Around Here Week 36: 08/30-09/05

Monday, September 28, 2020

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

Intentional Outdoor Hours:  443+ hours (of 1000)
Up 20 hours this week. We sat out by the fire on Saturday night with guides from the hunting preserve and the kids and I have been trying to do some homework on the back patio after school. Their favorite after school activity though is jumping/wrestling on the trampoline to get all their pent up school wiggles out. 

Reading Outlander by Diana Gabaldon and starting Crooked House by Agatha Christie. One of my students is always reading her books and I asked him to pick one out of hers for me to read. He even let me borrow his copy and it's my first Agatha Christie book ever! I am liking it so far - what a timeless writer, it's actually blowing my mind.

Getting back into the swing of the school year. Dinners between practice schedules, washing face masks, packing Rusty's lunches, finishing homework, checking folders & backpacks each night, picking out clothes, early bedtimes, squeezing in chores and grading somewhere, catching the bus to and from school. It takes an adjustment but I do have to say it feels good to get back into the routine of things again after such a long time off. 

Kissing the sweet face of our 5month old! Red can roll both front to back and back to front. He is chowing down on some baby food (his favorite is banana) and he's sleeping usually from about 7:30p-4:30/5a each night. He loves his siblings so much (even though they shout in his face and are always in his personal space) and is obsessed with taking baths. When he's ready for bed....HE'S READY. He is a perfect, happy, easy going baby and we are so lucky to have this little ball of light in our family. 

Smiling at Redland's first 'art' project. He painted some fall leaves at daycare this week and it brings joy to my face every time I see it hanging on the fridge! 

Puzzling together plans for Friday since the three big kids didn't have school for the holiday weekend. The girls spent the morning and afternoon with the Conns (thank you!!) and we snagged them from the Quemahoming after we got done with school where they were fishing and swimming in the sunshine. Grey had a double sleepover; Thursday at Ivan's house for his birthday and then Friday night at Landon's house for his birthday (!luckiest, sleep-deprived boy ever). 

Resting and catching up on chores on Saturday while my parents kept all four biggest kids (thank you!!) and Brandon spent the day at High Ridge hunting preserve as a guide for the fall jambo. I snuggled with Red and did mountains of laundry - and also read a ton which was salve to my tired soul.  

Fall sporting with practices and one home game against Meyersdale. Gemmi did great cheering and then I swapped places at the stadium with my parents after the first quarter since we have limited spectators this year (2 spectators per athlete). My parents were at our house watching the meatballs and Red (thank you!) Grey's team ended up losing, but you always learn a ton from a loss.

Teaching Somos 1 Dice unit in Spanish 1, Spanish 2 started Somos 8 Food unit, Spanish 3 is doing the Tomatina mini unit this week (including the tissue paper tomato fight!), and Spanish 4 started learning about Costa Rica in preparation for our first novel of the year; Robo en la Noche. I also went over classroom procedures this week which include intruder training. Right after finishing my talk, the secretary came over the loud speaker with a really weird message "students! stay in your rooms!" and all the kids were looking at me like - whaaat?!?! Haha, it was freakishly timed for what we had just covered, but it was actually one of our students lost control of their car and crashed into the handicap ramp in front of the school (!). He was okay and no one was hurt, thank goodness. Here's hoping that the most excitement we have all year - get it right out of the way in the second week of school! 

Side note to high school teachers: after we discuss our plans for an intruder (get out if possible or fight if we have to), I give a speech like the following (in case you need some brainstorm ideas):

but the most important thing we can do to stay safe is to take care of one another all the time. As much as us teachers try to stay alert to things going on in your lives and as much as I try to notice if something is up with any of my kids - I cannot get on the inside. I don't see your social media pages or your snapchats. (that's probably a good thing!) I can't hear what is talked about in the lunchroom or before school. The grown ups just don't have access to that information. So you need to be aware of your 'spidey sense.' it's that feeling you get in the pit of your stomach that says, "this doesn't feel right. this doesn't feel safe" If you see something or hear something that makes you uncomfortable or worried, you need to tell a grown up that you trust. That's not snitching, and maybe it ends up being nothing. But maybe it ends up being everything. We have Safe To Say on the district website - that's real and goes to our administrators. It is anonymous and an important tool to use if you have something that you need to share with a grown up. In my room, I have box over by the pencil sharpener that you are always welcome to write me note and tell me anonymously or write your name - whatever! maybe it's about something important like you're worried your friend has an eating disorder or maybe it just says "hola senora, I'm having a great day!" The grown ups in the building want you to be successful and for all of you to be safe here at school and wherever you are in life. The very best way to keep each other safe is to take care of one another and get someone help before they feel like they don't have options. But you guys have to help us do that. 

