Around Here Week 24: 06/11-06/17

Thursday, June 29, 2023

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

photo cred: Eva M

the cake at B's last board meeting at NS (thank you Nina!)

Grey's text from overnight basketball camp

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 236+ hours (of 1000)
Thank goodness we got some rain this week and even a full blown thunderstorm on Friday morning. It's been so warm and dry that a reprieve of some rain and chilled temps felt wonderful. Although, it almost felt like fall a few mornings; specially the smell of the wind. Had to remind myself and the kids we still had a full two months of summer left to enjoy! 

Reading Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver. Gosh, the writing is just gorgeous. Reminds me of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (my favorite book) and A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. Just such lovely writing that loops all around every aspect and makes you really believe that you truly are peering into a real person's life in real time. 

Family reset dinner on the patio because the kids have just been teasing each other and bickering nonstop. And, it feels like we haven't all sat down at the table for a meal in ages (our dining room table has been buried under a mountain of random end-of-the-year stuff that needs sorted) and between practices/games/activities - we just haven't made a solid effort at all sitting down together. So I had the kids help set the picnic table and we sat in the misting rain (LOL) and ate and did High/Low and tried to find our family center again. 

Happy to know a great handyman! Our neighbor and friend, Mr. Darren is on the finish-the-flipping-back-porch project and we are so happy about it! He was up on Sunday to take some measurements so we can get the soffit and facia done, then the siding, the the boxes to cover the radon pipe & electric boxes. We are really good at getting the big projects started and knocked out, but it's the last details that always have us rolling our eyes and taking YEARS to finish. Mr. Darren (hah, that's what our kids call him) already brought up steps to come out of the back door this week! And Red and Gem love to help, so he had two helpers while the rest of the crew hung out with his daughters. So grateful and relieved to have Mr. Darren on the job! 

Knocking out some more appointments this week. Well checks for two of my boys. Grey had his 13 year check up and Reddy had his 3 year check up. It was hilarious to see their heights and weights right next to each other. Grey at 5'6'' and Reddy at a solid 3' (LOL). They both got thumbs up and I was glad to get that PIAA physical paperwork done for fall sports. The whole family went to get our spots checked at the dermatologist (all good!), and I had a dentist appointment (finally! it's been 2 years?!)

Getting through this transition for Brandon's work life. He is still at his current school (working and training the next business manager) but also training for his new school through webinars and phone calls...and attending double school board meetings (which makes logistics for evening games a little wild). Plus, football season planning as head coach (designing and ordering gear, checking in on weightlifting program, learning Hudl from a coach's viewpoint, checking in with coaches and boosters). It's just a wild transition period right now trying to make sure all the I's get dotted and T's crossed.

Bummed that my peonies got fried this year. We moved them to a new flowerbed and I think they got too much sun (and not enough rain) and I got no blooms. They all started buds, but they slowly each turned brown and crispy. The plant stalk looks so healthy and strong though (?) maybe they will come back in full forces next year - fingers crossed! 

Summer slow down, it finally feels like we are getting to the real summertime living now. Youth league baseball ended this week, AYSO soccer will be done after this last tournament too - which means practices and games significantly go down. We still have summer league basketball through the month of June and Grey has a city ball game once or twice a week, but the vibe is way more relaxed and easy-going. Kids sleeping in late into the morning, weird and funny projects born out of boredom, laundry is feeling more manageable. Like easing into a hammock with a good book - it's truly sweet summertime now. 

Watching our caterpillars turn to chrysalis this week! It is a early summer tradition around our house and Red understands that they will be butterflies soon - Olive is still totally confused, hah, but likes to check on them.

Summertime friends - Vi spent the day at Shawnee with the McDannells, Gemma attended a birthday party for her friend Peyton at 814 Lanes & Games and then had a birthday playday at Evelyn's house (she learned to sew!) The kids had fun playing with Giada & Sophia while Mr. Darren installed our new porch steps - especially Olive who says "Pia" is her best friend. 

