Around Here Week 44: 10/30-11/05

Friday, November 25, 2022

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

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 733+ hours (of 1000)
Clinging to the last bit of this beautiful fall weather - it was a gorgeous day on Friday when I got to stay home for my ACT 80 day with the babies. 

Reading John Dies at the End by Jason Pargin (with my adult book club) at home, This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron (for Project Lit book club) at school, and finishing How We Show Up by Mia Birdsong in the car waiting at the bus stop. hahhaa, I am determined to finish all these half read books before the end of the year (2 months and six books to finish!)

New (to us) furniture for our living room. This is a formal challenge to any company out there if they want to test the endurance of their product - you are welcome to send it to the Studer house and if it survives a year in our house: you're product should be lifetime guarantee - because if we do anything, it's beat the living heck out of our stuff. So, we've inherited (graciously and joyfully) Mimi's furniture since we have supremely worn out our last (handmedown'ed) couch. Keep in mind, Mimi has had this furniture for 30+ years, so we will see how quickly our kids can destroy it. Just kidding, but for real. 
      Things that have held the test of time in the Studer house: LL Bean backpacks, wooden tables with a glass fitted top, and our Step 2 Company Panda Climber playset.

Trick-or-treating one more time! Our Adams family (my parents & sisters) all met at Kitty's house on Monday night where she had a beautiful charcuterie spread of veggies and pizza (our favorites!) I took the kids around her neighborhood for awhile and then we all hung out handing out candy and snuggling with baby Heath. Kitty is a little witchy and so we also wrote notes to our deceased loved ones.

Working out every day this week with GrowwithJo on youtube. I love her.

Happy camo boys. Grey and B headed out to Uncle Jonny's house on Thursday night (Grey took a mental health day on Friday at school) and they spent the day in the woods. Then Grey got another day at hunting with Chum on Saturday. Nothing better for my boy than spending time in the woods with his favorite dudes looking for bucks and making jokes. 

Capturing a mouse in the house! 'Tis the season - if you live in the country, especially on a farm, you know! We've been finding mice in the empty garbage cans in the basement all week, but on Saturday we found one in the living room (!!) B, the kids, and I worked together to get it trapped and then released it outside (no doubt he will try to get back in, LOL). Oh man, country life. 

Swapping holiday decor, goodbye Halloween and hello to Thanksgiving. 

Prepping the house for new windows that are being installed next week! We ordered them way back in April and they are finally ready to be installed! We had to take down some kitchen cupboards to make room for the new, bigger window to come which meant we also had to clear out and try to temporarily organize things while this project gets done. 

Sending Grey off to the movies with friends on Saturday night. First official co-ed night 'on the town' for him. He's been to plenty of house parties where parents are present, and out with his friends and their parents - but this was like a drop off at the movie theater and then leave them there to be responsible. They saw Black Adam at the 9:20p showing (!) and then Grey got a ride home from the Holders (thank you!)

Teaching Día de Muertos all week! We watched The Book of Life in most classes (although Spanish 3/4 voted for Coco). On Tuesday we had a full day of food and festivities to celebrate the holiday. I also gave out Leave Me Alone passes (the first for the year!) since the first marking period ended. On Friday, our district gave the staff a virtual Act 80 day since there have been so many kids out with confirmed Flu A this week. (one day it was 68 students and 11 staff members out!) It was good to spend the day at home with the babies while also working on my training videos and getting lots of grading done. 

Sporting with basketball season for Gemma. She had two games at McCort this week and it is so fun to watch her play (it's her favorite!) Brandon is helping to coach with Coach Ang (we love you!) Excited to see this season unfold! We also turned in our sport equipment for the youth league football and cheer and Jr High football! B OC'ed for the Varsity football team on Friday for their last game. I am in charge of the junior high football pizza party, so this week I finalized plans with the coach and placed my order for the pizza. I also reached out to another player's mom (hi Mel!) and we decided what desserts would we make together to add to the pizza party. 

Making fried rice and kielbasa, grilled cheese & ham sammies, spaghetti with meat sauce, meatball stroganoff, sheet pan kielbasa and smashed potatoes, leftovers. 

Violet Mary, eight years old.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022


Eight years old. How wild when your dimple smile and contagious laugh always holds you at three years old in my heart. My Vially! Getting so grown, it seems impossible but here we are. 

You are really something, Vi; my little magical unicorn of a child. You are unapologetically you and it is inspiring to most people who know you. You are my little artist with a creative eye who can make interesting art out of literally anything. Once, you designed a wearable tank top out of a plastic grocery bag! You are a competitive perfectionist. We had to have a talk this year about how important recess is because you were skipping it several days this year just to beat a classmate's AR book count. Girl, have some fun, you do not always have to be the winner in everything. 

You are freakishly self-assured, In the three years you've been in school not once have you come home worried that someone isn't your friend anymore. You literally don't care...because you know you have other friends, or you have siblings, or screw all of ya'll you have yourself and you'll go climb up in your bed loaded down with 16 cozy blankies and 85 stuffed animals and read until you finish several chapter books above your grade level and drift off into blissful sleep. How I aspire to be the level of DGAF you are Vi; unbound by what other people think of you - girl! the freedom! 

