Around Here Week 36: 09/03-09

Friday, September 29, 2023

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

photo cred: Jenn V

photo cred: Heather

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 567+ hours (of 1000)
You'd think it was the middle of summer. Weather so hot earlier in the week that we went swimming AND my school had an early dismissal due to heat! It is my tradition to do a Spiderweb walk on Labor day before 8am in the morning - but it was so warm that there was no dew!? I still did the walk but was actually kind of bummed to not see a single spiderweb. By Friday night the skies opened up and stormed down with torrential rain, thunder, and lightening - enough to delay the football game on Friday night for almost an hour and then had us all on the back porch on Saturday trying to push the water back. Mother Nature is very confused on what season it is supposed to be (Girl, wash your face, get your mind right, and give me those fall breezes and sunsets - thanks, bye.)

Reading and finishing Things We Never Got Over by Lucy Score and really enjoyed it. The saucy spice sprinkled throughout (hah) wasn't too much and I really love the grumpy exterior/teddy bear interior man trope. I liked the author's little note at the end too, how lucky we are to love and even when we are devastated by loss - how lucky we were to have loved so big. I am working on The Luminaries by Susan Dennard in school and Wool by Hugh Howey at home. Then on Friday, my student Kyra dropped of Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston which has been on my TBR list since my friend Russell told me about it like 2 years ago(hi Russ!)

Last swim of the season at Gigi and Pappy's house. They had us over for lunch every one in our family hopped in for one last dip - even B and I! It was a perfect afternoon of some good food, sun, and swimming before we close out the summertime. 

Sponsoring/Making team dinner for Brandon's varsity football team. I spent most of Sunday baking and preparing the meal - they had a pasta bar with the option for red sauce with ground beef or copycat Olive Garden chicken white sauce. I also prepped a salad and rolls. I baked cowboy cookies, snickerdoodles, and pumpkin roll too. Not much makes me happier than feeding people (haha, does that qualify me for granny status? yes please) so I was happy to spend the day bustling away to fill bellies of those boys that work so hard for my husband and the coaches. (If you have a kid on the team, know that they all said thank you and were very sweet. Well done, parents!)

Blacktop project! Finally leveling out the huge dirt mound that has been sitting off the back porch for the past three months! Honestly, the kids did all really love climbing, digging, and playing on that thing - but it was time to go! B spent most of Labor day on the tractor pushing dirt around trying to level it out. It makes a big difference in being able to admire our new siding and updates to the back porch that Mr. Darren did this summer and that makes me so happy! 

Visiting the county fair; an annual tradition with my parents, sisters, and nephews. Grey brought his friend Landon and we spent the evening checking out all the animal barns, riding some rides, but mostly spending an exorbitant amount of money on carnival games. LOL. Rusty showed off at the National Guard tent by doing 10 pull-ups and getting his name on the board for his age group. Olive, Reddy, and Wells were obsessed with the kiddie rides, and even I went on the round up with the kids and didn't puke - so that's a win for an old lady (hah)! I really do love the county fair though; the colors, the sounds, and the smell of funnel cake - I am so glad those senses are wiggling their way into my kids' memories of childhood in the fall in a small town. 

Attending MS/HS open house to visit my kids' teachers and get a feel for how they spend their days and with whom. It was nice (as it always is) and I am always grateful to see so many caring faces (both teachers and other families). We are so grateful to live in this school district and have our kids be encouraged and supported by so many! 

Putting a towel-only load into the washing machine just to give my future self a little love. Hah! That is where we are at in our journey, people - a towel-only load brings me joy and relief. 

Finally picking up Grey's contacts and glasses from the eye doc; I just could not find a time that I could take him up there between school, practices, and games. But I coaxed him out of bed early on Saturday morning with the promise of an iced caramel latte and breakfast sandwich at Dunkin. LOL, whatever works. 

