Around Here: Week 42 10/13-10/19

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

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

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 668+ hours (of 1000)
Up only five hours this week but I did get in a walk with the dogs which we both really needed. It's hard now to get them out since it's hunting season, so Sunday has sort of become our long walk days. The kids are still anxiously awaiting for us to have enough leaves in the yard for a pile, but we just aren't there yet. The trees are looking awfully beautiful though and when the sun hits the mountain across the valley from us, it's really gorgeous.

Reading and finishing Born a Crime by Trevor Noah. I loved this book so much and keep recommending it to anyone who asks if I've read any good books lately. Its one part historically informative, one part funny, one part momma-inspiring, and one big part language focused which I loved a lot. Just so so good, I can't say enough about it. I started our next Books & Brews book club choice: Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate. And our ProjectLit group at school officially met to hand out our first book selection: Monster by Walter Dean Myers

Feeling uncomfortable in all my clothes...ya know mommas - not quite looking pregnant for sure but clothes are definitely not fitting right and everything feels bleh. yeah, I'm there at 14 weeks. I laughed aloud when my pregnancy app informed me that our baby is as big as a troll doll. So far, it is sucha a sweet babe though mostly allowing me to operate as usual. I had a regular check up on Wednesday and all is cooking along nicely in there. That butterfly wing heartbeat makes my soul sing.

Smiling and feeling so grateful for teachers that see all the good in kids and go the extra miles. Gemma's sweet teacher, Mrs. Digon, put together a little folder for her with so many copied worksheets for her to play school at home - which is Gem's favorite. She included a sweet note about how it used to be one of her favorite ways to play too. Gemma was joyful to the moon over her new 'teacher supplies' and I am so grateful that she finds so much happiness in the thing that is also so hard for her. Thank you teachers, all of you, for all the ways you help kids shine their brightest.

Organizing our second Teacher's potluck lunch on Thursday. We had a fall flavors theme (cinnamon, apples, chili powder, potatoes, etc). It was really delicious and I love getting to see the variety that everyone brings in. One of our teachers, Christy, also brought in her recipe for her cinnamon/sugar scones which I thought was such a great idea for a potluck!

Relying on Just Dance Youtube videos on chilly nights when the kids all need to get their wiggles out! We all got in on the dancing (and laughing) as we tried to copy the moves. If you don't know where to start, some of our favorites include "I'm Still Standing," "Waka Waka," "Pound the Alarm," and "Timber." You just search the title of the song with "Just Dance" on youtube and you are in for some hilarious fun!

Giving extra hugs and smooches to my handsome hubs for our 11th wedding anniversary. I had the outside of my classroom door ambushed with a bunch of anniversary wishes (haha, thanks Chad - very sneaky!) and we received so many sweet messages from our friends and family. Everyday is worth celebrating though when I'm married to that guy - so we keep it pretty lowkey otherwise.

Visiting the corn maze with the Fiores. We visited Vale Wood Farms this year which worked out nicely since Gemmi had a sleepover with Sophie the night before (thank you!) We wandered about the different areas, including the corn box (always a fav) and meandered through the corn maze. It was kind of lowkey, but we had beautiful weather and the kids had fun - so it was a win!

Zombie-watching at the You in Flood City Zombie Crawl downtown. My amazing little sis has been organizing this event for several years and there were over 280 zombies that came out to visit local bars. I took pictures (dressed as a zombie hunter) during the registration and then B and I got dinner at Wooly's - thank you for babysitting Miss Hannah!

Fall Sporting with 2 football practices and one final Path of the Pride cheer event to chaperone on Friday night. All three divisions were announced before the Varsity game for their undefeated seasons and I was able to hang and watch them game until after the second quarter and then I totally bailed because I was freeeeezing. I even caved and came home and turned on the heat (only to 65 but we were at 60 in the house when I got home!)...So our annual game of 'see-how-long-we-can-hold-out-on-the-heat' ended on 10/18 this year.

Teaching only 4 days this week because of a in-service on Monday. We had a really great keynote speaker though that I really enjoyed. Spanish 1 is still working through Capibara con Botas, including reader's theater with props (thank you to Ashley; my classroom fairy godmother) for Chapters 7&8 which had us all cracking up. Spanish 2 is half way through their novel Tumba and we did a to summarize chapters 5&6 and then did a free write with it. Spanish 2 Honors started their next novel, El Silbón de Venezuela and Spanish 3/4 Honors did some pre-work about the legend La Llorona.  I also got 1 of 4 of my formal observations done this week by my principal - so yay.

