Around Here Week 40: 10/02-08

Thursday, October 27, 2022

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

welcome baby Heath! photo cred: Aunt Kitty

photo cred: Mrs. Conn

photo cred: Ms Jo

photo cred: Gemma Rose

photo cred: Gemma Rose

photo cred: Kristi Purdy

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 698+ hours (of 1000)
ah! Mother Nature is still not joking around and it is stressing me. The leaves are changing so quickly which makes me so happy because it is so gosh darn beautiful - but also! they are going to be bare in like a week and it is barely even through October !? I have photos from this time several years going back and all the trees are still mostly green. Why you doing me like this October!? We are bundling up and trying to get outside and I'm trying to just take the leaves changing for the beauty that it is, but I'm being a little cranky about it. 

Reading and finishing Love in Focus by Yoko Nogiri (my first manga!) What a great, easy introduction for me into this genre of literature. I really love reading traditional books with all the words and sentences, but I also found so much beauty in the manga style. I loved the pauses and emphasis that the illustrations added to the story. There were so many tiny details added to the setting and feeling of the book through the creative manga style of illustrations and use of stage direction type of words. I'm kind of really digging it. I would love to see side by side versions of books - like Where the Crawdads Sing but make it manga. My mind is opened to a whole new genre and I'll really grateful to be encouraged into it by a student because I wouldn't have picked it on my own (thanks Faith!) I borrowed another book from my student Mya, A Good Girl's Guide to Murder by by Holly Jackson and my student Izzy has one on deck for me, The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris.

Really wishing I could call my grandmas. I was just so run down on the way home from school on Monday (! first day into the week!) and I really felt the need to talk to my grandmas - they just were always there to love me unconditionally with no weight of feeling like they had to solve my problems, just love me through them and let me vent and carry them alongside them. Both of my grandmas are long passed away (Helen 17 years and Irene 12 years) and I then started to wonder about how human of a thing it is to be able to forget what I had literally for breakfast yesterday, but 17 years later I can still ache to pick up the phone and call my grandma. What does that mean that we can carry love so deep and rich across time and space and life and death? Who is studying this? Anyway, love you grandmas (and grandpas) through all the time and space and life and death and all the everything every single day. I carry your heart, I carry it in my heart. 

Wearing 2 different shoes all week because Olive has lost one shoe each from my school flats. I only have a left pink flat and a right purple flat (at least they make a pair!) and that's what I rocked all week because I could not find them anywhere in the house. She also lost my classroom key like 3 weeks ago and that is still somewhere in the house. I swear we are going to someday stumble upon her little squirrel's nest stash and it's going to be full of random things like my shoes, keys, and about 15 binkies. 

Glad for Violet who had a fun week with friends (my 8yr old girl - getting so grown!) She went to bring-a-friend-to-dance class with Ellie after school on Tuesday and then had a sleepover with Giada on Friday night and then stayed for her birthday party on Saturday too! She also had a big birthday wish granted from Abba and Chum with the delivery of a drum set! She's been wishing for one and has jammed out all week in the garage since getting it (thank you!)

Dentist check ups for Gem and Vi bringing in the news that Gem may need braces for a little while because her eye teeth are coming in hot and maybe some braces early might give her a little extra room in there while things all adjust. We will see - appointment with the orthodontist first! 

Getting a new nephew!!!! I'm a Tia again with the birth of sweet baby Heath born on Thursday, October 6th. That little nugget is so sweet and I am so proud of my baby sis - she is the best momma. Our whole crew headed down to the hospital to see them on Friday after school and every snuggled him up and smelled his heavenly new baby scent and oohed and ahhed until we were in physical pain from his cuteness. Happy birthday baby Heath - you are loved beyond measure. 

Kissing our two half birthday boys and measuring them on our doorway. Our Reddy is two and a half and Grey is twelve and a half and officially as tall as me! Time ain't no friend of mine! 

Getting spooky while pulling out our Halloween decorations and children's book stash. The babies were so happy to read all the Halloween books and even the big kids were excited to see our favorites like Ten Timid Ghosts and Zombie in Love. Next on the to do list - order costumes! 

Camo time for Grey with Pappy on Saturday morning. That boy sure loves to spend time in a tree stand! 

Big grocery haul on Saturday. We do two weeks at a time so it is such an exhausting task - the meal planning, the list making, the shopping, the carrying in, the unpacking - but when it's done, what a relief! 

