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Showing posts from 2016

Out with 2016, in with 2017

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Well, 2016, your time has come. Time to move on from a year with some great high points and what seemed like a lot of worrying with a couple of low points thrown in.

We certainly did a lot this year: our first trip abroad, Cam graduated from college, moved to Maryland, then moved back. Annalisse took a trip to Italy and had a productive summer, as well as finishing her next to last term at SU. 
But, I feel a general sense of malaise and apprehension going into 2017 with Trump at the helm. I think his election has affected a segment of Americans in a way we have never experienced before. Some are jubilant, others are filled with dread for the future. The contentious election and its result has pulled people apart more than ever before. We will have to wait and see how things go. 
And 2016 - what a year for loss of famous figures, celebrities, and pop stars
I usually make a list of goals for the new year, and they never seem to change. They usually revolve around losing weight, getti…

We wish you the merriest!

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Merry day-after-Christmas from the Bakers! It's been a great holiday, filled with friends, family and a great gift or two (like a new iPad Air and tickets to the SU/Duke basketball game in February!).

I am especially thankful to have family around this year. It might have been a different scenario, where Cam was coming home from Maryland to spend a few precious days, and I continue to be happy and relieved that he is back in Rochester.  We are still waiting for the UR job to be wrapped up, and the position was supposed to be posted before the end of last week, but...bureaucracy.

Annalisse finished a very stressful term at SU. Her grades were disappointing to her (she ended with a 2.8 for the term and a 3.2 overall), with a C and a C+ in key courses, but what can you do? I know she really tries, studying for weeks before a test, and it all ends up falling apart with the test. Even so, she will spend the break getting her internship applications in order, and we can only hope for th…

Giving thanks in '16

Happy Thanksgiving to all!! I am sitting in the living room pup at my feet, both kids are hanging out watching a "Parks and Rec" marathon, and thinking how overdue I am for a blog entry. I'm trying to think about why I am not so engaged with the blog these days. While a lot of great things have happened this year, some of the year has been a struggle. Moving Cam down to Maryland, and the uncertainty (and huge expense associated) that followed definitely put a little bit of damper on my mood at times. 
I have also been a little cranky about some work stuff, and a desire to maybe be doing something different professionally (although, I do count my blessings daily for having such a great job, but I think I'm ready for some new challenges). I think the prospect of a low likelihood of selling my mother's house weighs heavily as well, as it costs each of us approx. $100 to keep all the bills paid and just feels like it's hanging over all our heads.
But there are so…

October Round Up

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Well, hello there! This little B@ker Blog hiatus is definitely the longest I've taken. I just haven't felt much like dropping a note during this incredibly busy month of travel for work during the week, and crazy, overcommitted weekends.

So, what's been going on? Lots, and not a lot!

Of course, October started with Nic's birthday on October 4 and our little kid turning 21, and all the fanfare you can image would go along with that. On the 5th, her birthday, she held a little happy hour celebration at a Mexican restaurant in Syracuse. Cam, Alex and a bunch of her camp and nutrition friends went, so she was super happy to celebrate with them. She could not overdo it, though, because the next day she had her first food education program for the semester, as well as her first improv show that night.

That same night, Sue flew in from VA for
our girl's weekend in Vermont. What a great weekend that was! As always, it's so much fun to be with "my girls," and…

Hitting the Reset Button

Our 23 year old has moved back home. Alas, we did not make him move into the basement (you know that old adage about adult children moving back in their parent's basements?). No really, it's okay! He's home and ready to push the "reset" button on his young career. We went down to Gaithersburg on Saturday, loaded up ~ again ~ and headed back home this morning. I'm mostly relieved he's back home (including the mouse incident in his apartment on Saturday night) -  I'm not a big city person and it's always a little stressful being near DC with the crazy traffic and a gazillion people around. He's super excited to see his friends again, begin coaching at Rochester Boat Club (and just participating in crew in general), and hopefully settling into the new job at UR.  We managed to absorb all his stuff back into the house, but are keeping must of it together as we expect he will be out again within a couple of months or so, once he finds out how the U…

