April 2012 Kindness: Going a little more green

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

For our April kindness, we made an effort at living more 'green' at our house.  People have lots of thoughts about going green and global warming - our school of thought at the Studer house is that since we live on the Earth, we should try to make decisions about how to help take care of our home.  So we made some changes this April to do just that.

  • We changed most of our paper bills and statements to online.  It was a little scary for me because for some reason a paper copy seems so much more real as a reminder and as proof that I paid it.  But, surprisingly, 'printing to PDF' feels just as good as a paper copy.
  • We planted four trees in our very not shady backyard - Booboo even helped dig the holes. We planted two blossoming lilac trees (white flowers in summer) and two blossoming crab apple trees (pink flowers in spring).  Maybe you couldn't tell from reading that, but I'm kind of in love with blossoming trees.  Luckily, my husband likes to make me happy:)  (thanks Rudy for helping to get them in the ground!)

  • We opted out of receiving any phone books at our house (in our zipcode we were receiving 4 phone books!)  You can opt out too if you are just using your phone or internet to do the looking up anyway by visiting this website.
  • We bought re-usable snack bags and sandwich wraps from this etsy store so that Brandon's packed lunches & Greyson's togo snacks won't be stored in throw-away plastic baggies.  Not only are they adorable, but earth-kind too!

  • We vowed to order beer on tap when we go out to eat (think: saying no to packaging waste)
  • We buy phosphate-free powder laundry detergent and switched to using bar soap instead of body wash/bottled soap (again, think: better packaging waste decisions)
  • we started recycling.  This seems like a no-brainer, except that we don't have recycling that comes to our house.  So we've organized a recycling center in our pantry (Grey is learning about separating plastic from aluminum!) and we drop off our recycling at our local center every Friday.  Luckily for Greyson, just around the corner of the recycle spot is a huge playground.  I think his mind is starting to associate recycling with playing...double bonus.

  • Shhh, we finally registered Bullet & Trixie and now they have licenses.  oops, that was a long time coming.
  • We adjusted the fridge & freezer temperatures.  Freezer up to 2 degrees and Fridge as is at 37 degrees.
  • We upcycled (aka took out of our neighbor's garbage pile!  Hi, neighbors!!) a turtle sandbox and turned it into a rock box for Booboo's trucks.

We still have more things on our list that we want to do, so we moved some of our items on to our "50 things to do this summer" list (like build a bat house and hang a clothesline).  In case you need some inspiration to take on a new going green idea- here's some pics of mother nature at her finest.

a storm brewing overhead
this bird took a little break on my rear-view while I was at a stop sign...must be good luck, right?

trixie making friends with one of mother nature's smaller guys
the weather on our hill is sunny before the clouds break in the valley

spring sunset
And in case you're wondering what our "50 things to do this summer" list is, I got the idea from the tons of pins floating around (some are even lists of 100 - whaaat?!) I liked a lot of the stuff on many of the lists, but some of them were too specific or not enough so.  Well here come's a big surprise (heh), I made our own and its posted next to our 2012 goal lists on the fridge. Some of the list comes from things B and I did when we were kids in the summer and wanted to make sure our kids got to do them too.  Some of them are ideas from pins I've been hoarding for the season that I don't want to forget about.  Others are specific to our hometown/region.  And just in case you're itching to know - here is our list...maybe it will inspire some things to add to your family summer to do list?

Mumma's day 2012

Monday, May 21, 2012

I recently celebrated my third mother's day; the first one as a mum to two babies.

It has been a crazy year in my journey through mummahood.  Remember when we were living in a chalet at blue knob for a few months and I went a little nutty?   Remember when Greyson learned to run and destroy everything in sight and I went on a parenting boys self-help book buying spree?  Remember when we adopted a new dog when I was 9 months pregnant? Remember when I got super sick after giving birth to our little girl?  Sheesh, its been a weird and exciting year in momland.  But no matter what kind of crazy we have going on (which we've always got crazy going on), those two little faces remind me that I am not the keeper of my own heart.

