Around Here Sixteen: 04/14-04/20

Saturday, April 22, 2017

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

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 66+ hours (of 1000)
Up 15 hours this week thanks to Fishmas, Easter, and my longest run to date - 10 miles! I was on cloud nine last week with my 8mile run and feeling pretty confident about the upcoming half marathon...then I did 10miles today and changed my tune - hah! Those extra two miles were brutal and I was completely in my own head for every step thinking I was running much farther than I actually was - so defeating! We had some pretty stellar weather this week and I forced myself out of the house early Wednesday morning for a maintenance 3mile run and then sprayed the kids with the hose to their extreme delight one evening (they were covered head to toe in mud and grass!)  I'm so happy spring seems to be here!!

Reading The Gift of an Ordinary Day by Katrina Kenison and all her writing on raising teenagers is making me feel so much more calm about the prospect of having to do it myself sometime (granted, I still have a ways, but it's really giving me incredible insight).  Seeing her teenagers through the lens of remembering herself as a teen and how her parents are now in adulthood is so reflective for me and making me pause and remembering to be grateful for our amazing parents (and kids' grandparents!) Especially this bit, (p. 191) "Take the long view, I reminded myself, looking out across the fields to our own long view.  Life finds its balance. Children grow up. Second chances come along. In the meantime, I could choose to savor this moment. What good would it do to allow annoyance to interfere with gratitude? My own dear mother - the bane of my existence at seventeen - was downstairs right now, on her knees, scrubbing a bathtub."

Visiting our newest best friend, Baby Tessa, who was born last week.  We all loaded down into Sheila and headed out with a pizza lunch and frozen meals in hand to visit that sweet girl and her parents who we love so much (and her furbrother!)  It is with such happy hearts that we got to meet her and see the new family in action together.  It brought back so many memories for B and I about having our Greyson, just him!, and those feelings of exhaustion and everything being new and scary - what a long time ago it seems, but also not long at all.  Oh, time, always with your bewitching ways.

Celebrating Fishmas!  It was the first day of trout on Saturday, so B and Grey spend the night at camp while the girls and I and Rusty made our way with Gigi out to lunch and to get our pedicures - an annual tradition.  After our pampering, we headed out to fishing camp too and spend the rest of the afternoon listening to the creek and enjoying family company.  We all headed back home together to scrub down the kids, whip up some of my Grandma's sugar cookies - Easter themed- and then get everyone into bed before the Easter bunny arrived! 

Celebrating some more for Easter!  We woke up to Easter baskets from the bunny and a mini egg hunt out on the front porch that Bullet totally tried to sabotage by sniffing all the eggs out and biting them open to spill the jelly beans and m&ms everywhere (HAH!) Then we got dressed and headed off for Easter breakfast at Pappy & Gigi's house.  Next was church followed by Easter lunch at Abba & Chum's house with our extended Adams family (including an egg hunt and soccer game!)  We ended the night with Easter dinner at Mimi's house with more baskets and candy and a beautiful double rainbow as we were leaving!  It was a very busy but so very very blessed Easter day with family. 

Baseball'ing with two games this week for Grey!  He's doing great and totally obsessed.  We are figuring out what it's going to take to keep every occupied for games (snacks, toys, strollers, carriers, etc)..I'll report back when I figure out what works best (hah).  Gem has only had tball practice at this point, but her season kicks in this weekend - so it's about to swing into high gear.

Giggling about the girls and their silliness. They have been all sister-besties for the past few weeks - wardrobe changes multiple times a day, packing bags and purses with lip gloss and accessories to cart all around the house and outside, and pretending to be either friends, best friend moms, or mom&daughter.  Now, they want to share the bottom bunk, then the top bunk the next night, then the bottom bunk.  Yeesh, these two - too much drama for their mama!

Budgeting and planning as we got our tax return check and so we're making plans for the upcoming year.  We are still adjusting to Brandon's (lower) income from the job change, but would still never trade the money for the time we get with him now (!! ever!) but it's a learning process and we are trying to be very conscious of how we can save to make sure we can do things the rest of the year (like saving for next year's Montana vacation now, and our annual high school scholarship, and setting money aside now for Christmas which always sets us in the hole for the new year).  We're feeling very grateful to have read Dave Ramsey's Total Money Makeover, because even though it's temporarily annoying to not have everything we want right this second, living everyday with minimum debt and within our means has alleviated so much stress.  

