Around Here Week 20: 05/16-22

Sunday, May 30, 2021

 A glimpse into what it is like to live in our home during this very big, special, happy week. 

Intentional Outdoor Hours:  106+ hours (of 1000)
My first 100 hours (finally!), I am grateful to have reached the milestone! I am already finding that with the back porch roof, I am earning more hours in the summer because there is a spot for shade - thank goodness! It was an absolutely beautiful weather week and it has us all aching for summer and swimming. It was so warm and sunny that Brandon and Gem pulled out a (ripped) canopy we've had stored in the garage since when we lived in Erie (!) and rigged it up in the pasture to give the goats some shade - they love it! 

Reading and finishing Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. It had such polar views; either people loved it or really hated it and I'm part of the 'Loved it!' side. It was a story sort of like the movie Life Itself or how This Is Us (the show) is written. Flashing between various time periods to see how all things are connected somehow. It is winding and interesting but if you aren't a big time reader, you'd get lost in all that flip flopping and description. But I loved it a lot and was a little sad for it to end (it does wrap up kind of quick at the end). Also still reading Sing Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Ward

Wrapping up the stomach bug plague at Studer HQ. Gemma was the last to get hit with it and she was home for Monday and Tuesday while she puked, fevered, and slept her way through it. She mostly slept, but we got a few good chick flicks in and she was happy to help me grade too which was much appreciated. 

Transplanting half of the seedbabies to the garden! Fingers crossed! 

Releasing our Painted Lady butterflies into the wild. 

Enjoying a mini last-night-as-a-family-of-7 celebration at Silver Bell with Miss Nell and her family who all came to cheer Violet on at her soccer game and then treated us to ice cream after. Miss Nell was Violet and Rusty's preschool teacher and she is so beloved by us. What a perfect sunny, yummy evening as we closed out this chapter of just five kiddos. (thank you!)

Coordinating plans for our hospital stay and thankful for my mum who had her day off on standby at work for whichever day this baby was going to join us- which happened to be induction day all along! Mum stayed with the little boys all day on Wednesday tidying up and obsessively texting Brandon to check in on her own baby (me!) thank you mumma, love you.

HAVING OUR SIXTH BABY. Olive Irene arrived after a very long day of induction at 7:32p at 8lbs 5oz and 19inches. I knew her as soon as I saw her - those Studerbaby genes are strong and she looks just like every other baby in our family has looked as a newborn, hah. She is lovely and squishy and perfect. We all just adore her. 

Relaxing in the hospital for two days soaking in the very last quiet time with just a newborn. Such a strange suspended time those first days after having a baby. Nothing quite seems like it's moving at regular speed. It is something that I do cherish when I think back on the birth of each of our kids. That weird, delightful suspension between kissing all their brand new from heaven soft cheeks and not really digging into the raising up in your own house yet. What an odd, unique, and special few days it always is for us. 

So very grateful for Miss Hannah who flew in like Mary Poppins to hold down the house for Wednesday night. She arrived for the big kids to get off the bus with take out pizza in hands. She slept over that night and did all the bedtime duties (tucking kids in on a school night! AND tucking in goats, chickens, dogs, and guinea pigs!) Then pulled morning bus/daycare duty - making sure all three big kids were on the bus for school and the two little boys were at daycare with lunchboxes to boot! This is also while fielding 300 questions about the baby sister from the kids, answering video calls from me at the hospital so the kids could see their baby sister, and comforting Red and Rust who were worried and heartbroken that neither mom or dad were at home. Miss Hannah, you cannot even imagine how grateful I am for you. Not only because you kept this house together while we were in the hospital, but also because you love our kids so well. We are so so blessed by you. 

Smiling all the way to my soul to see everyone's reactions to our newest Studerbaby. The kids couldn't come into the hospital due to covid regulations about visitor ages - but my Mum helped them make signs to hold up outside of our hospital room so that Olive and I could wave to them from the window. My dad brought along the binoculars for them too and they were all thrilled to get a peek at her. Brandon's parents, my parents, my sisters, and Miss Hannah all stopped by to visit Olive in the hospital and they lit up with joy at the sight of our sweet new girl. Plus we had visits from our nurses and doctors that were family and friends like Kara Pisczek and my cousin/midwife Meg. 

Introducing Olive to her siblings. It was magic as bringing home a new baby always is. 