Making turkey chili, taco Tuesday, and a roast in the crockpot with potatoes and carrots. Brandon and I got only a tiny little piece of roast and ended up eating some leftovers that night because the kids devoured it and reminded us that we are in big trouble as they continue to grow. We need all the food to feed this crew! 

Around Here Week 35: 08/23-29

 A glimpse into what it is like to live in our home just this CRAZY minute (our first fall sports games, back to school with full week in-person instruction for both the kids and I, & my birthday, & Covid...ya know; standard 2020.)

photo cred: Greyson

Intentional Outdoor Hours:  423+ (of 1000)
Up 22 hours from last week. The weather is still beautiful and warm and we are so grateful to have shade on the back patio.  Brandon and my dad cleared out all the roof building supplies and organized it in the garage and now it really feels spacious under there. Oh, I love it so much I don't care if it ever gets actually finished - hah! 

Reading Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. This is the first book that Brandon knows all the main characters' names and regularly asks what's happening in the book in our 21 years of being together....because it's beneficial to him too. LOL if you've read the book, you get it. 

Focusing on doing just the next thing. that's all I got right now as we head into a new school year after being home for 6 months.  I still have handmedown attic clothes bins littering the playroom upstairs, and lesson plans that aren't done yet, and bathrooms that need cleaned, and baby Red who is still regularly waking up to eat at 4am each night. Everything is everywhere - nothing more than my mind and heart though (!!) but we're doing this. So it's one foot in front of the other. that's the best I can do. 

Night before school prep with putting together everyone's first day of school signs and reading The Kissing Hand with Violet. And we dug through everyone's drawers/closets and pulled out the nicest thing they each had for a first day of school outfit (LOL pandemic parenting at its finest).

Catching the bus on the first day of school. We have a fifth grader (last year in the elementary school!), a third grader, and a newly minted Kindergartner! We are lucky to get Grey's best friend each morning to catch the bus with us too. Abba joined us in the morning (tradition for the last 3 years) and since my students always arrive one day after our kids start school, I was able to go to my in-service day a little late to see the kids on the bus. They did great and none of them cried! 

Dropping the little boys off at preschool/daycare with Brandon after the first day of school bus. And again - no tears! Rust was so excited to see his teachers and friends again. Red was totally cool about it and we got off on the school year on the rightest foot possible (given the global pandemic, ya know). The only one who cried was me (HAH) on my way to school after getting everyone off and good. I always sob on the first day while sending wishes to them all "do everything we've practiced darlings, I love you" (oh gosh, crying now a little). 

Celebrating my 37th birthday with a big exhale as we got the school year started and everything was okay. gosh, anxiety and feeling like we weren't even close to being ready at all (literally did ZERO back to school shopping) and worrying about how the masks were going to go, and how Violet would do in Kindergarten (!!) and how Rust would do without Vi at preschool, and how Red would do without me at daycare. I'm already pretty emotional around my birthday because I feel so grateful and overwhelmed with this beautifully chaotic life - but I was in overdrive leading up to this one. And yet, it was all okay and my best birthday present was that everyone had a good first day at school and we had dinner together as a family that night all back together again. 

Recognizing how good it is for everyone to have a little piece of something that is just their own. It's hard in a big family to not be lumped in with everyone else (we are "The Studers," it's just the whole group of us as a unit). And that was never more clear than we were all home during coronavirus and couldn't get away from each other. But being back in school and having our own space (classrooms) and our own personalities outside of each other, and our own friends, and our own moments to shine - it was a welcome change after being so starkly reflected off of each other here at home. By Friday night, the kids forgot all about annoying the living poo out of each other and had a kid campout in the living room all huddled together. Home is a sanctuary, but especially when you're not stuck here all the time. 

Fall sporting with our first game of the season. The cheerleaders did a great job cheering, sideline dancing, and with their halftime routine. B's majors won too and Grey was so happy to be back on the field with his teammates. We had a crazy storm hit during practice one night this week, like so much wind and rain that for a second I thought, "Wait...what do I do with these kids if it's a tornado?" Luckily, after getting soaked down to the bone, the weather let up a little bit and all was okay. 

