Around Here Week 09: 02/26-03/04

Sunday, March 19, 2023

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

Gem reading to Rusty's Kinder class (photo cred: Mrs McCall)

typical: frost on the ground and a middle school boy in shorts

photo cred: Miss Emma

photo cred: Mrs. Doyle

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 17+ hours (of 1000)
this weatherrrrrrrrr. pick a season. it's warm and sunny then it's rainy and gloomy, then it's freezing with snow flurries, then it's warm enough that the kids don't think they need shoes and coats, then it's so windy we can barely walk outside without fear of blowing away. My outdoor numbers continue to creep up but barely because I need sun and warm. 

Reading and finishing (finally!) 1000 Hours Outside by Ginny Yurich. Then I started The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys and finished it! It was our pick for books & brews book club and it was a 500+ pager, but I really enjoyed it. Historical fiction just blows my mind with the amount of research it would take to bring it to life truly. I really liked it. I keep thinking about one of the adult characters (Ben) encouraging a younger character (Daniel) to take the chance and do all the things because "as they say, it's later than you think already" and maybe it's because I'm turning 40 this year or it feels like the kids are growing so fast (our baby is going to be 2! our oldest is going to be a teenager!)...but that line has stuck with me and it's inspiring me to be brave and do all the things.

Dress up week for Dr. Seuss at the elementary school. I love adding layers of madness into our already chaotic days (just kidding; I know, I know - #daysarelongyearsareshort )

Adjusting our cellphone rule. Our rule has always been 8th grade and we felt like we were going to make it and then our 7th grader went and grew up a little bit and came to us honestly and openheartedly about compromising and getting one early. He was genuine and not sneaky and we discussed it in depth as parents and also with him. We compromised on an older model used phone and that this would be a trial period. No Snapchat/social media and being really reflective and aware of screen time. We are being open and honest too about our own struggles with phone addiction and the urge to scroll. It's a learning process and I said to B that holding hard to the rule just because it is a rule isn't going to do us any favors in building a relationship with our son. He came to us maturely and was willing to compromise and learn - so we need to be willing to fortify our relationship with this young person rather than just forcing rules just because we said so. Tale as old as time: it was about a girl…just goes to prove that it's never going to go like you planned; we parents have to be always ready to adjust and readjust to get through it with as much as the trusting and loving relationship in tact. (good luck out there!) 

Major life decision! After weeks of deliberation and weighing all the options and talking about it until we are dizzy - Brandon has accepted a new path for work and now I feel like I can look at my planner for the rest of the year with clear eyes, full heart, can't lose (#iykyk)

Really tired of Dude (our male goat with the giant horns). He's been acting aggressively towards Brandon when he brings the food into the pen and B has had to flip him onto his back three times this week. B doesn't want me or the kids going in there at all because Dude is just too big and his horns are too big. So that means all the goat farm duties are put on B right now which just makes everything more challenging. We are trying to think of a solution, but Dude might have to go. 

De-scaling our coffee pot. Because sometimes it just needs done - and here's your reminder if you need to clean yours (lol). 

Attending the 5th grade promo meeting. Our Gem will be celebrating the end of her school career at the elementary school this year (eek!) so we are in the works of planning the ceremony and party for May. Grateful to have so many awesome parents and families in our district that lead and volunteer for cool events for our kiddos. (thanks for being our fearless leader on this project and lots of other things Jenn V!!)

Unpacking & sorting the Junior Class popcorn fundraiser. My juniors sold over 1000 bags of popcorn (!) which was amazing, but then that also meant that for half of the day Thursday, the prom committee and I were in the auditorium unpacking them all by flavors and reorganizing them by student order. Counting, re-counting, and triple checking that everyone had what they needed. It was a crazy and exhausting afternoon, but my students were so good and focused. We got it all packed up and sent home with kids before the end of the day!

Celebrating Gemma with a Mall party; like we did in the 90's! I loaded up Lucille with 10 of her friends (including Violet!) We headed out for the hour drive towards Altoona Mall with the music playing and the kids all laughing and teasing each other goodheartedly. At the mall, we met up with my Katie and her Sophia. We lagged behind while the hoard of our 10&11 year olds migrated from store to store. They window shopped, smelled every candle and lotion in Bath&Body Works (lol), bought pretzels from Auntie Anne's, found best friend necklaces in Claire's, and all squeezed into the photo booth. All the 90's vibes, baby! After the mall, we went to Bestway pizza for food and cake. Bless Kate for coming in major clutch and saving the day a million times (picking up the cake, pulling tables together before we got there - so thankful for you!! love you xxo) Then it was another hour drive back home. It was fun and weirdly educational with everyone using their own money, doing math in their head, speaking to store cashiers, and ordering their own food at the food court (hah!) 

