Around Here Week 13: 03/24-30

Friday, April 19, 2024

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

photo cred: Heather

photo cred: Heather

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 24+ hours (of 1000)
Fishing camp really increased my numbers this week. We had a couple nice spring-ish days this week and the sunrises and sunsets are dazzling. I can sense that spring is on her way, I can hardly wait for my kids to be outdoor tired, dirty, and happy again. 

Reading High Achiever by Tiffany Jenkins and The Body by Bill Bryson. Both are great! 

Listening on my commute to Wrong Place, Wrong Time by Gillian McAllister and really liking it so far! What a concept! 

A happy half birthday to our Violet Mary! Nine and half and full of sass! B took her for a Dairy Queen blizzard while they were out running errands (she was thrilled). So at home we measured her height and sang to her over a leftover cookie!

Adding chickies to our family. Brandon can only be trusted for so long in Tractor Supply in the spring and he ran out of self control this week (hah). He and Olive brought home 16 new little chickie babies because that is always just what we need. The kids are obsessed and the sounds little peeps chirping make us all believe in Springtime. 

Do you ever feel like all you do is clean up poop? HAH. if you have children or pets, then I know you know. Our two old dogs (bullet and trixie) are randomly having potty issues - it's not consistent which is even more annoying. So I had to steam scrub the boys' room carpet this week. Now we have the chickies that need their cage cleaned twice daily. The guinea pigs need daily cleaning. Osa got into dirty diapers on the back porch trash (ripped to shreds, niiiiiice) And Reddy is still trying his darnedest to make the potty trained transition but still not there all the way. So yeah, I pretty frustrated cleaning up everybody's literal poop these days. 

A fun afternoon for the big kids and the little kids. Heather took the big kids (Grey, Gem, Vi, and Caleb) to Monroeville to spend the day jumping at Skyzone Trampoline Park and I took the little ones (Rust, Red, and Liv) to Altoona to spend the day sliding, climbing, and arcade'ing at Slinky Action Zone with Kate and Charlie.  

Mentored Youth Fishing Day! We spent the day in Bedford with the Rummells, Moores, and some seasoned mentors (Pappy, Uncle Ray, and Mark) catching all kinds of fish and kissing them before releasing them back into the stream. Osa came with us and she was pretty good (only chewed through a tie-down and her leash, good grief!) The weather was chilly but mostly clear skies and everyone had a great time. We didn't dye eggs for Easter but we did kiss some fish and sit by an open fire and there were a lot of smiles and snacking and laughter- so ya know, it all shakes out in the end. 

PCT trail update for Kitty & Bryan: By Saturday, they made it to Julian/Scissors Crossing which is at mile 77! Kitty is posting the coolest update reels on Instagram so I hope you are following her ( @kankla ) Despite some weather this week, they are still trekking and having an awesome time. I got to facetime with her and it was everything to see her face and hear here laugh and get her updates firsthand. Miss them so much but so obsessed with their journey! 

Teaching a short week due to spring break. The elementary school specials finished up their capys and learned about Merengue music! I ordered from the Coffee Corner elementary club (they practice math while taking orders!) and they delivered my iced caramel macchiato & a pudding cup! I forgot that it was delivery day and it was the best mega-sugar pick-me-up ever! I got a new group of 8th graders for Spanish Expo and they had their first two days of class. Spanish 1 finished their question packets and got new vocab words. Spanish 2 presented their De pequeño projects and then got their new vocab words. Both levels learned about the Easter tradition of Casacarones on the early dismissal day. 

Sporting with one Sparks soccer practice for Vi and Gemma had a end-of-season basketball party at 814 Lanes and Games (thank you Coach Bryan!) Grey had 4 baseball practices and 1 Chaos basketball practice. The kids and I all went to Meet the Coach Night for AYSO this week. I am coaching Reddy and his 4U team and assistant coaching with Eva for Violet and Rusty's 10U team. Gemma is playing 12U and it was fun to see all our soccer friends again. Brandon and the Varsity football team did their March rep checks on Sunday night.

