Around Here Week 46: 11/11-11/17

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

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

Intentional Outdoor Hours:  523+ hours (of 1000)
We finally got to rake up a big pile of leaves for the kids on Sunday when it wasn't too cold (or rainy). And then the storm came to town and dumped snow and rain on us for two solid days. The kids got out for many hours sled riding and playing around in the snow, but I stayed indoors #lame.

Reading Juntos by Ally Condie (the Spanish version of her book Matched). I also spent three hours of my snow day taking the Practice Spanish Praxis test finally. I have had so much test anxiety building up about this that I had nearly scared myself out of even taking the practice test (!?) It was so much better that I did though - even just to get a feel for the format. I also realized that 11 years out of school has weakened my test taking stamina something fierce. I feel better about knowing some things I should polish up on before the test and have a plan in place now. Thanks to B for keeping the kids away from me - in the same house!- for three hours (that's a feat!)

Thinking about and feeling grateful for all the servicemen and women that we know and love on Veteran's Day. I had the babies paint paper plates like poppy flowers while Grey read to the kids from one of our Veteran's day books.

Feeling worried and then getting better news. Please continue to keep our family in your prayers as the next month or two will be challenging. My students were very thoughtful and surprised me with this posterboard sized 'thinking of you' card signed by them and staff members. We all feel stronger to be surrounded by positive vibes and prayers. (thank you!!)

Chopping Rusty's bangs one morning completely thoughtlessly and then laughing hysterically for 2 whole minutes because the second I let his hair go, they zinged right up super short and all jagged. o.mi.gosh. it was hilarious (and so carelessly dumb). He still looks cute as heck, but I can't stop giggling when I think about doing that - what in the world did I think was going to happen ?!

Researching about cold weather chickens as we get our girls ready for the colder months. We bought an extra waterer so that we can swap them out between morning and night because our biggest issue (as is all winter chicken owners understand) is that their water freezes. We've been collecting eggs more frequently, switching out their water, and leaving the door open so that they can decide if they want to venture out or not (they usually do!)

Kissing Coach Daddy a metaphorical goodbye kiss as the varsity basketball season officially started on Friday. He had his first Midnight Madness basketball sleepover camp this year and it went great.  #seeyainFebruarybabe

Being okay with videogames since it meant 'family time' while Grey played Fortnite squads with our cousin Adam over the Xbox and headsets. Adam is a year older than me and I had to tell the both of them (my son and my older cousin) when it was time for an Xbox break (hahah). Grey had a great time though and thinks that Adam is basically the coolest dude ever and learned firsthand how much more fun it is to play with a friend who has your back.

Teaching only three half days this week as we had a snow/ice day and a two hour delay on Friday! Spanish 1 reviewed complete sentences using the verb Ser and go school subject vocab words. Spanish 1 Honors started reading Capibara con Botas chapters 1-4. We played the write-draw-pass game which is always a favorite. I say, "Some of us are artists...and some of us have other talents" #jaja Spanish 2 started the Somos 5 Unit and got some Bullfighting vocab words while Spanish 2 Honors worked all week on their short Spanish spooky stories with their partners. I held mini-consultations with them and it gave me an opportunity to make sure they had a cohesive plot and used vocab and verbs that we have learned. Spanish 3 continued their Imperfecto verb learning with more personal interviews.

Making 3 ingredient pumpkin/chocolate muffins for a snack on the snow day and then blueberry muffins for breakfast on Saturday. I made chicken and gravy over mashed potatoes, tomato soup & grilled cheese sandwiches, crescent wrapped hot dogs, and easy hashbrown potato and cheese soup with 4 ingredient cheddar beer bread (so yum and so easy!)

Around Here Week 45: 11/04-11/10

Monday, November 12, 2018

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

photo cred: Gemma Rose

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 521+ hours (of 1000)
We got out for a few walks, but other that, it's been pretty cold and wet around here. Also, daylight savings time has taken us all for a loop this week. I love the sun up when I am leaving for work in the morning - it has done wonders for helping me get moving in the morning, but it is pitch dark around here by about 5:45p. The kids run outside as soon as they get home and only get about an hour outside before it's getting dark (or they're too cold). Grey was like "What is going on, Mom - it's not even 6:30p and it looks like the middle of the night!" Only up a little more than one hour this week!

