Around Here Week 3: 01/12-18

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

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

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 3+ hours (of 1000)
Didn't push it over the three hours yet this week, but we did have one final nice day on Monday that the kids and I went outside for a little after school (although we needed coats, gloves, and hats. Mostly scored little bits of time tending to our chicken girls who are bummed that it actually isn't spring yet. The temperatures took a nose dive later in the week and by Saturday we had rain turned to sleet turned to hail turned to snow.

Reading and finishing With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo. I loved it so much! I wish there as more! I picked back up where I left off on The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan and we had our Books&Brews book club meeting at Luna Azteca on Thursday night and decided we'd read Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson next and then watch the movie! Double bonus as it's also one of the books on our Project Lit list!

Renting a saxophone for the last two marking periods for Grey while he tries his hand at band. Send prayers and ear plugs!

Loving so much Rusty's new little skit. He holds his hands open (like they are a box) and says, "Kring?" and then I pretend to get a ring out and say "YES!" and then we kiss and he holds my hands while swaying back and forth singing "married, married, married." #imdeadnow The skit doesn't always go the same way though - sometimes he pretends to grab the ring from me and throw it (#geminiproblems) but when it's the sweet version, I'm telling you, my heart becomes a melted glob of goo.

Emailing my college professor to introduce myself and give her a heads up can I put this - I'm having a baby this semester. LOL. She was very sweet in her response and we are on the same page that I have full intentions of everything getting done and on time!

Adjusting the two littlest and Daddy at the chiropractor this week. (so jealous - mine isn't until next week!) The two little kids who have dealt with some constipation issues the last few months and they both had their little pelvis bones fully twisted. The doc straightened them all out (literally, hah!) and Brandon felt two inches taller after they left the office. We haven't been in too long and we are all in need of some adjusted alignment especially after this last bout of sicknesses - we need these nervous systems back to full working order!

Receiving a whole box of baby clothes & diapers from the a very thoughtful teacher & friend. The kids' STEAM teacher, Mrs. Roxby (who they adore) has been out on maternity leave with her newest little fella and she boxed up a bunch of his newborn clothes to pass on to our baby bro! It was so sweet and the kids could not believe that Mrs. Roxby was so kind. They kept oohing and ahhing at all the teeny clothes (how quick we forget how little they are at the beginning!) and commenting that everything smelled like Mrs. Roxby (hahha!) Thank you so much - for the clothes and for being a beacon of kindness and light for our kiddos. We love you Mrs. Roxby!

Living that kid-free nightlife on Friday as all four kids were whisked away to a local hotel with my parents and sisters! First they got to go bowling and then they got to swim in the hotel pool and sleepover! #bestnightever ! While the kids were laughing hysterically (oh, those aunts and Chum can come up with some weird inside jokes...) Brandon and I went out to eat at Living the Dream (in the former Tulune's restaurant) and then came home and.....went to bed early! Hhahahhaa, also - #bestnightever Thank you so much Chum, Abba, Kitty, and Uch for the peace and quiet!!

Winter Sporting with 6 basketball games for Grey and one practice. He gets a little bit of practice on all his teams for different aspects of the game. He wears #8 for CT, #4 for Sportsman's, #11 for Legion and #5 for Storm! And all three of the four teams are different colors, hah! He's still loving all the running around on the court (and between the practices/games) so c'est la saison de basket. 

Teaching Spanish 1 through Somos 1 Unit 5 and creating funny stories madLib style for El Muchacho, El Hermano, y La Novia. Spanish 2 got to learn about the Chilean mining accident and we compared it to our own local history; The Quecreek mining accident. They watched the movie The 33 - such a good movie and true life story! Sp2Honors did an immigration simulation exercise that had a curriculum cross-over with Civics, worked through some song lyrics, and finished a vocab test before we start our novel next week. Sp3/4Honors continued learning the preterite tense (er/ir regular verbs, super 7 verbs, and car/gar/zar endings). It was the end of the marking period this week too - so....a lot of negotiations about grades and explaining to kids, "I'm so glad and proud to see how much you care about your grade - but you also need to care this much the whole marking period, not just now that we are at the end."