It was a low key mumma's day (exactly the kind that I needed) and I was pampered all day by Brandon who did overtime making sure I didn't have to lift a finger (thanks Bud!)  We had breakfast (served by Dadda), church, and then a quick stop at the grocery store where we had a double meltdown (aka both kids at the same time).  We were at a stoplight on the way home while the kids were both crying in the back and Brandon looked at me laughing and said, "Well, happy mother's day."  Then we both started cracking up and I used my mom superpowers to sing the kids quiet for the rest of the way home.

The kids (aka Brandon) got me the most beautiful Mother's ring with the April and February birthstones of my babies.  I'm kind of in love with it.  We invited our parents over for a cookout dinner (again, Brandon on chef duty - it was all delicious).  While we waited for dinner to be ready, the mums and the kids got to work on our Mother's day project.  We made aprons!

I bought canvas aprons (they come in a 3pack from Michaels!) and some fabric paint.  Then we set to getting the kids all messy to put their handprints on our aprons.

 Once the aprons were spotted with the kids' handprints, we added their name and age to one of the prints for posterity's sake.  They looked cute enough like that, but we weren't through just yet.  Grey used fabric markers to color on the aprons to add a little more pizzazz.  And I wrote our "names" on each (aka:  Mum, Abba, and Gigi)

And for a final touch (that our moms loved), Brandon and I added our handprints to each of our mom's aprons too.

We'll see how it goes for next year, this might be a project we come back to and re-visit to keep adding handprints each year?  In any case, the aprons look adorable and it was a fun project that kept us happy and busy while we waited for our Mother's day feast.

I spent this Mumma's day feeling particularly grateful to be a mum to two healthy, happy, active babies.

My babies that smile and laugh when I make funny faces at them.  My babies that currently annoy me with their whining and pouting and not wanting to change their diapers.  These are my kids biggest pain points right now, not wanting to change their diapers and taking naps.  Sometimes my kids make me so nuts; what with my two year old's incessent whining and my 3 month old slobbering through three outfits a day, that I find myself taking deep breaths reminding myself that its almost naptime (or daddy's coming home or bedtime...whichever is the closest).  And then like a Mack truck, I'm reminded of how unbelievably lucky I am to even be able to fret about things so insignificantly small in the scheme of life.

Josh and Ashlee, a couple we went to high school with, have a baby girl about three months old, Taylor, (she was born a few weeks earlier than our Gemmi) who was born with Hydrocephalus and has been in and out of hospitals for her whole little life.  My heart aches to think of what it must be like to be a parent of a sick child, because we have been so blessed to not know anything about what that must be like.  Taylor was on her way to NC this past weekend for a cord blood infusion to hopefully help heal some of the damage from the fluid in her brain and/or her recent seizures.

Miss Tay (as her parents and family call her) has been on my mind and in my heart for the last few days.  She helped remind me this Mumma's day that maybe Mother's day isn't all about my kids saying thank you to me, but me saying thank you to the universe for giving me the chance to be their mumma.  And even though it feels really hard sometimes to be their mum, I recognize that it could be so much harder.  (happy mother's day, Ashlee.  hang in there.)

If you're interested in reading more about Miss Tay's story or donating money towards helping her and her family, please feel free to check out her page here.  If nothing else, please think of Taylor with warmth and good thoughts and send them off into the universe so that she can feel love and happiness surrounding her everyday.

happy mother's day to all the mumma's that stop by and read my blog.  Hope you all enjoyed your special day with the kids that make you crazy with frustration AND silly happy...usually at the same exact time:)

thank YOU! Thursday: Someone who surprised you

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Dear Mare, 
It's safe to say that we got off to a rocky start, some thirteen years ago.  Its a hard thing being two grades older than your boyfriend as his first serious girlfriend.  I imagine its even harder to be the mom of a boy who's first serious girlfriend is two grades older than him.  (Something I have to look forward to years from now, I'm sure).  But regardless of how it may have been then, you've surprised me.  We have surprised me.

