thank YOU! Thursdays: Someone who taught you something valuable

Thursday, April 26, 2012

15 lessons on how to live a decent life
according to my Dad, Kevin J. Adams

1.  If you're going to do something wrong, don't get caught.

2.  Make things with your hands.  Like cement garden faces, and entertainment stands, and your own wine, and short stories, and cinnamon rolls, and little drawings at the end of letters to your family.

3.  Try to stay away from gossips and bullies.  If you can't stay away from them, don't get involved in their crap. 

4.  Nobody likes a whiner.

5.  Go outside.  If the sun is shining, your ass should not be on the couch.

6.  There's always an idiot at the party.  If you don't know who the idiot was, it was probably you.

7.  Ask yourself (and others) the uncomfortable questions.  Like do you think the world will end in 2012? And do you believe in aliens?  And why do you think we should let you go out with our daughter?  And who's the one person you've always been too afraid to apologize too?

8.  Always be aware of what's going on around you.

9.  Take care of your colon.  You feel a whole lot better when you're not full of shit.

10.  Sometimes things are scary at first, but if you just try it you'll see you might like it.  Like tipping hay bales while you're standing on them, or studying abroad, or eating grilled deer meat.

11.  Games make everything more fun.  Like the see-who-can-blow-out-the-candle-on-the-table-first-from-their-seat game while waiting for your food to arrive.  And the even-though-its-your-seventeenth-birthday-party-we-are-having-an-obstacle-course game.  And the try-to-stand-up-in-church-when-I'm-holding-your-leg-in-place-at-the-last-minute game.

12.  If someone lets you borrow something, return it in better shape than when you got it.

13.  Be open to learn about new things.  Like the stock market, and alternative medicine, and self-publishing, and meditation, and moving to Ecuador when you retire, and one-man helicopters, and new cellphone technology.

14.  Buy shoes because of how they feel, not because of how they look.  And everyone should own a good pair of boots.

15. People can't read your mind; if you want something, you have to ask for it.  And if you want them to know how you feel, you have to say it.

When I was working on writing this, I kept thinking about all the times you've had me jump.  Like when I was a little girl, say 4 or 5, and you and I used to do our barn trick; the one where I'd go into the hay loft and you'd stand on the ground and when you gave me the 'ok, I'd jump out of the barn and you'd catch me; swinging me to the side of your body.  Well the story goes that once when you were getting Gram to watch us, I jumped out before you turned back to look at me.  By the grace of God or luck or some kind of weird x-men powers I have, I landed on my feet with my knees spread so that I didn't bite my own tongue off.  Lesson learned, don't jump until Dad says its okay.

And then when I was thirteen, and you and I went back to the dam and you told me I had to jump off the rock (thirty feet above the water) like it was some kind of rite of passage you made up for our family.  It took a whole lot of coaxing and a whole lot of treading water on your part, but after a solid forty-five minutes, I did it.  I walked all the way back home with black & blue leg (from jumping in crooked) but with a proud smile on my face.  Lesson learned, just close your eyes and jump if Dad says its okay.

We've had a trampoline since I was in middle school, you've jumped out of an airplane (on more than one occasion), I learned to swim because I "jumped" into the pool (and by jump, I mean you threw me in).

So, Dad, you taught me just about every valuable lesson a girl can learn...but I want you to know I got the big one.

When I think maybe life is too hard or scary or big - I will always hear you saying its okay, Dad.  Lesson learned, I shouldn't be afraid to jump into every little bit of my life.

love you more than fish love the sea,

Next thank YOU! Thursday:  Someone that loves you just as you are.

a picnic lunch at Greenhouse Park

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Before I went back to work from maternity leave, my best friend Katie and her daughter (Greyson's best friend!) Sophia came out to our place to visit Greenhouse park for a picnic lunch with us.  It was one of those days that we really just needed to get out of the house, and the sun was shining, and our friends were on their way anyway.  That's really the perfect storm for a child photo shoot isn't it?

We lucked out on having our kids be such good friends.  We don't even have to force them to like each other.  They already do weird little things the same like hold their cups with one hand while holding their foot with the other.

We spent the sunny and unusually warm March day having our picnic lunch and chasing bubbles.

Then I paparazzi'ed the kids for their future wedding mem slideshow.  Hey, a mum can dream, right?

We let them wander around and dig in sand (until the throwing sand in each others' faces started).  I snapped this shot of Grey throwing sand over the volleyball net which made me feel like doing a foghorn (shout out to Susquehanna Vballers!)

