Around Here Forty-One: 10/07-13

Saturday, October 14, 2017

A look into what it is like to live in our home just this minute.

Intentional Outdoor Hours:  496+ hours (of 1000)
I did terrible this week (only up 3 hours!) It was pretty chilly and kind of rainy, so my level of interest in being outside was at an embarrassing low. I scored some time though with football, volunteering, and playing in the yard.

Reading The Tenth of December by George Saunders and eating it up. I really loved the short story Home and Saunders' ability to create characters and a world that you can become so invested in within a short story of a few pages. I lent out a few of my favorite books to one of my favorite friends this week (Dear Mr You, Dark Matter, and Big Magic) because we are nerds and wanna talk about all the books all the time.

Beginning the new year of Sunday school. I'm teaching grades four and five again this year and Grey moved up to the exciting year of second grade (first reconciliation and first Holy communion year!) and Gem started Kinder CCD.

Taking a much needed regroup day on Monday as all the kids and I needed some time to rest and heal after a long few weeks of being run ragged. I let the slept in, made soup for lunch, baked some pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, and let them spend too much time in front of the tv so everyone could get a solid day to give their snot noses and sore throats some real rest. It was nice to be home with everyone for a day and made me grateful to know we will have the whole summer together again too. (also reminded me how much I appreciate our kids' teachers and the incredible patience and love they give them everyday while I'm apart from them. Also reminded me how much I value my time to be the senora Studer me too)

Loving the last minute fun nature of our friendship with the Stankans. Last minute decision to have lunch together at Kings and Queens (yep!) Last minute hang out at our house on a random Thursday night (yep!) Last minute writing swap with Loni (yep!) ...exchanging our first attempts at writing was both exhilarating and horrifying - especially with someone who loves to read and knows good stories and writing when they see them. Thank you so much Loni for your encouragement, kind eye, and embrace of spontaneity! xxoxoxo #readersandwritersunite !

Enjoying a great week at school. We finished our el tourneo de la musica (Bailando by Enrique Iglesias was the big winner!) and had an exciting and hopeful Spanish Club meeting for all the fun projects we hope to do all year. The blood drive was this week and I donated and so did a ton of first time donor-students! My Spanish 2 Honors students started writing spooky short stories in Spanish on Friday the 13th and will have them ready to go for Halloween!

Volunteering as photographer at the third annual Zombie Crawl downtown with You in Flood City. The kids came to help too and had fun pretending to want to eat brains (Violet especially, hah!) and stay alive (Grey who hates face paint). Someone was oohing and ahhing over our little zombies and said, "boy, your kids will never be afraid of anything!" hahaha! So proud of my baby sis Uch who is so creative and inspiring and does so much for this community we love!! xxox

Making Pancakes for dinner to celebrate Greyson's 7 and a half birthday on Sunday, Chinese green beans and ground turnkey over rice, taco Tuesday, and baked meatball sub sandwiches.

Around Here Thirty-Nine and Forty: 09/23-10/06

Monday, October 9, 2017

Each night as we tuck the kids into bed, we have this baffling moment where we look at each other and ask, 'wait, what just happened?' Whole days swallowed up in the fast paced whirlwind that our life currently is.  There are flashes that we hold on to: Grey cracking up about anything Rusty does and reading so fluently now, a proud Gemma announcing that she had 'no cries' at school and is soooooo close to getting on the letter wall, Violet's scrunched up nose giggle when we give her a big snuggle that turns into a tickle, and Rust Man running with arms held high and open for a hug. It is a good time right now, gosh - these kids, and their smiles and their love for us and each other; their general enthusiasm about life.  And this marriage that feels like we're camping out in a foxhole together awaiting the next attack from the kids, or life, or work - but we have each other's back so we're going to be okay.  But it's definitely a whirlwind and I'm holding onto these Around here posts if nothing else because when life eases up on the accelerator here (anytime soon?) I hope to be able to comb back through these days and remember with a smile that despite the constant feeling of treading water, there were some darn good moments.

So, here is another glimpse at what it looks like to live in our home just this minute.

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 493+ hours (of 1000 hours)
The weather has been beautiful and quite warm, like almost a little too warm for that sweatshirt and flip flop fall weather. We've been able to make the most of it with outdoor events (parties, races, football games) and grabbing a few extra hours afterschool while the kids run out energy and I clean up outside or read my book.

Reading and finishing Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld and getting a little bit of Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott in before my next book for my local book club arrived, George Saunders The Tenth of December (short stories) and really loving it.

