Around Here Week 02: 01/08-14

Monday, January 23, 2023

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

3 week difference!

photo cred: Abba

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 3+ hours (of 1000)
Enjoying a few days outside after school. It is still very chilly, but the fresh air and little streams of sunshine are healing to all our souls. I took Osa on a pasture walk on Saturday to visit with the goats and the big kids went night sledding on Saturday night after we got a little bit of snow. 

Reading and finishing Worlds of Ink and Shadow by Lena Coakley. I really enjoyed it and from a writer's perspective I loved so many bits of it too. I'll be really happy if it ever turns into a movie because I want to see all the character choices they make. I started reading The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna which is our Project Lit book for this month. 

Boosters for Osa and the vet informed us that she has put on 4 pounds in 10 days. LOL

Proud of Gem for being brave at her dentist appointment. She had a filling to get and she was a trooper. Thankful my mom was able to scoop her from school (thank you!) She also had a baby tooth that just would not come out, even though the grown up tooth was coming down behind it. At the last appointment the dentist had asked her to try to get it out and at Christmas time, she let our cousin Tausha pull it out - so that at least was done pre-appt.

Weighing life options and discussing endlessly our next steps in life. More information coming soon, but right now we are making lists and trying to imagine what our future could look like in various timelines (lol). All very exciting because I am a dreamer, and creator, and imaginer...but also, whoa to all the feels and decisions. 

Totally blanking on snack day this week. Oops! Some weeks be like that. We are all just barely making it out here! I am with you, hot mess express moms of the world! (thanks & love to Mrs. McCall who always extends the most generous grace to us). 

Osa baby girl got a visit to the school district on Friday and everybody just about lost their ever loving minds because she's so precious. There is not faster way to turn a cranky teenager into a smiling, kindhearted big kid than to put a puppy in front of them - B took Osa up to the elementary school and admin building too after dismissal and all the adults were swooning left and right. She's just the best mood booster of all time. 

Taking the babies out for a little mini date to McDonalds on Friday night when all the big kids were having sleepovers or hanging out with friends! Haha! We splurged and got them Happy Meals (which are never purchased as a big family, LOL). Oh, these to little ones; life is wild now and time with them feels short - but it's even wilder to think that someday it will be just the two of them at home when their big siblings have all moved out. I don't know - life is crazy. 

Always smiling at Rusty and his meditation practice. My little Gemini (aka Zen or Maniac). 

Fingers crossed for romantic goat dates. Hah! It's about that time for the girls to be interested in a boyfriend and our little borrowed prince Juniper better be up for the job! LOL

Teaching the clothing unit to Spanish 1 which included the Legalos project which always makes me laugh to see their creativity and watch their understanding of noun/adjective agreement grow. Spanish 2 learned about Bolivia as we prepare to start our next novel El Ekeko. Spanish 3/4 worked on their La Llorona inspired short stories and I love seeing their ambition to tackle a full paper in Spanish! Also grading all the papers and projects because it was the last day of the marking period. So many things to grade and so many kids to check in with. I always reach out to the kids that are right on the cusp of a letter grade to make sure they have everything turned in. I had a list of 19 kids spanning the grades that were in danger of failing for the quarter (!?!) but after reaching out to them and pushing them to turn in missing work, the list was shortened to only 8 students who received last ditch efforts but didn't take the opportunity to resuscitate their grade - ugh, teenagers.

Sporting Gemma had two basketball games and a basketball practice. Grey had two basketball practices, 1 basketball game, and baseball practice. B had his basketball game in Franklin in the old guys' league too. Vi and Gem attended basketball open gym on Saturday also

Making kielbasa & noodle casserole (last ditch effort to use up leftovers), spaghetti with meat sauce, tacos and/or taco salad, roasted veggies with Gigi's homemade cheese sauce recipe, meatball sub sammies. We got bogo pizza from our favorite gas station one night and B and I ordered in sushi on Friday night when most of the kids were out of the house. Grey and Brandon made wings on Saturday night and they kids mixed up all their own sauces. We did a bbq sauce with honey, ketchup, and garlic that everyone really liked. I started Keto on Saturday out of the blue - I swear, you just wake up one day and decide that you are ready. I know the first couple days will be frustrating and headachey while I come down from my sugar detox - but for whatever reason, I have the right mindset in this moment, so I'm jumping on it! 

mini goal check in: 
20 minutes outside: 2 days
make-out: 6 days
100 novel words: 3 days
affirmation: 7 days

Around Here Week 01: 01/01-07

Sunday, January 15, 2023

 A glimpse into what it is like to live in our just this moment of the new year: 2023! 

