Around Here Week 22: 05/30-06/05

Monday, June 28, 2021

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

Mimi with 9 of her 13 great grandchildren!

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 160+ hours (of 1000)
Lots of time earned this week at the soccer and baseball fields. We are snacking and hanging out under the back porch and if I said it once I've said it an infinite amount of times: How did we live in this house for 9 years without a back porch!? 

Reading nothing. too much else to juggle and then sleep. hah! That's okay, I'm giving myself a grace period right now. 

Snagging flowers and some 'cheater' plants for our garden at Stuvers. We picked up the plants I wanted for our porch planter boxes and then per usual also bought a handful of perrenials for the back rock garden to add some more pops of color (a little more every year! We planted those white/purple iris bulbs two years ago and crossed our fingers. This year, they came up gloriously!) We also got a few already grown ("cheater") veggie plants for our garden because we are a little stressed that our seedbabies aren't going to grow until October at this rate, if ever! So we got about two of each veggie plant just to make sure we get something out of this garden!

Snuggling up with Olive. Grey actually said this week, "All she does is sleep, Mum." and I smiled and nodded knowing that this little window of a sleeping, snuggling newborn is so very short. I told him to get his snuggles while he can because remember what happens - and then I pointed to Redland who at that moment was stabbing Rusty with a fake sword and laughing maniacally. 

Swooning over the little relationship Red and Olive are making together. I am very intentional about their interactions right now as he's so clunky and still really just a baby himself. But I never deter him from his interest in her; he can see her, kiss her, hold her, pet her whenever he wants and for as long (or little as he wants). He doesn't show any signs of jealous or meanness towards her because I am doing everything possible to make sure I have time for doing all baby type snuggling and singing and attention with him too - either the two of them together, or while she sleeps with just him. I need the two of them to be okay with each other because in the grand scheme of life when they are grown; their relationship together is going to weigh a bit more than my relationship with each of them. I need them to have each other to go to and rely on. That's nearly the only thing I need. 

'Tis the season for birthday parties, Violet got to spend the day at Living Treasures zoo to celebrate Bria's (her bestie) birthday. And on Saturday, Violet and Rusty got an afternoon at the bounce house celebrating their friend, Waylon's birthday. 

Well check for our 2week old sweetie pie and she made it back up (exactly!) to birth weight. All was well for our sweetie pie and she is growing beautifully. 

Closing on our refinance of the mortgage/land loan. Yay! 

Singing Happy Birthday to our Rustman who turned a whole High Five this week! Just seems impossible actually, but five suits him pretty well. We sang over pancakes for breakfast (with whip cream!) and had pizza for dinner. We are planning a trip to the zoo in the next few weeks to celebrate too. How lucky we are to be Rust's family - he is hands-down the funniest, most thoughtful little fellow we know. 

Rejoicing for the end of the 20-21 school year! So bittersweet as it's another year that flew by and no matter how I try to grab at time, it just slips right through my fingers. But also - boy, did we really need to just get to the finish line of this year. I felt like we were barely duct taping it together to get to the last day of school. My endless gratitude to our teachers and staff and bus driver and lunch ladies and all the people that love, care, and encourage our kids everyday throughout the school year. YOU are part of our village and our kids are who they are because you cheer them on and find ways to support them each day. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts.  

Taking the first swim of the year at Pappy and Gigi's house on the last day of school. The kids are nuts because it was FREEZING. I only dipped a toe in and was like NOPE. But even despite their blue lips and quivering chins, they swam for about an hour!

Sporting with 3 baseball games for Grey this week. Gem had 2 tournament team practices, 2 soccer games, and a soccer tournament on Saturday. Violet and Rust each had 3 soccer games this week including one on Rusty's birthday so we brought cupcakes to celebrate after the game with his teammates. B played with our Roxbury volleyball team too on Tuesday. 

Making shredded bbq chicken sandwiches, spaghetti, and buffalo chicken dip. B and I had 2 green chefs this week: Pea Falafel pitas and plant-based protein flautas while the kids happily chowed on leftovers and cereal. We also graciously accepted delivered meals from our sweet Miss Hannah who stopped for a visit with pulled pork and green beans and later in the week, Miss Joan from Brandon's office stopped by to deliver pulled pork, mac & cheese, and ice cream sandwiches for the kids. (Thank you!!) I whipped up some pumpkin roll for my birthday boy for dessert too. 