Checking the boxes on some of the end of school year traditions for the big kids. Grey and Gem had their spring concerts (thanks for going in my place Abba and Kitty!) and Violet had her last homework packet of the year! Only two more weeks of school for the big kids and then it's a wide open, no bummer, no bedtime, outside summer! The countdown is on!

Finishing daycare/preschool for Red and Rusty this week. Those two cannonballs will be starting their summer a little early at home with me and their new baby sister! They are thrilled and I am too! 

Loving the fresh new cuts on most of my family (B, Grey, Vi, and Rust) thanks to Lamont at Ambitious Cuts who always does an incredible job. 

Getting new chickies! HON.EST.LY. Please imagine my face as Brandon gets home from Tractor Supply with Gem, Vi, and Rust and 3 BOXES of new chickies on Saturday. Hahhaa, we've been discussing his vasectomy plans and apparently it's sending him into a "must get all the babies" vibes. So, now we have 12 new baby chickies to add to the roost. 

Sporting with a tournament team soccer practice for Gem and a regular soccer game. Violet had one soccer game and Rusty had a whole week off of soccer because the other team had to reschedule. Grey had two baseball games with his CT team (thank you to the Conn family who took Grey to and from the game on Wednesday night! and to the Shubert family who covered our concession stand duty that night!). Grey got called up to the Laurel Highlands team on Saturday. 

Teaching not actually in school, but still emailing and grading and answering questions because I'm very very very bad at boundaries. Can't fight it, just embrace it. 

Prom Week! I pulled out the tablecloths that we ordered for last year's cancelled prom from the garage and made sure they were all good to go. Placed a final order for more plates (oops!) and confirmed with the kids at school that all of our decor had arrived and was ready to go! I finalized the guest count to confirm with the hall and the venue and by Friday it was go time for decorating! So very very grateful to my friends and coworkers Brenna and Renee who held everything together for me at school while I was out and to my Prom Committee juniors who were amazing and made sure everything was going to be perfect! And on Saturday night, I pulled on a sundress and dropped in to prom for about a half hour to see all my kids dressed up and the hall decorated and felt so much relief that it looked great and the kids were happy. One of my students said, "I'm not surprised to see you here even though you just had a baby, Señora - you always say you'll be there for all your kids and I know that means us too." Yep, a teacher's heart is not so different than a mother's heart.

Making frozen pizzas and enjoying ham pot pie leftovers from my parents. Then it was baby go-time and Miss Hannah delivered Big Daddy's from Fox's Pizza and then we enjoyed Chicken Alfredo pasta that Heather delivered to us. Heather and Caleb also dropped off two other meals (!) and goodies from the Farmer's Market while getting in a little snuggle with Olive. (Thank you so much Rummells!!)

Around Here Week 19: 05/09-16

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

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

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 94+ hours (of 1000)
Spring is one fickle lady this year. One day it will be 70's and sunshiney and the next it's low 40's with rain. Everyone's allergies are out of control but even still,  you can feel that brighter, warmer days are on the horizon. We got a perfect day on Saturday and the non-sick kids spent the entire day free playing outside and getting properly filthy. Grey spent about 4 hours on a blanket under the shade of the wild cherrry 'swing' tree resting and trying to recoup from feeling so sick for most of the week. We still haven't transplanted the seedbabies though because our nights are dipping down into the 30's and if we transplant and they die I will honestly cry. The forecast looks good after this weekend though, so we're hoping to do it next week! 

Reading Sing Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Ward and starting (and loving!!) Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, a borrow from my coworker bestie Renee (thank you!). I also ordered The Last Kids on Earth first three books for Grey in an effort to get him to make up this last marking period worth of AR points! 

Feeling appreciated on Mother's Day and being so grateful for the mommas in my life who has inspired and supported me all my life (especially my own mumma). My mumma and sisters met for a just girls brunch at Franklin Street bar and grill on Mother's day morning. It was so lovely and then we were surprised by "our men" who had a climbing rose bush for each of us delivered to our table and the bill covered! They all came to our house afterwards to be showered in hugs from the kids and I got surprised again by gifts for the new baby girl (very cute outfits, wipes, baby shampoo, and even new sandals for me!) - thank you guys so much! Kitty even gave me and baby girl a Reiki session that I spent the whole time visualizing her birth and holding her and looking at her in the little hospital bassinet. Kitty said when she was over my belly all she saw was bright yellow happy light! Gigi and Pappy came over later and Brandon went full on hibachi chef for dinner for us with chicken, steak, and shrimp with stirfry veggies over Jasmine rice. Everything was delicious and I was so grateful to get to spend the day at home with all my babies and all these incredible mommas. 