Making cream cheese chicken taquitos (a Studer fam superfav!), tacos, chicken parm in the crockpot over pasta (Brandon and Grey loved it!), Korean turkey and brocolli over rice, and buffalo chicken dip.

2020: 100 Small Things

Monday, January 20, 2020

This year is going to be a little wacky, I've just accepted it and I'm hoping to move forward with intention and gratitude. My planner is already filled with deadlines, and saved dates, and then there's the big one that doesn't care at all about dates and plans and deadlines...our new baby brother. My planner is one of my most prized possessions (that sounds incredibly nerdy but it's 100percent true) and so to have all these things mapped out (maternity leave, kids' practice & game schedules, my college course requirements, holidays) and then have the big overlay of....well all of this as long as baby bro goes along with the schedule already sets me on edge a little bit. Then we have a double digit birthday, a decade of motherhood (emotional rollercoaster), and another kid off to kindergarten!

I always struggle with this part of motherhood. The growing of one while the others still need me too. I'm so much slower in all ways (physically, mentally, efficiently, patiently) when I"m growing a human and can never quite get rid of the guilt that my other kids have to put up with their mom who is not running on standard levels. And then the baby comes and it really gets wonky. Again...just trying to accept and move forward with intention and gratitude. (if I keep repeating it, I'll get there, right?)

So in an attempt to recognize how this year will be unexpected and new and interesting - I'm trying something a little different with my 100 small things.  In years past (2019, 2018, 2017) I've made categorized lists to focus my goals and before that (2016, 2015) I just made one huge list. But to try to stay on track and give myself some direct focus, I've grouped by month this time around. I loaded up on the maternity leave/summer months when I have more time and energy and took it a little slower (more practically) on the early month. By October, we have run ourselves pretty ragged (start of school year, fall sports season, big holidays) so those months have low numbers too.

I was also able to split my 1000 outdoor hours up in what (I hope) are reasonable numbers for each month to get me (finally!) to my goal. And my book goal (24 for the year) are broken up by month. I've already knocked a few off my list and worked half way through a few for the month of January (yay!) so we're off to a decent start.

1. 5 outdoor hours (4.5 hrs in January & .5 hrs in March)
2. Read 2 books  (With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo and The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan)
3. replant our Aloe Vera in a bigger pot (in May)
4. set up a payment plan for my college course
5. Purchase Gemma's 1st Holy Communion dress
6. send a thank you gift to a sweet and thoughtful friend  (in May)
7. attend college course orientation (virtually)
8. create 12 months of kindness task list & post to fridge
9. direct deposit church donations

1. 8 outdoor hours (6 hrs in February & 2 hrs in March)
2. Read 2 books (Scythe by Neal Shusterman and Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman )
3. attend Ash Wednesday mass
4. order new breast pump (through insurance = free!)
5. inventory baby supplies (attic) and wash (thank you mum for washing!)
6. purchase new toilet bowl brushes for all bathrooms
7. find a sports league/team for Rustman
8. start a family puzzle
9. brainstorm kids' bedrooms for baby5 arrival

March - Covid-19 Lockdown
1. 15 outdoor hours 
2. Read 2 books (The Toll by Neal ShustermanNyxia by Scott Reintgen) - read Nyxia in April
3. Finish our taxes
4. volunteer with the big kids at our church's fish fry
5. create an emergency kit for the house
6. finalize maternity leave binder/notes/plans
7. Kindergarten registration for Violet
8. swap and organize all the kids' dressers
9. get school board approval for Spanish trip June 2021

April - Covid-19 Lockdown
1. 30 outdoor hours (11 hours in April)
2. Read 2 books, 1 in Spanish (Dig by A.S. King)
3. Make new baby birth announcements & send
4. turn in 12 page research paper 
5. declutter kitchen cabinets
6. buy new screen doors (front & back)
7. close out old CD at bank
8. buy a shade tent for the yard