Volunteering as a family at the kids' PTA color run.  We manned the Yellow station and had a blast spraying runners (and each other) during the race. Cheering on runners is one of my favorite happiness activities (seriously makes me joyful!) and being able to do that while volunteer with our whole crew was a lot of fun.

Celebrating our three year old Violet Mary girl. I did so little prep for her party that I found myself only six days prior to party date texting our family and friends a picture invitation. Then, from the incredible beauty that comes from holding your hand outstretched and letting people help you, everyone pitched in to make the birthday party a wild success. Our Uncle Dave and Aunt Cindy showed up with one of their horses, Dawn, and gave pony rides. Our cousin Tausha came with giant blow up waterslide which was perfect for the 85+ degree weather that day. Uncle Matt and Aunt Lisa lugged their tractor wagon out painted up with Violet's name so that we could do hay rides around the yard. It was honestly amazing. Violet had a great time and won't stop talking about Dawn the horse who came to her birthday party. Thank you so much everyone for loving our Vially girl.

Attempting to manage the regular madness around here. Most days we're running on survival mode and doing whatever it takes to check as many boxes as possible. Like babies in the bath and big kids doing homework on the bathroom floor. Or 1:30am night runs to the gas station to fill up Sheila for the next day because a restless Rusty could use the ride to help him fall asleep anyway.  Laundry, dear Lawd, the laundry, sits clean and wrinkled for days at a time (but they got cleaned, right?) Friday nights have been our mad dash to get the house in some sort of order, because then our weekends are loaded with fun and important activities too. Whew, I know it's a season of life, but it's a wild one for now.  We're just hanging on to the handlebars, enjoying the wind in our hair, and pretending like we don't care that the brakes don't work.

Homecoming celebrating at both the school I teach and the school our kids attend. We had a big, awesome Hoco pep rally at our school where the awesome Elementary teachers did this huge, magical Disney skit with costumes.  The Elem kids were so excited and it had tears in my eyes to see how much teachers love and care about the joy of our students. Grey got to walk with the football players in our Hoco parade and the little kids were ecstatic to have candy hurled at their head the whole time. We spent some time at the Hoco game before it started downpouring and we slinked off to our friends' house to spend the evening hanging out and laughing.

Working on figuring out next steps for our Gemma Ro. Thank you all who responded and commented after my last post about worrying about Gem. I so appreciate all of your support, web links, love and advice. (xxoxo)  We are so deeply grateful to have Gemma's teacher, Mrs. Roman, on our team too. She is incredible and such a warrior for our Ro. She and I had a nice long neighborhood walk and chat (grateful also we live in the same neighborhood! hah!) about what she sees in class and what we see at home. We are both on the same page and are working on either end to get this figured out so that Gem can be successful in all ways. (thank you Mrs. Roman - you are truly the best!!)

Running in the Que Classic with Grey and the Stankans. Grey ran with the Stankans in the 5k and did amazing! He and Ivan ran the whole thing in under 28 minutes - they were third and fourth in their age group (14years and under)! I ran and finished the 10k as the slowest pace finisher (hah!) I cheered on all the runners I passed (my fav) and kept up my own snail pace (and proud of it) for the whole race. I got to meet and chat with my bike safety rider, Marlene, who was so encouraging and sweet. No training in two weeks prior and a sore throat contributed to how not fun it was, but I stayed my pace and finished which is what it's all about in the end.

Feeling fall in our bones as the trees change and our view on the mountaintop looks glorious. Archery season has arrived, which makes for a very happy husband and excited son. And we spent a beautiful day at my parents' house for the annual Fall Festivus party and I pulled the Halloween decor out and let the kids go at it all themselves (haha! Which made for some pretty hilarious placement - like a fully covered front door with taped homemade decorations). The kids were delighted to see our Halloween book collection again and we've been reading them on the daily. Our favorites are: 10 Trick or Treaters, 10 Timid Ghosts, Boo!, and Max's Halloween.

Footballin' with Grey's flag team. They are currently undefeated and such a great group of kids and teammates. They really watch out for each other (on and off the field) and work together so well. I know all the coaches and parents have been daydreaming about how great they'll be by the time they get to junior high together. It's really amazing to watch. Grey loves football season and is so happy to play and learn from his team and coaches. Sports are more than sports and for that, B and I have always been grateful.

Taking our truck to the shop for a major check up as the 'ole guy is slowly dying the deaths of well used, well loved vehicles. We are blessed with the generosity of our cousins Tausha and Aaron who lent us one of their vehicles in the mean time while we wait for Big Green to get mended (thank you!)...and while we search for a new truck on the side, because Big Green don't have many more miles left in him we fear. hah.

