9th Annual Beer Olympics!

Sunday, November 26, 2017

As the cold weather sets in and the holiday lights glimmer, let's take it back a few months and reminisce real quick on our penultimate and 9th annual Beer Olympics!

It's so hard to explain Beer Olympics to someone who has never experienced it firsthand. It's a day of drinking games, yes. But also so much more in a weirdly sentimental, make some new friends, competitive, but good hearted, feel good day. I don't know how to describe it but to say - that months and years later when I see people from various sects of our life chatting and laughing together and ask them about how they know each other, often times it begins with "at Beer Olympics," and that somehow describes everything about everything.

We had a beautiful, blue sky day in late June to celebrate our 9th annual event. Greyson's all-star machine pitch baseball team had a tournament that day - so for the first time in nine years, I was flying solo as host for the first half of the day! Thankfully though, I had no stress about it because our Beer Olympic veterans are so amazing and kind and helpful and know the ropes of how the day works. 

As in Beer Olympic fashion, we start the day with a game of Sloshball while we organize the teams, then it's face painting & color hair spraying by team names (we chose to do all Hashtag team names this year, HAH) before we dive right into the main event line up - beginning with Beer Pong and Hungry, Hungry, Hippong. 

Teams earn points by their performance on the various games and many of the games are tournament style so no matter what place you come in, you earn some team points. We also have individual non-mandatory challenges along the way if you feel inclined to earn some points for your team score like Keg Stands, Blow Ball, and Chug Offs. Following Beer Pong we have Dingbat Relay, and Ice Cube Tray Canoe Races.

God bless our friends who sign up to help ref or volunteer during the day too. I could not do this day without our friends who wear those whistles alongside me and put up with the incredible hilarity that comes with trying to organize progressively more intoxicated competitors. Half the success comes from observers (and helpful players trying to win the Olympian and Teacher's Pet awards!) who re-fill beer pitchers, replace kicked kegs, move tables to set up for the next games, and empty garbage cans.  Seriously, I love you all so much. 

To close out the first half of the day before the intermission; we play Slippy Cup (flip cup with a slip and slide) and Anchorman. 

I can't preach enough how important the intermission is for players to refuel (on tons of carbs) and non-alcoholic liquids. Another key to our beer olympics success is that everyone who comes brings something to share - so our garage slowly fills up as friends arrive with roasters, crockpots, desserts, and coolers filled with water and sports drinks. During intermission, the perimeter of our yard becomes the men's bathroom, bodies lay all over the place with plates of food balanced on their bellies, and we do a quick tally of the scores so teams can figure out how hard they need to rest before the games resume.  We plan for the intermission to last about 45mins, but inevitably it lasts at least an hour to a little more.

Then we ease back into the games with a flip cup tournament and a Quad bongs tournament.  The baseball team arrived back a little after intermission and Brandon said to me, "Geez, everyone seems like they are way more drunk than past years" and I laughed and was all like, "babe, that's only because you're sober this year." It's both hilarious and annoying to be on the Ref/sober side of the day, but it's my favorite so I take the whining with a smile and write down all the funny things people say and do to add into our awards ceremony at the end of the night.

My favorite event of the day is Survivor Flip Cup because people get seriously intense about it as it's the competition to rack up huge points for your team if you can keep a representative at a table for a long time (it's like musical chairs with the last one gets kicked off the table idea but with flip cup). And then it's one last chug offs before the Obstacle course finale.

Then it's another intermission while the refs tally team scores and decide on award winners before our big finishing ceremony - always a highlight of the day. We make a bunch of sashes with ridiculous awards and my sister compiles a playlist of songs to go with each award (hilarious!) and we do the whole thing like it's super official and celebratory. 

With the amazing generosity of our players and observers, we raised over $300 to support a local family and a local do-gooder who made a huge sacrifice to help them. It was a double dose of kindness that we were able to give this summer (YOU GUYS ARE AWESOME!!)

Our champs AGAIN this year was Team Pumpkins (#PSL)- two years reigning champs going into our final year of Beer Olympics! 

It's true, we are retiring the Studer's Invitational Beer Olympics after one last guns ablaze 10th annual event coming this summer; with a full weekend of fun, special surprises, and a year-in-advance invite already sent out (LOL). With growing kids and all their activities and just plain getting older (and hangovers that are harder and harder to recover from #sadbuttrue) - we know it's time to hang up our Beer Olympics sashes.

