Around Here Week 15: 04/09-15

Sunday, April 30, 2023

 A glimpse into what it is like to live in our home just this moment. (warning: a lot of pictures in this one, LOL)

Vibe check for semi-formal

photo cred: Chum

video still cred: Becky C

photo cred: Kev M

photo cred: Abba

photo cred: Jenn V

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 71+ hours (of 1000)
Okay - I think I can officially say spring has SPRUNG! gahhhh, the flowering trees and blooms everywhere bring salve to my deeply frozen winter blues. Trees are starting to turn green in the tiniest way and our little daffodils are smiling at me every time I drive up the driveway. We spent almost all of Saturday outside - mowing, playing catch and jumping on the trampoline, weeding, and cleaning up the yard from winter debris. It was wonderful and we all went in late at night tired, dirty, and sunkissed.

Reading and finishing both The Lake by Natasha Preston (borrow from student Ella) a twist at the very end that was a surprise but overall I didn't love it. Really slow and redundant storytelling. I also finished We'll Always Have Summer bnny Hann (borrow from student Lily). It was good to finish the trilogy and I'm still not completely sold on team Conrad, but okay - a little bit better to hear some of his side of the story. Now, I'm waiting on a couple books from my students who promised to share to read next! 

Easter bunny visited! We get surprises in little baskets - candy, a book for each kid, and everyone got some slime. What an absolute gift it is to have big kids looking at us whispering 'thank you' over the tops of little kids squealing and delightfully shouting "thank you Easter bunny!" This moment of motherhood stretching across so many ages/stages of kids, what a freaking blessing to be at opposite ends and be able to appreciate and cherish the good and challenging of both sides.

Smiling for Violet who made her First Holy Communion on Sunday morning at Easter mass at St. David's. She wore the same dress the Gemma wore and she looked like a little angel. She was really excited and so proud. The ceremony was beautiful and special and what a blessing it was to have it on Easter Sunday morning! Rusty's kindergarten class helped with the opening songs and the youth ministry gave all the kids cards with wind-up butterflies inside to open and the kids all giggled and shrieked with joy! Abba, Chum, Gigi, Pappy, Kuma, Uncle Buck, Uch, Kev, Kitty, Wells, and Heath were all there too! 

Easter Celebrations at Aunt Lisa's house. After mass, we spent the afternoon eating delicious food and celebrating so many good things: Violet's first Holy Communion, Grey's birthday, cousin Amy's birthday, cousin J's birthday, and cousin Rebecca's baby shower! Aunt Lisa had an egg-bert station set up (planting grass seed in hollowed egg shells - it was our grandma's tradition) and it was the perfect day for an Easter egg hunt!

Playdates multiple times this week. On No School Monday, we hosted three friends at our house: Hannah and Adilia for Rusty and Evaley for Violet. They all played so sweetly together and truthfully we barely saw them as they went from one activity to the next running all over the yard, making books, and jumping on the trampoline while Grey spent Monday morning on the stream with Chummie fishing. Rusty and Violet both took the bus after school on Friday to the Cable's house for a playdate - which ended up in a sleepover for Violet (thank you!) and Gemma spent most of the afternoon/evening at Abba & Chum's house on Friday. On Saturday, Gem and Vi spent most of the day at Pappy & Gigi's house playing and helping clean up Mimi's yard for spring. 

Orthodontist consultation for Gemma on Monday! It went well, but we are waiting on a few more teeth to grow in before we make any decisions. Checking back in again this summer.

Mom of teenage boy hack: I screenshot some images of semi-formal options and put them in a collage to text to Grey. This both gave him some options of what does a boy even wear to a dance and also helped give him some control over what I looked for to buy for him. He's date had sent over her dress, so I knew at least color - but didn't know how else he wanted to go in terms of 'vibe' (hah). As a text pic, he also could have sent it to his date if he wanted her help, but he ended up knowing right away what he wanted and decided to surprise her.  

Ladies, GET YOU A MAN who doesn't just buy you flowers in a vase, but a flowering tree, digs the hole, and plants it outside your kitchen window so every time you look outside you feel a burst of joy and peace. We took the babies to Stuver's Nursery on Tuesday and picked out a bunch of stuff to bring home and spruce up the landscaping for spring. The flowerbed off the side porch is going to be a bee/butterfly metropolis. The seedum inspired me from last summer, so from the suggestion of Jesse at Stuver's nursery - we'll be heading back every few weeks to get a different annuals that blooms at various times all spring-summer-fall so there are always blooms for the insects in that flowerbed. I'm so excited! 

