Around Here Week 40: 10/01-07

Monday, October 30, 2023

 A glimpse into the whirlwind that was this week in our family!

cheer cousins!

(Rusty and Tanner) photo cred: Jenilee L

photo cred: Mike B

photo cred: Brandon

photo cred: Brandon

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 638+ hours (of 1000)
eek! getting very excited about all these beautiful leaves starting to make the switch! It is already looking like peak foliage season is nearly here! The sound of those leaves rustling right before I head up the driveway each afternoon is honestly giving me life. 

Reading Wool by Hugh Howey but not reading too much because I'm going a little bonkers with all the hoco things this week.

Singing a happy HALF birthday to our Reddy who was three and a half this week! We had chocolate chip pumpkin muffins for his half birthday breakfast!

Thankful for family & friends who support our kids' fundraisers! to the Grey was able to sell all his gun tickets for the football fundraiser while at the St. Greg's Gun Bash with Pappy on Sunday. (thanks for taking him Pappy, he had a blast!) And then I had the kids' godparents buying up the last of the youth league gun tickets for the fundraiser through text and venmo - thank you!! Reminder to all those aunts/uncles/godparents out there who want to: reach out to ask if there are fundraisers you can help with...I'm telling you - the fundraisers/spirit sales never stop coming (LOL, but for real). 

It's officially spooky season, so I got the Halloween decor and books out of the attic. Some of our favorite books include 10 Timid Ghosts, Go Away Big Green Monster, 10 Trick-or-Treaters, and Little Blue Truck's Halloween.

Marathon Fun Days for the elementary school. Rusty and Violet each got their afternoon of fun on the annual celebration. It is sort of like a field day for the elementary schools - thank you to all the parents that volunteer their time to make the day such a blast and to the PTO that organizes the event! 

Cheering for our cousin Caleb as he played soccer this week at our school. We were cheering for BOTH teams, okay? Caleb did awesome (he's a goalie) and we got some play time in with our cousins and even celebrated Albert's birthday with cupcakes.  Reminder to all those aunts/uncles/godparents out there who want to: reach out to ask for game schedules!!

Ahh, all the tasks on my to do list are slowly (purposefully!) getting crossed off. I picked Farm & Free play dates for the month of October and created a Canva post to share on facebook (Studerbabies), we sent in our bio sheet to Fox 8 News Now (Studerbabies!), I completed the building request form for the end of season tailgate (youth league), I ordered candy for the 6th grade hallway surprise make-over next week (youth league), I put in the order for Mila's homecoming corsage for Friday (homecoming), organized the 6th grade all-star cheer roster and got tshirt sizes (youth league), and confirmed the jr. high football video plan for early November (football boosters). I ordered Heathy's birthday present and picked out everyone's outfits for the blessing (family), purchased a case of water for Gemma's contribution to the hoco middle school dance (student council), and got the run-through made for the night game (youth league). The diversity of the balls I am juggling right now is actually laughable - but with intention, prioritizing, and a little help from my friends- it will all get accomplished! I have faith, LOL. 

Hoco week at CT which means all the lists and fun and events and madness. We had dress up week everyday at the high school and elementary school. Different dress up days for the elementary school and high school (lol, naturally) but we had kids in jammies, crazy socks, fancy clothes, hats, Barbie&Ken, Country vs. Country Club, Decades, and tye-dye. 
   - Then it was the bonfire on Wednesday night. Our whole family went to support Coach Daddy and the team that night - especially our three senior players and our favorite sideline trainer who got on Homecoming court (Congrats John, Kyler, Jake, and Tanner!) After the bonfire Grey and Gem went over to the middle school dance and then we all came back together for the court skits - which Brandon helped assist John and Tanner in their Scooby Doo skit as a ghost (LOL forever).
   - On Thursday, Coach Daddy and the football team went down to the elementary school to welcome the kids off the bus and to read to the K-2 classrooms (love those pics so much; football is more than football).
   - On Friday, Gem and the student council spent the morning at school painting the windows of the building and local businesses in town! After school, B ran to the florist to pick up a mini bouquet for the hoco princess and then grabbed pizza so we could all stuff our faces before...
   - The parade on Friday evening where it poured down raining (LOL). Thankfully, my parents had Red and Liv (thank you!) while I took Gemma and the squad in the parade. Vi walked with her division, Grey and the Jr High football team walked together, and Rusty rode in the parade with homecoming queen candidate Jenna Brenneman and hoco princess Mila Feathers. (soo precious!) The parade was fine except for being soaking wet but then the skies cleared up for...
   - The homecoming game vs. CV (our alma mater!) Rusty and Mila were announced during the halftime homecoming event. and then the king and queen were announced (congrats Jenna and Colton!) followed by an awesome firework display! The game was intense and it was impossible not to cheer for both teams as many of my friends and cousins had kids playing on the opposing team (?!) In the end CV won in an incredible last minute catch in the end zone (ugh, but also congrats!) Whew, it was a week! 

