Around Here Week 06: 02/05-11

Friday, February 24, 2023

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

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 11+ hours (of 1000)
Thursday night was so gorgeous, high 50's, totally clear star-filled sky, with a breeze that felt like the beach with a storm brewing...except B and I were outside trying to wrestle the shed tarp down because the wind was so strong it bent the shed metal and ripped the tarp almost in half. It was down there whipping around so hard and loud that the goats were terrified. We it got tied down, but now we need a solution for the hay to keep it safe from rain/snow. Ugh, it's always something when it comes to farm life!

Reading 1000 Hours Outside by Ginny Yurich (which is 2/3 of the way done from last summer!) I also borrowed The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han (from my student Lily) and If He Had Been With Me by Laura Nowlin (from my student Alyssa). We had a our school Project Lit meeting on Friday after the early out where we discussed our two books: Almost American Girl by Robin Ha and The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

Welcoming a new member to the farm. Dude! We saved him from a preserve and he is really nice except he STINKS. it's terrible. male goats are so gross with all their peeing on themselves and stinkiness. Ugh, I think I actually hate him, but he's getting along with the girls just fine and I'm glad he's saved but also...I hate his stench. 

Up to our eyeballs in tissues, blankies, cough drops. We spent most of the week feeling pretty sick and exhausted. It was just one of those weeks where we need to try take it easy and just get better. My parents took Grey and Gem for most of Sunday (they were the healthiest of us) to just separate us a little bit - thank you! 

Taking off (again!?!) Reddy was just too sick and Violet stayed home from school and Miss Emma was still sick...ugh, none of us can shake this sickness. I took Red to the Peds and we came home with a nebulizer, antibiotics, and a mini steroid. He was just so pitiful with the most disgusting cough. We saw some pretty quick positive effects though from the meds/nebulizer so fingers crossed this moves on quickly. 

Writing A Day in the Life post which meant taking a photo every hour. It was fun and a such a great reminder on how my day (albeit very busy) is filled with moments of joy and valuable relationships with people. 

Offering help. Usually the best help anyone can offer is to just come right out and say, "Here's what I can do right now. Do you want that help?" No amount of suggestions or trying to fix someone will work; sometimes we just have to get our hands right in the dirt.

Dropping the kids off at St. David's on Saturday morning so that they could volunteer with the youth group preparing for their Souper Bowl fundraiser. 

Teaching Present tense verb conjugations in Spanish 1. Spanish 2 Honors finished their Ekeko book, took the final, and had a little end of novel celebration! Spanish 2 is still working through the novel but should finish next week. Spanish 3/4 is working on creating their Preterito's Project; making cereal box with rules for the preterito tense in Spanish. This week was our big Jr Class Prom Fundraiser. I had 87 juniors in the library working on texting friends and family to buy popcorn on Wednesday for two periods. It was really successful and I feel proud of how well the kids did and focused.

Sporting with 3 basketball games and two basketball practices for Grey to close out his 7th grade junior high season! He also had two baseball practices for his pony league team which is on deck for the next season (so punny!). The Jr High basketball team was announced at the Varsity Girls game on Tuesday and then Gemma's basketball team was announced at the Varsity Girls game on Thursday! Gem & Vi had basketball open gym on Saturday too and Brandon had his basketball game on Sunday night. I got all the paperwork in for Violet's Sparks soccer team this week! 

Making cream cheese chicken taquitos, tavern ham in the crockpot, homemade pizza. Heather brought over pizza and salad on Monday night (thank you!) For keto we also had beef/cauliflower/cheese and one day I made banana bread with some brown bananas as a before-bed snack and it was devoured within minutes. 

mini goal check in: 
20 minutes outside: 2 days
make-out: 6 days
affirmation:  7 days
out of bed by 5:45a: 3 days

Around Here Week 05: 01/29-02/04

Saturday, February 11, 2023

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

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 7+ hours (of 1000)
We snagged a some outdoor time this week when it was sunny but chilly after school and helping Pappy and Daddy with the new goat fence too. The sun feels good but still too cold to go out without full coats and hats. It's been flip flopping days that the ground is frozen and then to muddy mess disaster and then back to frozen again. It's been wacky. 

Reading and finishing My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell. Holy cow. I want everyone to read this book, but I want to give all the women and girls who read it also to feel my support around them as they do. Just, holy crap, incredibly honest, raw, brutal, and powerful. I'm going to be thinking of this book forever. 

