Friday, December 18, 2009
Carter's mommy, Jamie celebrated her birthday on Sunday and then on Tuesday, my mommy celebrated her birthday.
Sharing a birthday on Tuesday is our niece Kayla - who heaven help us - will be driving next year.
Then on Thursday, Jackson celebrated his first birthday with his great-grandma Cook.
Now, that is a lot of CAKE!
Thursday, December 10, 2009
I don't know what's scarier - Maddy driving with one hand...
Or her driving, waving, and not looking where she's going...
And then there's mom. Just call her Billy Big Rig, well not really, you better just stick with Carol or Boss Lady.
Its no secret the harvest this season has been late. Its also no secret that I've been slacking on getting blog posts up either.
Before Thanksgiving, Ron was able to get the last of the soybean plots harvested in northern Illinois. When harvest research plots, only 2 of the 4 rows are harvested, thus you don't need the biggest piece of machinery available. While this little combine isn't the most recent model off of the assembly line, it got the job done.
Now to get the data analyzed....
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
Last Monday we had the big ultrasound. Looks like we'll be shopping for pink baby stuff - but not too much pink :) Its so exciting to finally find out what this little human is inside me. No more the baby, but instead, we'll be able to refer to her by her name. That is, if we can finally decide between the 3 or 4 we have it narrowed down to. We know for sure her middle name will be Grace, after a close family friend of Ron's. I guess we'll just have to save the name Colton for our next child!
Never fear, our little girl won't be hurting for John Deere apparel or toys....daddy's already picked out some cute outfits for his little princess.
And thanks to our friend Sondra, Ron and David have been making their John Deere wish lists.
I thought I better get this first post done before we roll into December tomorrow. November has been a busy month this year. We want to start off by congratulating two sets of friends on some life-changing moments-
First of all, congratulations to David and Jamie on the birth of their first son, Carter on November 7! (Hopefully they won't mind me posting this insanely adorable photo of Carter and Daisy).
The following weekend, friends Doug and Angie tied the knot. What a cute couple and great friends!
Question - does being pregnant affect your ability to smile correctly? We took a couple of photos and I don't have a normal smile in any of them!
Friday, November 20, 2009
I read this article on CNN yesterday...pregnant or not, I couldn't help but shed some tears.
(CNN) -- On a crisp Halloween night, icicle lights and Santa Clauses mingled with ghosts and jack-o'-lanterns in a Washington, Illinois, neighborhood.
The community is helping a family squeeze in a little extra holiday cheer with their young son.
Doctors say 2-year-old Dax Locke is losing his fight with acute myeloid leukemia and may only have weeks to live, so parents Julie and Austin Locke put Christmas lights up outside their home for the little boy, who loves glowing things. Dax opens presents each day under a tree that's already been up for several weeks.
"We don't have much time left with Dax, don't know if he will make it to Christmas, so we wanted to have Christmas early," Julie Locke told local news station WMBD.
Neighbor and friend Trish Hurtgen says she and her husband were inspired by the family's efforts, so they put up their own lights and encouraged neighbors to do the same. Soon, the entire block was lit up with Christmas lights. They also planned a special surprise for the family.
While the Lockes traveled to Chicago's Shedd Aquarium for a special trip with Dax, the neighborhood banded together to decorate a huge tree in the family's yard so the Lockes could be delighted when they returned just after Halloween.
From there, she and other neighbors have helped encourage people to show silent support for the family by putting up Christmas lights at home and around the community. The effort, called Decorate for Dax, has its own Web site with space for people everywhere to send pictures and see others' displays.
Hurtgen calls the Lockes a "family of courage" that she found inspirational, and she wanted to help if she could.
"This is a family who stayed united and formed a team to help Dax," Hurtgen said. "They gave everything they had. We're trying to do the same thing."
Dax has spent past holidays at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, but this year, he's at home. Save for receiving palliative radiation to improve his quality of life, he is off cancer treatments.
Hurtgen says Dax enjoys going for car rides and seeing the lights on around him. The family plans to make a book out of photos that people send so Dax will be able to see all the lights for Christmas if he's too sick to go outside.
iReporter Cindy Miller lives in the area and got involved in local neighborhood decorating projects. She posted a video on CNN iReport to raise awareness of the Decorate for Dax project. She narrated a drive through Dax's neighborhood shortly after Halloween, and many houses were illuminated.
During one project, locals put up lights and luminarias at a local park. Miller sent photos and video of the illuminated areas she spotted, including a red, white and green sign with Dax's name in bright lights.
Miller said her heart was warmed by all the work the community put into the decorations, and she was overjoyed to see Dax out with the family amid all the people helping to decorate.
--Cindy Miller, iReporter
"I sobbed like a baby, but was overjoyed at the show of support for this family who may not have their baby here at Christmastime. It's unusual to see Christmas lights up so early, but this year, there's a good reason."
Hurtgen says she's been surprised by how Decorate for Dax has taken off. Submissions have come from all over the United States and in far-flung countries like Australia and Germany.
"I don't know how the word is getting out," Hurtgen said.
Hurtgen added that one woman even wrote in to say that her husband, stationed in Afghanistan, was working with fellow troops to photograph a lights display for Dax.
Some of the colorful and bright displays she's seen include big signs with Dax's name on them and holiday-themed shapes and figurines. Other displays are more humble, like a message from another boy in a hospital and a makeshift tribute inside a tiny apartment.
"It doesn't have to be big, just your way of showing support."
Hurtgen says the silent show of support works well for their community because Dax needs his rest and the family needs their privacy.
Perhaps, she said, people will see this odd display of early lights and wonder what is going on. Maybe they'll also pause for a moment to think about Dax and about what they can do to help. The family is asking people to make donations to St. Jude.
