Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Saturday 7

Posting on a Tuesday! ahhhhh that feels right. ;)

1. Last week was a blur! Dan's parents arrived Tuesday so I spent Monday doing school and then running around trying to get all our ducks in a row. Tristan has been asking me for two weeks to get him a haircut, so clearly not totally on top of things yet.

2. We had a lovely visit with my inlaws! (The big kids were off school on Friday, and I picked them up early on Weds. so they didn't miss out too much. :)) The weather was perfect and the trees are just about at their peak color... so beautiful.

3. Dan and I left Thursday at noon for Philly... headed to Cali for the weekend! We got to MN just fine and then, in a comedy of errors, sat for 153 min. on the tarmac, before we finally got off en route to Orange County.

4. We arrived around 10:30p and just squeaked into the rental car place before they closed at 11. We rented a convertible Camaro (which was FUN!!!) We got to the Airbnb and crashed and then (thanks to the 3-hr time change) were out the door running early the next day! We were right near the beaches (Laguna Beach, Newport Beach) and it was PERFECT. Sunny, high 70's, open roads, hair blowing in the wind, gorgeous coastline, amazing food... (also, side note: traveling without kids is AMAZING.)

5. FOOD. We found an amazing french breakfast place... also got seafood as much as possible. (Dan did anyway. ;)) On our last night we ate at a seafood place right on the pier in San Clemente. (We drive the Pacific Coast Highway all the way down and it was literally to die for.) I was in a perpetual state of bliss! (Even though I only ate veggie fettuccine alfredo, haha ;)) It's like a whole different country out there. There is so much money in that area... you see so many insanely expensive cars and homes ...and the endless stores and restaurants... it's just crazy! Everything's so accessible and the diversity is amazing (sadly so unlike what I'm used to here in NEPA.)

6. My cousin/BFF Rebecca lives in Long Beach (not far from where we were), and I had randomly been texting with her hubby on Friday, the first morning we were there. I wasn't going to try to see her (it being our anniversary getaway and all...) but Dan was so sweet and insisted we try to surprise her for her birthday (which was Saturday.) So Anupam and I set up a dinner surprise at a sushi place (her favorite one, it turned out) and she was totally and completely surprised. It was fantastic! We all just sat and ate sushi and laughed and talked for over 3 hours... it was just perfect.

7. We flew home first thing Sunday morning. The trip was so short and yet so full of fun and good memories... I hope we can go back, maybe in 4 years for our 20th. ;) Next weekend we are going camping... so stay tuned for that fun adventure update next week! :)

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Sunday 7

posting on the actual weekend... progress. ;)

1. The first presidential debate happened on Monday... did anyone watch it? I've watched literally zero post-debate analysis since then but my thoughts about it are many and nuanced. Still on the #NeverTrump train and hoping that Johnson is allowed to debate next time. I don't love him/his platform either, but at this point, I think anyone besides Trump or Hillary is a win for America.

2. Dan was gone in PHL for swat team training much of the week. When that happens I am usually exhausted and in bed by 9:30. Four kids in a zillion (ok not that many) activities leaves me with my head spinning, (more mentally than physically tired.) Only one month left of soccer season and then we get three weeknights at home back and home cooked family dinners resume. Right now we're eating together at best twice a week and that also mentally tires me. Apparently I'm more of a 1960's house wife than I would have thought, haha.

3. Hallie is loving horseback riding and I'm so happy for her! It's so rewarding to find an activity you love and that loves you back.... like me and hiking. I'm sure most people think hauling 20 (30?) pounds on your back while hiking 20+ miles of hilly terrain is crazy. But whatever, because I love it, and hobbies are all about discovering what you love and doing THAT!

4. Thursday night Dan and I went to a fundraiser for CASA (our county's "court-appointed special advocates" ... they work to make sure kids in foster care get the legal care possible.) I'm not a huge fundraiser girl but it ended up being a fun night because we left early and went out to eat! So bonus date night. :) I feel like even if I cant give my kids 100%, they will still be ok, because... well tbh all the odds are pretty much stacked in their favor. (and the grace of God, but you know what I mean.) For kids in foster care, even 10% of someone's time can be what makes or breaks their entire future. And that's kind of a big deal, you know? Right now, (with two kids still home full-time) I'm not really positioned to do much, but in the future, it's definitely on my radar.

