Around Here Week 36: 09/04-10

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

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

photo credit: Heather

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 648+ hours (of 1000)
B and the kids worked on cleaning out the goat house and the shed on Sunday and discovered tons of mice nests with teeny tiny baby mice. We tried to keep them all safe and moved (without touching them) so that they can make it. I know as farmers we are supposed to probably be on rodent removal duty - but they are so cute! Someday when we get a barn I told the kids we will get some barn cats - but until then, the mice live free and wild at Studerbabies! 

Reading and finishing November 9 by Colleen Hoover and zipping through it with its fast pace story. I liked it and am happy to get a Colleen Hoover book under my belt since it's all anyone is ever talking about (hah). It was a borrow from my student Mya who is a #booknerd just like me and I love our Friday fifth period book chats we have scheduled at school. Thanks Mya! 

Wishing I lived in the imagination of Rusty instead of just our regular, boring reality. 

Smiling from the pics Heather sent of our boys together at the trampoline park. So thankful for their cousin/friendship. Grey needs that big kid bonding time sometimes so desperately as the biggest brother of six. (thank you, Heather for keeping Grey overnight and for fun things! I am thankful for our cousin/friendship!! #myzero !)

Visiting the county fair on Sunday. Our family and our Adams family (my parents, sisters, Wells, Kev) all spent the afternoon eating yummy food, checking out the animals, and going on just a few rides before the clouds opened up and poured on us. Rust and Violet were so excited to participate in the sheep rodeo again this year, but we were trapped in the horse barn on the other side of the fair when it came time for it. We thought the would postpone it due to the weather, but they went right on with it and the kids were heartbroken to miss it. But we did stick around to watch some of the bull riders and it is really so cool - there was even a girl bull rider, so naturally those two meatballs both want to ride bulls someday. 

Enjoying a day off and giving ourselves a pat on the back. At the start of the school year, we said 'let's make it to Labor Day.' That was our first milestone - two weeks of school and then a little reprieve. And we did it! Granted, we are on the search for a new nanny, laundry is piled up to the literal laundry room ceiling and our pets' heads are falling off (just kidding, but guess that movie!) ...But we made it and we're doing a little happy dance. Next milestone is the end of youth football season which is not until the third week of October - so we are tying knots and hanging on for dear life. (one of my favorite quotes. it's from FDR 'When you get to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.')

Supporting Gem as she prepared for Student Council voting day. She worked on her speech and practiced it in front of us. Then requested some creative help in making her posters for the hallways. She is a lot like me in many ways, but her excitement about joining all the things and being involved in all the ways is really like me. Oh girl, you have a helium hand just like your momma.

Attending Meet the Teacher night at the middle/high school for Grey. I spent the evening on Wednesday walking Grey's schedule to his classes and hearing from each of his teachers. It was such a nice night being able to put faces to his day and walk the same path he walks each day. I was really grateful to be there and to see the poem he wrote for ELA class. Seriously, sweetest. 

Trixie's stitches were removed this week and she is all good to go! Her surgery and recovery was a success and she's back to her normal snuggly, too many kisses, very sleepy Pitbull self. 

Happy for Vi that she got a special day and sleepover at Abba & Chum's house. (thank you mum & dad!) She always has such a great time being there by herself (#middlechild) that she is always disappointed to come back home, LOL.

Introducing our new nanny to the kids and our house. My coworker and friend, Jenny, reached out to my cry-for-help-email I sent to the high school about our need for a new nanny, with the suggestion to check in with a former student ('22 grad) about her availability. I texted Emma and she was both available and interested. Not only am I so grateful to have a new nanny in place - but luckiest of lucky stars to get Emma who I have loved having a student since she was a ninth grader. Her big sister Brooke, used to be a teacher for Rusty at daycare years ago - and now our littlest babies will have Emma. Honestly, I could cry thinking of how life works and circles expand and contract and everything finds a way to shake out with love extended and received and small world and all the things beautiful and wonderous about being part of humanity. (stream of my consciousness writing can get a little rainbow-painted unicorns, I know - but for real - hugs to all the people and animals and spirits and vibes in all the worlds from all the times). 

