Summer safety with the Studers

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

While I'm working on my Couch to 10k program (update:  I'm not as consistent as I'd hoped on working the program.  Although our Color Me Rad 5k is fast approaching in August), I realized that it might be time for a double stroller since I had a hellava time trying to find a comfortable spot for my little dictator coach (who screams, "Mumma, fast!") during a recent run with both kids in tow.  

We're currently scoping this stroller out since it would allow Grey to get on and off without a bunch of fuss.  He changes his mind too much to be dealing with buckles.  The ability for him to stand is also appealing - any thoughts/reservations/suggestions?  Thanks!

With two fair skinned babies, we are also all about hats and umbrellas in our world.  As mentioned here, Gem has been sporting her floppy hat all summer to keep the sun off her sweet, bald head.  We also purchased a table umbrella for our patio table after attempting breakfast one morning without it.  Both kids huddled under my makeshift shade for dear life.  We promptly headed out to Lowes to get a proper umbrella and we've eaten breakfast outside almost daily since then (and its become quite a comfortable outdoor office for me!)

Have you seen this video where babies can learn to flip over and float in case they fall into a pool?  They learn it while they are fully dressed and to cry/call out for help.  The first part is hard to watch as a momma, and then its like holy moley, best thing I've ever seen.  Somehow we need to get our kids to learn this.  

Please also, take two minutes to read this fascinating article about drowning.  Seriously, maybe the most important thing I'll read this whole summer.  

Alas, our kids don't know the flip&float technique(yet).  So we are working on teaching Grey to swim all together (on his 2012 goal list!) and helping Gem get comfortable in the water.  We've already spent some time swimming at Gigi & Pap Pap's pool this summer.

We also went ahead and purchased neck pillows for each of the kids since our summers consist of a lot of car time driving to and fro.  Not really safety, hah, just better neck alignments.  We went and purchased the Baby & Kids Travel Pillow from One Step Ahead (along with a few other items because that website is dangerous for a momma to go on, oops).  As soon as it arrived, I tried it out with Gemmi and she slept like a baby (hah! she IS a baby) but with her head supported instead of all slumped and forward.  We've tried other neck support things in their car seats, but without any success.  We seem to have a winner, folks.

So far, summer has been fairly kind to us.  No sunburns or bee stings (yet! eek!), plenty of skinned knees and bug bites though already.  Finally, do you know about this little trick to keep flies away

Happy summer'ing!

thank YOU! Thursday: Someone who is present

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Dear Karpy,
You are one of my very best friends.  There was a time that we shared the same home.  You were steps from me; down the hall.  Once I instant messaged you from my room, "I can hear you coughing."  And then I could hear you giggling when you read it.  Living with you (and Kate!) are some of my favorite memories.  ever.

We currently live 182 miles apart.  (Yes, I googled that).  Which is a distance that is soon to grow even more in about a month (yay for your new house!).

Despite the miles, we are still best friends.  You recently facebooked me, "I smell like tonion," after we met for lunch halfway.  You couldn't hear me, but I bet you knew I was giggling when I read that.  I'm glad we still think the same stupid stuff is funny.

The truth is, most of the reason we are best friends is because of you.  Because you are the kind of person that sends snail mail on half birthdays.  And the kind of person that leaves voicemails of your whole carpool screaming and congratulating me on learning our first baby was going to be a boy.  You're the kind of a person that brags about my kids while pointing to their pictures that are hanging up in your office cube.  The kind of person who plants a sunflower seed you got from my baby shower and periodically sends pic text messages of how much its growing.  The kind of person that asks what my toddler's favorite foods are so you can make sure to have them when we visit.  You're the kind of person that drives 3 hours to hang out for the afternoon and grab lunch.  

With you, Karp, no matter how far apart we live - both in physical distance or lifestyle - you make a point to be present in my life.  You are a presence in my life; in my family's life.