5. Will has started dishwashing at our local cafe... did I mention this before? I feel like I did. Anyway,  he worked 7.5 hours on Saturday! I'm so proud of him and his hard work ethic. He also gets paid $8+ an hour, so he's gonna be Mr. Moneybags here shortly. ;)

6. Podcasts! Anyone listen to Malcolm Gladwell's one called Revisionist History? I find it fascinating. I particularly loved the 3-part mini series he did in the middle of the season starting with "Carlos Doesn't Remember." (yes, underprivileged kids is a recurring theme of topics I care about!) Also anyone listen to Seminary Dropout? My favorite recent episodes have been with guests Christine Caine on Shame, Immigration and Freedom and Lisa Sharon Harper on The Very Good Gospel: How Everything Wrong Can be Made Right. Also: I love discussions with my whole heart so if anyone has anything to say on any of the above, please do comment! ;)

7. Yesterday was a very a-typically slow Saturday around here. I took Olivia to her soccer game in the morning and then spent the rest of the day at home. I was miraculously caught up on laundry and cleaning, so I read a bit (currently reading the old fave "I Capture the Castle") and then Hallie and I made pumpkin choco-chip muffins and I made homemade bread and potato corn chowder for dinner. (Even though I am home a lot of the time, I feel like I am always so busy! School! Laundry! Cleaning! Kid activities!) So it was such a treat to be home and have time to be able to make yummy treats for my family. (I guess I actually am a 1960's housewife, lol.)

Monday, September 26, 2016

Saturday 7

on a Monday. That's about right, isn't it?!

1. Rachel and I finished our hike last weekend in great spirits. I only got two small blisters, which for me, was great. Side note: I really need to get better hiking shoes ...but I'm in denial. ;) I tell myself I'm still just breaking them in (because I just got them last spring) which is SO RECENTLY but they have put in over 40 miles ...so if they're not broken in yet, I'm not sure they ever will be. I think the problem is that the boots are great, but they are lightweight and not meant for hiking over boulders and rock trails for hours and hours. Oh well. The hike itself was fabulous (although we ended up on a detour that added 3-4 miles unexpected miles to our trek) and the rain that was supposed to happen all day Sunday didn't show till Monday so we were very pleased about that. 22 more miles down and many more to go!

2. My twin nieces turned 6 last week and I took the girls down to Philly for their ballet-themed party. They had so much fun ... it's just so fun to see all the kids growing up! They all play together so well.

3. Hallie started horseback riding lessons. She took a half-hour lesson to start and came home proclaiming that she is already ready to move up to hour-long lessons. haha. She's riding my sister's horse Cappy, who is a kind old gentle horse, perfect for learning. And he still loves jumping, so that's a bonus!

4. I've been having issues with all of our appliances (dishwasher, microwave, oven) for the past few months but was in denial (is this a theme!? I think I just hate spending money.) Anyway, I finally decided to have Sears come out and repair the dishwasher and oven (the microwave somehow miraculously started working properly again) and it's been fantastic. As the main person who uses these items, and as the only person who really knows/ notices when they are not working properly, its soooo nice to have everything working as it should!

5. I kind of want to try yoga. Do any of you reading this do yoga? I've been realizing lately that I am not as flexible as I used to be (although maybe it's just the hike working itself out, lol) ... anyway, I thought yoga might be the thing I need to fix it. I've never tried it before so I'm a little intimidated. I probably will not do anything about it and just be stiff, haha. Not sure I realistically have time to throw at flexibility/ yoga classes right now.

6. Will started his first "real" job last weekend-- he's washing dishes at the cafe down the street on Saturdays. He came home after 5 hours totally exhausted, lol.  He is excited to be earning $$ and is a hard worker, so I'm sure he will do great!

7. Next week Dan's parents come to visit (yay!!) and Dan and I are heading to California for the weekend (yay!!!) This is a 15th and 16th anniversary trip rolled into one. I'm sure we will have a great time. :)

Friday, September 16, 2016

Saturday 7

I know, I know-- I'm a day early in a trend that has had me consistently late for months. I've also been up since 5, so things are all kinds of weird around here. ;)

1. Tonight I leave for 18.6 miles on the AT. We've done all the mileage close to us so now we are driving about an hour (I know, that's still really very close!) to drop one car, then 40 minutes to drop the other and set up camp at the trailhead. Two days and relatively low mileage means more lounging by the campfire at night and lazier mornings. I like. ;)

2. Four weeks in to the school year and it's going amazingly well. Everyone's adjusted to the new routines like champs! I'm really happy with how everything is going so far. It's so nice when things just work and it's not a fight everyday!

3. I walk with my friend several mornings each week (before the kids are up!) and now when we walk, there is steam coming off the lake every day... this means the lake is losing heat and that summer is almost over. I was sad about this but the kids were very excited because that means fall (and fall means Christmas is next!) 