Hosting a dinner at our house with our neighbors and friends the Altimores. Our families all got together and spent a fun, long evening on the back porch laughing, dancing & rapping! (LOL), and playing cornhole. It's so wild to me that we still have friends we haven't met yet through our kids! Grey and Gem (as the first two through school) brought us friends through their teammates' and friends' parents. So then when Vi and Rust headed off to school, we still had all these friends with our older kids' families. Some of those friends have younger kids, but we are getting to know lots of people for the first time through the middle kids- like the Altimores. So thankful for new friendships and friendships we don't even know yet to come through Reddy and Olive! 

Teaching color vocab to Spanish one and putting full sentences together with 'este/esta es...' I also introduced them to Gimkit and they are already big fans. Spanish 2 worked through Somos Unit 9 including making our class story and taking their vocab quiz on Animales. Spanish 3/4 worked through Somos 17 and got their vocab words on inmigraciĆ³n. We're all getting into the swing of things and school is going pretty smoothly so far. 

Sporting with practice after school everyday for Grey and a Jr. High football game at CV on Thursday. Violet had two flag practices and Gemma had two cheer practices. Brandon and Grey headed out to Claysburg for the Varsity football game so B could be on the offensive headset in the press box. 

Making bowtie skillet lasagna, slow cooker chicken pot pie, ground beef cheesesteak sammies, pork roast in the slow cooker, pizza (and a grocery deliver from Pappy and Gigi - thank you!!), buffalo chicken dip, and a Shrimp & Kielbasa boil with the Altimores on Saturday night. B also made my favorite breakfast meal - eggs, rice & black beans, and toast (thank you!) 

Around Here Week 35: 08/28-09/03

Monday, September 19, 2022

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

photo cred:  Deanna Maurer

it must be September! (only 25 days until Violet's birthday! LOL)

photo cred: Coach Joel

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 632+ hours (of 1000)
We snuck in a family walk one afternoon just around our yard/forest (we call it 'the tree stand loop') and Red can walk the whole thing on his own two legs. At my big, beautiful oak tree on one of the corners of our property there were like 25 or more monarch butterflies all swooping about looking for a place to rest for the night. It was so lovely and wonderful - exactly what all of our tired souls needed - a little time outside with the sky way up and the ground under our feet and butterflies flying all around us. 

Reading 1000 Hours Outside by Ginny Yurich and Glow Kids by Nicholas Kardaras. It was a slow reading week because we are still getting into the groove of the new school year and also, exhaustion.

Figuring out homework/studying. Since we are officially into school, the homework has made its way home. Thankfully (good Lord bless our children) our three biggest kids need pretty minimal reminding to get their stuff done each week. We have no amazing managing system to share (sorry) we just set a strong standard that the kids are in charge of themselves and are expected to get their stuff done, study, and know they can always talk to their teacher. We are here to help if they need us (or buy the extra stuff for projects) - but they are in charge of themselves when it comes to school work. We aren't expecting any valedictorians but we do expect they do what the teacher expects and they try their hardest. If they can do that - we have no probs, if they can't - well, I bet they'd rather not want your momma to micromanage your afternoon and evenings. So our kids are really good about taking advantage of doing homework on the bus (hah, but for real) and making sure they empty their folders each night. We also hang up reminders on the fridge or add them to my planner - otherwise it's every kid for themselves after Kindergarten! Rust is getting into the groove with support and reminders. So, so far, so good. 

Laughing at Violet's birthday note to herself from herself (most middle child thing ever). But that means it is officially September and we will now hear about her birthday literally every single day for the next 25 days until that sassy, wildling turns 8! 

Calling in support on Wednesday for Grey's game. My mom headed over to our house to get the kids off the bus and relieve Nanny Minnie (thank you Abba!) so that B could pick me up from school and we drove over to Grey's first game/scrimmage for Jr. High at North Star. The game ran longer than we expected so in a last minute clutch move my dear friend Olivia and her son Bennett (Vi's flag teammate) swung by to pick her up for football practice (thank you!!) It's a lot of moving parts everyday, but we are figuring it out and thank goodness for people who pinch in when we are fumbling. 

Being flexible on Thursday when our kids' school had a surprise 'snow day' for a busted water line in the community. They were pumped to get an early start to the weekend (they already had Friday off for Labor Day). But since we had no set plans, B ended up taking off of work and staying home with the whole crew. 

Making arrangements for Friday when the kids had no school for the holiday weekend. Everyone gets redistributed. Grey stayed with Valentines and then ended up sleeping over (thank you Jenn & Joel!), Gem had a sleepover at my parents' house on Thursday night and spent the day golfing and hanging out (thank you Abba & Chum!). Vi and Rust spent the morning with Brandon at the office until Brandon's parents picked them up to spend the day swimming (thank you Pappy & Gigi!). The babies spent the day at home with Nanny Minnie and B and I collected everyone back up at the end of the day! Whew! We definitely get by with a little help from our friends & family. 