Gemmi was with us too and besides waking up for 20 minutes to nurse, she slept the whole time.  She still thinks her older brother and best friend are so boring.

And because they played nicely, we let them throw rocks in the river which is what they really wanted to do the whole time anyway.

After that was when our little trip started to slip into the forced fun category.  We gave the kids 'nature walk' bags (ie. plastic baggies) to collect things while we took a little walk around the park.  And it was a total bust.  Kate and I were picking up flowers, rocks, and sticks and saying things like, "oooh, this stick looks cool.  let's put it in our nature collection!"  All the while, the kids were whining and asking to be picked up because they didn't want to walk anymore.  We dragged the two big ones and pushed the little one in the stroller over to a smaller stream and had them throw pieces of grilled cheese into the water for the fish that we were told were in there (but we couldn't find them).  Then we took our whining, sweaty, dirty kids and strapped them in the carseats before hugging each other goodbye.

I love having a best friend that can read my mind and say things like, "welp, I'm sufficiently tired from creating fun memories for the kids, lets go home and nap."

You've been there too, right?  When a fun trip takes a turn for the trying-to-do-stuff-you-saw-on-pinterest-but-the-kids-are-so-over-it-right-now?  Forced fun is hilarious...after a nap and a glass of wine of course.  At the moment, its not funny- only exhausting.

Big brother 1, Baby sister 0

Friday, April 20, 2012

Dear Gem,
I promise in your life there will be times when you will be so grateful to have a big brother.

And then there will also be a lot of times like this. Like when your brother decides to write on your head with pen while mum runs upstairs for your pants.

When I asked him what he was doing he said, "Paintin' baby Gem."  I think he had good intentions for a 2 year old.  Alas, it was still black pen on the top of your head.  For the record, you didn't cry or fuss - so you already know (at 2months, today!) you gotta be tough to roll with the Booboo. Keep hanging in there, girl. He loves you and so do we.

Your mumma

thank YOU! Thursdays: Someone who believes in you

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Dear Bud,
There are plenty of things that I could thank you for, like giving me this life that I used to doodle about in my high school notebooks...not kidding - l.i.t.e.r.a.l.l.y. daydreamed about almost this exact life with you while we were holding hands and sneaking kisses before you went to football practice.

circa summer of 2000
or I could thank you for giving our son that sideways smile of yours or how our daughter already has your charm and charisma at 2 months old.  I look at them and I see you and that makes me happy everyday.

Or about how you find ways to make me laugh even though I'm so tired I can barely keep my eyes open, or about how you just shrug when I leave dirty pots sitting by the sink for days (days!!) because I hate washing them that bad, or about how you never forget to kiss me goodbye when you leave the house.  But I'm not going to focus on any of those other things in this post.

I want to say thank you for something maybe you don't think I notice.  But I'm telling you right now, I've always noticed.  I've always felt it.  And your unwavering belief in me has been a shield that has kept the wind from blowing out the little candle in my soul.

The thing is, I am a full time working mom of two and I also have big ideas in my brain and heart.  So while doing normal life stuff, I also write a blog and I make our family come up with goals for the year by category, and I make sure we do 12 months of kindness, and 12 months of dates, and I organize our annual beer Olympics and the alumni turkey bowl, and I read essays for our high school senior scholarship every May, and I try to write a novel, and I plan 2 week vacations in Thailand...

and after writing all that, it seems like I think I am very awesome.  But the truth is, I am second guessing myself at almost every turn.  I am over analyzing and over thinking and over critiquing myself at each step.  I am holding my breath, hoping that I didn't forget something.  And then I worry myself sick and sometimes cry.

But there you are, hugging me and reassuring me that it will be great.  And not just saying it to make me feel better, but saying it like you actually know it will be great.  One time when I jokingly told you I was going to audition to be an MTV vj you said to me, without even a hint of sarcasm, "Please don't.  I really couldn't handle it if you were famous.  It just seems like it would be crazy for us."  Like you had no doubt in your mind that if I auditioned, I would get it.  You believe in my success in every situation no matter how small or how outrageous.

You think I can do anything.  And because you believe I can, so do I.

thank you for believing in my greatest potential every single day,
i love you b.