Making chicken cordon bleu pasta casserole, sloppy joes and potatoes in the air fryer, spaghetti for the kids and Claysburg stromboli for B and I (best fundraiser!)

Around Here Week 41: 10/06-10/12

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

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

Intentional Outdoor Hours:  663+ hours (of 1000)
Up 11 hours this week as we all soak up this October beauty. The trees are all switching over to their brilliant colors at different rates and the babies cannot wait until we get enough leaves in the yard to build a pile to jump in. The mornings are chilly and then the afternoons are gorgeous and then it cools off in the evenings - yeah, perfection.

Reading and finishing Children of Eden by Joey Graceffa which I borrowed from my student, Emily (thank you!). I also read This is Where it Ends by Marieke Nijkamp in 12 hours! And thank you to another of my students, Kalese, who let me borrow this one!

Singing happy half birthday to our nine and a half year old Greyson Booboo!

Meeting with Gemma's teachers and a team of other support staff to determine how we can all work together to get her to be successful in specifically Reading and Language Arts. I am so very grateful to have such incredible teachers that care so much about her and can see and recognize all the incredible things she can do while still supporting and encouraging her in the ways she struggles with language. (I love you, honestly). We are going to be working on some small ways to support her in the interim, while we wait for her evaluation that has been scheduled for November so we can figure out what it for sure going on.

Bringing home our new tractor - a zero turn! B is pumped and I'm thrilled to no longer have to deal with our other tractor that was seemingly busted every other week. (ughhhh) I haven't driven it yet and might not ever because I already feel like I'm going to go to fast and run over all of our chickens (!?)

Walking a contractor through our house and telling him about our hopes and dreams for expanding the kitchen/dining room to open it up to a great room. Big dreams over here, but we will see!

Fall Festivus celebrating at Abba & Chum's house. Violet and Rusty spent most of the day at their house eating good food and playing outside. Gemmi and I went over for a little while after the football games, but I was pretty tired and we headed home for a solid night's sleep.

Fall Sporting with our last two regular season games! We played Portage on Sunday and then Rockwood the following Saturday (both wins! undefeated seasons for all three divisions!) B and Grey had two football practices and the girls and I had our last practice with a little surprise from all the parents who supplied snacks for a little picnic. Always bittersweet to end the season, but I am looking forward to slower weeknights and weekends!

Teaching the novel El Capibara con Botas chapters 1-4 to Spanish 1, Spanish 2 started their novel Tumba Chapters 1-4, and Spanish 2 Honors learned about los llanos de Venezuela, and the legend of El Silbón in preparation for their next novel, El Silbón de Venezuela. Spanish 3/4 Honors finished their Frida Kahlo-inspired self portraits and watched the movie Selena to end their Hispanic Heritage month including a food day on Friday!

Making breakfast sausage casserole, pot roast with potatoes and carrots in the crockpot, chicken & pea mac& cheese, and Korean beef over rice with broccoli. I also made two pumpkin rolls for Booboo's half birthday.

Around Here Week 40: 09/29-10/05

Thursday, October 17, 2019

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

photo cred: Leisha B

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 652+ hours (of 1000)
Can I just repeat everyone else and say, "I am so grateful to live in a world that has Octobers."

Reading Children of Eden by Joey Graccefa, it's not my favorite YA dystopia story, but it's decent. I'm working through it little by little but mostly falling asleep after reading literally one sentence while putting the kids to sleep (thanks baby #5!) We had our Books & Brews book club meeting at Tap 814 where we discussed You Think It, I'll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld and selected our next book, Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate! (I had the most delicious bacon/maple brussel sprouts at Tap, y.u.m.)

Sharing the big news that we are expecting another babe! Thank you all for you kindness and congratulations. Ashley (bwf) sent me the sweetest (and this baby's first) gift through snail mail which was so very thoughtful (thank you!) We are excited and I am so grateful that this baby is so kind to me because honestly, I am just marching on through this very busy fall season (ie. lack of blog timeliness) until I can breathe again in late November and finally consider the fact that...holy cow we are having another baby!

Working through some new techniques for Gemma. I created flashcards with her high frequency words that she needs to practice and I added a little visual image that can give her a clue for the word. She was practicing and looked up at me and said, "No, seriously, this is actually helping!" It was a empowering moment for both of us. I have also started reading her AR books on the ipad/video app so that when she wakes up in the morning she can listen/read it again before going to school.