Teaching Spanish 1 about El Encierro de San Fermin (the running of the bulls) and they were so engaged and curious. I love bringing culture into the class and giving them a peek into how the world lives outside of this small town that most of them have only ever known. We also practiced some speaking this week and they did great and most were brave about it! Spanish 2 started their first novel, El Silbon de Venezuela while Spanish 3 finished the musical tournament (Selena Gomez; Love you Like a Love Song was the winner) and started learning about Frida Kahlo. 

Sporting with two flag football practices for Violet, and one cheer practice for Gem. Grey had two football practices and a baseball workout. Vi played a wet and cold flag game at North Star (they won!) but we all freezed our butts off watching. Gem cheered later in the day and it was a tiny bit warmer and dryer (but not much). Grey played Northern Bedford for football on Tuesday (they lost, bummer). B took the big four kids with him to the CT Varsity game at CV on Saturday (I stayed home with the babies, yay!)

Making crockpot potato soup, chicken/veggie/stuffing casserole, meatball sub sammies, cheese quesadillas, copycat chik-fi-la sammies, Asian beef and broccoli over rice, and chicken nugget/mashed potato bowls with corn and gravy! 

Around Here Week 39: 09/25-10/01

Saturday, October 15, 2022

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

Miss Emma!! 

Hoco dress up week at school! (movie character, biker, neon, and throwback)

Spanish club advisor (me!) and Outreach coordinator (Alyssa)

Saturday morning parenting, hah

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 690+ hours (of 1000)
Mother Nature went cruel on me and decided to take a plunge into cold weather instead of a long, slow stroll into fall. It was pretty brutal this week dealing with the major drop in temps. Our kids need constant reminders for long sleeves or pants or jackets/hoodies and most of all shoes when they are headed out to play (or school). I am dreading pulling out the warmer clothes and I'm downright refusing to turn on the heat - I'm trying to make it until November 1 before we turn the heat on in the house. So bundle up, Studers!! (LOL, Brandon just rolls his eyes at me).

Reading and finishing I'm Not Dying With You Tonight by Kimberly Jones and Gilly Segal - a great, quick, important read. I borrowed and finished In Five Years by Rebecca Serle from my student Ruby (thank you!) I really liked it and how it wasn't anything I was expecting but everything I needed. Then I started Love in Focus by Yoko Nogiri (my first Manga!) from my student Faith (thank you!)  Is my favorite thing about being a teacher borrowing books and talking about books with students?...maybe! (hahaha, just kidding, kind of). 

Singing happy birthday to our eight year old Violet Mary girl. I got up early to blow up eight balloons for her to wake up to (at her request, lol). We sang and measured her height and have a bonfire birthday party in the works with tons of friends. Her siblings all made her birthday cards and Miss Emma made her brownies and gave her a new water bottle. Pappy & Gigi got her walkie talkies so that she and her siblings can properly play spies (without having to sneakily steal Grey's hunting walkie talkies). And Abba and Chum's surprise will get set up next week (!!) She loved all the text messages, video recordings, and the comments/likes. Thank you all for celebrating our peanut! 

Wishing our kids happy national daughter and son day. Hah, I'll participate in the social media madness of it if only as a reminder to take a photo of them every year to timestamp life in this current blur. 

Enjoying book club night on Wednesday. We met at Franklin Street Bar&Grill and had the most delicious four course meal thanks to local restaurant week! Autumn salad, French onion soup, pear & gorgonzola pasta (!), and crème brûlée. Between the food and the company and all the talk of books, it was downright blissful. 

Amazed at Gemma and Kitty doing intense hand clapping routines. It was actually impressive how quickly Kitty caught on when Gem showed her the song/hand clap that her friend Evelyn taught her at recess. Like for real, coolest aunt ever. 

Spanish Club advising on Friday night at the Hoco events. I loaded up five of our own kids (Grey went with B to the CT game) and headed off to meet the Spanish club for the Hoco parade. We did a quick decorate of our truck (thank goodness for paper flowers!) and then threw candy to the community in the hoco parade. My kids and I watched the game (we won!) until halftime when we caught the hoco ceremony (congrats Mariellen and Cody!) and then went to the tennis courts where the Spanish club was hosting the afterparty with the NS Outreach. Thanks goodness for Alyssa (Outreach advisor) who brought the hot pizza and drinks AND her car to let us plug the speaker in for the music! Spanish club president, Stefanie had games set up, had decorated, and some members brought cookies and cotton candy too (thank you Marley, Layla, and Ava!) Kids made their way over to eat, dance, play games, and hang out after the game until about 10:30p. So proud and thankful for my students! 

