Playing Catch Up

Monday, March 31, 2008

All right, the Monday madness is about over, so I can fill you in on some of our *exciting* weekend. Well, exciting for me, maybe not for you. We did head north on Friday, and although we didn't get a really early start, we made it to my parents house a little before 9 pm. Everyone but dad was asleep. That's right...Stacy fell asleep with Madison when trying to get her put to bed for the night, Erik came back from Canada with a cold, so he went to bed early, and mom & Melissa fell asleep watching basketball. (Not that I blame them, the big ten teams didn't really wow us that night.) Remember hearing "early to bed, early to rise"? Well, after getting some much needed rest, everyone was up bright and early Saturday morning. Madison got to open her first birthday present of the day after breakfast. Little did we know that this would be the only present she would feel like opening. By the time her party rolled around, there were too many people and she was much more interested in other things that were going on. Saturday morning was spent running errands and taking some decorations to my aunt's restaurant where the birthday party would be later that afternoon. The girls managed to squeeze some small naps in during the afternoon while the guys did some target shooting.

Aunt Melissa was in charge of bath time and look what happens...

The birthday party was a lot of fun. There were so many fun photos from the day, I made a short slide show (below). Madison got some great gifts. Lucky girl! Saturday evening we were all pooped out again. On Sunday morning, we did some relaxing. Mostly prepping ourselves for a big turkey dinner that my mom fixed. Before we knew it, it was time to pack up and head back to Champaign. I almost had a stowaway in my luggage that I found when packing, but her mom would probably miss her, so I had to take her out. What a great weekend--I got to spend it with my family!

Madison's birthday photo book
Lots of photos were taken at Madison's birthday party, but here is a sampling of some favorites.

Whew! We're tired!

Sunday, March 30, 2008

After a week of traveling, we're happy to say we've made it home and are here to stay for awhile. I have to say I'm pretty excited about sleeping in my own bed. I've got quite a few updates to share, but that will have to wait for another day. Until then, I'll leave you with a photo of Abbey tonight. I guess she's pretty happy to be home too. She's spent most of the evening doing nothing -- I guess a week on the farm wears a dog out. (Ignore our fanciful wall paper - it will be part of an intensive remodel someday. I'm sure you'll hear all about it)

Happy Birthday Madison!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Madison turns 1 today! Look how big our little niece has grown!

On the road again

Friday, March 28, 2008

Well, Ron and I made it back from Columbus last night. Today was spent catching up on odds and ends, laundry, and repacking. We're heading north this weekend to my parent's house again. Saturday is Madison's first birthday, so party plans are in full swing. I'm sure I'll have lots to share after tomorrow. We'll also get to see my sister Melissa and her husband Erik, who we haven't seen since Christmas. It will be a full-fledged family reunion. I'm sure between birthday cake and basketball, there will be some target shooting, maybe some shopping, and of course, relaxing. Have a great weekend everyone! I'll be back tomorrow with another Self Portrait Saturday.

On one last note-- congrats to Josh "Meatball" Heeren for passing his master's degree defense today. For those of you who may not be away of what this is, as you finish your research for your master's degree, you are required to have what is called a defense. Essentially, this is when your professor and other instructors who are on your research committee put you to the test, so to speak, on what you have found during your studies. It's usually around 3 hours long, and they can ask whatever questions they want. It basically tests your knowledge of the subject and what you have learned over the past 2 years. I remember what mine was like, so good job Meatball!

Blogging Hiatus

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Things have not slowed down since my last post. Easter day was packed full of activities. We were lucky enough to spend time with family and still get everything done that we needed to before we left town on Monday.

We hit the road early Monday morning for Columbus and its been nonstop ever since. Why are you in Columbus you might ask...well, this is one meeting that Ron and I actually get to attend together. Yay! We are at the North Central Branch meeting of the Entomological Society of America, that's insects for those of you that don't know. This is the meeting that I helped plan and coordinate and have put countless hours into . I'm so glad it will be done tomorrow. No, really. I'm ready to have my life back. All in all, it was a really good experience and I got to get the know some of the inner workings of the society. There have been many good talks and posters on entomology research around the north central states and we've been able to see quite a few colleagues. With everything going on, I haven't had a lot of time to blog, not that a lot of people would be interested in what we've been doing this week.

Self Portrait Saturday

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Not a self portrait this week, but a photographer's helper.

