Around Here Forty Two and Forty Three: 10/14-10/27

Saturday, October 28, 2017

A look into what it is like to live in this wild, beautiful, chaotic whirlwind that is our life right now.

one of my Spanish 3 Honors students, Mattison, is a seriously talented artist

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 517 hours+  (of 1000)
I've surpassed my outdoor hour count of last year (510 hrs all year!) I'm pretty sure I'm not going to reach 1000 before the end of the year, but I'm already pretty pumped that I beat last year's attempt. Always moving forward, right? I snagged some outdoor time this week in the beautiful sometimes crisp, sometimes warm, sometimes downright cold air doing all sorts of activities related to the season, including spending an evening well into dark raking and jumping into leaf piles illuminated by the light of the tractor headlights (hah!)

Reading and finishing Tenth of December by George Saunders and loving it! We then got to enjoy our monthly book club night, this time at The Windber Hotel on trivia night where we ate, chatted about the book, and did miserably at trivia, hah! Up next: The Nix by Nathan Hill and for Halloween (and because we've teased Lonnie too much about it) The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle

Dancing to the awesomely fun bluegrass band SwampCandy at our cousin's annual Stuverpalooza party. We got to visit with our cousins from the South (hi Tamra!) and clap and dance along with the band.

Hiking 1000 steps near Mt Union with Lonnie and Jess.  We had a beautiful fall day and it was such a perfect brain and soul break to be out in the open air and chatting with good friends. It was no joke though and my calves were sore for about three days after our hike!

Pumpkin patching it with our favorite friends, The Fiores. We met half wayish at the sweetest little corn maze and pumpking patch: Barr Ridge Farms. Why Kate and I torture ourselves with corn mazes every year is annually baffling. The kids had so much fun together (as always) and so did Kate and I chatting, laughing, and catching up (as always). The kids played on all the fun little centers, picked pumpkins, burned their tongues on hot chocolate, and we were all sad to hug goodbye (as always).

High fiving Gemma Ro after finally getting on the Letter Wall of Fame for knowing all her uppercase, lowercase, and letter sounds! She was so proud! Continually grateful for her amazing teacher who keeps pushing her along and also supporting her patiently and helping us with tips and tricks too.

Finishing up an awesome undefeated flag football season! Grey had such a great time with his teammates and coaches - what an amazing group of dudes. We had a last minute football party at our house and got a beautiful, warm fall day to celebrate. We played the funny clothes dress up game which had everyone cracking up, we bobbed for apples (even me after I lost a catch game with our running back!) and built a fire. We are so lucky to get to watch these boys grow up together and be part of the team family!

Hosting a picnic at our house with some W&J basketball friends and their babies. The very next day after the football party, we got to spend a perfect, squeezable afternoon with our friends The Vorndrans, Kochs, and Bringmans. Two new babies have been added to our crew (Tessa and Caleb) since we had all be together the last time, so there was lots of hugs and kisses to go around. Gemma loved being little momma to the babies, while Grey was happy to be punching bag to the toddler kids on the trampoline.

Celebrating our 9th wedding anniversary and Brandon's birthday in the same week.  Nine years married to this guy (and eight years before that) and I'm thankful every single day we get to live this life together. We keep our anniversary pretty low key and had a little dinner together after the kids went to bed - but then we got to attend Press Bistro's wine pairing dinner with Gigi, Pappy, Uncle Joe, and Aunt Ginger as an extended celebration too. (thanks for babysitting Uch!)  Brandon's birthday was on the day of the last football game/party so we kept saying that was the only way he could have a party - was to invite the flag football team (hah!) but we got to sing happy birthday too at our w&j picnic!

Getting way behind on chores and laundry at home. I'm trying to be kind to myself and give us lots of patience and grace as this season of our life is straight up bananas. I spent a full two weeks believing that I was in charge of buying pretzel bags for Grey's Halloween party at school only to wait until the night before and discover that Walmart had sold out of them. So the next day, I text the homeroom mom and apologize and tell her that I will pick some up that weekend and have them for sure for Monday when she replies back that (first) she's the homeroom mom for Gemma's class and then I go back and check my text from Grey's homeroom mom to read correctly that I never was in charge of the pretzels at all.  I' Thank God for homeroom moms and PTA moms and coaches and teachers and all the people who make our everyday lives run despite how many things I'm late for, or I forget, or need reminders.  Seriously, bless you guys.

