love for them. I believe in all the great and decent things they will do in their lives and I feel grateful to be a tiny little part of their journey.

Feeling excited for Grey as he got his long cast off on Friday! He said it felt so good and weird to have his upper arm out and free in the air. The doc said his growth plate and bones are healing perfectly and he should be cast free in two weeks!

Having a special little Friday with my Gemmi Ro. The two littlest kids were sick and stayed home with B until he and Grey had to leave for his cast appt in Hershey. Morgan came to our rescue to watch the littles, so it was just me and her after school. We had a mini date at a local coffee shop for some iced coffee and a smoothie. It was so nice to have some one on one time with her and give her some extra attention, especially since she had no tears and no bellyaches (homesickness) at school on Friday!

Grateful for this huz of mine who keeps me all together even when our life feels like it's spiraling. I read this beautiful caption from Jasmine at Raisingthemartins on instagram and it hit so close to my own truth: "They say that the woman sets the tone in a home, well I suppose the man is the one who goes to the rhythm of that said tone and makes a song out of it no matter how high or low that tone is...there are some things in life that you just can't solve; sickness and pain come. Life gets crazy and hard, stressful, and chaotic. But what I love about marriage and this man is that right in the midst of it he clears a path on a full table to grab my hand and say, 'We are in this together." 

Making chicken teriyaki bowls, cheddar beer bread to go with Potato soup (frozen from an double batch last month), and spaghetti. We had some pretty stellar (and easy!) afternoon snacks including kid-friendly trailmix and banana 'cupcakes' with sprinkles.

Around Here Thirty-five 8/26-09/01

Saturday, September 2, 2017

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

Intentional Hours Outdoors: 441+hours (of 1000)
Up only 7 and some hours this week, bleh. I got in a really nice long, peaceful run on Saturday morning at the Quemahoming Dam and was reminded real quick that I need to get in a more regular running schedule before the end of the month and my 10k (hah). The whole fam headed out to Grey's football practice on Thursday where he is practicing again even with the long cast because what a difference a little physical activity for that child's attitude makes! We scored some more outdoor time at the Friday Night football game of the school district B and I work in and the school district that our kids attend (a family divided!) and it was fun to see all my students and introduce them to my kiddos.

Reading not too much, but a little bit of Emma by Jane Austen. I had so little social media contact this week which actually turned out to be pretty nice and refreshing (although I had to keep saying, 'wait, what happened?' in conversations because I was so clueless about current events)

'Celebrating' my birthday. I'm such a weirdo about my own birthday and I get all reflective and melancholy and then I have a big cry on my birthday every year because I want to be a better version of myself and life is so beautiful and moves so fast and my poor little heart is so melodramatic. B handles my 'birthday breakdown' like an old pro and has a mixed drink and salty&sweet snacks ready for me. I have a birthday reflection post coming (promising) if I can only get it together over here, hah.

Starting the school year with my new students.  The kids arrived for their first day on Tuesday and I teach seven sections of Spanish I-III. All of the students have been really sweet and engaged this week and I'm loving it.  I always tend to go pretty aggressive at squeezing every second out of the lesson plan and after period 1 on day 1 I was all like, "aw, crap. I'm exhausted." So I relaxed a little bit after day 1 but still being ambitious in my expectations for learning, but less intense and it's been so much better.  We had Baile Viernes yesterday (dancing Friday) and the kids had a great time. We're off to a great year!

Giving Gem some extra attention and love as she works through some 'missing us' emotions at school.  She's getting a little better each day and packing a lunch and having a little sharpie'd heart on her hand seem to help. She says "I'm not ready for school" as her code for needing some hugs and kisses.

Shaking my head about RustMan. His favorite activities are climbing on top of tables (still) and also pushing the bathroom stool over to the sink and climbing up and turning the water on while he drenches himself and the countertop with water.

Feeling grateful for family and friends that pull together to get us through the week - especially grandparents. We've been so lucky to have a solid week adjustment of each new person heading out to school this year.  Grey and Gem started and then a week later me, and then next week Violet and Rusty will start at their daycare/preschool. We had cousin Morgan come to the house and babysit all week (even taking Rusty to his well check for me!) and the kids absolutely loved spending time with Morgan (even if they missed Nick, her fiance, so much, hehhee).  Ms. Christy, our babysitter last fall during my long term sub, was able to come for Friday and bring her new puppy which the kids loved!  The big kids got to get off the bus at cousin Gracie's house on early dismissal day (thank you Taush for keeping them in the afternoon!), Gigi and Pappy took one or some of the kids two nights in a row this week for some special time, Abba and Chum had the kids on my birthday so B and I could have a date dinner, and then stopped to visit and play during the week so I could stay late at school and get some serious first week copying done!

Making Church picnic chicken on the grill, slow cooker cheesy chicken and rice, and chili over noodles. For after school snack we had chocolate croissants and popcorn. Gem took packed lunch twice this week and I pack lunch for me and Brandon every workday.  Next week, Violet and Rust will need lunches too - more adjustments on the way!