Let them eat cake
When we got to Morrison, Madison and Stacy were at Grandma and Grandpa's which is great, because we haven't seen them since Christmas. Maddy has grown so much! Not only is she walking, but she has definite opinions about wanting to do things herself, and she's developing her own personality.

It was pretty relaxing Friday night - playing in the living room, watching some basketball, and we also had some cake for dessert. Maddy and I shared a piece, and Stacy was more than happy to catch the event on camera. As you'll be able to tell, the cake was pretty good, but the frosting was even better.

Pack your bags
Well, Friday after work we packed an overnight bag for us, and all the food, toys, and treats we could find for Abbey and headed north. My parents are going to puppy-sit this week as Ron and I will be headed for Columbus on Monday for meetings. We're fitting a lot of stuff into the weekend - head to my parents on Friday, come back Saturday late afternoon, then its off to church on Sunday morning, Easter lunch with LD, Frieda, and family, and then try to get everything packed up to leave again on Monday morning early.

The trip to my parents is long, but we travel enough with our jobs that 3 1/2 hours doesn't bother Ron and I too much. Abbey on the other hand gets bored pretty quickly - I have to say that she is really a pretty good traveler but this is what we look at for the entire trip.

Another March Birthday...

Friday, March 21, 2008

Ron and I have both known Jared for quite awhile now. In fact, Ron and Jared used to work together at the IPM farm. Now here is some serious planning going on!

Happy Birthday Jared!

It's National Ag Day

Thursday, March 20, 2008

In fact, it's National Agriculture Week! To learn more, check out the Ag Day website Have you hugged a farmer today?

My hubby putting research plots out a couple of years ago

My dad this last fall getting ready to take a load of corn to Bunge

My grandpa, many years ago, cultivating on the old John Deere

Happy Birthday Sondra!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Welcome to the 30-something club! I never realized until now that we could consider you the "baby" of the group, even if it is only by a couple of weeks......

Lessons in Life

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

While reading Linda's latest entry over at Just Another Day on the Prairie, she shares an email she received that I wanted to pass onto you. Thanks Linda for the wonderful blog!

For over 7 years, Regina Brett was a columnist at The Beacon Journal in Akron , Ohio . During that time, she was diagnosed and successfully treated for breast cancer. Regina is now a columnist for The Plain Dealer in Cleveland , Ohio . Her column runs on Sunday, Wednesday and Friday.

Lessons in Life By Regina Brett
To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 45 lessons life taught me. It is the most requested column I’ve ever written. My odometer rolls over to 50 this week, so here’s an update:

1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.
2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.
3. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone.
4. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
5. click here for the rest of the list

An Old Irish Blessing

Monday, March 17, 2008

May love and laughter light your days,
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
with joy that long endures.
May all life's passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours!

Self Portrait Saturday

Saturday, March 15, 2008

When You're Looking at Me, You're Looking at Country

Friday, March 14, 2008

Ron and I took a trip to Peoria Thursday night for a concert at the Civic Center and saw the coal miner's daughter, Loretta Lynn. We'd been laying off the concerts recently, mostly to save money for the wedding, but Ron got the notice a couple months ago about Loretta coming to town. Those who know Ron, know his love of old country. In fact, in the past year and a half, we've also seen George Jones and Merle Haggard.

Anyway, a night out from our busy schedules was pretty nice. Despite being overwhelmed by the perfume being worn by the woman in front of us, the concert was pretty good ("Awesome" according to Ron). The people watching after the opening act was fairly entertaining too. We catch a lot of grief (especially from Stacy) for seeing these "old" country acts -- and just in case you were wondering, yes we were some of the youngest people there (just guessing but the median age of people was at least 20 years older than us) -- but how great is it to say that you have seen some of country music's greatest artists live in concert?

Ask and You Shall Receive
I've had a request for a Madison's two of the latest. What a big girl - first helping grandpa feed one of the calves and then with her "new do"

Second Verse Same as the First

Monday, March 10, 2008

Wow, another weekend gone by. Where does the time go? Out the window, that's where! We were busy as usual this weekend. I'll spare you all the details, but this Saturday included working in the INHS Mobile Science Center at an open house, Illini Basketball, house cleaning, laundry, and of course, working. That's right, brought my work home with me. Not only dug it out on Saturday, but Sunday evening too. Lucky for us, my parents brought our darling dog back to us on Sunday. She was happy to see us, but by evening, she was moping around the house missing the other dogs.

