Around Here Week 28: 07/10-16

Thursday, July 21, 2022

 A look into what it is like to live in our home just this moment. 

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 470+ hours (of 1000)
I don't think I've mentioned it in the last few posts - but just in case anyone forgot, I am deeply grateful for our back porch. Snagging lots of hours outside in the glorious summer days. Our back porch hammock is the best (my favorite reading during naptime spot!) and the kids love playing wiffleball in the back yard (they use old pieces of siding as the bases - LOL). B grilled up steak and veggies for dinner one night and we stood around the picnic table eating it all with our fingers like barbarians while the kids ran back and forth between the wiffleball game and/or the trampoline until like 10p. Oh no bedtime summer, I love you. 

Reading How We Show Up by Mia Birdsong, The Secret History by Donna Tartt, and 1000 Hours Outside by Ginny Yurich

Packing up cousin camp and already missing our cousins. It took two trips to get everything loaded up and taken home, but we did it before check out time! Last thing to get loaded down was the paddleboard while we buckled soaking wet swimsuit kids into the vehicles. The kids' first question when we got home from camp was, "When are we going camping next?" LOL, good grief - to be a kid! 

Catching up on a bunch of regular chores we've semi-neglected the past few weeks of summer fun. The guinea pig cage needed cleaned, the laundry was piled to the LITERAL ceiling after cousin camp, the chicken waterers needed scrubbed down at the farm, and the Beer Olympics totes needed moved into the attic. Feels good to check those things off the list, but never fun to actually do them - hah! 

Making note of the stark contrast in how I feel mentally/emotionally when I don't take my B12 vitamin. It is scary how quickly I can slip into awful, negative self-talk and feeling overwhelmed if I experience a B12 deficiency. My dad says that my grandma was the same way, so I am trying to do better to taking it each morning before I have my coffee. I am such a happier wife and mom (and person!) when my brain isn't so clouded with self-criticism and spiraling. (also, nature helps - double boost!)

Finishing up Rusty's last week of Kinder camp! On to the real deal next!

Celebrating a (very) belated birthday for Grey. He likes to wait to have his party in the summer (April is still too chilly) and so, at his request, we loaded up Lucille the 12-passenger Studermobile and our truck- and the flatbed truck that Uncle Kevin brought- with TWELVE 12-year old boys (teammates from all stars) and headed over to the Que to camp for a night. Several of the boys had never camped before but they all did great and had a good time. On the way over to the Que, I told them, "There's only one rule - behave in a way that you believe I would invite you back." And they really did follow that rule, because we had no issues or injuries or bullies! It was really a great time, just tiring because twelve constantly hungry-goofy-loud-energetic kids is a lot no matter how good they are. So happy to have been able to get them all together though - great birthday for Booboo and doubled up as great team bonding! The rest of our kids were elated to join them at camp for a little while on Friday while we made several trips with B's truck to transport all the bikes and camp supplies home. (Big thank you to Miss Hannah who stayed with the rest of the crew on Thursday night). 

High fiving the two biggest girls after their salon appointment with our cousin Mandy. They got trimmed and hair dye and they are loving it (me too!) Thank you Mandy - we are all so happy with how their hair turned out. And thank you Pappy who was salon chauffeur that morning so that I could stay with the birthday crew at the Que!

Visiting with our besties the Fiores at their house. They invited us over for yummy dinner and swimming and catching up and it was exactly what we all needed after some busy weeks of summer hustling. Thank you! love you guys so much! 

Taking an actual nap in the middle of the day with Brandon on Saturday because were just just totally wiped out. Cousin camp, baseball tournaments, birthday party, the Beer Olympics, and all the summer madness of six kids at home all day everyday. The exhaustion hit us big time on Saturday afternoon and when the babies took a nap, we told the kids to fend for themselves and slept for a solid 2+ hours in the middle of the day. Glorious.

Sporting with the close of the West Suburban tournament (Grey's team battled out of the losers bracket to earn second place!) B and I had a double header in our co-ed volleyball summer league and the kids were all so well behaved for all six games (we even stopped for ice cream on the way home to celebrate!) Grey had two mornings of football conditioning and I attended the football boosters meeting on Wednesday night and set up my group text for Majors cheer! Fall sports are already right around the corner and as much as I don't want to rush summer, I can't deny that I love me some football season. 

