Around Here Week 11: 03/14-20

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

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

Intentional Outdoor hours:  19+ hours (of 1000)
Up 7 hours this week as the weather really took a turn towards the sunny and the not super-chilly by the end of the week. Still coat weather, but we can feel the spring trying to break through now. The kids have been spending a lot of time outside and I love so much being able to just say "go outside!" when they are making me crazy (hah). Red is loving being outside so much and his greatest friends in life are our chickens who he chases all over the yard getting more and more frustrated as they dodge his every attempt at touching them. We let the goats free range one day this week too and they were running and hopping around like crazy; truly joyful to just be out in the open chomping on any little green that's poking through yet. 

Reading and finishing Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider.  I am borrowed Extraordinary Means from my student Cheyenne (thank you!) I am still reading and Balanced and Barefoot by Angela J Hanscom and I was glad to throw a little fiction in with my nonfiction book because I was honestly becoming OBSESSED about talking about kids and outdoors and active free play (I still am actually) but it's given me a little diversion so I'm less fanatical - hah! 

In complete awe of our seedbabies. We soaked them for 24 hours and when it was time to plant them on Sunday, some of them were already breaking through the seed!? It took only two days on the warming mats for some little sprouts to shoot up and our whole family is obsessed with spritzing them with water and whispering "grow, grow!" over top of them. Once they've sprouted, we move them off the warming mats and under some grow lights which has us all a little nervous that maybe they are actually Jack & the Beanstalk seeds because our little seedbabies are growing faster than even our human babies which most days seems impossible!

Dancing in our seats and singing along to the musical at our kids' high school on Sunday. Gemmi and I attended a performance of Mamma Mia and we loved getting to watch and listen to all the talent. We were so proud of our sweet family friend Rourie who was part of the ensemble (as a 7th grader!) and she did amazing and overall the show was really incredible. It was nice to get some Gem time too, just the two of us. 

Thankful for the afternoon playing at the Quemahoming Dam that the three littlest got with my parents while Gem and I were at the musical and Brandon and the biggest boy were at baseball. They took long walks, played on the playground, and explored the empty beach since it is still out of season for our favorite summer local spot. Red had the best time toddling all about and trying to keep up with the kids on the playground. He came home and promptly passed out from all the fun (hah!) thank you Abba & Chum! 

Ruining St. Patrick's day (lol) as the leprechaun was able to escape the trap because the kids left their 'blueprint' out when they went to bed (in my defense, I did see it before bed and reminded them multiple times to clean up the living room). When they realized what happened they were all devastated and I left in the morning for work with a house full of kids literally crying and blaming each other for the failure of their trap that they worked so hard on. Magical creatures make a mess of every one of our holidays - good grief. 

Getting in all kinds of risky play and chores to make sure the kids are building skills and confidence. Rust and Grey were all about widdling with pocket knives this week while Gem and Violet were super pumped about helping me iron Brandon's work shirts (no complaints here to share that chore!) 

Getting my vaccine! Both B and I are now vaccinated and we are so grateful to feel like we contributed to real progress towards a back to all the in-person hugging and talking but with the lessons learned during the pandemic too (better regular hand washing, it's okay to not do all the things all the time, home and family is the only place that really matters, support small and local businesses, etc) 

fyi - Vaccine side effects (that we experienced). Brandon had the two shot Pfizer vaccine and mostly had a very sore arm after both injections, like even difficulty raising his arm! I had the Johnson & Johnson one-and-done shot and the day after my vaccine was r.o.u.g.h. I had chills, fever, and body aches. I also had some shortness of breath but I don't know if that was because of the vaccine or this huge belly that leaves no room for my lungs as it is (hah).  But it lasted just 24 hours and then I felt completely fine. Both of us would 100% do it again because yaaaaas, living that #vaccinatedlife ! 

Sporting with Grey's last two indoor baseball practices- next week is outside! Brandon and Grey spent most of Saturday at the baseball fields again getting it ready for the season. Gemma had a final basketball fun day to close out her season officially on Saturday. She spent the morning playing basketball games, eating pizza, and giving her coaches thank you notes. 

Teaching the very last bit of Brandon Brown Quiere un Perro in Spanish 1 and giving the students time in class to work on their RAFT projects for the end of the novel. Spanish 2 got to watch La Misma Luna and they loved it too (just like all classes - seriously such a good movie). Spanish 3 learned about Quinceñera parties which included a mini Quinceñera fiesta food day on Friday before we start our novel, Fiesta Fatal next week. Meanwhile, Spanish 4 learned about the 'Banana Republics' of Central America and dived head first into Pablo Neruda's poem The United Fruit Company in preparation of reading their next novel, Bananas by Carrie Toth. I also tried out the Pocket Points app and so far I'm getting great feedback and use out of the students. It seems like a worthwhile incentive to keep them off their phones! 

