Run for Jon and Corn

8.31.2010
Ready for our run through the orchard

On Saturday afternoon, Bron and I participated in our first race ever. The Evans are a family in our branch at church who lost a son to cancer when he was just a young teenager. His coaches organized Run for Jon to raise money for the Evans to pay for travel expenses, hotels, food, and more while their son was in the hospital. The tradition continues twenty years later to help other families in need. And it was a ton of fun! It seemed the entire community turned out for the occasion. There were all sorts of people, from high school track teams to competitive runners, and easygoing people like Bron and me. There was a fun run for the kids, a one mile walk, and a 2.5 mile race! We raced. We were official and had numbers pinned to our shirts and everything. I signed up for the jogger stroller division. The race wound through an apple orchard—it was so pretty! Pushing the stroller through the grass, however, was more difficult than I had anticipated. But I never stopped. Bron beat me by a long shot. It was a good challenge for him and he was there to cheer me on at the end. To top it all off, I actually won something—the ever coveted apple! I came in first in the women’s jogger stroller division! (I won’t tell you how many women actually competed in that division though because I want you to think I’m awesome.) It was a great evening out as a family and with friends! We’d totally do it again.

My prize: the coveted apple!

Pickin' Corn
Natasha, Anna, and Jessie

Sunday afternoon, the girls came over. We talked, we laughed, we picked corn, we shucked it, we boiled it, we cut it off the cob, we starched my kitchen floor, we sprayed the walls, and we bagged 40 quarts of corn to be frozen! I think we boiled nearly 200 cobs! So delicious. I think we’ll have a corn chowder cook-off later this year. And Jed will be eating top notch stuff in a few months. Lucky kid.

Oh, and I have to give Bron credit for babysitting all afternoon.  Jed wore him out!  Bron is such a good daddy. Thank you, Honey!

The Mess.
And in Jessie's defense, that's a prego belly you're looking at!

Four Months

8.25.2010
This picture just makes me laugh

I am a master diaper changer, burper, and soother. I can catch spit-up like a pro. I am Jedediah’s mother. And I’m learning what it really means to be a mother. It means I am no longer in charge: Jed is the boss man around here. Mothering is constant around the clock work. My life revolves around the needs and demands of someone else. My time is not mine. Some days it’s impossible to attempt any chore or even make dinner because Jed just wants attention. I don’t mind it most days, but sometimes it can be draining—not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well.

Still, my baby just melts my heart.

August has been a very relaxing month; we didn’t need to go much of anywhere. Because of that, Jed and I have finally fallen into a loose routine—including naps! We’ve gone on long walks around the farm almost every day. Jed’s little bobble head zones right in on the cows and horses. He stares wide-eyed with his mouth gaping open! In the early evenings we lay out on a blanket underneath a tree next to the house. Jed gazes up, talks, and kicks his feet in excitement. It’s so cute! He absolutely loves to be outdoors. When Bron and I go running, we bring Jed along in the jogging stroller. He is incredibly content. Jed is such a good-natured baby and a goober. He likes to push himself off my lap so that his head hangs down over my shins.  I guess the view of the world upside-down is much cooler.  He just grins.  However, when he’s tired, Jed knows how to throw a royal fit. He’s without a doubt my child! I think I can handle that though. It’s been a wonderful few weeks. I’m not quite ready for the weather to change. I’m loving life just the way it is.

1

8.23.2010
The corn is on and it is sooo sweet!  We've been picking and eating it every night.

We live in a beautiful area and I like taking pictures.  I probably won't ever print and scrapbook all the things I see, but I want to remember some of them.  So I'm going to post them on my blog.  And I'm going to number them.  Here's to the first one!

Solid Food

8.19.2010
Jed's first rice cereal meal

Tonight Jed ate his first solid meal! I think it was more breast milk than cereal, but it was a momentous milestone anyway. I know. I know. I just opened Pandora’s Box of smellier diapers and bigger messes. However, my baby is a growing boy. And he’s a big boy too. He needs more sustenance and my nipples are crying out for some relief.

Jed is definitely ready for some solid food. He has been eyeing our food for a few weeks now. During dinner, he watches intently as I lift a forkful of food to my mouth. At the cafeteria, he watches jealously as everyone else chows down and he doesn’t. I've let him taste such delicacies as ice cream, pasta sauce, and hummus… and he was hungry for more!

So tonight, as I brought that little blue spoon to his mouth, Jed leaned forward and swallowed. I think we’re on to something.

Lyon Mountain

8.16.2010
Lyon Mountain. The lone peak. We climbed it on Saturday afternoon. It was a fairly easy hike. The trail actually had switch backs before it ascended straight up a dry river bed. Jed just sat back and watched the trees go by from his seat against Bron’s chest. The three of us made it to the peak in one piece and even clambered up the steps to the top of the old smoke tower there. The view wasn’t as rewardingly spectacular as some others we’d seen, but still beautiful. We relaxed and enjoyed the moment as a family.