Happy to receive pictures via text while Brandon chaperoned the girls' marathon fun day events this week. He got to attend half days in a row to help with games and kid corralling at the school. The girls were so happy to have him there. 

WHEN IT RAINS, IT POURS. no kidding. This week has been a true test to my soul.  Between the normally expected craziness (my last week of full time teaching while being 38 weeks pregnant. Spring sports are in full swing, B volunteered twice at the kids' school this week and had a board meeting)…We also had a series of unexpected and unfortunate events occur.

  • First, we lost Sheila's keys on Monday and had a car swap fiasco after school in between games.
  • Then, Red had a viral fever for 4 days and wasn't sleeping well, was super clingy, and was throwing up a little bit. After a trip to the Peds we were informed he's cutting his molars, so yay. 
  • Meanwhile, Grey came home from school on Tuesday and took a shower and fell asleep (never has done that). He missed school on Wednesday and was thankfully virtual on Thursday and by Friday he displayed to us a considerable size bullseye rash under his armpit (um, what?!). We tele-medicined his symptoms and were prescribed Lymes antibiotics and by Saturday he had a face full of tiny red rashes (also a sign of Lymes) and was completely exhausted, puking, and dehydrated. 
  • In the meantime, Rusty threw up twice on Tuesday night and by Wednesday afternoon at school I was literally moaning with stomach pain and nausea. I barely made it home to go full blown stomach bug for the next 24 hours with a 38+ week pregnant belly (super enjoyable). 
  • By Saturday, the stomach bug had claimed both Brandon and Violet too with the same symptoms of exhaustion, vomiting, and diarrhea for 24 hrs.

Repeating like a mantra with B, "We're almost there. Who knows where 'there' is going to be, but it's NOT going to be here and that is comforting" HAH. whatever gets us through this next week. 

Being eternally grateful (as always) for the people who squeeze in when we are flailing in the water. Miss Hannah showed up on last minute notice so Reddy could stay home from daycare on Tuesday (thank you!) My mom was able to stay with all the sick boys on Wednesday who were all home from school/daycare while also tidying up and doing several loads of laundry and then my Dad stopped to pick up the girls for Gem's soccer game so Brandon could stay home with pukey me and the other sick kids that night. (thank you!) Heather brought us homemade chicken noodle soup on Saturday after she heard about our stomach bug plague happening (thank you!), and my parents dropped off dinner on Saturday night that was enough to last and get us through a few nights (thank you!) We got so many check in texts and calls from our family and friends about all our craziness (the stomach bug, Grey/Lymes, and Baby#6) - thank you! It's been a wild week and we literally would not have made it out without support, patience, and grace from our family and friends! 

Feeling almost thankful (albeit completely uncomfortable and miserable) that the baby girl didn't come out this week because we were in the midst of a vomitous disaster. Maybe she knows better than me - let's get through this illness first before we bring a new baby home! 

Sending prayers of peace and comfort to my best friend Kate and her family. (love you). 

Having my last baby doc appointment because next week, she's just getting kicked out! All is fine with both of us. I got my Covid test scheduled and the details I need for my induction on Wednesday. Unless of course she decides on her own to come before that. Either way, I feel relieved to know that by next weekend, we will all be accounted for here out in the world!

Starting every phone call I make with family and friends, "Hi, no, this is not about the baby...."

Giggling over Red's new haircut. The back of his head had so much thin, wild, and long hair. It was really ridiculous. So B got him set up on a little stool on the bathroom counter and buzzed him. He actually looks adorable (and older like kids always do after a haircut). 

Sporting with two soccer games for Rusty this week (he missed another one due to the stomach bug), two soccer games and team photos for Violet, and two soccer games for Gem this week too. She was asked to be on the tournament team which she is super pumped about and I'm good with it because there are only three local tournaments in June and that feels doable with a newborn. Grey had two baseball games this week but missed one because he was so sick on Wednesday evening (a sign of how bad he felt because that kid hates missing sports). He also decided to skip the all-star try outs which I'm totally cool with because those are non-local tournaments and they go on all the way through July! He said he'd rather go fishing, camping, and swimming - so yeah, that's totally fine with me dude! 