Getting into a great groove at school. I'm feeling much better and less stressed at school as (I think) I've figured out where all my different level students are in their Spanish learning. We are working on some really fun ideas with the Spanish Club for the year and my Spanish 3 Honors students have been studying different Hispanic-American celebrities throughout the last two weeks for Hispanic Heritage Month. I know the classroom is where I'm meant to be, so despite how much it brings more chaos into our life with two full-time working parents - it's still worth it because I'm doing what I'm meant to do.

Throwing a Cast Off Sleepover party for Grey and some of his friends. At the last minute (night before) we sent out a quick text to some friends to invite them to the party - and as always, I am overwhelmed with gratitude when parents show up with giddy kids to play and arms full of snacks and juice bags to add to our party. Six boys came to spend most of the evening (and then five slept over) while they played football, jumped on the trampoline, shot everything (and everyone) with nerf guns, and watched Rookie of the Year and played the wii. It was our first more-than-one-friend sleepover and it was a success! They were all finally asleep by 2:30a when I came down to check on them and were all back up again by 8:30a!

Making chicken and gravy over mashed potatoes, crockpot roast, chicken and gnocchi, spaghetti, burgers on the grill, and chicken and ranch wraps. three ingredient chocolate muffins, banana and cinnamon muffins

Around Here Thirty Seven & Eight: 09/09-09/22

Sunday, September 24, 2017

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

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 466+ hours (of 1000)
Only up 16 hours in two weeks which isn't anything to write home about, bummer. The weather has been beautiful though and we've snagged some outdoor hours at football practice and games. I got in a walk or two with the pups and we had a family outside work day when we prepped the landscaping for the fall.  We bought new beautiful mums for the season and got our bushes all trimmed up for the last time this year. The leaves are starting to change too and the view atop our mountain is breathtaking.

Reading The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls (again) to get a quick reminder for my local book club. I'm still struggling with managing all my normal stuff with our new schedule so it's not been great on the reading for fun category. We had our monthly Books & Brews book club meeting at Press Bistro and it was such a little slice of Heaven on a Monday night.  Great food, great chatting, giggling, and a real moment of soul recharging (xxox!) We picked our next months book The Tenth of December by George Saunders and while I wait for it to arrive, I happily dipped back into Anne Lamot's Bird by Bird.

Footballin' as the season is in full swing. Grey had his first two games already and played with his short cast and all. I warned him that if it even looked like he was being too rough with his arm, his momma was going to come out on the field and drag him off! hhhahha. He did great though and QB'ed short cast and all. They've won both ! The two practices a week are the perfect addition to keep Grey focused on trying his best in school (if he's not doing well in school - no football) and to get his energy out too. The girls love going to practice too as they get to play with all their friends who are football player siblings too!

Thanking first responders to honor 9/11.  My students and I created cards in class to give to our school's resource officer (and retired state policeman) and then later that evening, we all went over to deliver cookies and a thank you card to our favorite first responder and neighbor Mike who is a retired state policeman and our kids' resource officer at their school.  Mike was actually a first responder to the Flight 93 crash and we got to hear a little bit about his experience and see photos from his time helping out there.

Discovering Rusty has another double ear infection with almost no signs; he is a tough little man! He had some teeth coming in and was cranky because of that, but since he didn't show any signs last time, I took him as a just-in-case to the Peds and yep, double ear infection. He was smiling and being flirty the whole time with the RN and she said, "geez, this little guy has got a high pain tolerance!" He got three new teeth this week though and now on his antibiotic, he's feeling much better. Still crazy (changing his diaper is like trying to wrestle an actual crocodile).

Taking our spin on the ole sinus infection wheel of fun. We all had stuffy heads and noses which is such a bummer but also a standard back-to-school routine, so whatevs.

Opening an etsy shop for Greyson as he's still in fly-tying mode. He was so excited to put some of his flies together and gave them all names and collection names. It was a lot of fun to see him so excited about something that didn't involve tackling, jumping, or throwing a ball for a few minutes. Bless the sweetest #huntingdad we know Wade James (of Adliv Collective) who went and sold Grey's shop out within minutes.  I told Grey he had a notification in the store that he sold his flies and he fake-passed out on the couch with the hugest smile on his face.  He got them all packaged and was so proud to mail them out - only to be even more proud when Wade posted a video of him fishing with the flies and saying the fish were hitting them hard and they were a great product (seriously, Wade, you are so kind and fueled our boy's passion!) Booboo has been busy trying to restock his shop (and making lots of flies for free to hand out to his family and friends - hahha, worst salesman, just like his momma).

