July Kindness: 3rd Annual Beer Olympics

Monday, August 15, 2011

We had our third annual Beer Olympics day; the second Saturday in July.  We had lots of people coming back for a second (and even third!) time participating - but also a lot of rookies.  From past experience, we've limited the participants to 32; which gives us 8 teams of 4 players.  Teams are randomly selected during the first event (a massive Sloshball game; aka kickball with booze), except for the reigning champs; their team returns to defend their trophy; aka Das Boot.  New this year was our t-shirt design which was crafted up by American Eagle Screenprinting who always get our shirts done in record-breaking time.  (ps. we seriously love them).  

beer olympics is a family affair:)

registration table pda.  how inapprop:) hah
After teams are assigned, face painting (and sometimes hair painting) ensues and surprisingly no one puts up a fight about what we decide to plaster on their face (it could have something to do with the past few drinks they've already chugged in Sloshball).   Our teams this year (pre-designed by Tasha and I while we laugh hysterically the night before thinking them up):
Team Potter (as in Harry Potter's lightening bolt on the forehead) - reigning champs
Team Nerd Herd (as in facepainted glasses and freckles)
Team Jersey (as in super spiked hair/giant snookie poof and painted on 6-packs)
Team Toddlers & Tiaras (as in painted on eyeshadow and blush)
Team Smiley (as in giant smiley face drawn over their entire face, hahhhha)
Team Kate Middleton (as in a crown across the forehead)
Team Kiesel (as in a huge Brett Kiesel - from the steelers- beard painted)
Team  El Tigre (as in black and orange tiger stripes painted on the cheeks)

team jersey helping to paint up team toddlers & tiaras

Booboo spent his day with my mom, helping her ref and taking long naps.

ref abba and ref booboo

team Jersey getting ready to GTL
The day is then completed with a variety of team games that award points to the teams depending on which place they come in at the end of each competition.  The days events include
Beer Pong tournament
Dingbat Relay Race
Monkey Chug
Flip Cup tournament
Bong Races tournament
Beer Duel
Final Obstacle Course

Throughout the day, players can also challenge other participants to a pound-off which is a glorified chugging contest.  5 extra points is awarded to the team of the faster chugger.

i'll ref it, but that doesn't mean I think its a good idea
At the end of the day though, it seems the reigning champs could not be overthrown.  It came down to only a few points.  Looks like Team Potter will be returning again for Beer Olympics 2012.  

Besides the day being filled with a lot of fun and a ridiculous amount of booze consumption; it is not an easy task to pull off.  In our third year, we are still picking up tips to use for next year and ways to make it better.  If you are thinking of planning something similar; here are some of the reasons I think ours has been successful in the past:
1. The end goal is not to see how wasted everyone can get.  The end goal is to raise money for a well-deserving cause (in our case, it is the Make-A-Wish foundation).  Everyone knows they are coming to drink, but that the amount they gave to participate also goes to help support others in need.  I really think this is the reason that in 3 years we haven't had any violence or disrespect occur despite serious intoxication and bringing together groups of people that don't know each other at the start of the day.  This year, after paying for the tshirts and the four kegs; we still managed to raise $365 that has been donated to the Make-A-Wish foundation.
2. One of the party hosts stays sober and refs (aka me).  Okay, so last year was because I was still nursing and this year I was pregnant; but moving forward I will probably always ref instead of play.  first, I know all the rules inside and out.  second, i also have an unofficial authority about me as one of the hosts; which means my word is the final word when it comes to deciding the photo finish for the dingbat relay or whether a keg stand over 10 seconds should be worth more.
3. Our rules are hyper-specific and written out.  there is no bigger whiner when it comes to nitpicking rules than the drunk.  everyone has their own version of beer pong rules; we get that.  but at our beer olympics the rules are written out and we try to cover every tiny nuance that drunky mcdrunkerson is going to challenge.  
4. there is food.  a lot of food.  all participants (or the participants' moms) are encouraged to bring something to share for the day.  so we supply the hot dogs, kraut, and buns and our food tables overflow with treats from almost all the other participants ranging from cookies to pasta salad to pulled pork sandwiches.  
5. there are scheduled breaks.  we schedule a break directly after our fourth (and most difficult) event; the Anchorman.  The break lasts for a minimum of a half hour (sometimes longer) and the second break happens right before the final obstacle course.  At the start of the day, participants whine over scheduled breaks, but when the time rolls around - people just lay all over the ground and stuff meat pies in their mouths and chug water.
6. we have a waiver.  not kidding.  all participants must sign off on it waiving and releasing us from any injuries or sickness incurred during the day.  Plus it outlines that each person is in charge of their own health and is expected to recognize when enough is enough.
7. we have semi-sober observers.  these observers not only act as refs, but also can step in as substitutes if a team loses a player (for a variety of reasons).  Brandon's parents have had to make an extra keg run for two years in a row, when we've realized half of the way through the day that we'll shortly kick the last keg.
8. we have an awards ceremony.  it doesn't matter how old you get or that the award is for having the most beer on your shirt at the end of the day.  everyone appreciates being recognized.
9. we do not tolerate extreme heckling, excessive name-calling, or disrespectful behavior.  there are no warnings.  you act like an idiot and someone will be called to pick you up and you will not be invited back.  its just how we roll.
10. we fully support team spirit and team bonding, especially for new friends that just meet as they are getting their faces painted alike.  our favorite is the day after when our newsfeed is filled with new friendships due to beer olympics.

