Pumpkins & Punkins'

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Jess and I took our little 'punkins' to the Mason Farms Pumpkintown, USA this past week.  Even though the kids were officially too small for most of the funfare - we each enjoyed ourselves in our own little ways.  Grey laughed at all the people, Sam traipsed all around on her walking legs and giggled at the goats, and Jess and I trekked through the kiddie blow-up playhouse with the our babies...laughing and sweating all the way!

Best of all, we got some really cute pictures:)

our punkins & the pumpkin wizard of Oz characters!
Sam handing hay to Grey so he can eat it, hah!
Happy Fall to all!

Stirling & Josh (or Mummie & Daddy visit Austin, TX)

We were very lucky to be able to travel to Austin, Texas to help celebrate my dear friend, Stirling's wedding.  The grandmas were feeling pretty lucky to get the weekend sharing Greyson while mum&dad escaped away for some alone time!  We met Poppa & Aunt Kitty at the halfway mark on Friday and then B and I drove the rest of the way to catch our flight in Pittsburgh.  After a couple drinks and two easy flights, we landed in Austin to beautiful night weather.  Despite our parent/old  people exhaustion, we managed to make our way out to the Austin social scene on 6th street and had a couple beers.  Elena & Matt met us out a little later and it was like no time had passed at all.  Oh, how I missed that girl. 

On Saturday morning, despite best intentions on getting up early to sight-see, B and I slept in past 11am for the first time in months.  It was blissful.  We mosied out of bed and threw on some clothes and made our way to the farmer's market that Stirling had suggested in her 'little black book of Austin' (best suggested wedding itinerary ever!)

After a delicious breakfast at the farmer's market, a long walk up & down Congress Street, and a real-live cowboy hat purchase for Daddy & boo boo; we made our way back to the hotel to get ready for the wedding.  We got dressed up to the nines (no spit up involved!) with only a few surprises (thanks for chewing the back of dad's vest, Bullet!) we met up with Matt for a drink or two before catching the bus to the wedding.

Dreamlike and perfection are appropriate adjectives to describe the ceremony and reception.  Stir really out-did herself on all the planning and the Laguna Gloria is a beautiful location.  With no baby in tow, Brandon and I celebrated the heck out of that marriage and danced the night away with friends that we don't see often enough. 

Congrats Stir & Josh!  We love you guys!

When I talked to my dad after getting back from the trip he said, "that was a pretty rough weekend; up and back flights with layovers, missed your first flight back, first time away from Greyson...how ya' holding up?"  I answered honestly, "it wasn't bad at all."  And that was the first time it had even dawned on me that maybe it should have been less enjoyable of a trip. Even when we had overslept and missed our original flight back, we were cracking jokes and giggling in the airport.  It was a great trip and most of it is in part to because we each have a great traveling buddy.  The thing is - we have traveling worked out between us.  I'm the boss at the airport, he's the boss in the car.  No questions asked.  You lead when you're the boss, you follow when you're not.  This happy, in love weekend was the perfect reminder for us about how nice it is to have each other...just in time for our anniversary next week:)

Note to self

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

16 year old young, beautiful, smart tab,

hi.  hope your day is going well today in high school.  i'm from the future.  i'm you.  i'm 27.  guess what! you are in fact going to marry Brandon Studer, so go ahead and keep practicing his last name as your own.  he will still be just as cute now as he is in school today when you're both "old."  newsflash by the way, 27 isn't old so stop saying that. 
you have a son too and he's really stinking cute and you love him, bad.  you'll be surprised how much babies spit up and how much energy they take, so enjoy being young and beautiful and having such a great body.  no, shut up...I dont' care what you think, you'll be me and look back at your high school self and wonder what the hell was your problem when you were self loathing.  seriously, you're hot, so shut your mouth.
you have a dog and two cats and a great house.  On the outside it looks just like all your daydreams, but everyday your life more closely resembles a vaguely funny but predictable comic strip.  do you know that I discovered cat poop under the laundry room rug today.  I'm not kidding, the cats pooped there and then covered it up with the rug - i'm embarassed to even tell you that i honestly don't know how long its been there.
don't wish away your life now.  i promise, we're all waiting here for you in the future.  it is great fun and full of love out here where we are waiting.  You'll love it, but don't hurry along.  give your spikey-haired, young, cute boyfriend who will someday be your bald-headed, still cute and funny husband a kiss for me.  His kisses are about the only thing that are still just the same and sweet out here in the future.

love you,
27 year old, not as young, still beautiful despite the spit-up & knotted hair, smarter tab

Camo country

Marriage is all about compromise; anyone will tell ya.  Well October-November is two whole months of compromise in our house.  October 1st is a very exciting day for my husband, one he looks forward to all year.  Its the day that our house "goes camo" in full moral support of hunting season.  Our bed sheets are camo, we have camo shower curtains...even the baby is involved with camo crib sheets!