You surprised me when you found a way to get on an airplane again so we could all vacation together.  You surprised me when you told the captain of our snorkeling boat that you were fine and we can keep sailing just so that we could enjoy the trip, even though you were so seasick. You surprise me when I say chocolate covered pretzels are my favorite candy in passing and they show up in my Christmas stocking.  You surprise me when you go along with all my weird little ideas about parenting without any question.  You surprise me when you recap how you told all your coworkers to read my most recent blog posts (hi, Marianne's coworkers!).

We surprise me when we simultaneously roll our eyes at our guys' obsession with hunting and all things camo.  We surprise me when we make trips together to New York or to the Italian restaurant to each eat 12 lbs of pasta or to the nail salon to celebrate our own little first day of trout tradition.  We surprise me because pop culture hasn't painted our relationship; mothers in law & daughters in law, with a very good rep in the history books.  

But the thing that has surprised me the most is how we have helped each other understand the difference between a man's love for his wife and and his love for his mother - which sometimes is what feels like a competition for other women in our same relationship.  We have, over time, learned together that the love is totally different and incomparable; I could never take your place and you could never take mine.  And because we understand and respect that, we can get past petty arguments and get on with being the two most important women in the same man's life.  (By the way, Booboo's future girlfriends and wife will thank you for helping me learn that early on.)

So, let this post go down in the record books right alongside all those bad examples of mothers in law and daughters in law.  You should know how lucky I feel that my husband (and my best friend) has a mother like you.
love you, 

Since we're now entering the summer months and things are getting a little busy over here, I'm going to spread out my thank YOU! Thursday writing project.  I'll still be writing (and offering a chance to link up) but will be doing so each third Thursday of every month.  What can I say, I like alliteration - hah.  thank YOU! third Thursdays :)

Next thank YOU! Thursday (third Thursday of June):  Someone who is present

thank YOU! Thursday: Someone who listens

Thursday, May 10, 2012

To: Tasha
Also known as:  Uch or Tasha Lindsey Marie Antoinette

I was trying to make this something other people would be able to read and understand.  But its kind of hard to explain how my 6 year younger sister sometimes ends up being the more grown up one of us.  How the baby of our family usually ends up being the one who translates all of our secret languages and gets us to resolve our issues.  How even though our lives have been drastically different from the other's our whole lives so far (you in elementary school, me in high school...you in high school, me in college and studying abroad...you in college and studying abroad, me married with kids), you find a way to make the difference in our everyday dramas not seem so vast.

What it comes down to is that you listen.  You always make the time to just listen to me.  You listen to me complain about dirty dishes not being loaded in the dishwasher right by a husband that won't do like I asked.  You listen to me talk about baby boogers, my dog's ticks, and our bedtime monster problems.  You listen to me talk about saving money, organizing volunteer projects, and paying bills.  You listen to me talk about which font I like best, how I can't understand how people still take issue with gay people getting married, and why I think our house would be a good landing ground for alien spaceships.

When something makes me laugh, I call you.
When something makes me frustrated, I call you.
When something makes me nervous or sad or anxious, I call you.
I am always calling you, because you listen.  You'll listen no matter what I have to say.  And  you make me feel like whatever it is that I feel like I need to say at any given moment is important.  

I don't know if I am the one that does that for you- makes you feel like what you have to say is important -but I hope you have someone that does.  And if you don't, then I'd like to be the one.

So now that you, my baby sister, are on the edge of a new, big chapter in your life (she's graduating from college this weekend, ya'll), please listen, once more, to this, Uch:  You can do anything.  And whatever you think you should do in your life is the right thing to do.  You've got good guts, so go with what they tell you.  I am proud of you and will always be proud of you.

love you a million kit kat bars,

ps. scf
ps2. Dujour means family

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

Our celebration April Part II

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Aaand, we're back...