You idolize Grey and look for his approval in almost everything you do. His friendship is so important to you (how grateful I am that you two have that bestie bond). You have a sister bond with Gemma that reminds me a lot of my sister bond with Kitty. You are obsessed with each other; giggling hysterically, making up dance routines, playing multiple-day overlap sessions of teachers/barbies/library - or you are both annoyed with all the ways you are different from each other and need space. (how thankful I am that you have a big sister who will love you loyally no matter how sassy you may be and you are the little sister who would literally punch someone in the face if they wronged your sensitive big sis). 

You and Rusty are 'the meatballs' and sometimes it's hard to know where one of you ends and the other begins. So much sneaky mischief, so much getting out of chores together because you're younger than the big kids, so many inside jokes. People are always asking us if you two are twins (you have a year and 8 months difference). I'd say twin souls might be pretty accurate. Just like Gemma, I know you will protect Rusty if he ever needs it and that gives me so much peace (thank you Vi; my little security guard for your siblings' feelings).

With your limited patience, your relationship with the babies are still growing. You think they are absolutely hilarious when they are being naughty and you dote over their cute faces everyday. But you also don't have time to wait around for them to catch up, so it's a quick hug and a kiss and you're off doing whatever it was you wanted to do at full speed. It makes you crazy how they use your things or want what you want (girl, middle child probs). 

You are classic "she likes what she likes," and as your mom that is both inspiring and frustrating. You were the only girl on the flag football team and literally ran boys over as the running back. You are considering playing tackle football next year, but could just as easily put on a cheer uniform and dance, clap, and tumble to your heart's content (I've seen you do and love both here at home, so whatever you pick is fine with us - as long as you pick what YOU want...I know a lot of people are rooting for football, but you will have fun and be awesome in either one). You devour books when you're in the mood, otherwise you are making enormous, impossible messes with your siblings that take up multiple rooms. You pick your own clothes (my little Punky Brewster who never matches and wears insane layers, like pink jean shorts over top black & silver starred leggings with a baseball cap). 

This year in second grade, you love Social Studies and Science. You almost never need help with homework or studying, you just do what you know you need done and then shove any papers in my face that need signed. You have friends all over the place (different ages, genders, personalities) - you like who you like and if you don't like someone, I am grateful that you are very good at tolerating people in a kind and generous way. You are honest to a fault but you are doing much better at figuring out the things you should say aloud to someone's face and what maybe your bite your tongue for out of kindness.  

You are so good and adaptable, Vi. This is so comforting to me, as a mom. You've never been very needy - even as a little baby; you just go with the flow. I was late to the bus stop the other day and you and Rusty had to go the whole way back to the school for me to pick you up. You reassured Rust that it was fine, and then hung out in the office, then barely gave me any grief about it, you actually laughed about it and said you got to see a friend's house since you stayed on the bus that long. You are just good most of the time; you figure it out and move on. Which means I don't often find you on my late-at-night list of worries of the things that I need to check in on. 

But then that it is what I worry about, my girl. Because it's always the squeaky wheel that gets checked and we are so very different from each other in a lot of ways - except this one thing. We are both good and adaptable and we aren't squeaky wheels - even if we are flat and slipping off the rim. 

You are my hot air balloon child; floating high up in the sky with the most beautiful view, barely waiting to be untethered to explore the whole damn world. Your ladder sways in the wind; dangling down to me while I hustle and bustle between all the people and things that are shouting for me down here on the ground. I know you are good up there; making friends with all the birds, sketching the sunrises and sunsets, hanging upside off the edge, throwing water balloons at your siblings, and probably pulley-system supplying yourself with candy and snacks. 

But my darling, I know I need to climb that ladder more often and come to you. We can sit in your hot air balloon basket surrounded by too many blankies and stuffed animals and read books together and snuggle up and laugh. I know you are good, baby - what an absolute relief it is to me to have a magical, self-assured, bad-ass, artist, fierce child. But you are still my child and no matter how good you are, I am here for you and I promise to climb the ladder to your hot air balloon and meet you where you are - even if you don't ever have to call down for me to come up. 

I am so thankful and relieved that you are adaptable and good, my sweet Violet.
but that doesn't mean you always have to be.
I promise to give you grace for all the times you might not be good
I promise to remember to check in on you even when you are good.
The whole world is yours for the enjoying, honey. And what a beautiful blessing it is to know I get to hear all your stories about the wonderful, magical, beautiful, and wild path you blaze in it. 

My Vially,
I am so proud to be your mom it is dumb
I am so thankful I get a front row seat to your incredible and unique journey
You are truly the coolest person I know
and I will be loving you and cheering you on forever
no matter where your hot air balloon takes you in life,
I want to come up and see the view with you
love you forever and ever,
my peanut darling

Around Here Week 43: 10/23-29

Saturday, November 19, 2022

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

photo cred: Abba

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 729+ hours (of 1000)
Soaking up these beautiful fall days of sun and chilly breezes. The sunrises and sunsets have been out of this world (thank you October!)

