Friday, October 30, 2009

Wheatland

For my tour of Wheatland, see the APB.

CT Trip

This is our last day in Connecticut. We are heading home tomorrow. Not sure if we'll get home Saturday or Sunday. It is a pretty good day today - hopefully we'll have good weather all the way home.
Adam is an astronaut for Halloween - I'll get a better picture up later. We decided today is Halloween since we'll probably be on the road for the actual one and Adam doesn't care. We just like the cute costume! That's Adam with Uncle Brad and Cleve.

Adam on the tractor
Watching his tunes!
Adam and Cleve playing - Adam is getting better around the dogs. Cleve is very calm for just 5 months.

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Adam and Emily playing the drums

Adam and Emily playing the drums - maybe they can join David's band!

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Connecticut

We got to CT on Sunday evening. I spent Monday grading as I had grades due Tuesday for SNHU Term 1. Then it's been a variety of things and since mainly Dad is taking photos, I finally got them out of him to post a few. I'll probably post more once we get back to Ohio. We are planning to head back on Saturday, but aren't sure if we are going to make it on one day or not. Ray and I....Adam's grandparents are quite soft where his comfort is concerned! :) That's a good thing for him. Adam has been loving all the attenion here - he's the center of the world!

We drove to New Hampshire today so I could visit SNHU - say I've actually been where I work! We just mainly wanted to drive through NH - all the pretty leaves and scenery. We even managed to hit a corner of Vermont on the way back (and of course we go through MA).
Keene, NH - a park stop for Adam on the way home

SNHU Manchester!
Adam with his portable DVD player - he loves this at night with his favorite cartoons! My father swears CT is in the stone age as they don't have all the electronics he considers essential to life....like DVR!

Playing cards with Great-Gram and Emily - Adam is sure having fun!

Dad went to Cabela's and so decreed this night was camo dinner night!
Adam and Grandma feeding the horses
Adam and Cleve

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Pennsylvania

We are in PA tonight. Ray was excited to stay home - he's playing games all day today and then is spending all day tomorrow doing homework and work. We visited the Buchanan Museum, Wheatland, today, which was fun and we are going to a gold show tomorrow that Dad wants to (all stuff for gold mining/panning - he's trolling for ideas). Adam's done pretty good today, but is currently running around the hotel room.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Update

Mom and Dad have been here about a week now (they got here late last Thursday night). We are leaving for CT for a week on Saturday, but Ray is staying here (that darned old work thing...my is portable!). He has a ton of stuff to do, so he'll probably actually have a very productive week.

Dad is busy with his to-do list - we have to keep him busy. He is working on replacing the downstairs vanity and medicine cabinet right now. He just finished replacing our garage door opener, which will be really nice for me come winter.

Dad, Mom, Adam and I cleaned up wth the yard for winter yesterday (pulled the garden, put away Adam's toys). We also baked a TON of cookies as I noted to send overseas, plus some to Billy and we still have a bunch. So we've been busy. I've also been grading heavy (end of term for my 8 week courses) and we've been trying to squeeze in things like the COSI (which was fun, just a 2 hour drive each way).

School Answering Machine

Okay, so this is REALLY funny....I hope its true!

COSI

This is the COSI last Sunday - Adam liked all the hands-on stuff!


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This was his favorite - he was good at tossing the balls continually!


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Adam rather liked this one - it sucked up the balls and tossed it in the air - he did this for like 10 minutes!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pre-Trip Pictures

A few pictures from before my parents got here

Adam on the phone to Grandma! He's getting to be quite the phone talker! Of course, only family would want to talk to someone who makes no sense!
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Helping Mommy put up Halloween decorations.

Eating Moose Hotdogs

Baking for the Troops

We spent today baking cookies to send overseas with the Baking Gals. They are in the freezer and we'll pack them up tomorrow. We made chocolate chip cookies, some with nuts and some without, butterscotch for Mom, sugar cookies and a new recipe - chocolate oatmeal cookies (below). We are also sending Billy some marble squares.
Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies
Modified from Plum Pudding Murder by Joanne Fluke [this is her newest....it was good read, but my one disappointment is she still hasn't chosen a boyfriend from her two. And really we are seeing that Mike is just in it for her cooking/home skills....not for her...she SO needs to dump him and marry Norman!!!!]