But first - one more time!

ps. Thanks for all who have read and followed along and re-pinned our posts.  Next August 2018, I will have a final Beer Olympics Planning Toolkit available to leave as a legacy. Stay tuned!

Around Here Forty-Seven: 11/18-11/24

A glimpse into what it is like to live in our home just this minute.

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 520+ hours (of 1000)
Snagging about a half hour for a little walk twice this week. The three kids (minus Gem who was at tutoring) and I took the dogs for a little walk back to the cornfields and tried to play detective figuring out what kind of animal left tracks and scat back there - my guess was bear or bobcat and Grey was adamant it was a coyote - we checked our pictures against the internet when we got back and Grey was right! All four kids and I took a little walk after our first Thanksgiving meal to let out a little energy - a little muddy and cold (!) but a nice little break.

Reading The Nix by Nathan Hill and enjoying it; what a look at modern society and pop culture, it really has me pulled in.  We also pulled out our Christmas book collection including some of our favorites like Snowmen At Night, Mr. Willoughby's Christmas Tree (my favorite holiday book!), Rabbit's Gift, and It's Christmas David!.  I just ordered Soft Enough for a King and I cannot wait to have it arrive! I've been feeling bad about our (lack of) effort toward 12 Months of Kindness and this will inspire us all to be extra kind all season.

Organizing and minimizing baby clothes. It's such an emotional chore but one that needs done. With #GivingTuesday on the horizon (it's this Tuesday, November 28!) I want to get all the baby clothes girls & boys 0-12mo packed up to be delivered to our local women's shelter. I'm putting aside any pieces of clothes that make me legit feel like crying because of the memories into a single tote to stow away for my sisters - but other than that -everything goes! It's not really the most urgent project that needs done (and as Bud said, you're cleaning up the one part of our house that no one ever sees? LOL) but it's like mental clutter that is bringing me down. With our poor performance on 12 months of kindness this year and all this stuff everywhere and #GivingTuesdasy - it just feels like a pickmeup that I could use.

Administering antibiotics...again. Gem and I headed to UrgentCare with a three day fever and picked up the confirmation of an ear infection and some antibiotics. Rust is still coughing up some nasty phlegm and we've been using Vick's vaporub and the humidifier like it's our job. Oh winter sick season, you are no fun.

Getting teary-eyed with a surprise visit and dinner for us from our cousin Tausha. On Tuesday afternoon, I got a text from her that she was delivering dinner to us. She showed up with arms loaded down with food and dessert and wine and the sweetest note. Meanwhile, she also has four kids and was hosting Thanksgiving dinner at her own home two days later and she was thinking about me! Honestly, kindest, most thoughtful momma.  (thank you Taush!!)

Passing, setting, and serving at the volleyball tournament at school with the teacher's team on the day before Thanksgiving break. What a fund day at school! Besides the volleyball tournament all day, we also had movie options for the students and then everyone came down for the championship game at the end of the day. Teacher team went undefeated and then won in the championship game! We even got a chance after the champ game to play the real girl's volleyball team and they were awesome. I was so impressed with them (many of them Spanish students) and was really excited to see them do something they love.

Stuffing ourselves on Thanksgiving and feeling so very grateful. We traveled first to Gigi and Pappy's house to celebrate the holiday with our Studer family with food, and silly games that had us all cracking up. Then we traveled out to our Aunt Mar and Uncle Terry's house to celebrate with our Adams family with food, cousins happy to play with our kiddos, and facetiming with long distance family (Kayla in Bermuda! Kara in Missouri! and Becca in Florida!) As tiring as it is to load up kids and hustle and bustle all around - we know there is no room for complaining about having places to go where people love (and feed) you to full capacity!

