Around Here 27 and 28: 07/01-07/14

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

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




Intentional Outdoor Hours:  298+ hours (of 1000)
I'm up 56 hours from two weeks ago (averaging 4 hrs a day) which isn't terrible, although I'm still lagging behind my outdoor time at this point last year by about 34 hours (bleh). Full disclosure - I count time working in the garage as 'outdoor time' as I explained to our cousins the other weekend - "one of the walls is a door and it's open?!" hahha. I justify it because I am outside-ish, without screens and sweating and working - so whatever, I make my own rules up for this challenge! I got in a few walk alone and with the dogs these past two weeks (my Runkeeper app is acting weird - I actually just uninstalled it and will try to reinstall to see if that fixes it..?) We discovered a robin's nest in the 'rosary' bush next to our porch and it has four eggs in it! We've been checking on it daily; the kids are enthralled! Two little fawns have made our yard their favorite visiting spot (while the dogs are in the house) and have even tried to make friends with our chickens (who aren't interested in friendship with clumsy, silly fawns, hehhe). So now, our animal count at our house is: 2 dogs, 1 hamster, several fish, 10 chickens, 2 fawns, 1 skunk, a groundhog family, and 2 baby fox.  It's  regular zoo up here on our mountaintop.

Reading Walking to Listen by Andrew Forsthoefel while also starting The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah.  I loved The Nightingale so much - like, for real for real, one of the best books I've ever read - and I've heard great things about this one.

Borrowing books from the library and enjoying free kids' lunch there too. We met up with Aunt Kitty and snagged some great books before taking a little walk around downtown and eating some sweet treats from LambCakes. Some of our favorite books this time were: Chalk by Bill Thomson, A Tree is Nice by Janice May Udry, and Big Cat, Little Cat by Elisha Cooper.

Visiting Living Treasures Animal Park for some one on one time with our littlest babe while the three biggest kids spent the weekend in Ocean City, MD with Pappy and Gigi. Rusty loved feeding all the animals and we went later in the afternoon so there were hardly any other guests. Afterwards, we tried a new-to-us restaurant, Out of Fire Cafe, and liked it so much that we promised each other to come back just the two of us. The kids had a blast in Ocean City swimming until they were exhausted, a 5 mile bike ride, and jumping waves in the ocean. Thank you Pap & Gigi for braving the 5 hour drive one way with those three crazies...and also for not bringing home any hermit crabs! LOL

Finishing out the month of June with a weight gain, ugh. What a difference being home without a schedule and trying to eat well.  It's a lot easier not to snack all day when I'm at school teaching for eight hours. It was a good wake up call though to get my butt in gear to get back to tracking again on my WW app and to pay attention to my water intake and my steps. I know the difference it makes to just the way my body feels, so I'm determined to get back on the wagon.

Summertiming it with long nights and late mornings. The kids are rotating who sleeps downstairs on the couches and all four of them had a living room campout the other night. The kids started their own treehouse building project in the woods behind our house (it's weirdly yet impressively creative). We have three of four kids that can swim on their own! Violet is nearly fully swim-trained and has even mastered jumping off the dive and swimming on her own. She needs to work on stamina and breath holding, but the girl is like a real mermaid in the water - she looks so natural.  Rusty has even been practicing swimming without floaties, but that kid's big 'ole melon stops him from being able to fully surface (he's 97% in head circumference at his well check this week - HAH!)

Starting a huge, much needed garage project. We cleared out most of our belongings asking ourselves the question most adults ask anytime you deep clean: "How did we accumulate all this stuff?!" and started dry-locking the walls after power washing the whole place. Then we used the Rock Solid supplies to etch the floor and apply an epoxy to keep the floors sealed, clean, and pretty.  It looks so much better that despite the huge undertaking it is, we are glad to finally get it done right. We are only bringing back in things that we need and use. We still have the whole front garage to do, but slow and steady wins the race, right?

Kayaking at the Que two weekends ago with our Gilmore cousins. Grey took to kayaking like a pro and of the six hours we spent at the dam, Grey was kayaking for five and a half of them! Ray and Lisa had a youth kayak and Gemma and Violet were able (and loved) taking it out all on their own. I got to cross an item off my 100 small things list while I spent much of the day on the paddleboard carting kids around to jump off and tip over on purpose (hah). Rusty took a peaceful nap on my lap in a kayak and the other three kids had such a blast, we are seriously considering getting family kayaks instead of family bikes (!).

Celebrating the fourth of July with swimming, sparklers, and some fireworks.

Preparing for fall sports at the football and cheerleading equipment handout. Grey could not be more excited about moving to the minors tackle league (he is certifiably obsessed with his pads, hah!)and likewise, Gemma can hardly wait to don that cheer uniform and carry her pom poms around. #lawdhelpme My sister and I are coaching Gem's flag cheer squad and Brandon is on as head coach for Grey's minor team along with some awesome assistant coaches (thanks for being at equipment handout Coach Huffman and Coach Dail!) And then we closed out the baseball season with the end of year picnic!

Spending time with family and friends and leaning into their love, patience, and support. We all loved spending time with our Gilmore cousins at the Que and then Brandon and I went out to try Stonebridge Brewery with Ray, Lisa, and Butter that night and had a late late dinner at Tollgate. The kids and I made a trip out to Friendship Village to spend the afternoon with the Stankan crew. Brandon and Uncle Juice made a day of dive bar hopping and then met up with us at my parents' house for a cookout and fire. Grey got to have a fun day with Heather and Caleb at the trampoline park and blueberry picking and they brought home the most delicious donuts from Peace, Love, and Little Donuts (thank you for those and the blueberries and the crockpot roast!!) Thank you to all of you that have reached out to us with your love and positive thoughts - we are still not ready to have everything out in the open, but to all you Prayer Warriors out there, please keep our family on your list.