Hosting cousin Caleb for a sleepover at our house. #cousinsmakethebestoffriends

Teaching the second novel in Spanish 1: Brandon Brown Quiere un Perro. We read chapters 1-4 and worked through some comprehension puzzles. Spanish 2 had a citizenship experience with snacks and then did Baseline writing so we can continue to see growth in their writing and then they started the documentary Which Way Home that we watch before reading our next novel. Spanish 3/4 watched McFarland, USA movie so that they can complete a past tense movie review project after. It is a great movie (available on Disney+) 

Sporting with a machine pitch baseball practice for Rusty, and Violet had a soccer practice for her travel Sparks team. Gemma had two playoff basketball games for her East Hill league which then finished out their games up there for the season. Greyson had a pitching practice and a jr high baseball open gym (regular practices start next week!) B and Grey attended the two Varsity basketball games this week as they are in the playoffs! 

Making sheet pan chicken fajitas, fried noodles, tacos, chicken and gravy over mashed potatoes, chili goulash, pierogies, and B and Rusty made chicken wings on Saturday. I also made a batch of rice krispy treats with m&ms! Keto is still going well and I'm feeling positive about it - not starving all day; energy increase, no heartburn at all, definitely getting more water everyday, but could always use more. I started Keto this year for our school weightloss challenge, but I'll probably keep it up because it just makes me feel so much better. 

Around Here Week 08: 02/19-25

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

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

photo cred: Mrs McCall

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 15+ (of 1000)
Beautiful weather on Sunday that we got to play outside with our cousins before they left us (until next month!) We rolled logs and rocks over to find bugs and explored some of the woods together. But then the weather has been so flip floppy otherwise - wind, rain, chilly, snow flurries, bright can't make up it's mind on what season it wants to be so everyone is still runny nosed and the house is a complete muddy mess everyday. I am officially ready for spring and it's only mid-February, ugh oh. 

Reading and finishing The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han (a borrow from my student Lily). I started and finished If He Had Been With Me by Laura Nowlin (a borrow from my student Alyssa). If He Had Been With Me broke my heart in two. I finished it before school on Friday and just felt brokenhearted for the rest of the day. I took a little one day reading break to sit in my grief and also because Brandon was feeling a little neglected after I finished two books this week (hah). 

Fingers crossed, paperwork collected, and prayers sent up as Brandon headed into an interview this week. (gulp)

Celebrating our new 11 year old! Gemma had her birthday on Monday and she was thrilled to spend the day with Abba, Chum, and Kitty all day (they had no school for MLK Jr day). I made snickerdoodles to sing after dinner and then on Saturday, Gem and I went out to dinner just the two of us at Applebee's. We got her birthday snack for school, we celebrated with her team with donuts after her game on Sunday, had pie AND have some birthday party plans in the works...sheesh, we are so lucky to have this girl all we want to do is celebrate her! 

Finally finishing the puzzle we had in the staff lounge at school! Omigosh, it took two months and lots of people putting in a piece or two during lunches and afterschool - but we did it! We were all weirdly proud and it was actually a fun team building experience. 

Finding babies in our King's cake for Mardi Gras. I put 6 babies in the cake because I'm a sucker and I think everyone should get a little pretend luck! 

Adjusting Violet's hip and back at the chiropractor. That little one's hip is always popping out of place during sport seasons. Thankfully my mom and dad were able to grab her from school and get her to the appointment on time (thank you!) and we have some strengthening exercises for her to work on so that we can keep that hip in alignment for the upcoming soccer season.

Organizing the staff potluck for Friday. We had pizza and karaoke in the library after the early dismissal. I ordered the pizza from our local favorite spot (Peezer's!) and a bunch of staff pitched in to pay while others had signed up to bring drinks and sides. I sang "Blame it on Your Heart" by Patty Loveless and many other teachers sang. Some were impressive and some had me laughing so hard my face and stomach actually ached by the end of the afternoon. 

Birthdays everywhere we look! Besides Gemma's birthday, we also celebrated Pappy's birthday at our house with strawberry pie and Rusty's friend Hannah's birthday at the skating rink! We all sang to Wells for his half birthday (18 months!) this week too! 

Teaching only four days since we had an in-service day on Monday (Happy Presidents day!) I had students in the building on Monday though with our Spanish club - they wanted to put on a staff appreciation taco lunch. Otherwise for the week - Spanish 1 learned about Carrie the dancing dog as a lead into our next novel Brandon Brown Quiere un Perro. Spanish 2 learned about Guatemala and starting the documentary Living on $1. Spanish 3/4 Honors finished La Casa de La Dentista and worked through figuring out when to use preterito vs imperfecto in the past tense in Spanish. I had a little hiccup with the Leave Me Alone passes (someone making copies?!) I got to the bottom of it and upped the price to be exempt from the final to make everyone be mad (hah)

Sporting with Rusty's first ever baseball practice! He is playing machine pitch this year and he had his first indoor practice on Sunday (he was so excited and Grey got him all suited up in his old baseball pants, hat, and high socks!) Violet had 1 soccer practice for her Sparks team, Gemma had 2 basketball games, Grey had pitching practice with his Jr high baseball team and practice with his Pony league team. Brandon had a basketball game at his old man's league.