C.l.e.a.n.i.n.g. the living room. I'm talking under couch cushions, throwing out broken stuff, and scrub-a-dub-dubbing to get ready for Christmas tree arrival and also to help my soul rest more easy because it has been out of control around here with the dust and piling up of stuff. Gem was a big help and she was very excited to get the mistletoe hung up (hah, my girly girl). Since the bottom of our vaccuum isn't working, I moronically used the hose attachment and spent most of afternoon in a half bent position and now my back is d.e.a.d. waaaahh. #givemealltheheatingpads

Black Friday shopping and knocking items off the list. I am a 'online shopper' when it comes to Black Friday deals and couldn't be paid enough money to go to an actual store any day between a week before Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday. So I hit up Idlewild website for our annual grandparent & kid season passes (shh! pretend you didn't read that grandparents ;) I ordered our Christmas cards from Shutterfly and we did a little shopping for Grey's big gift!

Speaking of shopping for Christmas - our The Hunting Daddies board books are on special through Monday, November 27 at our website. Two board books for only $12! A great gift for new parents, grandparents, and babies that belong to hunting or fishing families.  (thanks for enduring that shameless plug of our little small biz xxox)

Making beef roast in the crockpot (with water, brown gravy packet, ranch, and an Italian packet) green bean almondine and three pumpkin rolls on Thanksgiving morning to share with our family later that day at the celebrations. I roasted an 11 lb. turkey for just our family at our house on Friday and it turned out so moist and delicious (secret tip: go full Julia Child on that baby and use a ton of butter, hah).

Vially at three.

Friday, November 24, 2017

dearest squishiest, honeyiest pie Vially,
three suits you. i feel like you at three is maybe the you'est you - is there some way we could keep you always this sweet, and snuggly with that mouse squeak voice? oh, how we all wish with our deepest wishes because you are pretty much everyone's favorite.

not kidding about the everyone's favorite. You are. You're the child most often that our friends and family whisper to us, 'I'll keep this one if you like' because you just have the thing that the Olsen twins had when they were toddlers on Full House - the 'aww' factor for anything and everything you do and no one can resist your fourteen million dollar smile.  And that smile that doesn't come for free man, you gotta work for it. If someone wins your affection the look on their face is sheer astonishment and joy - like how people look when they're surprised with puppies and kitties.

You are tough and brave and weirdly cool for your age. You had a horse themed birthday party and it doesn't appear to be a fad you're growing out of. You talk about Dawn (Uncle Dave & Aunt Cindy's horse who came to your party!) at least once a week and love looking at books about horses.

You still love Barbie dolls and the stories and dialogue you make up for them is so adorable to walk up on. You also love puzzles and coloring pictures - you're getting better and better at coloring in the lines and you can draw a simple smiley face now with these big circle round eyes (that take up most of the circle face) and a funny little barely turned up line for the smile.

Your second favorite movie is Jurassic World.  Jurassic Park 1, 2, and 3 are also in your top 5.  The Book of Life about el dia de los muertos is your favorite movie and you can say 'María Posada with an incredible Spanish accent.  Speaking of Spanish you also know how to say pengüino (penguin) and caballo (horse). I asked you how to say "mom" in Spanish and you said, "Tabitha!" (hah). 

I love to see how you interact with your siblings. You get tough and wild with Grey and you two are always getting in trouble together because the silliness is through the roof. He encourages you to say ridiculous things and while he laughs so hard he almost falls out of his seat, you just ham it up some more - even if you're about an inch away from getting sent to time out (talking about poop and weiners and buttfaces is the general theme). 

With Gemma you go full on baby mode because Gem will literally pick you up and carry you around the house if you show the slightest sign of distress. She rubs your back and fixes your hair and teaches you all about being a mom and a 'girlfriend.' I catch you two snuggled up or holding hands all the time and it makes me so thankful my heart cracks open and I send gratitude out to the whole world to all the sisters and all the ways we give each other life and love and support. (#sisterscomefirst).  

And with Rusty you are learning a new way to be as he gets older and more durable and dominant. You are learning about ways you can boss him around or play with him or be sneaky together (like squeezing butt cream all over play doh!) and also by copying Gemma and taking good care of Rust in little ways. 

We took you to daycare this year while you were still two and they tried to be all serious about not moving you up to preschool until you were officially three, and even then sometimes three year olds struggle, and then I picked you up on Day One and they were like, "oh yeah, she's just going to preschool right now, she's totally fine." and Daddy and I were like, "um, yeah, duh."