Next week's thank YOU! Thursday:  Someone who taught you something valuable

12 months of dates: February & March

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Even with the addition of a new babe, Brandon and I are still holding ourselves to our 12 months of dates gift that we got each other for Christmas.  You can read more about it here, but the gist is that we each took 6 months and pre-planned a date night, even going so far as to include money/gift cards and any other supplies needed for the dates.  They are a total surprise to the non-planner, so it has been fun to open them up on the first of each month for a little surprise.  Granted, it has been a little more hectic with our expanded family, including an infant- but we're sticking to it.  Here's the recap for the past 2 months. 

February (Brandon):  His date night detailed a game night in for the two of us while our babies slept soundly in their beds like we used to have in which we flirtatiously play each other in Wii bowling or have ridiculous games of Scrabble in which I try to use famous people's names as words...ya know, before taking on 2 kids, 2 dogs, and 2 cats that all make us fall asleep with our mouths open on the couch before 9:30p every night.  However, we had a little unforeseen situation when I had to go back to the hospital after Gemma's birth...therefore, Brandon had to flex his creative muscles to think of a way to make it work.  

So on the last day of February, he and Grey showed up at my hospital room with a bag full of goodies (candy and popcorn) and one of my favorite movies (For Richer or Poorer) and orchestrated a movie night-in for the four of us.  We popped that VHS in (oh yes, I said VHS) and all sat back and semi-enjoyed the evening.  Gem slept, Grey whined and ran around the room looking for things to break, Brandon attempted to wrestle Booboo into laying down and being quiet, and I laughed hysterically...because that movie is seriously funny.  So even though our 12 months of dates specifically mention that no kids be present - we made due with what we were capable of at the time.  Near the end of the movie, we did end up with two sleeping kids, two parents whisper-laughing, and my IV drip beeping quietly in the background....we're calling it a success.

March (Tab):  Since we planned these dates in December, when I was about 8 months pregnant and really aching to chug a beer (hah!), I planned our March date with the thought in my mind that I'd be back in the position to enjoy a long awaited brew again.  I also considered that we'd both have March madness polls completed - so I threw that in the mix as well.  Thus was born our March date:  Appetizers & drinks at a local bar/restaurant during the March Madness tournament.  We dropped off the kids with Gigi & Pappy Butch (Brandon's parents) and took three hours to ourselves to laugh, and eat good food we didn't make, and drink beer of course.  Neither of us were very invested in the tournament games, considering our polls had all but been a crapshoot at that point (mine mostly because I pick winners based off of the team color combos I like best), but it was a nice little break from talking about baby poop and fishing Greyson's hockey balls out from under the couch.  (thank you to Gigi & Pappy butch for being on babysitting duty!)  We didn't have to be back in 3 hours, but after our bellies were full of cheesy dips and yeasty beer, we were ready to head back and kiss our little munchkins and take a family nap.  

Unfortunately no pictures were taken during this date because I was too busy enjoying greasy food and staring my husband's cute face.  oops.

On to our April date...which is Brandon's month and I know what it is...but I'll keep it a secret until we do it.  I'll give you a hint though:  it involves firearms.  :)

thank YOU! Thursdays: Someone you could never thank enough

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Dear Mum,
There is not enough words in my brain to be able to say thank you to you; my mumma.  I've always been grateful that somehow I was dealt the supreme gift of getting you as a mother, but I think women worldwide would agree that it takes being a mother yourself to really recognize the depth of gratitude for a mom.  You know how sometimes when we are at your house and I will say to Grey, "This is MY Mumma" and I point to you...the truth is that it is almost too much for me to get that out without crying.  You're my mum which means a part of me is still a child; a part of me knows that when the going gets too tough, I have someone who will put my needs above her own without hesitation.

As a mumma myself, all day long I do things for my kids; mundane things like wiping their noses and asking them if they have poop in their pants.  I do annoying things like scrub marker off the wall and change their bed sheets.  I do scary and hard things like cut their nails from their squirmy hands and stand outside their bedroom doors while they're crying because its naptime.  I do things that make my heart feel like it will burst like hold them in my arms while they sleep and give them a million kisses because they just woke up and are feeling especially loving...and with every single one of these things I do as a mom every day I think, "someone used to do this for me."  That was you.  And I know I will be spending the rest of my children's lives; with each new age and stage, remembering how you were always there for me; pushing me to be the best version of myself with both tender and tough love when I needed it.  And because I want the best for my kids, truly know that as I raise my own, I will be copying you.