ROC Bound

Here is an update in the continuing saga of "Cam's Career and Quality of Life" journey:

He found out on Tuesday that he got the Bioinformatician job at UR. In his understated way, he was very excited. I think we can chalk the last couple of month up to a life lesson, one of which he learned plenty about himself, what he wants to do, where he wants to live, and the importance of having a network, especially of friends. The shaky part of the scenario is that the position is a temp one through the middle of December, with a potential for permanent hiring based on funding. We're just going to take it one day at a time. If nothing else, it buys him a little time to look for a job that better suits him. He is also liking the course he is taking, and plans to continue to gain skills in that area. 
When he got back to his apartment on Tuesday, he spoke with the office to made arrangements to break his lease, which will require two months rent payment. While a lot of cash out…

The Baker's New Ride

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Today, we finally got a new car to replace the black Honda Accord that we gave to Cam when he moved to Maryland (which we officially signed over to him yesterday - going to the DMV is not my favorite thing to do). Today we signed on the dotted line for a 2016 Prius. I'm really looking forward to zipping along in this cute little car, which we pick up on Wednesday. It will be great to have two cars again, as having one has been an inconvenience, but not too, too bad.

Both kids are home for the long Labor Day weekend. Cam came home Thursday evening, and we picked Annalisse up on Friday afternoon. Cam had his interview at UR at 3pm on Friday, and will know if he gets the job by Tuesday or Wednesday. I'm pretty nervous about it, mostly for him because I know he wants it so badly and he will be very disappointed if he doesn't get it. Right after the interview, around 5pm he came into the house, changed his clothes, and was off to with his buddies to camp in Pennsylvania for th…

Where did August go?

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Well, hello there. Looks like the B@ker Blog took a bit of a summer vacation. Once again, busyness has taken over, and at the end of each quick day, I am too worn out (lazy...?) to post!

The journey since my last post has taken us to Raleight-Durham North Carolina and back, with a visit to Cam, Sue and Ken, and nephew Tony thrown in. Annalisse and I travelled 1,750 miles in six days to check out possible dietetic internship (DI) programs for next year. On the way down we stopped to spend the weekend with Cam (who is doing better, although disappointed he didn't get the job at Wayfair in Boston - his interests did not meet their needs ~ DUH ~ he's interested in big data and they needed a coding monkey.  I think that probably came through in the interview. LOUD AND CLEAR.), before heading down to Roanoke (well, technically Salem, Virginia), for an overnight with Sue and Ken, and the bonus of spending time with Cousin San. On Monday morning, with Sue and Ken joining us, our first…

Weekus Horribulus

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Here we are a week after a stressful week, with another...stressful week.

On Monday, the week started off with me (and Mark, I'm sure) already feeling a bit beaten down from the events to move Cam. Still, we were excited for him to start his new job, and were really looking forward to hearing about his first day.

Well....it was terrible. As described by him, he went in, spent an hour with his boss, and was then told "Ok, go do your stuff." He had no idea what he was doing and did not know what to do. He was upset, feeling lost and unqualified, and felt like he couldn't even go back the next day. Uh oh. I tried to calm him down, and let him know that quitting after one day, or even several days, is not an option for a whole host of reasons, among them that we did not have the $$ to move him back and he had signed a year lease. Then Monday night, he saw a mouse in his apartment. I'm pretty sure that ranked as on of the worst days of his life (so far!).

On Tuesday …

STRESS-PALOOZA

Today tops off what has been an alternately exciting, frustrating, and stressful week. Rarely have I had a week where every day brought new stressful, frustrating, expensive experiences. Here goes...

As you know, this was the week we moved Cam down to Maryland to start his new job. So, on Monday I went to work, knowing that Tuesday I would have to take Annalisse to Syracuse to move her belongings out of her current apartment and into her new apartment, as she had to vacate by July 31 (a development I learned about only the Friday before). STRESSOR #1. As a result, we headed out to Syracuse with the intention of simply moving her stuff from her old apartment to her new, but NO: It turns out we had to completely empty out her current apartment and move everything home since she could not get into her new apartment until after August 20 (STRESSOR #2).

