Around Here Week 28: 07/09-15

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

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

photo cred: Abba

photo cred: Abba

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 334+ hours (of 1000)
Woohoo - up 37 hours this week! Games, walks, and cousin camp boosted our hours this week and it feels so good to be in that sunshine and fresh air. A few people have asked where we went to the beach because our kids are so tan and everyone's hair is so light - but we tell them, nope - no beach - just lots of time outside right here in PA. hah! 

Reading The Wishing Game by Meg Shaffer...and right now, just meh. The characters aren't my favorite; I don't really get their motivations quite yet, but maybe it will unfold as the book goes on. Right now I find them all a little irritating and self-indulgent. 

40th Birthday miles: Mile 8 with Jon, Mile 9 with Rusty, Mile 10 with Grey (we befriended a fawn!), and Mile 11 with cousin Lisa.

Moth mania. I don't know what in the Mothman Prophecies is going on over here - but we are still finding & researching moths over here! We had a gorgeous Luna Moth on the roof (Fun Fact: they have no mouth and don't eat! They survive for only a week after they emerge as a butterfly!?) and then we found a Polyphemous moth hanging out on our back porch - and these beautiful things only live for 4 days at full grown moth stage!?! And we got to visit with it in it's short life as a full blown moth. Just wild! Nature, man, just so incredible. 

Summer playdates. Grey spent Sunday with Chum when they played together in a Cornhole tournament at a local festival. Our nephew, Wells came with us to Grey's baseball game this week and as usual he is just the sweetest little squishem. When I went to pick him up in Lucille the Studermobile, he was screaming "TIA! BUS!!" Vi and Rusty got a sleepover day with Abba and Chum where Rust got to make Thor's hammer with wood with Chum's help! We snagged Gemma's friends Molly & Peyton to join us at Roxbury for Greys' baseball game and our volleyball game. They were sweet and giggly and took great care of the babies. We hosted the Mock sisters at our house on Wednesday afternoon and they played creatively together and even helped set up the tents to air out before this weekend! Grey spent the afternoon at the Valentines house after football one day this week. 

Financial Advisor check in call! We love Dave, and if you needed a reminder to schedule a call for #adulting - here's your reminder! 

Phone fixed! After almost two weeks, I got my phone screen replaced by Laurel Highlands Cell Phone Repair. I had a really great experience working with him and we dropped it off before Grey's game and it was fixed and ready to be picked up before the game was over. Big recommend! The notifications from being out of a phone for two weeks was equal parts hilarious and overwhelming. Thanks to everyone who was patient with the longest reply waits ever (even worse than my usual time which is honestly awful). Happy to have my camera back most of all and so grateful for the pocket screen and social media break!

Posting my teacher wishlist on Amazon Prime days because all the 'cool kids' are doing it and I figured why not? Thank you to anyone who purchases stuff from ANY teachers' wishlists! We love your kids, that's usually the literal only reason we stick with it. 

Getting some new ink at Total Commitment with our long time friend Mike. My sisters, mumma, and I met up to get our matching hummingbird tattoos and we all selected our left arm! It is my fifth tattoo but it's been 13+ years since my last one (!? time - I do not understand you.) Mike is incredible and we laughed and chatted through all the appointments. My kids were all excited to see it when I got home. I have a student, Olivia, who is working on my 3/4 sleeve full design and now that I got this new one...ugh oh, I have the itch to just keep going! 

Well checks for 2 kids; Rusty & Olive. They both got thumbs up and Olive was a brave girl for her vaccine. When I was checking out, the receptionist reminded me that sixth graders need a physical and I was like, oh wait - I have an incoming sixth grader and remembered at that exact moment I never got Gem scheduled for a well check (since February?!) oops! So I got that on the books for early August!

Last minute registering our kayaks and paddleboard with PA Fish and Boat Commission. LOL, why do I forget to do this every time?! I bought 2 year registrations this year, so at least next year we will be covered. 

Cousin Camp at the Que for the weekend. The kids are in heaven at cousin camp - all the swimming, paddleboarding, biking, sleeping out in a tent'ing, fishing, snacking (!!), hammock'ing, cliff-jumping, and sand-digging. They are just so dang happy and independently wild and free at cousin camp. To be a parent at cousin camp is to clean up trash, make food, and count heads...and that's about it. The kids complete manage themselves and their own happiness. Our Rummell cousins, Garrettson cousins, and the Gilmore cousins drove in from Etown were all there for every day. It was exhausting with the planning, packing, transporting, and adjusting to multiple downpours of rain - but very much worth it because the kids' faces just beam. Long Live Cousin Camp! 

