40 miles for 40 years!

Monday, November 27, 2023


As my 40th birthday approached, I knew that I had to do something special. It's a milestone birthday and it felt like a big deal. But I didn't want a party; I love planning, organizing, and throwing parties - but I spend most of my time running around making sure everyone else is having a good time (which is my version of fun, hah!) So a party FOR me, would not be fun. But I did want to see people - mostly all the people that helped me to get to 40 years; who helped me become me. 

So instead of a party, I came up with the idea to walk a mile each with 40 of those people - the people who supported and cheered me on through my 40 years. I would need to figure out how we could make that happen during the summer with everyone's busy schedules - but I was determined to find a way to make time for just a mile with 40 people who were dear to helping make me Me. 

First, I made a list of 40 people and then texted them out a heads up image (above) to let them know that at some point between June and August 26 (my birthday) I was going to schedule a mile with them. I only had two people that really needed to be a specific mile number; I wanted my momma to be the first mile and Brandon, my husband, to be Mile 40. Other than that - I figured whatever worked out in terms of time and location - we could get everyone in somehow.  

Over the summer months, between practices, vacations, day trips, and all.the.things - we figured out a way to piece together a mile with 40 people. I kept track all along, watching for times that we would naturally be together already or when we had a break in the schedule to travel a little bit. My family leaned in to make sure I had time to get to walks and the kids would be covered if needed. It was a team effort, but I did it! We all did- we found a way to make it work and that was the best birthday "party" I could ever dream of. 

Mile 1 was with my Mumma because she was the one that got me started on this journey of life. Breath 1 with mumma and Mile 1 of my 40 with my mum just felt right. We walked together on our annual extended family vacation; while the rest of our family played with my six kids I took a mile to walk alongside my mom. 

Mile 2 was with my daughter Violet who was 8 years old at the time (recently turned 9!) She's one of the middle kids, so it was nice to let her be first for once. We walked through our neighborhood and chatted and laughed and held hands. 

Mile 3 was with our youngest son Reddy who is 3 years old. We did our "tree stand hike" which is actually only about half a mile, but he can walk it on his own two feet at 3 years old, so I figured I'd make up the distance in later walks. Our walk was in the drizzling rain and we held hands almost the whole time. (Since then, sometimes even now he will ask me if I want to take a birthday walk with him which now just means a walk together just the two of us). 

Mile 4 was with my cousin and bestie Heather who planned to bring us spiked slushies until I told her I was doing Whole30 and so she showed up with fancy water instead. That's exactly like Heather; showing up with the support you need and loving you through all your crazy. My cousin turned bestie turned godmomma to my Olive. We walked the local high school track and went round and round as we talked and were there for each other as we got out all the challenges and blessings of motherhood.

Mile 5 was with our youngest baby Olive who is 2 years old. We walked around our local high school while the rest of the kids rode bikes. Our walk was part holding hands and part me carrying her because a mile on tiny leggies is pretty far! She was squishy and sweet and pointed out everything in her toddler jabber...basically all the very best things about a 2year old. 

Mile 6 was with my little sister Kitty (and godmomma to my Gemma) and was a lot more than a mile (close to 4 miles). We walked around the local track talking non-stop about everything from our jobs to zodiac signs and enneagrams, to books we've been reading, to laughing hysterically about some obscure shared memory. To hear the two of us have a conversation is dizzying because neither of us ever finishes a sentence out loud; we just finish them in each others' minds.

Mile 7 was with my friend and 'sisterwife' Ninna and was longer than a mile (2+miles). What a wonderful emotional release chat we had together about parenting and marriage and being daughters and sisters and all.the.things that feel heavy when we hold them inside. My ninna; small business partner, wife to our husbands who are metaphorical twins, and raising all these outdoor, rough and tumble kiddos. love you Nin.

Mile 8 was with bestie and 'brotherhusband' Jonny (and godfather to my Greyson) and we did the Treestand+ hike that is 1.1 miles. Jon came to our life through Brandon who met him through basketball and then played together at college. They are two sides to the same coin and I have many memories from my twenties and thirties that I can't remember which of the two said the thing (it really could have been either of them). It is always grounding to chat with Jon as we have pretty much opposite opinions on most things but always find a way to bring each other closer to the halfway and then we laugh and make fun of each other and share a best friend (B). 