1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup white sugar
2 (1 oz) squares unsweetened chocolate
1 beaten egg (you can just do this in a bowl first)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup flour (make sure to pack each down...I don't normally, so this was something I had to watch)
1 1/2 cups dry oatmeal (quick cooking or old fashioned work, I used old fashioned)

Cream butter and sugar in large bowl. Melt the chocolate (there are instructions on the package, but it is about 30 seconds in two parts then do 10 seconds increments until melted) and then add to the creamed mixture.

Make sure the mixture is cooled enough (remember you just added hot chocolate) before adding the egg (as you don't want to cook it), then mix in egg. Next, mix in baking powder and salt. Now add the flour and mix it thoroughly. Finally stir in the oatmeal.

Drop by spoonful on a baking sheet (I used nonstick, but if you don't, you might have to grease it). Bake at 325 for 13-15 minutes (I had to go a little long, but I made rather large cookies). Let cookies cool a little (about 2 minutes) before putting on cooling rack (the oatmeal will make the cookie fall apart if you try to move them too soon).

Makes 3 dozen cookies (I didn't get this many, but I make big cookies).

Adam

Adam's cape - Great sent this with Grandma!
I thought this was cool - see all the water going up!

Walking to Playground

Walking to the playground - we even got Grandma to go!
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Adam and Grandpa

Adam and Grandpa out walking!

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Adam and Grandma Cleaning Up Outside

This is today - we cleaned up the yard for winter. This is Adam and Grandma washing his toolbench so it can come in for the winter. It will live by DADDY"S!!
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Adam and the Ducks

This is a park in Canton (Dogwood). I was at the first ladies library for a performance and Adam and the grandparents were hanging out with the ducks!
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Sunday, October 18, 2009

New Website

As most of you probably realize, Geocities is closing in a week and so I've been working on creating a new website at Google Sites. It is finally all ready, so you can now find my recipes at Jennie's Recipes. So you can find all my recipes there now and I'll post links to there from now on, but I'm not going to bother to change all my old blog links, so you'll just have to look them up.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Adam Update

A quick update on Adam. Swimming lessons are over - he just didn't enjoy them, so after my parents leave I'm going to try a different pool - maybe a little warmer and he's like it. Not sure, but if not, we'll just wait a year or so and try again. I think he got something out of it, just didn't have the fun I'd hoped for.

Adam is interested in his potty chair - he likes and asks to sit on it (which we never deny for obvious reasons), but he hasn't actually used it yet. I think eventually we'll catch it just right and then he'll "get" it - he doesn't like diapers or the changing process so once it clicks, I think he'll fall into it.

We are having issues with getting him to eat "real" fruits and vegetables. The kid is a complete meat man and nothing else. We'll keep working with it because if I can get him to just eat some, I can completely toss the baby food. But at the moment, it is my way of making sure he has complete nutrition!

My parents have arrived!

My parents got here last night. They were supposed to land at about 10:30 - they landed at 1:30 due to bad weather, construction at MSP airport and the vice president. Dad has the worst luck with VPs (remember the Cabela's incident?)! So it was a long night and early morning today, but otherwise they had a good trip and we are glad they are here. Adam warmed right up - Grandma and Grandpa are his buddies!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Flu Shot Mess

I've never gotten a flu shot before, but Ray and I had terrible cases of the seasonal flu last year. Adam got a flu shot from his peditrician and was barely sick at all. So we decided that we should all get flu shots this year with me being pregnant. But, of course, with the mass hysteria going on this year, that has been a nightmare. Adam is easy - he has an appointment with the peditirican on Wednesday to get his. Me, I finally got one on Saturday from Walgreen's, but I had to call like 15 stores! Ridiculous! And when Walgreen's recommends appointments that means to me you can call, schedule one and reserve one - well, that isn't how it works! AGH!! Which means you have to find a store with some and then go right in - not easy with a baby! Ray is going to do one of the flu shot clinics at CVS - he tried on Saturday, but cash or check only, which we SO didn't know as CVS is a big store and takes credit cards normally! So he waited in line for nothing because of course, nothing is posted! What REALLY annoys me is that my OB told me to get a flu shot (I called for recommendations to my OB and to Adam's doctor), but they don't give them! In my opinion, they should give them! And both my doc and Adam's recommend swine flu shots - that will be even MORE fun, I'm sure.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

First Pictures of the New Baby!

