He’s HERE!!!

March 31, 2009


Hudson Reid Russell

Hudson Reid Russell

I just wanted to let our blog readers know that our nephew Hudson Reid Russell was born this morning at 1:32 AM. He weighed 7lbs. 4oz. He was 20 inches long and from what I hear he has a beautiful head of blonde hair. AND my brother informed me that he looks like a model baby…I don’t doubt it! You can see more updated pictures by going to Hudson’s very first blog here!photo


I (Laura) am sick!  I kept thinking, “wow aren’t I lucky, I went through the whole entire winter without even a sniffle.  I must have an incredible immune system!”  Well that thought came to bite me in the butt this week.  On Friday night I was at my friend Addie’s rehearsal dinner, after the dinner I went with her to her parents’ to hang out and relax before the wedding.  They have a cat and for those of you who don’t know I am VERY allergic to cats.  I was only there a little over an hour, but by the time I left I was having sneezing fits and my eyes were pouring and swelling.  I figured a few good nose blows and some time away and I’d be as good as new.  WRONG!  I woke up and had a sore throat and all around just felt yucky.  I made it through the whole day without feeling too terrible, I had a great time dancing at the reception, and all in all didn’t feel horrible as I crawled in bed.  Sunday morning was a different story…I woke up all through the night feeling down right awful.  Unfortunately when there is someone else in your bed they suffer too, each time I was up so was Andrew.  I was supposed to go in to work, but called in sick.  I got up enough energy to go to a wedding shower for a couple hours, but by the time I left if was extremely evident there was a cat in the house and my eyes were bright red and swelling shut.  Needless to say I spent the next 5 hours racked out on my parent’s couch while Andrew was at church.  Let me tell you the perfect ingredients for a Laura explosion…5 hours of loneliness, chills, fever, a congested head, AND missing out on Sunday night church.  By the time Andrew came to pick me up I was a complete grouch. 

When we got home I just started yelling…shocking I know…but I just couldn’t help it.  I was so mad that I was sick and felt awful and NOTHING Andrew could do would make it better.  He offered to make me something for dinner, I yelled at him.  He asked me what he could do, I yelled at him.  He asked if I wanted my glass of water, I glared at him.  He was doing his best and I wasn’t even trying to be pleasant, so right then and there I chose love.  I chose to love Andrew even though I was sick and mad and tired and had had an awful night.  I took some medicine, put my pj’s on , ate something, and then curled up on the couch with my best friend and we watched our favorite show.  Choosing love over anger made all the difference in the World.  SO a HUGE thanks to Andrew for putting up with me while I’m sick, I’m sure I’ll be on the flipside any day now!

Baby Update…as I type this my sister-in-law, Amanda, is at the hospital being monitored to decide if she is in active enough labor to stay.  We are anticipating Hudson’s arrival today and my mom has made the “guess” that he will be here at 11:57 !  I hope she is right!!!!!

Salt Lake City

March 28, 2009

Hey all! I just returned from a great week in Salt Lake City, Utah. I was attending the American Chemical Society National Meeting, and I presented a talk on my research. It was a mixed experience of a beautiful city, incredible anxiety, and good friends. I arrived Tuesday afternoon and took a walk around the city. The streets are clean, the people are courteous; heck, the light rail train has a “No foul language” sign! The city sits right on the edge of the Rocky Mountains, so the views are spectacular. Tuesday night I got the opportunity to meet up with some Stonehill College professors and current students, as well as a friend of mine from my time at Stonehill. We also spent some time together on Wednesday. I also bumped into Clinton, a guy who used to work in my lab at Illinois but now teaches at a college in Utah. One Stonehill prof, Marilena, and I went to see the Mormon Tabernacle for an organ recital which was really cool. The instrument sounded amazing. I got the opportunity to see the Mormon Tabernacle Choir during rehearsal on Thursday night, which was also great. The only real “down” was my anxiety leading up to my talk on Thursday morning. I got up early, dressed my best, and headed over to the meeting room. It was better attended than I expected (most people in the 10,000-attendee conference leave by then!). Also, some in the crowd were well-respected faculty from around the world, and experts in my field! I followed up a professor from UC Davis (the Mecca of research in my field) and a professor from Durham University in England, who knows both of the professors I did my research with. Nevertheless, I gave my presentation which was warmly received. I was asked several questions, one from a friend who knew I knew the answer since it is in my paper, and the others from professors in the audience who seemed genuinely interested in my success. I was so glad when it was over, but it was definitely a worthwhile experience. Unfortunately, the flight home yesterday reminded me that I hate flying!!! You can’t really do anything about turbulence except get used to it, I suppose. Anyways, here are a few pictures of my trip.