Dining room transformation Part Une

Sunday, August 14, 2011

It should come as a surprise to no one that reads my blog that I am quite bossy.  I'm the oldest daughter, a teacher to the core, and a Virgo; which I'm pretty sure certifies me as the bossiest person I know.  By my very good luck, this happens to suit my husband just fine, as a Libra, making decisions is a long, arduous process and he will be the first to say that interior design is about the hardest decisions for him to make.  Here is what we see when we both walk into a room.

Brandon:  sees exactly what the room looks like.  the wall colors are a permanent thing.  The floor is the floor, just as it is.  The room is the type of room determined by whatever furniture is currently placed in it.  It is what it appears to be.
Tabitha:   sees chair rails where there is none and colors on walls that are white.  Floors ripped up and walls torn down.  Making sitting rooms into dining rooms and living rooms into playrooms.  I see pins that I've pinned on pinterest slipping into place.

So, for a variety of unknown reasons, the first room to get a make-over in our house was our dining room.  It could have been because B was anxious to try something he's never done before (put up wainscoting) or because our new dining room table was due to arrive in a few days.  But whatever the case, we got a'crackin on that room first.  The room we bought in our new house was set up as an extra sitting room.  When we came to check out the house, they had a reclining chair and some books set up.  The floors were carpeted, the walls were white, and the trim is stained wood. There are glass doors that lead to an outside patio and a small tile threshold.  There is also a small closet on the side (not pictured).

When we first saw it, B saw a sitting room with carpet and a tile threshold.  But I saw a dining room, located conveniently off of the kitchen....with hardwood floors and wainscoting (which I obviously am obsessed with - what with as many times as I've typed it in this post).  Deep purple walls and white trim.  Our long dining room table perpindicular to the window which will be flanked in two tall built-ins that will hold all the pretty platters and glass bowls we got for our wedding (that have been stashed and hidden in cupboards in the past).  And in that closet - a little bar for quick drinks after dinner parties.

You may be shouting at your computer:  goodness, can't you make it easy on him?  To which I reply, please, do you not know me?  Go big or don't do it...that's how I roll.

The roles in our house are:  I have the vision and my husband has the muscles.  Which means that wainscoting that didn't exist before will be installed by my handsome, handy hubs.  And the white walls will go to River Rouge (or as my husband grunts "Purple?" as I hand him the color swatch at Sherwin Williams).  But as has been proven in his experience, the mumma knows best.  So he shrugs and hands the paint chip over to the cashier.  Purple it is...he isn't a fan to start because he can't picture it, but once its up, it wins him over.  Like I usually do:)