Making mental note of how the kids tell me they love me. All my boys are tellers, they say the words. Grey without fail says, "love you, mom" before bed and before we leave each other (ie. he leaves the house, or we part ways out and about). Rusty daily and out of the blue comes over to me, drapes me in a big hug and says, "I just love you so much, Mom." Reddy has just these past few weeks started to say I love you first (without me saying it to him) and he will exclaim it across the room, "Mom! I LOVE YOU!" He shouted it across Roxbury park this week during my volleyball game for all to hear! The girls are all show-ers, they rarely say the words but live it out through hugs and acts of kindness. Gem is constantly aware of when I need help; she opens doors, takes things out of my hand, she changes diapers without being asked, and lights candles around the house. Violet makes me pictures, gives me a hug when she walks by me, sits next to me on the couch and holds my hand, and asks about my day. Olive snuggles, wants to show me everything, gives me tight hugs around my neck, surprises me with a kiss, and gives the biggest grin when I smile at her. How lucky I am to be all of their momma; to be on the receiving end of all that love. 

Installing a new dishwasher (thanks B and Pappy!) and setting up the back porch patio cupboard I ordered. The kids helped set it up and we put paper plates, paper towels, water bottles, and juice bags in there for easy access while we are snacking & eating outside this summer. Hooray for adult level nerdiness where appliances and storage bring me joy! 

I AM A GOAT GRANDMA! It's officially our first kidding season and Polly was the first to labor on Friday morning around 10a. Twin boys! We named them Juniper and Hickory. They are so cute, we all just swoon constantly. Polly is such a good momma too; so proud of her. I think that Jojo will be next and then finally Donut. All three of our girls are expecting because we rented a boyfriend from Trinity Farms in the winter. I am so grateful to have them and Eva McDannell on my call list in case of an emergency in kidding (thank you guys!) 

Being so stressed over thinking Jojo was going to go into labor, I stayed home from the soccer tournament on Saturday - she didn't have the babies, but I got a ton of laundry done and our three littlest ones got to stay home from a tournament (win for them!)Thanks to Heather and Albert who stopped by to pick up food to take for our crew at the tournament! 

Evening swim at Pappy & Gigi's house to celebrate Father's day. We brought wings and pizza and had salad from their garden (with Gigi's homemade dressing - our favorite!) Pap had the chimenea going since it was actually pretty chilly outside, but the kids got in the pool anyway!

Sporting with Rusty's last machine pitch baseball game (felt like April weather - rainy and chilly!) and  Violet played in the soccer tournament on Saturday (last one!). Gemma had two soccer practices and played in the soccer tournament (5 games?!), she also had two basketball summer league games too this week. Grey had weightlifting twice, 4 summer league basketball games, and a city ball game. He also headed out to basketball camp at Juniata with the Varsity team (!) from Friday until Sunday. B took the girls to the Ken Lantzy football game on Friday night too. 

Making creamy ham & broccoli pasta, bbq chicken sammies, sloppy joes on Texas toast with shells&cheese, teriyaki chicken & veggies rice bowls (instant pot!), twice baked potatoes (at Gemma's request) and cheese quesadillas. Our summertime 'all day' meals included: peanut butter/honey/cheerio bites, teenie weenie pigs in the blankies. I made my grandma Helen's cinnamon rolls with boiled icing for breakfast (perfection!), buffalo chicken dip and fruity pebble muffins for the soccer tournament, and I made pumpkin roll to take to Pappy&Gigi's house for the Father's day evening swim. 

Around Here Week 23: 06/04-10

Monday, June 19, 2023

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

mother's day mug from Gem

pedicures & photo cred go to Abba!

photo cred: Eva M

photo cred: Uch

photo cred: Uch

photo cred: Heather

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 215+ hours (of 1000)
Loving all the summer sun, but also wishing for a summer thunderstorm here and there! We haven't had a good rain in 10+ days. Our poor grass is browning up and we've been trying to stay on top of watering all our flowers/landscaping. Kind of glad we haven't (yet!?) planted our veggies because the rain is just not feeling it lately. 

Reading and finishing Daisy Jones & The Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid. I loved the book so much. The writing style, the way each speaker was clearly their own person (I didn't even have to really read who was being interviewed; I could tell who it was by what they were saying it and how it came across.) and then the end! I loved it and THEN I got to the end-end and really loved it. Haven't been disappointed by a Taylor Jenkins Reid book yet! I also binged the series on Amazon Prime Video and it was good too - but very different than the book...I liked them both as stand alone stories, but I prefer the book version (by a lot). I started reading Demon Copperfield by Barbara Kingsolver after high recommendations from two of my trusted fellow bookies (thank you Jenn V and Shelly C!)

Brain Dump To Do List making for the summer. Although I set a very specific end date to "summer" as August 6 since that is the day before football camp starts. We need to tackle this list in the next two months before the real bonanza begins. It is an overwhelming list categorized by all the different balls we juggle, but it feels good to at least get the list created. 