May - Covid-19 Yellow Status
1. 70 outdoor hours (64 hours in May)
2. Read 2 books (Opposite of Always by Justin A. Reynolds, Untamed by Glennon Doyle
3. pull off NS prom (!) -covid 19 cancelled
4. write every single day
5. start keto
6. front porch flower pots/beds & hang a hummingbird feeder
7. deep clean the deep freezer
8. participate in Screen Free Week
9. attend graduations of North Star and Richland (-covid 19 closed to public)
10. have joint first holy communion & baptism party (covid-19 postponed) (July)

June - Covid-19 Green Status
1. 150 outdoor hours (101 hours in June)
2. Read 2 books (A Very Large Expanse of Sea by Tahereh Mafi, The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and The Horse by Charlie Mackesy)
3. donate blood (tried June but low iron)
4. figure out daycare plans for 20-21(August)
5. toy purge (house & attic)
6. new headboard for our room
7. create summer kid chore charts (August)
8. swap kids' summer clothes/shoes (July)
9. create car tote (wipe, diaps, bandaids, sunscreen, etc)
10. AKT weekend
11. Host a 'playground crawl' with YIFC (Covid-19 postpone)

1. 200 outdoor hours (108 hrs in July)
2. Read 2 books, 1 in Spanish (Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo)
3. No Buy July
4. update all passports
5. Gemma attend theater camp (overlaps with First Holy Communion - Covid-19 reschedule)
6. Violet attend art camp
7. teach Violet to do her own ponytail (in February)
8. clean out my Gmail account
9. master bedroom closet purge, organize, & inventory

1. 200 outdoor hours (106 hrs in August)
2. Read 2 books (Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson)
3. Family camping trip at the Que
4. finish curriculum map 20-21
5. Ride bikes/stroller at the Jim Mayer trail & picnic (whole trail!)
6. make bedtime routine charts
7. create vision boards for the upcoming school year with the kids
8. create my own vision board for the upcoming school year
9. Mail box makeover (flower bed, update pole, etc)

1. 150 outdoor hours (68 hrs in Sept)
2. Read 2 books (The Crooked House by Agatha Christie)
3. Organize plans for Sunday school into binder
4. finish 2019-20 family yearbook
5. Run Que Classic 5K with Greyson-covid 19 cancelled
6. create a shared writing journal with Gemma (in March)
7. plan 1 meatless meal a week for the month
8. Organize a back-to-school Spanish Club dance (homecoming parking lot tailgate in October)
9. donate blood

1. 140 outdoor hours (26 hrs in October)
2. read 2 books, 1 in Spanish (The Grip of It by Jac Jemc)
3. have a real anniversary date (our 12th!)
4. swap kids' fall/winter clothes totes
5. spend a fall family day at the Que
6. Grandmas & kids day trip

1. 20 outdoor hours (6 hrs in November)
2. read 2 books (Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson)
3. participate in Planksgiving
4. have our family photos taken (August)
5. create Christmas cards
6. update all kids' baby books with photos (August)

1. 12 outdoor hours
2. read 2 books (Outlander by Diana Galbaldon and The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson)
3. learn how to make nut & poppyseed roll with Mimi
4.  host Christmas morning and breakfast at our house with a fancy table
5. start "best gift of the year" re-wrap tradition at Christmas breakfast

It's been five years of creating 100 small things list (thank you Ashley for the inspiration all those years ago!) and despite NEVER having crossed off all of my 100 small things - it truly has helped me focus and stay intentional on the kind of life I want to be living in the wild blur that is raising up small kids. Everyday flies by and I find myself tucking in and kissing sweet little faces and trying to grasp on to what they said today, how much I hugged them, how their childhoods are being formed in these everyday memories. This blog and our family yearbooks help capture those memories for me but my 100 small things list works in the background to make sure that it is a life that we are actually living - not just watching go by through the car window. I am taking part and making conscious choices for this blessed, wild, loud, messy life is one that I can someday look back on and be proud of, that someday I will be the kind of person that I will be proud to be. It's a reminder that life doesn't happen to you - you make small decisions each day so that you can be who you hope to be.