Teaching!! I held a training for my co-workers on Monday to teach them all about Schoology (two sessions from 7:30a-5p!) and then we had two in-service days and our students arrived on Thursday. I was so so so nervous before the kids arrived. Like, my mind racing worrying about sanitizing and masks and kids feeling safe and comfortable and what everyone remembered (or forgot) from last year. We've been out of school for 6 MONTHS!! But it literally took one period and I was like, "wait...did we ever leave?" I mean there is crazy stuff this year (masks, cleaning desks, staggered bells, etc) but still it's the teachers and the kids and the learning and somehow it's also exactly right. It was like all 6 months of time collapsed and it's March 17th, 2020 and there was never a break at all.

Making chicken and gravy over mashed potatoes for the first day of school (tradition). We also had buffalo chicken dip (stuffed zucchini boats for the parents), tacos, and pineapple meatballs over rice. Brandon ordered me take-out sushi on Friday night and we put a candle in it to sing Happy Birthday (actual perfection). 

Around Here Week 34: 08/17-22

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

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

photo cred: Becky Conn

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 401+ (of 1000)
The back porch has become our outdoor haven and we are racking up the hours out there. We don't have our rain spout up yet, so the kids and I were out there sweeping rain and hail off the patio while it was flooding under the roof from how much rain we got in a few thunderstorms this week. Brandon eventually dug a little ditch right off the roof in the flowerbed to give it somewhere to go - but holy cow we were laughing and sweeping like crazy fools twice! Also, the kids put on baseball helmets and rain out to jump on the trampoline in the hail. Good grief. 

Reading this article from the Rolling Stone and Outlander by Diana Gabaldon (obsessed). 

Spreading kindness through thank you cards to our neighbors who have beautiful flowers in their front yard that we get to enjoy each time we pass through the neighborhood.

Singing Happy Half Birthday to Gemmi Rose who turned eight and a half this week! We measure her height on our doorframe (as tall as Grey was at 9yrs old!) and sang with candles over pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. 

Enjoying a day in the summer sun with the Conns at the Que. Both of us teacher moms needed a break from classroom prepping, lesson plan stressing, and last minute regulation whiplashing. (hah). It was  perfect afternoon lunching and hanging on the beach while the kids played happily. A much needed breather before the first day of school next week! 

Preparing for the new school year doing our yearly things like having the school-aged kids write their name on the papers from K-12. Violet and I attended Kinder registration together and I was mostly like, "eh, I'm fine, third kid" but then her teacher started talking about them choosing their lunch choices and hanging up their backpacks and I started tearing up in her tiny chair at her tiny desk and oh, Violet - she is going to love school so much! My laundry bag arrived and we talked to the kids about putting their masks in the laundry bag after school each day so they can be washed. And I ordered lanyards to hold their masks (like chains for eye glasses) for each of them and me too! 

sending our deepest love and sympathies to a family friends who lost a loved one this week. thank you Miss Hannah for hanging with the boys and to our Garrettson cousins who took the girls to the sunflower maze so B and I could be at the viewing.  

Knocking out last minute appointments. Grey and I had a chiropractor appointment (yay!) and then Violet and I went to the eye doctor. She did great and yeesh - my eyes....haha OLD LADY eyes.

Feeling like we are just getting swept up in the current as the school year approaches and fall sports continue. Like what is happening? For real though...? We are doing this? We aren't doing this? We're kind of doing this? #sendwineandchocolate 

Fall sporting with the last week of practice before games begin. My cheer girls got their half time routine down and successfully learned both quarter sideline dances (woohoo!) The majors football team is ready to rumble - so let's go! 

Teacher prepping with a planning meeting with our Schoology implementation group on Monday morning (thank you Taylor for babysitting!) and then a visit into the classroom on Tuesday with all five kids in a tiny bit done, but mostly the kids just came to eat lunch and watch Ferdinand and wreck my Reader's Theater costume bin. I got to have a lunch date with Brandon at Yamato on Monday after my planning meeting (I love being co-workers!) and we packed sandwiches and snacks for our classroom visit and Daddy joined us in my room for lunch that day too. 