4. Today is Dan's and my 16th anniversary! Who could have known all those years ago when those 18 and 22 year old kids said "I will" that we'd be here 16 years later?! I'm so grateful for the life we have built and for so much about who Dan is. I feel very lucky!

5. Hallie's been asking to start taking horseback riding lessons, so I called my sister's instructor, and ...we are a go! I hope she likes it and sticks with it... It's a great life skill! I haven't ridden in years but I think that it's still something that could come in handy one day... if the world falls apart. haha

6.  The kids are so into building fires in our back porch fireplace right now. I think we are on day 4 or 5 of daily fires! There's something about fall weather that makes sitting by a fire so cozy. Dan had court in Philly yesterday (which is across the street from Reading Terminal Market, an enormous indoor farmers' market) and he brought home a bunch of goodies for dessert last night. So we all ate caramel apples and pastries while sitting around the blazing fire. All the heart eyes!! 

7. I've been having the younger kids make their own lunches every day. At first they were resistant but now they think it's a great adventure. And it frees me up to get other stuff done, so win-win. More independent kids and more free time later for everyone when the big kids get home! :)

Monday, September 12, 2016

Saturday 7 (x3)

Somehow the last three weekends have gotten away from me and I haven't even stopped to write anything down! Back to school is always a crazy stressful hectic fun exciting time... but I'm not sure I can blame it entirely on that! At any rate, here's some of what we've been up to for the last 3 weeks. (I write a lot about the stuff that takes up most of my days {homeschooling, kids sports/etc. practices, time spent at the lake...} so today I'm going to try to write about the other "invisible" things that make up daily life around here!

1. I started bullet journaling last week. I read this article: http://www.thelazygeniuscollective.com/blog/how-to-bullet-journal and just decided to jump in. So far so good. I still use google calendars though. :)

2. I made a new year's resolution last year to work out (loosely defined as breaking a sweat for 30ish minutes) 3x/week this year. I can't say I've made it 3x every week, but I'd say I've done 2-3 most weeks... and that's pretty good for someone who sticks to exercise habits like ...nothing ever. -___- I'm an all-or-nothing "train for a triathlon or half marathon then do jack squat for the next 6 months" girl for sure. So I'm pretty proud of the consistency even if the results of all my efforts are negligible. (Why does food have to be so goooooood.... ;) haha)

3. I've been going through 8 years of homeschooling material and listing what I don't need online. It's so nice to clean out my shelves and get rid of stuff... especially stuff that other people can use! Speaking of homeschooling, (while I love the education and experience that my older two kids are getting at our local public charter school, and wouldn't change a thing about it!) homeschooling does have its perks. This morning it was cold (in the 40's) after a long spell of hot weather, and Tristan asked to build a fire in our back porch fireplace. After he used up the few logs we had left out there, he got out his quad and a rope and is currently out there dragging logs out of the woods so he can keep the fire going. I guess we'll start school a little later this morning. :)

4. We're getting a new fridge today. (I am inordinately excited about this.) I've been looking at them for awhile, as several times this summer we've really needed the extra fridge space. I found the model I'd been looking at for an amazing deal last week (yay labor day sales!) and I'm so happy to not only have a new fridge but to have our old one moving into the garage so we will have overflow space... for every week when I get home with enough food feed the army that is my family!

5. Upcoming fun: Dan's and my 16th anniversary is Friday. However, the only weekend my friend Rachel and I could make work for our biannual hiking trip this fall was this one, so Dan graciously offered to let me go anyway! Very excited to get back out on the trail again. We are planning to do 18.5 miles if all goes well. Then in October, Dan's parents are coming for a weekend so he and I can get away! We haven't been away overnight in about 18 months, so that will be fantastic. The following weekend, we are meeting up with some of our old friends from our first church in St. Louis for a camping weekend in Ohio. We haven't seen each other since we were all newlyweds, and now we have 10 kids between us! Should be a great time. :) And finally, my sister in law Liz and I are hoping to do a backpacking trip together at the end of October. We've been trying to plan something for a year, and it looks like it might finally come together! We're hoping to do Canyonlands and Arches National Parks, Which would be a dream come true/bucket list/amazing birthday present to myself! Speaking of which, I turn 35 in a couple months... yikes.

6. The kids had a four-day weekend over Labor Day, and it was so perfect. We went camping for two nights and played at the lake, sat around a bonfire with neighbors and friends, and played manhunt way into the evening. I'm so grateful for our community and friends here. We have so much to be grateful for!