But the thing is, I know that I'm not the only one.  You are present in so many people's lives.  That's why you have so many friends and your summer weekends get swallowed up in weddings every year.  Its why we had to rent a whole cabin at Deep Creek for your bachelorette party to fit all of your closets girlfriends, all of whom consider you a best friend.  You don't just come and go in anyone's life.  You come and stay and set up shop and remember their favorite songs and call them - not text or email - actually call them, regularly!

Karpy, you are a present; a gift, to so many people.  I hope you know that.

Even more than that, I hope you know that you are family to us.  And I feel so fortunate to have you be present in my life.

akt fo lyfe,
i love you,

Next thank YOU! third Thursday:  Someone you can turn to

Hello, My name is Tabitha and I'm undeserving of the love from my readers

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

I got into the blogging world back in 2008 with my first blog post after I was slipping into a post-wedding-planning semi-depression and from being inspired after reading the book Julie and Julia.  Almost four years later, my blog has changed in a lot of ways; from photo size to writing style to writing content to number of readers.  It has been my creative outlet and most surprisingly, a way to connect to old friends and meet new friends.

What I'm trying to get at is that on a normal basis I don't feel like my blogging is anything other than my strange and sometimes pensive thoughts falling out of my brain onto the keyboard.  And then occasionally I'll get a comment on one of my posts, or an email from a reader I don't personally know, or a response on my facebook and I'll be smacked in the face with the humility stick.  

Well that just happened again, when I heard from K.Innes over at Innes Family v3.0 that she had awarded me the Kreativ Blogger award.  But what's more is when I headed over to her blog to check her out - she has me listed as part of her inspiration to start blogging herself.  Um, what?!  Hiiiiiii, that's crazy and I can't even begin to describe how incredible it is to hear that I inspired you to start writing.  Honestly, I'm humbled.

So I'm joining in on the blog awarding train and sending some love back into the blogosphere (oh yea, I just went there with that word).  

The Rules:
1. Thank & link back to the awarding blog.
2. Answer the following 7 questions.
3. Provide 10 random facts about yourself.
4. Hand the award on to 7 deserving others.

7 Questions:
1. Favorite Song?  ever, ever, ever, ever?  Joy to the World by Three Dog Night (written by Hoyt Axton).  (you know the one, Jeremiah was a bullfrog, he was a good friend of mine... Your welcome because I know you're rocking out to that in your mind right now.  Here's a youtube video of it if you need a quick feel good session)

2. Favorite dessert?  this is an unfair question, any dessert.  I love dessert.  period.  I have a 'dessert compartment' in my stomach that no matter how much normal food I've eaten, I always have room for dessert.  the end.

3. What do you when you're upset?  I make lists. [...I was going to leave it at that, but then when I re-read that it sounded straight up like A Beautiful Mind-newspaper-taping-crazy answer.]  I make lists that help organize plans, or for good things that happened that day, or goals I want to accomplish.  Or I call my sister.

4. Which is your favorite pet?  After re-reading some of my earliest posts, I guess Lola is my favorite.  She was our first joint pet and is the only pet who has lived in all of the places we have lived together (starting with teeny tiny Punxsy apartment).  Ah!  Is admitting you have a favorite pet taboo when you have 4 pets?  hhaha.  Don't tell the others please.

5. Which do you prefer, white or whole wheat?  everything bagels.  wait, what?

6. What's your biggest fear?  I watched this insane show on animal planet where they had a dramatization where a three year old boy was constricted to death by a giant snake.  And then I had a nervous breakdown that my kids would die before me..not just by snake constriction, but by any way.  That would be my biggest fear.  ever.

7. What is your attitude mostly?  Well after that last question, sheesh.  Right now I'm feeling slightly unnerved.  But in usual life, I'm grateful because my life is so full of love and hilarious at the same time.

10 Random Facts about me

1. I am horrible, h.o.r.r.i.b.l.e at responding to texts.  horrible.

2. I remember my dreams almost every night.

3. Last week we bought supplies for smores because its on our list to do this summer with the kids.  And then we kept getting too busy to make a fire.  And then everyday I would eat a whole chocolate bar.  Now there's no chocolate bars left.  And I ruined smore night.  please see question #2 above.

