Around Here Week Seven: 2/10-16

Friday, February 17, 2017

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

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 12 hours (of 1000)
We snuck outside one afternoon and braved the cold temperatures just to get in some fun while the sun was shining.  The girls drove around in the Powerwheels Jeep and Grey was deliriously happy to get his roller blades on and hit the hockey puck around the garage.  Also, a tractor ride (see below).

Reading The Gift of an Ordinary Day by Katrina Kenison which has been on my To Read list for about two years.  I have been feeling pretty melancholy these past few weeks with Gemma's fifth birthday on the horizon and Rusty growing and changing so quickly.  I knew it was a good time to dig into a reflective type of memoir.  And I'm sharing a quote that hit my heart already at only seven pages in...yeah, it's going to be a dog-eared mess by the end of it, I'm guessing.
"I learned a lot about myself, and many lessons in mindfulness during those long days.  Intense and demanding as they are, the years we spend with our young children can also be deeply, viscerally gratifying.  We know exactly where we are needed and what we need to be doing.  Immersed in the physical and emotional realm of parenthood, we develop reserves of patience, imagination, and fortitude we never dreamed possible....a world in which hands are for holding, bodies for snuggling, laps for sitting." p. 7
FINISHING our 2015-16 family yearbook.  thank goodness.  Can't wait for it to arrive! and yay!  One of my 100 small things goals for Motherhood! 

Celebrating love for Valentines Day with lots of hugs and kisses and squeezing the kids telling them they will be my valentines "forever.  FOR ALL OF MY LIFE" as they tried to wriggle away from my kisses and tickles (only to return to me moments later saying - 'do that again, momma') Brandon and I had homemade fancy dinner together on Monday night (strip steak, asparagus & risotto!) and then watched a taped This Is Us two days later (hah). Brandon also buys all his girls a bouquet of flowers and Gemma and Violet lose their minds over it.  I skillfully (hah) cut a frozen pizza into the shape of a heart for the kids' dinner and then we spent the evening wishing a happy love day to each kids' Godmothers and calling/facetiming the grandparents.

Still battling runny noses around here.  Rust was suffering through some serious snot nose, so I spent most of one morning this week wearing him around so he could sleep upright after we both barely slept for two nights in a row.  Thanks to the Pinterest goddesses, I worked up a diy humidifier using our crockpot on Low with some water and Vicks and it brought some much needed respite to that boogie nose.  (thanks Mum and Dad for the since borrowed legit humidifier!)

Bumming about Sheila (our minivan) as she got a flat tire this week which required me to ride the tractor the half mile down to the bus stop to pick up Grey in freezing temps.  I was laughing so hard o the ride down imagining all the neighbors looking out their window and wondering what in all that is good and holy I was doing.  Still laughing about it.  Grey got to drive back home, so he wasn't too upset about how cold it was.  Oh, Sheila!

Getting our Learn on at home while I work with Gemma for Kindergarten prep practicing letters, patterns, and counting (registration is only two weeks away!) and we do extra reading work with Greyson in his Reading Boot Camp exercises to bring his Reading level up.  He's being retested (today!) and I have confidence that he will be up enough to attend baseball practice this weekend!  (fingers crossed!!)

Cleaning out the dining room FINALLY and walking through there at night and feeling instantly happy at the sight of a clear table.  I have been feeling so overwhelmed and just down about the state of all the stuff and how much of it is not in the place that it belongs.  I set the timer for 15 minutes and Gem and I went to town picking up everything and wiping stuff down.  After that first 15 minutes, we had made such a dent that we set it again and kept on working.  She even vacuumed for me.  What a relief it feels like to have one room done (granted it is only ONE room and the next door kitchen looks up.side.down level mess, but still).  One step at a time, right?

Making these chocolate dipped Strawberry wafer cookies to celebrate Valentine's Day and some dutch apple pie tarts to use up a can of fried apples and some ready-made pie crust that's been hanging out in the fridge for far too long.  I made these easy biscuit donuts for breakfast which the boys all loved (Bullet stole four of them off the counter and polished them off when we weren't looking!) We had a family favorite - chicken & veggie casserole and I also whipped up a perogie lasagna with mixed reviews from the kids.

the romantic date

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

He had a work thing on valentines day, so She texted the day before and asked, 'valentines dinner tonight?' to which He texted back a gif of Phil Dunphy giving a thumbs up. 

She enlisted the help of the two biggest kids to make their own dinner and as She was preparing and He was helping one child fall asleep, She peeked into the living room and said, "um, we don't have any butter - do you think it'd be weird if I asked the neighbors to borrow some and I'll just send the kids over through the path with a flashlight?" and He said, "I don't like that idea because of that coyote that was just caught behind the house.  I'll just run to dollar general quick."  And so She quickly jotted down a list that included not only the butter but also seven more items.  

So the pots were bubbling and the oven timer was dinging and when the steak finally got tossed in the pan with the newly purchased butter, steam billowed out with a fierceness reserved for power plants.  The kids looked on in shock and asked questions like, "is our house burning down?" and "is that what you wanted to happen?"  She remained steadfast in her chef's tasks and cracked a window.

The kids ate their dinner which they helped create - chicken fries that looked like heart shapes if you really squinted and used your imagination about it, boxed mac&cheese, and boxed Red Lobster biscuits which was Valentines day treat enough.  

As He and She cleared the table from the kids' mess, they poured cheap wine into glasses and plated their food and whispered 'happy valentines day' across the table.  