Mile 9 was with our son Rusty who is 7 years old and we did the Treestand+ hike too. Rust is still good about holding hands and we talked the whole way about everything that popped into his brain which included everything from flag football to legos to being hungry and wanting a pb&j when we got back. 

Mile 10 was with our oldest Grey who is 13 and was the Treestand+ hike. It was so classically teenager; he complained about doing it (it was too hot) but then finally agreed (grumpily) then we walked in literal SILENCE the entire time because #teenager and then the whole time I was on the verge of guilt-tripping him into being nice to me but talked myself off the ledge because #teenager and he needs someone who will just love him through the grump. And then when we were almost home, a baby fawn was there and walked right toward us (less than 10ft away!) and it felt like exactly the walk we both needed together.

Mile 11 with cousin Lisa who is an example that I have always wanted to emulate in marriage and parenting (did you know that? you do now- xxo) We walked around the campground that we were staying at for our annual cousin camp event. Her kids, my kids, and more cousins spend the long weekend biking, swimming, jumping, kayaking, paddleboarding, and hammocking while the adults make food, clean up food, stoke fires, and relish seeing all these kids laughing, smiling and creating memories. 

Miles 12 and 13 were with my best friend/college roommate/my kids' honorary aunties Karpy and Katie in Vero Beach, Florida where we were for our Girls' trip. I walked with each one separately and both times we walked the beach, talked nonstop, and they were perfect. Besides our miles together - we also spent three days lounging on the beach, giggling hysterically, swimming in the deep blue sea, and eating meals together. What a gift you two have been to my life and the way I can feel the most ME when I'm with you is the rarest of blessings. (I love you).

Mile 14 with our daughter Gemma who is 11. We walked down through our neighborhood all the way to our local micro-coffee shop for coffees and macarons. This girl is such a daily blessing and I know she never gets enough one-on-one time; so to do my walk and have a mini coffee date with her at her favorite spot really felt special.

Mile 15 with my baby sister Uch (and godmomma to my Grey) at a local stretch of the Appalachian Trail. It was gorgeous and green and she took me all the way back to the rock formations that were like tunnels and it was lovely to my nature loving soul. Most of all though talking with my babiest sister who knows my heart and champions my secret wishes is the most valuable time I ever spend.

Mile 16 with my dear friend Loni on the Quemahoming road where we walked and walked and talked and talked for so long we forgot to turn around before it was nearly pitch dark (hah!) Our walk was nearly 6 miles and probably more dangerous than it should have been on the return because it was so dark - but always worth the conversation together! 

Mile 17 with Brandon's mom Gigi up and back between her house and the fire station two doors down. Less than a mile, but Gigi - the pancreatic cancer survivor (of 5 years!!)- found a way to get at least .2 miles in with her daughter-in-"love" and I am so grateful for that.  

Mile 18 with volleyball teammate of 9 yrs and dear friend Randy at Roxbury Park where we play summer league volleyball together every year. Randy has played volleyball alongside me through 4 pregnancies (7 months pregnant with Violet one summer!) and high fived me on the court probably a billion times. From a stranger to a teammate to a close friend - how unexpected and lucky life can be.

Mile 19 with cousin and sweet friend since we were BABIES Stefanie in her neighborhood in Pittsburgh when we took a family day trip out to visit. Stef is godmomma to my Violet and I am godmomma to her Mallory and she is part of most of the memories that I have in growing up - I used to spend weeks in the summer at her house during peak teenage boy-crazed drama (oh man, those days!) Life is wild between our totaled 9 athlete children - but it was so good to make time to catch up for the walk.

Mile 20 with my Aunt Dar who I have always looked up to and wanted to be like. We walked around her neighborhood. We decided twice that we weren't quite ready to be done because the conversation was so good and weather so perfect for a stroll, so we just kept taking new routes! Aunt Dar has always been such a support to me through my journey through growing up and then through motherhood; giving me little stories of my grandma (her mom). My grandma didn't live long enough to see me become a mom, but with Aunt Dar's stories, handmedowns, and support - it feels like she's still here in a way.

