Around Here Week 32: 08/07-13

Monday, August 22, 2022

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

photo cred & fly tying credit: Grey

photo cred: B

omigosh, Liv. I cannot.

my sweet godbaby who is almost taller than me!

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 580+ hours (of 1000)
It's been beautiful and summer sunshining all week with sporadic thunderstorms....gah, peak summertime. My Black Eyed Susans are showing off in the side flowerbed, but Brandon's Sedum is looking like it's just about ready to show it's full bloom off. Every end of summer we battle to see who's favorite plant looks more beautiful. It's usually no contest (I think) because my Susans are so brilliant - but the goats ate them both down to the ground last year and the Sedum as recovered a little better than my Susans. We will see - I haven't conceded quite yet. 

Reading and NOT finishing several books all at once. I'm kind of annoying myself. I'm reading most often from Glow Kids by Nicholas Kardaras and 1000 Hours Outside by Ginny Yurich. But I have also started and not finished How We Show Up by Mia Birdsong and The Secret History by Donna Tartt. I need to finish at least two of these before the start of the school year (and before I start our next book club book!) 

Focusing on my soul and mind. It has been a rocky road in my heart and brain the last few weeks (months? years?) Now I'm getting ready to go back to teaching full time while we have six kids all going different directions's just been weighing very heavy on me. So I'm scheduled with telehealth to check in with a therapist, I'm taking some medicine, and dosing out grace and patience with myself like never before in my whole (enneagram2, oldest daughter, Virgo, horrible-at-boundaries) life. Thankfully, I am surrounded by people who care for me (even when I avoid caring for myself) - B took the four big kids to his parents' pool to swim all day on Sunday while I did some school planning, watched a movie, and rested. My sweet friend Jenn took Grey for an afternoon, no questions asked (thank you) and my parents had a sleepover with Violet for her special day. B made me a hair appt and has been taking car loads of kids to sports practices so I get time to myself in the evening. It's baby steps and I still really struggle with accepting help (let alone asking for it!?) but I'm hopeful and I think I'm pointed in the right direction now. 

Saying Happy Birthday to Abba and Miss Hannah who share a birthday! We are the luckiest to have both of you birthday twinnies in our lives. 

Visiting my classroom. Somehow I forgot that I wasn't the last person to 'close' my room and so I was bizarrely surprised to realize that I had no idea where a single thing was when I got to the room - LOL. Although the teacher who was in for me last year, did such a wonderful job of maintaining and caring for all my stuff (thank you Linda! I am so blessed by you!) Thankfully, B and the office ladies all pitched in to hang out with the kids so I could sort through things without them wrecking my room to pieces (they sure love my reader's theater costume bin!). I got the green light to have class pets (our two guinea pigs!) and I am feeling significantly better about one aspect of the upcoming fall season (teaching full time again) but still have quite a few loose ends to tie up in only three weeks (mainly childcare for the babies). 

Day tripping to the Quemahoning Dam with some of our favs - the Conns and Valentines. We picked up Peyton on the way so Gem wasn't the lone girl kid since Violet got a special day and sleepover with Abba and Chum (thank you!) We spent the afternoon swimming, fishing, snacking, building sand architecture, and playing water football. Us moms mostly just held babies, monitored big kids, and chatted endlessly which is what my heart always needs. It was a beautiful afternoon in the open air and sunshine which is what we all needed before we hop into full swing back-to-school mode. 

Book Club (finally!!) at CRAFT on Wednesday night. It has been two years since we met last (!) but we are all so happy to be making time to get together and set up our next book to read together (Upgrade by Blake Crouch - we are all obsessed with him). The food was great, the company greater, and such a happy news for a new baby on the way for our book club crew. A night I really needed, love you girls! 

