Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Jackson Sleeps

A new picture of Jackson. So cute!

Welcome Jackson Peng-Li!

A warm welcome to our newest family member (and first family baby since Annalisse), Jackson Peng-Li Shiao. Jackson is the son of Mark's youngest brother David and his wife, Amanda. We are so excited for Amanda and Dave, and can't wait to meet our new nephew/cousin. Unfortunately, that will probably have to wait because they will be in Turkey for another year-and-a-half. Who knows? Maybe they'll make a trip back for a visit - then we get to babysit! It was so awesome to get a picture of him so soon - isn't the Internet great?!

Seven Women, Seven Lives

Three of my neighbors are involved in a self-published memoir entitled "Seven Women, Seven Lives." It's a collection of essays that grew out of a memoir writing class originally held at Nazareth College. For several years now, the seven women have met to work on their stories, and their book was published in the Spring. They will be having a book signing at Starbucks in Victor (across from Eastview Mall) on Thursday, January 31 from 7-9pm. Congratulations again to Ann, Donna and Elaine, plus their fellow writing companions, for their great accomplishment!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The First Most Terrible Invention Ever

If you've read my blog, you know that (so far) I have listed the First (the iPod), Second (fat-free half-and-half), and Third (the Tide stick) Greatest Inventions Ever. Now, for the First Most Terrible Invention Ever: wallpaper.

Why is it that every house we have moved into (this is our third, and our second "old" house) has rooms and rooms of wallpaper that I hate and can't wait to get off? ~that's a rhetorical question - don't bother trying to answer. There is nothing like a freshly painted room that can be repainted when the mood strikes a couple of years down the line. So, this week begins my (new) quest to get some of that wallpaper off these walls and move onto the cornflower, moss, taupe, and light maroon walls I so desperately crave.

Our bedroom and the living/dining room is covered with a textured bamboo wallpaper that is great at hiding flaws and dirt but not so great at looking modern. Our room, especially, has wallpaper that is dark gold and so dingy it looks like it's been exposed to smoking for years (it hasn't, but sure looks like it). I've had a couple of experienced wallpaper people come over to look at it, and all recommend painting over it rather than trying to get it off. There has to be better way!!! So, on Monday, another wallpaper "expert" will come take a look and hopefully give us some good news.

We also want to get Annalisse's girly wallpaper off so she and Cameron can switch rooms. She's wanted "out" of her room for quite a while because she gets a little freaked out being near the attic stairs (such a chicken). Her requests have gotten more frequent since two bat visits this past summer sealed that deal.

Some people really love wallpaper, but everywhere I look I see a little peeling at the seams, dirty smudges, and outdated designs. Thereby I am forced to declare that wallpaper is The First Most Terrible Invention Ever.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Hairy Beast

Well, it's come to this. We've started vacuuming Jasper. You would not believe the amount of hair this dog puts off (it didn't seem like our other Golden, Casey, was quite so generous with her leftover hair). The dog literally breathes and there's a puff of hair expelled...there is hair everywhere and on everything. I think I should buy stock in that sticky pet roller thingy company.

So anyway, "raking" him outside in the driveway only helps with half the problem. Sure, it loosens things up and sends hair flying all over the neighborhood (the birds are very appreciative), but when it's been loosened, we still need to get the rest off him. That's where the vacuum comes in. He's really pretty good about it...a small biscuit goes a long way toward keeping his attention.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

One Very Confused Bird

This morning I saw a robin in the backyard (it's January 20 and 7 degrees out...). That's one very confused bird. The least he/she could have done is to wait for Groundhog's Day to make a spring appearance.

This might explain it.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

It's Official - He Lifts His Leg To Pee

Not Mark. Jasper. He's started to lift his leg to pee which can only mean he's really becoming an man-dog. Where did the time go?