Celebrating the first birthday and blessing of our sweet nephew Heath. Brandon is his guidefather (alongside Heath's aunt Carli - she is the sweetest!) Gemma did a touching reading of a poem (The Voice by Shel Silverstein) at the service that had everyone in tears. The ceremony was so beautiful and meaningful (like it always is because my sister Uch pays attention to the tiniest details that matter so much. xxo) Afterward, we all ate yummy food, playing in the jumpy house, and celebrated together for that darling boy's birthday. There is a beautiful video of the ceremony here

Teaching with Geography week in Spanish 1 learning all the Spanish speaking countries and capitals. Spanish 2 learned about Venezuela as they prepare to read their first novel. We listened to Como Los Vaqueros which is one of my favorite songs and all the kids end of loving it too. Spanish 3&4 read chapters 3-6 of La Llorona de Mazátlan. We also had our first club meetings this week and I am advising two clubs: Spanish club and Prom committee, so I ended up with about 40 kids in my room during club period?!

Sporting with two flag practices for Rusty, 1 cheer and 1 dance class for Violet (it was bring-a-friend night for her friend Ellie. Thank you for taking her!) Gemma had a cheer practice, a basketball practice, and a basketball game. The youth football & cheer (Rust, Vi, and Gem) had 2 games this week, including the last regular season game! Rust had such a fun season - thank you so much to his coaches. Gem & Violet's football divisions are on their way to the playoffs! Grey had 2 football practices, 1 football lifting, 1 baseball off-season workout, and a football game (still undefeated!). Brandon had four football practices, team dinner & film, and they played in the homecoming game on Friday night. 

Making shells&cheese with Pappy's marinated deer steaks (thank you!), Korean beef with rice and green beans, copycat Olive Garden chicken and pasta, shredded beef & cheddar sammies, and chicken&cheese enchiladas, and we got takeout pizza before the hoco parade too. I made some chocolate/pumpkin muffins for breakfast on Reddy's half birthday and I made a crockpot of haluski for Heath's blessing/birthday party. 

Around Here Week 39: 09/24-30

Saturday, October 28, 2023

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

photo cred: Stacy B

photo cred: Stacy B

photo cred: Onara C

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 614+ hours (of 1000)
I'm really relying on fall sports now for most of my hours. The kids are still playing outside plenty after school, but between full-time work and chores - my hours are almost solely coming from games/practices. I did snag a few hours mowing though on Saturday and that was nice! 

Reading and finishing Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow by Gabriel Zevin. Aw man, I loved it terribly. I needed a bear hug multiple times during the end to keep from coming apart in the feelings, but I loved it even then. So many underlined quotes and such strange and curved reasons why I loved them or connected to them. For example towards the end Sadie says to Sam, "The knowledge and experience we have - it isn't necessarily that helpful in a way." and it spoke to me so clearly when it comes to raising, teaching, & coaching teenagers. We may have the experience and wisdom from being teenagers ourselves and years of hindsight, but that helps almost zero when it comes to supporting, raising, and loving teens as they are going through it. this book, it was every bit of life that guts me on a regular basis - so yes. i loved it very much. 

Celebrating our nine year old Violet Mary. This girls waits alllll month for her birthday to come - no one anticipates their birthday in our house like this chick. She had nine balloons in her room to wake up to and then a breakfast "cake" of donuts. She took snack into school and then we had a proper sleepover birthday party at our house on Friday night after the home football game. The girls met up with us at the game so they ran, played, and cheered on the team before coming back to our house for snacks, Just Dance, and giggle fest. Saturday we had pancakes on the porch, bobbed for apples, jumped on the trampoline, and did mini make-overs, then we sang over a "cake" of peanut butter power balls (Violet's request, hah!) It was a nine year old girls' dream of friends for a whole day doing whatever popped into their minds. (thank you all for letting them spend the day!)

Attending Incorporating Play into your Daily Life workshop with Academic & Wellness Coaching  and having so much fun and full out laughing multiple times. If you need a little boost to your monotonous day, please please sign up for this session. We all need play and silliness in our lives and I promise you that you will feel lighter and smily-ier. 