Making Hawaiian meatballs with pineapple over rice, Copycat Olive Garden chicken in the crockpot, and frozen pizzas. I made buffalo chicken dip for Grey's party along with two pumpkin rolls. We had walking tacos for lunch one day too. 

Keto check in and fully back on track after two and a half weeks of wishy-washy wagon. I am doing fasting until noon everyday (just because it's actually not too hard and makes me feel energized) and then Keto/low carb for the rest of the day. Feeling so much better when I follow the intermittent fasting along with low carb. The Que Classic released their info for their 5K in September and I'm considering thinking of doing it - but I will def need to start walking/jogging again before then.

Around Here Week 27: 07/03-09

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

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

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 432+ hours (of 1000)
I scored two 13-hour days thanks to cousin camp! Looking back to compare previous years to this year - I am killing it...even though I'm not yet half way in time but more than half way through the year. Even if I fail at reaching the hours (like I have done every year since starting this challenge in 2015!!) it is still a win because it reminds me to get outside in the fresh air and be an example of screen free, outdoor living for the kids. They are definitely whooping my time (I would guess they are at least at 600+ hours at this point), but tracking my time as the one in our family who gets out the least of all, is really powerful for me. 

Reading How We Show Up by Mia Birdsong, The Secret History by Donna Tartt, and also started 1000 Hours Outside by Ginny Yurich

Taking it easy on Sunday - the day after Beer Olympics is always a little slow-moving. All the kids needed their faces washed (face paint mania), and there was lots to tear down and clean up from the big event - although shout out to Kitty and Ninna who helped clean most of the porch off the night before! And to Jonny and Nin who slept over and helped clean up the next morning (love youns!) After we cleaned up, we mostly just laid around and recuperated. 

Belly laughing at the playground with five of the kids (we were passing time until Grey's baseball game started) because they had spinner seats and Gem, Vi, and Rust loved them. I would spin them super hard and they were cracking up - oh man, why is getting dizzy the funniest/most fun thing ever? 

Spending the fourth of July at Gigi and Pappy's house. Grey had a sleepover at cousin Caleb's house the night before with bottle rockets and fireworks (thank you Heather!) and the kids' and I did some sparklers in the front yard on the fourth eve too. Then we all went up to Pappy & Gigi's house for yummy lunch and lots of swimming all day. The water was perfect and everyone was so happy to get in and swim. 

Smiling at Rusty's stories from Kinder camp. He is really excited about school and making new friends - even if he can never remember anyone's name afterwards (hah!) Thank you to our neighbor Renee who took Rusty one day this week, grateful that our boys will be in school together! 

Writing in my novel I started several years ago. I read through the pages I've already written for it and by the end I was like, "aw man, I wish this was finished so I could read it." HAH, silly rabbit, you have to write the book, Tabitha. So I got all motivated and wrote another 5+ pages and I'm hoping I can force myself to keep going - a little each day? even a little each week would feel like a step in the right direction. Come on, Tab! 

Getting organized for camping - grocery lists, supplies packed in tubs, tent and equipment pulled out of the garage, kids sent to their rooms with clothes packing lists in hand.

COUSIN CAMPING! We had our annual cousin camp planned for this week (thursday-sunday). We stayed at the Quemahoning Dam with our Rummell, Garretson, and Gilmore cousins- in all, we had 6 adults and 13 kids with us for most of the time. Tent camping with a lot of kids is so much work, but also so worth it  - IYKYK! 

   --Paddleboarding and kayaking are always the biggest hits at cousin camp. The kids love to take the paddleboard out and then play king of the mountain and jump off (like their own floating dock). First time our paddleboard has been out and we lost an oar and the big fin on the bottom. (we have an inflatable paddleboard and LOVE it).  I am telling you - we go hard on everything, so if something can survive the Studer kids- it is quality. 

   --"Cheating" at camp meals by bringing along our Blackstone grill - but honestly, we might never leave it at home again. Four days camping over a fire is pretty rough and the Blackstone made all the difference in getting food ready and delicious for the hungry campers. 

    --Grateful the kids get this time with their cousins in the wide open wildness within safe parameters. They would group up (usually by age) and go off bike-riding, swimming at the beach, paddleboarding/kayaking, fishing off the dock, or hiking on the trails in the tent camping area. We had to remind Rusty and his cousin group a few times that they needed to be better at checking in more often - but otherwise, all the kids did a really good job of letting us know where they were going and stopping back in to say hi or fill up on food and drink.