Starting the #last90dayschallenge. Have you heard of this? I was introduced to it by my friend and coworker Renee (hi!) The idea is that instead of working on new years resolutions to start the year right - we can use the last 90 days of the year (beginning Oct 1) to refocus and get yo' mind right to begin a new year. So, generally you choose five things you will commit to doing for the last 90 days; there are a set of five suggestions - but I chose my own five (below) and I'm tracking daily in my planner to see how I'm doing. I'm not hitting all five every day, but I am getting most of them daily and it's definitely keeping me intentional.
  • french kiss my husband every day
  • spend at least 30 minutes outside
  • set me phone grayscale 'nighttime' sleep mode to 9:30p
  • wake up at 5:30a
  • read a book with a child
Wishing all you Outdoorsman Wives out there a Happy First day of Archery! 

Supporting Grey physically and emotionally when he twisted his ankle at school this week. During marathon fun day - on the first event!- Grey twisted his ankle and had to sit out for awhile. After it continued to swell the rest of the day, we got a call from the nurse to pick him up where he iced and elevated it with passion because he was so worried about the big game vs. Portage on Sunday. Honestly, I've never seen that kid so dedicated to a regime! He was super bummed about being left home on the morning of the first day of archery (actual real tears) but Brandon and Pappy came back to take him in the afternoon. It was not a good idea to have him bumbling around through the woods on a bad ankle the day before the game - but try telling that to my 9yr old outdoorsman!

Fall Sporting with two football practices and one cheer practice during the week. And then on Friday night, we all got together to march in the Homecoming parade leading into the Varsity game at the high school. My flag cheerleaders did a great job and even did the Wigalo cheer with the Varsity girls in the parking lot before the parade began (seriously so cute that I had tears in my eyes!) Grey walked the whole way (even on his bum ankle) and then B and Gemma stayed for the Varsity game - but I took the other three home because it was so chilly when the sun went down and Grey need to rest his ankle and the two little snot nosed babes and I needed jammies (let's be honest).

Frugal living by re-using the candy we just scored at the NS hoco parade to throw at the CT hoco parade this week. Hah! The babies got about 4 lbs. of candy thrown at them last week at NS, so this week when we had two parade candy throwers - yeah, we just rebagged and threw it. I can't take credit for this one, it was totally B and I was all like - 'oh come on, let's buy new candy' and he was like for $4 a bag...but why?

Teaching Spanish 1 about Ecuador, rainforests, and capybaras as we prepare to start their first novel El Capibara con Botas next week! Spanish 2 practiced the cumbia dance steps, learned about cenotes in Mexico and reviewed Day of the Dead themes to prepare to start their first novel of they year, Tumba. Spanish 2 Honors read and listened to the legend of El Cucuy while Spanish 3/4 Honors finished the Musica tournament (Ricky Martin's Livin' la Vida Loca won!) and explored the paintings and life of the incredible Frida Kahlo. In all classes, we reviewed (and practiced) our active shooter training plan too.

Making baked bbq chicken sandwiches (on leftover hot dog buns), turkey tacos over baked potatoes (so so good!), fridge clean out night, garlic toast pizzas (big hit with the kids!), harvest ranch crunch mix, burgers on the grill with curly fries in the air fryer, and white chicken chili over rice.

Thank you September

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Thank you September for...

  • a beautiful, colorful evening at the fair with grandparents and aunts that bring our kids so much joy - we talk about the fair literally all year long; such a simple but impactful childhood memory for our children
  • Walmart pick up on Saturday mornings before 8a that makes me feel so efficient and powerful.
  • my Spanish Club who has surprised and made me so proud several times this past month. They totally took charge at NS fántico night, painting faces and encouraging spirit while I just sat back and watched and then my officers completely organized our Homecoming float and it has been such a needed reminder that I can delegate and it all gets done and usually beautifully without me having to carry all the burden. love you guys, thank you! 
  • a day to remember and honor first responders and that terribly tragic day 19 years ago
  • two positive classroom observations that kicked off my first of two semesters of college to get this PA cert wrapped up (finally)! 
  • conversations with Gemma's teachers that are moving us forward in a path that will help her be successful and confident in school. And all the incredible resources online (and friends who inspire me) that guide me in my own understanding of dyslexia
  • Gigi's port out day! the last stop on this year long journey - she is a warrior!
  • the chance to see our healthy little Studerbaby #5 who is growing and doing their thang just fine as our whole life swirls on in chaos. thank you to Meg, my cousin and midwife who is so patient and kind. 
  • the healthy birth of our new friend, Tristan
  • a fifth birthday for our peanut Vially Mary who brings so much life, love, and joy to our family and a birthday that celebrated her with people who love and appreciate all her artistic, silly quirkiness
  • heartfelt, joyful, life-affirming reactions to our baby news - like the minor football team who already so fiercely love and protect Rusty and Violet that they all reacted like they too were getting new younger sibling. Honestly, the sweetest darn thing I've ever witnessed. 
  • lots of homemade dinners again and getting back into the swing of meal planning (finally!)
  • successful cheer and football seasons that help our kids grow in responsibility, relationships, and patience. 
  • delicious dinner and conversation at our Books & Brews book club meeting
  • the beautiful pink sunrises and sunsets that come with fall like a consolation prize for losing a little more daylight each day