What goals do you have this year? I want to hear them! They always inspire me and make my brain start turning on ways I can make it work for me too! :)

Around Here Week 2: 01/5-11

Saturday, January 18, 2020

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

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 3+ hours (of 1000)
We went from snow on the ground in the beginning of the week to a heat wave- in the high 50s in January! Gemmi and I got the dogs out for a really long walk at the Quemahoming and Bullet tried to take a swim but realized within about a minute that the water was freeeeezing. Our girls (chickens) were so glad to be out and roaming around the yard, poor things don't realize it's just a fake spring day. Rusty didn't either and joyfully declared, "Mum, winter is over!" I had to break the news to him that it most certainly is not over....not even close.

Reading With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo for our Project Lit book club at school and loving it so much. What a heartwarming sweet YA book. I love the character and the truthfulness behind the way that Acevedo writes her main character, Emoni's thoughts as a teenager. I can't wait to discuss with the book club students!

Asking Aunt Kitty to sage our house to get rid of all the germs (and demons?) because that's where we are in desperation with this darn sick season! She came over to watch the three little kids so they didn't have to go to one of Grey's games but both parents could. She hung out with the kids, helped with homework (thank you!) and saged the whole house. Fingers crossed! We love you Aunt Kitty!

Celebrating our extended families by honoring Orthodox Christmas. We don't celebrate too big, but we have Orthodox on both sides of our family (Serbian on my side and Russian on Brandon's) so January 7th is a day that gets a little something special. It's our tradition for a few years now to let the kids sleep under the Christmas tree (before we finally get to take it down on January 8th!) and they get one present each from "Orthodox Santa." It's the official closing of the holiday season for us, and it is simple but important.

Stressing over my junior class students who had prom raffle fundraising tickets due this week. We still had quite a lot of students who missed the due date and I had to have a heart-to-heart with them on Friday to let them know how serious it was for them to get in their sold and unsold tickets. I also went on a teacher/momma tangent about how all these small low risk/low stakes things they do in high school is for practice. Not so far in the future, they might need to confront their wifi provider about a bill and selling a raffle ticket to a stranger is an opportunity to talk to someone who might agree or decline their proposal. Later in life, when you care about it, it doesn't get any easier - it gets harder because something is actually on the line! Get in all the practice you can now so you have lots of experience for later in life. Sheesh - this raising kids (our own and my students) is not for the faint of heart!

Cheering on my students at their basketball game at our kids' school. The whole crew headed out to our home gym to cheer on the visiting (but my students') team and it was a really great and close game. It's hard to want both teams to win - luckily I don't have any children playing for our home team (yet), so for now I'm a cougar fan until the kids get big enough and then I'll be in a really sticky situation.

Girls Nighting' it with Gem and Violet on Saturday night. We went to see Frozen II (cute!) and then out to Eat 'N Park just us girls. It was a special night and I am so grateful for these two - so different - but so complimentary daughters of mine. With the realization of the house very soon to be over run with so many boys, having my two daughters feels even more special.

Having a (mostly) boy free night at home as Grey and Rust got a sleepover with Chum & Abba. It is always so much quieter (and cleaner!) when the boys are out. So it was a pretty peaceful evening and the boys loved spending time with Chum. Rust got a long walk in the woods with Chum and Grey got to be sister free for an evening (which he's always grateful for). B got to hang out watching college basketball for most of the evening when I took the girls to the movies and the only boy who tagged along is the one kicking around on the inside (26 weeks and as long as a bowling ball - hah!) Thank you Chum & Abba for keeping our boys!

Winter Sporting with six basketball games (!) and one practice. Oh, this boy of ours. I keep asking him if it's too much and he repeats over and over that he loves playing for all four teams and he's not giving any of them up! He had three games in a row on Saturday and didn't miss a beat. It's been fun to watch how much he's learning and how all the positions that each team needs him to play has been helping him learn so much about the game.