Working out with the 21day fix videos in the morning before school. Despite the fact that the house is in shambles, I threw on working out on top of one more thing on my to do list...and it's actually been a huge positive. I'm so exhausted at night which is annoying (like passing out asleep at 8:30p) but if I get up at 5a and work out before getting ready, packing lunches, and heading out the door to daycare - my days are a million times faster and easier. The sweating and movement is boosting my days and I'm hoping if I can keep it up, maybe I'll finally have enough stamina to get home from work and be able to do some stinking chores?!

Preparing for the end of the first nine weeks and el día de los muertos with my students.  We are finishing up some units in Spanish 1 and Spanish 2, working on our final drafts of spooky stories in Spanish2 honors, and completing a Movie Review of The Book of Life using the preterite tense in Spanish 3 Honors.  First marking period nearly done already for the school year and I'm finally feeling like I'm kind of sort of getting a hang of our home/work schedule. hahha, only nine weeks later, right? and still kind of maybe only.  Oh sheesh. #stillworthit

Trick-or-treating two nights in a row. We spent Thursday night at Abba and Chum's house with Aunt Uch going around their neighborhood in the chilly fall air (really chilly actually) and then on Friday night we headed up to Mimi's house with the Garretsons and Rummels to do a giant cousin trick-or-treating event. Grey was a spooky Grim Reaper, Gem and Violet were both Wonder Woman, and Rusty was a dinosaur!

Making chicken & stuffing casserole, Pappy's meatloaf, wild rice and broccoli soup. I made some cinnamon swirl banana bread and homemade pumpkin roll for brandon's birthday (his fave).  For the w&j picnic I made my Aunt Dar's potato casserole dish and we threw hot dogs and kraut in the roaster for the football party, whipped up some buff chicken dip and easy 4 ingredient cheddar beer bread. For our anniversary at home dinner, I made crispy shrimp alfredo (so delish everytime).

Around Here Forty-One: 10/07-13

Saturday, October 14, 2017

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

Intentional Outdoor Hours:  496+ hours (of 1000)
I did terrible this week (only up 3 hours!) It was pretty chilly and kind of rainy, so my level of interest in being outside was at an embarrassing low. I scored some time though with football, volunteering, and playing in the yard.

Reading The Tenth of December by George Saunders and eating it up. I really loved the short story Home and Saunders' ability to create characters and a world that you can become so invested in within a short story of a few pages. I lent out a few of my favorite books to one of my favorite friends this week (Dear Mr You, Dark Matter, and Big Magic) because we are nerds and wanna talk about all the books all the time.

Beginning the new year of Sunday school. I'm teaching grades four and five again this year and Grey moved up to the exciting year of second grade (first reconciliation and first Holy communion year!) and Gem started Kinder CCD.

Taking a much needed regroup day on Monday as all the kids and I needed some time to rest and heal after a long few weeks of being run ragged. I let the slept in, made soup for lunch, baked some pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, and let them spend too much time in front of the tv so everyone could get a solid day to give their snot noses and sore throats some real rest. It was nice to be home with everyone for a day and made me grateful to know we will have the whole summer together again too. (also reminded me how much I appreciate our kids' teachers and the incredible patience and love they give them everyday while I'm apart from them. Also reminded me how much I value my time to be the senora Studer me too)

Loving the last minute fun nature of our friendship with the Stankans. Last minute decision to have lunch together at Kings and Queens (yep!) Last minute hang out at our house on a random Thursday night (yep!) Last minute writing swap with Loni (yep!) ...exchanging our first attempts at writing was both exhilarating and horrifying - especially with someone who loves to read and knows good stories and writing when they see them. Thank you so much Loni for your encouragement, kind eye, and embrace of spontaneity! xxoxoxo #readersandwritersunite !

