Reddy Adams 18 months old

Thursday, October 28, 2021

My sun/son up to sun/son down little boy; pedal to the metal, curiosity through destruction, sticky handed, just dumped out all the things, tiny, boss baby. When I wrote 25 Rules for Moms with Sons it was because of sons like you - who break all the things during the day, including your momma's heart, spirit, and sanity (hah) and then mend them right back up with a snuggle at bedtime. 

It's funny how a mother's mind plays tricks on her. I've been through this toddler stage four times before and somehow when I turned around from emptying the dishwasher and saw that you had transferred all the dry dog food to the water dishes and mixed it with potting soil and a sneaker - I was surprised. Why would I be surprised? I have experience in this stage - the turn your back for a moment and three new messes have been created by the toddler stage...and yet. You are not one to back down from a challenge, so it seems you're going for most destructive toddler of all our kids (it's that Aries sign - just ask your biggest bro Booboo). So Dad and I are hanging on for dear life and taking lots of deep breaths and reminding ourselves over and over, "This is just a stage of growing up." 

You've been walking since 10 months and then running shortly after that. You can also climb to the top bunks, jump, walk backwards, hang from the chin up bars, and open dresser drawers to empty all the clothes. You understand everything we say and can follow directions like "get your shoes," and "go pick a book to read." 

You like to play outside best of all - catching chickens, jumping on the trampoline, or going for walks in the woods. You are most happy with some kind of ball or stick in your hand. You love playing catch with a football, kicking a soccer ball, or dribbling and shooting basketballs on the mini hoop in the kitchen. You also love to play fight with your brothers - wrestling and playing with pretend swords and guns. You and Rusty fight invisible monsters all day to keep me and baby Olive safe. You want to do whatever Rusty is doing and follow him around copying his every move and sound effect. 

You communicate through sign language, pointing, and grabbing our hand and showing us. Your vocabulary is extremely limited in terms of what is distinguishable (yes, no, hi, bye, dad, mum, 'wow', and 'boom boom' when shooting a pretend gun). But you do try to talk and you make so many language-type sounds - we call it your alien dialect because it does really sound like it's a real language, we just aren't fluent in it. You sure get your point across though and the pediatrician says not to be worried as you're the fifth baby and demonstrate no other red flags. I can't wait to understand all you want to say (you speak in alien all day - you have plenty to say!) and I know you'll get there, so I'm trying to remember to appreciate all your babble just as it is right now because I know that some day eleventeen is gone and I miss her

You love sweets, especially chocolate - but will eat almost anything. You are our 'seagull' and you gravitate toward anyone with food; mouth open waiting for them to share. You love salad with dressing, dipping sauces (ketchup, bbq sauce, etc), and all kinds of 'grown up' food that our other kids scrunch their noses up at. You take one nap (most days) and you sleep in our bed at night, usually horizontally; kicking Dad and I in the neck. We are experienced in parenting though so we know this is a phase, but dude - I would be lying if I didn't say that I could use a good night's sleep. Dad set up a toddler bed in our room and laid with you in it the other night. He actually fell asleep (#parenting) and instead of doing the same- didn't you just crawl over the top of him and climb up into our bed and fell asleep. hah! 

You bring out something in each of your siblings, as they do in you too. Grey is your mentor and cheerleader - teaching you and marveling over how quickly you pick up anything sports related. Gemma is your nurturer - you know she is going to get you whatever you want and will baby you if you need it (even if you don't!) Violet is your audience who gives you the most laughs and encouragement when you're doing something funny or (usually) naughty. Her giggle will be the soundtrack playing in your mind while you figure out your own humor. Rust is your right hand man, how grateful I am that you two have each other. You are lucky to have such a patient big bro willing to play beside you and take all the beatings that come with a little boy that is just figuring out his own strength. Rusty has been bitten, slapped in the face with play weapons, and pinched more times than I can count, but he always forgives you as you figure out how to play safely.  I hope you remember Rusty's patience with you as Olive grows up learning how to control her actions. 

