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 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: 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?

Monday, August 1, 2016

Couple of Weeks Recap

1. 21 days left of summer break. I AM NOT EVEN KIDDING. Make it stop.

2. We've had a really busy/fun couple of weeks. I took the kids to the beach for a few days last week. We stayed in Cape May and it was busy and hot and fun. We got to see friends we hadn't seen all year (who happened to be at the shore as well!) which was so fun.

3. Did anyone else watch the RNC and DNC? Man. I can't even believe this year in politics. Dumb and dumber. Although I did like both Obama's speeches (especially Michelle's "when they go low, we go high." yes!). For as many policy differences as I have with the Obama's, I have so appreciated their focus on good parenting, keeping their marriage strong, and maintaining 8 years of a scandal-free White House.

4. My two closest-age sisters Emily & Anna have returned/moved to their homes in Rwanda and Central America. It's always sooooo fun for me when they are home and just crushing when they leave. I have low-grade depression for days afterward, no joke. Sisters who live near each other: appreciate it!! My 3 little sisters are home for a couple more months before they head off to college in NC, and home in FL.

5. I suppose I am ready (IN SOME WAYS ONLY) to return to the structure and routine of the school year. My personal goals really need daily routine to be achieved and while I LOVE summer with all my heart, I know that goals and good habits are good for me. I suppose I will reluctantly embrace the school year when it gets here. MAYBE.

6. Friday I drove 162 miles home from the beach with the kiddos. Saturday I drove 202 miles (roundtrip) to my cousin's engagement cookout with Olivia. Sunday, my friend and I drove 248 miles with the three younger kids to pick up my niece and nephew from Laguardia (they are here for the week!) Over 600 miles in 3 days is for sure a record for me! (Minus our road trips to MO of course :))

7. My kids have their cousins here for the week... and they are so happy. Bonus for me is that I am way more efficient at getting stuff done when the kids are happily occupied for hours on end. :)

Sunday, July 17, 2016

The Sunday 7

1. Last week the Olympic women's gymnastics team was picked. When I showed Olivia the picture of the team she grinned. When I said "what?" She said "two of them are brown like me!" When I told her the girl in front (Simone Biles) is actually the best gymnast in the entire world, her eyes got huge... and she grinned even bigger. White parents of brown kiddos, it's important that your kids know that people who look like them can and do succeed in every area of life. (#representationmatters :))

 Go Team USA! We're on the Olympic games countdown around here.


2. The recent events with police shootings have been hard on all of us. One of the hardest things about having a spouse in law enforcement is the ever-present awareness that my kids could grow up without a dad... that random police shooting are a real thing. Dan is an amazing dad and it's hard to live in the tension that, one day, unexpectedly, our kids could lose that, forever.

I know there are bad apples in every bunch, but please.... The vast majority of police officers are really good people who willingly choose to put their lives on the line for you and me every day, for minimal thanks or pay, and truly, all they want to do is do their job well and go home safely at the end of the day. Doing this hard work affects their bodies and brains and families, and, in my experience, the effects of this stress can feel like PTSD. I know racism and abuses of power exist, and I am not here to excuse that behavior-- it is absolutely wrong and should be treated as such. But the law enforcement community is so beaten down right now. They are hurting. The great majority of officers do good work, protect and serve their communities with dignity in the fave of trying circumstances. and they do a darn good job of it. If you see an officer while you're out and about, tell them thanks. Drop cookies or a box of joe off at the station you drive by every day. Please support the men & women who do the hard work of protecting all of us. You have my personal gratitude!

3. Last week the kids went to day camp every day from 9-3. Emily was still in town so we went shopping almost every day ... nothing too glamorous, just the old faves Target, Old Navy, etc. It was so much fun. The kids loved camp and were utterly exhausted at the end of the week. Praise the Lord! haha.

4. Will decided he'd like to try tennis, so we've been knocking a ball around on the local courts. It's funny how none of the kids wanted anything to do with tennis until I got out there with a ball, and then they were ALL all about it!

5. Selina left Friday morning. We are going to KC next month to help Dan's parents with settling in and unpacking, and we fly in and out of Laguardia. We plan to snag Selina on our way home so she can spend another week with us! She's a treat to have around, and we are happy to have the opportunity to have her back again.

6. The weather has been great lately... hot and sunny. We've been at the lake almost every day. The kids are at great ages where they can kayak, hike, play, go off the rope swing, etc. for the most part, all independently. It's really nice... I am loving this stage of motherhood!

7. Five weeks of summer left. MAKE IT STOP.