First day of archery! Brandon and Grey spent Saturday morning in tree stands with Pappy fulfilling all their camo daydreams. It was kind of chilly and wet, so no luck on seeing anything - but they don't even care, they literally just want to be in the woods all day every day. Happy camo season to all those hunting families out there! 

Sending Rusty to another friend's birthday party this week. Geez, the kid is in kindergarten for a couple weeks and his calendar is filled up already with playdates and parties (hah!) Happy birthday Jace! 

Last minute postponing Violet's birthday party on Saturday. It was just too cold and too rainy for a birthday bonfire. We had half the football team coming and only two more games left, I didn't want anyone getting sick just because I believe there's no such thing as bad weather (hahah - but it really was crap weather on Saturday). She was pretty bummed, but we still had her friend Giada come over to sleepover, so she perked up a little bit - plus we told her how much more fun it will be on a night that's not wet to have a big bonfire and maybe by then even some leaves will have fallen so we can make leaf piles to jump in! 

Falling face first into my bed on Saturday evening because it was one of those weeks that looking back - I can't even imagine how we got through it! Between Violet's birthday, Hoco at my school including the pep rally on Friday, the Spanish club parade and after party solo with five kids, normal practices/games, and the weather being way too cold for this time of year...I honestly have no clue how I made it out the other end of this week still standing, no actually- I do. Love and support and above all GRACE from my family and friends (thank you!! honestly, I get by only because of the help from those who love me).  

Teaching adjectives and corre/camina/ve to Spanish 1, Spanish 2 learned about the El Silbon legend and finished their second week of pre-novel background building. Spanish 3/4 completed their oral presentations on their musicians for the tournament. On top of just normal teaching - it was a wild week in school thanks to homecoming. We had spirit dress up days, pep rally practice for our teacher dance three days after school, and kids in and out of classes trying to prepare for all the events. I had Spanish club students in my room painting boxes for the parade, Hoco court members painting their car signs in my room (#glittermania), schedule changes, and a fire drill (we included pig rescue this time! hah!). On Friday, we had a grill lunch day (yay!), and then our awesome Homecoming pep rally that never ceases to impress. The hoco court all did amazing, our teacher performance was hilarious and successful, and I got pie'd in the face along with four other staff members. Overall, most fun week but also really exhausting. When we were cleaning up after the pep rally on Friday, I looked at my teacher bestie, Renee, and said, "Wait, are we supposed to work all next week?!" hahaha, so stinking tired. If you're inclined - check out the most incredible highlight reel of our homecoming - this video made by one of my students Alyssa Diehl

Sporting Violet had two flag football practices and Gem had one cheer practice and one basketball practice. Grey practiced football after school three days this week and then went all the way out to West Branch for a game (2hrs away!) He was chosen by the coaches as the leader of the last game, so he got to carry the flag out at the start of the game! Grey also had a Jr High baseball meet & greet on Sunday too. Grey and B attended the CT Varsity football game at Shade on Friday night too. 

Making chicken tacos, and leftover fridge clean out night. I made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies this week too because bring on all the spooky/fall vibes. We were surprised on Monday with a huge pot of chicken & rice soup and grilled cheese supplies from my sister's mom-in-law Celeste when she stopped to pick up Wells from our house. It was the sweetest, most thoughtful surprise (she's a mom of five and said, "I remember all too well working and trying to raise babies - I know there were plenty of nights I didn't feel like feeding all those kids!" Thank you so much Celeste, I am so grateful to have you in my extended circle of loving mommas). Brandon's dad brought over his deer meat marinated just the way the kids love it on my book club night (thank you Pappy!) and my sister brought pizza over on Thursday night when she visited (thank you Kitty!) 

Around Here Week 38: 09/18-24

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

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

photo cred: Coach Ang



Intentional Outdoor Hours: 681+ hours (of 1000)
Still enjoying the sunshine and warm weather - but by evening it is starting to dip down into the feeling of fall. I love me some fall weather, but I love the ease into it the best of all - the gradual drop in temperature, the wind that smells like leaves, the hoodies but still flip flops. I'm hopeful for a long, slow march into winter. Fall, take your good 'ole sweet time! 