You still suck your fingers when you need to self-soothe. You do the 'rock on' hands and you're small enough for everyone to think it's still cute. You do enough big kid things though that lots of people (us included) forget that you are really only a baby. Especially since you are such a sweet and caring big brother to Olive. You are only 13 months older than her, but you love and care for her without any jealously - it makes me so proud. You kiss her and ask to hold her. You help put her binky in when she accidentally spits it out and you share space in my arms or in my lap with her. She is so lucky to have you, bubie. Thank you for being the best big brother and friend to her.  

The other week we were at a varsity football game and you were playing over near the ramp to the bleachers. I was closer to the fence with the stroller so you and your siblings had a 'home base' to return to when they needed money, or their coat, or to just check in. I could see you, but you were in your own world practicing walking up and down on the ramp. I watched and laughed to myself as person after person passed by you smiling and saying, "Hi Red" while you lifted your hand to them like "hey" so nonchalantly. As the fifth kid to siblings who are all involved in activities, nearly everyone everywhere we go recognizes you....and you're just like, 'what's up.' Dad and I are so grateful that your brothers' and sisters' friends are so kind and patient with you - you have so many examples of how to grow up to be a decent person.

You have a lot of expectation riding on your shoulders from your older siblings which I hope you will learn to see as a blessing and not a curse. There are many of us, but there is still enough room for you to be your own person; exactly you. You both fit with us and widen the scope of who our family is and we are better as a whole for it.  

Life with you, Reddy, is so good. You are funny and wild and the embodiment of 'snips of snails and puppy dog tails'. A bouncing ball of bruises, scrapes, dirt, and energy. Because of your wonder and joy, we are all more aware of the everyday magic of life. You forced a pause button into our fast paced life with school aged kids. You encourage us to pump the brakes and look around - you are such a strong reminder that we are living in the good 'ole days right now.

You are a wonder, a tiny boy wonder. 
I can't believe I get to be the one to snuggle you and kiss your booboos
and read you books and balance you in my arms with your baby sister.
you are exactly what our family needed when we didn't know we needed you.
thank you for being just exactly you.
I love you forever and ever
even when you are bigger than me
my babiest boy, 
I will be loving you, 

Homeschool Pre-K Week 9

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

It was a perfect week to get out into the woods and go on spider and web hunts! The weather was cool but sunny and the woods behind our house is in the perfect season for easily walking around with little kids. The weeds have all died down and there are enough leaves off of the trees that it makes forest wandering easy and safe. We followed deer trails to look for spiders and webs but also just played too. The boys love swinging sticks like swords and climbing over and balancing on fallen tree limbs. Oh, it was just incredible and reminded me so much of growing up near the woods and playing all day wild, and risky, and free with my sisters.  

We did a little side study this week about insects (I knew Rusty didn't know that vocab word yet) and then had my mind blown when I realized spiders are not actually insects! I mean I'm sure I learned that somewhere along the way of my education, but I forgot it - especially as any creepy crawly is referred to as a "buggie" with little kids in the house. So, I even learned (or re-learned) something this week which included the three classifications it takes to be considered an insect:  six legs, three body parts (head, abdomen, and thorax), and having antennae. And what about caterpillars you say - well, I watched this awesome Mystery Doug video a few months ago and again - mind freaking blown. Okay, bugs are cool as heck. 

Unit: Spooky
Lesson: Spiders

Books we read:
The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle 

Memory Verse:
The Itsy Bitsy spider
went up the water spout
down came the rain and
washed the spider out
out came the sun and 
dried up all the rain
and the Itsy Bitsy spider
went up the spout again
(with hand motions)

Watched on Youtube
Mini Beast Adventures: Spiders for Kids 

Language Arts:
Focus on the letter S
New vocabulary word: Insect 
Highlighting the letter S in the mini book: Insects

Count the spiders (dice game)
Color by number worksheet
Spider puzzle (numbers 1-10)

Initial /F/ sound with thumbprint 'spider' on webs

Learning about what classifies something as an insect 
classifying animals as Insects or Not Insects

Spider paper plate puppet
Drawing insects from real insect models found near/in the house (stinkbugs, lady bugs, honeybees, etc)

Physical Play:
Spider web hunt (walks in the woods)
Lifting rocks & logs on a spider searches

Snack assembling:
mini donut spider with 8 pretzel legs

Field Trip!
Sleepover at Abba & Chum's with Violet with two bike rides! 