Prepping for Spring sports (!) by updating the sponsorship letter for the upcoming baseball season to be sent out to local businesses. Since I've been doing it for the past few years, its actually pretty simple to just update with new information. Once it's approved by the board, then all I have to do is get them mailed out. With so many kiddos, it's nearly impossible to get to meetings, clean up days, or other events that need me to physically be somewhere to be helpful- but I can do this small task at home so it feels good to help in a way that works for me right now in this stage of life.

Teaching a full week back to school after a long break and - whew! We were all so tired by the time Friday rolled around. It is hard getting back into the swing of things. In Spanish 1 we worked on our Señor Legalos male 'models' including written descriptions using our clothing vocab words and adjectives while also introducing them to Billy La Bufanda on Señor Wooly. Spanish 2 continued practicing verb conjugations - all three endings in the present tense. Sp2Honors watched two (!) documentaries to prep for our upcoming novel, both of which held their attention and had them thinking broader: Living on $1 and Which Way Home. Sp3/4Honors started dipping their toes in the Preterite (eek!) and just practiced with AR regular verbs to start. They had a Past Tense Identifier vocab test too (hace mucho tiempo, pasado, etc)

Making sirloin tip roast in the crockpot, pierogies & baked beans, Hawaiian meatballs in the crockpot over rice, Italian baked chicken with potatoes and green beans, and sloppy joes. The kids helped me make Muddy Buddies/Puppy Chow (with chocolate, chex mix, and powdered sugar) - and we gobbled the whole batch up in 2 days!

Around Here Week 1: 12/29/19-1/4/20

Sunday, January 12, 2020

A glimpse into what it was like to live in our home over the turn of a new decade.

Intentional Outdoor Hours:  0.5 hours + (of 1000)
Snagging a walk with the dogs on Saturday when the weather wasn't too cold. It has been so rainy and mucky that we opted for a walk down the road which isn't nearly as fun for sniffing but is a lot cleaner on the pup feet. It started drizzling a little bit on our walk, but the fresh air still felt good after being cooped up in the house with all this sickness for so many days.

Reading just a little bit of The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan; too sick to read, so B and I started watching Season 2 of You on Netflix instead (hah, love it).

Christmasing at Mimi's house on Sunday. We celebrated one more time with our Studer cousins eating good food, catching up, and laughing. It is always cute (and hilarious) to see our Studer brat pack together (Lainey, Ben, Violet, Rusty, and Brookie) together and always has me envisioning how much trouble we are going to be in when they are all teenagers!

Bumbling around in a haze of sickness. This is the virus that will not die, I swear. Our house is blanketed in coughs and snotty tissues and headaches; most of us are fairly miserable with the exception of Greyson who I think is just sweating out the germs playing all this basketball. Grey, Rust, and I muscled our way through the two days back to school this week while B and Gemma stayed home both days (!) and Violet stayed home on Friday. I took the three littlest in to the Peds on Saturday just to double check and what they have is just like us - no secondary infections (ear, lung, or otherwise), no Influenza, no antibiotics that will fix this...basically we need to wait it out and keep drinking liquids.

Ringing in 2020 in the most lowkey boring way ever; at home and everyone in bed before midnight! The kids wore NYE hats for about 10 minutes (tried to get them on the dogs too, hah) and we watched a little of the NYE specials on tv, but mostly we were all too tired and sick and cranky. B and I hung in there on the couch until 12:05a out of tradition sake and then went up and kissed each of the kids for new years and called it a night. Not a drop of champagne or fanfare - we are all just hoping to feel healthy again as soon as possible!