Making chicken cordon bleu pasta with some leftover Easter ham (one of my favorite meals!) and grilled ribeye steaks using this recipe with an apple & candied pecan salad on the side, YUM.  I whipped up these peanut butter energy balls that the kids l.o.v.e.  They are really easy and the perfect on-the-way to a baseball game snack enough to hold them over until whining about going to concession stand until at least the third inning!  (win!)

Grey at seven

Thursday, April 20, 2017

hey booboo,
it's official, you're our bonafide big kid.

As every single year that your birthday rolls around, it's astonishing to us that we've made it all the way around a year again.  Your birthday is particularly striking for us as your parents because - not only does it mean we get to celebrate all that is YOU, but also all that we have become as parents, as we didn't exist as parents until your original birthday.  

It too is a moment for us to check our bearings and brace our feet, as each year on your birthday, we're becoming parents of a new, older age child for the first time ever.  It can be overwhelming stuff, little man, especially for your momma.  And thank goodness for your Dad, who recognizes how monumental it is for me and senses when I'm on the brink of tears and offers up a hug and an encouraging, "you're doing awesome, hang in there." 

The truest thing is, Grey, you make us so proud.  
You make us a crazy too, you know that, but mostly you make us so, so proud. 
You are a good boy, a solid decent human being that people of all ages don't mind to be around...which is actually a huge compliment and feat in today's world.  You're polite and generous and thoughtful and every bit of all of the good in Dad and Me.  I know how much pressure you have on you as our first born (I think it's just the way with first borns, I feel ya, dude) but you deliver nearly every time and we are so very grateful to you for that.  We know your younger siblings are watching you and they could not have a better role model than their big brother, Booboo.  (thank you a million times, our sweet, silly Greyson Rudy).  

I know I can trust you and that brings so much peace to my soul.  You are honest with a knee-jerk reaction in kindness.  Granted, you tease your sister Gemma more accurately than anyone on this whole earth will ever be able to do, but even she announces during the school day, "I miss Grey," so your torments to her are still palpable with the love you two share.  Violet adores you and the two of you and your silly antics deserve their own comedy show.  And Rusty is the luckiest little brother anywhere - the way he makes your eyes and smile light up is enough to crack my heart.  He will learn so much from you and what a gift that is for me, to know my babiest son will hopefully grow up to be like my oldest son. 

You are funny and goofy and still run on turbo speed all day, everyday.  You love sports - your hand-eye coordination comes straight from your Dad's DNA and it's incredible to watch you play anything.  You have a very long life ahead of you at fields and courts, that much is obvious - so we are doing everything we can to make sure you learn about being humble and being a leader and an encouraging force for your friends and teammates.  

We also want to make sure you know that being a great athlete is not the best or most important thing about you - it isn't my darling - it is awesome and something to be proud of, but it is not the only thing about you - it's just one little cool piece of a million other incredible traits! 

Don't you worry, I'm learning all about the way boys pull away from their mums, a lesson I always knew was coming, but this year it's showing itself in bigger ways than ever before.  I know it's about growing up and it has nothing to do with me actually, and so I'm trying very hard to be patient and gracious for the practice now in small doses.  

You spent the night before your birthday sleeping over at fishing camp with your Dad, uncles, and cousin and I knew how much that would make your greatest birthday to date - to wake up at fishing camp and spend your first day as a seven year old reeling in fish and playing in the dirt.  That makes me happy too, to see you so joyful - but I was aware deep in my bone marrow that you would wake up an older boy and I would not be there to see it. 

Of course, it wasn't my absence that made your day great - because I imagine, as all children are certain - your own mother is never actually absent because her love clings to your skin and follows you around wherever you are - it only hurts the mother to be away from her children.  And so, my sweet first born, thank you again for these little practices in learning how to be a mom to older kids that are confident in my love enough to leap off our little branch and fly on their own. I am definitely going to need lots of tiny practices, so please move slowly, my baby. 

You are seven, and many times that seems too young for you in the way you act, speak, and care.  I often times need to remind Dad and I that you are ONLY seven.  You are a big kid - our biggest - but you are still only a boy.  We want so much to do right by you, Grey, because you are so deserving of every good, fun, silly thing on this Earth.  

Thank you, Grey, for being exactly you. 
We are so very lucky to be your family.

My darling, 
I love you forever
even when you are so big, even bigger than me!
my sweet booboo.

Around Here Fourteen & Fifteen: 03/31-04/13

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

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

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 51+ (of 1000)
Still running behind in outdoor totals for this same time last year, bummer, but with baseball season ramping up, I'm not too worried.  Hours these past two weekends came playgrounds, and half marathon training (up to 8 miles now!), fishing camp, outdoor celebrations (see below) and time spent with the kids out in the yard.  The weather is really starting to go into full blown spring which brings so much happiness to my soul.  Sunshine seriously can make or break a day for me it feels like sometimes, so it is with a light heart that I embrace spring every year!