Mile 21 with Jenn V who shares my love of reading, planning, mom'ing, organizing, and raising our hand for the all the volunteer positions (hah!). We walked early one morning before our sons were done with football practice (her son is the center for my QB son since first grade!!) Always inspiring and good chats with Jenn and I am so grateful that she is on standby constantly for me from anything to book debriefs, picking up kids, or finding cleats at the literal last minute when we forgot ours. 

Mile 22 with Ang K who has been my Gemma's coach since third grade and has always been such a cheerleader for her and has now become one of my favorite adult friends. We walked the track under the lights and walked for over 3 miles chatting about all the things and more. Before kids, I never considered all the friends I still had to meet through my children; but Ang K is one of my favorites that I only found because of my Gemma. 

Mile 23 with my Dad walking the treestand+ hike at our house. He showed up that morning to work on our patio fire pit and had Grey help so he could learn how to do it. Which is the most Dad thing ever - shows up to fix things and pass on the knowledge of how to do it for the future. Dad and I chatted and ate wild apples off of trees and then had the kids meet us before the hike was over because no one ever wants to be very far from Chummie because he's so funny and silly. 

Mile 24 with my teacher bestie Renee at Windber Rec where we chatted about books and good wholesome food and the upcoming school year. Renee has so often been my saving grace at school; she runs student council, always participates in my wacky ideas for Sunshine committee, co-founded our teacher & student book club (NSHS Project Lit) and is always ready to brainstorm ideas on how to get the education system working for the benefit of all kids. 

Mile 25 with our Aunt Pam at the Richland track before Gemma's basketball summer league game. About a quarter of a mile into the walk, the skies opened up and absolutely poured on us. It was so hilarious and if we were normal people we would have just stopped - but Kuma (that's what my kids call her) and I are not normal or quitters - so we laughed hysterically and took it as a metaphor for life that you keep on going even in through the rainstorms. 

Mile 26 with Mallie; my high school and current friend as we attempt to raise kids and chat all the deep chats about parenthood and life. We did the treestand+ hike while our kids all played the longest game of hide and seek at our house. Mal was a part of so many of my high school memories and then life scooped us up and put us on paths that led us all over the globe and to people who helped shape who we would become. And then somehow we both found ourselves back in this small town trying our best to raise kids who will be whole and make a positive difference. I am so grateful for our friendship that went from silly, carefree teenagers to parents who hold wishes of a beautiful world for our kids in our hearts. 

Mile 27 with my childhood/teenage very best friend Ang S (who was also matchmaker for me and Brandon in high school!) We walked at the Richland track one evening that we were able to sneak away from our combined 10 children ranging from 17yrs-2yrs. Parenthood has kept us busy raising up kids and crossing paths on fields, courts, and fundraisers throughout the years, but we never forget to text on birthdays and openly cry with joy at each others' and our childrens' successes. Laying on my bedroom floor on the phone wrapping the cord around my hand while talking to Ang about the most recent Dawson's Creek episode when I was 15 years old is a core memory. I pray everyday that my daughters will find their Ang to get through high school. 

Mile 28 with neighbor and friend Joanna through our neighborhood and up to the Hunsberger's farm for a total of almost 5 miles. Jo is a friend who was brought to me through my Violet when she became besties with Jo's daughter Giada. Those two little peas in a pod brought our families together and now her older daughter, Sophia has become our Olive's favorite person. Since Vi and G brought us all together, we've shared dinner, holidays, late nights listening to 90's classics, and porch visits on the way home from practices together.

Mile 29 with dear friend Elena who is also my constant inspiration in all things education and community and leadership based (which sounds really boring when you say it aloud but if you know us then you get it - hah). We walked long distance (her in New York) over the phone talking about all things education, motherhood, and memories from living in Brooklyn in our twenties. Elena is the amazing heart and soul behind the educational consulting company Lantern Coaching

Mile 30 with my friend and favorite real life Mary Poppins, Miss Hannah. We walked mile after mile around the old elementary school. Hannah has been in our life since she was a sophomore in high school after she took our Gemma under her wing at a vacation bible school week. She's been our kids' favorite babysitter, the godmomma of my Redland, turned fellow educator. We got to catch up on our lives without all our kids hanging off of us. 

