Birthday Week

Friday, December 18, 2009

Finally, home from Indianapolis and able to post. It was a busy birthday week this last week...

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!

RetroPost: All Hands on Deck

Thursday, December 10, 2009

They're letting everyone help with harvest this year.

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.

RetroPost: Harvesting Soybean Trials

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

2 years


731 days


17,544 hours


1,052,640 minutes


63,158,400 seconds

~the length of time we've been married~


Pink is in our future...

Monday, November 30, 2009

I can't hardly believe I didn't get this posted last week, but with trying to get out of town for Thanksgiving and lots of little things going on, the blog announcement was forgotten. But thanks everyone for the well wishes on facebook!

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.

A little catch up
I've got a ton of news to prepared for a little blogging catch up!

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!

Decorate for Dax

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.

Take a cruise through Dax's brightened neighborhood

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.

I sobbed like a baby, but was overjoyed at the show of support for this family
--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.

Send photos of decorations to CNN

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."

Half Way There

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Holy crap, we've made it to 20 weeks. We're halfway there! This little baby is slowly taking over its mother's body. The baby bump is growing into a full fledged belly!

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

Whew...nineteen weeks already? It seems so long ago when the morning sickness, tiredness, and dull aches began. Oh wait, that was yesterday. That's right, still dealing with a little morning sickness although I'm not nearly as tired as I was a couple of months ago.

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!

Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Finally....harvest in full swing

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Finally, beans are done and onto corn. Harvest is in full swing. A trip home this weekend led to some adventures in the field and some quality time with family. I love this time of year!

Birthday Girl

Saturday, October 24, 2009

This little lady turns 3 today.........Happy Birthday Lilly!

Pumpkin Yumminess

Friday, October 23, 2009

For last week's Fried Chicken Dinner at church I tried out a new recipe. I was really wanting something with pumpkin and cheesecake is always good, so I consulted with Paula Deen, who provided an excellent pumpkin cheesecake recipe.


  • 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.

For crust:

In medium bowl, combine crumbs, sugar and cinnamon. Add melted butter. Press down flat into a 9-inch springform pan. Set aside.

For filling:

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 :)

While I was busying making cheesecake and freezing pumpkin last weekend, these cuties and their mommies were painting pumpkins at grandma's house.

16 and Counting

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Not much to report in the baby department this week. We're moving right along at 16 weeks. Out little bean is now the size of an avocado - approximately 4 1/2 inches long and 3 1/2 ounces. According to everything I've read, over the next couple of weeks the baby will double in size and weight.

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 :)

Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Apple Of Our Eye

Friday, October 16, 2009

Well, at 15 1/2 weeks, we are officially the parents of a baby the size of an apple (or orange if you prefer). And in honor of this milestone, we headed to the Apple Dumpling for some homemade chicken and noodles over mashed potatoes this week. For those of you from around the area, you undoubtedly know how wonderful the food is at this family-owned, home cooking restaurant. I'm sorry to report we did not have enough room for one of their famous apple dumplings for dessert.

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!

Mondays Stink

Monday, October 12, 2009

It's Monday. It's Cold. And it's raining. Again.

Stinky Mondays.

But a different kind of stinky than Saturday.

Macro Monday

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.

Truth be Told

Friday, October 2, 2009

The real reason I've been slacking on the blog.....By the time I get home I'm too tired. I've been nauseous. I couldn't share the news I wanted to the most.

That's right....mark your calendars for April 7! Now we just need to make sure the baby gets here before planting!

Back in the saddle

Friday, September 18, 2009

Blogging saddle that is. I've been highly unmotivated to blog lately (as seen by the lack of posts). It doesn't mean we haven't been up to lots of interesting things (depending on who you talk to).

Its all about 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!

Much Love

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Happy Anniversary Mom and Dad!


Thursday, August 20, 2009

We've had rain on and off this week. Yesterday though, storms rolled through bringing lots of lightning, wind, and of course, more rain.

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.

Guess who's in town

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

For the past week, we've been watching the activity at the hotel a couple of blocks from our house. Extreme Home Makeover has been here, checking out some families that were nominated for the show.

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 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.

On the Go

Friday, August 14, 2009

I've not been the best blogger lately. We've been in full work mode around here. Ron and crew have finally finished up root digs and insecticide evaluations. Their summer work will be slowly winding down over the next couple of weeks.

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.

Happy Birthday, Baby!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

(Even if you are a bit goofy now and then.)

Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Monday, August 10, 2009

Happy Birthday Erik!

It's your day....have a drink or two!

Wordless Wednesday

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Surveying for Emerald Ash Borer

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.

Macro Monday

Monday, August 3, 2009

Stay tuned - tomorrow I'll let you know what this little bugger is....

Sunday Stills: Fences

Sunday, August 2, 2009

The challenge this week for Sunday Stills - Fences. Another great challenge!

Kids these days

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Looking for some Tuesday morning amusement? Head over to my sister's blog. Who teaches him this stuff? (You'll want to turn the volume up a little.)

Macro Monday

Monday, July 27, 2009

Prairie Blazing Star

Sunday Stills: Toys

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The challenge this week for Sunday Stills is Toys. Hmmm....Ed has us thinking this week! There's so many toys I have fond memories of. Unfortunately, most of those are nicely packed up in storage. Backup plan -- my husband's toys.

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!