Reading The Gift of an Ordinary Day by Katrina Kenison and loved this poem she shared from Galway Kinnel, " is necessary to reteach a thing its loveliness, to put a hand on its brow of the flower and retell it in words and in touch it is lovely until it flowers again from within, of self-blessing." Isn't that just motherhood itself! 

Family Biz'ing for The Hunting Daddies another weekend at the Johnstown Children's book festival.  It was a fun weekend and we got to have one big kid with us for each day which was a nice treat for us and them! We also are so so excited and blessed to announce our newest member to our The Hunting Daddies family:  Baby Tessa.  Our best friends (and biz partners) Jon & Lindsay welcomed their sweet baby girl to Earth last week and we are over the moon to have our kids' lifelong best friend finally out in the world!

Celebrating our seven year old boy! Grey got to have a birthday school lunch with his Dad and friends and then had his best birthday to date as he got to sleep over at fishing camp and spend the whole day fishing with his cousins for Mentor fishing Day.  He loves, loves fishing and was so happy - he has even mastered doing everything by himself:  baiting, casting, and reeling in.  Then on Sunday we had the most perfect, beautiful weather to have an outdoor birthday party for him (shooting the BB gun, playing in the woods, creek, and treehouse, playing soccer, and even getting in a little fishing at a pond near my parents' house).  

Starting baseball season.  Grey is in his second year of machine pitch and Gemmi started Tball for the first time.  Brandon roped me into being his assistant coach for the tball team after the first practice when he came home to announce that coaching 15-18 year old teenage boys was easier than trying to coach 4 & 5 year olds, hah!  We make a pretty good coaching team together at the last practice - I can break things down to the nitty gritty for explanation and keep little short attention spans focused, while B lays out the fundamentals and rules of the game. It will be a fun (and very busy) season!

Kissing Rusty and his booboo face as he has already started taking a few steps, at 10 months, before lurching forward to crash into whatever he's reaching out for.  He's had bruises, brush burns, and scratches on his face and head for a solid two weeks.  He really does prefer to walk though...actually he'd prefer to run but is quickly learning that life don't work like that, little man.  Crawl, walk, THEN run.  He just wants to much to keep up with his big bro and sisters!

Feeling proud of my baby sis Tasha as we celebrated the first year anniversary of the Little Red Mailbox downtown.  It was a beautiful little celebration where we also were able to make inspirational rocks to add to the new rock garden around the mailbox.  As I wrote in my facebook post, it means so much as parent to have real live people in our children's lives to point to as examples of a good person and our kids have so many examples, especially their Aunt Uch.  (love you!!)

Being off my game, I feel like I've been in a little bit of a rut with my normal efficiency speed which is always annoying to me.  I've been forgetting things and been more quick to say 'I'll get to that later' when it's so much better for my soul and state of mind to just do what I can right now.  I know that my phone has something to do with it which is part of the reason I am so looking forward to Screen Free Week this year (May 1-7) and I know part of it has to do with clutter (ugh, always), and another part has to do with really having too much on our plates (ugh, always again).  The other day for Grey's birthday party, I was rushing out the door with cupcakes melting in my front seat, trying to get to my CCD class to teach on time - I was telling myself, "okay, just get through Grey's party, and then you can relax....oh wait, then it's Easter.  Okay, get through Easter...oh wait, then it's baseball.." I finally settled for, "Okay, get through eighteen years, yes only eighteen more years, and then we can relax."  I keep wondering when I'm going to get the hang of this four kid-different schedules-house chores-appointment keeping- holiday tradition'ing-being on time to anything - balancing adulthood gig...and it appears that maybe the answer is never..? Maybe I need to be okay with it always feeling like you never get the hang of it, but finding the moments of joy where they come and looking around and realizing this chaotic messy life is perfect in its own right.  It sounds easier than it is when it feels like you keep dropping your juggling balls, but I'll sure continue to try!

Making crumb topped chicken supreme, Taco tuesdays, chicken parm roll-ups (devoured!), frozen pizza, and mustard & dry rub country-style pork ribs on the grill, .  The girls and I made these brownie mix cookies and they were delicious (do you know the secret to perfect cookies?  It's putting the dough in the refrigerator for an hour or so before you bake them - makes all the difference!) We are heading into the season of concession stand dinners - so if anyone has any 'to go' type meals that are easy to make & pack & eat at the baseball field, please share!