I love you more mumma,

photo credit:  Michelle Misner Photography

Next week's thank YOU!  Thursday:  Someone who believes in you

Greyson Rudy is two.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

my first baby turned two on Sunday.  Easter Sunday.  He is still young enough that he didn't care to share his birthday with a holiday that promises presents for everyone regardless if its your birthday.

we had a birthday party for him the Sunday before and invited way too many people for a two year old party.  we bought him a 14ft trampoline because our main goal every single day is to make him as tired as possible, which in recent months has proven to be nearly impossible.  the trampoline was a big hit at the party.

we obviously abide by the 'one person jumps at a time' rule 

we only played one game which was the pinata...which was also a big hit.

two feels vastly different from one.  Like one was light years ago.  right before we sang happy birthday at the party, I suddenly realized that I was sitting with Grey for just about the first time during the party.  he had been playing with his friends the whole time while I bumbled about and made sure people had drinks and introduced family and friends to each other.  when he was one he didn't really play with his friends.  actually when he was one he didn't really even know his friends; they were just other small beings placed near him occasionally.  And now only a year later, he had celebrated his party by actually playing with friends and not his mumma.  i'm telling you, light years have passed.

at two, Grey is a walking oxymoron.  One moment he has no control over his body, so much so that he is half running - half flailing into the tv stand with his forehead four hours before we get professional pictures taken (thank you, photoshop).  The next minute he is shooting his mini basketball at the hoop that is twice as high as it should be for a toddler and swishing baskets 5 and 6 times in a row like he's been an old pro at the game for years now.

One minute he's dropping dry dog food one by one into the water dish pushing me ever closer to a full out fit of frustrated hysterics.  the next minute he's sitting in his car seat melting my poor little heart into mush by asking me, "mumma, hold hands?" with the sweetest little smile you've ever seen on a cherub's face.

we went to the doctor for his 2 year well check- up and he had to get a booster vaccine.  I kept saying, "okay, we're just going to get a little poke now and then we'll be done."  Grey said, "okay, little poke!"  The nurse told me to hold his arms down and I waited for the yelp that never came.  In and out went the needle, on went the band-aid and all Grey said was, "Mumma, poke hurts" and he didn't even say that until after the nurse left for fear that he'd hurt her feelings.  Less than an hour later, I was dropping him off at day care (which we only just started this week as I'm back to work from maternity leave) and he had a hold of my neck and was crying with all he had inside that two year old body.

at two, being separated from me hurts him worse than a needle.
this both breaks my heart and mends it at the same time.
because someday, probably too soon for me, he won't feel this way anymore.
but i always will.

happy birthday, my first baby.
i love you forever.
and ever.
and ever.

thank YOU! Thursdays: introduction

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The thank YOU Thursdays writing project started brewing in my mind this past month while I was going over our list of random acts of kindness goals (writing thank you notes to our family and friends) while watching NatGeo's new show "Doomsday Preppers."  Strange, I know.  But I got to thinking about what I'd want to say to the important people in my life if all the 2012 hype was going to turn out as true.  How I have all these honest and gracious things to tell so many people in my life, but never get around to actually saying them because a) its too embarrassing to bust into tears trying to get out the truth about how much they mean to me b)I believe they already know how grateful I am even if I don't actually say it or c) any other number of excuses that really mean the same thing as 'I don't make the time to tell them.'

So, out of this kind of spiraling brainstorming session, I was inspired to create a writing project around getting out all the gratitude I carry around silently in my heart for the people in my life that have loved, supported, laughed, and helped make  If the end of times is upon us (and you know I have some experience about I was a contributor in my dad's published book on the subject:  A Family's Perspective on 2012 by Kevin J. Adams) I'd like to say what I've been meaning to say all this time.  And what better way than in writing that they can read it and come back and look at it  forever...and being able to side step that whole crying in front of them while trying to get it out thing is a bonus.  This way, I'll just be able to sob about it alone staring at my computer screen - fun!  hahhha, but kind of not kidding; sometimes a good cry is really rejuvenating.

So, here's the plan for anyone interested in linking up on Thursdays to say thank you to the important people in your life:
1. the week before I'll post "who" we'll be writing our thank you for, so you'll have all week to think about and start writing your thank you letter.
2. there are no rules about the tone of your letter - if you'd like to be sarcastic, or ironic, or funny, or silly, or heartfelt, or mushy - go for it.
3. write it like its the last chance you'll get to say it; so say it all.  December 2012 is creeping up pretty quickly (hehhe)
4. link up!