Considering a mantra for the new year that was inspired by the kids. For the past few years it feels like we (Brandon and I) are always thinking about the next big thing we 'need' to do. We want a farmette with goats, and we want to remodel the house to have a great room, and we want to take the kids on a big vacation to the beach or DisneyWorld, and we want to write a book (me), or go on a big hunting trip cross country (B), or this or that or whatever is 'missing' from our life. But in having conversations with our kids this summer about remodeling the house, Grey and Gem were straight up confused and asked, "but what's wrong with it now?" because for them - this right now is exactly their life and it seems awesome. They love our messy, boxed up room house because it's ours. They love camping at the Que and sleeping in a tent and eating breakfast from the cast iron skillet over the fire. They love hunting from the blind in our backyard and listening to me tell them made up stories at bedtime. So I don't know what exactly the wording of my 2020 mantra is - but the feeling of it is's looking at our life through our kids eyes and truly asking, "but what's wrong with it now?" and the honest answer to that is...absolutely nothing! It is beautiful and full and hilarious and messy and interesting every single day. There are times in your life that you need to push yourself, but I think maybe 2020 is a year that B and I can say, "this is enough and exactly right for right now."

Brainstorming my 100 small things list for 2020 and excited to try something a little different this year. I still love setting goals for myself but I also know this year is going to be totally wacky (a decade of motherhood and a 10 year old in the same month as having our new baby and turning in a 15page research paper for my college class! LOLOLOLOLOL April is going to be a hot mess!) I'll share soon (hopefully!)

Scheduling appointments with the chiropractor and dentist because new year attitude kicking in high gear.

Winter sporting with 2 practices for Grey and 2 basketball games. All four teams he plays on are starting to pick up now, so as I was filling out my new planner, there is a whole lot of basketball activities happening. It keeps Grey motivated though (academically, chore-finishing) so I guess we are just going with it. hah.

Teaching only two days this week as we made our way back to school after our 10 day holiday break! We eased back into school with new vocab lists in Spanish 1 and Spanish 2, introducing Spanish 2 Honors to Guatemala to prepare for our next novel; Esperanza. Spanish 3/4 Honors practiced some interpretations/translating on the fly while listening to the sweetest holiday voicemail from my Costa Rican 'mom' and after watching this very cool youtube video about political interpreters.  I did get most grading done over break (yay!) and started to think about plans for maternity leave which has me anxious already - but one foot in front of the other and one day at a time for me!

Making pork & sauerkraut as is traditional in western PA for NYE food. We had left over hot dogs with mac & cheese, and on the first day back to school - we did take out Bogo Pizzas from our favorite local spot.

Around Here 52: 12/22-12/28/19

Sunday, January 5, 2020

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



Intentional Outdoor Hours:  630 hours and 38 minutes (of 1000) - final count for 2019!
Calling the numbers for the year and despite not getting to the 1000 hours (again, ugh) I did earn over 100 hours more than last year. I'm proud of that fact and know that my kids about doubled my time for themselves (truthfully). Somehow keeping myself accountable allows me to realistically gauge the kids' time outside and it feels good to know that we're doing 'okay.' on the screentime vs. outdoor time for them in today's world - at least balanced for them. I would encourage (so much!) you to read about 1000 hours outside challenge and consider it for 2020 for your kiddos (or you!)

Reading not too much of anything, but I did share on my @senorastuder insta the full book count for the year. I read 27 books this year, many of which were YA suggestions from my students (and such easy, quick, interesting reads! How grateful I am that our young people have such incredible stories and characters to read in today's world!)

Having a little Christmas party in our Sunday school class using these I Spy worksheets. If you don't know about these from Paper Trail Designs, you must get yourself some printed! They are such a hit in our house and they have different themes for parts of the year. I love them and so do kids!

Celebrating 20 years of kissing this handsome bearded man I call my hubs. Our first kiss was 12/23/99 after our Christmas formal dance (my junior year and his freshman year!) It was the most perfect first kiss and I can still summon the feeling of electricity that passed between our lips. It feels like a completely different lifetime and yet somehow like two seconds ago too. I don't understand time (if there's anything I know, I know it's that time baffles me) and I am daily astonished that I get to share this life with the cutest boy I have ever known.