Getting (big time) bummer news. Our Nanny Minnie (who we have fallen in love with over the past two weeks) was offered another job that will better suit her family and their needs. We completely understand - we are mommas trying to do what is best for our families too - but we are heartbroken. She has been so good with the kids and just really seemed too good to be true (gah, it was). So happy for her, but so sad for us. Back to the drawing board - we get one more week of Nanny Minnie and then we need to have a new plan in place. Send all the good vibes (and suggestions!) 

Loving our new coffee maker (thanks again Uch & Kev!) The big kids are constantly asking for cappuchinos (or at least creamed & sugared up coffee with frothed milk!) What a difference such a simple upgrade can be to normal life! 

Sprinting through the weeks and then pumping the brakes hard on the weekends. Aw man, by Friday afternoon, it feels like we are rolling home with the wheels off. Luckily the Varsity football game was on Saturday, so we all just got to go home on Friday night and collapse and rest.

Teaching Spanish 1 the song and dance to Los Pollitos Dicen (always a favorite) and teaching days of the week vocab. Spanish 2 did some baseline writing (my favorite!) and reviewed verb conjugations. Spanish 3/4 learned about Tomatina and we had our annual Tomatina with tissue paper "tomatoes." Every class had their Questions & Procedures overview including our active shooter plan. It makes for such an emotional day for me because I get choked up every single period reminding them how I will do anything to keep them safe and how we all need to take care of each other. I tell them that I hate talking about this, but my job is to keep them safe and how I keep them safe is first by making sure everyone knows what the plan is and secondly by being someone they feel comfortable talking to if they hear/see things that make them worried. 

Sporting with the first week of fall sports games! Violet had her first flag football game vs. Meyersdale. She played running back, QB2, and middle linebacker. After she got comfortable with running back and realized how it was going to feel running past/through the other team, she went for it. She ended up running in two touchdowns and a 2-point conversion. Gemmi and the majors cheerleaders did great with the first half time routine debut and the girls are so great about being leaders and responsible on the sidelines. It's hardly work at all to coach them, they did great watching the game and requesting their own cheers for the entire game. Coach Brittany and I are so proud of them! Grey had his first JrHigh football game this week too against North Star. He plays QB1 and Safety. The size difference for boys 7th-8th grade is so extreme (some kids have already started to fill out and and some haven't quite yet) so he took a couple big hits but hung in there. I love watching him and his teammates play. Grey had three afternoon practices, Gem had one practice and Vi had two practices this week. B helped at the Varsity game on Sunday at CV and took all four big kids with him so that the babies and I could chill at home. 

Making chili over noodles, ravioli casserole (the kids love this!), shrimp alfredo, ground turkey tacos, chicken spaghetti casserole, hamburgers and cheddar brats on the grill, and sheet pan kielbasa and veggies. B brought home take out pizza and sushi after the football game on Saturday (he loves me!)

Around Here Week 34: 08/21-08/27

Thursday, September 8, 2022

 A glimpse into this BACK TO SCHOOL week that is always a reminder that the days are long but the years are short. 

photo cred: Nanny Minnie

photo cred: Nanny Minnie

LOL, Rusty!

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 613+ hours (of 1000)
still able to squeeze in a couple hours this week despite the madness of the first few days of school.

Reading and finishing Upgrade by Blake Crouch. Finally finished a complete book in about 3 months (good grief!) I picked up and continued 1000 Hours Outside by Ginny Yurich at home and Glow Kids by Nicholas Kardaras during school hours. 

Moving the guinea pigs to school! Toffee and Queen Barb are moved in and cozy and ready to make some new high school friends! 

Checking off our back-to-school traditions. The kids all signed their signature sheets from their baby books and Rusty got to write on his for the first time! I read The Kissing Hand to Rust the night before school (gah, always gets me), and the kids all picked their future profession for their first day of school posters. We had confetti muffins for breakfast on the first day and everyone's favorite dinner that night!

Starting the new school year! We have a seventh grader, fifth grader (last year in the elementary school!), second grader, and a freshly minted kindergartener! Everyone had a great first three days of school and positive interactions with all school personnel; bus drivers, teachers, principals, lunch staff, custodians, and specials teachers. How incredibly blessed we are to live in a community that cares so passionately about our young people. We love you, CT. Thank you for taking care of my precious babies during the school day. 