Making Church picnic chicken and grilled veggies, buffalo chicken mac & cheese, kielbasa and pierogies, shredded ranch and cream cheese chicken sandwiches (aka 'crack chicken'), and spaghetti.  For breakfast we had fruity pebble muffins and blueberry waffles (with fresh blueberries!).

Around Here Week 26: 06/24-06/30

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

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




Intentional Outdoor Hours: 242+ hours (of 1000)
Up 21 hours this week, we had some perfect summer days here (high 70s and a nice breeze) that made us all so happy to have the windows open and the curtains billowed up. We visited the high school parking lot twice this week to ride bikes and scooters! By the end of the week, the weather had cranked up to crazy hot and humid. I even surrendered my summer fight and we turned on the central air.

Reading and finishing my local book club choice, The Woman in the Window by AJ Finn. It was a perfect mystery for summer but had my dreams all a little distorted and weird (hah). If you liked Girl on a Train or Gone Girl, it was similar to that - little reveals of the whole story throughout so you aren't ever quite sure of what is really happening or true. I liked it! I've also been making my way slowly through Walking to Listen by Andrew Forsthoefel, I love me a goal driven quest memoir. My bff Kate surprised me with a beautiful book of empowering women poetry, Stripped by Cara Alwill Leyba and I gulped down half the poems in about a half hour one morning, sending poems to my sisters. (thank you Kate for the book and the inscription xxxo). Grey is finishing The Last Firehawk The Ember Stone (and now I have books 2 and 3 in the series in my amazon cart, because when you have a reluctant reader who gets excited about characters and a story you buy.all.the.books immediately #momprobs)

Celebrating our two boys with a belated double birthday pool party at Pappy and Gigi's house. It was a crazy weather day (sunny, torrential downpour raining, wind gusts, and then sunny again!) but the company was the best, we had delicious food, and a lot of smiling and laughing.

Summertiming in all the best ways - knocking off big ticket projects from our giant list on the fridge slowly but deliberately. The kids have been really good with their chore charts and other helpful tasks like weeding our garden this week (we all hate it). We've been staying up late, sleeping in long, and trying to enjoy the freedom of no schedule.

Potty training the RustMan and hardly hating it. Rust has been our easiest to potty train so far and I've even ventured out in public (by accident) without any diapers because he's been so good about letting us know when he has to go. Thank goodness we have no neighbors because this child spends about 80% of his day with no bottoms

Taking the dogs to the vet which is always a spectacle. I only had three kids that day (Gem had a sleepover with Kitty) so our vet trip was a teeny bit easier, but still. Me, the two dogs (overly excited and 90+ lbs each), Grey, Violet, and RustMan with underpants on. Both dogs AND Rust all peed in the parking lot while we were waiting for our appointment time (LOL) but everything looked good and the dogs are all up to date on vaccinations. Oh gosh, it makes me tired to even remember this day.

12 Month of Kindness task finishing for June by dropping off donations at the Humane Society and spending some time with the pups and kitties with no families. Poor Gemmi and her big heart wanted to take home all the pets (or at least one cat and one dog, momma!) and cried the whole way home thinking about the animals in the cages with no families and no one to play with them and snuggle them all day. Gem is going to have an exciting little giveaway coming up in the next week or so about channeling all her love for the animals in shelters - so stay tuned!

Enjoying Violet and Greyson's bedroom floor sleepovers; the two of them had three bedroom floor 'campouts' in the boys' room this week with sleeping bags and all. I feel so grateful to see their little friendships develop and see how each of them relate to each other. We call Grey and Violet our 'wild skips' because they so cray all the time (and they skip in kid birth order; Gem and Rust are our 'sweet skips')

Date nighting / Sister time / Beer Olympic brainstorming at Tulune's Steak & Alehouse Drinking for a Cause event. We had yummy food, interesting beer tastes, and an intro to a new-to-us local restaurant. I even got to spend time chatting with a teacher coworker (hi Renee!) which made me so happy and get excited about the new school year (just a little, hah, still very grateful for summer).  thank you to Miss Hannah for coming to the rescue last minute as always to babysit!

Playdating it at the Quemahoming Dam with the FioderCrew. We got a beautiful day to spend with our favorite friends - swimming in the dam, building our own sand dams (#meta), playing on the playground, and fishing (Grey). It is always refreshing to spend the day refilling my soul cup chatting with Kate and we crossed another No bummer summer trip off our list!

Relishing a kid-free two days (!!) Pappy and Gigi took the three biggest kids to Ocean City, MD for the weekend (ocean wave jumping, hotel pool swimming, boardwalk bike riding!) while Abba and Chum had a sleepover with Rust Man (visiting Buttermilk Falls, spending time with his aunts, getting spoiled with attention). While the kids were away, we laid on the couch and watched movies during the very hot afternoon and didn't feel an ounce of guilt about it (HAH) and then took the dogs for a long walk which they loved followed up by a super late dinner at Tap814 Speakeasy(I fell asleep on the way home #classicparentdate )

Making a lot of creative dinners with left-over birthday party fried chicken (homemade chikfila sandwiches, chicken salads, chicken wraps), spaghetti,  and B made our favorite old bay shrimp.