Mile 31 with Brandon's grandma Mimi who at 85 years old was able to get in .3 of a mile with me. We walked up around her street at her house while we stopped to talk to neighbors and admire people's flowers and landscaping. I have known Mimi since I was 15 years old and she has always considered me a granddaughter since that first time Brandon brought me around to his family 

Mile 32 with my brother in law Kevin (goddadda to my Redland). We walked around the Westmont track with his hunting backpack on so he could train for his upcoming elk hunt while we got our walk in (hah!) Kev is good man and I am so grateful that my baby sis picked him. So much of Kev's mannerisms and facial expressions are part of Wells and Heathy that I will forever be grateful to him; the dadda of my nephews (sunshines of my life!) 

Mile 33 with childhood best friend Krista at the Jim Mayer trail where we talked about current life and memories and raising kids and being daughters. Krista and her family live part time in PA and part time in FL and as moms and small business owners (realtor in Tampa, FL and Paracoat Technologies in PA) we have seen each other so infrequently over the years that it kills us both a little inside. Krista grew up on the same street as me and was present for almost every memory I have from age 6 to 14 and then through most of my big moments through high school too. Krist, whoever I was going to grow up to be, your friendship and our shared laughter was a very big part of that. 

Mike 34 with my brother in law Juice (goddadda to my Gemma) doing the treestand+ hike at our house. We chatted and laughed about getting older and how much has changed since high school together. He has been best friends with Brandon all through high school and that automatically signed him up as a honorary uncle and goddadda for life (even if it is the exact opposite of his life). Our kids absolutely adore him and he spoils the living heck out of them. 

Mile 35 with my high school bestie JP at the White Woods Nature Center in the city Indiana which was about half way between us (she lives about 2.5 hours north of us in PA). Remember your most awkward years of being a person (it was probably 7th grade) and then try to remember who loved and laughed with you through that terribly embarassing era of your life; my person was JP. Everything we said, did, laughed at was so incredibly cringe (as the kids say) but gosh did our friendship get us through it mostly unscathed. And we still found a way to see each other through high school, college, marriage, and now parenting. To be friends with the person who saw you buy your first foundation powder compact at 13 years of full blown teenage awkwardness to now raising daughters who are about that age is truly a dizzying and beautiful gift.

Mile 36 with dear friend and bonus momma to my son Becky at the high school track after the football booster annual ice cream social. Beck is the mom of my son's best friends (twins!) and has been such a cornerstone to raising our oldest son. Her boys play on every time my Grey does (football, basketball, and baseball). She's picked up, dropped off, had for sleepovers, fed, and packed extra for my Grey so many times I lost count. She's a fellow educator, pup owner, and hunting wife/mom; we just get each other and need other so often on this journey - how grateful I am to have her. 

Mile 37 with my internet bestie Shelly on a long distance call between PA and Washington state! Shelly and I have been supporting each other, chatting, and following along with each other's lives since 2012 when we found each other's family blogs. We've never met in person (!) but I probably know more about her life and kids than I know about some of the people that live in our community. It is a rare and wonderful friendship that we have and the meaningful messages and comments we share with each other have sometimes been validation in motherhood that I have needed to get through the hard moments. I walked around the track at Purchase Line during a football scrimmage while she walked around her house (trapped inside from the wildfire smoke in WA) while we caught up and laughed about all things motherhood and teaching. 

Mile 38 with my soul sister Stephanie on a long distance call between PA and Hawaii! Steph and I met during Teach for America Institute (an intense experience in itself) and then continued to be friends in New York, then worked for the same educational company after TFA. Our sister souls sing the song of creativity and justice and inspiration and light and learning and growing and being true to your heart song. Once we sat in a bookstore in New York drinking take out coffees and reading passages aloud to each other from zodiac books for hours and just this summer I found a bookmark that she wrote wishes for my future from 2011 that spoke to my heart right now in 2023. Steph is incredible and is the mind and heart behind Savor the Space., a business and life coach for female entrepreneurs.  

Mile 39 with my dear friend Taryn on a long distance walk & chat over the phone in the dark on the eve of the first day of school for her kids (she lives in Pittsburgh)! Our life has run parallel lines from childhood through high school through college through parenthood through reading all the same books (there should be a name for this friendship we have, T!) She is godmomma to my Rusty, mom to one of my daughter Violet's best friends, and wife to one of my husband's best friends. Our life has somehow run side by side rollercoasters through so much of the same woods - I don't know what the universe means with that mirror journey, but I am so grateful that I can look across the tracks and have you going along with me, T.