Deeply grateful for our nanny Minnie! I was so nervous to leave my velcro/pandemic babies for the school year, but Nanny Minnie has been so patient and sweet. By day3 Reddy wasn't even crying during the morning goodbyes! I am so glad the cousins are spending the days together and Minnie has them outside, reading books, and having sweet fun all day long. What a blessing she is to our whole family - I cannot express how grateful I am, truly; the biggest weight lifted off my shoulders for this school year! We love you Nanny Minnie!

Celebrating my 39th birthday! It's not that I hate my birthday, it's that I hate the inefficiency of my birthday (hah), I still have to be my normal speed/self as a mom/teacher/wife/daughter/ sister/friend/human so then everyone making a fuss over me slows me down and distracts me from my normal speed of life. What a freaking brat - I know! So I like little to no big deal because I have stuff to (keep) doing! Truly though, if I'm being more serious about my birthday feelings - I feel love and support the whole year, a day special just to me feels like it's just too much. I am loved so deeply and well and I will never be able to express my gratitude for that.
   Luckily, all my family and friends know and respect this (I am so freaking blessed) and so the love is shown for me all year round (!!) and in little non-intrusive ways on my birthday. B brought me sushi for lunch at school, Abba left me donuts in the fridge for breakfast with a little candle and she and my dad ordered teacher clothes and shoes for me for the first day of school! I received so many thoughtful and meaningful texts and voicemails, lots of hugs (my favorite gift!), a new sleek coffee pot from my sister (we are obsessed), gifts including an awesome new water bottle shipped to me from cousin Heather, and ice cream cake from B to sing on the back porch with the kids. My sweet friends Jenn and Becky took me out for lunch and pedicures on Saturday too - no kids!! I barely knew how to behave, hah! It was the perfect, mostly completely normal day birthday. hahha. thank you all for loving me just as I am. 

Pausing for gratitude for my own momma who did all the work to get me into this world 39 years ago. And then never stopped loving, guiding, and supporting me all the way through my life. xxxo. love you, mum. thank you, happy 39th momiversary to YOU! 

Sensing the start of camo season. It begins with trail cams being checked regularly. Grey caught a doe and two fawns, a turkey and her babies, a fox, and a pretty nice buck on his trail cam this week! 

High fiving B that we did it - hah! We made it through the first day of school, leaving the babies with the Nanny, each having a full time job, both coaching the kids sports (me for Gems' cheer and him for Jr High football and helping with Varsity football) and trying to get through normal day chores and needs of a house of eight people, two dogs, three goats, and a flock of chickens and ducks on 13 acres. We did it!! I mean it was only three days this week, but it's a start and we are going to have to celebrate every freaking mini milestone this year because holy hell; this life we made is a three ring circus, but I love doing the high wire act with you, B. (yes, obviously we are Zendaya and Zac Efron in this scenario #slayallday)

Teaching the first two days of school! Oh man, like I never left. hah! It is great to be back with the students again and teaching content that I love so much. I don't like to start the first day of school boring - so we don't do rules & procedures until we are a whole week into school! The first two days are about making a second language accessible through hand gestures, enthusiasm, and cognates. It's also about building classroom community through dancing Friday tradition and silly games that build confidence and friendly competitiveness. It was a great start to the year (even if I'm completely exhausted and in a full sprint all day between my seven classes totaling 100+ students)  #lovemykids #lovemyjob 

Sporting Violet had two flag football practices this week while Gemma had one practice where we painted our run-through signs for the football games. We switched up the half-time routine to include basket tosses and the stunt groups are pumped and loving it. Grey had practice everyday this week right after school (which has been pretty handy only having to do pick-up). On Thursday night, we all went to the community pep rally held at the high school - the  kids had a great time getting glitter tattoos and face paint. The new elementary school principal was such a great sport about being in the dunk tank! We also attended the Varsity football game on Friday night since it was CT (our kids' school) vs. NS (the school I teach at!) B sits in the box and helps with offense at the varsity games too! 

Making sheet pan kielbasa and veggies, baked sammies on Hawaiian rolls, sloppy joes & mac and cheese, Copycat Olive Garden chicken over pasta, Beef Roast in the slow-cooker with potatoes and veggies, and beef stew with leftover roast. We also ordered in pizza after the football game on Saturday.