Around Here Weeks 8 and 9: 02/19-03/03

Sunday, March 4, 2018

A glimpse into what it is like to live in our home right now.

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 7+ hours (of 1000)
I racked up another three plus hours these past two weeks with some warmish, sunny days sprinkled in there. I took the kids to the high school parking lot on Gemma's birthday for some bike-riding and rollerblading (one of their fav after school activities!) and we stayed until the moon was pretty high in the sky! B met me for a few laps around the track during lunch, Rust and I took the dogs for a long walk, and I carted the kids to the playground for an hour on a sunny (but actually pretty cold) afternoon. The weather has continued to be totally wacky. We had rain, snow, and then extreme wind that warranted a canceled school day for the big kids and a 2hr delay for me. It has been really frustrating as I'm never quite sure to what extreme the weather is going to be, but I'm trying to take the nice days with as much gratitude as possible and believe I will do better come nicer, consistent weather days to come.  (as a side note - at this time last year, I had over 23 hours of outdoor time clocked already!! ugh.)

Reading The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah - the writing is so beautiful I have to pause occasionally just to reread the sentence and savor the words for a minute more. I read through and got plans organized for my Spanish2 Honors novel, Brandon Brown Quiere un Perro which they start this week coming up and my Spanish 2 has already started El Capibara con botas and they're delight and surprise about how they have been able to understand it has been a real treat. We did a write, draw, pass exercise last week for Chapters 1 and 2 and everyone was laughing and engaged which is always a nerdy teachers treat :)

Celebrating our six year old Gemmi Rose. This girl has always been so grown from the very beginning of her life and it does not appear to be a trait that is fading anytime soon. Gigi, Pappy, Uch, and Kevin all had school birthday lunch with her and even Grey sneaked away from his class to be there for his sister at lunch too. We sang at home for breakfast and dinner and measured her in our kitchen doorway (she's as tall as Grey when he was six and a half!) Then on Friday, she chose to have sleepover with four best friends (all of whom are 2-3 years older than her). Gemma's showing love language is Gift giving, so we put together little gift bags for her friends including a stuffed animal kitten and a sleep mask which she was so proud to hand out. No one was more thrilled to come to the sleepover birthday party then her little sis Violet! The girls played 'spin the nail polish bottle' and painted all their fingers and toes, danced the night away on Just Dance, and did lots of giggling. It was a fantastic party and we are so grateful that Gem has these incredible girlfriends in her life already who are so sweet, caring, patient, and thoughtful.

Cheering on our cheerleader at her first competition. My mum drove out to Slippery Rock with me, Gem, and the babies for the day (thank you!) while B and Grey stayed home for baseball practice. Pappy and Gigi drove up to watch too and we all hung out and kept the babies occupied through the long wait until Gems' routine (where my #cheermoms at?) Gemma did awesome and fought through her nervous butterflies all by herself. She said, "I was about to cry before we went out but I held it in and did it!" I was so proud of her and she was proud of herself for a big win after long months of working so hard in school to see her excel in something her body seems built for.

Tolerating Rusty's attempts to potty train himself these past two weeks. He's only 20 months so it's one part amazing that he's been actually successful at going on the potty but one part incredibly exhausting as he's constantly removing his own pants and diaper and just peeing wherever he is if he can't get to us fast enough. I have done so many crib sheets these past two weeks as he is daily removing his diaper while in bed. He has by far won the title of "latest talker" in our family and still probably only has a solid 10-15 comprehensible words down. Who needs to talk when you have three older siblings who are more than capable of reading your sound effects and doing (ahem, big siblings- not helping). But little by little he's adding more communicative stuff (gestures, sign language, sounds, words) to his repertoire. He can certainly get his little point across when he wants to. Also doesn't hurt that his little smile and curls melt everyone into a puddle of mush - so that child is going to be the one that finally undoes me.

Visiting with our cousins Adam and Lea who are back in the states after three years in Abu Dhabi! It was such a nice evening catching up and laughing with them. The kids were so thrilled to have them over and kept telling Brandon and I to stop talking so much that it was their turn to play with them (ha!)