Around Here Week 41: 10/10-16

Monday, October 25, 2021

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

Zombie Ms. Hannah! ah! 

Intentional Outdoor Hours:  532+ hours (of 1000)
We are really soaking up these last few weeks of fall before winter settles in. The weather is still so comfortable and the sunrises and sunsets are shining with that beautiful autumn glow. Olive logged a pleasant outdoor nap this week and the goats and chickens are happy to be free ranging and got access to our garden to eat up whatever they can find and to fertilize the soil for next year's garden! 

Reading/Listening to The Last House on Needless Street by Catriona Ward on audible. I wanted to get in a spooky read for October and after a little poking around on #bookstagram I thought this one looked like a good pic. It is a solid spooky season choice but also whoa, kind of dark and twisted. I was listening to it at the kitchen table and gasped, and Brandon had just walked in and was like, 'are you kidding me?!' 

Teaching Violet and Rusty to rollerblade. It's on my 100 small things list and we were gifted handmedown rollerblades from the Conns this week (thank you!) They were both really hesitant but caught on pretty quick and have been practicing all week on the back patio. (First rollerblading lesson: march, march, march in the rollerblades. Don't try to jump right into gliding!) Not only is rollerblading fun (and an easy garage release of energy in the winter!) but we also have a skating rink here in town! 

Having all the kids home on Monday when the big kids had no school for the holiday (Indigenous Person's Day). If I've said it once, I've said it a million times, it has been such a relief to to have a dedicated person at home for the school year. In years past we have always scrambled on this day to try to find a sitter for the kids, but not this year! 

Visiting the corn maze with the Fiores! The kids and I met Kate, Soph, and Charlie out to Patton to Hoover's corn maze and pumpkin patch. The corn maze was great and they had a cornbox (like sandbox but with loose corn kernels) which is always loved by the kids. Their favorite part though was the indoor hay maze. It was pitch black inside the maze (it was actually more like a path, because you couldn't go on a wrong turn) and they laughed and chased each other all through it. Big, big hit! It is always a blessing to my soul to spend time with Kate and just catch up. In true big family fashion, we had a kid forget shoes (ahem, Red), so he walked his way through the corn maze in socks. 

Researching "how to have enough food in the house for growing kids" LOL. but seriously. Grey and Gem are hungry all day long and I don't want them reaching for 18 bowls of cereal a day. So we are working on having quick but nutritional options for them to grab and fuel their growing bodies with the things that they need. I made some homemade trail mix, made multiple 'pick me up plates' (a combination of fruit, veggies, nuts, dips, cheese stick, yogurt, etc), lunchmeat & cheese sammie supplies, and protein/granola bars. We have moved away from the days when I could grocery shop once every 2-3 weeks; it's at least once a week just to restock for the snack attacks. 

Donating blood at North Star on Tuesday when the student council hosted a blood drive. It was so nice to get to chat with my students and teacher friends. B watched the little ones so that I could go down and the office ladies were thrilled to get to spend some time with the squish kids. It was my 23rd pint donated! woohoo! 

Attempting to get winter clothes pulled down from the attic. The weather is still nice but the mornings are reminding me that kids are in need of long pants and hoodies (hah). I started with Rust and Red to switch them over and the girls are next (ugh, theirs always makes me want to cry there are so many). This swapping of clothes is such a big job that I dread every time for so many reasons - logistically, theoretically, emotionally (how do they grow so fast?!). 

Volunteering with You in Flood City at the annual zombie crawl downtown. I was on photog duty while Uch, Kevin, Kitty, and our parents got zombies registered at Stadium Bar & Grill before they headed off through the town to enjoy all the themed drinks and fun at local bars/restaurants. Uch does such an incredible job organizing this annual event and we had over 300 zombies! After the registration I grabbed a drink with my sisters before heading back home where B was hanging with our whole crew. 