Reading and finishing The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Then I started reading Juntos because my Spanish Praxis is coming up this month and I'm seriously starting to sweat with test anxiety. eek! send good thoughts please.

Watching Grey participate at church as an altar server for the first time. He was pretty nervous but he had some great 'teachers' in Jeremy and Julian (long time altar servers). He said it definitely made church go faster and he'd like to do it every week. (hah).

Panicking over our first ever scare with lice nits. We got the call from daycare this week that it was going around and that Violet had a few nits in her hair. Obviously, I became immediately itchy myself (hahhaa, I know you're scratching your head right now too!) and quickly spiraled into crazy momma land of clean.and.kill.all.the.things. I meticulously searched through my family's heads and thought that maybe (?) Gemma had a few nits too (did she? did my eyes start crossing and I imagined it?) so I treated Violet, Gemma, and myself just to be sure. All the boys looked perfectly fine - which made sense to me; if anyone is snuggled up too close; it's us three girls. Then it was throwing all.the.things in the wash (bedsheets, stuffed animals, etc), and lint rolling carseats and couches, and putting brushes and hair ties in the freezer...ya know, all things I definitely had time and energy to add to my chore list. LOL. In any case, we've moved on from that little scare all clear and fine - but even just writing about it, I'm itchy again.  waaaah. #liceparanoiaforever

Opening an art instagram account for our resident artist: Violet Mary. I have been repeating that she's a real live artist since the girl could hold a paintbrush/crayon - I've even taken in some of her pieces to show our high school art teacher (haha, #crazymomma)  Each day she comes home from preschool with these crayon drawings, but one this week really blew me away with the movement and the intentional choices. Like, I screamed aloud. So I opened an account for her and I've been daydreaming about her someday running it herself and sharing her creations. I want to support her but it feels like it's bigger than me. I will keep encouraging and sharing and try to learn more about art.

High fiving our kids for good report cards. They both did good and Grey worked hard enough this second half of the marking period to pull all his grades up to make the honor roll. He was so relieved (no more xbox ban!) but also commented that he understood how much work it took to dig out of that whole of bad grades. Let's hope it sticks so he just keeps 'em up from the start!

Serving breakfast for our local veteran's at my school's annual Veteran's day breakfast and assembly. The elementary school kids made adorable and thoughtful placements and posters while our high school student council helped volunteer - but it is our teaching staff that does all the donations, cooking, and serving. I loved walking around filling coffee cups and chatting up the veteran's who come from the community or who are long ago alumni of our high school.  Our chickens even helped prepare for the breakfast; I washed 5 dozen eggs and gave our home ec department another 4 dozen to wash for the morning #chickenswhogiveback (LOL)

Feeling grateful to nature as B got his buck for archery season. He scored an eight point on a very cold and windy morning and then about a half mile of dragging it out of the woods uphill. He was grateful to get it done so that now he can just take Grey for rifle season (Grey was pretty pumped about that too, hah). I'm pretty happy to have a stocked freezer now, as we were fresh out of deer meat.

Giving the kids a little special time. The sweet skips (Gem & Rust) got a sleepover at Abba & Chum's house on Friday night while the wild skips (Booboo & Vially) got to choose a friend and went to the Tomahawk Hockey game on Saturday night with their momma.

Teaching and reviewing everything from Unit 2 with the Spanish 1 students and giving them their Unit Test this week. Spanish 1 Honors learned all about Ecuador and capybaras to prepare for their first Spanish novel: El Capibara con Botas. Spanish 2 finally got their day of the dead catch up by watching Coco and reading some comprehensible input in a Coco article. Spanish 2 Honors learned more about writing their own Spanish spooky stories (next week!) while Spanish 3 Honors dipped their first two into Spanish past tense (!) I'm starting with Imperfect tense (is that weird?) and we'll go from there. I'm using Mis Clases Locas Super 7 Imperfect verb unit and we're doing personal interviews. We also announced our painted calavera winner from our collaboration unit and it was an art student: Scotty!