Failing to take care of myself again so I got sick and had to call off of work. I'm very bad at this managing one's own needs thing. I could feel it coming on - the overwhelming feeling that I had late last year and so although I still got sick this time - I did take notice at the first moment and rested right away. I've definitely been easier on myself in the chores department - but I still try to give too much in all ways but to myself. I have it written on the top of my March month page in my planner, "You can't pour from an empty cup" in an attempt to give myself a daily reminder that I need self-love if I want to be the best for everyone else. I need to work on the guilt that I feel so strongly when it comes to self-love (guilt that I could be doing so many other things that would be more valuable - chores, spending time with the kids or B, school work, writing on the blog, anything for the various organizations I work with, etc), but I need to find a balance. I started weight watchers freestyle two weeks ago (loving it!) and ordered a new fitbit (such a list/goals/progress monitoring NERD!) B has also offered a day a week where he and the kids go away from the evening so I can just brainstorm, think, and do whatever I want uninterrupted (imagine?!). So baby steps, but still steps.

Enjoying a date evening with B at the NS boy's basketball game (my students won! on to state playoffs!) followed by dinner and drinks at a newish restaurant in town; TAP 814. It was so delicious and such a nice evening just the two of us. Thank you Ms Hannah for watching the kids on the shortest notice ever! (I messaged her at 3:30p and she was at our house with a smile for our babes by 4:30p - our very own Mary Poppins for real! We love you!)

Making all the cake box mix desserts because I've been so tired and lazy to properly make baked goods from scratch - but I've discovered that Brandon loves the cake mix base, so win! We had cake box mix chocolate chip cookies for Gemma's birthday party instead of a cake (she doesn't like icing), we had cake box mix sprinkle cookies when Adam and Lea visited (to accompany our order-in pizza for dinner) and then I whipped up some banana-cake box mix muffins (so good!) with four overripe bananas! For actual dinners, we've enjoyed Hawaiian meatballs over rice, Ranch breaded pork chops, slow-cooker Ritz cracker chicken, kielbasa and pierogies, Korean bbq ground turkey over rice, Ranch chicken tacos, slow cooker chili, and salt & pepper shrimp.

Reflecting, worrying, and praying. It is an emotional time to be a teacher (teaching always carries emotion with it as we worry, love, encourage, and support these kids who aren't actually ours, but somehow also are), but it has been particularly difficult these past few weeks with all that is happening and being discussed. Gemma and Grey had the I'm not Scared, I'm Prepared book read to them at school the other week. Their teachers messaged all parents to touch base with the kids again in case they had more questions. Gemma explained the book to me on the way home from school,
"So our teacher is the shepherd and we are the sheep. And if a wolf comes to school, she will tell us what to do. We have to stop, look, and listen. And maybe we will hide and we have to stay really quiet. Or we might have to go out of the school, but we have to make sure to hold Mikey's* hand so he stays with us." 
This is my six year old talking about active shooter training procedure. (*student's name changed)  I am so grateful that she understands the plan so well but so heartbroken that she and all students need to know of such a plan at all. Grey was more blunt with his description, "The wolf is someone who comes to school to shoot us with a gun."

Babies, I'm so sorry. So sorry that we as the generations before you have not done a better job at leaving this world for you. 

There's so much that needs to be fixed - there is no band-aid that will heal this open, gaping wound that teachers and schools are dealing with every single day (kids who are hungry, who are tired, who are worried, who are taking care of their addict parents, who need to see the doctor or dentist after years of neglect, who are raising younger siblings, who don't know how to process their feelings because of lack of connection and too much access to distraction, who struggle with depression or anxiety, who just need someone to look them in the face and remind them they exist). I have felt sort of un-tethered these past two weeks. In an effort to make a tiny step in a positive direction, I put up a bulletin board last week ("Throw Kindness around like confetti") and it's been slowly feeling up with compliments and sweet notes from students and teachers. Maybe all I have to give is love, kindness, encouragement, and enthusiasm - then by goodness, I'm going to show up every day with a smile on my face, a listening ear, and an enthusiasm for learning.  Basic humanity needs to be restored in so many of us - we need to be the kind of people we want other people to be. We can't sit back and wait for someone else to do the right and decent thing. We have to do better; each of us in every small way - it all adds up.

1 comment:

  1. Tabitha, I am so sorry you ran yourself into the ground sister-friend!! I hope you can continue finding a balance there. It is so hard! There's always a pulling in all directions on us mama's!
    I am dying that Rust is potty training himself! What a smarty-pants!
    I am reading The Nightingale right now, too!! I seriously CANNOT put it down! I started it Saturday and I'm already like 300 pages in. It's just SO good! I can't wait to talk about it with you when we're done!
    Sending you LOVE from the west coast!!!