So my husband (and our dads) got to pulling up the carpet, painting the walls, installing the wainscoting (which turned out to be a huge pain in the behind since there are EIGHT outlets in that room that all need re-wired and pulled through cut pieces of wainscoting...oops, unforeseen pain in the neck; my bad), re-painting the wainscoting, laying the hardwood (your welcome, Mother Earth - we used Bamboo), and painting the trim white (I helped with that one).  It was hard and took a very long time.  Please don't think this is a weekend project - it wasn't.  And my husband slaved away because he's afraid of me loves me very very much.  So after a lot of work and time, and even more splinters, we transformed our new dining room to look like this:

We are still missing the built-ins (which are being handicrafted by my dad, thank you!) and some much needed wall accessories (still in Erie).  We also need to get a new light fixture (something about that ceiling fan makes me think of a strange version of neck roulette while eating dinner...?  ahh, sorry for the weird visual).  And then finish up the bar/closet...but after adding in our new dining room table (from Ashley Furniture for those that are wondering), she is starting to look pretty darn beautiful.  In fact, I think I kind of have a little crush on our dining room because I catch myself staring in at her from the kitchen with a totally creepy smile on my face.

ps. thank you to my husband (and Dad and Rudy) who seriously put up with my insane ideas and visions way better than I deserve.  I know how lucky I am to have men in my life that both trust my judgement AND know how to use things that scare me; like nail guns and table saws.

The adventures of SuperAbba and the almost helpless prego

My mom had a week's vacation saved up and so clearly that meant that instead of going somewhere beautiful by the ocean, she opted to come to Erie with her daughter and grandson.  Seems nice, right?  But wait, did I not mention that the goal of the week was to pack our entire home?  And that I'm pregnant and mostly worthless when it comes to lifting and/or pushing.  And that I was working all day.  And that we have entirely too much stuff.  But then apparently my mom (who is a grandma, by the way) turned into a superhero and packed up my whole house.  Ridiculous, you say?  You need proof, you cry?  I got your proof my friends.

is that a plane?  a bird?  no, its super Abba, folks. 

We also called in a few reinforcements that week, but it was mostly super-Abba that packed everything.  Aunt Kitty came up one evening after work and helped load up the basement, including about 35 pounds of computer cords and wires, and an obnoxious amount of liquor bottles and wine glasses.  Baby Kevin came over to help super-Abba PUSH the battery-dead Jeep out of the garage to make room for more packing boxes. (he's not a baby at all, in case you're thinking about calling child services).  And yes, I said Super-Abba pushed a Jeep out of the garage.  Do you see, superhuman, seriously.

We also got a visit from our fav ERie friends, Jess and Samantha.  Grey and Sam played and shared a QUARTER of a watermelon(!!).  They also took a little swim together and it was adorable to see the kids and refreshing to catch up with Jess.

After a full four days of packing, boxing, taping, and other strenuous activities; we played a game of packing tetris with the bed of the truck and the jeep and headed the three hours back to Johnstown.  On Friday, after much stress and panic, we finally secured our closing meeting and I headed up to the lawyer's office to meet Brandon for the new house ritual of "the signing of a trillion papers."  ..It was hot.

While signing the papers, I got a text message from Tash; she was heading over to our new place right after work, and her text message said, "hi.  I'm here.  and I got in.  nice house."  So while I was stifling a cackling laugh in our closing meeting because my baby sister apparently broke into our new house, we kept up with the signatures until we finally got our new keys!  After two months of living like gypsies (and not the romantic, hip gypsy living that initially comes to mind...I'm talking mostly dirty, wrinkled clothes, aching back for your own bed kind of gypsies).  It was a long awaited, good day.

And then Grey got to eat in his new house and he agreed it was a good day too.

Studerbaby 2.0

Thursday, August 11, 2011

So, if you haven't surmised from our title picture, we're baking another Studer seed over here in the uterus de Tabitha.  Which is very exciting and exhausting all together.  We discovered our status of baby-brewing the week before Father's day and if I had any kind of patience, I would have waited to tell my husband his new daddy status on his special day.  But alas, I am no kind of girl that can wait for any surprises and like the time before, I woke my husband up with a p-test in his face saying, "honey, look."  I'm really awesome, clearly.