Making chicken and vegetable casserole, chicken and fries for the kids, flatbread pizza, and chicken wings in the air fryer. For the first part of the week, Brandon and I were doing that wacky 3 day 'military diet' detox which basically is meant to starve your self while eating really weird combinations of foods. It was mostly an experimental effort to remind ourselves to be conscious while eating (hah) and be more intentional as we move into the holiday season. Over the three days, I lost a little over 4lbs and B lost about 8lbs. Moving forward we're going to try to make better choices and just be aware to keep us from snack, snack, snacking all day on this Halloween candy.

Around Here Week 44: 10/29-11/03

Saturday, November 10, 2018

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

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 520+ hours (of 1000)
Snagged some outdoor time this week walking the dogs and trick or treating on Halloween night to acquire another two hours my count.

Reading The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and watching the movie trailer a million times. It is all just so so good.

Suffering through a little bit of bedtime struggles with the RustMan who has not been able to settle his body. He tosses and turns and whines and wants to sit in our laps for far too long which has been exhausting. I know it's just a phase and he's our baby, so we're being terrible parents and humoring him through it until he falls asleep. #fourthkidperks

Getting in that spooky spirit for Halloween by carving and painting our pumpkins and then trick or treating on Halloween night with the kiddos and our cousins. It was a wet and cold night, but the kids toughed it out and scored another round of candy. Then we house hopped to visit with friends who were celebrating Halloween and finally peeled kids out of their soggy costumes and into jammies around 10p that night! The kids all celebrated at school with their Halloween parties and parades - including a round of TorT'ing at the preschool. So if you're keeping track that's TorT'ing with my parents, with us, and preschool party equals three separate candy booty hauls. #Goodgrief we have about 20 lbs. of candy on our counter. I did sort out all the kinds that aren't our favorites and packed it away for my classroom as Classroom game prizes (#yourewelcomestudents ) and we sorted out all the mini packs of M&Ms to save for a future batch of monster cookies. Shout out to all the mommas and daddas out there who spent this week packing up&labeling costumes, and buying snacks and supplies for the school parties, or standing in the cold for the 10minute long parade. I love the holidays, but holy moly, they are exhausting. Bless you Homeroom Moms, Dads, and teachers!

Cherishing Gemma's sweet, thoughtful heart. I was flustered the other afternoon between chores, and grading, and kids making messes, and the loudness of it all - so I grabbed my book and barricaded myself in the bathroom for a half hour (haha, classic mom move) and Gemma wrote me a little note and left a kit kat outside the door for me. Gosh, that girl - I don't deserve her.

Celebrating on Saturday with a birthday party for one of Grey's friends (happy bday Halen!) and then Fall Festivus at my parents' house later that evening. We also changed over all of our decorations on Saturday - taking down the Halloween stuff and hanging our Thanksgiving items like our Thanskgiving/Veteran's Day book stash - including these favorites:  Veterans Heroes in our Neighborhood, This is the Turkey, and Who Will Carve the Turkey this Thanksgiving?

Teaching all about el día de los muertos to all of my classes (with the exception of Spanish 2 who was finishing up Capibara con botas and taking their book final - don't worry, they'll catch up on day of the dead next week). We colored calaveras, we learned about la ofrenda, and we watched The Book of Life (Spanish 1) and Coco (Spanish 2 Honors & Spanish 3 Honors). On Friday, we had a huge Día de los Muertos food day fiesta and all the students brought in their own creations to share with their classmates. It was awesome to see the participation and all of their creative twists on food and desserts. It was a fun (and hectic) school day followed by a fun (and hectic) evening since my Spanish Club also put on a school dance that night in the gym. We had a great turn out and so much help and support from our staff members who chaperoned & DJ'ed (thank you!!) and students and their families.