Big news from the weekend......Ron and I are test-driving a mini-van. Well not really, its the rental that we have while my Escape is in the shop. Hopefully, I'll get my wheels back soon. For all our friends out there, we can positively affirm that we will never own a mini-van. If you guys are lucky, I'll get a photo of Ron driving it around town for you, otherwise, you'll just have to use your imagination.

I'm in Madison this evening through Tuesday night for the Central Plant Board meetings. Tomorrow with be a day full of presentations, information, and networking. I'd say this week is well on its way.

Self Portrait Saturday - Sort of...

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Kind of looks like a self-portrait...but its not.

It also looks like Stephanie wanted in the photo with AJ and David!

Some Happy Birthday Wishes

Thursday, March 6, 2008

I wanted to wish a happy belated birthday to Cora Satterlee (March 4).....I can't believe how fast you're growing up! I remember when you were still in kindergarten and would only eat chicken stars from Hardees and now you're in Jr. High.

We also wanted to wish Ron's friend David happy birthday today....these two go all the way back to high school. Remember those good times? Better yet, remember those mullets?

I'm going blind
By now I think you realize I spent the week at MSU at a workshop. Let me share a little about what I do for part of my summer. I spent the better part of this week staring into a microscope looking at bark beetles. Not only looking at them, but looking at their little insect parts and identifying them. Part of my biggest survey for work involves trapping for bark beetles that may come into the United States in cargo containers and solid wood packing materials from other countries. These non-native insects could do great damage to our environment if they were to become established here.

Not only do I set traps for these bark beetles, we sort them and then identify. Welcome to my world.

I've got the greatest husband!
My Monday morning started early (mostly because I had to up an hour earlier than normal). What a way to start my birthday. That's right, it was my big day. And not just any big day, I turned the big 3-0 on Monday. Everyone will be happy to know that I survived the day.

What I didn't know was my sneaky husband had decided to surprise me and drive to Michigan to spend my birthday with me. Yep, that's right....all the way to East Lansing to surprise me on my birthday. Isn't that so sweet? I have the greatest husband! It's really too bad he had to leave Tuesday morning...

Heading North
Sunday morning rolled around way to quickly for my tastes. After packing for a week of meetings and workshops, I headed north to the Michigan State campus, leaving Ron up to his own devices. From my understanding he spent some quality time at Farm and Fleet and drove out to his uncle's house in the afternoon. Two things I know rank up on the top of his list of things to do......

Be a good girl.........
After a night out with friends (and staying out later than we had in a really long time), we slept in on Saturday. Well, slept in until about 7:30, that is. We had quite a bit of stuff to get done and precious little time in which to do it. I was heading to Michigan on Sunday morning and getting ready to go involved a lot more than packing. Since I was going to be gone until Thursday and Ron would be helping his mom out most of the week, we called Grandma and Grandpa (my mom and dad) and asked if they could babysit (well, dog sit that is). Luckily they love our baby almost as much as Madison and will take Abbey whenever we need a place for her to go.

We met up with my parents for lunch and spent some time catching up, before swapping Abbey for some cupcakes and a casserole....just awful isn't - trading a beloved pet for some food? It was pretty good though. And Abbey loves being on the farm with the other dogs. Its much more exciting than our boring yard. Hopefully she's stays out of trouble.

We spent the rest of our day running various errands and also stopped at the craft and antique mall on our way home. After a long day, we spent the evening at home, relaxing.

Thinking Back to Last Weekend
Whew....what a busy week. I've got a lot of catching up to do and not just here on the blog. You'll notice I threw some self portraits up on Saturday to fulfill my weekly photo requirement, but didn't have a lot of time to post much else.

As mentioned on the Nutterson's Blog, we went with Rob & Mary and David & Jamie to the Sadorus Pub last Friday night for dinner. It was great to spend some time with our friends. It's been awhile since we had been to the Pub - we left feeling stuffed, just as we had remembered. Afterwards we stopped at Jupiters for some drinks - the girls chatted while the guys got some quality time playing big buck hunter. Not quite the real thing, but an okay substitute for Ron until we head north to my parents.

Self Portrait Saturday

Saturday, March 1, 2008

I dug through some folders on my computer to find these self portraits. These are from Christmas 2006 - Ron with Leslie and Kayla