Catching up with Chum and Abba now that they are back from their vacation in Mexico. We got to see their photos and hear about their trip and best of all - Chum found a cool coin and Gem pulled out her microscope and we were all going full science nerd trying to notice intricate details on the coin. 

Finishing our January family puzzle! yay! It was mostly completed by Violet and I if we are being honest, so Vi got to put in the final piece! As is standard for us, we are missing one single piece. Literally every year, we have misplaced one puzzle piece!

Well check ups for Violet and Olive (finally! oops!) I took a half day on Monday to take them, and they both looked good...except for Olive's ear infection that she showed zero signs to us that she had it. She got some antibiotics but other than that - all looks good!

Sending hugs to all the little brothers and sisters out there (especially our Violet, Rusty, Red, and Olive) who log major hours on the bleachers watching older siblings' games. Bless their concession stand-loving, learning to count from watching a scoreboard, cheering and clapping, little hearts. 

High fiving Violet and Rusty who were the only ones in our family that were hoping that the groundhog saw his shadow for 6 more weeks of winter. All of the rest of us were hoping for spring. So hilarious to remember that Brandon and I used to live in Punxsutawney before we moved to Erie, PA. We had the tiniest little railroad-style apartment and we were so busy at that point in our life (me, traveling to NYC with Scantron and B in the height of Aldi District Manager training). Gosh, how wild life twists and turns. 

Taking off of work to stay home with sick kids on Thursday while our babysitter was sick too! Agh! So much sickness and germs floating around our schools and area right now. B was home too because he and his dad worked on putting up the fence for our new goat coming next week; a boy who needs his own space. I kept all the sick kids in the house and I took it easy too because I was on day 3 of almost no voice - such a sore throat, terrible cough, and congestion. 

Picking through Osa's fur as she had her first encounter with a briar bush. HAH. it was ridiculous.

Packing up some The Hunting Daddies books for Gemma to take to school for her teacher who is having a baby in a few weeks. The PTO organized a baby shower for her so her students could celebrate her and they all brought in books if they wanted. 

Sending love and compassion to anyone out there struggling with addiction and/or loving someone with addiction. xxox

Celebrating Daddy and Uncle Jonny at Washington & Jefferson on Saturday. The college invited 1,000 point scorers to come back for the Mens' basketball game to be announced during halftime and then attend an aftergame reception. We made a sleepover out of it and stayed at a hotel with the Kochs (Uncle Jonny, Ninna, Tessa, & Tristan) and had fellow teammate (and godfather to our Rusty), Dobber and his son, Caleb join us on Friday night for late night hotel pool swimming and snacks (buff chicken dip in the crockpot in the hotel room for the win!) On Saturday before the game, we went to a nearby bowling alley that had Glow bowl (!) and the kids had a blast and tired out a little bit before we went to the W&J game. I can't believe I got to marry this man! Kind, charming, handsome as heck, unwaveringly patient, a leader to his core, the most calming vibes, and an incredible athlete. Jackpot of my life, honestly. 

Taking a turn for the major sick. On the way home from Pittsburgh, Olive threw up twice in her car seat and Reddy had continued to go downhill with his cough and sickness. Rust was complaining about his eyes (chlorinated hotel pool? or sickness?) We were just a mess by the time we got home late Saturday night. We got some cough syrup into everyone (including us!) and we went to bed with our fingers crossed that we'd be better in the morning. (spoiler alert: we weren't)

Teaching with a very hoarse voice. We did a lot of independent work this week because I barely had a voice. My Spanish 2 students had me smiling because they offered to read aloud the chapters of our book as they walked around the room "like you do, Señora." It's easy to feel like the kids barely even notice you until they make some hilarious observation like how I walk all around the room while reading aloud. Spanish 1 was on a crazy present tense regular verb conjugation practice, and Spanish 3/4 worked on finishing their Super 7 preterito verb charts (poor things- they keep saying, "Señora! Spanish was so nice to us before preterito! Why is it so mean now?" LOL but for real. On Saturday at the W&J event, I got to visit with two of my former students; The Walker sisters (Sierra and Savannah). #oncemykidalwaysmykid 

Sporting with two basketball practices and two jr high games for Grey. Gemma had one basketball practice and two games this week too. At one of Gemma's games, we got there in a rush (Studers coming in hot!!) and it was late in the evening so everyone was already hungry and tired. We get to the top of the bleachers to watch the game and it's at that moment I realize the whole bottom of my shoe is covered in dog poop. Vi and Rust got my wet paper towels from the bathroom and I cleaned it up, then Olive started finding old candy in the bleachers and eating it (?!) and Red said a million times he wanted to go home, and then Liv took her shirt off. One of those moments you are just praying for patience. LOL.  Brandon had a basketball game in Franklin that we took the whole family to go watch! It was so great to catch up with Lyndsy while we watched our husbands still playing basketball together. (if you're in the bleachers with your husband's wedding band on your thumb- you might be a basketball wife. hah!) 