And the kids ran between the rooms shrieking and sliding on the floors and pretending they were being chased.  And then She said, "hey! be more quiet we're having a romantic date over here!" to which the little boy laughed in the way that little boys who think girls have cooties laugh while saying, "OMIGOSH!" and the little girl said, "oooooooooooooooh, why aren't you kissing then?!"  And then the littlest girl woke up and gave everyone high fives for going pee in the potty and she hopped up on the bench to join the romantic date with plate full of chicken fries and ketchup.  And only once did they have to check on the littlest of all the babies sleeping upstairs with his stuffy nose. 

And in that house, on that night, and really everyday
there are loud noises
and toys in all the places they don't belong
and there is milk in the fridge and cereal and snacks in the pantry
and spoiled milk in hidden, lost bubbas and cereal and snacks deep in the couch cushions
and a child's name written in permanent marker on a bedroom door
and marks notched along the inside kitchen door frame as a homemade height chart
and there are booboos that need kissed and hair that needs brushed, and socks that need adjusted because they feel funny on toes
and there are books, lots of books; some that have the pages taped back together, and some that say, 'I see a red bird looking at me,' and some that can be read from memory
and there are pictures of two people who vaguely look like He and She but much younger, and much much more rested
and there are toilets that need flushed and mirrors that have tiny fingerprints on them and a faucet that has been leaking for the past two weeks
and socks that have no matches, and favorite blankies that must be found immediately lest a tantrum erupts, and chocolate candy that is hidden
and a big cozy bed that's meant for two but usually has at least one pet and a few children in it too.

and in every space between all that stuff
and all that mess
and all those giggles
and all those shared memories.

in that house.
in that family
there is love.

happy valentines day to you and your valentines.

and to mine,
forever and ever.
even when we get so old.

Around here week Five & Six: 01/27-02/09

Friday, February 10, 2017

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

Intentional Outdoor Hours:  11 hours (of 1000)
We had a beautiful day or two sprinkled in the last two weeks that we were able to add another two hours to my goal, but between the sicknesses and the cold - we've been hanging inside and trying to recoup.  I was able to get a 3mile run in this week doing yard laps after two full weeks off (!) and that half marathon date just keeps inching closer and closer (hah).  Hoping to get in at least two runs this weekend no matter the weather!  And don't think I'm not looking back every week to see if my hours this year is beating my hours at this time last year...cause I am.  Hah, I'm still about two hours ahead of myself last year and that gives me hope!

Reading Leaving Time by Jodi Piccoult and finishing it!  I have always loved her books and I was glad to dive into one to get back into the swing of reading.  I've just been off lately and it was nice to get wrapped up in a story again.

Cheering the two bigs on in indoor soccer which started two weeks ago.  Gem is playing with the 4-5 year olds and is doing much better than we expected.  She doesn't have competitiveness flowing through her veins like us and so she can get pretty sensitive about sports - but she's been doing awesome (three career goals already!) and I think some of it has to do with her coaches who are Chum (my dad) and Aunt Uch (my little sis).  Grey plays with the 6-7 year olds and also on the 8-10 year olds team which he absolutely loves.  I swear that kid could power our entire house with electricity if we could find some way to hook his movements up to an energy converter.

Nursing my sick family back to health on the regs.  We've just been swapping germs for the past two months and it seems like as soon as someone recovers, someone else starts up a new strain of disease.  But we've been lucky that's it's only been runny noses, sore throats, coughs, and 24hour stomach bugs - nothing we can't handle in-house with a lots of rest, soup, and plenty of hankies.

Looking at our house with fresh eyes as we have a full blown crawling explorer in the house now.  Well, more like half crawling-half bear walking explorer.  He crawls with one foot flat and one knee bent/crawling and he can get around pretty quickly.  And now that he can get around, his only desire is to get to somewhere he can pull himself up to stand.  We've moved the crib down and have to watch the stairs like maniacs because this little man is on the move! He's also waving and clapping, but still no words!  I'm not too stressed about it though because #fourthbaby and also, who the heck can get a word in edgewise over here between the older three?!

Planning Gemma's fifth birthday Mermaid party!  it's impossible that our girl will be five, I'm seriously in denial still.

Watching the Superbowl as a family just here at home the six of us.  We made Root Beer Pork in the slow cooker and all sat around together in the living room.  The kids went up for bedtime and then it was just Bud and I cozied up on the couch (with Bullet all up in our space, naturally) and it was so nice after weeks of sickness and basketball season to just sit and be.

Potty-training Vially girl with more successful days than not.  Some days she's amazing and has no accidents and then other days it's four accidents in two hours and I throw a diaper on declaring it a hard potty day! #thirdkidnopressure She's pretty proud of herself though and I think we are nearly through the breakthrough point!!

Pushing Grey into some intensive reading intervention at home in what we've dubbed "Greyson's Reading Boot Camp"  He came home this week with an updated reading level and it's lower than it's supposed to be at this time in the year for first grade.  I know that some of it has to do with Brandon and my loosey-goosey attitude the past few months between new jobs and bball.  But he's also been pretty whiny and complainy about homework and reading too.  So, we're working really hard everyday on top of his homework to do some focused reading practices so that when he's re-tested next Friday, he'll hopefully be up at least two levels...and if not, he doesn't get to attend the first indoor baseball practice of the season (!) so we've got some pretty heavy weight on this one to keep him motivated!

Loving brandon's beard.  still.  like major.

Making these cinnamon sugar cream-cheese roll-ups for snow day breakfast and these blueberry, banana muffins (with some over-ripe bananas that I had hoarded in the freezer!).  For dinners, we've had brocolli & wild rice soup, Ranch baked porkchops (one of the kids' all-time favorites), Korean beef over rice, chicken & gravy over mashed potatoes (another huge kid favorite!), crispy shrimp over noodles, Mongolian beef in the crockpot (just meh), and a doctored up frozen pizza with jalapenos & pineapple for Brandon and I to celebrate the last regular season basketball game!  And for dessert, hot cocoa cookies!