Monday, July 28, 2008

A Press Release

From: Aaron Udy
Sent: Thursday, July 17, 2008 8:56 AM
To: The Press
Subject: My 17 month old can read!

Good morning!
I just had to show off these short video clips of Tessa reading books, they're so amazing. We're thinking about having her tested, we have a regular Doogie Howser on our hands....


However, in retrospect, we wish we would have spoken more than just gibberish around the house. What she's saying makes perfect sense in the language we made up, but most people can't decipher it.

Aaron U**

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Bok Choi, Kale, Swiss Chard, Something that is not Swiss Chard...or Kale, Collard Greens

We are in our 5th of 15 weeks that we will be getting veggies grown and picked speccially for us by a local farmer. So far its been an adventure. The first week I had to google each item in the list of that week's produce and compare it to what I held in my hand. Sometimes I got it right - but leafy greens look a lot like leafy greens, so sometimes I didn't.

So I google my food, then google a recipe to cook it and most of the time (unless I mis-identified) the recipes were really good. I believe we will add bok choi and collard greens to our list of veggies-we-like-that-are-not-peas-and-corn. I'll get back to you on the kale - I ended up freezing it because all the recipes I found that looked yummy were for creamy potato soup and at 82 degrees with 75 percent humidity soup (particularly making it) sounds beyond horrible.

I am glad that as the season progresses we are getting more and more veggies that I recognize, like corn-on-the-cob. Mmmmmmm. Oh yes, and zucchini.

Bok Choi with Shrimp Stir-Fry

Curry with ... I forgot which veggie I used

Friday, July 25, 2008

Tessa Sings

This video shows Tessa singing along with the ABCs and then singing and doing the actions to Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star (any hand movement during Twinkle Twinkle is her doing the actions, whether or not it is recognizable, she does the same things everytime).

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Who is that little kid!

...and where did my baby go?!

Niagara Falls

Third in our series of "The Udy Family takes a long weekend."
(I mean really, you'd think we took a two-week African safari with how long it is taking me to finish posting about it!)

In front of Tessa's namesake
(no, not really)

Trash bag family

Where we were, from above.


Cute little Leshy.


In Canada


We decided to forgo watching the falls at night, with lights and fireworks. As Laura said "The falls are really neat, but I've seen enough." And as Alicia said "Lets get some ice cream."

So we headed to Fort Niagara on our way back to camp. But we got distracted by the cutest ice cream shop in the cutest town and spent the rest of the evening there.

Contemplating.




Tessa learned to crawl on the grass that evening, and now she realizes she can go anywhere she wants to!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Palmyra - via Chill & Grill

After the Whitmer homestead and the spider incident we headed to Palmyra.

On our way there we stopped at an veritable institution called "Chill & Grill." Very yummy - I'm adding that to my official recommended itinerary. Big burgers, lots of fries and a soft serve cone, size small, that will make you say "Thats a small?!" Guaranteed.

While there Tessa saw a big dog. She was brave enough to go with Aunt Laura to pet it.


After lunch we headed first to the Book of Mormon printing site. Then to the Joseph Smith farm and Sacred Grove.

I've been to the Sacred Grove a number of times and it is nice to be able to spend some time there absorbing the Spirit that exists. This time it was really nice to be there with my little girl - and my sisters. And of course the husbands as well.




Our last stop for that day was the Hill Cumorah. Aside from the sprinkler to the face that Aaron experienced it was a nice climb to the top of the hill and a nice place to rest for a bit.

Then we raced to Niagara Falls and our next campsite before dark when the office closed.

Out building on Smith farm

I love my bookclub

I hosted book club at my house last night. I thought, afterward, how much I love my book club. I know many people roll their eyes at "book clubs" but at this one - if only this one - we discuss the book, compare it to current and past social and political happenings and relate it to our lives, jobs and families. We disagree with each other on meanings of symbols, author's intents and personal beliefs but still carpool home together congenially. Oh, and I hear people using words that I haven't heard since 9th grade english. (Third-person omniscient comes to mind.)