Making creative meals because we need a grocery trip and didn't get one until Thursday. We had chicken tender/mashed potato bowls with gravy and corn, pork chops and tater tots, and baked ravioli. And most nights of the week, I end up making Grey a goodnight meal that includes eggs, because this boy is a bottomless pit. Gem has been on some kind of baking kick and make chocolate chip cookies and then peanut butter reese chip cookies the next night. I made cowboy cookies. For Keto, I had shrimp tacos with avocado and siracha sauce, beef & brussels with cheese, and kielbasa. 

mini goal check in: 
20 minutes outside: 3 days
make-out: 1 day (germ avoidance is making me sad now)
write 100 words in my novel: 0 days (switching to a new goal for Feb- this one is not doing it for me!)
affirmation:  7 days
(new for Feb) out of bed by 5:45a: 3 days

A day in the life: full-time working mom of 6

Thursday, February 9, 2023

 Wednesday, February 8, 2023

39 years old
married for 14 years (together for 24 yrs)
six kids (ages nearly 13 years old to nearly 2 years old)
3 dogs, 5 goats, 14 chickens, 3 ducks (2 guinea pigs as classroom pets)
high school Spanish teacher: grades 9-10 about 118 students across levels

5:45a - I actually pressed snooze thrice because I slept with my coughy, restless bubbie boy. So didn't get up and start moving until 6:15a. Got dressed, brushed teeth, hair, and make up. I went downstairs to start the coffee and let Osa out, give B a kiss (he sleeps on the couch these nights thanks to puppy house training - ughh). 

6:45a - unloaded the dishwasher that was run last night, put on dinner in the crockpot (we are having Tavern Ham. We got such a big ham for Christmas that we cut of 1/3 of it and froze it) I put together Brandon and my packed lunch (him: leftover chicken taquitos, me: chicken taquito over salad, and packed his breakfast Overnight Blueberry Oats that I made last night). I woke up Grey, turned on the laundry to delay start after the school day, and tidied up the living room. Put Red's breathing treatment on and gave him his antibiotics and then got him his morning bubba. I texted with my parents and sisters after they asked for a Reddy update. Then I kissed B and the kids goodbye and we loaded up the van (me and Grey) and I dropped him off at school and then drove myself to school. I 'opened up the shop' by turning on all my lamps/string lights and get myself ready to greet the kiddos.

7:45a - the first bell rings at school and I sent a quick text off to our secretary/my friend; M, to add to the announcements to remind juniors our fundraiser is this morning during periods 3 & 4. We get started with my Spanish 2 Honors students with announcements (including my junior class announcement!) and the Pledge, then we have classroom meeting together (what are we carrying? facing? and celebrating?). Spanish 2 Honors finished their novel with the final two chapters of El Ekeko which I read aloud because they prefer "Señora Storytime" as they follow along in their books. Then they cut apart summary pieces of the story and tried to put them in chronological order to prepare for their book final tomorrow. 

8:45a - Period 2 came and the kids participated in Second Chance breakfast (another chance to grab a to go breakfast in case they missed breakfast before school) and I got to catch up with my students; S, so she could give me a life update. In Spanish 2, we took time to finish up a worksheet from yesterday and then we started reading chapter 8 in The Ekeko book. We didn't finish the whole chapter, so we will have to finish and work on that review page tomorrow. I had to step out of the room for a few minutes to check on our fundraising rep who arrived early. I snagged my across the hall teacher; M, from his prep period to watch my 3rd period class while I went to the library for the prom fundraiser (bless all the teachers!)