Sporting with two cheer practices and two basketball practices for Gemma. Grey had football practice twice and Violet had an end-of-season pizza party with her flag football team on Saturday (she got a trophy and was so excited!) Brandon had a youth football meeting (he's vp), he attended the Varsity walk through on Thursday and then spent Friday evening in the box at the Varsity game (big win against Meyersdale! Go CT!) 

Making instant pot Chinese chicken and broccoli, hamburger casserole, chicken corn chowder in the crockpot, spaghetti, and a rump roast in the crockpot. I also made oven smores for dessert and we had cake mix chocolate chip cookies on night. Rust and I made skeleton sugar cookies as part of his homeschool pre-k lesson too! 

Homeschool Pre-K Week 8

Thursday, October 21, 2021

I have an unhealthy addiction to purchasing children's books (while B just rolls his eyes) because they are wonderful and beautiful and helpful and educational and help to open up conversations - I just really believe in them (hah). To this day, if I sit on the couch and start reading a children's book within moments I have all six kids gathered around me to hear the story. It's magical. 

Anyway, sometimes I don't have a copy of a book I want- which was the case for this week. How do we not have any Halloween books about skeletons I really don't know - but we don't. Luckily for us (all parents) we have access to thousands of Read Alouds on Youtube! With a quick search of the book title and the phrase "read aloud" after it, I was able to find the books we needed this week for our lessons! And although nothing can replace a parents' lap and a picture book in hand - youtube read alouds are a great alternative in a pinch! 

It was a super relaxed homeschool pre-k week around here. The weather was autumn-cozy and the three little kids all had runny noses and slight fevers.  So we snuggled and enjoyed the autumn beauty, and honestly, some weeks be like that...and thank goodness for the freedom of homeschool to be able to do that. 

Unit: Spooky
Lesson: Skeletons

Books we read:
Skeleton for Dinner by Margery Cuyler
Funny Bones by Allan Ahlberg

Memory Verse:
(finger puppets)
white skeleton, white skeleton where are you?
here I am, here I am, how do you do?
black skeleton...
golden skeleton....
gray skeleton...
blue skeleton....
happy family, skeleton family where are you?
here we are, here we are
Coming for you! 

Listened & Danced to on replay:
Spooky Scary Skeletons Remix
(you can also watch the original video here - actually kind of creepy)

Language Arts:
Write the room: Halloween themed

Math puzzles 1-10 with numerals, bone tally marks, and ten frames

Sidewalk chalk body outline and fill with stick 'bones'
Make a skeleton activity

Physical Play:
Just Dance: The Skeleton Dance
Go Noodle: Bones! Bones! Bones! 
Skeleton yoga flashcards

Bake skeleton cookies (Aldi special buy!)

Field Trip!
Fishing with Pappy at Wilmore Dam

Around Here Week 40: 10/03-09

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

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

the little brothers and sisters of players and cheerleaders club

Center & QB 2016 to 2021

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 520+ hours (of 1000)
The two big boys, Olive, and I went for a walk one afternoon and what was going to be a quick out and back, turned into Grey convincing us to do the high school loop which is about 4 miles! Rusty didn't even have a shirt on (LOL) and at one point a family friend and one of Grey's former baseball coaches even stopped to make sure we weren't broken down somewhere because why would I be walking with the baby strapped to me so far from our house (thank you Coach Terry!) It was a really beautiful hike though and I was glad to get in some extra time with those two big boys and listen to all their weird little ramblings that spill out when you are just walking and thinking aloud. 

Reading and finishing I'm Still Here, Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown. Such an important read and I can feel gears switching and moving in my mind; kind of like light switches flicking on in rooms I didn't even realize were dim. Very grateful to have read the book and will be thinking and reflecting on it for a long time. 

Soaking in all this perfect fall weather. Warm but breezy. Some leaves changing but still plenty of green. Mums in full beautiful bloom. Windows open and curtains blowing in the breeze. Gosh, it is the weather that all my daydreams are made of. 