Studerbabies this week included a visit from a sweet little girl and her BHT as well as a scheduled free play event that was Wild Rumpus themed. Both sessions went really well and I am so grateful to meet all the families and kiddos. I am really passionate about getting kids outside to roam wild and free, truly - I love seeing the kids get more brave each time they go to pick up a chicken (I've seen kids literally start out so scared and end of catching and holding a chicken within the span of 20 minutes!) They are running over uneven terrain, falling and getting back up without so much as a whine, and sweating and laughing by our storytime cool down at the end. I just love it so much and feel so grateful to have the chance to offer that kind of wildhood childhood to kids from our area. 

Dropping off Lucille the Studermobile for an inspection. ugh, grown up tasks can be such an inconvenience. 

Getting my hair done! It's legit been over a year since I had a hair appointment and I got a trim and some beautiful highlights. (thank you Jo!) The conversation was wonderful and I am so grateful to B for setting it up. 

Friday night fire with our neighbors and friends the Altimores. Violet and Giada are such sweet friends and we are blessed to also get friends in her parents and big sisters. Olive likes almost no one besides Mom and Gemma - but she loves playing with and being doted on by Sophia. We had pizza and hung out by the fire long into the evening - I even put the babies to bed and fell asleep myself (haha! sorry!) and missed the end of the evening. Those are the best kind of summer nights! 

Going for a sunbeam and spider web walk on Saturday morning. It was lovely. (this is the perfect season to go for one - you should head about between 7a and 8a before the dew dries up and the spiderwebs are all still intact. 

Family reunion day on Saturday with our extended Uzelac family (my mom's mom's side). My grandma Irene was one of 14 and our annual family reunions are always filled with a lot of love, hugs, games, and fun. The kids always look forward to this day to see their cousins and participate in all the traditions from the reunion (softball game, Bingo, kids' costume parade, the Money Tree!, basket raffle, and karaoke!) 

Sporting with two flag football practices for Violet, one cheer practice for Gem (we got rained out the other night), and a football booster meeting for me. Grey went lifting one afternoon (thanks for taking him Becky!). This was the calm before the full fall sports storm hits next week, so we soaked it up and 'relaxed' this week. 

Making loaded baked potato soup and 4-ingriedient beer bread, lazy day cabbage, pineapple meatballs, London broil with risotto and brussels sprouts (Brandon made this and it was delicious!), take out pizza (thank you Altimores!)  For the reunion I made a crockpot of meatballs for meatball sammies. 

Calling off my keto focus, because I need to focus on repairing my soul, brain, and heart right this second. 

Around Here Week 31: 07/31-08/06

Monday, August 15, 2022

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

First home run of the day - photo cred: Becky Conn

tourney champs & last Little League game! photo cred: Becky Conn

photo cred: Heather

photo cred: Heather

photo cred: B

Gem's sneaker pulled from the depths of this mud puddle!

photo cred & fly tying credit: Grey

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 548+ hours (of 1000)
Sweating this week because holy hot as Hades. Our cheer camp in the middle of the day was brutally hot and humid, with one day the sky just opening up and pouring on us for a solid 5 minutes then getting blistering hot again right after. We still scored a bunch of hours this week, but not going to lie - we were grateful for the AC in the house!

Reading Glow Kids (How Screen Addiction is Hijacking our Kids and How to Break the Trance) by Nicholas Kardaras. It is startling and such an important read. Holy moley. 

Sending Grey off with the Rummells to Deep Creek for a few days. They went fishing, experienced a zip line course, swam to their hearts content, and made so many valuable cousins/besties memories. (Thank you so much for taking him and giving him a fun few days!!)

Working through some organization home projects this week; trying to get a jump start on the school year. I went through all the shoes and took anything that doesn't currently fit or no one wears up to the attic which was a major improvement. (now if I could only convince Rusty and Red to put their shoes away everyday so we could more than just one each time we leave the house!) I also cleaned up/cleared up the back porch and the upstairs hallway too. B and I tackled the dining room table which was an immediate boost! There are still plenty of problem areas that need attacked (garage, our closet, etc) but for now, I'm feeling pleased with the start!

Asking for help and being heard with love and patience (this is very difficult for me, so it was a big, scary deal). 