Enjoying a great week at school. We finished our el tourneo de la musica (Bailando by Enrique Iglesias was the big winner!) and had an exciting and hopeful Spanish Club meeting for all the fun projects we hope to do all year. The blood drive was this week and I donated and so did a ton of first time donor-students! My Spanish 2 Honors students started writing spooky short stories in Spanish on Friday the 13th and will have them ready to go for Halloween!

Volunteering as photographer at the third annual Zombie Crawl downtown with You in Flood City. The kids came to help too and had fun pretending to want to eat brains (Violet especially, hah!) and stay alive (Grey who hates face paint). Someone was oohing and ahhing over our little zombies and said, "boy, your kids will never be afraid of anything!" hahaha! So proud of my baby sis Uch who is so creative and inspiring and does so much for this community we love!! xxox

Making Pancakes for dinner to celebrate Greyson's 7 and a half birthday on Sunday, Chinese green beans and ground turnkey over rice, taco Tuesday, and baked meatball sub sandwiches.

Around Here Thirty-Nine and Forty: 09/23-10/06

Monday, October 9, 2017

Each night as we tuck the kids into bed, we have this baffling moment where we look at each other and ask, 'wait, what just happened?' Whole days swallowed up in the fast paced whirlwind that our life currently is.  There are flashes that we hold on to: Grey cracking up about anything Rusty does and reading so fluently now, a proud Gemma announcing that she had 'no cries' at school and is soooooo close to getting on the letter wall, Violet's scrunched up nose giggle when we give her a big snuggle that turns into a tickle, and Rust Man running with arms held high and open for a hug. It is a good time right now, gosh - these kids, and their smiles and their love for us and each other; their general enthusiasm about life.  And this marriage that feels like we're camping out in a foxhole together awaiting the next attack from the kids, or life, or work - but we have each other's back so we're going to be okay.  But it's definitely a whirlwind and I'm holding onto these Around here posts if nothing else because when life eases up on the accelerator here (anytime soon?) I hope to be able to comb back through these days and remember with a smile that despite the constant feeling of treading water, there were some darn good moments.

So, here is another glimpse at what it looks like to live in our home just this minute.

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 493+ hours (of 1000 hours)
The weather has been beautiful and quite warm, like almost a little too warm for that sweatshirt and flip flop fall weather. We've been able to make the most of it with outdoor events (parties, races, football games) and grabbing a few extra hours afterschool while the kids run out energy and I clean up outside or read my book.

Reading and finishing Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld and getting a little bit of Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott in before my next book for my local book club arrived, George Saunders The Tenth of December (short stories) and really loving it.

Volunteering as a family at the kids' PTA color run.  We manned the Yellow station and had a blast spraying runners (and each other) during the race. Cheering on runners is one of my favorite happiness activities (seriously makes me joyful!) and being able to do that while volunteer with our whole crew was a lot of fun.

Celebrating our three year old Violet Mary girl. I did so little prep for her party that I found myself only six days prior to party date texting our family and friends a picture invitation. Then, from the incredible beauty that comes from holding your hand outstretched and letting people help you, everyone pitched in to make the birthday party a wild success. Our Uncle Dave and Aunt Cindy showed up with one of their horses, Dawn, and gave pony rides. Our cousin Tausha came with giant blow up waterslide which was perfect for the 85+ degree weather that day. Uncle Matt and Aunt Lisa lugged their tractor wagon out painted up with Violet's name so that we could do hay rides around the yard. It was honestly amazing. Violet had a great time and won't stop talking about Dawn the horse who came to her birthday party. Thank you so much everyone for loving our Vially girl.

Attempting to manage the regular madness around here. Most days we're running on survival mode and doing whatever it takes to check as many boxes as possible. Like babies in the bath and big kids doing homework on the bathroom floor. Or 1:30am night runs to the gas station to fill up Sheila for the next day because a restless Rusty could use the ride to help him fall asleep anyway.  Laundry, dear Lawd, the laundry, sits clean and wrinkled for days at a time (but they got cleaned, right?) Friday nights have been our mad dash to get the house in some sort of order, because then our weekends are loaded with fun and important activities too. Whew, I know it's a season of life, but it's a wild one for now.  We're just hanging on to the handlebars, enjoying the wind in our hair, and pretending like we don't care that the brakes don't work.