9:45a - The fundraising rep and I (as the prom advisor) had the entire junior class organized in the library for the annual junior class fundraiser to raise money for the Prom. We held a 59 minute fundraiser where the students text/message their friends and family to see if they want to purchase flavored popcorn. Every year we have done this (3 years now!) has been a huge success and this year seems to be the same. Many of the students are no longer in my class, but everyone still calls me Señora, so it made me so happy to see them all and have them all participate enthusiastically to earn money for the prom. Ever want to really blow a young person's mind? Show them Carbon Copy paper. Our fundraising form was carbon copy and the kids were astonished (LOL, I'm old). The juniors did an awesome job and we had several kids sell over 20 bags of popcorn during the 59 minute fundraiser -so I'm feeling pretty confident that our prom account will be padded enough for an awesome event. (Our theme this year is Vintage Hollywood!)

10:45a - I stayed to clean up the library after our fundraising event and touched base with the secretary who had a parent on the phone asking for clarifications about the fundraising information. Then for Period 5 which is my prep period - I spent it grading in my room while my student; K, hung out and chatted with me about anything that comes to her mind (hah, love that girl). I worked on updating Schoology since midterm grades are due tomorrow.

11:45a - Period 7/8 is with my Spanish 1 students who started class (just like every Wednesday) with a new music video for Música Miércoles. Today we listened/watched Obsesión by Aventura. It is from early 2000's and played constantly while I studied abroad in Costa Rica, so it is near and dear to my heart. I usually play newer music, but they all actually kind of liked it- so yay! Spanish 1 students had a vocab quiz today and I had a quick chat with a senior; A (former student), who needed a listening ear and some encouragement.

12:45p - period 9 is my favorite part of the day because it means lunch with my handsome husband who comes down to my classroom from the business office. Before he got to my room, I got some grades in quick and caught up with two ninth grade students who needed a little chat. B and I enjoyed our most quiet meal of the day together (LOL) and it is always exactly the refresher I need to get through the last two periods. 

1:45p - Period 10 included Música Miércoles, plus their vocabulary test. My little cousin Gracie is in that class period and it is always a blessing to see her and spend time with her, even if it's in a classroom full of other freshman (hah). Period 11 is my Spanish 2 students who finished their Chapter 4 worksheet about our book El Ekeko. I also got a visit from two senior girls; M and T (former students), who stopped by to chat and catch me up on their lives. I loaned out a book to one of them when she said she's experiencing major senioritis already and needed something to motivate her in life. (She borrowed Nyxia because she's a sci-fi fan). 

2:45p - At the end of the day, one of my 10th period freshman stopped to finish his vocab test while I got to catch up with a fellow teacher; Z, because we've both been so busy that we haven't had time to chat. It was wonderful and we made a plan to set up a day that I can bring the guinea pigs down to this Life Skills classroom so the students can meet them and we can also talk about responsibilities in caring for animals. I love collaborating with teachers in different grades/subjects so I am very pumped about this prospect. I got organized for tomorrow and laughed with my co-worker; M's  kindergartener son, who helped me feed the pigs for the night before I headed out to make it to the bus stop for my own elementary school kids. 

3:45p - I called Miss Emma, our babysitter, on the way home to see if she would meet me at the bus stop with the two babies and the whole box of Oatmeal Cream Pies because we both knew Rusty would be "starving to death" right off the bus. She is a literal saint so she of course met me, with the babies all ready (Liv's hair in pigtails!) and the box of cream pies in hand. Literally so lucky to have this girl. Red cried and needed a hug and a settle before we could head over to the high school for Grey's jr high basketball game at 4p. We sat with Mimi, Kuma, and Pappy who were all there to watch the game too. 

4:45p - Grey's team won the game after he played the whole game being boxed and one'd and then ended up making the final three points in a pressure 1 and 1 situation. I love watching him play and the babies were pretty good because Mimi brought snacks like cheese curls and lollipops which was actually hilarious because it's pretty hard to pick more messy snacks than those. Mimi was cracking up and apologizing a million times and we were like - honestly, Meems, we do not care. Rusty and Violet played in the hallway most of the game with their friends and basketball crew; L and B who are the assistant coach's kids. We stayed for the 7th grade game too to cheer on some of our favorite kids and then met up with Grey afterwards to give him a kiss and take his backpack & basketball bag home since he was staying for the JV and Varsity Boys' games. 

5:45p - I brought five of the kids home while B and Grey stayed at the high school. We let Osa out of the goat pen and fed her and got the other dogs outside. While the kids played and ran out some pent up energy, I hid in my bedroom for 20 minutes and literally just scrolling Instagram and sending Brandon, my sisters, Taryn, and Heather funny reels because I needed a few minutes of mindlessness. (hah) Then, I got out the supplies for dinner (shred the Tavern ham, American cheese, and Hawaiian roll sandwiches!) The kids had ham sammies and potato chips while I had ham and cheese and some salt&vinegar almonds (keto!) I sent photos from Grey's game with a recap to his godfather and smiled at his response, "I'm more proud of any other highlight this year - give him an atta boy please." 