Doing a double take of that picture of Grey and Reid coming from fishing. Usually I can see the baby cheeks and little kid in all my children's photos - but that photo startled me when I could see a glimpse of grown Grey; there in the jawline and the smart ass grin. Barely recognize my sweet baby booboo at all.  I know everyone tells you - but don't blink, mommas.

Sporting with a soccer practice and a 3v3 soccer tourney for Violet (Go Dynamite Kicks!) Gemma had a summer league basketball game. Grey had 2 city baseball playoff games (both wins, so baseball continues next week! TBH, I don't know how many more white baseball uniform scrubbing sessions I have left in my soul this season...LOL, but not kidding), and 2 football conditioning practices and a weightlifting. B and I had our co-ed volleyball league game on Tuesday night and so many of my 'kids' (ie students and former students) were there either playing volleyball, watching volleyball or playing softball or baseball! B also had a football conditioning practice and a football 7v7 at Ligonier. I also attended our Football Boosters meeting. 

Making baked ravioli, copycat Olive Garden chicken over spaghetti, homemade pizza, bbq/grape jelly meatballs over rice, and meatloaf with parmesan pasta. We had take out pizza on the way home from a baseball game (fyi: Richland Fox's has 1/2 price pizza on Monday nights! Thanks Heather for the heads up!)

Whole30 eats: plantain chips are my everything (until I read that Whole30 says NO store bought chips no matter what because they are definitely against the idea of Whole30 because you just snack attack on them - ahem, Tabitha. I knew it was too good to be true). We had blackened chicken with veggies, tuna over greens (we love balsamic vinegar & olive oil dressing!), shrimp with egg fried cauliflower rice, and turkey/tomato paste meatloaf (really good)!  I do love me some kombucha over ice in a mason jar as my little mini pick-me-up mid-afternoon!

Around Here Week 27: 07/02-08

Monday, July 24, 2023

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

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 297+ hours (of 1000)
Up 21 hours this week, oh sweet summertime - we are loving the long slow mornings and the late nights with the kids on the trampoline. My mid-afternoon break on the porch swing has been such a bright spot in each day, just swinging and drinking my Kombucha while reading my book. I know I'll be reminiscing about it come wintertime. 

Reading and finishing Demon Copperhead by Barbara Kingsolver. I will always be rooting for Demon in his life and I am honest to goodness disappointed that the book is over. I read&finished What If It's Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera which is very sweet but the drastic switch in writing styles from Demon Copperhead to this had me a little jolted at first. Next up - The Wishing Game by Meg Shaffer.

Starting Whole30 because I have the right mindset all of a sudden (comes on like a light switch!). For awhile now I've just been overall sluggish and unmotivated and my gut health is whack and I'm really frustrated with my alcohol intake and just need a body, mind, soul, heart reset. Hah (who can tell I'm on the brink of my 40th birthday? LOL so much). I've done keto many times in the past and it has worked super quick in weightloss and sugar/carb detox - but I wanted to try Whole30 this time because it feels like a real detox (no dairy! no sugar! no booze! no grains!) It is restrictive, but B and I really love veggies and trying new recipes - so not worried too much about that. I wrote a big list of things that are discomforts or frustrating for me right now ranging from bloating to my cracked heels, to my shoulder pain, to that 'what just happened' snack binges in the afternoon that I have. I'm anxious to see if any of my random ailments see any changes in the next 30 days as I fuel my body with whole foods. 

Living that phone free life. Since Liv busted my phone last week, I am honestly just living wild and free over here not having text communication and living social media free most days. My phone does still work (rings, gets notifications, alarms go off) so on the off chance that anyone calls me, I get to swipe up and answer the call with no clue who it will be (so 90's!) I'm not missing anything from my phone except my camera, but B's phone has been pretty accessible and even Grey has been good about letting me grab his to snag photos (xxo)

Kid-swapping with the Rummells on Fourth eve. We swapped Grey out for the three girls for fun mini-sparkly evenings. The boys shot off their bottle rockets like little pyros and the girls (and Rust & Reddy) did sparklers and poppers over at our house. We got to peep the neighbors' fireworks display (thank you Maurers!) and had a fire with smores.

