Return from St. Louis

The last four days (Tuesday through Friday), I was in St. Louis for work, and it was tough being away from Eliza for so long! The trip was very productive; some great meeting with St. Louis corporations I hope will partner with DonorsChoose.org, local education leaders, the mayor (briefly), quality time with our founder, Charles Best, and the opportunity to help honor some amazing kids (Huggable Heroes) with Build-A-Bear Workshop and their wonderful CEO Maxine Clark. I even met a woman who went to Fremd, my high school back in suburban Chicago, whose daughter was a Huggable Hero.

I did get some good food on the trip, including sushi, a cajun/oyster place, a great steak sandwich, and, of course, a stop at my favorite micro brewery, Schlafly's, to get some cases of beer to bring home to Indiana.

When I got home, I found a garden out of control and had to spend some time Saturday cleaning it up. Also, I was excited to have a few Okra pods that were ripe, and I promptly cooked them up for lunch along with some swiss chard from the garden. The jalapeno peppers and a few bell peppers are starting to come in and will be ready soon (I had the first pepper last week, but it was "accelerated" compared to its classmates). The lettuce continues to thrive and give us no possible way to keep up, so looks like our friends will get lots more free lettuce from the Smileys! Before I left, we also made a bunch of pesto to freeze since we have tons of basil.

The best part of coming home though was to see Eliza (and Lynne :) and see how much she has grown in a mere 4 days. She's definitely bigger, still tall/long, and no babbling a lot more. Of course, she's in a great mood most of the time, too!

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