It is invigorating, enjoyable and often-times hilarious.

So, for those who poo-poo book clubs, I dare say, you haven't visited ours!

----

This past month we read "Ella Minnow Pea" which was recommended to me by Mindy. It was a short read but brought up a lot of discussion about politics, the power of institutions, personal convictions, religion, and of course the alphabet.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Phobic

I do tend to be frightened of spiders. They give me this vague panicky feeling that I think subliminally I knew could be uncontrollable if I were really threatened by a spider, however since I always stay far away from them it just existed as a hovering heart racing feeling.

And then one day I was sitting in a car with my husband and child and a daddy long legs crawled up my side. That was horrible enough, but then - it dropped down onto my seat and I lost track of it.

And I freaked out.

Yes - I was told as a child that daddy long legs have fangs (fangs for heavens sake) that are too small to bite humans, and I was in a moving car, and I am an adult and should be able to handle something like that.

BUT I DIDN'T KNOW WHERE IT WAS, and it could have easily been crawling ON ME.

So I commenced crying and hyperventilating and basically making a bit of a fool of myself.

Aaron pulled over as quickly as he could and I lept out of the car, and yes, the thought of stripping my clothes off briefly crossed my mind. luckily the spider was on the seat, was quickly brushed to the asphalt, and stepped on. I'm ashamed that the stepping on had more to do with my need to dominate it than with its actual threat to me at that point.

All told there were 5 daddy long legs riding with us in the car that day, one which I found on my head rest after getting out of the car after a 10 minute drive. Gulp.

Note: The spiders came from the wood we bought at one camp site and drove to another...don't ever, ever do that.

Note #2: Lest those readers familiar with the delicate daddy long legs of the southwest think I am a total wuss, this is what Daddy-Long-Leg spiders look like in upstate NY.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Good Morning Seneca Falls

Our travels that day led us to Seneca Fall, NY. We went there to meet my sisters Alicia & Laura, and Laura's husband Connel. Laura and Connel live in Cleveland as of this past January and Alicia was visiting them as a graduation trip.

You know, the really nice thing about traveling with sisters is that when you call them the morning of the trip and tell them that you neglected to make reservations soon enough and plans need to change and that they now need to drive 2 more hours beyond the original plan they just say "okay!" and are still happy to see you when they get there!

We chose Seneca Falls because it was the closest, non-KOA, campsite to Palmyra, our actual destination. And oh what a serendipitous selection. You see this campsite was minutes from the Peter Whitmer farm, a location Aaron and I had never been in our previous 3 visits to Palmyra and that I didn't know we were near until I saw a sign while we were exiting the highway. And of course, Seneca Falls is the birthplace of the Women's Rights movement. I was very excited to visit both places!

In addition, Seneca Falls itself is a darling postcard-worthy American town. Completely adorable, but sadly, a victim, like most other towns in that region, of shifting economics which have left it economically depressed. The tour guide at the visitor center stated bluntly that people who live there either work at McDonalds or bring their money with them. I find towns like this remarkably heartbreaking.

Now, not only were we near places I was thrilled to visit but our campsite cost $13 for all six of us. Thirteen dollars! What a deal!

Here I am making breakfast. Tessa woke me up at 6:30 after sleeping like a log all night. I thought I'd be awake by myself for a long time but Auntie Laura was up and at-em and ready to hold the baby. (yeah!) This picture shows two funny things...Connel is drinking out of a paper plate. We forgot cups so used our boyscout training to fashion a vessel out of paperplates. The coolest. The other thing you'll notice is Laura taking pictures. That pretty much illustrates her whole weekend, she puts Aunt Paula to shame!

Here are the girls taking a stand!
Yeah for the ability to vote and have legal possession of your children!

Auntie Alicia and Tessa mingling with the crowd.

Last October I bought Tessa a "passport" to the National Parks. The "passport" is a booklet that you take with you and get stamps at National Parks across the country. Tessa got her 2nd and 3rd stamps here. The 3rd was for the Erie Canal National Historic Corridor. We missed our chance to get an Underground Railroad stamp but time was short.