My Week

March 26, 2009

So I’ve been putting off posting because I know Andrew has way more to tell about than I do.  I’ve been waiting for him to post about his trip to Salt Lake this week.  Heposted some great pictures of his trip on facebook, but somehow they haven’t ended up on here.  So I just thought I’d give you a quick update and preview about what is going on in our world right now.  Andrew is at a chemist conference this week…clearly this is not the technical term, but for all intents and purposes that’s what it is.  He gave his talk today and I received a text that it went well (YAY!)  He’s gotten to hang out with former professors and classmates from Stonehill and has had a relatively positive week!

I have been on a little “vacation” to my parent’s house.  Yes, I know, they live down the street.  However being pampered all week at home is the only kind of vacation I can take these days.  I’ve received a hot wonderful meal every night and my dad even made my lunch for me today. Poor Andrew has to come back to a wife that has been spoiled all week…SORRY ANDREW!  We are all waiting anxiously for Hudson Reid Russell to make his debut any day now.  My sister-in-law has had minor contractions for the last 36 hours or so, but no real active labor yet.  We are looking forward to the call that they are on their way to the hospital.  We are ready to meet him and she is ready to not be pregnant again!  And of course she is excited to meet this new man who will steal her heart.

This weekend I get to proudly stand next to one of my best friends from college.  She is on a plane, as I write, on her way home.  I have the rehearsal tomorrow night and then the wedding Saturday afternoon.  Luckily Andrew will be home for the wedding, but I’ll have to fly solo to the rehearsal tomorrow. 

So that’s my week in a nutshell, hopefully Andrew will post something soon that will excite you more than what I had to say!

Madisyn Lee Campbell

March 23, 2009

She’s here!  Our niece Madisyn Lee Campbell arrived on Saturday March 21, 2009 at 7:24 p.m.  She weighed 8lbs 1 oz. and was 20 inches long.  She has the most beautiful head of black hair I’ve ever seen!  We will get to hold her in just one short month!



March 21, 2009

One year ago, Laura and I took a trip to Massachusetts with her parents to introduce them to my parents. It was a fun weekend, although stressful for me (that’s another story!). Anyways, one day we drove over to Plymouth to show the Russell’s around America’s hometown. In one quaint, overpriced antiques shop, there was one piece that popped out to Laura. If I remember correctly, it was a really old door with a distressed blue paint finish, and the center panel was replaced with a mirror. To us, it seemed a unique idea that made a statement. Then we looked at the price tag. $1600!!! Who would pay that for an old door with a mirror in it??? At that moment, Laura’s ticker started ticking…she was determined to replicate this piece for a fraction of the cost.

Flash forward to Septemberish. There is an organization in Champaign called PACA – the Preservation And Conservation Association of Champaign County. They salvage items from old buildings that are being torn down, such as furniture, plumbing, and woodwork; all the proceeds go towards architectural preservation projects in the area. Turns out they have a LARGE selection of old doors. We actually went twice, browsing through their selection of interior doors, exterior doors, doors with glass panes, doors with wood panels, etc. Then Laura saw it. The most enormous piece of hardwood, a large office door from the executive wing of a former factory. Thinking we could fit it in our car, we brought it up to pay. And the price? $65. The doors actually start at $20, but this one was marked up, I suppose due to its size and condition. Anyways, getting it to the car proved to be a bit of a challenge. Opening the trunk, we immediately saw that this door would NEVER fit. (As a side note, I found a door that Laura vetoed, which would have fit perfectly!)

Enter Kale. There was this family browsing the warehouse while we were looking at doors. They overheard us discussing our dilemma, and the man, Kale, politely interrupted, “If you’d like, I could get my Jeep and transport your door.” What a surprise! Laura was actually heading to work, and our only other option was calling her parents to come help me pick the door up (and we had no idea where they were this Saturday morning). Laura was able to go to work, and Kale had his wife drive home to switch cars (they live in Savoy, so it was a little while!). But they strapped it on top of the Jeep and drove me back to the apartment!  We actually stored it in the Russell’s garage until this Wednesday, waiting for coming up with the money to put a mirror in. Another pleasant surprise happened when we brought it into the mirror place. They measured the opening, and as we braced ourselves for the worst, they quoted us $120. It ended up being done in a day, and we picked it up yesterday with a lower-than-quoted cost of $116. So for under $200 we got an enormous floor-to-ceiling mirror unlike any other!


Spring Cleaning!