Intentional Outdoor Hours: 2+ hours (of 1000)
A few unseasonably warm winter days made getting outside easy - especially with the kids after school and spending time with Osa in the yard. The pupper is getting used to my mini walks to the turn in the driveway and back to snag a few minutes when she goes out to the bathroom. It's like a little ritual for us and just enough time and space to encourage her to both pee and poop before we go back inside. Not yet fully house trained, but I know we are moving in the right direction! 

Reading and finishing Jackal by Erin E Adams. I really enjoyed it and am so impressed and proud that she is a Johnstown native. Now I'm reading Worlds of Ink and Shadow by Lean Coakley. It's a borrow from my co-worker and friend Jennie (thank you!) 

Ringing in the New Year. I love being a loser on NYE and staying home and kissing all the babies in my house, kissing B, downing a glass of champagne and then snuggling into my own bed to fall asleep and wake up in a brand new, fresh, full of possibility and ambition in the new year. Grey spent the night at the Valentines (thanks for having him!) and Gemma was so happy to have her cousin Audra sleep over. But other than that, we were big 'ole boring and it was wonderful.

Taking the guinea pigs back to school after their holiday break at our house. Olive was the saddest to see them go. She held them and talked to them everyday of break. B and I took the kids into school on the Monday off to get them re-settled and get myself organized for the first day back. 

Lady and Osa playdate! Osa is driving Bullet absolutely insane with her incessant puppy rough-housing, he's like "Child!? I am 13 years old. Leave me the heck alone." Poor old man. Trixie wants absolutely nothing to do with her and she's 11 years old herself. So Lady is the best playmate ever with her zoomy quick legs that Osa gets all the fun but can never catch her! Hah! And a Lady visit means a visit with my sister Uch so it's a win-win for me! 

Welcoming Miss Emma back! We missed her and the kids love her so much. Her first week back in the new year and she's added Osa (a puppy) and baby Heath (3 months old) to her days of two toddlers under 2yrs and one almost threenager. GOD BLESS THIS GIRL. Do you understand what kind of superhero this 19year old saint is? I know this week was exhausting but she had a smile on her face and sweet things to say about the kids everyday. Oh Miss Emma, you are an inspiration and blessing to our family. You are so very loved and cherished. 

Thankful to have a tween daughter who says things like, 'can we try making granola?' She and I looked up a recipe and made it one night spur of the moment and it turned out delicious and was surprisingly easy to do. My Gemmi loves yogurt parfaits but we always forget to buy granola topper, but now because of her, we know how to make it ourselves! Oh man, this big kid journey is going to be awesome in so many ways. 

Laughing about how much Olive loves slime. It's actually hilarious how much joy slime bring this baby. Besides the slime that she gets stuck on her clothes, in her hair, rubs into the carpet and the couches - it's not so bad. LOL, I'm in slime hell. But it makes her so happy, right? #babyofthefamilyperks 

Working on my daily mini goals! The first three days of the year I accomplished all four mini goals! After the school year started, I was accomplishing some daily goals at least. Taking it day by day and working towards them as best as I can. 

Missing my laptop at home. We misplaced a charger and now we have a dead laptop which means no blogging and no writing in my novel on the computer. I know it seems like who has time to do that anyway - but writing is like a pressure release gauge on my non-stop buzzing brain. 

Celebrating Orthodox Christmas. Pappy and Gigi stopped by on Friday night to give the kids some little gifts from 'Orthodox Santa' and then the kids all slept out under the Christmas tree on Orthodox eve for the last night it is up in the house (a Studer kid tradition!) On Saturday we spent the afternoon at my parents' house eating delicious food and enjoying the company of our extended Uzelac family to celebrate the holiday. We are Russian Orthodox on Brandon's side and Serbian Orthodox on my side. How lucky we are to be able to extend the Christmas season all the way into January. 

Getting all the Christmas decorations down including the tree and our life-size Santa! Thank goodness for Grey and Gem who helped so much carrying boxes and heavy items upstairs for me.

Teaching and getting back into the routine again. ugh, we were all so tired this week - grateful it was only a four day week! Spanish 1 did their 2nd round of baseline writing and then got vocab words for Somos Unit 5. Spanish 2 worked on a Selena Song (my fav - el chico del apt 512) and we talked about piropos (lively conversations!) Spanish 3/4 watched The Curse of La Llorona to celebrate reading the novel. I put up a puzzle in the teacher's lounge so we could put it together like a community a little at a time throughout the month and we started the staff annual weightloss challenge that will last 12 weeks! 