Studerbabies this week included a Tummy Time event for mommas and their babies. It was so wonderful to spend the morning chatting and oohing/awwing over the sweet darlings. Olive came down with me, but the rest of the crew stayed up at the house with B so I could be focused on the moms and babes. We played with natural loose parts (pinecones, stones, sticks), then took a mini "feely" hike, and then visited with the animals. On Thursday morning, the local newspaper ran an article about me and our free play events, thank you so much to everyone who shared it and commented kindly!! (from now on, I will only be answering to 'Davidsville woman' hahaha!) I also met with an entrepreneur mentor and my sister this week to talk about what could possibly be in the future for Studerbabies to become a real business. It was inspiring and has my wheels turning! 

Smiling for the big four who got their annual summer day of fun with their Uncle Juice. The cheers that came from the four of them when they saw him driving up the driveway! He picked them all up for lunch (at their favorite Chinese restaurant) followed by a movie (The Rise of Gru), and then a trip to the playground and a stop at the ice cream shop. Uncle Juice is really the best ever! 

Packing up fishing camp, well, B and the kids did while I stayed at home with the babies on Friday. Our family fishing camp trailer was flooded last year bad enough that the damage was too great to salvage the building. So B and our cousins loaded up what could be saved so that the trailer can be pulled out of there. Our big kids were so happy to spend the day at fishing camp and Grey fished the entire time while the other three ran and played (including a swim in a giant mud puddle). 

Celebrating Abba's birthday on Saturday with a visit and a hike. We had lunch and sang to her and then headed out on a hike to the "Big Rock" which was such a staple of my childhood. It was great to chat and catch up on the hike there and in true Abba's birthday fashion, our alternate route home turned into a hilarious, muddy, turned around in a circle mix-up. It was actually really fun and we were all laughing until our bellies hurt at the kids knee high in quicksand-style mud puddle searching for Gemma's stuck sneaker at the bottom. 

Grateful that Grey still has a lot of love for non-screen hobbies like baseball cards and tying fishing flies at 12 years old. He has recently been very dedicated to organizing his baseball card collection passed down to him from his Dad and Pappy. And for the past two weeks, he will disappear to his bedroom only to emerge an hour or two later with a hand full of expertly tied fishing flies to show us (and then photograph to send to his cousin). It's almost scouting/archery season too, so trail cams are going up in the woods and the camo will start making it's appearance all over the house.

Sporting with the close of Grey's Little League season. He had his last three games on Sunday at the Somerset tourney and they left as the champions (Grey had two homers so he finished with 10 homeruns in all). Eight years in the CT youth league baseball program and so many memories and friends who have become family. Gosh, Time, you are so beautiful and terrible. Gem had three days of mini cheer camp (2 hours each day with all six kids plus my nephew Wells!) and she learned her half time routine! Violet had two flag football practices. Brandon participated in a golf tournament on Saturday. 

Making pulled pork sammies & rigatoni (defrosted from a party earlier this summer!), kielbasa and haluski, hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill, tacos, spaghetti, and air fried veggies (green beans, potatoes, and zucchini). We also ordered in gas station pizza (seriously so yum from Martin's) and I made oreo cookie bars to celebrate at Abba's house on Saturday. 

Around Here Week 30: 07/24-30

Monday, August 8, 2022

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

photo cred: Heather

Studerbabies Toy Truck Day1

Studerbabies Toy Truck Day1

Studerbabies Toy Truck Day 2

Studerbabies Toy Truck Day 2

Studerbabies Barbie day

Studerbabies Barbie day

photo cred: Lisa

photo cred and fly tying credit: Grey

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 522+ hours (of 1000)
Summer thunderstorms rolled in this week pretty strong, but we still earned plenty of time at baseball games, and Studerbabies events. Plus a full day while visiting Hershey Park! 

Reading almost nothing if I'm being honest. 

Getting a new phone because mine was water damaged last week. The last place I ever want to go is to the Verizon store, but it was actually fairly painless this time. 