Jasper is so low key and calm (some might say LAZY) we wonder what will happen after we get him fixed (we're going to try to wait until he's two as recommended by the breeder). Once he's neutered, will he even lift his head when we come in, or just give us a lifted eyebrown because it's too much work to acknowlege our arrival?

Announcing - fundraising raffle for Cameron's trip with People To People, Summer 2008

Check out the information to the right for a raffle we're holding to raise funds for Cameron's trip to France, Italy and Greece this summer! Thanks to Grandma Pat for donating this great quilt for the raffle. Contact us if you would like more information!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

For lack of all other excitement, a new template

You know when I talk about the fact that I shook things up with a new template that it's a slow news day (week? month?). There's just not that much going on right now! But, there is some good stuff coming up like:
  • A recap of my Pride & Prejudice get together on Saturday - a bunch of chicks sitting around watching the 5-hour BBC movie starring Colin Firth (the ONE, the ONLY, Mr. Darcy). Screening starts at 11am and ends at 5pm. High tea break at 2:30pm. Let me know if you'd like to drop by!
  • My brother-in-law and his wife are expecting their first baby within the week. They are currently living in Turkey (the country, not the meat). Come, cousin, come!
  • Groundhogs Day - hands down, the most anticipated holiday of the year for winter-haters.
  • Jasper will be 9 months on on Monday. He weighs 48.6 pounds now, still on the small side for a male Golden.

So, check back for these and other (hopefully) exciting events on the Baker Blog!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

English Muffin Pizzas, Coming Right Up!

Two of my least favorite things to do are going grocery shopping and cooking dinner during the week. On the weekends, I need to carve out an hour or so to go grocery shopping (which interferes with my lazy coffee/bagel/reading-the-paper-time, and often conflicts with nap time), an agonizingly mundane activity during which I buy the same items week after week. The irony is that I actually do like preparing a meal if it's something I can plan and take my time making (while sipping a glass of wine and listening to my favorite songs on the radio or my iPod). Who doesn't watch those shows on the food network or flip through a magazine and think, "I could make that." So, when I can, I collect interesting meal ideas and recipes and plan a nice weekend dinner (often inviting a friend or relative to join us).

But that's not what I'm talking about here when I talk about cooking being one of my least favorite things to do. I'm talking about getting home at 5:00pm to two hungry kids who want one of the following items:

  • Tacos (Cameron)
  • Fettuccine Alfredo (both kids)
  • Homemade Mac-n-cheese (Cameron), or
  • Tuna Melts (both kids)

It's at this time that my worst cooking skills emerge. Make it quick! Eat it fast! -YUCK. Attempts to make "good food" during the week are met with protests (from the junior members of the family) and disgusted looks on their faces, as they pull out the cereal to have while we enjoy our chicken french.

No wonder we like to eat out so much!!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Smoke Does Not Get In Their Eyes

Last week Wegmans, the industry leader/cutting edge market based in Rochester, announced they would no longer carry tobacco products. Wow! What a step they've taken. I have some pretty strong opinions on smoking, so when I hear things like this I'm very encouraged and applaud their decision.

I am the daughter of two smokers (although my father had quit at least 30 years before his death, and my mother has not smoked in 16 years), and I can vividly remember cold winter nights riding in the car when, windows closed, both parents would be smoking and I would struggle to breath. I have always hated smoking, and vowed never to touch a cigarette, and I never have. At the same time I try not to be too militant about it (although I would like to be), realizing that smoking is legal and people have a right to slowly kill themselves this way. I could never have married a smoker, and hope my kids never feel the pressure to try it (how anyone could start smoking these days, with all we know about the health effects on them and others, is beyond me). I was very glad several years ago when New York State outlawed smoking in public places, and it's a little weird, and annoying, now when I go to a state that allows smoking. Contrary to what smokers predicted, bars, restaurants, and bowling alleys, did not go out of business, and five years down the line we are seeing the positive effects of the law.

So, way to go Wegmans! Some may stop shopping there, but not me. I will support your brave decision.