We had our ultrasound today, so we now have pictures of the new baby (which Ray is currently calling a pickle...Adam was the peanut). My due date is May 15th, but we are planning to schedule a c-section (we talked with the doctor and while I'm not worried about the 2% "major" problem scenario, it seems to be a 50/50 shot that the same thing will happen again that happend with Adam (lack of dissenion....Adam had a swollen head and I was swollen so he was in place and I was pushing, it just wasn't happening) and I'm SO not for that! Plus, I admit it, I like the idea of scheduling it, especially with my mother coming from AK (as we don't have Pat 3.5 hours away anymore, which is really making me sad right now) and the due date hits the end of the spring term) and the doctor said that is usually set for the 39th week, so we'll probably be talking a week earlier than that. I'm sure that will get moved around as it gets closer, but May is enough for me for now.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Wild Rice Soup

Adam and I made Wild Rice Soup tonight. At the last minute I decided to double the recipe to give some to a friend. So I'd need 2 cans of condensed chicken broth....well, had I been paying attention, I can make this (it is just double strength chicken broth after all), but I had "cream of" chicken stuck in my head so I used a can of cream of onion soup instead of another can of condensed chicken brother. Turned out good though! So that works.:) Also, I never keep celery in the house unless I know I'll need it a LOT as neither Ray or I like it plain, so I just used celery flakes in the soup for some extra flavor.

Update

You can see I've been "cleaning" house - catching up things I'd noted down to post and whatnot. Adam and I have been cooking tonight - Ray won't be home until late (Wednesdays are his "bad" day as he is taking a night class). I have an ultrasound tomorrow, so hopefully we'll have a due date after that.

Very dreary here today. We got a lot of rain last night - we actually didn't have power for most of the night, but it was back on by 9:30 this morning, which was good.

Well, I need to catch Adam and see if he'll "help" with the laundry that is buzzing before its tubbie time.

Philly Cheesesteak Mac and Cheese

This is actually really good - Ray, who doesn't like provolone, liked it, which is saying a lot!

Philly Cheesesteak Mac and Cheese
From The Big Orange Book by Rachael Ray [this is slightly different...you don't broil it and it seems to be slightly larger, but same general idea]

1 pound pasta [she used cavatappi, I just used what I had]
2 tbsp oil
2 large onions, thinly sliced
black pepper and salt
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp flour
3 cups milk
2 cups shredded provolone [I bought a bulk and shredded it myself - you can't buy pre-shredded where I am]
1/2 cup beef stock
3/4 pound deli roast beef, thinkly sliced and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley

Place a large pot of salted water over high heat and bring it to a boil.

Once the water boils, cook the pasta according to package directions. Once the pasta has finished cooking, drain it and return it to the pot it was cooked in.

While the pasta is cooking, place a large skillet over medium-high heat the oil. Add the onions to the pan and season with salt and pepper and top them with a lid or piece of aluminum foil for 2-3 minutes, just to get them cooking. Remove the lid or aluminum foil and continue cooking the onions until tender and lightly caramelized,12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

While the onions are caramelizing, melt the butter over medium-high heat in a medium-size pot.

Sprinkle the flour over the melted butter and cook the mixture for about 1 minute. Whisk the
milk into the butter-flour mixture slowly and bring up to a bubble to thicken. Remove the pot from the heat and stir in 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and reserve.

Preheat the broiler.

To the skillet with the onions, add the beef stock and the roast beef. Cook to warm through.

Add cheese sauce and onion-roast mixture to the pot with the drained poasta and toss to combine. Put in a 9 by 13 casserole dish and top with remaining cheese. [her cheese doesn't add up in the book...the online recipe is slightly different...I used 1 1/2 in the sauce and then just coated the top of the casserole.] Place under broiler until bubble, 2-3 minmutes.