Then it was time to put Jed back into his front carrier and head back down the trail. He cried the entire three miles down. And when I say cry, I mean scream bloody murder. I’m talking gagging and gurgling and flinging drool. It was a full blown fit! And Jed didn’t wear himself out either. He was like a siren; he’d wail at the top of his lungs and then wane and start again. Needless to say, it wasn’t our best hiking experience.

Anyhow, here are a few pictures of the good parts.

Bron and his boy, The view


Jed still happy as a clam

Sunday evening we were invited over for dessert over at the Evans’ beautiful home. Then we all headed over to the Peru Community Center to hear a local Celtic/Country band called Inisheer play. They were fantastic; so talented and so much fun to listen to! Not one song was a dud. When Jed became bored and fussy, Bron took him right outside to sit under a tree. Jed talked and kicked and pulled up fistfuls of grass. Despite Saturdays’ fiasco, Bron loves spending time with his boy. I love that. I love my little family. What a good weekend.

The Many Expressions of Jed

8.13.2010
I have been preoccupied with two things lately: my baby and photography. The great thing about it is that I can combine them! I wanted to capture some of Jed’s cute smiles and expressions in some pictures that would be worth framing. If only everyone was as excited about life as a Jed! Well, staging a photography session (or three or four) with an infant and unpredictable weather was a challenge. I think I made more mistakes than I had successes. But I learned a lot. I’ve been taking pictures in full manual mode. It’s one thing to understand the different components of a photograph and the gadgets on my camera, and quite another to remember them all and apply them! Hopefully I will gradually get better at this photography thing because I enjoy it so much!

These pictures are my favorites. And now my camera has been sent away to be cleaned and won’t be back for two weeks, so there won’t be any re-do’s. I love my baby’s smiles and some of these pictures will definitely make it into his baby book, but I’m not sure if I’m dying to frame any. Tell me what you think! I’m totally open to suggestions.

Warning: Jed Overload!

I'm a sucker for black and white...

and cute lil' tushies too.

Lookin' handsome in his Sunday best


Lounging in the grass


Jed fully clothed in his tub

The Green Grass Grows All Around

8.07.2010
Jed loves being outdoors.  He loves to lay on his back and stare up at the trees.  He loves the feel of grass. 
These are a few snapshots of us outside Friday evening.

This is my new favorite family picture

Jed and me.  He likes company in front of the camera.

"I love you, Little Boy!"

The Truth About Girls' Camp

8.06.2010
Camp Courage 2010

This last year has been a year of polar opposites. We are very, very blessed. Since Bron and I moved here to New York at the beginning of last summer, we’ve seen and explored so many new places. We live in a beautiful area saturated with trees and farms. We live in a giant three bedroom duplex and the rent is easy on our check book. And because we live at the institute where Bron works and researches, I see him most afternoons during lunch. It’s something I actually look forward to everyday. To top it all off, I’m a brand new mother to the cutest baby boy. I’m a lucky girl. I get to stay home with him and enjoy all of his smiles and little milestones. I am a very happy woman.

But our move here has also been a struggle. Our hardest adjustment, however, is church.

Church is very much a big part of our lives.  We're LDS. We attend church every Sunday and some days in between. We pray several times a day in our home and live our religion as best we can. The Church is small here in upstate New York. We attend an undersized branch. (It’s actually more like a twig.) The members here are very friendly and well-meaning, but it’s a circus. Some people are just tactless and weird. Some people are extremely needy. They live off of the welfare both the Church and State give to them, whether they are capable of working a regular job or not. And because we belong to such a small congregation, every bit of drama seems magnified. It’s just plain nuts.  I lost my sense of humor about it all months ago.

Both Bron and I have been given responsibilities in the branch. We’re one of the few dependable members there. If someone else doesn’t show up to church or drops the ball, Bron or I often fill in to teach the lesson, etc. It happens week after week after week. We now come prepared for a minor disaster. I sometimes wonder if Sundays for bishopric members in wards out West are just the same for them; we just didn’t ever realize it. Church can be REALLY HARD WORK!

Well, the combination of it all usually leaves me feeling more irritated than uplifted on Sunday. I’ve questioned over and over why I even continue to go to church! But I continue to go because I know the gospel is true. I go because I know Christ lived and died for me. I go because I know where I came from and I know where I’m going. I go because I want my family to be together forever. I go because I said I would. Talk about enduring to the end!

In March, when I was eight months pregnant, I was asked to be the District Camp Director. (That’s the equivalent of Stake Camp Director, only on a smaller scale. I’ve decided, however, if I’m going to prepare camp for a dozen girls I might as well prepare camp for 200; you just buy more stuff!)  As you can imagine, I was in no shape—mental or physical—to put together camp after Jed was born. I could barely get the laundry done and dinner on the table. Sister Schank, the Young Women’s District President, pushed me though because she truly needed me. No Young Women’s leader in the entire district had ever been to camp before as a teenager. I was the one with the “experience”.