Thankful for Trinity Farm Center for Healing who helped us weigh all our goats, give the babies CDT shots, and castrate (!) two of our male babies. They were so kindhearted and helpful and we really learned a lot on Saturday morning. When we offered to pay for them to come out and help/teach us, they said, "no. this is just what farm people do; help each other" and I almost burst into tears, because honestly. if you are farm people or country people you know that is deeply true. (watch their facebook page for upcoming events and opportunities; they are a wonderful organization.)

Relishing the deep bliss that comes from rocking a baby to sleep. Olive skipped her nap and was trying to fight the sleepiness by being very silly and energetic, but each time she came over to hug me while I was sorting socks she held on a little longer. Until finally I just scooped her up in a baby hold and sang a few lullabies and her little eyelids drooped and drooped until she fell asleep in my arms. Epitome of being a momma and so grateful I got that little moment this weekend because she is normally on all engines firing sassy pants baby girl mode. 

Teaching only four days thanks to the holiday weekend (although B and the babies and I stopped into the classroom on Monday to check in with the piggies!) We covered Somos Unit 1 in Spanish one (dice, este/esta, color and days of the week vocab). Spanish 2 went through Somos Unit 8 (comida vocab, target structures, and learning Cielito Lindo), and Spanish 3/4 talked about La Guerra Sucia in Somos 16. The teachers stayed after school a few days this week to go over our dance for the hoco pep rally next week (!) and we had an early dismiss due to heat one afternoon! 

Sporting with 1 flag practice for Rusty, 1 cheer practice for Vi, and 1 cheer practice for Gem. The Youth league was announced at the Varsity home game on Friday after Gem and Vi participated in the Path of the Pride cheering. Grey had 1 baseball lifting and 3 football practices and one football game at Portage. B had team dinner & film on Sunday, then four days of practice and our first home Friday Night Lights game vs. Penns Manor. The skies opened up and stormed on us for a full hour of a rain delay until we were able to get the game going again (we were all SOAKED). 

Making chicken/bacon/veggie/ranch casserole (5D1H), glaze sheet pan kielbasa & sweet potatoes (5D1H), using leftover olive garden chicken from team dinner to make a pasta bake and Loaded Bacon Burger Bowls (5D1H), and homemade pizza on Saturday afternoon. We also had Pizza Hut on Monday night before the fair (thank you Abba & Chum!) and take out pizza on the patio with the Rummell cousins before the football game (thank you Heather & Albert!!) Studers NEVER TIRE OF PIZZA, not even kidding, it's ridiculous. For snacks/breakfasts this week we had banana bread muffins and chocolate peanut butter bars.

Around Here Week 35: 08/27-09/02

Monday, September 18, 2023

 A glimpse into what it is like to be in our family just this moment. 

photo cred: Gigi

photo cred: Jenn V

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 552+ hours (of 1000)
Our seedum has transformed into Bee-tropolis again! It makes me so happy to see them all buzzing around happily. And fall is bringing in the big guns for the sky in the mornings and the, honestly - okay showstopper. Reason eight million why fall is the best season of all - sunrises and sunsets slay everyday. 

Reading Things We Never Got Over by Lucy Score which was the book Violet bought for me with her own money for my birthday. It is pretty spicy (which is really hilarious considering it's a gift from our 8yr old) but it is an easy read and interesting plot - plus it makes her so happy to see that I'm reading it. I took a little pause on my other two books so that Vi could see that her book took priority. 

Moving the guinea pigs into school! Toffee and Queen Barb headed back into my classroom for the year. My students will be so happy to see them and I'm sure the pigs will be happy to get extra snuggles from them and our custodial staff who spoils them with veggies every night! 