Mile 40 with B; the handsomest man and my favorite person on the earth. You get my mile 40 and all my miles left to go in life. Thanks for loving me in all my best moments but more so for loving me while I am a blubbering, anxious, maniacal, big dreaming and scheming, ignoring you for the books I'm reading, thinking everything means something, falling asleep in the middle of my sentence, tea cups all over the house, bossy McBossgirl. Pairing up with you was the very best thing I ever did, I know that deep in my bones even when I'm rolling my eyes that you forgot where your keys are every single day. 

And so I did it. I just put one foot in front of the other (literally) each week and found a way to make the time and space to get the miles in. And miraculously, these 40 people did what they had to to get to my walk too. I got one-on-one time with people from all different parts of my life and had the most incredible conversations and what a gift it was to be with them for a mile together. The best way to spend my MILEstone 40th birthday. 

Thank you to everyone who found a way to walk a mile with me - but more importantly to walk this LIFE with me. I am Me because you encouraged me along the way. thankyou, truly. 

Around Here Week 44: 10/29-11/04

Saturday, November 25, 2023

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

cheering section from two families of eight (hah!)

cousins: Grey & Gracie!

photo cred: Brady at her birthday party!

photo cred: B

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 673+ hours (of 1000)
ah snow! On Nov 1, we woke up to a thin layer of snow. Reddy asked, "Is it Christmas!?" haha. It was all melted by the afternoon and then we got some beautiful sunshiney warm-ish days later in the week, so we're not quite done with fall yet (yay!) The boys are still squeezing in time for the treestand; now that Grey doesn't have football after school, he's been going between school dismissal and dark. Pappy took him out again on Saturday morning while B and Rusty spent some time together in the double tree stand.

Reading and finishing What Alice Forgot by Lianne Morarity. I liked it and I'm having a lot of feelings about it since the main character was my exact age and mirrors me in many ways (volunteers to help too much, has a romantic heart, etc) so it was wild to read it and recognize so many feelings from my own literal brain. And then I was mad at Brandon after reading it (LOL, reason number 784 why he gets annoyed with me reading) but then I was happy with him by the end! I started reading Aristole & Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

So grateful to have Abba and Aunt Kitty pinch in to watch the babies all this week while our nanny Miss Emma got a chance to get away to warm weather in the Happiest Place on Earth (ie. Disney). I was able to go to work as usual thanks to Abba and Aunt Kitty and the babies were thrilled to get in some extra time with them without the big kids hogging them (hah). Thank you both for this week!

Enjoying spooky dinner at our Rummell cousins' house to celebrate cousin Lainey's 10th birthday. Heather did an impressive jobs staying on theme with all her appetizers and food (so cute!) and the kids all had fun playing Halloween themed games.

Scrubbing jerseys before equipment turn-in. Every single time I am scrubbing a sports uniform hunched over the sink with my eyebrows creased trying to get some mud and grass stains out I feel so deeply connected to motherhood. This thing we are doing; holding the ends together in the invisible moments of the day: scrubbing jerseys in between games, swinging by to grab milk, bread, and diapers on the way home from work, braiding hair before bed so it's wavy in the morning, signing permission slips and jotting down the dates for three weeks from now, tucking in toesies (even if they're a size 10.5 men's teenage toesies now). When I'm doing these vital yet entirely invisible tasks of motherhood I think of all of you out there that are doing them too. I see you. Love you guys, keep on fighting the good fight. xxo

Trick-or-treating one last time as is tradition at my sister's house on Halloween night. It was a weather 180 from last weeks' trick-or-treat, but the kids didn't really care anyway. We stopped by a few houses to get treats but mostly hung out on Aunt Kitty's porch with our family laughing and chatting. 

Volunteering for the football boosters at the Jr High end of season pizza party. Big thanks to Mel O who made beautiful and delicious desserts (thank you!) and to Becky C who was my last minute pizza delivery woman (thank you!) The dinner went well and I was cracking up and only slightly panicked for a moment or two when those bottomless pit teenage boys zipped through pizza box after pizza box. Zero leftovers of pizza or salad (hah!) After the dinner, the team got to watch the season highlight video and got their end of season gift. It was a good evening and I was only a little emotional about the closing of Grey's time in jr high football. (which means only 4 more football seasons; gulp, gulp, gulp). 