Making chicken supreme casserole (swiss cheese & butter cracker topping), keto beef, broccoli, and alfredo casserole.  I am trying to get back into the swing of cooking dinners regularly to prepare for back to school. I made a big grocery trip and stuck post-its on all the food the kids aren't allowed to eat until at least after the first day of school (hahhaha!) 

Around Here Week 33: 08/09-16

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

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

too much partying with the big boys!

photo by Breanna Nash

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 384+ hours (of 1000)

Reading Outlander by Diana Gabaldon ...finally. Several years ago, Ninna (hi, Linds!) tried to convince me to read it because she loved it, so I did buy it at the time, but when it arrived it was so thick (850 pages!) and after reading the blurb about it being so historical I was like, ughhhh - snooze. So it's been sitting on my shelf for YEARS. I finally pulled it off the shelf this week and decided to give it a tiny opportunity and within a few pages I was kicking myself for waiting so long to jump on the bandwagon. Yeah, obsessed. 

Fly Elimination mission update: flies are everywhere and clearly have a vendetta against me. We have so many flies in the house now that I told Brandon not to come home unless he has hanging fly stick strips (!) What is going on with the flies this year (it's not just us - lots of people have fly traps in the yard this year too). My Dad brought insect spray for all our bushes near our house and we have sticky fly strips hanging everywhere. The goat pastures seems a little better (thanks parasitic wasps!) but we are all on fly-swatting death missions all day everyday. I feel like all I ever shout is, "CLOSE THE DOOR! THE FLIES ARE COMING IN!" 

Back patio project working and omigosh it's happening! We had some football coaches and Brandon's dad come to help put the trusses up on Sunday. And then my Dad and Kevin came by later in the week to put the plywood and waterproof paper up. I can't believe how wonderful it is - it's already changing our lives for the better to have shade outside.

Happy for the kiddos to get a day with Abba, Chum, and their aunts at Idlewild! (thank you!)

Signing the papers for the deed to our land. yay! Now we can really let the goats roam free! 

Sometimes feeling like five is  ALOT of kids and other times being caught off-guard by how people act like five is ALOT of kids because I sometimes I forget it is more than normal.  

Swapping out our living room furniture with handmedowns from Pappy and Gigi. Our living room looks new (to us!) and the kids are loving it. Our leather couches have taken a beating over the past two years (#boymom #girlgymnasts) and so it is nice to have a big sectional and two recliners that we can enjoy without fearing the kids will break brand new stuff. (thank you!)

Double belated birthday party-ing for Grey and Gemma. Gosh, just call me Ambitious Annabelle - because why do I behave this way? It all turned out great and all the kids had a fun time and thank goodness for my sisters who need trophies for being the best aunts ever attending both parties back to back with smiles, decorations, last minute supplies, and iced coffees to share in hand (bless you). Gemma and her friends had a sleepover at the Que on Friday night. They camped, swam, kayaked, toasted smores, and stayed up whispering and giggling half the night. Grey and his friends first spent the evening at the BMX track scaring the crap out of their football coach (hah, B) and then had a sleepover at our house watching The Goonies and woke up to play Rundown on the slip&slide of literally four hours straight and used up every bit of soap we had in the house to make the tarp faster. 

Taking family photos. One of my students has been practicing her hand at photography and at the start of lockdown, we had chatted about her taking our family photos before the school year started again. We finally got it together and we met up with Breanna, her mom, and another student Mariellen on Sunday night to get them done. Breanna will be a sophomore this year and she did so well directing us, taking the photos, and editing them. She was very professional and has a great eye - I loved seeing what she was able to do and I'm so proud of her work. You can see more on her instagram @bnash_photography

Fall Sporting with picture day and practices!

Teacher Prepping by attending the Schoology training onsite to be our building's lead teacher on the new initiative. I was happy to get a few mornings of adult time (thank you Taylor for babysitting!) and I'm loving learning the new online product. Feeling like I'm getting back into the swing of the new school year - but still having crazy nightmares, waking up randomly throughout the night and pinteresting like a crazy person. My anxiety about the upcoming school year (both teaching and sending our kids) has me on edge. I'm making myself crazy. Somehow working on my bitmoji classroom helps calm my nerves LOL

Making maraschino cherry cake (Gem's bday party), pumpkin roll (Grey's bday party), and fresh blackberry pie (at Violet's request & help) this week. Among other things, but ya know - those were the fun ones.