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Sunday, April 27, 2014

The West Coaster

Tomorrow afternoon I leave for San Diego for my last NAGAP board meeting and the annual conference. OF COURSE, I'm looking forward to the sunshine and seeing the beauty of SD, not to mention my awesome NAGAP friends, but I am also not really looking forward to such a long trip. It will be bittersweet to finish up my two terms on the board, but I am definitely ready to move on. The travel and professional growth has been awesome, but I'm sort of looking forward to traveling for "fun" and not having commitments while in fun places. Now that my stint with NAGAP is winding down, I am also looking forward to delving into other areas of my job (namely the transfer student professional network) that my board commitments didn't really allow me to because of the time it took. Still, I'll miss seeing my pals on a regular basis.

I'm sure I'll have some amazing pictures to share, so check back!

Monday, April 21, 2014

They Say It's Your Birthday!

Happy 7th Birthday to our favorite family member, Jasper! He celebrated with an ice cream cone at Moonlight Creamery tonight. 

Beloved by all, loving to all!

Thoughts while cruisin' down Rte. 90

Today I took Annalisse back to Mercyhurst after her long Easter weekend home. On March15 I will travel down the NYS Thruway to Erie for the last time with the purpose of going to MU. Although she is more than ready for this academic year to be over, to me it's really sad. So much though and planning went into the process of selecting a college, and it all started with great hopes for the future.

But, as it turns out it wasn't a great fit for her after all (too small, among other things), and she will be starting fresh in August with a new college, which isn't without its worry as well. A new routine, new buildings, a bigger campus and only one acquaintance going there. I hope she makes connections through her major and, most of all, I hope she likes Buff State and spends the rest of her academic career there. It all feels a little unsettled so we just need to take it one day at a time and hope for the best.

In the meantime, she's focusing on doing the best she can for the next four weeks to have a strong finish at MU. Then, the dog will have his buddy back for a while!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Hoppy Easter!

That springiest of holidays is here again! Hoppy Easter! This morning we celebrated with early church (Cam and Shaina actually got here at 7:30am and went with us...wow.) followed by a delicious brunch at our house, featuring the classic frittata we grew up with. The house is now quiet as Mark reads the paper and Annalisse follows the sun around the yard (pup is with her), and we get ready take Mark to the airport for his work week in Denver.

Tomorrow I will take Annalisse back to school and all will be quiet again, which I'm pretty sad about. I'm looking forward to her return for the summer in less than one short month. At least in the fall she'll only be an hour away, which will be nice. She enjoyed spending time with Alex during this long weekend, and Cam and Shaina seem to also be enjoying each others company. Of course, as I've said before, when they are happy, we are happy! 

A blessed Easter to you and your family from the Bakers!

Reluctant bunny
Cam and Alex
Digging in!  
Look what the bunny brought!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Buff State it is?

Another travel weekend (with AWESOME weather) has come and gone as I went to Erie on Friday after work to meet up with Annalisse for our Saturday visit to Buffalo State for their Accepted Student Open House. At this point, it looks like Buff State is a very viable alternative for her transfer, and we were very impressed with the departmental meeting with the Dietetics faculty member. She gave a ton of useful information and advice (hints!) about the program and what it takes to be successful in gaining the all-important nutrition internship (highly competitive and required to become a Registered Dietitian). It's certainly going to be an intense experience for her between the coursework and the way she will need to gain exposure to the field through community (both at the College and beyond) involvement and volunteer work. I think she felt both excited and overwhelmed when we were done, and, as her mother, I had tons of cliché advice to offer like:
Me: How do you eat an elephant?
Her: What are you talking about?
Me: 
How do you eat an elephant?One bite at a time (I'm surprised she never heard that one...)
OR, when discussing if the program/profession does not work out for her:
Me: When one door closes...
Her: (rolling her eyes) ...another opens.
Me: Yes, and sometimes it's just not that obvious at first which door is opening, but one always does.
I think I will just need to keep her calm and focused on the goal at hand.

During the program we had a chance to visit the services tables, so she was able to get a lot of her questions answered about the school's dining options, disability services (tutoring, accommodations, etc.), and housing. She also got to have lunch with friend from Downstage, Jacob, who is a junior at Buff State. She was able to chat with him about the college experience in general, and they talked about the improv team he's trying to form, of which he invited her to participate. She was totally excited about that as she has really missed improv this past year.

Here I need to mention how much of a KICK ASS job she did last week with her classes. It started with the 91 she got on her Chemistry mid-term, then went onto the 100 she got on her Human Development project, the 84 on her Stats test (Stats has been a huge challenge for her), and the 96 on her Psych test (another course where she needs to get her grades up). I was so proud of her. As a result, I told her we could go to the huge Galleria Mall in Buffalo when the program was done so she could do a little shopping. Nic and Patrick ended up meeting us there so it was a super fun way to spend the afternoon. After a great dinner we hit the road back to Erie, did some shopping at Wegmans (as usual), and I dropped a very tired girl off at 7pm before going back to the hotel to retire early. My goal was to get on the road this morning by 7am (I left at 6:50am) to head for home.

This afternoon I also touched base with Cam as I haven't spoken to him in about a week. He found out this past week that the co-op he had arranged has fallen through due to a lack of funding at the University of Rochester. I'm sure he was very bummed about that since it's pretty late in the process to really secure anything else for summer. The plan right now is that he might take a couple of courses at Naz to fill in his minor/electives, and also possibly work on research along with going back to his old job at the Crossroads dining area at RIT. He has not made concrete progress in subletting his apartment (although he tells me he had one inquiry), so if he ends up working at RIT he may just stay there this summer. I will not be super happy with that as I do look forward to him coming home for the summer, so we'll have to see what transpires over the next couple of weeks. During the course of the conversation, though, I did determine that he's up to his ears in coursework and feeling very, very challenged this term. He says "he'll pass" his courses but I'm thinking we may see a "C" when all is said and done although hopefully just one would be great.

On Wednesday Mark is hitting the Thruway again to pick Annalisse up for a brief Easter break. I'm looking forward to seeing the kids next weekend, and soooooo vvvvveeerrryyyy happy that we've been blessed with several warm, sunny, beautiful days. There is talk of snow on Wednesday but at least we know now it won't last. O happy day!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Sunny Sunday

Finally, an amazing, albeit cold, sunny, spring day! And the Bakers made the most of it, starting with going to church, which we've been very neglectful of for some time. It felt good seeing all the great folks there, and I think it was a great reminder to get back on track with that.

After church (and my daily bagel), I took pup up for a run in the field, which he loved, but what a muddy mess!! When we got home I sprayed him down and we were forced to sit outside in the sun while he had a chance to dry off. Even though it was cool, the sun felt so glorious!!! Mark puttered around the yard and put stakes up along the side lawn where the loser-renter neighbors keep driving on our side, putting muddy, deep tracks into the yard. This is year 10 in our house, and to tell you the truth, the renter thing next door is getting really old. For the first five years there were nice, considerate, long-term neighbors, but it's been a revolving door for a while now. While we love love love our home, our street, and our neighbors, our patience is wearing thin in this regard.

The last couple of weeks have been emotionally challenging as I prepare to face some health challenges, which I do not want to get into right now, and the uplifting bloom of spring and having the neighborhood come alive has gone a long way toward helping to keep a positive disposition. Never fear, all is well, and SPRING HAS SPRUNG!

On another awesome note, Annalisse found out today that she got a 91 on her Chemistry mid-term. YAY!!!