Teaching in my last week of school for the year! Advice to pregnant teachers out there, I definitely was overly ambitious thinking to hold out until nearly the end. This week 38 teaching has been brutal (actually week 37 was pretty brutal too). It doesn't help that it's also the end of the school year too, so students are all a little wacky. But at least (for me) it was state testing week, so my classes were mostly sparse this week and I was able to get fully organized and prepared for the week and two days that I'll miss for the school year in all. Spanish 1 took their final, Spanish 2 got to watch a movie when they were here (big testing week for them), Spanish 3 finished their novel Felipe Alou by watching the baseball movie Sugar, and Spanish 4 worked on their piñata when they were here (Senior field trip).  After my stomach bug incapacitation on Wednesday night, I finally put up the white flag and just called the school year for myself. I took my last available sick days to start my maternity leave two days earlier than planned because I am full out of steam. 

Prom Planning: which is next Saturday (!) I ordered the rest of the decorations, finished up handing out tickets for last minute permission slip returners, and reconfirming/checked in with all the vendors (venue, dj, photographer, caterer). We got prom dress up week (next week) approved by the principal, finishing a Prom FAQ doc for students, and planning our decorating day (Friday 05/21). If this babe does end up coming because of induction day - that means I'll probably be getting home from the hospital on decorating because I'm an insane person, I'll probably stop over that evening to check in on my prom committee kids and hopefully at least make an appearance at prom the next day. Fingers crossed that all goes smoothly and beautifully and these kiddos get the prom they deserve after not having one in 2020 and suffering through this crazy school year we had. 

Making a huge meal on Sunday for Mother's day (B made everything!) Besides his Blackstone grilling main course, he also made brussels sprout salad, purchased a chocolate/strawberry cake, and Gemma made these delightful whip cream filled pastries with caramel on top (all on her own!). During the week, we had meat sauce spaghetti, meat & cheese sandwiches, ordered in Fox's pizza, leftover night, and roasting hot dogs over the patio fire on Friday night (first fire dinner of the summer!) 

Around Here Week 18: 05/02-08

Sunday, May 16, 2021

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

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 84+ hours (of 1000)
Ugh, the weather was mostly a bummer this week. Lots of rain, lots of chilly temperatures after we had just been getting used to the warm and sunshine. All the rain brought the plant world into full bloom though and everything is bursting with green. Those pink dogwood blossoms I keep seeing - - reason enough alone to live in temperate climate! Our yard is filled with dandelions both yellow and wishies which is hysterical - we can't mow fast enough!

Reading and finishing Clap When You Land by Karen Acevedo. It was beautiful and I really enjoyed another read by this author (my third book of hers in the last two years!) . I picked up again in Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward and I also ordered my next self-designated reading in my personal interest in learning about outdoor play for kids - How to Raise a Wild Child by Scott D. Sampson 

Enjoying another year of Screen Free Week! I have a different post about how we pass our screen free time, and we only had two little cheats on Friday & Saturday nights when I was having false labor and it was rainy and cold outside and the kids were all running around and screaming and I was so overwhelmed with frustration and wanting this baby out. So the kids got to watch a movie and B and I watched some Designated Survivor on Netflix to try to distract myself from the misery. #thanksbaby#6 

Keeping the goats in the pasture until Brandon can deer fence the blueberry bushes. Those sneaky goats just pushed aside the bird fencing we had over the bushes when they were free ranging and literally ate every single leaf off of all six bushes! B and Gemma worked on putting in the posts for the fence. 

Working through the grumpiness, hungriness, sleepiness of a growth spurt for Red. He's also cutting some new teeth, but he had to be going through some growing because this kid was so sleepy and hungry and clingy for several days in a row - just so unlike him (minus the hunger, this child can always eat, hah). 

Working through the grumpiness, uncomfortableness, and sleepLESSness of week 37 of pregnancy and carrying so low it feels like she might just fall out! Students are not holding back at all and just flat out saying, "Señora?! you are PREG.NANT!" and "geez, that doesn't look comfortable" - hahaha, it's become a freak sideshow at school now to see if I'm going to show up everyday or if this girl will finally put me out of this giant belly'ed misery. I had a check and all is well, she's locked and loaded and now we either wait for her to decide to come on her own, or her induction is scheduled for May 19 (thank the Lord and my midwife Meg!) I even suffered through some prodromal labor (false labor) for most of the day on Friday and was pleading with this baby girl to please let it be true. Alas, nothing was timeable even though it was incredibly uncomfortable/painful at times. 