He was first nervous (as an only child not having any idea how to instruct his son to be a 'good' big brother) and then super excited imagining wild tackling parties with two kids and a dog.  I started out super excited while slowly slipping into disbelief as I started to remember pregnancy...or at least how I do pregnancy.  So far, my body translates pregnancy into:
extreme fatigue
waves of nauseousness at strange times (like walking down the stairs)
and psychotic cravings for salt and sweets

I can't complain too much though because outside of my doctor telling me that my "uterus seems too big" and sending anyone who knew I was preg into a twin prediction frenzy (there is only ONE.  i just have a big uterus, people!) , I haven't had too many complaints.  By far, the exhaustion has outweighed any other symptom and I'll take laying down to sleep at 7:30p over running to the bathroom fourteen times a day (ahem, Greyson-fetus).

So hooray for more breeding from our big personality, curly headed, wild animal child genes.

When are you due?  Feb. 15 Valentines baby? Which puts our baby into Pisces territory for a zodiac sign - which is totally cool by me:)

Does Greyson know he's going to be a big brother?  no.  we try to get him to understand by pointing to my enlarged uterus belly and say "there's a baby in there" and he points to it and says "be-wee" (belly).  yea, doesnt' get it.

How did you tell the grandparents?  We stopped by to visit them while Grey wore a homemade (iron-on letters) onesie that said "Big Bro."  Both grandmas had a cow and screamed happily.  Both grandpaps made a face at Brandon like, "really?  so soon?  more?" and then played with Greyson.  Grandpap's don't get it till the baby is here.

Holy cow, two babies under two...are you insane or was that an accident?  We were thinking of having another baby relatively soon, but our little bean decided to start growing a little earlier than we planned.  Was that an answer - not quite, but that's what you're getting.

What do you want, a girl or a boy?  I can see the benefits to either gender.  Another boy would be super convenient and fun for Grey.  Sharing clothes, friends, toys...playing on the same sports teams.  But a girl means accessories and someone to spend girl-time with Mom and that sounds awesome..especially when Greyson is throwing dirt in my hair or throwing bath toys into the toilet.

haha - do you know there is saying 'New House; New Baby'?  yes.  we apparently like being a cliche.

happy birthday, America

ALERT:  Posts are going to be insanely out of chronological order depending on which camera (Nikon, Back-up,Kayla's, or Tasha's) my pictures are currently hiding on.  Read on for more information on this debacle.
For those of you dying to know, my favorite holiday is the fourth of July!  First, its in the middle of summer.  Second, there is ALWAYS watermelon available.  Third, I love fireworks like a 15 month old boy loves running around buck naked and driving his mother crazy.  So I was determined in all our crazy shaninigans this summer to have an a$$-kicking fourth this year.  And it was, somewhat not quite the a$$ I had in mind to kick (mainly mine), but alas, this is why they say be careful what you wish for, I suppose.

After begging and pleading with Brandon and my in-laws, I somehow coerced them into taking a trip out to Ohiopyle to ride bikes on their trail on the Sunday before the holiday.  We went a few years ago (just us and his parents) and had such a good time riding the 11 miles to the sweetest little restaurant and then biking back the 11 miles.  So I was so excited to get out of the house and take booboo on his first ever bike ride!

The trip out was uneventful (in parent talk that means GOOD) and we rented our bikes and booboo's bike trailer and hit the trail.  It was a super busy weekend and there were tons of people.  Grey felt unsure about his trailer, but soon took a snooze and all was peaceful and enjoyable.  At about the 6 mile mark, we pulled over and took a little walk down to the river to get some snacks and rest.

After a few minutes, it seemed like suddenly out of the bluest, clearest sky, it was trying to rain.  So quickly, hurried back up to the trail, strapped a screaming Grey into the trailer and started biking underneath the canopy of trees on the trail.  Then the heavens opened up and it was a monsoon...and the tree canopy could do nothing to shield us lowly bikers from the water.  So Brandon's bike kicked up mud into Grey's open trailer, so that he looked like this:

And then we couldn't put Grey back into the trailer because a)that is cruel b) he was screaming bloody murder (honestly, bloody freaking murder) so Brandon got his first taste of true "daddy strength*" and CARRIED Grey in one arm and peddled his bike and steered with the other free arm.  FOR 6 MILES BACK.  IN THE MONSOONING RAIN.  Even though he was seriously hurting and having possible shoulder dislocation, he was so proud to finally get his dad muscles.

