Around Here Week 52: December 23-30

Monday, December 31, 2018

A glimpse into what it is like to live in our home this last week of 2018.

Intentional Hours Outdoors: 529 hours and 23 minutes (of 1000) - FINAL CALL
Racking up another 3 final hours for the year with some dog walks with the kids when the sun came out for a few days. I beat my last year's count by over 6 hours so I'm patting myself on the back - especially considering the weather we had this year (I think it didn't rain maybe only 5 days this whole year - waaaah). Onward with my goal though, I will keep trying until I finally get there. It is so important to me to stay intentional about my outdoor time because it cleanses my soul.

Reading and finishing Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman. I dug back into the book I've been inching my way through all year long - Walking to Listen by Andrew Forsthoefel  I won't finish it until next year (haha) so I'm calling my final book count for the year at 22 books!

Christmas'ing with everyone we love.
Mimi's Christmas on 12/23 at her house with all our Studer cousins. We ate delicious foods, opened all the presents from Mimi (she' can't help herself but spoiling her 4 grandkids and 10 great grandkids! and then instead of exchanging gifts between all the kids - cousin Tausha organized the saran wrap ball game for the little kids and big kids. They were cracking up and having a blast (games instead of gifts are the best! Spread the word!) We got Mimi a year subscription to Neveo which is a very cool app that hooks all the cousins/aunts up on their phone and we add photos to it all month and then Mimi receives a printed 'newspaper' style booklet of all her grandkids & greats photos. She doesn't use social media so this allows her not to miss any of the photos we snap daily!
Christmas Eve meant mass at church followed by dinner at our house with my parents and Aunt Kitty. The kids did all their traditional Christmas eve activities: choosing cookies for Santa, leaving Reindeer food in the yard, putting Santa's magic key on the door since we don't have a fireplace, opening their matching jammies, and kissing Marco goodbye until next year. Kitty stayed late helping a sleepy momma elf (!!) while Daddy elf put together all the things (ie. dollhouse, bookshelves, piano stand). We finished after Kitty left at about 2:15am! pretty good time, considering.
Christmas Day my amateur kids didn't even wake up until 7:30a and then it was gifts and favorite snacks for breakfast (Santa brings everyone's favorite foods to the stockings - chocolate donuts for Grey, Sunchips for Gemma, Fruit Snacks for Vially, and Doritos for RustMan). Then we got dressed to spend the afternoon with Gigi and Pappy at their house. We had no gifts except the best gift of all which was a good day of health and joy. After Pap & Gigi's we headed over to celebrate with our Adams family cousins at Aunt Dar's house where we played our annual white elephant left-right pass game which is always a hit. We called it a day afterwards because #holidayexhaustion
Uncle Juice came for a Christmas visit where he showed up like Santa with arms full of huge gifts for these kids he spoils the heck out of. A hoverboard each for the three biggest and a scooter for the Rust man to all of their delights! It's been nonstop hoverboarding over here ever since!

Having a Sleepover Day! Rusty and Violet had a sleepover with Abba, Chum, and Aunt Kitty on the same day that Gemma had a sleepover at Sophia's house and cousin Caleb slept over our house with Greyson! I got to meet halfway in Ebensburg to exchange Gem with Soph and Kate and we had a girls' dinner where we giggled and chatted and enjoyed delicious food - only to return to a house of dudes that were wrestling while on the hoverboards.  HAH. It was such a fun day for all the kids and a nice way to break up the constant family time during winter break. We all needed a little time away from each other.

Relaxing over winter break. We were lazy all the days. We let the kids sleep in the living room, we all slept in (most days past 9am!) and did chores when we felt like and didn't when we didn't feel like it. The kids were all good at helping too and pitched in with the chickens, laundry, vacuuming, and dishes. What a relief in motherhood it is to be able to tell Grey, Gemma, and Violet to "go switch the laundry" and they just go do it while I tackle another chore! (switch the laundry means washer to dryer, etc) Mothers of toddlers - hang in there! Someday you'll have helpers! It has been so nice to all be home together - B doesn't work during break either, but he did have basketball - We really needed this little family huddle to regroup and get snuggled up again.

Ordering in Sushi and watching a movie just B and I on Saturday night when my sisters took all four kids to the movies to see Into the Spiderverse for their Christmas gift. (experience gifts are the best gifts! Spread the word!) The kids l.o.v.e.d. the movie and spending time with their aunts (thank you Kitty and Uch!) B and I watched Life Itself on Prime and sheesh, that was not what we were expecting, but also kind of  great too after the initial shock of it all.

Reflecting and looking forward to the new year. I went back through my 100 small things list for 2018 and finished up some last minute tasks like taking photos of Violet (and Gem) in my wedding gown and some other small ones. I did pretty good on my list, but gosh, 2018 was a tough one on my soul and heart. I spent quite a bit of time being mad and frustrated. Most of the time with things that are completely out of my control. I have been slowly working on my 2019 100 small things list with an intense focus on the Mother Teresa quotation - "If you want to change the world, go home and love your family." This is the way I must move forward because I cannot go into 2019 with a hardened heart, I want to be joyful and intentional and full of gratitude.

Teaching just my own children because we're on winter break, baby! I do have a ton of grading though to catch up on and Greyson, Gemma, and cousin Gracie were kind enough to check the worksheet papers for me. Gemma and I learned together about piano warm-up exercises that she can do before she starts practicing her little song book (thank you youtube). Violet got a preschool workbook from Santa which she is thrilled about, so she and I have been working through patterns and numbers and letters for the past few days. She also started working on her acrylic on canvas painting techniques!

Making chocolate covered pretzels and one more batch of pretzel/hershey kiss/m&m delights to finish out our Christmas cookie collection. We had slow cooker cream cheese taquitos, ham pot pie (thank you Chum!) and lots of egg sandwiches. We ate like kings for Christmas - a huge buffet of every traditional Christmas food at Mimi's Christmas (ham! chicken! pierogies! kielbasa! nut & poppy seed roll! Gemma ate her weight in pizzelles!) We had crispy shrimp alfredo pasta on Christmas eve at our house, egg sausage and ham casseroles for Christmas day brunch at Gigi & Pappy's house, and a delicious potluck early dinner at Aunt Dar's house on Christmas day (ham! Abba's enchiladas! cousin Janell's salad! Aunt Dar's cheesy potatoes!) We were so full of good eats that by the time the Steeler game rolled around, we enjoyed 'football food' of buffalo chicken crescent ring and pizza dip with chips.

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