Making baked lunchmeat sandwiches and roasted broccoli, chicken fajitas with rice & beans, pork chops, and Korean Beef with green beans over rice. For desserts - I made a batch of pumpkin chocolate chip cookies on Sunday because I was hungry for them (hah). For fishing camp, I made buffalo chicken dip and cowboy cookies. We brought hot dogs & cheddar brats and even carted the Blackstone all the way out there (hah!) 

Around Here 12: 03/17-23

Sunday, April 14, 2024

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

photo cred: Jackie F

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 15+ hours (of 1000)
It was the first day of spring this week! (it snowed!) hahaha, it is still pretty stinky chilly and I can only daydream about sunshine and no coats & shoes. 

Reading The Body, a guide for occupants by Bill Bryson and I am just blown away by the details and way the information is explained - what a master he is at storytelling facts; truly a gift he has. I think science is so fascinating - especially when you go big-big-big (ie. solar system, universe, etc) or when you go teeny-teeny-teeny (microbes, cells, etc). So learning about all the tiny microbes, bacteria, and cells that make our bodies work everyday is absolutely mind-blowing. Here I am just walking around everyday like "man, my hair looks greasy" when all these teeny things are working behind the scenes to make me be what?! And since every single page of that book is blowing my ever-loving mind, I needed a book I could read a little faster, so my cousin/bestie Heather dropped off High Achiever by Tiffany Jenkins and I started that one too (loving it!)

Listening on my commute to Never Lie by Frieda McFadden. I nearly hurt myself rolling my eyes at the writing, and the narrators were unreliable and repetitive...and most disappointing of all; the story was unnecessarily dark and twisted (in a self-serving way, not an interesting way). I didn't like it at all. I'm relieved it's over and not a recommend from me. 

Not catching that tricky leprechaun AGAIN this year. Reddy was so fascinated and cute in the morning and Liv still kept calling him Mrs. Conn (hahha - thank you Mrs. Conn for being so sweet and generous and sending Liv text messages back)

Swapping out the St. Patrick's decor for Easter decorations. The youngest four hung up eggs on an outdoor tree and Gemma put together an elaborate Easter egg hunt inside to prepare for the real deal in two weeks. 

StuMoo cousin monthly dinner. Trying out a new tradition and carving out a specific day to have dinner with Uch, Kev, and our nephews. I know it seems so simple, but with six kids and full time jobs, and lots of activities - it does have to be scheduled intentionally or it's not going to happen. 

Counting down the weeks until April when we get to meet our new nephew!! Keep cooking baby, but we can hardly wait to meet you! (love you Uchie xxo)

Trying out a new schedule for Osa who made a run for it AGAIN this week. The state police actually picked her up and took her to the local humane society (shout out to the humane society volunteers! you guys are amazing!) B and I are so frustrated because she really is just running straight for the highway which is crazy considering we have 13 acres and are surrounded by woods and farmland...why run to the highway!? The kids were out building forts and hanging trail cams and she was with them until she made a run for it. They came in the house half crying, half panting (from sprinting to get us) but by then, she was gone. B drove around looking for her, but she must have been picked up already. 

Cheering on cousin Caleb at the championship hockey game - and they won! Of course it took a matter of watching the game for 2 minutes before Rusty and Reddy were both asking if they could play hockey (hah). Caleb plays with some of our friends too (good job Louie, Landon, and Owen!) so we had plenty to cheer for! So proud of you, Caleb, you are loved! 

Squealing when I saw Rusty's finished diorama for school. I had helped him with the glue gun and cutting out the tree shadows. But before I got home from school one day, he and Violet had glued the animal figurines and went out to pick dried wheat grass to add to it too! It looked awesome and he was proud to take his Savana diorama in for Reading Night. 