By the time we all got back to the rental place (6 miles later), we were soaked to the core and emotionally drained.  Maybe you're familiar with the emotional rollercoaster that goes with bad weather on a day you've anticipated to be full of fun.  First there's the annoyance, then confusion, then the hilarity, then desperation.  Plus, my depression hit new lows when I got into the truck and realized the bag that was containing my Nikon camera was s.o.a.k.e.d. and my camera dead.dead.dead.  (yes, i tried to put it in rice and took it all apart and let it dry separately.  still dead.)

*daddy strength is a superhuman strength men get when they become dads.  its what allows dads the strength to always beat their kids in sports no matter how old they get, it allows dads to carry a baby on his shoulders, one on their hip, while dragging another behind him, and allows them to carry a 24lb toddler in one arm and ride a bike with the other for 6 miles.

Luckily, that wasn't our on fourth of July event planned, so we still had time to make up for the bike trip from the land on soggy bottoms.  On holiday night, we headed to the Point Stadium to enjoy the Johnstown Orchestra (which was awesome) followed by fireworks.  Since we had practiced the night before with Booboo and fireworks - he loved the Point fireworks which were gorgeous and well worth the wait.

happy birthday America.  I love you even if you decide to rain down on me for a whole 6 miles of bike trail.

oh, and the reason I could never sing the National Anthem in front of anyone (besides Grey in the backseat) is NOT because I don't know the words (which I do, ahem Christina A.), and is NOT because I am not a professional singer (even though Grey definitely thinks I am).  It's because I cannot get through the following lyrics without bursting into tears:

And the rockets red glare
and the bombs bursting in air
gave proof through night
that our flag was still there

because all i can imagine is Francis Scott Key peering out his window so thankful that he could still see his flag and knowing that as long as she stood, there was still hope.

hello world, i'm back

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

hi readers,
i'm back.  we have the internet again and a new house, and a new laptop(!!), and some semblance of normalcy and now i'm back.  i hope you're still here.  cause i kind of need ya.  i kind of need to get all of this pent up annoyance out of my heart and my head and out into cyber space so it will leave me alone.  something about writing just makes me feel like i've unpacked and that feels refreshing.

the thing is that our life is so beautiful and lucky and fortunate and yet i can't shake this feeling of being totally freaking annoyed and tired.  it could be because we just bought a new house (three weeks ago) and still have three-quarters of our stuff in the old house in erie (and another eighth of stuff in the chalet at blue knob).  it could be that my toddler, walking, loud, needy, whiny son is so insanely in the behavior of conquer and destroy that i literally googled today, "why are boys so destructive?" just to make sure i wasn't the only one trying to raise the next conan the barbarian (update:  i'm not the only one apparently).  it could be because i'm harvesting and growing another little seedling inside my ever expanding uterus.  it could be because bullet chases our cats around the house until they literally crap on the floor (don't get me started).  it could be because it has rained everyday for the last four days...I'm actually sitting on a covered stoop outside typing this and just letting grey and bullet get wet because i'm tired of cleaning up ripped up pieces of cardboard in the house.  (go ahead and guess who is ripping it up...you'll be wrong). It could be because we don't have one single room finished in the house but about 15 projects all going on at once and its driving this very organized, very project-goal type lady over here totally bonkers.  

but being a crabby, grouchy downer is not my style.  seriously, how much of a crybaby do i sound like right now?  so, instead of writing in my gratitude journal tonight (yea, i'm a nerd and i do that), here would be my entry.

today i'm thankful for
1. hot tea
2. our big yard that doesn't need a fence for bullet
3. wireless internet
4. talking to my mum and uch on the phone
5. fact or faked paranormal files marathon on syfy (not kidding)
6. getting access to my new work laptop and email (fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiinnally)
7. super productive work day
8. b said he'd bring home dinner
9. greyson laughing at "stinky feet"
10. clean floors

i like to be very specific.  heh.
thanks for listening.  i'll be back to post new stuff, old stuff, pictures (!!), and updates.  unfortunately due to camera/computer/any technological problem possible, i will probably not be posting in chronological order.  please bear with.

anyway, i've missed you,