Stopping at the Pediatrician for well checks for Red and Olive. Both look good and healthy. I brought up my concerns about Reddy's speech (or lack of) and was relieved to hear that as a fifth kid with no red flags, I do not need to worry. We are working on lots of new signs for him, reinforcing using words to express ourselves, and using a little communication chart to point to pictures if he is really frustrated (things like hungry/diaper, etc)

Introducing food to the Livy Lou! She is so happy about it! 

Holding on as best as I can to sanity as Red has activated full toddler mayhem mode. How do we mothers forget? I honestly don't understand how it works because I've been through this stage 4 times and yet I forgot how impossible it is to accomplish anything with an 18month old in the house. Any chore you thought you were getting done has now been canceled out by the three new messes that your toddler just made behind your back. Clothes pulled out of hampers, all the kitchen cooking utensils sprinkled all over the house, snacks in the dogs' water dishes, diapers pulled off and poo carried around the house, clothes dipped into toilet water and swung around the's a never-ending list of surprises of the total destruction that can be accomplished by tiny toddler hands within minutes. I'm just white flagging it over here - at least after 4 times through this I can appreciate that it is in fact a phase. 

Receiving the sweetest note and gift from one of my students. Her mom, a teacher, dropped it off with Brandon in the business office and when he brought it home and said this is from Sarah - I started tearing up immediately. She wrote such a thoughtful and beautiful message in the card. (thank you Sarah, from the bottom of my heart). I miss teaching Sarah and all my students so much but I am so relieved to not be sucked up in all the other parts of teaching right now (the planning, grading, paperwork, online lessons, etc). I just walk around grateful for this life right now to be home taking care of our family but with a broken teacher heart from missing 'my kids.' 

Babysitting my sweet nephew on Thursday night so his momma and daddy could go out to dinner. He is so precious and almost exactly 3 months behind Olive. In a year those three months won't amount to anything as a difference between them - but right now it is wild to see how much 3 months matters in all the ways of a baby growing. Oh Wells, I love you so. 

Celebrating our biggest kid who had a half birthday this week - eleven and a half! 

Surprising the sixth grade wing for their last regular season home game in the youth league. Some of our amazing 6th grade moms spent Thursday night decorating the players' and cheerleaders' lockers and their hallway to surprise them all on Friday. B wrote a little note to all the players to add to their treat bag - he's been coaching them for four years and he is so proud of those kids! And then after the last regular season game, we had a little 6th grade ceremony for the players & cheerleaders (it's their last year in youth football) So B and I got announced on the field with Grey and there were lots of pictures taken. Grey has had the same center since first grade and even thinking right now of the way that Gabey has protected my QB son all those years makes me want to cry with gratitude. (thank you Gabe forever and ever). I tell Grey all the time that he might be my favorite player, but when its game time I'm cheering for the lineman (thank you boys, for always protecting my baby).

Hunting on Saturday morning - Gemma got to go sit with Pappy in the tree stand while Grey and Daddy headed out to participate in the youth pheasant hunt at Mountain View Acres. Grey brought home a pheasant for us (yum!) and Gem and Pap only saw a doe. 

Visiting with our favorite friends The Kochs who came out to watch Grey's game. It has been awhile so each individual person in our family was overjoyed to get to hug them and spend time with them. The kids all played together at the game and then they stopped by our house afterwards from drinks and snacks. Now we can hardly wait to see them again! 

Sporting with 2 seven-hour days at the football field. On Sunday, all three kids had games against North Star (3 wins!) and then they played their last regular season game on Saturday against Rockwood (all 3 wins again!)   Violet's flag football team went undefeated this year and Gem and Grey's teams are off to the playoffs next weekend. Besides games, Violet had her last two football practices and a flag scrimmage against Windber! Gemma had two cheer practices and one basketball practice. Grey had two football practices and B was in the box for offense at the Varsity football game against Blacklick. 

Making instant pot lemon chicken and rice (so yum!), cheesy beef quesadillas, BBQ ribs in the crockpot, meatball sammies, copycat chik-fi-la sandwiches. On Saturday night after the game, we had some buff chicken dip as a late night snack!