Our first day of archery & buck season have a little tradition that I get to be involved in.  When B gets up, I am able to miraculously drag myself out of bed to put on his coffee and start making his hunting breakfast treat; sticky buns.  I got the recipe from Real Simple magazine (my fav).  Its quick, easy, and delicious:

Roll of frozen biscuits
brown sugar
walnuts/pecans (optional)
cinnamon/sugar (other choice)

heat the oven to 375

In a cupcake pan, place a thinly sliced pad of butter in each section.  Sprinkle about a half teaspoon of brown sugar on top of the butter pads.  If interested, top with a very thinly sliced piece of banana and/or nuts.  Cover the mixture with a frozen biscuit.

Bake for 8-10 minutes or until brown

While still hot, place a baking sheet on top of the cupcake pan and flip over.  Pull the cupcake pan off and the sticky buns will be left on the baking sheet.  Yum!  Even though I want no involvement in the rest of his hunting experience, by getting up to make his breakfast snack, I can still be a part of his favorite day of the year.

Happy Hunting Season!

Happy 1st Birthday, Greyson's girlfriends!

Boo boo's girlfriends had their first birthday parties over the last few weeks.  Unfortunately, Grey had to stay with Daddy in ERie with his runny nose during Sophia's party.  But there was no way I was going to miss out on my best friend's baby's first birthday!  So I made the haul down to Altoona on Friday night....and I felt like a woman freed!  It was the first real time that I've hopped in the car with just an itty bitty overnight bag for myself, turned the radio up unnecessarily loud, and headed out on a "single" girls adventure.  Clearly, driving 3 hours to a one year old's birthday party doesn't seem like much of an adventure for some of you readers - but after 6 months lugging carseats, diaper bags, and singing "This Old Man" to a screaming baby behind me....I felt downright liberated.

I arrived at the Fiore house around midnight and Katie "early-na'nights" Fiore stayed up until 2am chatting away.  It was so nice chatting and laughing with a grown adult, let alone a best friend.  Definitely worth the trip.  In the AM it was all about the party and we continued chatting and laughing all through the party prep.  Sophia seemed to care less over all the fuss we were making for her (oh the joy of being 1!), hah.  After the smash cake was iced, the peanuts were hid (heh!), and the birthday outfit put on...we were ready for the party. The party was a blast and everyone loved the rented photo booth.  Lots of good food and friends.

Happy Birthday, Sophia - We love you!!

By the time I got back home late on Sunday, I was rejuvenated by my 24 hours of "freedom" and much-needed girl time.  I was happy to give my little man a long cuddle (Bullet got his share too), and lots of kisses for the Daddy.  It was a fantastic weekend.

The following weekend, we headed over to the East side for Samantha's first birthday party.  Grey was in full attendance and was amazed at all the balloons and faces.  Sammie was too cute zipping all around on her new-found walking legs.  She paid due diligence to each of her gifts as they were opened - she is such a little grown up. 

After the presents and cake, Grey and Sam had a little playtime which mostly consisted of Grey being slightly jealous of all of Sam's new toys.  They played nice for a few minutes, they'll learn all about sharing soon enough:)

oh, i love those cheeks.
It was a great party and an afternoon happily enjoyed.  Happy Birthday, Samantha - We love you!!

vacation prep: Baby

In preparation for our vacation, we purchased a UV-ray blocking tent for boo boo.  He'll be spending most of his time under the umbrella, but he'll also be taking naps out on the beach too.  And this tent will keep most of the sand off his towel while he naps.  We've been practicing using it around the house! 

We also bought a really floppy hat and some awesome baby shades that go all the way around the back of Booboo's head and then velcro on the side.  He is so going to be stylin' on the beach.