7. My sister Anna got engaged a couple weeks ago and we are sooooo excited for her! We are hoping to get down to Guatemala to see her and meet her fiancé Kennet in December. Yay for love and summer weddings ...and travel to warm places in winter! (haha)

Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Saturday 7 / End of Summer

1. Well that's it. Summer 2016 is officially in the books. Tomorrow morning I walk with my friend from 6:30-7:30, come home to family devotions, packing lunches, making breakfasts ands scooting out the door by 8:15 with my big 7th and 6th graders. Home a few minutes later to clean up from breakfast, (hopefully) start a load of laundry and straight up a bit, and start homeschool with my 1st and 4th graders by 9:00! I give myself (and the kids) a lot of grace the first week... routines are hard to get back into, so I don't expect perfection... but at least we will be heading in the right direction! 

2. This week has been a weeks of "lasts". Blueberry picking, night swimming, sand-pile climbing and jumping, rope-swinging-in-the-rain, etc. Whatever fun thing the kids wanted to do, I tried hard to say "yes!" Summer is short and the kids are only this age once... plus Selina and the kids' cousins were in town, adding to the chaos and making everything just that much more adventurous and fun. :)

3. Soccer season is back in full swing as well, so for the next three months, I'll be spending 4 nights a week at the local rec park. Awesome. (haha.) I only have 2 kids playing; I can't imagine how my parents made it work with me and my siblings (4 of us) playing on 6 teams at the same time. I certainly appreciate their sacrifice, and I love love loved playing soccer for our local rec team and our local "travel" team. Sports were one of my very favorite things growing up, and they played a big part in shaping who I am today... it's important to me to try my very best to give that experience to my kids as well! 

4. Will doesn't play "official" sports, but he's been taking tennis lessons with a neighbor kid once a week, and he loves it. It's funny, you just never know what will click with your kids! Will hated playing baseball and soccer, but he loves boy scouts, theater, and tennis. Kids are all so different and unique - I love it! He doesn't really love karate per se, but he started taking it with Tristan and now wants to stick with it so he can out-rank Tristan.... gotta love a little "brotherly love" for motivation! 

5.  Hallie takes flute lessons year-round, and will start back up with art lessons next month. She's super strong and athletic, but like Will, hasn't really clicked with a team sport. I'm trying to get her to go to weekly yoga with me this fall... we'll see. haha. She's really a home body and, especially during the school year, doesn't like to be busy with extra activities during the week. She'd rather be reading in her room! :)

6. Tristan is all about basketball and soccer... and does karate twice a week. He loves his team sports fiercely, and is a great team player and encourager. I love watching him play! He puts his whole heart in whatever he does and gives it his very best. 

7. Olivia is playing soccer and so far, that's it. She's only six so I don't feel too bad about it. :) She wants to take dance and gymnastics and do theater, but with Dan's work schedule being what it is (unpredictable) and me being what I am (one person ;)), I have to really work to make it all fit. And family dinners are still a priority to me, so I have to fight to make sure we are all sitting down together at least a couple times a week! (Ahh the trials of the modern family. ;)) Not really. I love my life and I love seeing my kids do what they love, and watching them grow and develop into really awesome people. And making it all work is one of the chief joys of my occupation! :)

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Another Couple of Weeks Recap

1. We got home early Friday morning from a week spent in Kansas City, helping Pop & Mima move into/ unpack/ decorate their new house in Kansas City. It was a great week spent working hard and filled with lot of laughs, time with family, and good food. (All my favorite things.) :)

2. We had a bit of a fiasco getting home from MO. Long story short, we ended up driving 9 hours  home from Charlotte NC and yesterday, on one of the most beautiful weekends of the summer, we had to drive to NYC to get my van back. Ugh. The upside is that we were able to pick up Selina to spend another week with us! Downside is that Laguardia's parking is a complete & total nightmare.

3. I'm not ready for school to start. One week from Monday?! Yuck. Yuck. Yuck. This means we have one week left to finish our summer bucket list items, including bike riding to a local deli for lunch and having a family water fight!

4. The Olympics are in full swing but since we don't have cable (insert annoyed, angry face) I can't watch them except for recap clips. (I am mostly just annoyed that the kids don't get to witness my hard core fandom.)

5. Will is getting braces in 3 weeks... poor kiddo. But all his friends are too, so I don't feel too bad. ;)

6. It has been HOT here the last week! Selena requested that we go blueberry picking this week, so I'm hoping there are still berries left on the bushes. Somehow I haven't even gotten out to the farm once this summer! Our pancakes will be in sad shape this winter.

7. Our summer travels have come to an end, which makes me both sad and happy. I don't mind the slower pace of life, but I sure do love the ability to pick up and go as well. Sigh. That's life, isn't it?