Around Here Week 16: 04/12-18

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

A glimpse into what it is like to live in our home just this minute - week 5 of the covid-19 lockdown.

boys clothes: size 0-3, size 4T, size 10-12

physically distant cousin visit with Caleb

Intentional Outdoor Hours:  36+ hours (of 1000)
Our weather has kind of a been a downer this week with chilly and wet days for most of them. Brandon and the kids moved the picnic tables and benches into the garage and worked on staining them on downpour days. Gemma was such a big helper and came up on Thursday night a total stained up mess (she was so proud!) the tables all look great and I can't wait until the weather is consistently warm so that we can enjoy our meals on the patio daily!

Reading Dig by A.S. King which is a borrow from my work bestie (who I miss so much during this quarantine - hi Renee!) and I read just a few pages and was so happy to read that beautiful writing! A.S. King is truly brilliant (I read her Still Life with Tornado last summer) and I my quarantine/sleep deprived soul is rejoicing in her incredible skills!) I did attempt to read a different book (self-published) and was immediately put off by the amateur writing style (ugh, BOOK SNOB) but I can't help but read with a writer's eye and I get so distracted by poor writing that I can't even focus on the story. If anything, that book inspired me that if this author could self-publish (and be a contributor on many big time sites) that geez louise, I need to stop being such a scaredy cat and try.

Celebrating Easter as it appears the bunny does not have the coronavirus (hooray!) Abba and Chum actually played hippity hoppity for us since there was no way I was prepared for Easter baskets. (THANK YOU! holiday lifesavers!) The kids got to sleep in some new (matchies!) jammies for Easter and we had Easter dinner delivered by Gigi and Pappy that afternoon. It was delicious and we were so grateful to get a traditional Easter meal without having to make it! Then we headed over to Abba & Chum's backyard for some socially distant Easter visiting around the fire. Abba got to hold Red for the first time (decked out in gloves and a face mask). The kids were so thrilled to run and play outside with Chum and their aunts (and ride the zip line a million times) and then everyone cried when it was time to go home. Oh, covid-19, we are so very tired of you and how you make us miss our family and friends.

Crying it out as week 2 of the rotten 8 hit hard. Red went through a growth spurt at the beginning of the week so it was a lot of nursing and not much sleep - compounded with all the schooling (homeschool, virtual teaching, and college'ing) and oh, ya know - the global pandemic...I just needed a good cry. I'm also pretty frustrated with the recovery situation of a c-section. I know lack of sleep and breastfeeding is contributing - but I also feel super weak and hyper aware of my incision (which is healing up beautiful and will barely be a scar!) Thank you to my sweet friend, Haley who sent the kindest support email and my thoughtful friend Loni who mailed me some healing balm. I know what I need is rest and patience, but try getting that through the thick skull of a First Born-Virgo-Enneagram 2....yeah, worst combo ever for recovery. Hahhaa, I'm working through it!

Checking off milestones for Red! With a healed belly button, Red was able to get his first proper bath this week and the verdict is in - he doesn't hate it! The kids all huddled around him marveling at his every movement and accidental splashes in the water. What a loved baby!

Cheering on our butterflies as they emerged from their chrysalises. We had one caterpillar die before it even formed its chrysalis and then another chrysalis fell from the top (excited little hands grabbed the jar at the sight of the cocoons!) So we had three beautiful painted ladies and one more little busted-wing butterfly who is still hanging on, but can't fly.

Weirdly happy about our new kitchen garbage can like only a mom can be. Gem used our trash can as a seat last week and as it was already several years old and kind of hanging on by a limb - that was it for the lid. So I ordered a new one (20 gallon!) and it arrived and brings me so much joy in all of it's clean, functional newness. It also came in a huge box which provided plenty of fun for the kids until they flattened it like we hope to do to this curve (lol, pandemic humor).

Feeding our foster toads and cheering on the little one that was being bullied by the bigger ones. He got a few crickets even though the big ones were hopping around and in his face.

Switching the girls' bedroom around and unbunking the beds at the girls' request. Daddy and Gemma did all the heavy lifting and they had a reveal for me at the end since I was strictly on the no assist list.