Making chicken, veggie, and stuffing casserole, Pappy's meatloaf with mashed potatoes and veggies, baked eggs over asparagus for dinner one night, and Miss Hannah brought us chicken and rice with a side of brownies one night (thank you!) We ordered in Thomahawk and had fish dinners on Friday night from Ideal Market downtown (seriously so delicious!) Our local ice cream spot, Silver Bell, opened this week so we made a visit on the first day of Spring to officially open our ice cream season (and by that I mean, we get ice cream about once a least, hah!  #supportlocal....right?)

Around Here Week 10: 03/07-13

Saturday, March 20, 2021

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

Intentional Outdoor Hours:  12+ hours (of 1000)
Getting some much needed outdoor time this week in the forms of evenings in the yard and holding Red's hands as he chases the "bock bocks" all over the yard and visiting the goaties. The dogs and I got a little walk in and it is truly amazing what a little fresh air and movement can do for my brain and soul! We even had dinner on the patio this week (ordered in pizza!) and I met B and Rusty at the track for lunch one day this week to just soak up the sun during the school day and catch a breather. 

Reading Balanced & Barefoot by Angela J Hanscom. I can't stop myself from talking about how important active free play is, especially outside that I'm even starting to annoy myself (hah). It really is so important and I've been finding myself getting frustrated (and sad) about how far we have come away from that notion as a society. How we as parents have become some accustomed to overscheduling our kids with activities and trying to pinsearch our way to the next cool activity to entertain them - when really we need to just let them be and imagine outside and on their own. If you ever want to talk about this for literal hours - please know I am here and willing. HAH. 

Sending out only a few invites for Red's first birthday (gulp, how already?) and feeling so grateful to host a double birthday party for him and Mimi who share the same birthday (April Fool's day) only 82 years apart! 

Figuring out Rusty for the week as his daycare was having some heating issues. So he got to spend a day with each set of grandparents (thank you!), two days at work with Dad, and one afternoon at home with Aunt Uch (thank you!) He loved getting special time (and 'skipping' school) but it's always a little hectic when our normal schedule is off. 

Noticing the start of spring slowly coming our way. Brandon and I woke up to the sound of our mourning dove this week and knew right away that it was a good sign that spring is a'comin.  The eggs are piling up from our chickens who are back to free-ranging everyday again and Polly has been hopping the goat fence to get to the side pasture again for some free range life while the rest of the herd moves through the goat pasture instead of staying near just the shelter and upper corner. 

Listening to the baby girl's heartbeat at my regular bi-weekly check in. All seems well for the both of us at 29 weeks and now it's just the long (uncomfortable, waddling) third trimester to the finish line. 

Facetiming with my besties who were on a little weekend getaway together. I stayed home since traveling anywhere right now with this belly, all these kids, and a full time job seems like my personal Mt. Everest - but I was so grateful to get to see their faces and laugh together and stalk their pictures and feel happiness for them to be together. AKT plus kids this summer!! 

Giving Gem a busy week by accident, although she didn't mind. She had a playdate our house with Gina. Miss Hannah was here for tutoring with her for three days and then she had a dentist appointment on Friday (two fillings!) and got to have a sleepover at my parents house that night! (thanks for taking her to the dentist, mum!) My dad took her for new sneakers (thank you!) and she needed a women's size you hear me - size 8...that's MY size. I've officially made it to the motherhood milestone of being able to share shoes with my daughter - and she's NINE years old. 

Soaking our seeds from Annie's Seeds on Saturday. We timed it so that they can soak for 24 hours and then we will plant them on Sunday morning. 

Dropping off our taxes which is always a task I'm grateful to knock off the to do list. 

Sporting with the final two basketball games for Grey's season (it was a great one!) He also had two indoor baseball practices, B had a football board meeting, and B took all the kids to the baseball fields on Saturday to work on field clean up! 

Teaching only 4 days this week since we had an Act 80 day on Monday. For the rest of the week, I had Brandon Brown chapters 6-7 in Spanish 1 which also included small group verbal presentations! Spanish 2 finished their novel Esperanza (hooray!) while Spanish 3 completed their mini fluency unit with Los 3 cerditos and started a Quinceñera mini unit before their next book. Spanish 4 finished the El Que Se Enoja fable and completed the assessment piece. We had an early out on Friday, so I was able to get my Mandated Reporter Training completed for both the certification and for the Act 48 hours (double win!) 

Making homemade pizza, baked chicken, ground beef tacos, mac and cheese, and buffalo chicken dip. We were lucky to get dinner at Mimi's one night this week while we waited out Brandon's basketball game. As Rusty (and all the kids know), Mimi makes the best food. I whipped up a batch of cake mix cookies (our favorite and so easy!) 

Around Here Week 9: 02/28-03/06

Sunday, March 14, 2021

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

Intentional Outdoor Hours:  4+ hours (of 1000)
Desperately needing to get the kids outside and - so loading everyone and their bikes into the truck and going for some bike laps around the high school parking lot on Sunday night. Red loves being in the hiking backpack (thank you Stankans for the handmedown!) and he was mesmerized to see the kids zipping around on their bikes. It was chilly but everyone came home sufficiently tired from fresh air and bike-moving legs. Spring - I need you!!

