Sunday, October 30, 2016

Sunday 7

1. This week has flown by! I knew it would after I'd been gone most of last week, but really. Here we are at the end of October and at the end of our travels!... until next month. ;)

2. Last week was just a whole bunch of catch up for me. Schoolwork, cooking, dog to the groomer, soccer practices (though we're done now-- hooray!) and that twice-yearly evil: switching over the kids seasonal clothes. Which, really, needs its own number...

3. Switching out the kids' clothes! Gah! I always start small... I think to myself, I won't tackle it all; I'll just do this one little part, right here... and then 6 days later, after 4 kids closets have been overhauled and rooms decluttered and rearranged (and several meltdowns later... on all our parts...) we are ready to go for another new season. This year I actually sorted the outgrown stuff of the older two and boxed it up for the younger two in a couple years. I always save most of their stuff to hand down but I don't usually sort it by size as I go... I think this new system will be a big help to me next spring. We shall see. I love being done  with the process; and actually, the work of overhauling I don't mind overall; the problem is that it quickly becomes an enormous project that takes over all my free time. This also means we are eating rather crummy dinners for a week, as I am so engrossed that I'm popping out of closets at 5pm, with nary a thought of food for the family...It's so nice to be done though! I also went through all our snow gear, so I know what we need when we head to Cabela's on our annual pilgrimage in a few weeks. ;)

4. I've rearranged our living room furniture as well. It must have been all the upstairs work that got me going! I don't touch anything for a year, and then suddenly I'm buzzing around like a tornado. LOL. My poor family. ;)

5. Tristan's soccer team entered a tournament last weekend, and improbably, they are advancing to the semifinals next weekend! They had a decent season, but after losing their first tournament game (and now being the leaders of the "losers" bracket) they are one game away from playing the  winner of the winner's bracket for the top spot! Their second game got rained out today but they will likely make it up this week. Tristan has a great encouraging spirit and celebrates all his teammates'  achievements as if they were his own. He is incredibly enthusiastic and puts his whole heart into the game. It's super cute!

6. I'm currently reading Hillbilly Elegy, and really enjoying it. It was recommended to me by several people I trust with book recs and it has not disappointed! I'm about 2/3 the way through and have to fight the urge to pick it up when I know I need to be doing other things... that's the sign of a good book!

7. Last night was our community night of halloween trick or treating. Will was Harambe the gorilla and carried a sign saying "gorillas have rights too". LOL. (He totally came up with the whole thing on his own; he's incredibly creative and funny!) Hallie glued rolls of smarties on a pair of old sweat pants and went as "smarty pants". Tristan was a viking and Olivia wore me down and went as a witch... but a good witch. Have you seen Wicked? haha. It was so much fun. Ten host houses had candy for the kids and food and drinks for the adults and after we caravanned around the neighborhood, we ended the night at a neighbor's house for more food, drinks, and a bonfire. It's this kind of night that makes me so thankful to live in our small, kind community! It was easy and chill, full of laughter and friends... so much fun... totally my kind of night. :)

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Saturday 7 x2

1. So the last few weeks have been kinda crazy around here. For the first time (I think ever) I have been gone from home for 3 long weekends in a row. I loved all of it but am happy to now be home... doing my housewife thing... getting my babies off the bus, reading on the couch by the fire, spending hours sorting through tubs of clothes for the next season (this twice yearly event nearly sinks my ship every. single. time.)... making lunches ... doing all the homey things. I realize how lucky I am to do what I do (and love what I do) so I never want to take that for granted!

2. Two weeks ago we went on a camping trip with two other families in Ohio. We have 10 kids between us and although none of them had met before, they hit it off fabulously and spent hours and hours playing the woods, making forts and being adventurous. It was all around a really really fun time. I love camping! And reconnecting with old friends was so great as well.

3.  When we got home Sunday night from camping I had 2 days to unpack all our camping gear, get all the laundry caught up, restock the fridge etc. etc. ...and then repack (this time all in my hiking backpack) for a 5-day (much planned & anticipated!) overnight backpacking trip to Canyonlands National Park with my SIL Liz. I was in a slightly elevated state of anxiety all Wednesday morning... sweaty pits and all. Rabbit trail: Ever since my botched start to our Rwanda trip three years ago (recap here for my newer readers) I get anxious about the beginning of trips. Once I'm actually through security and ON the plane, I'm fine. But up till then I am increasingly nervous. What if my ticket is somehow for next week? What if I'm an hour off due to a time zone change? What if there's a accident on the highway and I can't make the flight? What if security is slammed and I'm stuck in line when my flight closes? Haha. I realize these are very privileged problems and since I am usually a very chill person and don't really worry about much else in life, I'm kind of resigned to the fact that having had issues with travel in the past means I will stress about it in the future. I'm blessed to be be able to travel and having sweaty pits the day of isn't the worst thing in the world.

4. For all my pre-travel stress, ironically I made all 3 of my flights without a hitch... while Liz got stranded in Denver overnight! This meant that we would have a late start to our hike on Thursday, but it also meant that I was able to get our camp fuel (can't fly with it) at REI so when I picked Liz up later we could hit the road west. We were able to start our hike around 5pm, and with 6.5 miles ahead, this meant we would be hiking into the dark. We got to our backcountry campsite around 8:30, at which point we made a quick dinner, and hopped into our sleeping bags & tent. Once the sun goes down it gets cold fast!

5. The next day we hiked 13.5 miles through the canyons (with a quick spur hike to see an arch/refill our water. We were moderately dismayed at one point to find that we had hiked a half-mile past our stashed packs on our way back to the main trail so we had to backtrack to retrieve them. Could have ended badly but thankfully it didn't! When we got to our campsite that night there was another group already there... they had accidentally hiked to the wrong site and had another 2 miles ahead of them! (We were just happy that it wasn't us, lol)

6. The final day we had a short few miles of hiking out of the park. We were only about 1.5 hours drive from Arches NP (and had to pass it on our way back towards the airport anyway) so we poked around there for a few hours. The landscape out west is so unbelievably unique and awe-inspiring. I can't wait to go back!  Zion NP is next on my list. :)

7. I ran into my dad in Phoenix! He and randomly had the same connections home through Charlotte. :)  Since I was traveling sans kids, I got to watch two movies uninterrupted (Julie & Julia and The Theory of Everything--the first was cute; I loved the second!) I also listened to the 4-hour Broadway soundtrack to Hamilton ... twice. Lin Manuel Miranda is a genius; that is all.

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.)