Grateful for fun opportunities for the kiddos. Heather took Rusty and Violet to the Que for swimming and lunch on Sunday so they didn't have to attend another one of their big bro's baseball tourneys (thank you!), Violet and Gem got to spend an afternoon bowling with their friends the Mock sisters (thank you!), and Grey hung out at the Huffman's house on Wednesday after football conditioning to swim (thank you!) When people constantly ask us, 'how we do it' it's because we have so many kind and thoughtful people who show up for us and the kids! Seriously, we couldn't do it without you all. 

Hosting 3 Studerbabies events at our house this week. The weather forced us into having two toy truck days (which was actually for the best because we had 10+ kids each day!) and then we had our Barbie field trip day too! They all turned out to be so much fun and the kids were really sweet. We had a snack, read a book, and mostly free played the whole time. The kids leave sweaty, tired, and joyful - which is the whole idea! 

Squealing over the cuteness of Liv in overalls. Just the sweetest, squishiest darling!

Inspired by this podcast with Mo Gawdat. Like literally blew my mind multiple times. I kid you not, I was writing notes down and legit printed off his happiness equation to hang on our fridge like a full blown nerd. And then the ending!! when he talks about AI....cannot stop thinking about it.  

Rollercoaster riding at Hershey Park! We were able to squeeze in one final day of summer fun into July (I keep saying that August is for crying, cleaning, and organizing - LOL) Grace slept over our house on Wednesday night, then the 7 kids and I headed out to Elizabethtown first thing in the morning. We had breakfast at our Gilmore cousins' house (thank you Lisa & Ray!) and then we all made our way to Hershey Park for the day. It was blistering hot, so the kids were thrilled to stand in the splash zone of one of the rides during lunch. Violet and Rusty got to ride their first upside rollercoaster (The Sooper Duper Looper) and Red, Liv, and I took a little detour to ZooAmerica (the zoo inside of the park) while the bigger kids rode a bunch of big rides.  I rode one roller coaster with the kids (Trailblazer) and while we were on it, it started to rain and then pour and then we got stuck for about 15 minutes while we waited for maintenance to save us! We left the park around 9p, so it was a huge iced coffee for me and then the 3 hr drive home - but it was worth it because the kids and I had a blast and it is always so good to spend time with the Gilmores. 

Talking, pro/con list making, and stressing over our plans for the fall. It is impossible to be a mom; never knowing if you're doing the right thing but just trying to do the best you can do with what you got at the time. Time marches on and I know everything shakes out somehow, but I am giving my self permission to feel all the things and worry all the worries because the pressure cooker is on full blast inside my guts. 

Party-hopping on Saturday. We had a graduation party for Brandon's former basketball player (congrats Logan!) We got to catch up with the Hintons (love you guys!) and one of my former students was there, which was funny because neither of us expected the other to be there being so far away from our home school (haha, hi Ethan - proud of you!) Then we headed over to the McKool's annual summer party. Always a great time, but the babies were pretty tired by then (me too) so I took them home and B stayed with the bigger kids for awhile. 

Sporting with the first week of fall sports practices. Gem had her first cheer practice where I held a parent meeting to start the year. Violet had her first flag football practice too. Grey had one football conditioning practice and finished up the VEA tournament on Sunday (2 games) before starting his last little league tourney in Somerset on Saturday (2 games that day). Gem and Grey both played pick up playground basketball at the high school on Monday night (thanks for organizing, Coach Ang!) B participated in a golf outing on Monday too! 

Making chicken and broccoli casserole (thank you Heather!), spaghetti with meat sauce, French dip sammies with au jus, beef vegetable soup (used leftover from the French dip roast), candied kielbasa, cheesy Italian sausage bake (thank you Heather!), and taco pasta. We ordered in pizza one night and ate great at the graduation party on Saturday. I made a batch of chocolate chip cake mix cookies to send to the Que with Heather and the kids, and I made zucchini bread and zucchini cookies thanks to the veggie gifts I got from Coach Ang (thank you!) 

Keto check-in - oh man, doing terrible, just straight up terrible. Haha, I'm cracking it up to stress-eating - thinking about the very quickly approaching school year. I know I'd feel better if I can get back on track, come on, Tab!