Getting through this quarantine. Somedays feel super relaxed and easy - like a relief that the schedule is wide open and all the time in the world together. And other days...just so heavy and weird with no end in sight. We miss our friends and family, we feel guilty for having it so easy while other families with frontline heroes are doing so much more than us. It's such a strange time, so I'm trying to take it one day at a time (one hour at a time some days!) Whatever you're feeling out there, it's valid.

Homeschooling my two bigs to finish their two-week packets so that they could turn them in on Saturday. Their school did a fantastic job of setting up the drop off/pick up of new packets; so organized and efficient! The little kids worked on some packets sent through email from their preschool and I am continually grateful to have work for them all to do (we limit to only an hour a day of school work) that I don't have to create/find myself. My order arrived too - I got new chapter books for the big kids and workbook activity books for the littles too just to keep things new and fresh.

College'ing and turning in my research paper (yay!) and working on my next assignment; reading articles and starting on reflection assignment for working with paraprofessionals in the classroom. Only two more assignments after this one to go and I'm done!

Virtual Teaching again and back from "maternity leave" (lol).  We only had school from Wednesday to Friday as our school calendar is still in effect since we've been virtually teaching since the very first school day since the schools closed. My students worked with a leveled reading and had questions to answer daily. We unfortunately had to officially cancel prom for the year (bummmmer) but we are trying to work on an alternative option. I was able to reach out to our vendors, prom committee, and the senior class officers to let them know the news. I also graded assignments, posted to google classroom, checked in with non-responsive kids who need to turn in work, and updated my teacher webpage too. I keep thinking about these two very important messages about kids and school and the world:


Making meals and cleaning up from those meals all day, everyday. We run the dishwasher a minimum of twice a day during these quarantine days (I refuse to use throw away dishes, our family is too big to create that much trash!)
breakfast: ham & egg crescent roll-ups, toast, cereal, eggs & sausage breakfast burritos, poptarts (thank you Abba!), homemade coffee cake (my first try and it turned out delicious!)
lunch: Frozen pizza, lunchmeat sandwiches (twice), broiled burgers, chicken nuggets, taco salads, leftovers
dinner: frozen pizza, spaghetti, pineapple meatballs over rice (thank you Carli!), tacos, beef tostados (Hello Fresh), spinach & chicken sausage ravioli (Hello Fresh)

Around Here Week 15: 04/05-11

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

A glimpse into what it is like to live in our home just this moment (and week 4 of the covid-19 lockdown).


Intentional Outdoor Hours: 34+ hours (of 1000)
Up 4 hours this week, we had some beautiful days sprinkled into the week. The kids whooped me by a mile with outdoor time (all the fishing too!) but I was able to get out for a few walks with Red in the stroller in our driveway by midweek and we even got Red outside for his first fire! The kids would make a fire every night if they could (they also want to eat outside for every meal if they could). By the end of the week, me and this c-section incision made it all the way to the bottom of the driveway for the mail (woohoo!) slowly but surely I'll get back to normal, even if I hate how slowly.

Reading and finishing Nyxia by Scott Reintgen. It was an interesting read but I only got really into it by the last third of the book. It ended on a note that feels unfinished because it is setting up for the next book of the series. I don't think I'll go on further than this book - it would make a great sci-fi action movie though!

Introducing Red to our family through windows. breaks my heart, but also makes me so happy to see them at all. My parents stopped by on Sunday to see the little man through the sliding glass door and chat for awhile. The big kids were anxious to get outside and show Chum around the yard at a safe social distance. Then we loaded up Sheila on Saturday night and made a trip out to see Mimi (Brandon's 82 yr old grandma who now shares a birthday with Redland!) We surprised her and she was so thrilled to see the baby and all the kids. When will this be over so we can properly hug!? We've learned our lesson I think (I hope!) of the value of a hug.

Filling in the pages for Red's baby book recognizing what an odd snapshot in time his "the world I cam into" pages have captured. Major current events (covid-19 pandemic), famous celebrities (Joe Exotic), tv shows (Coronavirus daily task force briefings), popular websites (zoom virtual meetings), fashion trends (diy face masks with bandana and hair ties).