Making egg & sausage casserole for dinner, mummy hot dogs, and chowing down on Marianna's subs and pizzas (bonus of being a teacher - constant access to my students' fundraisers, hah). I also made pumpkin roll for Brandon's office Halloween luncheon.

Around Here Week 43: 10/21-10/28

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

Intentional Outdoor Hours:  518+ hours (of 1000)
Up only 3 hours this week; sheesh, I have really pumped the breaks on my intentional outdoor hours these past few weeks. Its hard to say if it's trying to squeeze work, kids, and chores into a single 24 hours or the chilly/wet weather - but I have not been doing so well. We did snag some hours outdoors on our mini getaway though and it was great to have the wide open wilderness and that fresh air in our lungs. 

Reading The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas for our book club choice. It is beautifully and honestly written. I am enjoying it but also taking my time as I have to take breaks to reflect and digest. I am so grateful for incredible YA authors who give these great stories to our young people (and for all of us). I can't wait to see the movie after I read it. 

Singing Happy Birthday to Daddy to celebrate him. We hung out at home watching the Steelers play and had a visit from my parents while the big kids had a swap play day with their favorite bro&sister duo Rocco & Gina. Then Gigi and Pappy came over for dinner to celebrate B and we had a spaghetti feast with cheesecake and candles. Daddy's favorites! We are so lucky he is ours. 

Adding to our Halloween decorations with the kids' school creations. I am not a huge decorator for the holidays besides a few little trinkets and holiday themed dishtowels. I do have two exceptions though for the holiday which is hanging up kid artwork and children's books. Some of our favorite Halloween kids' books include: Ten Timid Ghosts, Boo!, and new for us this year: Zombie in Love. 

Cherishing some Honey(10yr)moon time together in the Adirondacks, NY. My sisters dropped off the sweetest roadtrip survival kit for us and then we drove up early afternoon on Thursday (after cleaning the whole house while kids were at school #parenthood) and took the no-highway drive with old school printed google maps. We listened to the entire Dirty John Podcast and pulled into our airbnb cabin right on Beaver Lake around 8pm. The cabin was perfection with a wood burning fireplace and the most gorgeous panoramic views of the lake and the changing leaves. It was total bliss. We got in a solid day of sunny (but cold!) weather for a day of hiking, visited Bolton's Landing for dinner and the brewery, kayaked on the lake in the snow (hah!), watched nearly the entire season of Haunting of Hill House while it was freezing rain outside but the fire kept it cozy inside, and got a lot of reading (and catching up on sleep) done. We were sad to leave the tidy, quiet, restful weekend - but also weirdly missing our regularly programmed messy, loud, chaotic life. So back south we headed on Sunday, with a stop in Albany for brunch. 

Missing the kiddos while we were away, but also knowing they were having so much fun without us. My sister Kitty had the big task of after school backpack unpacking and snack making. Then she hauled them all to my parents' house for trick-or-treat night (#superaunt !) For the rest of the weekend, Gem, Vi, and Rust stayed with my mum & sisters and even had a night with their favorite babysitter Miss Hannah too. Grey spent the weekend away with the dudes (hah) in Erie steelhead fishing with my Dad, Kevin, and a bunch of cousins and friends. (thank you all so much for taking care of our babies so we could sneak away for a few days!)

Teaching pronouns and ser (to be) to Spanish 1, my Spanish 1 Honors kids worked on Martina Bex Somos Unit 3 Cierra La Puerta and one of my Spanish 1 Honors classes got to collaborate with an art class to paint 3D printed calavera skulls for día de los muertos. They turned out so awesome and it was super fun to collab with our art teacher. The Spanish 2 kids were finishing el Capibara con botas, and  Spanish 2 Honors learned about El Cucuy. Spanish 3 Honors finished Esperanza and started their final projects on Voki

Making bacon, egg, and cheese burritos for dinner, chicken and rice taco bowls, spaghetti with meat sauce and salads for Daddy's birthday dinner, and crockpot Hawaiian meatballs. I also whipped up a catch of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies which we gifted some to our bus driver :)