You're a darling at daycare and one of your teachers told me, "I've never seen that child be bad in my life." You are learning so much and making all kinds of new friends. I love to hear about your day and learn your friends' names and about the songs you sang. You are quite a story teller and regularly tell little fib stories for who knows what reason.  You recently told me that "Santa stole all your underwear" which is why you were wearing Gemma's underpants. And you've also lied to me and told me you went to time out in daycare because you "told all my friends to SHUTUP!" (I actually asked the teachers if this was true which was what prompted the teacher to tell me the aforementioned quote about your behavior). 

Va-vi, you are such a gift to all of us. You make us laugh and smile and bring so much joy to our days. Your imagination and the way you are a friend (already! a real friend!) make this world a kinder place. We wish you could be three forever because you're so squishy and huggable and the 'aww factor' just oozes out of everything you do - but my sweet, it's impossible and the bigger part of my momma's heart can't wait to see how you continue to grow and turn more into the you'est you. Gosh, the world doesn't even deserve a more you'er you - but maybe that's just what the world needs, my darling. The world needs more wonder, more aww, more hugs, and the world needs more cool, weird friends. 

Vially girl,
everyday I can't believe 
how I got so lucky
to be your momma. 
my little peanut. 
i love you forever
and ever
even when you get so big

Around Here Forty-Four to Forty-Six: 10/28-11/17

Saturday, November 18, 2017

A glimpse into what it is like to live in our home just this minute.

Intentional Outdoor Hours:  519+ hours (of 1000)
Up barely, like barely barely. We had our first snow of the year with these huge, beautiful snowflakes in the middle of the day at school which made all the students antsy-pantsy. I used a lunch break to take a few laps on the school track one afternoon and it was kind of amazing. Most days I use my lunch period to wolf down some food at my desk while entering grades and making copies, but I'm hoping to be able to make it more routine to get in a few laps either at the track or the gym during lunch for a little happiness/movement boost in the middle of the day - it was honestly uplifting!

Reading and finishing The Hallowed Ones by Laura Bickle and starting our next Books & Brews book club book The Nix by Nathan Hill. I took a bunch of my books into school to borrow out to students and twice now I've had students stop by to show me the bookmarks they've discovered in my books.  I always use random nearby items and so far, the kids have found a $30 check from my sister from 2011 (hah! what was it for?!) and a boarding pass from Nashville (when I traveled there with my two best girl friends for our 30th birthday celebration!) The students were cracking up and so intrigued to hear the stories behind the bookmarks.

Pulling out our Thanksgiving/Veteran's Day book stash for the kids and Gemma has been the most enthusiastic kid about getting them out and 'reading' them. She learned about wrap-around covers in school recently and she loves holding up every.single.book we own to ask us in her teacher voice if the book has a wrap-around cover. Hah! Some of our favorite holiday books this time of year is Who will carve the turkey this thanksgiving, This is the Turkey, Veteran's Day, and Sharing the Bread

Hosting el día de los muertos food day in my Spanish classes. We had our first food day and it was a huge success. The kids brought in great food to share with each other and we spent a full relaxed day listening to Spanish music and eating and chatting to celebrate the holiday. The kids can hardly wait for the next one and most of them tried something they had never had before!

Spinning wheels is what it felt like. Three Thursdays ago when I was rushing through the doors to start my day at school and I just broke down on the inside, like suddenly I realized we were just spinning wheels for the last nine weeks and I just could not do it one more day. B and I had a long chat about how crazy everything is right now, the rushing every second of every day and the chores never getting done, and the pressure of all of our commitments and lists and things we need to do. We agreed that we've been running around with our hair on fire and we were burning out. At no point though did either of us feel like me working was the wrong choice (yay!) so it's about figuring this out and not doing all the things all the time - and figuring out new routines and scaling back - way back.  And since I had been pushing and pushing and ignoring myself for so many weeks - I then was....

...Getting sick or making myself sick - who knows. I broke out in this terrible, itchy rash all over my neck and spent a weekend and a day called off work lathering my neck in steroid cream and feeling mad at myself for not paying attention to my own well being for so long. The rash is no longer on my neck (mostly) but I still have it scattered around the rest of my body (shoulders, hip, wrists) and it can be terribly distracting. I truly believe it is self-induced because I haven't quite figured this all out yet - how to care for myself and also feel okay about how our life is either - but I'm getting there both mentally and physically - and everyday my rash seems to be getting a teeny bit better.