Well, planning camp was an experience for sure! As camp approached, I was stressed to the max and running around town like a chicken with my head cut off. Poor Jed. I had never planned anything on a scale this large before in my life and I felt so unorganized with a baby always in one arm. Worse still, is that the district comprises a massive area and communication and adult interest in camp is always minimal. It was just going to be three of us throwing it all together: Sister Schank, Sister Lawrence and myself. Sister Schank and Sister Lawrence took care of the food and the logistics like toilet paper and tables. I took care of the rest. Okay, let's face it.  Sister Schank took on the most. I couldn’t have done it without those two women!

Girls’ Camp was July 27th – 30th. It was a better week than I ever imagined! I can’t believe it all came together so well! Camp centered around a rustic cabin with no electricity, a cute outhouse, and fire pit. Only nine young women total attended, plus a few more girls of all ages rotating through when their mothers came to help. Luckily, I’d bought extras of everything. We didn’t get to all the activities I’d planned because with just nine girls it was easy to read their mood. We did whatever, whenever! We did crafts, made blue bird houses, visited the VIC’s center, and swam in Horseshoe Pond. The food was astounding! We ate and ate and ate again. And it was all so delicious and healthy! I think I gained a pound or two.

And yes, Jed came to camp with me. Many women told me they would not have even attempted to camp with such a tiny baby. Frankly, I didn’t have a choice; I was bulldozed into going.  But we survived with a few mosquito bites to show for it. Our saving grace was the camper Jed and I slept in. It helped keep us more comfortable and warm, although I can’t say I slept too well because I was always worrying about Jed’s temperature! It was just above freezing one night!  But Jed loved all the attention the girls gave him. The little flirt. He’s a lady slayer in training.

There was a spirit of sisterhood and service at camp. I realized that every single woman and young woman there is a convert or parents are converts to the Church. I thought about the lifestyle changes and sacrifices these girls have made and continue to make in the world they live in. They are so strong! So much stronger than I ever was as a teenager. I was impressed. I’m glad I went after all.

So what have I learned? I've learned how to put together a big event and have ideas of what to do better next year.  I have also concluded that Bron and I are simply adults now with real responsibilities for the first time.  Growing up often comes with growing pains. However, I feel like we've been thrown to the wolves here in this dinky district. BUT I am needed here very much, whether I like it or not. And most importantly, sometimes I must “feed the sheep” instead of being fed myself.

I appreciate what my leaders did for me so much more now!

Quebec City

8.02.2010
Quebec City has always been on our list of places to visit during our time here in New York, so Bron and I decided to pick up and go the weekend of July 23rd. Git r’ dun! Carpe Diem! We heard it’s a beautiful city, like stepping into Europe. It was all that and more! Quebec means, “where the river narrows”. The St. Lawrence may be more narrow there, but it’s still quite impressive.

Our first stop on Friday evening was to the gothically beautiful Catholic Cathedral Sainte-Anne.
Sainte-Anne-de-Beaupre Shrine

Next it was off to see Montmorency Falls nearby. The falls are 30 meters higher than Niagara, but with significantly less water flow. We had fun walking around the park there.
Montmorency Falls

To top the evening off, we took a scenic drive just before sunset around an island in the middle of the St. Lawrence river. The Ile d'Orleans was breathtaking! Home after beautiful home lined the shores and road. Better yet, there were wide open spacious farm fields. The locals on this island get to enjoy views of mountains, fields, and water all at once. It is definitely one of the most beautiful places on the planet to live!

Saturday morning we visited the fortified city of Old Town Quebec. It looked like Disneyland only this was for reals! The city has a wall and towers built entirely around it. We walked the wall.

Old Town

Atop the Wall

Outside the fortified city

Then we toured the Citadel. It’s the largest military fort in North America and still houses soldiers today. The Citadel was built beginning in the 1820’s to protect Quebec City from the Americans after we unsuccessfully attacked during the Revolutionary War and in 1812. Ironically it was never used in battle. Nonetheless, it was still remarkable to see.
Inside the Citadel, The original entry, and a cannon named Rachel

We were there!

After touring the Citadel, Bron and I walked around the Plains of Abraham; a battlefield turned into a city park. The flower garden was stunning. By that time I was about pooped. There’s something about being out in the sun all day, walking, and nursing, that just wears a woman out! So we wandered back into Old Town to get a bite to eat and see the famous Chateau Frontenac up close.

Family Picture in front of the Hotel Frontenac
Awesome boardwalk too

We loved Quebec City! The French Canadians have something of which to be very proud. And I think they are. Their license plates say, “Je Me Souviens”. It translates to, “I remember”: I remember my past and my heritage and who I am.

Thanks for an eye-candy weekend, Quebec!

Just Us!  xoxo

What Jed was more interested in: his toys!

P.S.  Feel free to give me suggestions on my photos!