Garnish with parsley.

Serves 6 [more like 12...I halved this and still got at least six servings].

Baking GALS

I read about this group in Taste of Home Magazine - they are joining together via the web to make for the troops. I emailed the local chapter (Northern Ohio), to see if they are still active and how to participate. I love to bake anyway and this way I can help out the troops who are overseas.

A royal feud?

This is an interesting article on the "feud" that has often been put forth as why many of Hatshepsut's monuments were destroyed. This is a major issue for Ancient Egyptians as they believed that this is how the Pharoah lived on in etnerity and to destroy their statues and writings (so their memory) was to destroy their soul in the afterlife. The bulk of the destruction was done during her stepson, Tuthmosis' reign, and so many assumed that he hated his stepmother for taking some of his power (as she ruled as co-regent). Dr. Joyce Tyldesley has this to say on Tuthmosis:
It is undeniable that someone attacked Hatshepsut's monuments after her death. Archaeology indicates that the bulk of the vandalism occurred during Tuthmosis' reign. Why would he do this? At first it was imagined that this was the new king's immediate revenge against his stepmother; he was indeed cursing her with permanent death. The image of the young Tuthmosis seething with impotent rage as Hatshepsut ruled in his place is one which has attracted amateur psychologists for many years. However, it does not entirely fit with the known facts.

Tuthmosis was to prove himself a calm and prudent general, a brave man not given to hasty or irrational actions. He did not start his solo reign with an assault on Hatshepsut's memory; indeed, he allowed her a traditional funeral, and waited until it was convenient to fit the desecration into his schedule. Some of the destruction was even carried out by his son, after his death, when most of those who remembered Hatshepsut had also died. It is a remote, rather than an immediate, attack.

Furthermore the attack is not a thorough one. Enough remained of Hatshepsut to allow us to recreate her reign in some detail. Her tomb, the most obvious place to start the attack, still housed her name. Hatshepsut may have been erased from Egypt's official record, but she was never hated as Akhenaten 'The Great Criminal' would later be.

So what does she think happened?
What can we conclude from this tangled tale? We should perhaps rethink our assumptions. Hatshepsut did not fear Tuthmosis; instead of killing him, she raised him as her successor. Tuthmosis may not have hated Hatshepsut. Initially he may even have been grateful to her, as she had protected his land while training him for greatness. But, as he grew older and looked back over his life, his perspective would shift. Would Egypt's most successful general, a stickler for tradition, have wished to be associated with a woman co-regent, even a woman as strong as Hatshepsut?

By removing all obvious references to his co-ruler Tuthmosis could incorporate her reign into his own. He would then become Egypt's greatest pharaoh; the only successor to Tuthmosis II. Hatshepsut would become the unfortunate victim, not of a personal attack, but of an impersonal attempt at retrospective political correctness.

Tuthmosis set his masons to re-write history. Their labours would last well into the reign of his successor, Amenhotep II, a king who could not remember Hatshepsut, and who had no reason to respect her memory. Meanwhile, hidden in the Valley of the Kings, Hatshepsut still rested in her coffin. Tuthmosis I had been taken from their joint tomb and re-buried, but she had been left alone. Tuthmosis knew that as long as her body survived, Hatshepsut was ensured eternal life.

I find this story - that Tuthmosis was trying to improve his image - as more pausible. It makes sense with the partial destruction and shows that while he was trying to negate her role, he wasn't trying to kill her memory - merely change it to suit himself.

Chocolate Zucchini Tea Bread

This was actually very good - been looking for lots of ways to use all that zucchini!

Chocolate Zucchini Tea Bread
Modified from The Jasmine Moon Murder by Laura Childs

3 cups flour
3 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup buttermilk [I always use lemon juice and regular milk, so in this case 1/2 tbsp lemon juice and the rest of the 1/2 cup regular milk.]
2 cups shredded zucchini
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips [this said chocolate "bits," which probably meant to chop up a larger block, but that's too much work for me. While I think you would get better saturation (smaller pieces), I thought this turned out quite well using the easier chips.]