Osa made a visit to the vet this week. 6 months old, 61 lbs. 

Meeting with the prom committee and our venue on Wednesday afternoon. We hashed out most of the details and set a price point for our budget. It is wild that we are only three Saturdays away from Prom now! But I am feeling pretty confident that all will be ordered/organized/done in time - I have great helpers in our junior class president and secretary - bless those girls! (love you Marissa and Libby!)

Hosting semi-formal pics at our yard on Friday night. A group of Grey's friends and their parents stopped over before the dance to use our view as a backdrop and it was so sweet seeing them all dressed up for their first semi-formal. Gabe's mom (and my friend) Jenn V took photos to share with all of us and my sister Tasha stuck around to see her nephew/godbaby hit this milestone (crying forever). What a privilege to watch my babies grow up. Motherhood - what a trip! 

Teaching only ONE day this week! We had spring break stretch all the way through Wednesday and it was glorious. I was at school on Thursday and then called off on Friday when poor Miss Emma was sick. You know what, I'll take it - it was a gorgeous day and these past 2 weeks had wiped me out! Now only 30 student days until the end of the school year (can hardly believe it...but also thank goodness) 

Sporting with two baseball practices for Rusty and his baseball pictures on Saturday morning, Violet had two AYSO practices and two Sparks practices for Violet (if I said it once, I've said it a hundred times - thank goodness for the Feathers family who have become her main transportation to Sparks practices!) Gem had two AYSO practices and Grey had two baseball practices and two games for junior high (I was in charge of pre-game snack for one of the practices and sent along turkey sticks, string cheese, granola bars, and apples). Brandon started his open gym football lifting this week Mon-Thursday evening and is getting a decent turnout. Off season matters! 

Grilling out on Monday night because it was beautiful! We had hot dogs, cheddar brats, and grilled vegggies. This week we also had sloppy joes, baked spaghettis with leftover meatballs, homemade pizza, shrimp tacos, nacho dip, and take out pizza (thank you Uch & Kev!) 

Around Here Week 14: 04/02-08

Saturday, April 22, 2023

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

photo cred: Gem

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 40+ hours (of 1000)
spring sports, Easter egg hunts, birthday bonfire...all the things outdoors please. Our sunrises and sunsets have been breathing life into my guts! 

Reading and finishing Everything Sad is Untrue by Daniel Nayeri. I absolutely loved the book and the writing style - so much that I had about a million post-it notes to discuss. We had our Project Lit meeting at school for it and as always the conversation was great. I just love reading books with the students and having a chance to discuss it in depth and hear what they found interesting and the connections they made. I'm also reading The Lake by Natasha Preston (borrow from student Ella) and We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Hann; the last book in TSITP series (borrow from student Lily)

Attending a basket party for my friend Gina who is a cancer warrior. Her incredible group of friends and family organized the party and it was so well done and successful. I was honored to be there to support Gina and her sons and I even won a basket! It was a beautiful event and I am so inspired by the whole day - the thought and care that went into each part of the planning and the community that showed up to support. Add Gina to your prayer lists if you have them and send her all the healing and good vibes please. 

LOL'ing about our April and May schedules. Laugh or cry, right? I choose to laugh and smile and be grateful that we have healthy, passionate kids and incredibly generous and supportive family and friends who help us get through sports seasons in tact.

Dropping off our taxes! 

Sending my annual state standardized testing exemption email to the appropriate persons. tis the season!

Bringing home the guinea pigs from my classroom, to the delight of Olive who is their number one fan. She was so happy and asks a million times to hold them and always wants to feed them. They won't be at a loss for snuggles over spring break - that's for sure! 

Getting a little bit of closure at a meeting this week. It's just been something that's been under our skin for the past few weeks, but karma caught up and it feels like we were able to let go of a little resentment that was wedged in our hearts. 

Kissing B goodbye as he was off to his annual Spruce Creek fishing trip. The pictures that I get sent of him smiling with massive native trout always make me happy and grateful he gets these few days away doing what he loves in the creek with his best friend Jon. Miss him but happy for him (bonus - it also means I get to read without any guilt - hahhaha). 