Let's start a revolution of gratitude - Let's not wait another minute to let the people in our lives know how grateful we are for them - Let's cry alone in front of our computers!!...Because we don't want to end up writing in to this blog because we aren't going to wait until its too late.  Here, I'll get the ball rolling: Thank YOU to all of you that are going to join me on this project.  See you next week!

Next Week's (the 1st ever) thank YOU Thursday:  Someone you could never thank enough

March 2012 kindness: random acts

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

We had set up our March kindness to focus on small random acts of kindness sprinkled throughout the whole month.  We thought it would be a relatively easy kindness to carry out while we had a very teeny baby on our hands.  We originally made a list of target random acts goals and we gave the list a run for its money...we didn't all of them, but we also added a few new ones as well.  Here's the skinny on our month long journey randomly acting kind:)

1. Greyson and I (while Gemmi watched on) made some treats for the birds thanks to this pin that I saw a few months ago.  It's an easy little project that Grey was able to handle just fine...until he started chowing down on some peanut butter mixed with a little bird seed.  Besides that, our treats were made and hung up within just 20 minutes.

2. For more kindness towards our feathery (& and furry, ie. squirrels) friends outdoors; I followed the instructions of this pin to create a bird seed wreath to hang up.  It was surprisingly easy to make and a nice way to break in my new bundt pan.  One thing I'll need to figure out though is how to keep the wreath from busting up on its own...within a few hours, our wreath had broken under the weight of itself and crashed into the flower bed.

3. Brandon bought a golf course coupon book to support the American Cancer Society which is good for discounts throughout the whole summer.  

4. We bought some breakfast treats (cinnamon rolls and donuts) and delivered them one afternoon to our local librarian.  We stopped by and surprised her and perused some books including one by our favorite author Eric Carle; The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse

5. Brandon organized a team and played in an alumni basketball tournament to support a local youth mission group.  The tournament was over St. Patrick's day weekend and the kids and I were there to cheer on Bud as he put his basketball shoes back on after so long.  It was so good to see him playing again and Greyson was in awe of him.  Now he wants to be even more like Dadda (and Uncle Juice too!)

Grey was sad here because we were going to leave the gym and basketball.  hah!
6. Greyson acted out some kindness towards his family by serving us up some late night snacks from his 'cookin' toys.'  He even had some dished out for Bully and Trixie since all four of us (including Brandon and I) were sharing the couch.  He served them up while saying, "here ya go, Dadda.  Very hot, blow on it"

7. Then he gave a baby doll a bath which was kindness toward a doll that could use some love and also kindness towards Gemma and I as it allowed for some uninterrupted nursing time.  It was nice to see Grey playing so gently and calling the doll 'baby Gemma.' 

8. We made special art projects for the grandparents based off of this pin - even baby Gemma got in on this one (well her little foot did).  And Grey's face suffered a little surprise design as he was pretty intense about his painting.

9. Brandon and Uncle Jonny left a generous tip for their bartender/take-out waitress at our favorite local wing stop for no reason at all. 

10. We left a treat of candy in the mailbox for our carrier to say thank you for delivering us letters each day.  She responded by leaving us a post-it note that said, "you're welcome!  thanks for the candy!"

11.  Our original goal list included writing thank you notes to our family & friends which actually has inspired me to start a thank you blog post writing project for the year.  I'm going to call it "Thank you Thursdays" and you can read more about the project on here starting tomorrow!

12. We also made sure to smile at everyone we saw...and with faces like these who wouldn't feel kindness in their heart after that?  (haha, although I'm a little biased).

13. We made an effort to speak and act kindly to each other and Brandon and I even slow danced (in front of the kids) to Lee Brice's new single, Woman Like You.  Then we had a full on family dance party to LMFAO's Sexy and I Know it.  Totally normal weekend afternoon at the Studer house.  

14. We read books about being kind, including these books which I purchased on a full out book buying binge: 
Heartprints by P.K. Hallinan
Hands Are Not for Hitting (Best Behavior) by Martine Agassi Ph.D
Fill a Bucket: A Guide to Daily Happiness for the Young Child by Katherine Martin & Carol McCloud
Share and Take Turns (Learning to Get Along, Book 1) by Cheri J. Meiners M.ed

Although we didn't accomplish everything on our original random acts goal list, we are dubbing this month a (mostly) successful month towards our kindness challenge.  It was great fun to do a bunch of little kindness projects all month instead of working on one big event.