Working on finding a school season rhythm. Right now what has been working for us is a family notebook that sits in the kitchen that I write two lists everyday - an AM list and a PM list. It includes all the must-do things that we need to accomplish for the day to work. Things like emptying the dishwasher, feeding pets, making sure sports uniforms are packed and cleaned, and prepping meals. Mostly the tasks are completed by Brandon or me - but the kids have been looking at it and knocking things off the list too because they know if the list isn't done, we are going to be held up to wherever we need to go (school/games/practices, etc). So we have the family notebook, the family calendar (on the fridge), the extended family email that goes out every Monday, and then my personal planner...that's how I can usually make sure everything gets crossed and dotted. LOL

Thankful for 'pinch hitters' who were able to come to the babysitting rescue when Miss Emma had a college visit on Tuesday (my first student day at school). Kuma took the first shift first thing in the morning (thank you!!) and then Pappy and Gigi had the babies at their house for the rest of the afternoon (thank you!) They had such a good time with everyone and it all worked out - but it is always worrisome to switch up the normal routine. Miss Emma - we love you and are so proud and excited for you!! 

Celebrating with cousins. On Friday night, we stopped by my Aunt Lisa & Uncle Matt's house to give hugs and kisses to our two newest cousins. Baby Nora was celebrating her baptism while she was in town from Montana and Baby Lennox was there to celebrate from Florida! I was so happy to give them squeezes (and to Nora's big sis Gracie too!) On Saturday, we celebrated cousin Ben's 9th birthday at the Que with pizza, cake, and swimming! 

Playdays! Grey had a sleepover at the Valentines to celebrate Gabe's birthday and then hitched a ride with them to the Varsity game on Friday night (thank you!). I got to have lunch with B and three of the kids since they only had a half day on Friday! Rusty and Violet spent the afternoon with Abba and Chum on Friday too (thank you!) 

Feeling that first week exhaustion, hah. That first week back teaching is no joke and I took full advantage of the opportunity to sleep in on Saturday morning. We all did! Between adjusting to the new routine, and all the sports, and the late Friday night lights...we all needed some extra time laying around. We took it pretty easy on Saturday and did what was needed in terms of chores and otherwise just tried to rest. 

Teaching for the first week of school. We had an in-service day on Monday and had some great presentations from United Way and Action Driven Education. Seriously, I am the nerd who is taking notes because I just love people with passion and ideas. On Tuesday, our students were back in the building and it is so good to see them again. Spanish 1 started right in with Me llamo and choosing Spanish names, Spanish 2 did some review and did some baseline writing, while Spanish 3/4 read about Tomatina and even had a (tissue paper) tomato fight! We got in all three of our weekly traditions: Música Miércoles, Mental Health Thursday, and Baila Viernes too! It is so nice to be back with my kiddos again. 

Sporting with two flag football practices for Rusty, one cheer practice for Vi, two cheer practices and two soccer practices for Gemma. Grey had three football practices and then a scrimmage at River Valley on Thursday night. Coach Daddy had team dinner & film, four football practices, and an incredible game at Portage on Friday night - truly the game came down to the final 6 seconds, it was crazy (we lost, but what a great game to watch!) 

Making the decision to become a member of 5 Dinners in 1 Hour because I just cannot FOOD right now (hah). I seriously stared at my planner for several minutes with a complete blank mind like I don't even remember how to buy or make food...LOL. So how 5D1H works, as a member,  you select your five weeknight meals and then it gives you a grocery list and the recipes including all the prep you need to do on Sunday night so that each weeknight you literally just cook. Everything already ready to go and minimal clean up. Not only do I need food to be mindless right now (after a whole summer of making 3 meals a day for 6 kids) but I also need some new recipes in my rotation because I am bored to death with our regular meal options. So far, I was really impressed with their meal choices, and with pretty standard ingredients -  I had plenty of supplies already and nothing I couldn't find in my Walmart pick up order.  

Our meals this week included: Slow cooked beef & cheddar sammies (5D1H), crunch rosemary chicken (5D1H), slow cooker pork tenderloin with potatoes & carrots (5D1H). I also made potato soup, we ate take out pizza on the car ride home from Grey's scrimmage, and I made cabbage roll in a bowl too.