Attending Reading Night at the kids' elementary school. The PTA always puts on an incredible night - this year's theme was "Who was" books. We got to bring cousin Remi with us, so it was extra fun. As soon as Vi found her third grade friends, she bailed on us (hah!) Grey had baseball practice, but Gemma spent the night volunteering at Reading Night with the band. They had a room dedicated to "Who was Louis Armstrong" and they played What a Wonderful World and yes, I did whoop and holler when they finished - hah! I couldn't help myself! 

Taking my two big Easter bunnies for a Target trip on Friday night. I looked at the calendar this week and realized Easter is NEXT week and was too overwhelmed for online shopping. So my two biggest kids and I took an hour drive to the closest Target to get everything we needed (Easter clothes & basket stuffers). The whole way out, Grey and I picked songs back and forth to rate for each other (Gem slept her motion sickness off in the backseat) and then the two of them were equal parts helpful and hilariously dumb in the store. Grey found a mini basketball that kept him occupied euro-stepping every mannequin he saw and Gemma picked up 18 thousand plush pillows, fake plants, and home decor items telling me about what her future house is going to look like. We got everything we needed for the Easter bunny and it was fun (and funny) to listen to the two of them and laugh at their silly teenage ways.

      It is my goal to be able to say I love the teenage years and so far, I really do. It's really emotionally exhausting and they can be so annoying it is actually insane...but raising little kids is really physically exhausting and they are also annoying (hah). But little kids and big kids both make me belly laugh, and they are are sweet and thoughtful in very surprising ways. You get to snuggle little kids but you get to have inside jokes and thought provoking conversations with big kids. And you clap and cheer for little kids when they try something new, but you are struck in awe when you see your big kid do something all on their own and be the person you've been trying to raise up all these years. It's both harder and easier, I'm just trying everyday to remember that big kids are growing and developing just as much as they were when they were little and they need the same (if not more) doses of grace, patience, and understanding. They're still learning how to be a person yet, and just because they look bigger doesn't mean I can forget that they're still trying to figure it out in their hearts and minds.

PCT Kitty & Bryan update: they camped at Mile 0 on Wednesday night and stepped their toes on the trail on Thursday morning at the terminus of the PCT's most southern start! They hiked their first 20 miles to Lake Morena. Kitty says everything is more than they expected (more cold at night, more hot while hiking, more strenuous to hike 10+ miles a day with 27+ lbs on your back). As of Saturday morning, they only have 2,630 more miles to hike! So proud to be her big sis. (1) to follow their journey on instagram: @kankla or @bweimer27 (2) If you want to send $ for real food, coffee, and supplies along the way - venmo @kankla . (3) All other good vibes and prayers - please push those out freely and generously from your heart for them so they can stay healthy, safe, and strong for the whole hike! xxo

Teaching the second phase of capibaras (finishing our disguises and learning about capys as pets!) The kids are all so excited about their designs and some of them really are very creative. I started hanging them up in the room too and they look so fun! Spanish Expo was in their fourth and final week and we learned months, colors, days of the week, and Me Gusta. Spanish 1 finished up Unit 4A with a vocab test, a selfie project/presentation, and firming up those question words. Spanish 2 finished up Unit 4A with a vocab test, practicing more of the past tense, and a De Pequeño project and presentations. 

Sporting with 2 Sparks soccer practices (indoor) for Violet. Gem had a quick practice on Friday night, then she played in a 3v3 tournament to raise money for the Backpack Project on Saturday. Her team did great and it was so fun to see them play the fast-paced style of 3v3. Grey had a Chaos basketball practice, 4 baseball practices for the school, and a QB practice on Saturday morning. We did make it once for a family weightlifting night but we've been so inconsistent since the start of the year, it's like starting over every time (hah!) Our legs were dyyyying the next day.

Making crockpot potato soup & Irish soda bread (for St Patty's day lunch with StuMoo cousins), chicken/ veggie/ stuffing casserole, air fryer chicken tacos, bagel / egg / cheese sammies, spaghetti, chicken / veggie / biscuit casserole, baked ravioli, For desserts we had chocolate chip/ Lucky charms cookies and banana/ coconut/ oatmeal cookies.