Visiting my midwife for a check up and all seems to be good under the hood. Studerbabe5 is 24 weeks and kicking and swimming around like a little crazy man (he kicked the sonogram wand, hah!) After my appointment, I was able to snag a quick lunch with my sisters! We ran into family friends, Bob & Pam, who surprised us with picking up our lunch tab (thank you so much! you are so thoughtful!) and then I was able to do one last sweep for gifts before Santa.

Baking all the cookies like a crazy person (haha, in hindsight I'm all like - girrrrrrl, what is wrong with you?) In a last minute holiday frenzy of holly jolly, including Christmas even morning (!?), we made cherry thumbprints, sugar cookies, and pretzel/kiss/m&m bites.

Singing happy birthday to baby Jesus three different times this week!

Putting the girls' hair in rags like my grandma taught me so that they'd have ringlets for Christmas eve mass. I also used her recipes for sugar cookies and boiled icing and it felt like she was with me through this busy week. My grandma also had five kids, so I feel myself regularly leaning towards her in my prayers and it feels so nice to be able to do the things she taught me with my own babes.

Saying goodbye to Marco our elf, until next year little buddy!

All the Christmasing. We delivered cookies to our neighbors before heading out to Christmas Eve mass (Rusty slept almost the whole time!) Abba, Chum, and Aunt Kitty came to our house after mass for snacks, reindeer food in the yard and opening jammies tradition. We only stayed up until about 1a finishing gifts as Aunt Kitty stayed the whole time and helped (I love you! thank you!) Christmas morning started at 6am with the kids anxious to go downstairs. Then it was playing and slowly getting ready before we had Christmas lunch at Gigi & Pappy's house. Christmas early evening was spent at Aunt Dar's house with our Adams cousins and the day after Christmas was spent at Abba & Chum's house with Kitty, Uch, Kevin, and Lady with a quick stop at our Hagerich cousins' house.

Getting knocked down flat on my butt by a virus. Like, couldn't get out of bed Friday or Saturday. The virus included fever, chills, sinus congestion, and a terrible cough that would not let up (my deepest empathy goes out to people who suffer from asthma; it was an awful realization of how scary it is to not be able to catch your breath!) Of course, with this pregnant belly - it also meant peeing my pants every.stinking.cough which had me also cursing under my breath the entire time.

Bunking the girls' beds which made them very happy! The kids had a 'camp out' in the girls' room

Winter Sporting with just three basketball practices for Grey this week - no games for the holiday! We are also in full blown kitchen basketball mode and I send a prayer out DAILY for all the mommas raising athletes. Oh Lord, raising an athlete is relentless movement and sound, I just don't know how else to explain it. (I often think of this nike commercial that always makes me feel for the mommas). I guess I could say no balls in the house, but that would punish all of us (he's teasing if he's not practicing). So, instead... it's the sound of constant dribbling, it's tennis balls getting thrown and caught against walls, it's soccer balls being nutmeg'ed between your legs while you cook dinner, it's 'watch this move' a thousand times a day, it's somehow finding yourself in the middle of a game you didn't know you were part of, it's cups spilled because a ball hit it, it's water bottles everywhere and nowhere when you need them, it's sweaty jerseys and socks (dear Lord, the socks), it's basketball hightops, and baseball spikes, which are different from football spikes, and it's the favorite compression shirt that needs to be found at the bottom of the hamper. It's your planner mapped out with practices and game schedules, it's a negotiation for showers after games and practices, it's knowing teammates, and thanking coaches (and their wives), and registration fees, and game admissions, and concession stands, and the year by sports seasons. Mommas of athletes, I see you; I send you patience and hearts of steel.

Teaching nothing, we're on break!

Making mini meatball subs, banana bread, bbq chicken in the crockpot, and about a thousand mugs of little noodle soup. For Christmas eve at our house, I made maple brussel sprouts, buffalo chicken dip, jalapeno cheese ball, fried potato pancakes, and we had a shrimp platter.