Combine first nine ingredients in a mixing bowl. Beat at medium speed for two minutes. Stir in zucchini and chocolate chips. Pour batter into two greased loaf pans and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes. Cool, slice and serve (they suggest cream cheese and orange marmalade...I thought it was great plain). This actually really improves on sitting overnight.

Men in the Delivery Room

This is an interesting article that talks about how men ended up in the delivery room, once a female only enclave.

Before the advent of hospitals and doctor-assisted births, most women gave birth at home with female relatives and possibly a midwife. Women had plenty of support from these female attendants and so men were usually redundant. According to the article in 1938, 1/2 of babies were born in hospitals, by 1955 it was 95%. With hospital assisted births, women were usually alone or with strangers during the long birth process while men were put in the waiting room. Starting in the 1940s, men started to get more involved in the process:
Beginning in the late 1940s, many men began to find this isolation intolerable. As they wrote and read comments in “fathers’ books” that many hospitals provided as semi-public diaries, they took action, as one father put it, “[to] grab hatchets and chop through the partition” separating them from their laboring wives. Fathers joined with the natural childbirth movement, childbirth educators, and the emerging women’s movement to revolutionize hospital birth and make it less impersonal. The men contested the separate hospital spaces and the exclusionary routines of medical authority to find a place for themselves and, in so doing, created unprecedented new masculine domestic roles while enhancing the birth experience for mothers.

With the advent of the 1950s and 60s, men became more involved, staying with his wife during the long process:
In the 1950s and 1960s men succeeded in entering labor rooms with their wives. Here, “alone together,” couples shared intimate moments, holding hands, reading out loud together, playing cards; husbands often rubbed their wives’ backs during contractions. One woman in labor said, “It made me feel peaceful and confident, somehow, just his sitting there.”

As this became more common, men were finally permitted in the delivery room by the 1970s (although I know my father refused this honor! But my mother had my grandmother). The entire process became a couple bonding time as they, together, waited for their child to come into the world. Now most hospitals have modified the process to be friendly to "birthing partners" and family and made birthing rooms more comfortable for the long period women were in them.

I don't know about you all, but I would have been a mess without my husband when Adam was born! I'm glad men can be there for the entire process - Ray was even able to be with me during the C-section.

Smithsonian Urban Legends

Smithsonian Magazine had an article on urban myths (to refute) them recently. My personal favorite:
Myth #8: There is a subterranean archive center underneath the National Mall.

Fact: The Smithsonian’s storage facilities are mostly located in Suitland, Maryland.

Backstory: The notion that a labyrinthine network of storage space exists beneath the Smithsonian museums, under the National Mall, may have started with Gore Vidal’s novel The Smithsonian Institution and was most recently popularized by the movie Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian. Unfortunately, no such storage facility is to be found. The archive center depicted in the film is based on the Smithsonian’s storage facilities in Suitland, Maryland. However, there is a staff-only accessible underground complex of passageways that connect the Freer, the Sackler, the Castle, the African Art Museum, the International Gallery and the Arts and Industries Building.

There is also a tunnel that connects the Castle with the Museum of Natural History. Built in 1909, it is technically large enough to walk through; however, a person has to contend with cramped spaces, rats and roaches. A quick jaunt across the National Mall is the preferred means of traveling between the two museums.

Relaxing liquor laws in rural AK

For those of you familiar with rural AK, you know that many of the villages have banned the sale of alcohol, meaning you can't buy or sell it, but you can have it (so in essence people just haul it in from Anchorage every time they go). Alcoholism has been a major problem for Native Alaskans, just like it has been for many Native American groups. Both Kotzebue and Bethel had it on their ballots to relax the laws and so far it looks to be passing.

Certainly banning alcohol sales hasn't fixed the problem from what I hear from friends who live in Bethel. Instead, people are resorting to drinking things that most of us would consider disgusting as a way to get their "fix" like lysol! They drill a hole in the bottom with a nail and drink it!

My current favorite picture!