Making roast beef au jus sammies, sheet pan kielbasa and veggies, spaghetti, Korean beef & rice. For keto we had egg roll in a bowl and blackened tilapia with cheese cauliflower and broccoli. I made snickerdoodles for Gem's birthday and chocolate pumpkin muffins for weekend breakfast too. 

mini goal check in: 
20 minutes outside:  2 days
make-out:  5 days
affirmation:  7 days
out of bed by 5:45a: 1 day

Around Here Week 07: 02/12-18

Monday, March 6, 2023

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

2 months, 3 months, 4 months (current)

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 13+ hours (of 1000)
These random days of sunshine and warm-ish weather are toying with my emotions. Don't get me wrong, I love them and we are soaking them up for everything they are worth - but my internal clock is starting to think that it is supposed to be spring now but we are only in mid-February! I need to be prepared for several weeks of still crap weather, but I can feel myself already getting antsy about sunshine and warmth and flowers. Oh gosh, my poor heart can't take a veer back into winter weather at this point. 

Reading The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han (a borrow from my student Lily!) I already watched the show on Amazon Prime this summer and the book is not quite the same, but same characters and feelings but varies pretty differently on the actual events. I'm still team Jeremiah from watching the show, but my students are convinced that by the third book I'll be team Conrad.

Farm troubles: trying to secure the tarp back to the shed after the high winds destroyed it. We just need to keep it all secured to save the hay from rain and/or snow for the rest of the season. Man, it's always something with farm life.

Saying farewell to little prince Juniper. We took him back to his home farm after he (hopefully!) had enough romantic encounters with our goatie girls over the last two months. He was such a sweet goat and we loved having him. 

Superbowl Sunday at our neighbor/friend's house (The Altimores). We always have a great time there and the babies love their daughter Sophia who dotes on them so lovingly. We stayed until Rihanna was done at halftime (yas queen! pregnant and fierce!) and then headed home so we could try to get ourselves together before starting a new week. 

Valentine mania for the kids' class parties. I know I'm a cranky babypants, but ughhhh Valentine school parties are my least favorite. I printed some simple valentines and ordered two boxes of candy bracelets and set the kids to work. They colored and wrote out over 20 valentines each. Thank goodness to all the homeroom moms who organize the school parties (bless you!) For the junior high boy, we got a sweet little gift ready for his little valentine too. 

Enjoying fresh flowers at school and at home since Brandon surprises all his girls with bouquets for Valentine's every year. He brought mine to our lunch date (food from Tailgatez!) and they brighten up my room so much, I love them! The girls were overjoyed and look forward to him arriving home from work every year on Valentine's day. 

Taking Osa for her last vaccine boosters and finding out she put on 21 lb s since last month. LOL. 

Book club meeting with Books & Brews to discuss Jackal by Erin E Adams atStadium Pub & Grill. We ate, talked about the book, and then played Music bingo which was the event happening at the pub that night. It was so fun and I even was inspired to choose my karaoke song for the upcoming teacher pizza & karaoke! We picked our next read - The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

Hosting our little cousins at our house for the weekend. On Friday after school, I headed out to Washpa to pick the three girls up so they could spend the next two days at our house for a big cousin sleepover. Our plan is to do it once a month and the kids all had so much fun together. It was wild to have 9 kids in the house, but also big families know that adding more kids into the mix is rarely and issue - it's just more fun! 

Birthday party mania. Grey had a paintball and sleepover party with his besties in honor of the Conn twins' birthday on Friday night. B and I attended a surprise birthday on Saturday night for our friend Dustin (thanks to Heather & Albert for hanging with all the kids so we could go!) And we are thinking and planning ahead to next week when we have our own little birthday girl's special day (Gemma will be 11 on Monday!) 

Teaching Spanish 1 an introduction to bullfighting and then we watched Ferdinand. Spanish 2 worked on finished el Ekeko and Spanish 2 Honors watched Pachamama with a movie guide. Spanish 3/4 Honors learned about the imperfecto past tense. We took a break on Wednesday when it was so beautiful and warm outside to read La Casa de la Dentista (a Sr. Wooly graphic novel!) in the courtyard which actually turned out to be great practice reading & finding past tense verbs. I also gave out Leave Me Alone Passes because believe it or not - we are already half way through the third marking period already?!

Sporting with only two baseball practices for Grey and he got his basketball equipment turned in this week to finish out the season officially. Gemma had three basketball games and then she and Violet went to open gym on Saturday. 

Making cabbage&noodles (for superbowl), chik-fi-la sammies and fries, meat sauce spaghetti, copycat Olive Garden chicken over pasta, meatball sub sammies, sloppy joes & mac& cheese. I also made a some fruity pebbles muffins for Sunday morning (and then again the following Saturday, hah!) and a batch of oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for the weekend. Heather brought over pizza, wings, and breadsticks on Saturday night (thank you!) 

mini goal check in: 
20 minutes outside: 2 days
make-out: 5 days
affirmation:  7 days
out of bed by 5:45a: 1 day (!)