Thankful for the Valentine family who took my biggest kid for the early dismissal and then hosted him for a sleepover! He was overjoyed to play in a house full of boys for the first day of spring break! (thank you!!)

Adopting 12 baby chickies! Tractor supply was finally re-stocked with all female chicks and B picked them up on his way home from his fishing trip. Gemma and Violet were over the moon (they've been begging/whining for two weeks straight). We purchased a big galvanized tub like they use at Tractor supply and it has been working great so far. Olive is obsessed (naturally) and Red already has experience in being gentle and calm with them. He is reading them books and singing to them every chance he gets. 

Visiting with my bestie Kate and her two kiddos on Friday morning. They trekked out to our house and we spent the early afternoon together only to be talked into a sleepover (per usual) from our two big girls. Soph and Gem sweet talked their way into it and bless their little souls, they even went to work cleaning the kids' bedrooms to say thank you for it that afternoon while I dropped Vi at her playdate (best surprise ever!)

Playdate'ing for Vi at her Sparks soccer teammate Bella's house on Saturday. Oh, she was so incredibly happy and it's always nice to catch up with a fellow big family momma. Bella is one of five. She's actually the middle kid too (like Vi) and her and Violet share the exact same birthday! Bella is about 6 hours older than Vi! 

Attending Good Friday mass and being so moved by how solemn and special it was. Grey did some readings and Gemma was an acolyte. Sophie (who was sleeping over our house) and Violet also went early to help as needed. Then Rust and I attended mass and it is honestly one of the most moving services of the year. 

Baking almost for the whole entire day on Saturday. I signed up to do dessert at our Easter celebrations. Baking is like the last thing that needs done in my to do list, but it makes me feel like I have control over something, so it brings me joy. Don't judge me. I baked sprinkle sugar cookies, carrot cheesecake bundt with cream cheese icing, chex mix muddy buddies, and banana gobs with boiled icing. I also made the cake for the strawberry shortcake cross cake that I'm making for Easter Sunday (but not the icing - I made that Sunday). Violet was the biggest helper, but I had a little help from almost every family member throughout the day, even as only spatula lickers and 'ugly piece' taste testers! 

Celebrating Easter with our Studer family at cousin Garretson's house on Saturday night. We had a potluck of soups & sammies and it was delicious and so nice to be all together. Tausha, Heather, and Aunt Pam organized a great Easter egg hunt for the kids that Olive and Red were so excited about! Not one but 2 of my students were there to celebrate, hah. Obviously, my cousin Gracie who is my student but her boyfriend was there too (also my student). They are too cute and it always makes me laugh to see students outside of school - they are always so confused (like wait, you're like a real person and mom? LOL) 

Hugging my THIRTEEN YEAR OLD SON who had a birthday on Saturday. gulp.gulp.gulp. We hosted a handful of kids at our house on Saturday night to celebrate but they were so easy - I just was basically there to provide food (hot dogs for the fire, buff chicken dip, and banana gobs - Grey's request) and they took care of everything. They made the fire, played wiffleball and kickball and laughed about weird teenager jokes. Gah, I both love and barely tolerate this age simultaneously. What a blessing it is to have a teen in the house, I could cry forever about time. 

Teaching only two days this week - THANK GOODNESS. We are all in need of a little break from one another (hah). Monday and Tuesday meant reviewing and vocab test for Spanish 1, Chapters 8&9 of Esperanza for Spanish 2 and Spanish 3 worked on vocab and pre-learning for their last novel Felipe Alou. On the early dismiss day, we had a school wide Dodgeball event with some other activities planned. Our Project Lit (book club) met to discuss our latest read (Everything Sad is Untrue) and I then I hosted a Just Dance marathon in my room.

Sporting with the start of AYSO practices this week! Gem had two U12 AYSO practices, Violet had two Sparks soccer practices, and two AYSO soccer practices (with assistant coach Mom!), Rusty had two baseball practices and Grey had only one junior high baseball game because the other was cancelled due to rain. Other than that, he had two junior high practices and one pony league practice. B had a basketball game on Sunday too. 

Making sheet pan chicken fajitas (the whole fam loves this!), meatball sub sammies, crockpot chicken pot pie, baked cheese ravioli and salads, and take out pizza (thank you Aunt Kitty!) I baked most of Saturday (Easter and Grey's party)