Now, all of you know I'm a good planner. I had emailed the rental office earlier in the month asking about this process, but never rec…

Time Flies!

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Can it be that it has been almost 3 weeks since I updated the blog?! SHAMEFUL!

But a super busy three weeks it has been. This summer is really flying by (sadness), but there is still so much to look forward to, like our trip down to Maryland as Cam starts his new job in Rockville.

We will head out on Wednesday, bright and early, with our trailer containing all Cam's Earthly belongings ~ well, maybe not everything, but what he will need to get started in his new place. He is renting a "super studio" in Gaithersburg, at least for the first year, since the info on Craig's list about sharing a house seemed kind of sketchy. His new apartment features a "sleeping area," with no door, but it will fit his full-sized bed he bought at Ikea last year. We also got him a full-size futon so we will be able to stay with him when we visit. The apartment complex looks really nice, so I hope it works for him.

On Thursday, we will work to get him all settled in his apartment…

Summer Daze

I know the lawns are getting brown. I know it's sometimes hard to sleep at night with all this heat. BUT I LOVE IT! This weekend has been a banner one, with beautiful weather and time spent with good friends. It simply doesn't get any better.

The weekend started with a quick trip to Massena for my 35th reunion. I just went only for the Friday night get together, as Mark and I needed to attend our dear friend Kay's dad's memorial celebration on Saturday. Mark could not come along as he can't get away from work (having just taken two weeks vacation), so I started the day in Massena with lunch with my sisters and cousins, followed by a listing of Mom's house with a new agent and a party for Aunt Carol's 96th birthday.

Later in the day I joined my girl's (and Ken, Sue's husband) for dinner at Sabad's before heading to the reunion get together at the Massena Country Club. As always, it was great reconnecting with friends (and ignoring those who I nev…

Mary-Land

Well, it's official. One of the Baker chicks is flying the nest.

Cam will start his new position at Omnitec Solutions, contracting to the NIH, in Rockville, MD, on Monday, August 1. In his own words, from his Facebook page:

I am happy to announce that I have accepted a software developer position at Omintec within the National Institutes of Health. I will be helping psychiatric researchers connect to the resources they need within the NIH to better aid in their studies. Starting in the DC area August 1st. Now, to find housing. We are trying to figure out what he can afford and with the options in that area (DC), which is notoriously expensive. Rent a room? Find a studio? We've got some time so I'm hoping an option becomes clear in the next couple of weeks.

In the meantime, lots of relief all around in the Baker house!!

DOG days of summer

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We got out the little kiddie pool we bought when Jasper was a pup. He still doesn't like it...!

Report from the Porch

Ahhhh, summer. I LOVE IT. I love the heat. I love the soft breeze. I love the porch. ETC. !

A quick job update for Cam: last week he was contacted by the company he had interviewed with in Rockville, MD, letting him know that they had gotten approval for another position and wanted to talk to him about it (this was the company that he was not that interested in - he felt the position was too much like a co-op and below his skill level). BUT, he was willing to hear what they had to say since a job has not yet panned out for him.

So, on Friday he had a conversation with him in which they described another position available with more of a software development focus. He was definitely more interested now! By Friday afternoon, he had an offer in hand (just an hour before he left to go camping), and we expect that he will accept the offer on Monday (unless something major has changed in his thinking during the time spent around the campfire). It's a great relief (for him especially, al…

Our Grand Irish Adventure

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Welcome back! Sorry for the long blog drought...we've been very busy, above and beyond the fabulous trip we took to Ireland!

Since my last post (May 22 - sorry, again) one of the chicks launched her farm-to-table tour of Italy, and the other has been looking for a job (bites, but no offers yet).