Grateful for little helpers. The kids have been so sweet in finding ways to be helpful as they know that my "belly booboo" makes it hard for me to do all my normal activities. Brandon banished me to the bedroom for the first two days home from the hospital so I could pretend I had the full normal c-section stay (hah). The girls were happy to deliver my meals by tray and have me call them restaurant servers. We have plenty (too many!) arms to hold Red when he needs a burp or to just give some snuggles.

Blown away by the magic of babies. That second night in the hospital with Red was terrible -he was up for the literal entire night screaming like a banshee and would not stop unless he was nursing. Needless to say, I started semi-hallucinating by the morning and was so nervous to bring him home wondering how in the heck we would survive with a screaming all hours of the night baby and four other kids. And then we got home and Red immediately mellowed. It was the noise and movement of this circus family that he was used to hearing when he was baking on the inside. His siblings hold, snuggle up, talk, or read to him and he sits there with a contented look on his face like, 'yes, these are my people.' I just can't get over it.

Celebrating our ten year old biggest boy! He got the best surprise that he could wish: fishing season opening the day before his birthday. So on his actual day, we woke up super early - Dad, Red, Violet, and I sang to him over pumpkin roll (the other two were still sleeping), and he and Dad were off to fishing camp for the day. I got text pictures and missed him all day - but I couldn't help but smile at how happy our boy was to be in the creek with a wet line - I couldn't give him a better day than that! They headed home around dinner and Grey was whooped - came home, went up to his bed and passed out for four hours. We tried to wake him up, but he was so tired (and looking like my baby Booboo in the sleepy face which mended my momma's heart a little). He did finally wake up again around 9p and came down so that the kids could give him their homemade cards (complete with Rusty's card that he requested to write"Happy birthday bunghole")

Having the wind knocked out of me, like I do every year for Grey's birthday as it's also the marker for my motherhood journey. Some days I feel like I got this and other (most) days I think how is it possible to still not know what I'm doing after ten years?! Mommahood is a funny, heartbreaking, beautiful thing.

Fishing! (well everyone but me and Red). The state of PA surprised everyone with opening fishing season almost two weeks early on a random Tuesday to try to prevent the streams filled with fishermen on opening day. So the second my boys found out that it was officially fishing season - they made their way to a stream! B took Grey and Rust out on Tuesday afternoon just to get their lines wet because they could - hah! Then B and Grey were at fishing camp all day for Grey's birthday. The girls woke up on Saturday and immediately got dressed for fishing camp because it was their turn and they weren't taking no for an answer. So B took Grey, Gem, and Violet fishing for most of Saturday. Thank goodness quarantine doesn't include the streams, man - my family would not survive!

Listening to Rusty "read" Brown Bear, What Do You See? to Redland about 300 times. He's memorized the rhyme of the book and he is so proud to read it aloud to Red - who actually loves listening to it - so win win. Rust still has a strong lisp and can't pronounce some letter sounds so it's the sweetest damn thing ever. I can take listening to it on repeat because it's so adorable.

Hosting a kid campout in our room one night as everyone can't stand to be away from Red for more than 1 minute in this house. Hah! All the kids but Grey (who sleeps on the couch almost every night #nobedtimesummer style) slept on pillows and blankets on our floor and all three slept right through the sounds and movement of the nighttime feeding extravaganza every 2-3 hours.

Still recovering which is very frustrating to me. I am not good at being patient for my body to work like I want it too - so recovering from this c-section has been very annoying to me. (hah! I'm the actual worst). I did not know to expect all these air pockets trapped in my insides and it took me to 8 days post-surgery to feel comfortable lying on my side! My incision is healing well though and each day, I feel a little better; I just wish it would go faster.

Staggering naps throughout the week as everyone is getting more sleepy during the day with random pockets of springtime outdoor hours and also runny noses (#thanksallergyseason). Everyone obviously wants to nap with Red, so we've been spreading out the naptime opportunities so everyone gets a chance to both catch up on a little much needed rest and get solid sleepy snuggles in with the most popular person in our family.