Sporting with 3 basketball practices, 1 baseball practice, and two basketball games for Grey. I had a chat with Grey when we took the 'long way home' after his game on Friday night. I will never fault him for having a bad or off game, but I don't have patience for not giving your all and or half-hearted leadership on the field/court. Sports are more than sports. Gem and Violet went to open gym for basketball on Saturday and Gemma had a basketball practice on Saturday too. I signed Gem and Violet up for AYSO soccer and got Rusty signed up for machine pitch youth baseball. 

Making all the leftovers to try to clear out this holiday food! We had pork nachos, Navy bean soup, and pierogies & kielbasa with leftovers! We also had chicken fajitas, deer meat from Pappy (one of the kids' favorite!), and copycat chik-fa-la sammies. I made cheese danishes for breakfast on Saturday morning and overnight blueberry oats in Mason jars for me and B too one day. We brought mousse with teddy graham dippers to my mom's for Orthodox Christmas! 

2023 daily mini goals_January

Saturday, January 14, 2023

I love new years day - all the possibilities and wide open fresh pages in my planner. My mind and heart swirl and buzz with hopes and dreams and ideas on how to be a better me; a me that is closer to the person that I aspire to be. 

I am a goal making and goal tracking advocate to my core. As far back as I can remember I've been a sucker for new years resolutions. Some years making one goal, many years writing out lists of 100 small things, and some years giving myself grace and patience to know that I needed to let the universe unfold before me with an open heart. 

This year, I'm trying out 3-5 small daily goals a month. Something small and trackable that helps guide me into the person I want to be and the daily life I want to live. On each week of my planner, I have listed out my mini daily monthly goals and then I track which days I hit those goals. 

In an ideal, perfect world every day I would hit every goal - but I also know I don't live in an ideal, perfect world; I live in a chaotically beautiful, messy world. One that is jam-packed with teaching full time and six kids and a new puppy and a farm and friends and families and lots of activities - so I'm going to do my best each day and offer myself heaping doses of grace too. 

For the first month of the year - the daily mini goals that I chose are:


1. 20 minutes outside everyday; no matter the weather
2. make out with/open mouth kiss(!) my husband daily
3. write 100 words in my novel daily
4. Affirmation in the mirror: "I am grateful for my body exactly as it is today."

Here's to a new year! Know that I am sending love and encouragement out to you and whatever aspirations you set for this new year! Big or small - we can do this. We can be better than we were yesterday if even only by a smidge. xxo tab

Around Here Week 52: 12/27-31

 A glimpse into the final week of our 2022. 

photo cred: Abba 

photo cred: Heather

if grown ups did what kids do: prove they could pick each other up (LOL forever)

photo cred: Lisa

Intentional Outdoor Hours FINAL COUNT: 748+ hours (of 1000)
Scored some final hours this week because after the artic blast of last week, mother nature decided we needed some spring temperatures to thaw us all out. Like literally was almost 60 degrees around here. It was wonderfully weird in the dead of winter, but I'll take it. Happy to soak up the vitamin D into my skin. 

Reading and finishing Where the Forest Meets the Stars by Glendy Vanderah. It was a borrow from my student Ruby who always reads the most interesting books and then shares them with me. There was something I really loved about the book but I can't quite put my finger on it - maybe it was all the nature, maybe it was the tiny moments of intricate detail, maybe it was the beautiful cover, maybe it was all the wavering between believing and questioning. Whatever it was, I was wrapped up in the story.  I also finished a manga borrow from my student Faith: Jujutsu Kaisen Volume 0 by Gege Akutami. I probably won't continue anymore with the series, but I am grateful to have at least dipped my toe in the storyline. Then, I started Jackal by Erin E Adams for our next book club read. 

Books Read FINAL COUNT: 24! Which is my yearly goal, so yay! I tried a new genre this year thanks to some encouraging students (manga)! and I read some really great books, one of which has become one of my top five favorites ever (The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E Harrow) Ever since I read Alias Grace by Margaret Atwood it has been in my mind, like I have weird flashbacks like they are my own memories but it's that book (LOL, what does that mean?!) Free to Learn by Peter Reynolds and How We Show Up by Mia Birdsong have changed my mind and heart. #mustreadallthebooks 

Book Club meeting at Nyko's to discuss John Dies at the End by Jason Pargin. Well, as usual we did a little discussing of the book and a lot of catching up and chatting too. Afterwards, Loni and I extended our chat at The Fifth which was much needed because life and kids and teaching and all.the.things have kept us too busy for too long. Grateful for the time to talk and laugh together (love you! xxo) We picked our next book too! Jackel by Erin E Adams - an author who was born and raised right here in Johnstown and then made it the setting for her legend/horror style story! 