On May 24, we took Annalisse to Toronto for her flight to Pisa by way of Dublin. All her travel went off without a hitch, and she began her intense two week study abroad of the Mediterranean Diet. She had a wonderful time seeing how food was grown, visiting organic farms, working with bees to make honey, making pasta, wine, cheese and bread, and enjoying "slow food" meals that sometimes lasted up to three hours. The group ended in Florence, but spent much time staying and working at farms in between. She said the trip was amazing, and would love to live there (we hear that a lot from folks who visit Italy!) if it weren't for the language barrier. Her trip was capped off with …

One down...one to go!

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What a momentous weekend! Cam graduated with pomp and circumstance on Saturday. I can't believe his formal educational journey is over (unless he gets a doctorate...). The years have been filled with lots of anxiety (on my part, about grades) and worrying about getting things done on time and hoping he finds the motivation to do his best (still not sure he totally "did his best" at all times), but my work here is done. Relief!!!

He attended the all-college convocation on Friday while Annalisse and I did various running around, and on Saturday morning, we all attended (well a lot of us) the College of Science graduation. It was wrapped up in a tidy 1 1/2 hours, after which we took some pictures and stopped by the COS reception before heading to a nice lunch at The Lodge at Woodcliff. A very special day!!! We are so proud that Cam was able to finish strong, and look forward to seeing how his career unfolds for him.

We had a good (quick trip) to Rockville, MD on Tuesday/We…

Bakers on the move

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The next couple of weeks will find a lot of Bakers coming and going and coming and going, starting with a quick trip down to Rockville, MD for Cam's first in-person job interview. The company seems to contract to government agencies, and with his background,  if he got the job, he might end up at a place like the NIH. One step at a time, though. Please send positive vibes!

Our busy week will culminate in Cam's graduation from RIT on Saturday morning (8:30am). I know he's a little stressed trying to finish things up, but the finish line is in sight! After graduation we will go for a nice lunch at Woodcliff, then decide the strategy for moving him home before June 1.

Then, a week from tomorrow we bring Annalisse to Toronto for her flight to Italy for her study abroad (studying the Mediterranean diet for two weeks). Then, two weeks after that we will be in Dublin for a week! YAY! Just about everything is set for our trip except the rental car from Dublin to the Cork area and …

Green

Everything is so green right now. The buds and plants are popping, and lawns are lush from a rainy spring. It's so wooonnndddeeerrrfulll!

I waited all week, looking forward to Saturday when I had big plans to start my day with a delicious chocolate croissant from Amazing Grains Bakery after a walk to the (first weekend opened) Fairport Farmer's Market. Then, my goal was to get my very weedy herb garden hoed and raked out. All was accomplished, plus a nap on the sunny window seat. HEAVEN.

On Friday, I left work a little early to go to Mom S.'s place as the movers were (finally) scheduled to arrive around 4pm. I stayed to help unwrap stuff, and Mark came after work to relieve me while I went home to walk Jasper. What a disaster this move has been. A lot of her stuff was damaged, including her beloved piano, which the movers must have dropped as the bottom was broken, parts of it were take off, and there were big chips of wood broken off. Additionally, she is missing some box…

On the move...and other news!

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Well, hello there. Yes, I've been busy, and a little lazy, too. Welcome back!

This past weekend could definitely be defined with one word: MOVING.

Moving Part I: On Friday, Mark and I took a quick trip down to Alexandria to load up our car and Mom's car for her move back to Rochester. We are super happy to have her back, but she is very sad about leaving the kids, and it will be a big adjustment for her to be back. We were there for just a day. I left at 6:30am on Saturday morning to head back with my full car, while Mom and Mark waited for the movers, who were supposed to arrive between noon-2pm. Well, they got a call saying the movers would not arrive until between 4-5pm, and it was 5:30 by the time they showed up, and 8:30 by the time they left. Mom and Mark finally left Virginia at 8:45pm, and arrived in Fairport at 4:45am. What a night. Thankfully they made it home safely as, in addition to being up all night, the weather was pouring rain all the way.