Reading John Dies in the End by Jason Pargin for our book club choice! WILD. just wild, man.

Visiting the pumpkin patch on Sunday. My dad booked a private tour of Weakland Farms for the whole family and it was amazing. We had a tractor ride, got to pick pumpkins, had lunch together, and even got lost in the corn maze for awhile. The husbands and sons all had a hilarious time stuffing corn cobs and corn kernels into everyone's clothes and cars during the photo shoot the moms and daughters tried to have. Thank you Chummie for setting it all up- what a perfect fall day! 

Busy week at the kids' school. Grey had a science presentation and paper due on Monday, it was Red Ribbon week (dress up every day!), and the elementary kids had their fall fest party and parade on Friday. Thank you to Kuma and Mimi who attended the fall parade and waved to the kiddos as they paraded around in their costume! 

Singing non-stop "Baby Heathy, loving you, loving you" because my sweet nephew is so stinking cute I cannot even stand it. 

Sending Gem and Vi to the Halloween Parade with Abba on Tuesday night. They helped throw candy from Abba's work float and had such a fun, special girls' night with Abba (thank you for having them!) 

Trick or treating twice this week! On Thursday night we went in our own community with the kids' friends and my sisters' families. It was pretty chilly and Red and Olive were over it after about a half hour (ugh), but thankfully we were surrounded by friends and Kitty who helped push the stroller and carry cranky kids. We end the night each year at our friends the Huffman's house for snacks (thank you!). On Saturday we spent the evening at Mimi's house with our Garretson and Rummell cousins to walk all over Daisytown and Cover Hill for trick or treating. It was a beautiful night and such a wonderful evening with cousins #cousinsmakethebestfriends 

Enjoying a Halloween themed lunch with cousins. Heather made a beautiful spread for us on Saturday morning and we spent the day laughing and chatting around the table all together. We are in three different school districts all with kids in lots of activities so it's been a while since we all had some time together. So grateful for this afternoon with good food and even better company! (thank you Heather!)

Proud of Grey for tagging his doe this weekend. He shot it on Saturda night, but it was too dark to track it. So he and Brandon went out on Sunday morning and tracked it and brought it home. He was in his stand himself (he passed his hunter safety course this past summer) and since it was Youth Rifle day, he was able to use his gun all on his own. He had a great shot and the doe had passed quickly (we can reason from the location of the shot and how far it did not run afterward). But after they had it strung up and skinned, they found one whole side of it was infected (can you believe how green it actually gets inside due to infection! It also smelled pretty badly too). So even though we don't love shooting doe, and we couldn't eat any of the meat -  Grey reasoned that he probably actually did that deer a favor - a quick death versus a long, painful death due to infection. 

Laughing about how we did every single BASIC fall thing ever this week! Pumpkin patch (yep!) trick or treating (yep!) football game (yep!) rake leaves and jump in them (yep!) harvest a deer (yep!) enjoy fall-themed foods with friends and co-workers (yep!)

FINISHING our family yearbook for 2021-2022. omigoshhhh, always such an accomplishment. Literally hundreds of hours of photo taking, editing, page creation, tweaking, caption writing, and finishing up all the little details. It is such a labor of love. I ordered it on a day that was already 50% off and then I had another code in my email and then free shipping and holy cow - I am happy with the final cost. It's 100 pages of nearly 1000 pictures. I know I'm an insane person, but it honestly brings me so much joy and gratitude to make it and then have it in the house for the kids to look at it and cherish this chaotically wonderful life we have. 

Teaching the Alfabeto to Spanish 1 while Spanish 2 finished up El Silbon novel. Spanish 3/4 worked on vocabulary words for Somos 19. We also signed up for foods/donations for our upcoming Day of the Dead food day (next week). We had Red Ribbon Week at school too, so it was dress up days every day this week - PJ Day, Doppleganger day (I twinned with Ms. P in the math department since everyone always gets us confused anyway), Pink Out day, Orange & Black, and costume day (I was Hermonie). I organized the staff potluck meal for Friday on our Early Out; we had so many people participants that the staff lounge was filled with delicious foods and treats! 

Sporting a basketball practice for Gem. Grey had two football practices and then his LAST Jr High football game of the year. Brandon and Grey went to the Varsity football game on Friday night too. Sports seasons always makes the year move by so quickly - hopping from one season to the next just zooms the year. We are getting to a little lull between fall and winter seasons which means it's time to cozy up, try to catch up on laundry, and eat dinner all together before we pick back up in full swing. Sending love to you parents of athletes out there trying to make it all work logistically for dinner, transportation, and washing those uniforms. xxo

Making Hawaiian meatballs over rice, church picnic chicken on the grill (YUM), potato soup in the crockpot, potatoes and candied kielbasa, and spaghetti. I made Swedish meatballs for our school staff potluck on Friday too. We enjoyed wing night at Jim&Jimmies on Wednesday night with a bunch of friends to celebrate the last Jr High football game for the season.