6:45p - We checked backpacks for papers from school. Gem already did her homework in school, Vi's homework has been done since yesterday but she wanted to read aloud some of her writing from school. Rust didn't have any homework to finish but he did want me to look at his new library book about Martial Arts. Red needed his breathing treatment and so I sat with him and Liv while he took his nebulizer and we watched Miss Rachel on Youtube because if my children have to watch tv, then Miss Rachel is okay with me (she's honestly the best!) I had several snuggles with Olive since she's been sick and needy - she still has those chubby, squishy cheeks so I'll take all the snuggles while I can get them. B texted to let me know when the JV game ended and I made sure Gem was all good and left my phone with her while I ran to the high school to watch my students play our local high school in basketball. 

7:45p - It was a great basketball game between my students and our kids' Varsity teams. I sat in a sea of  Township fans clapping for my North Star students (hah). Gemma sent me texts and videos from home the whole time with encouraging sweetness like "all is well here - take your time!" It was a great game and I was proud of all my students, but they weren't able to close the point deficit by the end of the game. I sat next to B and we got teased that we are on a date (hah, but it kind of was - yay). My friend and momma to my son's besties; Becky, sat next to me so I got in some girl time too! Grey was way to cool for us and sat in the student section with his boy and girl friends - time...what in the world is your deal? 

8:45p - back home and Gem was the best babysitter because she even put the babies in jammies - although they still needed diapers changed (LOL). In true normal Studer day chaos, Rusty picked up some of Osa's poop that she left (in the house?!) and put it in a box and thought it would be funny to tell me it was a gift for me and had me open it like a present. He had to clean it up, but it was kind of clever even though it was dog poop from the house. B and Grey shoveled in some ham sammies and Violet re-read all her writings aloud. I responded to Gem's teacher/my friend; S, to set up a date to exchange the bag of hand-me-down clothes she collected from her daughter for my growing-like-a-weed Gemma. I held and rocked Olive for a few minutes before she went to bed. Then Gem and I took turns reading some chapters from her AR book while Violet snuggled our pup Bullet and Rusty did acrobatics from our mini playground in the living room. The rest of the kids except Grey who was still finishing homework, reluctantly went up to bed by 9:30p. 

9:45p - I put in a new load of laundry because apparently while we were at the game, Trixie peed on one of the blankets (ugh!? these dogs are making me nuts!). I cleaned up the kitchen and put the leftovers in the fridge. There was no way I had the energy to wash the crockpot so - sorry Tabitha of tomorrow morning! I attempted to help Grey finish his Science homework, but I had no clue how to categorize chromosomes, so I just offered some encouraging words and sat down on the couch in case he wanted to bounce some ideas off of me.

10:45p ...nope, actually 12:45a. B and I woke up from sleeping on the couch to realize it was already 1a and lights were still on, the chickens' door still needed shut, dogs needed let out, and we needed to go up to bed. Grey had finished his homework, cleaned his stuff up, and gone to bed on his own, unbeknownst to us. B and I gave ourselves a little pep talk to make it into actual bed before I took Reddy upstairs and he went down to the farm (bless him!), and we finally, officially, made it into bed at a little after 1a. Before we do it all again in less than five hours.

It was a completely unique and also a totally normal day. My days usually feel like a sprint from the moment I wake up until the moment we go to bed (or accidentally fall asleep on the couch). I love blogging and doing my family yearbooks because life moves so quickly that somedays I feel like I can hardly remember what happened in the past 12 hours - but then through the blog and my yearbooks I can look back and remember that life is happening! Our real life! My kids' childhoods that will help shape their memories that they hold dear in hard moments as grown ups. 

Most of all, it is the people that get me from the moment I open my eyes until bedtime. The calls and texts, the kisses hello and goodbye, the hugs, the laughs, the encouraging smiles and words. Writing down and photographing my whole day was a good reminder that mostly how my days pass is in the presence of other people; my family, my friends, our babysitter who cares so well for our babies, my students, co-workers, and animals who all make my wild, blur of a life feel so rich and full. How lucky and grateful I am to live this wildly chaotic, messy, beautiful life.