Moving Part II: Last W…

Honky Tonk Girl

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Last night around midnight I got home from my week in Nashville, where I visited from Tuesday-Friday for the NAGAP conference. What a fun trip! I had the opportunity to spend time with my old college roommate, Linda, whom I had not seen since I was pregnant with Annalisse (as happens with good friends, we picked up right where we left off!). She lives about 45 minutes outside of Nashville, and came for the afternoon and spent the evening with me so she would not have to drive home late at night. I got in around 1pm, and we connected around 3pm and walked around a bit, going in and out of the honky tonks, had a nice dinner, and went to listen to some more music. Wow, were there great bands in the bars, and there is music literally everywhere you go in Nashville. So much talent. I was especially mesmerized by "Slick Joe Fick," a very well know "slap" bassist who had a role in the 2005 Johnny Cash biopic Walk the Line.

Here's a sample of amazing and entertaining J…

And then I blinked...and it was April!!

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Welcome to April (3rd), a day of blustery snow and howling winds. What an interesting interpretation of "April Showers."

Since my blog entry, Easter has come and gone, and we've had some amazingly warm and sunny weather. Even Pup got a nice bath last Sunday, and we spent time baking in the sun while he dried. Easter was not super eventful. We did frittata and fixins' for brunch after church, then did some stuff around the house (like the aforementioned bath), took some nice walks, took a nap, took Cam back to school, then, when we started to get hungry around dinnertime, went out looking for somewhere to eat. You guessed it: not much was open because, after all, it was Easter and restaurant workers wanted to be home with their families. We ended up at Panera, which was lame, but at the same time "fine" since we didn't want a huge dinner, just a "little something." Annalisse didn't come home since she had just gone back (after break) the we…

"Beautiful"

It was an amazingly beautiful weekend weather-wise, ....and my sisters (and Nicole) and I saw the Carole King musical "Beautiful"  on Saturday. We were in the nosebleed section, but it was really good. Apparently, Mary cried for the entire last 15 minutes as she remembered her teen-hood and the feelings Carole King's music evoked. A fun, fun day.

While the girls were doing girl-stuff, the boys visited several pubs trying different brews. They started at Rohrbach's for a German lunch, then came back to the Village of Fairport and walked to a couple of the Village haunts. We met up at the Gate House at Village Gate Square at 5pm, had a great dinner, then came home for dessert and some rousing games of BINGO. The Walldroffs walked away with the big spoils again this time...do I see a pattern here? Poor Cam, he didn't win again...I don't think he can appreciate the "rush" (!) that comes when you yell "BINGO!" and collect all those quarters. Ho…

Housework Sunday

Here's a really compelling topic for a blog post: How we did housework all day Sunday...and, boy did it feel good!

The days are getting nicer now (weather-wise), and we have been blessed with a couple of sunny, warmish Sundays, which has been awesome. After church (and a bite to eat) this morning, Mark and I went to work on some much needed vacuuming, dusting, laundry, and cleaning of the kitchen floor and washing the rugs. So. Much. Dust. So. Much. Doghair. If we didn't love him so much...

One of the things I finally did this weekend was to catch the dry cleaning guy when he was delivering an order back to us on Saturday, and I arranged for my mother's wedding dress to be dry cleaned. They are going to clean it and "heirloom" package it where they put it in a sealed box. That will be cool - I'll put it up in the attic with my dress which is also in sealed box. Both of which my daughter will probably never wear!!!

Another thing I did was that I washed a big b…

Leap, Baby, Leap!

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Isn't it so cool that today is February 29, leap year day?! I think it would be wickedly fun to have a birthday or something like a wedding anniversary on this date (which, apparently - according to Facebook - one of my coworkers does...).

This is actually my third Leap Year post since the inception of the Fabulous B@ker Blog. You can read the first entry here, and the second entry here.

I work with some negative naysayers, and when I mentioned how fun it would be to have a leap year birthday, one of them launched into a tirade about how that would not be a good idea (computer systems get confused, when do you celebrate in the "off" years, etc.). Still, I think it would be awesome. Another young lady I work with is about ready to give birth to her third son, so I instructed her today would be an ideal day for Bryce to make his entrance into the world...alas, Bryce seems to have other ideas (but the day's not over yet!!).