Football season prep. There are a few things we need to get tied up in the early summer season so this week B and I were in serious brainstorming, planning, and decision making mode. Most of time I am just the sound board, but it still is occupying my brain space and I'll feel better when these few things are checked off our list. They are for the most part, first year coach type of things - like making the choices first time out the gate, but every year after this will be refining and learning from how it went the first time. Right now, it feels like a big deal but then it will be less stressful every year after this. 

Swimming at the Fiore's house - a real start to summer! So glad to have an afternoon with my bestie at her house with all our kiddos. The kids swam (literally from the moment we got there until I had to force them out when we were leaving) and had a pizza lunch and Kate and I got to catch up on a million things and it is so good for my soul. Plus I got to visit with her momma a little and that made me happy too because Nana is the best. 

Living in the haziness from the Canadian wildfires. We haven't really lost any visibility here in southwestern PA, but the sun is effected enough that you can stare right at it at sunrise and sunset and just see a giant pink ball. It's so bizarre. The rest of the day is mostly just covered in a weird hazy cloud that makes it look a little hot - like the wiggles that come off of the grill (says Rusty)

Ordering a new dishwasher! How old are you if you get excited about appliances? I am so excited for it to arrive next week and it can't come a minute too soon - this dishwasher is on her last breaths.

Clothes & Attic project week1: ugh. clearing out drawers and closets in the boys room. Anything that doesn't fit anymore or doesn't get worn ever - goes in a bag to donate, period. Get it out of my house. What a relief to get it done, but what overwhelming depression to go room by room and see the scale of madness. It's been three years of just stashing stuff (especially kids' clothes) and saying I'll get to it later...that was covid, 2 pregnancies, and 2 newborns worth of time. send good, motivating thoughts please.

Prepping the basketball court project and as is always the case - it will be a bigger project than just marking out the lines and pouring cement. Ugh. Thankful for Chummie who came and helped us map it all out and give us the starting point. 

Sending happy birthday wishes to my little sister Kitty this week. She was headed up to Canada on her birthday for a wedding followed by section-hikes down the Appalachian mountains in Maine and New Hampshire next week with her fella, Bryan. She's the absolute coolest and I am so proud to be her big sis. 

Summer playdates/sleepovers: Gem & Vi had a sleepover at my parents house (which included new flip flops and pedicures with Abba!) Vi had a playdate at the McDannells house and then my parents took Grey and Rusty on Saturday to our Adams family reunion all day (thank you!!)

Celebrating Rusty's birthday at his party at the Que. We had a Rusty Danger party (as in Kid Danger & Captain Man). He had some school friends and cousins attend and even though it was an overcast, chilly day - the kids still got in the water and played in the sand. We had Hawaiian roll sammies - peanut butter & jelly (Rusty's favorite), turkey&cheese, and ham&cheese (thanks for bringing the ham&cheese sammies, Heather), pasta salad (Abba), watermelon (Gigi), baked beans, and a donut cake! Gem and Violet helped color the Kid Danger signs we hung up, and Grey, Bryce, and Reed blew up the punching bag balloons that we hung from the pavilion. 

Sporting with two baseball games for Rusty (he had a triple and an inside-the-park homer; his first of both!). Violet had her last Sparks soccer game, her last two AYSO games and then the soccer tournament on Saturday. Gemma had  three basketball games, her last AYSO soccer game, and the soccer tournament on Saturday (2nd place, again!) Grey had weightlifting three days this week (baseline numbers!), four summer league basketball games, and one city baseball game. B and I played at 9p for our volleyball game (thank you to the sweetest neighborhood girl Fia, for babysitting last minute for us!) And Brandon had a youth football meeting this week and is still the vice president of the league and I got approved to coach majors cheer...because we are nothing if not gluttons for get involved in all the things. 

Making some summertime 'all day' meals: haluski and buffalo chicken dip(summertime all day meals are food that get made in the morning and then sit ready-to-eat in the crockpot so when the kids say they are hungry every 10 minutes, they have real food to eat instead of snacking all day or consuming 65 bowls of cereal). Vi made baked ravioli (her favorite!), we had pierogies and kielbasa, birthday party leftovers, and take out pizza (twice!). I also made two batches of cowboy cookies this week (5 dozen gone in 12 hours at our house, LOL and another 5 dozen for the soccer tourney).