Fourth of July celebrations! We had sparklers with cousins on the eve of the fourth and watched all the firework displays in the area from our mountaintop (while Olive and Red cried and Osa ran around frantic because we are still firmly in the firework fear stage, hah). Then we stopped by for cake and singing at the Altimores for Miss Jo's birthday followed by an evening swim with dinner & Gigi's root beer floats at Pappy & Gigi's house.

Big day for B! First day as business manager at CT and first football conditioning as head coach on the same evening. So proud to be his wife. 

Getting my 40th birthday miles in! Mile 4 with Heather, Mile 5 with Olive, Mile 6 with Kitty, and Mile 7 with Ninna. The walks have all been so good and I am so glad that this is my birthday celebration plan. Spending real one-on-one time with everyone having conversations together. Most walks go more than a mile because we are talking, laughing, and remembering and aren't ready to stop at a mile. So grateful to have everyone be on board and willing to make the time to do it with me.

Summer playdays: Grey spent the night at the Valentine's and then spent all day Sunday volunteering at Slamfest (cleaning up rained fields and running the scoreboard). Uch and the boys stopped over to visit the baby goats and swim in our baby pool, Pappy picked up the biggest four for swimming at their house on Thursday and Chum snagged everyone but Olive for a Friday afternoon of swimming and fishing at the Que! For all of you always asking "How I do it"....with A LOT of help and a big village! We could never do it by ourselves and we definitely don't!

Laying the drain pipe for the basketball hoop. What a huge mess of trench, mud, dirt, and slop! We've been working on this trench for about 2 weeks and with all the rain we've been getting it's been a stop&go process. The kids have loved playing in the ditch though - they've slopped through in bare feet, hid and found dinosaurs, made mud pies, hopped in and out on ninja warrior expeditions - it has been never-ending fun. But alas, I will be glad to have that part of the project done and all that mess closed up! A heart of gratitude to Kevin who loaned us the digger to dig it out, cousin Aaron who loaned us the trailer bed to transport the digger, Chum who plotted out the plan, Pappy who has dug a bunch of the trench by digger & hand, Uncle Dave who brought out his tools to make sure it's all correctly sloped and will actually work once we cover it back up, and B for always doing whatever it takes to get it done no matter how many people and things need coordinated, purchased, or manual labored through sweat and cursing (hah). Why does HGTV pretend like everything is so simple and quick!? 

Contact lenses for Grey. He did a great job not giving up on learning how to put them in and take them out. So far, he really likes them and is excited to try them out during sports. Still doing a trial period though to make sure because holy cow batman, why is everything so expensive?!

Sleepover with the Kochs at our house. We spent Saturday afternoon at the pool at Pappy&Gigi's house with all the kids splashing and laughing. Then we headed back to our house for hanging out by the fire, jumping on the trampoline, and grown-up tonka truck time in the backyard (hah!) while B and Jon finished up leveling the ground for the basketball hoop. What a comfort and joy it is to be with our besties and their kids and all of us one giant mess of loudness, laughter, and love.

Moth mania. I've been in moth research mode after we found a giant moth at our house on Friday morning. Just like all of nature, moths are super fascinating...we are all obsessed now! We learned the Cecropia moth is one of the largest moths in PA. It had a little tear in a wing and only one antennae, so we got her set up in one of our trees and crossed our fingers that she wouldn't become a bat's dinner that night! 

Sporting with just a little bit thanks to the holiday. Grey had weightlifting once and started his AM football conditioning & lifting from 6:30-9a. Brandon had a coaches meeting on Sunday then Varsity football started their summer conditioning this week too (two evening practices). 

Making Korean beef and green beans over rice, hot dogs and tater tots, homemade pizza, candied kielbasa, tacos, and lots of yummy breakfasts for the kids including French toast (my grandma Helen's tradition), chocolate croissants. I made snickerdoodles with blue & red sugar topping for the fourth of July too! 

Whole30 meals included sweet potato & kale hash with eggs, jalapeno turkey burgers, beef and green beans over cauliflower rice, grilled salmon topped with avocado & red onion salsa (so delicious) and a side of grilled cauliflower, turkey taco salads, cajun shrimp over "grits" (aka mashed cauliflower), zucchini and chicken, and brussels sprouts and bacon. We tried guacamole and plantain chips (obsessed), and chia pudding (just meh). We are loving our Larabars and nutpod creamer too!