Since Grey loves the water, we figured it was necessary to get one of those baby floaty things with the little tent over top of it.  I found the cutest crab one online.  I like it (not just because its cute, Brandon) but also because it has a little water-splash area in the front from Booboo to splash around in while we're a'floatin'.  The great thing about the DR is that there aren't really any waves, so we'll be floating in the ocean all week!  Pictures and product reviews to come!

vacation prep: crazy diet, check

With our vacation right around the corner and my baby belly still hanging around, it was time to take drastic measures....so after I received an overly excited facebook message from my sister, Kayla requesting that some of her friends complete the psychotic "GM diet" with her....I decided that I would be up for the challenge. 

If you don't know about the GM diet check out this website:  http://www.iimahd.ernet.in/~jajoo/gmdiet.html and then laugh hysterically at why anyone would do it.   The diet claims to have a 10-17 lb weight loss by the end of the 7 days...if you know me, I am all about immediate results, so this seemed like a quick way to become skinny again, hahha.  Of course, our scale has no battery left and I actually have no idea how much weight I have lost....but I do note a very obvious difference in the way my clothes fit.  Brandon also keeps saying I look skinnier - whether he's being a dutiful husband or honest is unclear.  For anyone contemplating this crazy thing,  I am going to account the week's side effects.

Day One:  all fruit except bananas
side effects:  slight headache, weakness, general crankiness, starvation (hah)
reactions:  if I wasn't so weak and annoyed..its not so bad.  plus Brandon bought chocolate this weekend, so that's staring me in the face.  mmmm, I think I'll go eat more grapes.

Day Two:  all veggies.  Begin the day with a baked potato
side effects: hunger
reactions:  today was actually easier than yesterday though.  lots of salads and popping grape tomatoes like grapes!

Day Three:  veggies & fruits
side effects:  still cravings, but actually pretty full!  totally feeling skinnier
reactions:  not kidding, I feel a lot skinnier!  yay...with the scale broken though, I don't know for sure.  Looking forward to some new tastes though!

Day Four:  8 bananas, 3 glasses of milk, & "wonder soup"
side effects:  weakness.  hah
reactions:  I feel really hungry for other tastes.  like chips.  still hanging in there.  a glass of milk never tasted so good.  thank goodness for the wonder soup.

Day Five:  10 oz. beef, 6 tomatoes & a quart of water
side effects:  full belly, filling kind of fat about it
reactions:  it wasn't too bad because I like both beef and tomatoes.  Glad to have a new taste back!

Day Six:  Beef & vegetables
side effects:  full belly
reactions:  much easier today.  full belly, a little weak but not craving anything really.  okay, maybe some of Sam's birthday cake and fruit

Day Seven:  brown rice, veggies, & fruit juice
side effects:  YUM.
reactions:  full belly and happy to get rice!  Really relieved that it is the last day...definitely looking forward to a celebratory piece of chocolate tomorrow!

My "wonder soup"
28 oz water, 1 lipton onion soup packet, brocolli, mushrooms, cauliflower, tomatoes, green peppers, onions

Overall:  By day seven, I was ready to give up...but I stuck in there and I think it did some good.  Without a scale, I can't be sure how much I lost, but it was enough to make my jeans fit better and make me at least feel skinnier.  It's only 7 days, so I say go for it:)

Boo boo & Bully

With the following combination:  Grey(sitting up + more aware) x Bully wants all of Grey's toys = funny interactions

I caught the two of them "playing" the other morning.  Bully wants Grey's toys, Grey wants Bully, Bully loves Greyson...commence photo progression:

September Kindness: Donor Choose

Sunday, October 3, 2010

http://www.donorschoose.org/ is an organization that allows teachers to post their wishlists for their classrooms & then give donors (like you & me) the chance to browse wishlists and make donations!  This September, for our kindness, we made a donation to a Pittsburgh teacher wishing for a listening center in her classroom.  Coming from an ESL-teaching background, I know how important it is for students to be able to listen & follow along with books.   We chose this particular wishlist because we want to support PA kids & reading skills. 

Although I'm not in the classroom anymore, its nice to feel like we have a little hand in the classroom we've supported on donorschoose.  We want to send a big thank you to all teachers, everywhere!