Working with Gemmi Ro with her letters and sounds.  She is still well behind her classmates as I expected would happen because she struggles with recalling names in general.  We are so very grateful for her teacher, Mrs. Roman (hi!) as she has so much patience and encouragement for our girl despite her struggles. I've been reading up on Dyslexia a little bit and pieces of it really sound like Gem (seeing the whole, big picture but not the individual parts; difficulty rhyming, difficulty recalling names/words, being more 'right-brained').  I know some of my readers have some personal experience with this and this is me reaching out on any thoughts/insight.  I'd love for this to be the thing and then we can start working towards a path to coping with it - is there an official screening? am I just reaching here and being over label-y? I know we are both frustrated though, she looked up at me during rhyming homework words the other day and half whimpered, "momma, this is just so hard for me" and I gave her a hug and said that I could see that but I was so proud of how hard she tries.  ugh, raising babies is so tough on the heart.

Watching Jurassic World on repeat. Our fam is obsessed with dinosaurs eating people. LOL. We like dinosaurs in the general sense but we love the Jurassic park movies and our children got their grubby little hands on the remote the past few days and have been renting it straight from directTV at $5+ a pop every few days when the rental wears out.  Finally the old people in the house (B and I) figured out they were renting it every time and had to put a stop to it (Luckily for us - SpikeTV is running a huge Jurassic Park marathon this weekend and we just DVRed the first three movies.  Grey has been drawing dinosaurs and Violet thinks any weird noise at night is probably 'a vawsaraptor'

Planning (super last minute) for our Vially three year old biggie girl's birthday party! I looked at the calendar this week and my mouth dropped to the floor when I realized I had less than a week until our girl was going to be three! I texted out an invite (even forgot to send it to some VIP guests! ahem, Gigi, sorry I love you, haha) and was so overwhelmed with love as the generous floodgates opened and many texted back with offers to bring something to the party. #ihavethebestpeople We feel like it's sort of weird that Vially is going to be three (because wait, isn't she like four with that huge vocabulary and incredible genius girl brain?) but also so so grateful and happy to celebrate her. She is such a gift to our family and so often the most easy going and pleasant person in this house.  And her little voice, I die every time I hear her.  Nearly everyone who meets our kids say "aww they are all so cute, but that Violet!" or also "I might try to steal that Violet!" She is our beautiful, hilarious, sweet, kind, wise, squishy, lovable ball of joy. Oh Vially, we could eat you up like a little meatball baby, we love you so.

Surviving.  It's been a doozy of two weeks and we held on to the handles while this tilt-a-whirl life spun on the speed cycle. I was able to throw loads of laundry between the washer and dryer luckily all week, but they sat in the hampers clean until finally Friday night. I went through the house; folded all the clothes, emptied all the backpacks, cleaned the bathrooms and ran the sweeper. Paying bills, grading papers, and finishing next week lesson plans all still on the docket. I opened my planner to have my speeding ticket from last week, unpaid, fall out and I was had quite a startle to realize another few days and I would have had a warrant out for my arrest simply because I've been #momingtoohard to pay the bills.  sheesh.  Get it together, WOMAN! Family and friends - thank you so much for your patience, and support through this temporary lapse of sanity (LOL) - my standard 24 hour text response time has been bumped up to about minimum 72 hour response time (if any response at all, #ihatemetoo). I'm too lucky to have you as loved ones - i know this.

Starting to thrive though. By the end of these past two weeks, I just decided that I was going to do right by our kiddos first and then by B and then by everything else.  chores be darned, I took a more relaxed tone in the lesson planning (still serious learning, but with brake-pump on the urgency) and everything started to feel better.  The benefit of everyone in school or daycare during the days has been that the house isn't getting completely wrecked every day of the week, laundry piles up and meals are a little more thrown together - but our weekends have been tag-teaming the bigger chores (changing sheets, vacuuming, massive folding and putting away clothes) and it's been manageable. It feels like (as always in life) if I can just release my death grip on control a teeny bit, everything is easier and more joyful.  When will I learn!?

Making spaghetti, hawaiian meatballs, Italian chicken in the crockpot, frozen pizzas, and dinners supplied by each set of grandparents (thank you!)  I whipped up a batch of (boxed) blueberry muffins for breakfast and Gem was so happy to deliver some to our awesome bus driver Rob that morning.