Room for one more.

Saturday, October 5, 2019

big news!
another Studerbaby is a'cookin!

due date: April 13, 2020
most prevalent symptom: intense hot flashes
cravings: all the fruit, grilled cheese sandwiches, milk
aversions: lettuce/salad, eggs

Mostly it feels dreamlike. We have been talking about maybe thinking of having one more, but also we are pretty comfy with how we are now. It was sort of a if it's in the cards kind of thing, but the shop wasn't closed and we had been pretty careless since January with nothing happening. I think I really did resolve in my heart that it was done. And then Keto got us all healthy this summer and surprise and hooray! a baby!

It took about three days for me to process the positive test and trying to wrap my head around how this was going to change all the ways our life is now. (Still haven't quite figured that out yet). And truly, we have been so busy with the start of the school year (for the kids and me) and fall sports that I have allowed myself to keep pushing any worries to the back of my mind like - oh, I'll think about that when I have time. (LOL). Anytime anyone has asked me how I have been feeling, I keep saying (honestly), "I feel pretty much the same - with the exception of the hot flashes - I think my body knows that I just don't have time for feeling bad right now." (hah, thanks body).

After a terrible initial reaction from all four kids, they are all now completely obsessed with the idea of a new sibling. We talk about the baby everyday. Rusty asked, 'hey mom, your baby come out yet?' and he keeps calling himself a 'big brother.' Violet is very interested in all the things the baby likes to eat, questioning every bite I take - 'Does that baby like that food?' and offering me a piece of anything she's eating so the baby can taste it. Gemma apparently announced it to the the entire lunch room the other day at school and Grey is hoping for a girl so that it can just be him and Rust as the only boys.

The kids knew for two whole weeks and kept it a secret (!) because I explained that we had to wait until I visited the doctor and we knew everything was good with our baby. All four kept their promise!! Since then, now they want to tell every random person we see ('Do they know the secret?') Reactions have varied, but overwhelmingly it has been with joy and support for us. Our parents were sweet and hilarious - they stared at us in disbelief. After the standard 24hr processing period - they are all over the moon, it's the mostly the logistics I think they are worried about (#SAME). Grey and Gemma's friends have been among the best reactions we've received to the news - the minor football team literally started screaming, running in circles, and patting Grey on the back. They have all offered up several names options already. The flag cheer team has doubled their hugs for me per game/practice and there are 18 prayers going up to the sky, one from each little cheerleader, for our baby to be a girl. Violet & Rusty's preschool teachers came running down the hall screaming and smiling when they told them (you are so sweet, Kayla & Janell!) and one of Brandon's coworkers who adores our kids screamed on the top of her lungs in elated surprise (one of his favorite reactions, Gail!). We've also got a lot of  "You guys are freaking nuts." and "Do you not know how this works?" but it is generally said with a smile and a hug.

I was probably the weirdest about it because I was expecting people to be judgey. I regularly receive so many comments out and about when I'm with the kids like "wow, your hands are full" and "that's a crew!" So this was the easiest babe to keep a secret because I was so hesitant to share. But everyone who knows and loves us has honestly been so kind, happy, and sweet which is what I should have expected from the start anyway - silly, Tabitha.

There are definitely things that will need to be figured out. Like the end of the school year for teaching, making sure prom is all planned since I am prom advisor this year, finishing up my college classes and research paper in the spring (!), inventoring the house and attic for what I still have for a baby and what we might need to get for the new babe, re-starting diapers (because we've been out for 4 months!), finances, vehicles, and a million other little things.

But really, as we've come to realize four kids later - it all shakes out in the end and is there anything better than a new sweet baby who needs snuggles and a thousand kisses in their loose neck skin and who smells like heaven?

sweet baby, 
you are so loved already. 
do your growing.
but know that we can't wait to meet you.