Trying all.the.things to get this baby moving on out into the world: pineapple juice, bumpy roads, nsfw, yoga positions, lots of walking, spicy foods, dancing, meditating and visualization, warm showers, mac & cheese with ketchup (which is what 'worked' with Grey)...she is just so low and I am so done with being pregnant after being pregnant for two years in a row (literally). Brandon tried to be encouraging and said, "Babe, if it was up to effort alone, you would have had this baby 8 times already." Ugh...the only sure fire way to get your baby to come out.....WAIT. (which I'm very bad at it). 

Marveling at our caterpillars who all moved into chrysalis this week. When the caterpillars moved to the top of the cup on day, Violet went around the house grabbing us each by hand in whispering "I bet they'll be chrysalis by tomorrow!" (she was right!) The kids (and us parents too!) are all fascinated. Even though we've done this annually for years - it is still miraculous to watch how much they grow in a span of days and then see them transform in front of our eyes up close. 

Servicing our internet because we have had a dead modem for over a week (oops!) The internet guy came and gave us a new one and was like, "um, your modem is so old, you really need to upgrade" HAHAHAH, like dude - for real, we've had that modem since 2012. He told us that we should get a mesh modem to be fully functional all the time and now we are on the hunt because seriously our internet can be super sketchy but we always just chalk that up to mountaintop life. Any suggestions on mesh modems much appreciated! 

Sending Grey to my parents house for a full weekend sleepover much to his sheer delight. He and my Dad went golfing, fishing, and he got to just be a single kid for a whole two days with full attention from his Abba and Chum. He loved it (thank you!)

Walking 2.5 miles with Gem, Violet, and Rust on the Jim Mayer trail while the three of them biked. We made it the whole way to the Ferndale side (we usually stop at the waterfall and turn back because little legs are too tired). We spotted centipedes and I got a beautiful bouquet of wildflowers for Mother's Day, and the kids loved using the old bridge support as a sliding board! It was exactly the right thing I needed to get my mind off this pregnancy discomfort and get our kiddos outside and their bodies moving!

Sporting with a wacky schedule this week thanks to off and on thunderstorms that made for lots of rescheduling. Rusty had his first soccer game ever and because of all the other games being rescheduled, the whole family was able to be there to cheer him on. It was hilarious listening to the big kids cheering for him and Rust was so proud! He had another game too - so two soccer games for him this week. All of Grey's baseball games got rescheduled, Gemma had two games and Violet had one game and about half way through the games, the sky opened up and dumped on us. It was crazy and by the time my slow pregnant butt got to the car I was sufficiently soaked through to the bone. 

Teaching Billy y las Botas graphic novel in Spanish 1 and trying to keep these freshman boys under control as we are in the final stretch of school. Everyone is a little antsy pantsy, especially my freshman boys who are ready to just burst out of their skin with summer anticipation. We are staying the course and still doing work even though everyone wants to be done because it's the only thing that keeps behavior reasonable. Spanish 2 had their final this week (those that didn't have enough LMA passes) and then we started watching Rio because I will barely see them next week due to Keystone state testing (how?! why!? I loathe standardized testing and it's been a pandemic school year - wtfff?!). Spanish 3 finished their novel Felipe Alou while Spanish 4 worked on their piñata for two days and then they had senior walk out day, senior prank night, and senior skip day for the rest of the week. Luckily for me, they spared trashing my room on senior prank night (thank you!) We gratefully had an ACT 80 day on Friday and it was heaven to be able to finally try to catch up on grading and finish my maternity leave binder for the sub that I will leave out on a clean desk every single day until this baby comes (hah!) 

Prom planning: ordering decorations, ordering prom tshirts, confirming with vendors, and double checking permission slips with ticket distribution all week. The prom will be the end of this month (literally the week I'm supposed to have this baby) so I'm feeling the pressure to get all of our ducks in a row. 

Making meatball sub sandwiches, tacos for cinco de mayo, sloppy joes and mac&cheese (kid favorite!), frozen pizza, and leftovers. Brandon I had some yummy Green Chef recipes including Maple Cauliflower power bowls, Japanese Fritters,  and Kidney bean burgers (actually super yum!)