4.  I kind of lied about my first blog post being in 2008.  My first blog post ever was really in 2007 on this crazy blog for our wedding party to keep them posted on upcoming wedding events.  Its hysterical that I thought anyone cared about my wedding details as much as I did as the bride.  This is a public announcement that our friends are the most amazing people on the planet.  Mostly because they stood and grinned through all of my crazy.  (that blog isn't even the tip of the iceburg folks, you should have seen my lists for that.  good Lord.)

5. Sometimes when I look back at my wedding planning stuff I can't even believe I was that organized.  Or crazy.  Who was that girl?  I wish she would come clean and organize my house now.  I miss her sometimes.  I'm not sure Brandon does though.

6. I like Oscar Meyer bologna rolled up around a mozzarella string cheese.  Greyson thinks that qualifies as a sandwich.  Sometimes we eat those together for afternoon snacks.  I'm fully aware meat probably should not be able to roll up like that.

7. I secretly love the smell of baby spit up.

8. When I was moving out of my parents' house for college, we found this envelope I had hidden in the closet when I was younger with these certifiably-crazy hate notes I wrote about things that I believed were grievances that my parents and sisters had done to me.  I am not exaggerating or making this up:  one of them was that my sister and I were 'allowed' to have deodorant at the same time, even though I was two years older than her.  I don't know what's more embarrassing - that I was upset about that or that I wrote it down and hid it in my closet in an envelope that literally said "for tab's eyes only" and the word eyes wasn't written out, it was a drawing of a pair of eyes.

9. Sometimes when I look back at my old diaries and creepy secret hate envelopes I can't believe I was ever that self-involved.  Or crazy.  Who was that girl?  I'll tell you who - Gemma in like 13 years.  I cannot wait to let her read all of those.  Maybe laughing at my teenage angst will spare her some of her own.

10. I have almost no filter for recognizing that I may be doing/saying something that other people think is embarrassing; my family and friends can attest to this.  If you need immediate proof please see #'s 3, 4, 7, and 8.

Blog Nominees
So, I'm calling you blogs out and sending some traffic your way because you deserve it:)

Diapers & Daisies - Sarah and I have become kind of blog friends (right?  hi, Sarah!)  I get more traffic referred to my blog from her blog than almost any other place.  (thanks, Sarah!)  We both wrote lists that start with the words, "25 Rules for Moms with" and both of our lists tipped on Pinterest around the same time.  She's awesome and creative and she really loves Shel Silverstein:)

Zina Carolina - Zina is my friend from college.  I laugh hysterically at every post she writes and I live vicariously through her adventures.  I miss her regularly.  She's funny and an incredible writer which I think is sometimes a hard thing to balance, but Zina pulls it off seamlessly.  She deserves more readers, so get over there stat.

Pop Heart Press - I can't remember what came first, Heather commenting on my post or me ordering a print from her etsy store...but whichever it was, I'm glad it happened.  She has twin boys who are absolutely adorable.  Plus she lets me slide on not responding to her emails on time (ahem, I promise I'm getting that address for you!)

Melodyejoy's Weblog - Melodye and I met each other by way of my sister.  And then became better friends when we both realized we were bloggers.  She is an avid reader of my blog (which I so appreciate!).  She finds strength everyday to live her life with purpose and creativity while battling MS.  Oh, and she makes jewelry that looks like it belongs in stores.  Melodye, it's time for an etsy store.  like now.

The Life Ramblings of the Ribble Family - Nora and I met in college through my roommate sophomore year and blogging brought us together again some 4 or 5 years later.  She is a momma to two babies just like me, only born in reverse gender than mine.  She is a military wife too (thanks, Guy- for your service!).

I Adore Inspiration - Stevie and I met in Brooklyn while we were both teaching with Teach for America.  She's kind of the coolest.  She's the type of person that you meet and you know she definitely has a little magic in her; flowers and sparkles just seem to follow her.