Easter Sunday was full of bopping around town stopping in to see our family on both sides to eat loads of good food and participate in numerous egg hunts.  Again, I literally cannot stress how lucky my kids are with the abundance of love and kisses they get.  We are very blessed.

egg hunt 1:  Pappy Butch & Gigi's house

Greyson & his #1 favorite cousin Morgan. 

Pappy Butch, Gigi, Grey, & Gemmi

Mimi and 2 of her great grandkids

our super colorful Easter family

Greyson's birthday is 1 day after his cousin Amy's birthday.  So they shared a cake and a high five

Gemma & her great Aunt Darlene

Gemmi & her cousin Janell

egg hunt 2: Chum & Abba's house

Gemmi hanging with her great Aunt Marlene & her great grandpap

Pap with his daughter (mum), granddaughter (me), and great granddaughter (Gemma)

Chum, Abba, Grey, & Gemmi Bear (hah, that face!)

this picture of my dad tickling Gemmi makes me laugh every time I see it.
You may now be asking yourself, where on earth did she get those matching outfits for her kids?  My friend Becki (hi, Beck!) is awesome (and about to have a baby here in a month!!) and she's way more creative and talented than me.  You can check out her facebook page & some of her designs here.  She hand made & designed Gemma's dress, diaper cover, and Greyson's velcro tie.  She's kind of a my hero.

thank you, Becki!
 We followed Easter weekend up with the first day of trout.  Brandon spent Friday night with his cousins at their cottage in Bedford like old times.  Pappy Butch took Grey out on Saturday afternoon to spend time with his Dadda and cousins near the creek (or in as we say in Western PA, crick).  The boys were in all their muddy, fish guts, stinky glory.

Grey & his cousin Reid
 While the boys were away, the girls will play.  So Gigi, Gemma and I made our way to the Italian Oven - ate plenty of pasta and then stopped off for manicures and pedicures.  We're thinking this should probably be a first day tradition.

Gem doesn't really care either way just yet. hehhe
Rounding out the third weekend in April, we go to celebrating Gemma's christening.  The mass was beautiful and we had so many family and friends come out to see her on her special day.  My Mum had been able to take immaculate care of my christening gown and had it all ready for Gemma's baptism.  She looked beautiful and it meant a lot to me to have her wearing the same dress I wore some 28 years ago (thanks, Mum!)

Gem was like a little angel and waited patiently for her big moment at the baptismal font.  She didn't even make a peep when she was baptized, she just stretched her arms out and soaked in all the attention.  This girl already has a flair for the theatrics.  We are so proud and happy for you, Gemma Rose.

Gemma's godparents, Aunt Kitty & Uncle Juice

our lucky girl
Adams Grandparents<3 

Gemma & her mothers

Studer grandparents<3 
her cupcake cross cake

Gemma & Mimi

Uncle Juice and his girl
It was a beautiful day and we were surrounded by so much love and faith.  However, with all that partying in such a short amount of time, it was really only a matter of time until we started feeling the effects.  Grey isn't in any of the pics, because he actually got sick the night before.  We pulled godmother duty on Tasha that morning and she stayed at our place with a sick Greyson while we all went to church to celebrate our girl.

After that, it was a pretty slippery slope of sickness through the last 2 weeks of April, including some vomit clean up in aisle 3 (just kidding, more like bedroom floor), stubborn fevers, a quick bout with suspected hand, foot, and mouth (Greyson), and a sweet little stint of food poisoning for me.  Its been nothing but eventful around these parts the past few weeks.  And if you know us, the summer brings on a major dose of celebrations and traveling.  We're busy body kind of people, but we prefer to do it without runny noses and hacking coughs if possible. Here's to hoping the spring and this warm weather bring on clean respiratory systems for all!