So, I hope you were able to make the most of …

Winter Makes Me Cranky

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Perhaps you have noticed that I have not been posting much. It's mostly because this cold, dark, rainy, snowy February has been the longest shortest month. When I get home from work, all I want to do is to get into my fluffy clothes, eat dinner, take pup for a quick walk after dinner, and head upstairs to my "cave" to read, watch TV or some online show, and head to bed around 8:30 - 9pm if I really push it. I'm certainly not getting the most out of my days (which also makes me cranky), and it seems I'm just biding my time, waiting for the next season to arrive. So, all of this makes me very cranky.

In addition to winter in general, other things that are making me cranky these days:

Owing income taxesMom's house is still not soldMy waistline is expanding and I have not exercised, per my New Year's resolution. Things that make me moderately cranky:
Cam got an "I" (incomplete) grade in the fall term that he as not yet resolved. Grrrr... GET.IT.DONE.Ca…

May I recommend...?

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In the past couple of weeks I finished a book and a TV series that I feel compelled to recommend because they were both so good, and really engaging.

First up, may I recommend The Boys in the Boat,a true story about an underdog rowing team from the University of Washington (as in Washington state) and their bid for the 1936 Olympics, held in Berlin on the cusp of Hitler's rise to power. This book was soooo interesting, and not just because our kids were in crew (that made it very interesting, though, as I understood the incredibly important role of the coxswain better), but because of the deep dive the author took into this event in history, and the interesting way he presented all the characters' background.

In the spirit of Laura Hillenbran's Unbroken(fun fact: Louis Zamperini, Unbroken's protagonist, also competed at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, as did the famous Jesse Owens) and SeabiscuitThe Boys in the Boat was a real page turner and an excellent book. Seabiscuit

Future TV Wellness Guru

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As you may remember, Annalisse is studying Nutrition and Dietetics at college. As she enters the spring term of her junior year, she is starting to understand a little about what her future interests will be. Will she be a nutrition educator and counselor? Will she work in a clinical setting like a hospital or a nursing home? Will she work with children? The elderly? Eating disorders?

My advice to her: Become a registered dietitian and get a great gig on one of the morning shows advising on nutrition and wellness topics! I think she's beginning to explore ways that she can use her outgoing, friendly personality in this profession. After all, you might be the smartest nutritionist in the room, but if you can't connect with people how effective will you be?

So, here is a little demo video she made last week. It's not great, but at least, when she's on the Today Show, you can say you saw a video of her when she was still in college!

"I Survived the Blizzard of '16"

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Just like being there
Here I am, safe and sound in the north where there is no (or very little) snow. Unless you live in a cave you probably heard about the massive, historic blizzard that hit the northeast last weekend. Of course, one of the hardest places hit was Washington, DC, where I had spent the week and had hoped to depart from on the weekend.
But no. My plans for leaving Saturday, then Sunday, were scrapped by the big storm, which was actually a pretty bad one and lived up to its hype. Complicating things was the fact that the DC area (and areas east, west, north, and south) were not prepared to deal with the management and removal of upwards of 2' of snow. So, with much determination (and $100 spent paying kids to shovel me out over several occasions), I "escaped" the frozen wasteland of Northern Virginia on Monday afternoon.

Other than the exciting storm, I spent a very pleasant week with Mom Shiao. After her daily treatments and any other running around we ne…

A Week in Virginny

I write to you from Mom Shiao's comfy couch in Alexandria, Virginia, where I'm spending a week hanging with her in her cute, sunny apartment and helping out where I can while she goes for her daily radiation treatments (which end next Tuesday) for lymphoma. Don't worry - she's doing great! Mark and I just thought it might be nice for me to come down and lend a hand.
So, this week will find us spending the mornings at her treatments, and in the afternoons I will try to catch up on my "work work." Mark is home all alone with pup, as the kids are back at school. Annalisse's classes start on Tuesday, and Cam's not until next week but apparently he wanted to go back a week early and work out with the crew team.
And so the Bakers are scattered once again after a wonderful break!