Jumping in leaves! tis the season and we had plenty - so the four youngest kids and I spent Friday afternoon and Saturday morning raking, jumping, and burying each other in the leaves. The dogs love the leaf piles too. 

Cheering on my students at the football playoff game on Friday night. First Friday night since August that B didn't coach, and yet we were still at a football field (LOL). It was freeeeezing, but I was glad to be there cheering my kids on and giving our cousin Gracie a hug. 

Sending Grey off with the Valentines to Cleveland. He got an opportunity to join the Valentine boys at the Browns game. What a lucky kid (thank you Valentine family!) They headed out on Saturday night to stay in a hotel before the game on Sunday. 

Teaching Día de los muertos in Spanish 1. We talked about the celebration and then watched The Book of Life. Spanish 2 finished El Silbon de Venezuela (chapters 10-13) and then took their final quiz and writing assignment. Spanish 3 & 4 watched La Llorona the movie since they finished the book last week. We had a fiesta on Friday to celebrate Day of the Dead! We had a pep rally on Friday to wish our football team good luck in the playoffs and to send one of our cross-country runners off to States! (good luck Dom!)

Sporting with 2 wrestling practices for Rusty (his first time and he is loving it!), Violet had a basketball practice and a game, and Gemma had a basketball practice and a lift/conditioning. Grey had a baseball practice, then turned in his jr. high football equipment, and got in some lifts this week. Brandon had his Varsity football equipment turn in this week too. 

Making sticky chicken over rice with roasted veggies, spaghetti and garlic monkey bread, and baked ravioli. Abbba made us a pork roast one evening (thank you!) and Kitty had pizza, mac&cheese, and snackies for us on trick-or-treat night (thank you!) I made chocolate m&m cookies for Halloween, and salad with the fixins' for the Jr High end of season pizza party. I used up some trick-or-treat candy for the topping on a Tandy Cake that I made for the kiddos for dessert.

Around Here Week 43: 10/22-28

Sunday, November 19, 2023

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

photo cred: Iris & Rose Photography

photo cred: Iris & Rose Photography

our newest baby cousin Ryder!

first flag game vs. last junior high game (Center & QB)

photo cred: Barb Adams (thank you!)

photo cred: B at CTES parade

photo cred: Stacey B

photo cred: Deanna M

Intentional Outdoor hours: 667+ hours (of 1000)
Such a gorgeous fall week, the leaves were really showing off and our night of Trick-or-Treating was maybe one of the most pleasant we've ever had. It was so comfortable outside that no one needed extra layers. 

Reading What Alice Forgot by Lianne Moriarty and really enjoying it. It's kind of freaking me out thinking about how it would feel to have lost ten years of memories. My gosh, if Tabitha of 30 woke up in THIS life with ALL these kids and animals and working at high school and involved in all the kids' activities and having to do all this laundry and feed all these bottomless stomachs everyday. LOL forever. You have to work your way up into this madness. I do really appreciate that Alice (who forgot) was just like, "yeah, no I'm not doing that" when Alice (that lived that life) felt locked in and there was no other way to do things. I'm feeling inspired to imagine 30 year old Tabitha popping into this life - would she be proud? overwhelmed? excited about her future? disappointed in any some aspects? What would naive 30 year old Tab think was important to keep doing? What would she be sad to have seen lost in 10 years?  Thanks Karpy for suggesting the book!! 

Clearing off the dining room table which is actually a full blown miracle. This fall sports season has completely wrecked the entire house and I honestly have not seen the dining room table since the beginning of August. It has just been the dumping zone for EVERYTHING. I blasted music on Sunday afternoon and just got to work ripping, tearing, clearing, and scrubbing. What a big job it was, but so worth it. Now we have double space for meals and homework - hah! thank goodness. 

Getting our family photos taken by Iris & Rose photography (Bailie) at Hinckston Run Farm. It was my birthday gift from my sisters (thank you!) and even though Olive was a grumpy cat - they turned out beautiful and I am always grateful to have a snapshot in time of our family just as we are right now. I can't get over the fact that I am shorter than two of our kids. How did time happen? I remember them being five years old and now poof! they're literally bigger than me. 