Reading and finishing The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid. Oh, I loved it so much - such beautiful writing, so many pieces of fierce female wisdom and taking up your space without apologizing. Recommend! I have two books lined up to borrow from two different students and they both forgot them on Friday (bummer!) so I made my way down to my work bestie's room (she's the 12th grade English teacher, hi Renee!) and borrowed one for the weekend - I'm Not Dying With You Tonight by Kimberly Jones & Gilly Segal

First day of Sunday school this year! Grey is starting his confirmation journey and I stopped in for a meeting to get all the important dates and information for the next two years. The rest of the kiddos are with the same teachers as last year - although Violet will make her first communion this year!

Cheering on our Gilmore cousins at their mountain bike races. The kids and I headed up to a local (to us) park where the races were being held and we were so happy to get to catch Audra's race (she did great, it's her first year racing). We missed Reid's which was early in the morning but he did great. We got to visit for a little while (they live 3 hours away so we are always missing them) and even got to watch some BMX racing too. 

Getting into the groove of school - it finally feels like we are in a routine. I mean everyday is a sprint and it's insanity, but we are getting familiar with the blur of it all. Homework getting done, picture days this week we handled just fine, paperwork getting signed, Rusty had snack and we remembered (LOL), lunch accounts needing refilled constantly, jerseys being washed in time, ya know - all the normal school year chaos. 

Celebrating our bestie, Uncle Jonny, who was inducted into W&J's hall of fame for basketball this weekend. Brandon and Jon went to college together and played basketball alongside Dobber, Kevin, and Raul. The five of them played together through all four years and then attended each other's weddings and we all still keep in touch. Uncle Jonny is Grey's godfather and Dobber is Rusty's godfather. All four teammates showed up for the hall of fame dinner/ceremony despite their distance and grown up busy lives. Brandon with 6 kids from Johnstown Pa, Dobber with two kids in Pittsburgh, Pa, Kevin with two kids from Ohio, and Raul a wildly successful lawyer in Austin, Texas. All the wives came too and we laughed and had tears in our eyes to all be back together again. We are so proud of you Uncle Jonny! You are more than a great basketball player, you are a great man and we are lucky to have you as an example in our kids' lives. (love you basketball wives and players. gosh, I could cry forever about it). 

So very grateful for grandparents on Friday night! After the hall of fame dinner, we went out to the boys' old stomping grounds with the guys, the wives, the trainers, Mike Reddy, Uncle Jonny's family and friends, and another hall of famer. We chatted, laughed hysterically, and made big plans to get the whole crew together (kids and all) for a 'lowest common denominator sleepover (LOL, still laughing about it). We drove home that night because Saturday was packed with plans and didn't get home until after 3am! Thank you Abba and Chum for hanging in there, taking Gem to basketball and staying all night long! Pappy picked up Grey afterschool to go get ready for hunting season at their tree stands and then returned him home late in the evening. Thank you all for giving us a long night out pretending to be 20 again (hahhaa, we definitely are not and were tired for three days after that!) 

Volunteering at the annual CT color run on Saturday morning. The Studer family manned the green station and we all left covered head to toe in green dye. I don't know if Olive's white hair will ever be free of green tint. 

Smiling for Rusty who had his first school friend birthday party on Saturday. That's a bonafide rite of passage. He spent some time at our local bowling alley/arcade to celebrate his buddy Maddox and was so excited about it.

Teaching Spanish 1 about conjugating SER using mad minutes, mazes, and translating sentences both ways (sp to eng and eng to sp). Spanish 2 started some pre-novel learning about Venezuela including the documentary about the tortoise in los llanos (always a fan favorite). Spanish 3/4 learned about Richie Valens and watched La Bamba to get into Hispanic Heritage Month. And unbelievably quick, midterm grades were due this week for the first quarter so I pulled the data for Leave Me Alone Passes! 

Sporting with a golf tournament for Brandon (one of his favorites of the year. He golfed with Uncle Jonny, Coach Joel, and Jimmy McCann). Violet had two flag football practices, Gem had two cheer practices and then a basketball practice (season cross-over time!) Grey had three days of football practice and then a home game vs Meyersdale. The girls played on Saturday night at Blacklick, Brandon took Violet to her flag game (I kept the babies at home as they were exhausted from the color run) and then Gemmi and I went out to her night game to cheer where Abba and Chum joined us.

Making chicken tacos, sloppy joes & mac and cheese, egg roll in a bowl, copycat Olive garden chicken over pasta, copycat Chik-fi-la sammies, ravioli casserole (our kids love this! easiest recipe ever using frozen ravioli), kielbasa and pierogies, and homemade pizza.