"That's what Christmas is about, giving and not needing to get in return."
Everyone is holding out hopes Dax will make it to Christmas.
"Christmas would be a miracle. We're praying for a big miracle."
Thursday, November 19, 2009
But that's okay, we anxiously waiting our doctors appointment next week when we find out if daddy can start buying green or pink john deere clothes and accessories.
In the mean time, we're trying to finish up harvest, get ready for Thanksgiving and work meetings in December. Oh yeah, and prepare for the full fledged house makeover in the beginning of January. That's right, the kitchen and all carpet and flooring is being torn out and replaced and the entire house is being repainted.
Somewhere in there we'll be getting the nursery furniture so when the last paint stroke dries, I'll be ready to do some decorating. My goal....the entire house will be ready to go by the beginning of March. But even the best plans end up going awry....
Thursday, November 12, 2009
This week, our little bundle of joy is about 6 inches long (length of a dollar bill) and weighs about 8 1/2 ounces. Babycenter compares these measurements to the size of an heirloom tomato. For the men out there - His Boys Can Swim uses a softball for comparison.
Things are moving along really well and we couldn't be happier. Melissa and I are heading the the One Week Boutique baby consignment sale tonight to find some baby necessities and treasures. Can't wait to do some shopping!
In other news...congrats to our dear friends David and Jamie on the birth of their first son, Carter John, last Saturday. I can assure you he is definitely a cutie!
Friday, October 23, 2009
- 1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 stick melted salted butter
- 3 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese, at room temperature
- 1 (15-ounce) can pureed pumpkin
- 3 eggs plus 1 egg yolk
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
- 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In medium bowl, combine crumbs, sugar and cinnamon. Add melted butter. Press down flat into a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.
Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add pumpkin puree, eggs, egg yolk, sour cream, sugar and the spices. Add flour and vanilla. Beat together until well combined.
Pour into crust. Spread out evenly and place oven for 1 hour. Remove from the oven and let sit for 15 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 4 hours.
**I opted to use 2 - 9" graham cracker pie crusts for this recipe....take one to church, and keep one at home :)
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Little milestones this week-the baby's toenails have started growing. This will be of particular interest to my family as we've had spirited discussions on whether to clip a baby's toenails or bite them off.....don't ask :)
Friday, October 16, 2009
Things have been going well. Though I'm still ready for bed before 10 pm, most days I'm not praying for a nap like a couple of weeks ago. I'm still fighting morning sickness, though it does seem to be decreasing in intensity. Heartburn has been minimal (thank goodness), though I've had a few more headaches in the past week than I've had in the previous three months combined.
We had a short doctor's visit earlier this week. Not only did I get a prescription for migraines, but we got to hear the baby's heartbeat. Yahoo! We were able to see the heart beating at the ultrasound a couple of weeks ago, but hearing it for the first time was amazing!
Monday, October 5, 2009
This is a photo I actually took a few weeks ago. Teasel is an invasive plant that is quickly overtaking roadsides, ditches, and natural area. However, when in bloom, it can be quite lovely. I suppose that is why people don't realize how devastating it can be.
Friday, October 2, 2009
That's right....mark your calendars for April 7! Now we just need to make sure the baby gets here before planting!
Friday, September 18, 2009
Its all about motivation....to which I've had little, but that's changing. I'm going to try hard to get back regular posting.
What have we been up to, you ask?
Judging 4-H projects at the state fair
Hanging out at the farm progress show
A trip to Chicago for a Cubs game
And working, of course!
Thursday, August 20, 2009
We weren't the only ones that got storms yesterday. My parents received 2.4" of rain in just under 2 hours. The little creek in the pasture quickly outgrew its banks.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Today was the big reveal. As I drove past the hotel this morning on my way to work, the parking lot was bustling with activity. The family was supposed to find out this morning...you know, when THE BUS pulls up to the house and Ty shouts in the bullhorn?
The bus has been here all week, but I've yet to see any designers.
As I was heading back from field work in southern Illinois, I heard on the radio that the family chosen was from Philo, a small town just south of here.
As luck would have it, I was traveling through Philo and let me tell you, there were people everywhere. Streets were blocked off, cars coming and going. The turnout to help this family is just incredible. I can't wait to see how this week unfolds.
Friday, August 14, 2009
I've been busy writing grant proposals/workplans. I finished 6 workplans in the last week...its really no wonder that I don't feel like writing much by the time I get home.
Yesterday was the University of Illinois' Agronomy Day. This is where researchers share project results and news with producers and industry representatives. Ron spent the day sharing the results of their corn rootworm trials.
Today I've got the day off (well earned in my mind). The house needs cleaning and we'll be getting ready to freeze sweet corn tomorrow. This afternoon/tonight we're heading over to the state fair. I'll be checking the livestock barns for old friends, making sure we get a state fair corn dog, and checking out Lynyrd Skynyrd.
We'll turn around and head back Sunday for more fun and food. And 4-H judging. We'll be judging the entomology, crops, and soils projects. Yep, we're always on the go.
Monday, August 10, 2009
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
Last week, we had the opportunity to check out one of our EAB-infested communities in Illinois. Emerald ash borer has been present in this community for quite some time, but was only discovered last year (which is the same for many communities that are finding EAB).
Many ash trees are showing distinct signs of infestation. The city is in the process of removing the ash trees and we were given the chance to peel some bark to look for larvae. Adults emerged earlier this summer and will be present for a little while longer. We didn't see any adults, but found a lot of larvae feeding just under the bark.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
While he has some in the miniature size...bigger is definitely better for these toys. Just look for the telltale sign--
Or maybe just anything that's green and yellow!