A Design So Vast - somehow through the weird, winding threads of the internet I found Lindsey's blog.  It was actually a link back that she had connected through my '25 rules' list that had been posted on The Good Men Project that led me to her.  And then I read what she had wrote in response to what I had wrote and I felt like maybe she should have written the list in the first place.  She's an amazing writer and I regularly read her words aloud because they are so poignantly written.  I don't actually know her, but I kind of wish I did.

for future Gemma

Monday, June 18, 2012

dear future 15 year old Gemma,
We are probably fighting about something.  If you're anything like I was when I was a teenage girl, I imagine you have a big personality and a mouth to go with it.  You probably think I'm treating you unfairly and that I don't have any idea what you're going through.  I probably think you are being dramatic and I say too often, "Gemma's got a dilemma" all annoying and old lady mom like when I really think I'm being funny because it rhymes.

Well Gemmi, a long time ago, I was the one that made you laugh the hardest.  And you were the one that could make my day better with a coo.  And we would have secret moments that we would talk and laugh with our noses just barely touching.  And you looked at me like I had all the answers to the world.  And I looked at you like you were the whole world.

So even if we're fighting out there in the future, my teenage Gemmi Bear, know that back here in the present we are spending our afternoons together giggling over kisses.

I will always love you, Gem.  Even if someday we drive each other totally crazy.
your mumma

a story for my kids, about their dadda

Friday, June 15, 2012

Dear Grey & Gem,
I'd like to tell you a little story.  It's a story about your Dadda.  When Dadda was a young boy, he was a sports superboy.  He played baseball, football, golf, even volleyball, but he liked playing basketball the best.  He played basketball all through high school and when you get older and you can read our last name, we'll take you to our school's gym and show you Dadda's name hanging on the wall.  Then he went to college and played more basketball, that was where he met your Uncle Jonny; they played basketball together.  Greyson, you told me the other day that you liked Dadda's black basketball; the one in our office in the case.  I told you he got that for trying his best.  If you always try your best, you can earn cool stuff like black basketballs too.

Some people still remember Dadda as a basketball superboy.  There are newspapers of Dadda playing his old games that are hanging in a restaurant in town.   And just the other day when we were buying our new screen door, one of the workers used to be a referee and he recognized Dadda and said, "I remember you, you're the Ace."  It's important to always try your best, but you have to be nice too.  That's what Dadda always does, that's why people always smile when they talk with him.

Now that Dadda's big, he doesn't have as much time to play his favorite game because he has to go to work, and fix our house, and be your Dadda, and be with me.  But sometimes he still gets to play.  Dadda got to play in a local basketball game a few weeks ago.  We all went to watch him play with his old friends.  He huffed and puffed a little more than he used to and he missed a couple more shots than he used to, but he still played great because he tried his best and he was nice to the other team and the referees.  And we were proud of him.

That night, we packed you both up in your car seats after the game and while we were driving home, Dadda said, "you know, in all the times I was proud playing basketball games before, I was the most proud I've ever been tonight because my kids were there to see me play."

Grey and Gem, your Dadda might not be a basketball superboy anymore, but you should know he's a Superman.  And we're the luckiest family of all because we are his.

love you forever,

happy father's day, to my kids' superman dadda.
thank you for making my dreams come true, b.

May wrap up

Thursday, June 14, 2012

I'm handing out some awards from our fun in May to help wrap-up the month, since there is no way I'm going to be able to cover everything we did during the month in individual blog posts, boo.  So hang on to your hats (yep, there's even an award for those) cause here we go, 

Bounciest:  Gemmi
She's finally big enough to try out her door jumper (Evenflo Classic Johnny Jump Up, Frogs) and her exersaucer (Baby Einstein Musical Motion Activity Jumper).  She loves being upright now and she is ready to start moving like her big brother.

Best surprise present:  my mother's ring
The kids (aka Brandon) surprised me with a ring with both kid's birthstones in it for mother's day.  I'm in love with it.