Around Here Week 21: 05/23-29

Monday, June 7, 2021

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

Intentional Outdoor Hours:  131+ hours (of 1000)
Another wacky weather week here in western PA. We had beautiful weather, to very wet thunderstorm weather, to downright cold weather by the end of the week. If it is warm enough, we are out the door right after breakfast because it gets these boys moving and having fun which means by lunch, Red is half falling asleep in his high chair (yay!) Olive has been napping on the back porch while I finished up my grading and all is wonderful and smooth when the weather is cooperative. Rust and I even hung the 'troll egg' swing all by ourselves this week and he was so proud that we didn't need Dad to do it! 

Reading not very much because, well, Rotten 8. When I can keep my eyes open long enough to read (a paragraph or two, LOL) I am reading Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward and How to Raise a Wild Child by Scott Sampson. I also started watching Schitt's Creek on Netflix (I know, FINALLY.) 

Joyfully receiving all the visitors on this week who dropped in to snuggle Olive. We had a wave of visitors on Sunday who came to snuggle Olive, play with all the rest of the Studer Half Dozen, and drop off groceries! Thank you so much Uch and Kevin, Abba and Chum, Gigi and Pappy, & Mimi and Kuma! Katie got to pop in for a visit on Tuesday and brought a week supply of Pirate Booty for the kids. Loni and Rourie dropped Ivan off early in the morning to sneak in some snuggles with Olive before school while also delivering meals for us. And Olive got so much love and hugs from friends from school at the promotion ceremony and party this week! 

Welcoming more animals to the farmette this week! Hahaha. We had six teenaged chickens gifted to us from the Stephens family who got them around Easter and raised them until now. Mallie and the girls popped over on Sunday night to visit with the kids and drop off the hens. They have transitioned great to our farmette and prefer the goat pasture/house to the coop - so they've been sleeping there each night. That is actually working out great as we have a fox on the prowl that has been snagging our chickens from the coop (!) We also gave a forever home to six duckies from a family in our neighborhood who couldn't keep them. The duckies live in the goat pasture too and Grey and Violet built them a little house out of cinderblocks and a palette that sits right next to their little pool. Officially we are up to: 6 kids, 2 dogs, 2 guinea pigs, 25 chickens, 6 ducks, and 5 goats! 

Really having it sink in that we have TWO BABIES in our house. It's funny to me now that before we brought Olive home I was thinking Red was a toddler. I mean he is incredibly independent for 13 months and he walks and eats almost everything and really isn't a hassle. But it took about 3 minutes of being home all together that the realization hit me in the face this is TWO babies. I mean, Red can't speak. hahahahhahahaa. Of course he says some words, but he can't actually talk. And he's so clunky. We've been working all week on practicing being gentle with the baby; he is getting it but his interactions with her are intensely supervised. 

Field tripping (well, the kids did) - all three big kids squeezed their field trips in before the end of the year. Grey and Gem's grades visited Camp Harmony and spent the day rock wall climbing, archery shooting, and escape room'ing. Brandon got to chaperone Gemma's trip too! Violet's grade visited Vale Wood Farms to see the cows and even got some ice cream! 

Attending graduation for my students on Tuesday night. Violet glanced over at me at one point and said, "Mum, why are you crying?" because #neverhaveIeverNOTcriedatgraduation Congrats to all my Class of 2021 kids. I am so proud to have been a small part of your journey through life. I will be cheering you on for forever. 

Losing 20+ lbs in the first 10 days of Olive's life which is not a pat on my own back, just a true illustration of how miserable I was before this babe came to the world. That is 20+ lbs of baby, baby making equipment (hah), and SWELLING. It wasn't until about day 6 that the tops of my feet and ankles were actually visible again. I am so grateful that my body is finally readjusting to being one, single human being again. I cannot explain the relief I feel to be able to fully stretch properly (arms all the way up, toes pointed, back arched) and not feel pain or get a Charley horse (lol, but for real). 