Focusing on gratitude, because that is where it all needs to begin. I am so lucky to have such an amazing support system. Grandparents who snag kids for a few hours and aunts and uncles you pick up and run to the rescue last minute, cousins who take kids off the bus or have our kids for sleepovers, family who surprise us with dinner or gallons of milk (we are neverendingly nearly out of milk, how?!), friends who text, call and send me sweet messages to let me know they are thinking of me. Best friends who stop by quick or open their home with cups of tea and cookies at the last minute.

Re-Prioritizing and settling on the things that I can do each day. With our new back to school schedules and four kids at these exact ages - there is just never enough time in the days for all the things I'd like to get done. After our long chat about hair-on-fire living, we're trying to figure out how to make the hours in the day work for the things we need to get done. So we've decided to push all chores to the weekend - including laundry, good Lord the laundry - because I just can't do it during the week. I'm so tired of feeling like we rush through every part of the day - even the good parts: the dinner, the bedtimes, the chatting with kids - and so we're pushing nonessentials to the weekends. B is also tackling lunch making duties in the evening because I am straight up passing out asleep between 8:30-9p. We will get there, slowly and with new routines and expectations. It's a long, slow process but we're moving in the right direction.

Learning more about Gemma's "superhero brain" (I told her that her brain tries to jump up to the mountain ledges because it can instead of climbing the ladder - she can do things that are more difficult but struggles with the more basic ideas - which is really cool but it she needs to learn how to climb ladders too!). She had her initial consultation and it felt so good to answer questions and talk openly about the things we've been seeing - both her amazing and incredible talents and characteristics and also her academic struggles. We had her parent-teacher conference too and as always I was so grateful to get time to chat with her teacher who is such a champion for our girl on the frontlines of learning. Gem has been making incremental progress, especially with her twice a week after school tutoring with Miss P! And she still loves school so much and pretends to be a teacher at home - I never want her to lose that, so we move along to figure out how to support our girl as best as we can!

Celebrating Veterans' day with our favorite veteran, my little sis aunt Kitty. She came all the way from Bermuda for a few days to visit her new baby nephew Ben and to visit with us in Johnstown and celebrate our dad's early birthday. It was with the magic of the universe that her train pulled into town the morning of the kids' school Veteran's day program and lunch and she was able to attend with them. They were so proud! At my school, the teachers helped student council pull off a breakfast for local veteran's and I had a great time on Friday morning at school chatting and serving coffee.

Enjoying Original5 Adams time with our parents and my two sisters - just the five of us while we played 'Chumardy" (Jeopardy but all about my Dad, hah) to celebrate Chumsgiving (aka Dad's birthday that is always right around or on Thanksgiving).

Playing cards
 with the kids every evening. Go Fish and Double Smacking is our two favorite games.

Sharing lunch with my hubs at our school Thanksgiving Day lunch. B came down from the district office and we had lunch in my classroom together. First of all, YUM stuffing balls. We were having a nice little lunch until the eighth period bell rang and my sophmores started to collect outside the door giggling and whispering about us 'having a date.' It was hysterical and I smiled about it for the rest of the day.

Walking in our local Christmas parade with my sister and her work AUCP. Gem slept off a fever at Gigi and Pappy's house while the other three kiddos, my mum, Uch, Kevin, Aunt Lisa, cousin Morgan, and Mya the pup and Mozart the kitty all walked in the parade. After the parade, they lit up the giant Christmas tree in our downtown Central Park!

Officially starting basketball season with the first day of practice last night. Which seems like, "oh no." but as we are every year - we are excited and nervous. It's total madness (more than already, oh gosh!) but it's only November through February. And it makes Coach Daddy so happy and we love getting to know all the players and we love spending so much time with our 'basketball family'...so we got this.

Making chicken and gravy in the slow cooker over mashed potatoes, mummy hot dogs for Halloween dinner, hawaiian chicken over rice (actually Abba put that in the crockpot for us!), cheese quesadillas, taco tuesday, 3B porkchops, spaghetti, baked chicken & cheese ravioli. And for breakfasts - , egg and sausage breakfast roll-ups, and 3 ingredient chocolate chip pumpkin muffins.