Most spontaneous playtime:  Greenhouse Park playground
On the way home from Grey's daycare one afternoon, we spontaneously stopped at the new playground they just put in at our beloved Greenhouse park

Most determined:  Kate, me, and the Altoona Art Festival.
This was our second year attempting the Altoona Art Festival with the kids.  It was also the second year that we barely made it out with our sanity.  The kids are still a little too young to appreciate any of the vendors or children's tents - but we keep trying.  Is it the prospect of funnel cake that keeps pulling us back?  Perhaps, but we like to think its because we want our kids to be surrounded by culture.  At least the pond and the ducks never get old.  After a toddler battle royale over a rubber snake, a full blown meltdown in the children's tent, and weather way too hot to be carrying babies (either on our hip, or in Kate's belly), we commented on our trek back to the car, "it could have been worse - no one fell into the pond, so we have that to feel successful about."  

Sweatiest:  Dadda after the Steeler Charity Basketball game
Brandon got a chance to play in a charity basketball game in Somerset against the Steelers (as in our favorite NFL team, THE Steelers).  It was a game to raise money and awareness for a local non-profit; Jaeger and Friends dog park.  We were really proud to see Dadda play, especially against some of our Steeler favorites like Charlie Batch and Antonio Brown.

Best headgear:  Gemma's floppy sun hat.
She's been sporting that hat all around this town and probably will continue to do so through the rest of the summer.  Hey, handy & adorable?  Worth every penny from that clearance bucket at Gymboree!

Second place:  Best headgear:  Automotive funnels
Grey saw these in Lowes and said, "Look, Mumma, party hats!"

Third place:  Best headgear:  Aunt Uch's college graduation cap
In case you haven't heard, we were proud to celebrate my baby sister's graduation from Lock Haven University:) 

Most likely to harvest the West Nile disease:  our baby pool
hahah, just kidding about the award (although we do have a habit of forgetting to dump it out at night...)  The kids and dogs got a chance to wade around in our baby pool well before most regular sized pools were opened.  Hooray for summer!

Most patriotic:  Memorial Day
We celebrated our Memorial Day by stopping by the cemetery to visit my grandfather's plot and Brandon's great grandpap's plot to give our thanks to them for serving in our miliarty.  Then it was on to Gigi & Pap Pap's house to celebrate with our whole family (including Abba, Chum, Uch, and Kevin too) poolside with some good 'ole fashion barbeque'ing.  shout out to all men and women who have served for our country.  thank you for being brave, especially though to my sister (Aunt Kitty); our Uncles, Cousins; grandfathers, and friends.

happy birthday Gigi

Most Likely to be caught with his pants down:  Booboo
We started potty training this month and Grey is doing fairly well.  He prefers going 'potty outside like Dadda.'  Good thing we live in the country, my friends.

Biggest loser:  my head
I cut over 11 inches of my hair off to donate to Locks of Love.  Its on my summer goal list to go "pixie" so check that one of the 'ole list.  As an update to how I'm feeling about it:  ugh oh, I'm loving it.  Like maybe never having long hair again?  Boys are on to something with this short hair, ladies.  Not having to adjust a ponytail all day is like a miracle.

Most Likely to find its way to Pinterest:  our Mother's Day aprons
We got the kids (and grown kids) involved to craft up aprons for me and our moms on Mother's day.

Most likely to be accused of narcolepsy (by the pictures in my May photo album at least, sheesh): my kids
What can I say, babies look like angels when they sleep.  And who doesn't want to look at pictures of angels?

Sickest:  our Booboo
Our poor little man suffered through a whole weekend of a combination platter of Gianotti-Crosti (think hand,foot,&mouth but blisters all over) AND cutting his first back molar.  Goodness.  it was horrible to see him suffering.  Blisters in his throat were stopping him from wanting anything to drink or eat and we came about 2 inches from taking to the ER over Memorial Day weekend before he finally agreed to eat 3 Popsicles in a row.

Most deserving:  our 2012 CV Studer Scholarship winners
We chose two winners for our scholarship this year and were proud to be able to give away the award at the annual senior banquet. 

It was a good month for us, over here at the Studer's...albeit busy (and sometimes downright exhausting), but we made it through - as a team, like we always will.