Smiling so big when I received a message from Vi's kindergarten teacher to let us know about "Violet's shoe tying class" that she holds each day after breakfast at the front of the room for any of her classmates that would like to join. She has about 4-5 regulars that come to her 'class' as she demonstrates and dictates how to tie shoes and then monitors as they try to learn themselves. Vi's teacher, Mrs. McCall, even made her a little sign that she hung up for the 'class' - but that is honestly just Mrs. McCall doing what she does to give every child a spot at centerstage to shine their very brightest. You have been such a blessing to Violet and our whole family, Mrs. McCall - we love you so! 

Proud (yet completely dumbfounded) that Grey is old enough to be moving to the middle school. He and his classmates celebrated their fifth grade promotion ceremony and party this week. How quickly time goes (must I say that every single day as a mom?) During the ceremony, the superintendent said 'now that you finished the first six years of your education here at Township and you move into the last 7..." and I was like - um, what now? But really. It is only 7 years until he's 'technically' a grown up and why did the first 11 years of his life go this fast and now I only have 7 more years until he's a (technically/legally) a adult?!?! It's really too many hormones to have a newborn and a kid being promoted to the middle school in the same week, so my apologies for the hysterics. I was also on the planning committee for the promo party and Olive and I spent the afternoon at the elementary school hosting an escape room for the fifth graders among a variety of fun activities that were planned by the whole committee and our incredible leader & fellow 5th grade momma, Erin! 

Fully aware that time is slipping right through my fingers. Olive is already a week old, Grey off to middle school, summer is nearly here already - which is amazing but that also means a whole school year has gone by somehow. Violet is finishing kindergarten for goodness sakes!? WHAT.IS.HAPPENING?!

Cheering on the Path of the Flood Runners on Saturday morning at the You in Flood City aid/water station along the course. I got the kids up in the morning and kissed Brandon goodbye as I threaten/whispered in his ear "DO NOT WAKE UP UNTIL I COME HOME." (We are both dead tired, and I don't have an out on this one - so at least one of us should get some darn sleep!) Grey opted to stay home and sleep in too (also a wise choice), but I scooped up the rest and met my sisters, parents, Gemma (who had a sleepover with my parents the night before), and Aunt Lisa at the course around 7:30a. It was cold, but we were warmed by the runners enthusiasm and all our clapping and cheering. If you want your faith restored in humanity - go to cheer on the sidelines of a race (or RUN in a race!) 

Celebrating Gigi's birthday on Saturday night! We enjoyed dinner at their house with a game of 'high stakes' Bingo (hahhaa, for $1 a win!). Happy Birthday, Gigi - you are so loved! 

Sporting with one soccer game for Rust, three soccer games for Violet, and two soccer games and one tourney team soccer practice for Gem. Grey had only one baseball game this week. Brandon started down at Roxbury with our co-ed volleyball team too this week! I'm going to sit out until June 8th, but I'm so excited to be with our Bag of Cats team again on the court! Olive made her first rounds at fields for the season! She and Red will follow in their siblings footsteps of lots of time spent at fields and courts while their older siblings play and practice. But then Bonus (like we learned from Rusty this year!) they will get a HUGE, loud cheering section when it's finally their turn to play! Hang in their little ones!

"Teaching" but not really. Just finishing up grading because it was the last days of school for my students this week. On Thursday afternoon, I officially finalized all my grades for the year and let out a big sigh of relief that this wacky school year was done! Fourth year teaching at my current school wrapped up with a bow!

Making next to nothing because we graciously received so much love in the form of food from friends and family this week (THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!) We had Hawaiian Meatballs over rice from the Valentine family, Tacos one night and Strombolis another night; both from Heather, Lasagna one night, and Chicken Veggie Casserole another; both from the Stankan family, and Cheesy Ham and Potato Casserole from the Hostetler family. The kids finished off a carrot cake delivered from Carli while her frozen crockpot meal sits patiently in our freezer. We went out to Kraus's one night for ice cream for dinner (hah) and Brandon and Grey stopped at Woodside after 5th grade promotion to celebrate with chicken wings with Grey's bestie Ivan and his dad, Jeremy.