Dress up weeks at school for Red Ribbon. Grey & Gem had Adam Sandler, USA, Hawaiian, Anything but a backpack, and costumes on Friday (Grey and his Savannah Banana buddies won first place at the costume contest during lunch!) Rust & Vi had Red, sweatpants, PJs, team jersey, and orange&black day. On Friday, they also had their annual parade and fall fest party. B was able to get down there to see them in the parade. 

Snuggling our newest baby cousin, baby Ryder! Butter and Becky brought that sweet darling to Grey's football game and we all nudged each other around trying to get a chance to hold him. Is there anything sweeter than snuggling a new baby. You are so loved baby Ryder!

Hosting a Studerbabies Farm & Free Play event on the most perfect fall evening on Wednesday. We had a small group but it was great to chat with parents while the kids all played sweetly together. Every time we host an event, I get a little more insight into exactly the idea/words that I need to use to help explain what I'm trying to do with it (hah). 

Trick-or-treating with our CT friends on Thursday night. What a gorgeous fall night at nearly 70degrees..it was perfection. Grey and his buddies were all Savannah Banana baseball players, and Gemma dressed up with her friend Cooper as Taylor Swift (Red era) and Travis Kelce. Violet was Tinkerbell, Rusty was Captain Hook, Reddy was the crocodile, Olive was Mr. Smee, B was Peter Pan, and I was Wendy.  Osa came with us (as Nana dog from Peter Pan) and did so good walking and letting a bajillion people pet her all night (hah!) Uch and Kev and the boys joined us for awhile (the boys were stinky, cutey skunks!) and then after all the candy getting - we headed back to the Huffman house for food and hanging out; a trick or treat night tradition! (thanks for always hosting Pam!)

Giving Miss Emma a big hug as she is off to vacation to Disney! We will miss her so much this upcoming week, but we have Aunt Kitty and Abba squeezing in to cover the days with the babies for us (thank you!) Enjoy the week, Miss Emma! We love you so!

Tailgating at the end of season youth football picnic on Saturday. The rain held off until the very last minute (yay!) and we spent the afternoon playing kid vs. grown up two-hand touch football, dancing to music, and hanging out with friends to close out the youth league football/cheer season. 

Teaching the Spanish Alphabet in Spanish 1, and reading Chapters 5-10 of El Silbón in Spanish 2. Spanish 3 and 4 read chapters 11-14 of La Llorona which finished the book, so we got started on the movie La Llorona to celebrate (eek! spooky!) It was also Red Ribbon week - so theme dress up everyday, plus grades for Q1 are due next week (!! already!?), and IEP forms that need my input, and finally decorating for upcoming Day of the Dead! 

Sporting with cross-over season just beginning (football/cheer to winter sports). Violet had 1 basketball practice and a basketball game. Gemma had a basketball game, and Grey had 1 baseball practice, a football practice, and his last Jr. High football game on Tuesday- they finished the season undefeated! I felt like I was carrying around a momma's broken heart all day Tuesday with the last ever Jr High game to go. I know it is the most cliche thing, but honestly I remember him starting flag football in first grade and then a blink and he had his last jr. high game. Which means only 4 more football seasons left and that baby boy is an actual grown up. 4 more football seasons, how did that happen? oh mommas, I love you - hang in there. In other sports news, Brandon had four football practices and the LAST Varsity game on Friday night vs. United Valley. His very first season as Varsity Head coach under his belt. I am so proud of him and the boys and all the lessons and good that came out of the season - even if the record alone shows a different story when it stands alone. Football is more than football; sports are more than sports and that is something we believe to the deepest of our hearts. He also attended the SAFCA football meeting and had the last team dinner & film of the year. Off season starts now (LOL) so we are sitting down together and reflecting and dreaming big for next season. 

Making stromboli, hamburger casserole, copycat Olive Garden chicken over noodles, leftover fridge clean out, roasted veggies and kielbasa, and bedtime snacks like peanut butter & jelly sammies. Grey and I went out with some football families to Jim&Jimmies after the last jr high game (he got wings and I had a chicken salad and hot pepper cheese balls!). For trick-or-treat potluck at the Hoffmans I made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and pulled pork and for the tailgate party I made meatball sub sammies and cake mix chocolate chip cookies.