The group in front of the David Whitmer home (reconstructed)

Aaron and I hadn't ever come to the David Whitmer farm because it seemed so far out of the way of the other Palmyra sites. I now realize we were missing out and highly recommend it! This is one of the main sites where translation of the Gold Plates took place and the location of the organization of the church.


I had just taught a Relief Society lesson on the organization and destiny of the church. In it we discussed how Joseph Smith told early members of the Church that their understanding of the destiny of the church was like that of a child. One of the sisters in my ward pointed out how true this was by discussing all that the Church currently does just in humanitarian work world-wide. The church's network enables it to be first responders to many of the devastating natural disasters and to the local tragedies that occur daily; they also work in dozens of programs to bring drinking water, measles vaccinations, wheelchairs, and medical knowledge to third world countries. Do you think that the handful of Saints in the mid-1800s struggling against mobs and persecution could comprehend that!? How amazing and miraculous our world would seem to them!

Aaron's Birthday

Was last week.

We celebrated by taking a 6 hour car ride. Woo hoo.

The good thing is that he did get to sleep in, and didn't have to go to work.

The bad thing is that Momma slept in too and we didn't get on the road until 4 hours after we meant to. But, in Aaron's opinion having a well-rested wife, as opposed to a tired and, well, cranky wife, was worth the late start.

For his birthday he got a new camera. Luckily for me he has been really, really good at sharing. Yeah!

Firework Delight

Tessa loved the fireworks


video

And she was really excited that all the people around her loved them also!

We were lucky enough to run into some friends who let us sit with them. In the past we've had someone who would save us a seat but they went to the Cape this year so we were on our own. Not that we got there any earlier than we had in the past. So, ya, we were lucky to run into the Potvins and Gilberts.

Here is a picture of Tessa sitting on Phil's lap while Mommy and Daddy ate. At this point she was still a bit overwhelmed by how many people there were and that her mom had plopped her on the lap of a strange man.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Getting ready for the fireworks

I've been a Celtics Fan all my life.

That is Aaron's claim to fame. And it looks like Tessa will be following in his footsteps as she recently attended the parade in honor of the Celtics fabulous win in the NBA finals.Okay, okay - we really just went because we were in Boston on other business and decided to hang around for the "rolling rally" (fancy name for a parade).


The real bummer of the day - Tess and I were both wearing pink shirts (literally the only people in a sea of green) when we both had lime green pants sitting at home feeling neglected and unloved. (I still haven't gotten over it)

The really great part of the day. Cannoli's from Mikes Pastry!

Our Boat Trip

(aka bad-parenting-witnessesed-by-all)

One day Aaron asked me out on a date. Our first since Tessa was born.

But we kept forgetting to hunt down a babysitter...and he got free tickets to a harbor cruise..and we really couldn't ask someone to babysit for 5+ hours.

And someone who went on the cruise last year told us that it was to benefit a children's charity and therefore shouldn't have too-much drunkeness (as these things tend to).

So we brought Tessa with us.

And she had a BLAST. She definitely earned the title "party animal" with all her dancing and smiling - just what you'd expect a girl to do if 150 people had gathered on a boat Just To See Her!

At 7:00, the beginning of the three hour cruise, we got a lot of comments like

"oh, how fun to bring her with you...I wish I would have done more of that with my little ones, now they are teenagers..."

and

"I used to bring my baby everywhere and we had so much fun..."
and
"she reminds me of my grand-daughter..."

But after about 9:00 all the comments turned to
"wow, she's not asleep yet?"
asked a way that clearly meant

"Shouldn't she be asleep by now!?"

Oh well - she slept well in the car home and the rest of the night. In fact, she's got years and years of sleeping ahead of her.


Carpe Diem!

Friends and Family

Here is a shout out to:

Aunt Pam and Uncle Mark


Uncle John

(We didn't take any pictures
but I did find out he shares my affinity for our nation's 2nd president)


Jamie, Merril, and Juliet




They all visited in the month of June. We love love love showing off where we live, thanks for letting us drag you around!