Around Here Twelve - 3/17-3/23

Saturday, March 25, 2017

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

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 27+ hours (of 1000)
We had some beautiful weather mixed with really chilly weather this week.  The girls and I headed outside one afternoon and explored all the deer paths we could find since the weeds aren't all overgrown yet in 'the tunnel' (two rows of parallel pine trees between us and the neighbors).  The girls climbed trees and picked up pine cones and danced in the fields behind the house.  It always feels like a hassle to get every suited up in coats and boots and trek outside, but I've never regretted it - no matter how much of a starved, overtired tantrum it might (always) dissolve into.

Reading The Gift of an Ordinary Day by Katrina Kenison 

Getting tricked by that sneaky leprechaun! He did fall in our trap, but then cut a hole in the box and escaped!  He even left us one single gold (chocolate) coin just to tease us! That mischievous little guy!!

Celebrating (although bittersweetly) the end of indoor soccer season.  It was a great season and really brought out something in our Gemmi Ro that wasn't there before (balance, control, and a love for the game!) Grey grew so much this year and learned so much about passing the ball and helping his teammates learn too - while also pushing himself to play on the 8-10 year old team (and really compete!) It was an awesome season!

Participating in a local author's fair at our library as The Hunting Daddies.  It was a great event and our first time on the other side of the biz.  We usually attend Outdoor expos where everyone is already interested in our topic - but this time we learned so much talking with people who know the difficulties and struggles that come with book creation, publishing, and marketing.  It was nice to do some networking and have a chance (for me) to talk with other writers...where I also dipped my toe back into talking about picking up my novel again and maybe getting into a local writer's monthly group.  It's got my brain and heart spinning again which I am grateful for.

Spending time on the slopes!  The snow tubing slopes!  My parents and sisters took the two big kids out on Saturday after the soccer games (the little ones stayed with Pap and Gigi) and then after the author fair, Bud and I drove out to watch them have the best time ever ("!!!") The kids loved it big time and loved being with their aunts and grandparents (and I loved seeing how much our kids keep our parents young, moving, playing, and giggling!)

Introducing some Waldorf learning into our home routine.  I still harbor some worries about Gem's learning styles (especially when it comes to the alphabet & name recognition) so I've been doing some research and so much of what I've read up on Waldorf sounds so much like Gemma - it just feels like her.  So I've been incorporating some of their methods in how we do things at home.  I have requested her help in the kitchen (cooking, dishes) everyday this week and we've been making a point to make meals feel a little more special (candles, place settings).  We've also been using natural elements (painting pinecones) and doing more music and  movement together.  It's definitely engaging for her which is promising.  And after Gemma's kindergarten Dial4 testing this week, I got a chance to chat with a few of the K teachers afterwards and they gave me a lot of fun suggestions for working on the alphabet with Gemma which was helpful and encouraging.  We have more work to do before the end of August, and we are both excited about digging in and learning together.

Kon Mari'ing the upstairs linen closet (100 small things task!) which looks incredibly less stressful now.  Then I headed into the upstairs play area and I cleared out a half-busted bookcase that has been burning the back of my mind for months.  And then that domino'ed me into sifting through my book collection where I was able to donate/share my books with five other people who will get to enjoy them! (thanks facebook!) After the book case was cleared out, I went bananas with the toys and what a difference a garbage bag and an afternoon can make!  The kids love the less-is-more feel of it and keep claiming that they'll keep it clean (HAH!) but so far it's been good actually and they have been so much more engaged in their play now that there is less to play with!

Missing Daddy all week while he was away for a school admin conference for four days/three nights.  The kids were all pretty well behaved and helped a lot - but we were all feeling the aches of homesickness while missing Brandon.

Making irish soda muffins for breakfast on St. Patrick's day (so yum!) grilled church picnic chicken (one of our favorites!) with grilled veggies to celebrate the first day of spring! We had sloppy joes one night and baked pork chops (bread crumbs & dried italian) with green bean almondine.  We also got a waffle maker and I preceded to cook every.thing. in the waffle maker for a whole day (hahhha!) I scrambled eggs in it, made churros, and pizza wafflewiches.  (I may need an intervention).  And Gemma made (mostly by herself with direction) baked ravioli and korean beef.

Around Here Eleven - 03/10-03/16

Friday, March 17, 2017

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

Intentional Outdoor hours: 24+ hours (of 1000)
ugh.  too cold. I was out for under 10 minutes the other day but I'm not even including it because I was miserable and the wind made my eyes water.  The kids are doing a lot better than me and have been out almost daily for at least a half hour.  Their little skin is tougher than mine!  I can't wait for it to warm up a little bit so I can get back to running.  I'm a wimp, but that cold air hurts my throat and lungs to breathe it in!

Reading The Gift of an Ordinary Day by Katrina Kenison and loved this bit: "It occurs to me that perhaps I don't have to push at life quite so hard after all, that sometimes the best thing we can do is allow our lives simply to take us where we need to go." -pg.86

Buzzing through the weekend with lots of plans and places to go. The kids are down to their final two weeks of soccer (Grey played three games back to back on Saturday for an hour and half! He loved every second of it). Then Gem and I headed out to a baby shower for our cousin while the little two kids spent the afternoon at my parents' house.  Grey and B headed out to watch a jr. high basketball tourney and then attended BBgun shooting league.  Sunday buzzed by with teaching CCD and attending church, then indoor baseball practice for Grey and then he got to go ice skating with cousin Caleb (thank you Heather!) By the time Sunday night rolls around, we're tired again! hahaha, so much for relaxing weekends, but I supposed that's how life goes with kids, amirite?