Can you believe he stood still for me to take this? I participated in Life Chain on Sunday and Adam was playing with my sign beforehand.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Some improvement

Adam was still freezing tonight, but he seemed to finally "get" this swimming thing a little. He was kicking more and even moving his arms a bit. He was FASCINATED by the lane dividers and watching the "big" kids - I think he was thinking he'd like to be like them....good motivation for him! I'd let him play with the lane dividers and just hold his front and for the most part, he was keeping his back end floating, so I felt that was good progress. Still hates his back, but good progress on the front!

Monday, October 05, 2009

Swim Lessons

Adam's now about half way through his first swim lesson session (they are just 4 weeks). So far, he's is not impressed. The main issue is that he is FREEZING within 15 minutes (they are 30 minutes lessons). All the babies are - the water is just too COLD for them. If they were moving more, like the older kids, they'd be fine (while I don't think it is tropical, I'm not cold cause I'm moving Adam round), but they aren't. They usually have blue lips half way through! Definitely not conducive to a "water-adjustment" course! We'll go through the entire session, but if it doesn't improve, we won't be signing up again - no reason to torture the kid when he LIKES water. I usually take Adam alone and swim with him, so no pictures, but I had something I had to do, so Ray swam with him (I just didn't have time to change afterwards), and I got a few pictures before I left.

Swimming around with Daddy

Daddy and Adam swimming

At the end of the session (last 5 minutes), they get to pick a toy and play

So you can see a few of the other kids - it is a small class, about half a dozen baby/parent combos. It is a mix of who swims - some moms, some dads, some grandparents and several switch weekly!


Working on walking around in the water and picking stuff up - that the teacher standing there (high school kid)
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Swimming with Daddy - we are working on kicking as he goes...sometimes he does it, sometimes not.
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Using a Fork

Adam is getting really good at using a fork - here is him eating hot dog with his "air fork one!" We are having problems getting him to get a variety of solids as if he doesn't like what they feel like in his hands, he won't eat them. Hopefully the fork will help fix that so we can completely ditch baby food!


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Sliding Fun!

With so much rain, we've taken Adam to the mall several times so he can get some running time in. Adam is definitely an ACTIVE child - we are contributing to the active generation! He's slowly been getting into the slides!
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Helping Can Tomatoes

Ray and Dave washed the tomatoes the night before - Adam helped as well! They just put him up there and he started grabbing tomatoes and sticking them under the facet - he wanted to help!
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Canning the next day with PaPa

Friday, October 02, 2009

AWOL

I know I've been blogging AWOL. September just kept getting crazier - hopefully October will be better (my parents are coming - that will probably both help and hinder - more work done, but more fun stuff to do!).

An abbreviated "what's up" list and a promise to catch up!
  • Ray had a really busy start to this term - with a trip to DC on top of the normal fall stuff.
  • I've had three weeks of grading insanity - I think I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. I have to update my Term 2 class for SNHU this weekend and then hopefully I'm caught up for awhile.
  • I'm teaching a new class in the spring (Elem. Stats - Math 210), which I'm thrilled about, but it does mean I have to prep it from stratch. I plan to do most of the work while my parents are here.
  • We canned tomates last weekend with Ray's dad and grandma. 46 quarts and 7 pints. We are set for awhile - I'm making spaghetti this week.:)
  • I'm SO sick of rain - we've had almost two weeks of rain and Adam just is going stir-crazy - he is used to being outside a lot. Yesterday was gorgeous and so I did get him out then, but it's raining again today.
  • We were all sick, but seem to better.
  • We found out last week that I'm pregnant, which means I've been having some nausea issues. [I know this is buried - I put in on Facebook and I'll post a bigger post when I have a due date to report - next week with my ultrasound]. That means we've had more doctor's appointments.
  • I got Adam's regular flu shot scheduled and Ray and I will set ours up next week. We had terrible bouts of the seasonal flu last year and don't want a repeat. We are probably also going to do swine flu shots with Adam being so young and me being pregnant.
  • Life Chain in this Sunday.
  • I just got a bunch of new books that I'm really excited about - hopefully some posts on them later.

Okay, well, I think that is our basic life recently. Really it has just been work and Adam, but it has kept us hopping this month.

  • I got shanghaied into a poet's tea at the end of this month at the National First Ladies' Library. I'm reading something from Jackie Kennedy.