March 19, 2009

Yesterday was my day off so I decided to ask Andrew to take the day off.  I really don’t do this very often, but knowing he’ll be gone next week I wanted to get to spend a whole day with him.  So he took the day off and we cleaned for at least 5 hours.  I was blessed to marry someone who is probably a more thoroughcleaner than me!  We had never really deep cleaned our apartment in 7 months, I would venture to say most people didn’t look at our apartment with disgust, but when you get down to it, it was filthy.  I know all you mom’s and grandma’s out there will cringe at this next little fact….yesterday was the first time since we moved in over 7 months ago that I cleaned the bathtub.  We have one of those automatic shower cleaners, so it kind of gets cleaned on a daily basis, but as far as srubbing on hands and knees, yesterday was my first rodeo!  I will say even after all this time there was still not a smudge of dirt or grime in that tub so the daily spray must be doing its job. 

We also checked other jobs off our list yesterday, I made some phonecalls, we painted touchups, and then accomplished something we have been putting off for 6 months!  We purchased an antique door months ago to make into a full length mirror.  I was dreading the cost of it and the hassle of borrowing the van to take it over there.  When we arrived they told us it would be $125 total!  This seems like an incredible deal to me AND I just got a phone call that it is ready for pick up.  I’ve gone 7 months without a full length mirror and all it would have taken was$125 and 24 hours!  I can’t wait to pick  it up!  Hopefully we’ll be better about posting pictures and you’ll be able to see this masterpiece tomorrow!

New Hours, New Outlook

March 16, 2009

When Andrew and I got married we knew I would be working 10-6 and he would work a schedule that was close to 10-5.  I thought this would be a wonderful schedule.  As I’ve said before we are not morning people so going into work at 10 seemed like a wonderful idea.  After a few months of this schedule I came to really dislike it.  Getting off at 6:00 and rushing home to eat dinner quickly before we rushed off to our next activity became a chore that wore down my mind and body.  After analyzing sales and traffic in the store we decided to change our hours from 10-6 to 9-5.  We have had this schedule for less than a week and I can already tell a huge difference in my attitude towards work.  Getting up an hour earlier to get home an hour earlier is definitely worth the sacrifice.  I even feel the desire to start my day on the right foot by drying my hair and applying make-up, something I just have not wanted to do for the last 6 months.  It’s amazing what one small change can do!

Opposites Attract

March 12, 2009

So they say opposites attract and I couldn’t agree more.  Andrew and I are about as opposite as you get.  He’s booksmart, I’m street smart.  He’s an introvert, I’m an extrovert.  He enjoys the finer things in life, I get a bigger thrill out of super sales.  The list could go on, and on, and on, but I’ll spare you.  We notice a major difference in the two of us in the mornings.  You definitely can’t identify either of us as a “morning person”, but it seems that when Andrew is up in the morning I am down and vice versa.  We have been getting up in the morning and walking.  Half the time Andrew gets up and cheerfully greets me, coaxes me out of bed and cheers me on throughout our walk.  The other days I perform the same routine as he moans and groans.  Yesterday was the perfect example.  We didn’t get up and walk, but rather took a walk/jog when I got home from work.  It’s cold here right now, something to the tune of 30 degrees.  I was not a happy camper when we got outside and my legs began to burn from the bitter cold.  Somehow it was Andrew’s turn to be peppy.  The duration of the jog he cheered, threw his arms up, chanted you’re doing great, and pretty much looked ridiculous to all onlookers.  I moaned and groaned, huffed and puffed, and used the term I can’t probably 10 times.  It’s times like these when I wonder, “how is it that God perfectly orchestrated our lives so we are constant cheerleaders for each other?”  Rarely, if ever, have we both been in a bad mood at the same time.  How awesome is it that God gave me someone to pick me up when I am down and gives me the strength to do the same for Andrew?  I hope this post finds you in the same position…in relationships with people who build you up!

New notebook!

March 10, 2009

Today I turned a new leaf of sorts…I started my second lab notebook! The lab notebook is sort of a measure of how productive you are as a scientist. It doesn’t necessarily equate to getting better research done, but simply more stuff done or more detail into experiments. As a quality-over-quantity type of guy, I have chosen to not get upset about other people surpassing me with their lab notebook-writing. Actually, the bulk of the data one would put in a lab notebook I record on MS Excel files and 3-ring binders, so its not like I’ve been unproductive. But, it does feel good to be starting book #2. I’m going through the first book right now, finishing the table of contents that I had left blank. It’s amazing the memories of all the hassles and successes I’ve had over the past 3 years. And to think in another year I will be working on my final dissertation! I’m in my 8th year of postsecondary education  – where did the time go???