Giddy to watch Rusty work on his baby sign language.  He's up to three consistent signs now (All done, More, and Sleepy) and we're working on 'Play' and 'Bath.'  He looks downright relieved and proud to communicate to us too.  He had the biggest, sweetest smile the other day when I asked if he was done and instead he signed More and I gave him a few more marshmallows. (his super favorite).

Cozied up with our whole family for two snow days in a row!  Now that B works in education, he was home with us too and we spent the days lounging around, making enormous messes (the kids), cleaning up (all of us), and trying to get healthy again after letting common winter viruses make homes in our sinuses for the last few months.  It was glorious to all be together and to have not a literal thing to have to do or a place to go.  We did not leave the house in 48 hours and it was amazing.

Completing our March Madness tourney brackets.  My sister organized a family poll for the kids and I found these awesome kid-friendly mascot March Madness brackets from Simple Play Ideas that they are having so much fun with.  All three were excited to circle the real winners after yesterday's games and were so engaged in those final few moments of the Northwestern/Vandy game (our house was split on that one!) B and I filled out ours to compete against each other (100 small things list goal!) and he will not stop teasing me about Winthrop which I chose to be a Cinderella team making it all the way to the elite8! (oops!)

Making crockpot three pack roast, Rich man's Ramen, this slow cooker general Tsao's chicken and jalapeno popper chicken wraps for Bud and I (while the kids had the never-fail chicken & gravy over mashed potatoes).  Grey and I have been on a poached eggs for breakfast kick (random but delish). The girls also helped make these cream cheese chocolate chip cookies (literal best cookies I've ever made in my life), and the two big kids helped make green shamrock shaped Spritz cookies for St. Pat's!

two things about love.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

our dearest kids, 
Daddy and I have been together for eighteen years.  

I have been kissing Daddy for over half my life!  

This is not all that impressive to you guys because Daddy and I have been kissing for ALL of your lives, but believe us - when you grow up, kissing the same person for over half your life is a long, long time. 

Now, we aren't claiming to be experts at love...but we do have a lot of the experience in the things that is needed to make one an expert.  For example, that 10,000 hours theory?  we blow that thing out of the water.  

And have great mentors?  yep, got those in our parents, grandparents, and lots of friends who have great love and inspire us to continue to work at it no matter what challenges pop up.  

And we encourage each other everyday towards the 'deliberate practice,' living out love in more ways than just 'showing up.' 

So, in those ways, we have a little bit to offer you, our babies about what we've learned about love. 

Mainly, it comes down to two, big things: The first is that there are ups and downs in love.  
let me say that again, there are ups and downs - no matter how much you love each other, no matter how amazing it feels in the ups - there will be downs.   

Understanding this has been liberating for Daddy and I, because when we've been in the middle of a down, we anchor ourselves in the knowledge that the up is in our future; that we'll get out of this rut or argument or whatever it might be that has us questioning everything about our relationship and get back to a place where nothing makes sense without the other.  

And, truly, knowing there are downs in the future has helped us to keep our ups humble.  When we're on an up (like we are right now), it can feel invincible - which is amazing and makes up for any of the down parts in the past.  it is the bit of life that makes everything better.  

But, the ups can also make the downs feel worse than they actually are.  So, knowing that the ups are part of a longer track that have lots more ups and downs up ahead, help us to cherish and soak in all that joy but with a sense that we've worked hard to get here and there will be more work to do in the future too.  There is no 'we've made it' in love; no ending destination - that's why they say, 'in good times and in bad,' because that is what love is - a long winding path of good and bad.

The other thing we've learned about love is that it takes a willingness to bend.  Lots of times on the ride, especially in the transitions to the ups, someone is going to need to be the one to adjust.  It shouldn't always be the same someone who is making adjustments - but someone needs to give a little.  Otherwise, if there is no bending, it breaks. 

It's doing the thing you don't feel like doing because you'd rather bend than break.  It's realizing and acknowledging and being grateful when the other person is doing the thing they don't feel like doing to bend rather than break.  It's not holding all those bends in a grudge inside your heart to throw out later.  It's sharing life's burden of constant adaptation with another person.  And in sharing that little bit, you also get to share the incredible gift of life's joy (doubled!) and life's sorrows (halved). 

So, babies, the thing about love is it's unpredictable in it's bumpiness but predictable in the way that there will be ups and downs, no matter who your riding partner is. And it's unpredictable in how much you will need to bend, and how often and how much and how often your partner will need to bend...but predictable in the fact that you will need to be flexible and so will your partner.  

your parents' love is not perfect, it is messy and hard and beautiful and safe and exciting and familiar...but not at all perfect.

our love is not perfect and never will be.
and our life is not perfect and never will be.
but we will keep choosing to love each other
because sharing this unperfect life together 
is worth all of it.

if you learn anything from our love, i hope it's that.

love you forever, 
even when you get bigger than us!
mum & dad