Treehouse getaway mini trip with Brandon. We had booked a VRBO for our Christmas gift to each other and we might have to do it annually. We spent two nights in Farmington, PA in the Treehouse at Fernstone. It was such a quiet and relaxing trip to spend time together. Our treehouse was just a studio tiny house and so perfect for resting, reading, and enjoying the porch and outdoor hot tub! We ate good food from local spots (Braddock's, Stone House Inn, Mountain Pies, and Bittersweet CafĂ©). We spent some of Thursday hiking around the property and it was perfect (B was like, "I knew you were going to try to get a hike into this trip" - LOL). I read a ton and we slept in until 10am! It is such a comfort to spend time together always - but just us together is heavenly. We just really like each other and I don't care if you throw up in your mouth a little bit, but, honestly I just love being near this man of mine. 

Thankful we can get away because we have people who squeeze in to help. My mom came to stay at the house while we were away to stay with five of the kids and Osa (bless her!) She slept approximately 1 hour each night because of Osa and also did about 35 loads of laundry and cleaned up the back porch. (honestly, an angel!!) Miss Emma came one day to be with the babies during our trip too (another blessing!)  Grey spent all three days at the Rummel's house with cousin Caleb (thank you Heather!) We are able to get some time together because others rearranged their days and we are so very grateful. love you forever xxox

New Puppy training. This week's agenda included introducing Osa to the farm and working on house training (ugh). I swear, having a new puppy is almost harder than having a newborn baby! 

Studerbabies event hosting. We had a Christmas tree drop off & farm visit on Friday at our house. We had a few families show up for farm visits in the beautiful, uncharacteristic December weather (it was in the mid 50's!) Osa was a big hit with all the kids, but as always chasing chickens and ducks are the most favorite activity. We accept trees all winter long - but it was fun to have a specific day that we could invite families and kiddos to come for a farm visit! (thank you to everyone who stopped by and to everyone who has donated their tree so far!) 

Getting in all the naps. This week is such a weird blur of time and space. We have kids that sleep until mid-afternoon and then stay up late into the night. Clothes and laundry everywhere. All the snacks and non-meals possible. Blankets and pillows and random half-assembled Christmas gifts littering the floor. It's just madness in the most pure and chaotic form, but also in the best way possible. Only the last week of the year allows this kind of madness, so I try my best to embrace it.  

Loving 'what day is it?' week. Hah, this week is such a weird blur of timelessness and lawlessness and expectationless. I love the suspension of normalcy for this one week of the year. 

Playdates for the girls. Gem and Vi had a fun afternoon with the Lasure girls and then Violet had a playdate with her friend Jaycee. Always grateful for our kids' friends' families who provide extra space for them to play and just be their own self; to grow in their own story width-wise. In a big tight-knit family, it is so easy to get stuck in the role of "so and so's sibling" or "one of the Studer kids." but with time in their own substories with their own friends and relationships, away from us (as much as that shreds pieces of a my mother's heart), I know it builds up my kids in a way that helps the grow and learn. (thank you to everyone in our extended village!) 

Visiting with the Vorndrans. We enjoyed a fun afternoon at our house with some of our besties - and by fun I mean with people we love who laugh and shrug when babies wake up from a nap in the worst possible mood ever (bless you Tare and Dobber!) Our kids all had fun playing together and Osa got plenty of extra snuggles and love that day. We had snacks and drinks and laughed about all the past between us but also parenthood and life. The best kind of chats. love you guys - thanks for squeezing in time during your visit home! 

Spending a quiet New Years evening at home reading. (gah! heavenly bliss!) B took the four biggest kids into Uncle Ray's house for a little while to visit with the Gilmore cousins, so that meant that me and the babies were home alone and I read, read, read while they played and randomly jumped into my lap for a snuggle. They went to bed at their normal bedtime and it wasn't until about 10p that everyone minus Grey (who went to the Valentines house - thank you!) and plus cousin Audra came back home to finish out the year 2022. 

Sporting with just 2 basketball practices for Grey. We dropped him off at practice on Wednesday and Heather picked him up. Kept him until practice on Friday where she dropped him off and we picked him back up! (thank you!) Easy sports week that was good for everyone's bodies in need of rest. 

Making copycat Olive Garden chicken and pasta, pork roast/hot dogs/sauerkraut in a roster for the new year. I ate lots of leftovers up (holiday food!) and made ham pot pie with our Christmas eve leftover tavern ham. I made nacho dip with Grey's deer meat and buff chicken dip for our visit with the Vorndrans. We also ate out a ton this week - me and B at our mini getaway and then we also got pizza ordered for the kids at home.