Accepting that the schools are closed for the rest of the academic year! It was tough news to take this week - although truthfully I anticipated it coming. Grey cheered and Gemma boo'ed and I pendulum back and forth between relief (to be home with everyone and get this special time together) to heartbreak for our student athletes, and students who find safety in school, and especially my seniors.

Easter holiday'ing with all the fun traditions as best as we can maintain. My sister Uch set up a Adams cousin zoom meeting on Friday afternoon to make egg berts together (hollow egg with grass seed in it to grow hair). Our grandma Helen taught us all how to make them, so we all spent time laughing, chatting, and designing our egg berts together. It was so comforting to see their faces and hear their voices for the holiday. I got teary-eyed a few times thinking about not being able to see them all together on Easter like has been tradition in our family since I have been alive! And also inspired to think I want to live my life so that someday my children's children strive to find a way to be together for the holidays even when I'm not here anymore to make them do it. (love you gram, miss you everyday). The kids dyed a few eggs with an egg dying kit I randomly found in the Easter decoration box (win!) and we just about finished coloring our Lenten countdown charts!

Humoring Grey by playing a Family Challenge game that he made up with Minute-to-Win-It games. He was so excited to make the scorecard and set up all the games that even though B and I were exhausted by Saturday night, we went for it. There were laughs, lots of tears, arguing, threats to quit playing from every child - but we did it. Omigosh. At one point, Brandon and I looked at each other laughing in that exasperated 'wtf' way because half of the kids were shouting at each other while the other half were crying about not winning.

College'ing and putting the final touches on my research paper! I also remembered to turn in my weekly reflections (virtual teaching reflection style!) to my principal and mentor teachers to stay on track with all the class requirements. Only three more assignments and I will have finished the necessary class to finalize my PA certification.

Homeschooling with the addition of the school packets that arrived last week. The big kids' teachers sent home work packets and we have real 'homework' type papers to work on now at home. We are still sticking to our schedule of only 1 hour a day of worksheets/dedicated "school time" and using the rest of the day to focus on outside school, chores, and free play (which all three contain A LOT of learning). Gemma got to have a class Zoom meeting and was so proud to show off her baby brother to the whole class. I'm feeling very grateful to have the support of the school papers as that alleviates a lot of stress on my part trying to find things that are close to where they should be practicing. Thank you teachers! We love and miss you!

Virtual teaching not a thing because this is my "maternity leave" I took this week off to focus on getting back to normal(ish) health following the birth of the new babe and c-section healing. I had a cultural activity for the students this week to learn about the traditions of Semana Santa (Holy Week), so their work was taken care of and I let them know not to expect a response back from me until after Easter break. Luckily for me though, as we are virtual teaching - I don't need to take a regular maternity leave and I'm planning on "returning" following Easter break (4/15) to virtually teaching my students for the rest of the school year.

Making next to nothing because we were so incredibly blessed with family and friends who dropped off meals, groceries, snacks, and surprises all week long! The generosity and goodness of people astound me everyday and I can't describe how grateful we are to have people in our corner. Honestly, we are so touched and so very grateful - thank you! thank you! thank you!!
breakfasts: eggs & toast, cereal/oatmeal, pb&j toast, pumpkin roll (for Grey's birthday!), scrambled eggs over potatoes & ham leftovers, peach bars (from Carli!), french toast (made by Gemma and Violet!), leftovers!
lunch: McDonalds burgers & chicken sandwiches (from Heather), leftovers (twice), chicken alredo pasta (from Heather), buffalo chicken dip (from Heather), salads with leftover toppings, mac&cheese and tuna sliders, lunchmeat sandwiches
dinner: BBQ chicken legs and pasta side (from Heather), potatoes, ham, and cheese casserole with green bean side and brookie dessert (from Melissa H & my student Sarah!), Fox's pizza and wings (from the Conn family for Grey's birthday!), leftovers (twice), Fox's pizza, salads, and apple cinnabread dessert (from our family friend Tootsie), Chicken, veggie, and stuffing casserole (from the Stankan family)