Reading and finishing Like a Love Story by Abdi Nazimian. It was a beautiful story and such an informative and important one detailing the AIDS epidemic in NYC in the 80s. There are some pretty explicit scenes that had me cringing only because it was a ProjectLit book and I knew my students were also reading it and that I had given it to them to read!? Hahhaa, when I told them that I was blushing the whole time knowing they were reading it too - they were totally cool about it and they were like, "no, it was more about the story, those parts weren't even a big deal" I was legit just being too momma bear about the sexy stuff and it was good to know that they got the message and beauty of the story. Be cooler, Señora! (LOL). I started reading Balanced and Barefoot by Angela Hanscom and I'm obsessed and going down major research rabbit holes. 

Smiling about the kids sleeping out in the hunting blind in the living room on Saturday night. 

Easter decorating and putting all our Easter themed books out for the kids. The kids have been good about keeping up to date on their Lenten countdown charts already, but having the Easter decor displayed is really has us in the spirit of spring! 

Organizing our plans and ordering our seeds for our garden! We ordered heirloom seeds from Annie's and used this awesome website to help us plan out indoor planting and seedling transplanting schedules. I also ordered some lights and warming mats (whoa - getting serious) so that we can start them in the next week or so inside. We are going to have incredible fertilizer when B cleans out the goat house after the whole winter (!?!) and we are really hopeful and excited!

Gasping at the sight of Grey's big manboy feet in his bed when I went to get him up for school one day this week. Time is really shocking me as of late and another weekend of him being requested for a sleepover (thank you Stankans!) has me feeling glimpses of what it will continue to be like as Grey gets bigger and outgrows all his shoes and clothes and simple, long days at home with just our family doing nothing. We still have a ways to go but I can feel the pull of time now. It doesn't help at all that after our 5th grade promotion parent meeting this week, I combed through old photos to share with the slideshow maker and was boohoo'ing about my baby Booboo. Aw man time, you break my heart too much. 

Hitting the third trimester on the same day as Red's 11month mark! Time is moving so swiftly that most days I feel like I can't grasp onto anything but wind. Red took a few steps on his own two days before his 11month birthday, and every day he is getting more confident and better at balance. I have officially lost all sight of my toes and the kids and B have been very gracious about helping me put shoes on and off (hah!) I had my 1hr glucose test (I passed! yay!) and my rhogam shot on Saturday which means things are really getting along over here. My rhogam shot actually had to be given in a maternity room (because the lab nurse wasn't there on Saturday morning) and seeing the bed, and the Welcome baby whiteboard, and it being so familiar of those first days of baby I had a wave of panic and fear come over me as I was waiting for the nurse to bring my shot. Like I CANNOT BELIEVE we are going to back in that room again within 3 months with a new baby!?!?! It is literally blowing my mind and honestly I don't know if I've truly even completely realized we are going to have another baby in a few short weeks. Ignore me while I continue to live in denial and then have flashes of panic. 

Having dress up week for Read Across America week. All the kids had themed days and we had a little chat about how some of Dr. Seuss's books are being pulled because of racist images and language. We talked about how when you know better, you do better - which is what the Dr. Seuss publishers are trying to do. That doesn't mean all of Dr. Seuss is cancelled! We can still love our favorite stories by him like The Lorax, In a People House, The Grinch, and Hop on Pop - but we can be aware of things that are insensitive and hurtful and choose books and media that are inclusive instead. KNOW BETTER, DO BETTER. 

Thankful to have our in-house tutor back in action for her spring semester. Miss Hannah is coming again a few times a week to tutor Gem afterschool which also crosses over for her education classes at college.

Watching as Red makes his way all over the house; crawling half the time and wobble walking half the time. He is going to be off and running within the next two weeks - Lord, help us! He is in to all the things (opening/shutting cupboards, stealing dishwasher tabs, splashing in the dog water dishes, pulling laundry out of hampers - basically leaving hurricane level damage in his wake). We moved the mini basketball hoop down to the cupboard and he immediately grabbed the ball and stood up to make a basket - he's been watching Grey shoot at that hoop since he's been born and was like - oh yeah, I know what do with this! 

Sporting with two indoor baseball practices for Grey and one basketball practice for Grey. Gem went to Grey's basketball practice to get some time in with Dad and bigger kids and she was able to hold her own actually.

Teaching Chapters 3-5 of Brandon Brown Quiere un Perro in Spanish 1 and Spanish 2 read Chapters 7 through 8 in Esperanza including small group presentations to discuss the summary of Chapter 7 using StoryboardThat. Spanish 3 also did small group presentations to discuss their movie trailer review posters for McFarland, USA and then we moved into reading Los 3 Cerditos for a mini fluency unit. Spanish 4 finished part 2 and started part 3 of El Que Se Enoja fable.

Making homemade biscuits with breakfast on Sunday with a colorful array of eggs to scramble. We also had ham in the crockpot, apples and pork chop bake, creamy Italian chicken in the crockpot over noodles, French toast and sausage for breakfast, spaghetti with red sauce, and Abba brought us pizza one night when she got the kids off the bus (thank you!). Baking up some of our junior class fundraiser cookie dough - chocolate chunk!