Deep into football season where everything we do, say, think, and want is football and cheer. hah. Red is full blown obsessed with football and it has become the nightly ritual of Brandon and Red (and usually Olive snuggled in there) to watch football together before bed. Grey basically only uses his phone to rewatch Hudl game film, Gemma and Violet make up cheer dances to literally every song, chant, or poem (Gem was literally memorizing her poem to read for ELA class by cheering it out). Rusty loses some piece of his football gear every single day (I swear we never have all three: cleats, mouthguard, or helmet) and plays 'football highlight reel' (big catches/tackles/slow mo ) with Red in any kind of free time. Olive is obsessed with cheers and has memorized Gem's halftime dance and half the youth league cheers (both words and motions). Grey randomly shouts "Pass block!" in the kitchen when someone walks by shoves us around a million times. B is constantly scribbling down plays on random pieces of paper or we are talking about players, challenges, and gameplans. I am currently planning both the Jr High end of season pizza party AND the youth league end of season picnic/tailgate. Gem, Vi, and I are 100% invested in Taylor Swift & Travis Kelce (obvi). And of course, running back and forth to games and practices. It is football mania around here so hardcore. I love it so much but the wheels are starting to come off a bit, so I am eyeing up the end of October when the season starts to come to a close. 

Sending love and hugs to my sister Kitty who said a goodbye to her sweetest feline best friend Miles this week. Miles was such a good and caring companion for my sister - he truly had the very best life with my sister. I am so grateful that he loved her so well and brought so much joy and peace to her life. (thank you Miles, rest easy sweet boy). 

Always thinking several days ahead at any given moment because of all the planning. But it feels good to knock things off the to do list. I finally got a new school badge which has been on my to do list since about day3 of school (!!) We picked a date and I finished the end-of-season party flyer for the youth league, I crossed all the things off my CT homecoming list for Rusty, and double checked my Instructional II hours for my teaching certification. B got the truck inspected this week too (thank you Pap for helping with drop off & pick up!) This is the 'mental load' that everyone is always talking about - honestly, the exhaustion that comes with always thinking about the things I need to do right now so that we are prepared for tomorrow/next week/later this month/the next holiday is insanity. Sending love out there to all the parents out there holding it together.

Laughing hysterically when I got a call from our Walmart delivery person at 8:30p when he said, "Hi, I'm really sorry to bother you but, I don't feel comfortable leaving your groceries on the porch because your goats are staring at me and started ripping and eating all your shrubs. I think they're going to eat this food."  I mean, honest to goodness...the CIRCUS that is this life. Thankfully we were about to be home from practice. I told him thank you and that I hoped that is always the most exciting thing that ever happens on a delivery and he was cracking up too. He said "It definitely is in the lead as of now!"

Seeing camo with the opening day of archery on Saturday. B stayed home but Grey got out before daybreak with Pappy. As he was getting set up in his treestand that morning, a racoon started shimmying its way up Grey's tree (!?) He shouted "HEY!" at it twice and spooked it enough to slide back down and run off, LOL. Grey went back out by himself on Saturday night at the treestand at our house and he saw a doe right under him (showed us the pics when he got home around dusk)...but I know how these boys work anyway...they wait until the last hour of the last day to shoot anything because they just want all the time in the treestand as possible. HAH. I'm on to you guys. That's fine, I'm never complaining about spending time in the outdoors! 

Teaching Somos Unit 2 in Spanish 1 (target structures: corre, camina, hacia and El Encierro del San Fermin). Spanish 2 learned about El Cucuy legend and did some story re-telling which is an activity every year that the kids surprise themselves with how much they can do. Spanish 3/4 read the first two chapters of our first novel - La Llorona de Mazatlan. I also organized our first monthly staff potluck for this week. We had a tailgating/football theme and everyone showed up with the yummiest treats and foods. What a good day it is at school on potluck day (hah!)

Sporting with two flag practices and a flag game for Rustman, 2 cheer practices and a cheer game for each Gemma and Violet. Gem also had a basketball practice this week. Grey had 3 football practices and a game at Homer Center (still undefeated!) and Brandon had four football practices and a home game vs. Northern Cambria. I baked 4 dozen cookies to send to the Jr High team for their pre-game meal dessert and God bless my students who paint my Majors cheerleading run-through signs each week at school on Friday (hah!) 

Making chili in the crockpot, baked ravioli (Vi's birthday dinner pick!), meatloaf and roasted potatoes, ordering pizza on Wednesday's late practice night, chicken and biscuit casserole. I baked 8 dozen cookies on Wednesday night from 10:30p-12:30a to send in for the Jr High football pre-game meal and also made a crockpot of bbq/grape jelly meatballs for our staff potluck. For Violet's sleepover party we had frozen pizzas and puppy chow after the football game and in the morning we had pancakes with whipped cream, a taco bar, and peanut butter power balls.