Homecoming celebrating at both the school I teach and the school our kids attend. We had a big, awesome Hoco pep rally at our school where the awesome Elementary teachers did this huge, magical Disney skit with costumes.  The Elem kids were so excited and it had tears in my eyes to see how much teachers love and care about the joy of our students. Grey got to walk with the football players in our Hoco parade and the little kids were ecstatic to have candy hurled at their head the whole time. We spent some time at the Hoco game before it started downpouring and we slinked off to our friends' house to spend the evening hanging out and laughing.

Working on figuring out next steps for our Gemma Ro. Thank you all who responded and commented after my last post about worrying about Gem. I so appreciate all of your support, web links, love and advice. (xxoxo)  We are so deeply grateful to have Gemma's teacher, Mrs. Roman, on our team too. She is incredible and such a warrior for our Ro. She and I had a nice long neighborhood walk and chat (grateful also we live in the same neighborhood! hah!) about what she sees in class and what we see at home. We are both on the same page and are working on either end to get this figured out so that Gem can be successful in all ways. (thank you Mrs. Roman - you are truly the best!!)

Running in the Que Classic with Grey and the Stankans. Grey ran with the Stankans in the 5k and did amazing! He and Ivan ran the whole thing in under 28 minutes - they were third and fourth in their age group (14years and under)! I ran and finished the 10k as the slowest pace finisher (hah!) I cheered on all the runners I passed (my fav) and kept up my own snail pace (and proud of it) for the whole race. I got to meet and chat with my bike safety rider, Marlene, who was so encouraging and sweet. No training in two weeks prior and a sore throat contributed to how not fun it was, but I stayed my pace and finished which is what it's all about in the end.

Feeling fall in our bones as the trees change and our view on the mountaintop looks glorious. Archery season has arrived, which makes for a very happy husband and excited son. And we spent a beautiful day at my parents' house for the annual Fall Festivus party and I pulled the Halloween decor out and let the kids go at it all themselves (haha! Which made for some pretty hilarious placement - like a fully covered front door with taped homemade decorations). The kids were delighted to see our Halloween book collection again and we've been reading them on the daily. Our favorites are: 10 Trick or Treaters, 10 Timid Ghosts, Boo!, and Max's Halloween.

Footballin' with Grey's flag team. They are currently undefeated and such a great group of kids and teammates. They really watch out for each other (on and off the field) and work together so well. I know all the coaches and parents have been daydreaming about how great they'll be by the time they get to junior high together. It's really amazing to watch. Grey loves football season and is so happy to play and learn from his team and coaches. Sports are more than sports and for that, B and I have always been grateful.

Taking our truck to the shop for a major check up as the 'ole guy is slowly dying the deaths of well used, well loved vehicles. We are blessed with the generosity of our cousins Tausha and Aaron who lent us one of their vehicles in the mean time while we wait for Big Green to get mended (thank you!)...and while we search for a new truck on the side, because Big Green don't have many more miles left in him we fear. hah.

Getting into a great groove at school. I'm feeling much better and less stressed at school as (I think) I've figured out where all my different level students are in their Spanish learning. We are working on some really fun ideas with the Spanish Club for the year and my Spanish 3 Honors students have been studying different Hispanic-American celebrities throughout the last two weeks for Hispanic Heritage Month. I know the classroom is where I'm meant to be, so despite how much it brings more chaos into our life with two full-time working parents - it's still worth it because I'm doing what I'm meant to do.

Throwing a Cast Off Sleepover party for Grey and some of his friends. At the last minute (night before) we sent out a quick text to some friends to invite them to the party - and as always, I am overwhelmed with gratitude when parents show up with giddy kids to play and arms full of snacks and juice bags to add to our party. Six boys came to spend most of the evening (and then five slept over) while they played football, jumped on the trampoline, shot everything (and everyone) with nerf guns, and watched Rookie of the Year and played the wii. It was our first more-than-one-friend sleepover and it was a success! They were all finally asleep by 2:30a when I came down to check on them and were all back up again by 8:30a!

Making chicken and gravy over mashed potatoes, crockpot roast, chicken and gnocchi, spaghetti, burgers on the grill, and chicken and ranch wraps. three ingredient chocolate muffins, banana and cinnamon muffins