     --Visiting with our besties the Kochs who drove in on Saturday to spend some time at cousin camp with us while catching some sporting events too (double win!) The kids were thrilled to play with Tessa and Tristan at camp and Gemma was so motivated to listen to Ninna about soccer skills and technique (thank you Nin!) B and Grey are obsessed with Uncle Jonny, so that's always a win in their book when he comes to visit. So glad we got to spend time with you guys - thanks for making the trek! 

     --so thankful that B sleeps in a tent with the kids, while I get to go home and sleep in our bed every night (we only live 10 minutes from the Que). Granted, I do take the two babies with me so they can get a good night's sleep, and I put all the animals to bed at the farm, and I let the dogs out, and I bring coffee in the morning, and I do the morning farm chores - but still. He tends to the fire all night, sleeps in the tent with the kids, and makes camp breakfast before coffee. I think I definitely win out in this scenario. (thank you B, love you. our kids are so lucky you are their dad). 

     --Dealing with critters at the campsite each night. We had skunks visit us every night and even a racoon stopped by at least one of the nights (I saw him! He was huge and climbed right up the tree next to our canopy over the picnic table). The skunks were pretty much fearless and would come so close to us - everyone would just freeze in place until they moved on. It was both hilarious and terrifying. No one got sprayed (thank goodness!) but we did lose a whole pack of buns, a whole bag of mozzarella cheese, and a cloth cooler and all it's contents because it reeked of skunk. 

Sporting with two sanction games for Grey in the Little League tourney. They won on Sunday night and then had their second loss on Thursday to knock them out of the tourney. They lost to one of his besties Ivan though, so it was alright. Happy for him to advance - go Ivan & the Somerset team! Grey also played with his team at the West Suburban tournament. They played on Friday night and then FOUR GAMES on Saturday (their last one didn't start until after 10p, it was ridiculous). Gemma played on a 3v3 soccer tournament on Saturday - her first ever and it was so fun to see how differently they were playing together from the first game of the day to the championship (they got 2nd place). Grey started his jr high football conditioning this week too - 7:30a-9a and he was pretty pumped to get back into his cleats and be with his football buddies. 

--I just want to quickly mention how grateful and touched I am that my kids always have familiar faces in the crowd at their events. I send out an email every week informing the grandparents and aunts of all the games that we have that week, and then if someone can make it - they are there for our kids. It is so incredible and I am truly so thankful for this.
At Gemma's 3v3 tourney, a friend and teammate mom (hi Michelle!) told me that one of our other teammate's parents lamented before the championship game, "Oh man, there isn't really anyone here to cheer for our kids" and Michelle pointed to Gemma's huge crowd of family and friends hanging out by the concession stand and said - "oh no, we do; the Studers brought their fan club" (we had 4 grandparents, two baby siblings, 1 older sibling, the Koch family of four, and both B and I there for the game) and our crowd cheered for every single kid on Gem's team! 
-If you are someone who loves a kid - reach out to the parents to ask about their game schedule - maybe you can't make it, but maybe you can. I promise you it will be important to that kiddo.
-And if you are a parent overwhelmed with making all the events - send out the schedule to your loved ones as a heads up. And trust and know that your kid's teammates families are cheering for you kiddo too. Sometimes getting the player version of how the game went is even better than being there for the game with all its exaggerated retelling. (I am speaking from experience because I have to miss plenty of games over here #bigfamilyprobs) 
We tell our kids - "Dad and I can't always be there, but someone will be there for you - either a grandparent, an aunt, or even your teammate's parents who love and cheer for you. You have someone cheering you on, no matter who is there!"
Thank you so much to our friends and family who show up all the dang time for our kids. I could cry about it until the end of time. 

Making leftovers from Beer Olympics, chicken and gravy over mashed potatoes, garlic bread mini pizzas, baked potato fries. For cousin camp, I also made buff chicken dip, pizza dip. BLT pasta salad, and taco meat (for walking tacos!) I made a double batch of cake mix chocolate chip cookies too and they were all eaten on day 1, duh. We ordered take out wings & pizza to eat at cousin camp on Saturday night (a favorite tradition!) and we had pulled pork sammies/nachos, dogs & burgers, and pancakes, eggs, and sausage all at camp too - plus eight million snackies because camp life is all about snacking. 

Keto check-in - aw man, doing terrible. I mean, we are kind of low-carb most days, but there is a lot of cheating going on. Hoping to do better after we get through a couple summer plans that get a little hectic.