Monday, August 26, 2013

August at the Cook House

August has been good to the Cook family. We have spent a lot of time with our parents and sisters and brothers-in-law. Here’s a quick photo recap of our month.

Giant flower fun at Hobby Lobby


Wyatt and Justin have been practicing for the day when he is old enough to hunt (the BB gun was unloaded but we took the opportunity for Wyatt to learn about gun safety; no pointing it at people!).

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I snapped this pic at our friend Jonathan’s house. My sister terrorizes him and changes the labels on his dry goods all the time.


Sami is always able to snap the best pictures of Wyatt on the fly. I was lucky enough to catch this one of her teaching him how to use the camera.

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This is one of my favorite ones of him. He was just laying in the grass with her.IMG_8266

I snapped a quick pic of this creepy crawly on a bottle of bubbles. I love the texture!


I picked up this adorable clutch for less than $20 including monogramming and shipping at DDP Monograms on their deal of the day.


Wyatt can spell his name now so Justin picked up this dry erase notepad for him to practice writing letters. He understands down-up-down-up of the “W” but he keeps on going so it looks like a chevron instead.


We have gotten tons of rain and Jeb has been cooped up in his kennel too much so we try to be sure he and Wyatt get to run around in the back yard whenever possible, if the mosquitos aren’t too bad.

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Wyatt is gearing up for a new “Go Dawgs” football season. Justin bought him a book all about the University and its traditions. He likes riding the bulldog statue in our flower bed, too.

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Justin turned “29 again” for the second time and his mama made him a chocolate layer cake. Both of our families came over for supper to help celebrate.

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Justin bought a new bow and Wyatt loved going out to the archery range to watch Justin shoot it. These are from the WMA in Perry. We stopped there on our way to the annual Buckarama.

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I made this fall door hanger one Sunday afternoon with Mama. I have got to get a football one. I know it won’t be done for the Georgia game on Saturday, but it’s on my to-do list.


I was driving home from work one day and came across the most beautiful field of sunflowers. Sami came out and got some fun pictures of Wy there. He had fun traipsing through the rows.


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BUT, on the way back, I got pulled over for speeding—in my Daddy’s truck no less! Thankfully the officer was forgiving and let me off with a very nice warning.

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Thursday, August 1, 2013

AG Session 5, Part 3: New York City

On the third leg of our national issues trip, we arrived in New York to find that our route to our hotel was blocked by FDNY trucks no matter which way we turned. In true leadership fashion, Rochelle hopped out of the bus to get cars to move so we could turn around.IMG_1003 

There truly is no other city like New York. It had a cool vibe and was definitely action packed.

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Our first stop was at Baldor Foods. It is a fresh produce distribution center, which whole fruit and fresh cut fruit to hotels, airlines, restaurants, and retail outlets. We all suited up for food safety with our hair nets, beard nets, and coats.

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Jim C., as he is affectionately called, is the director of sales and he provided a fast-paced informational tour of the facility and described the process from sales to logistics and distribution.

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We saw many fruits and vegetables I have never even heard of before: horned melons and dragon fruit.

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Our group was allowed to taste several fresh fruits. Here is Brent tasting a corn sprout. They were definitely different than anything I have ever tasted before, but with an increasingly global market, food products are coming in and being used in unique ways all the time.

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We then headed to the Hunts Point Terminal Market, with services most of the Northeast for fresh produce. Ms. Myra Gordon is the executive director and gave us a tour of the facility and was willing to answer our questions.


We even found produce that comes from right down the road from my office.IMG_1133 

One of the market stalls we visited had a color sorter for tomatoes that would be used to match up the ripeness of the tomatoes to the clients’ needs.


After Hunts Point, we headed to the financial district to learn about commodities and energy trading, food and ag research from a banking perspective, and global investments.IMG_1151 IMG_1154 

When we wrapped up our financial session, we were released to spend the last night of our session on our own.

I visited the site of the former World Trade Center. When my family visited in 2004, there was a gaping hole in the ground. Nine years later, Freedom Tower is still under construction and there is a memorial museum in place next to Fire Station 10, the “Ten House” as it’s called.


We had dinner and Junior’s “Best Cheesecake in New York” at Grand Central Terminal and wrapped up the night at Times Square.

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We returned to Atlanta on Wednesday, July 24 with smiles on our faces and brains backed full of new ideas, leadership strategies, and swarming with names and faces of the more than 40 speakers and facilitators we met over ten days.

During our reflection, Rochelle made a good point. While we all have fun on these trips, it is important to thank and appreciate the ones we left behind to keep things running: our partners, children, supervisors, co-workers, friends and family, and of course the donors to our program, the administration that supports it, and Kristi and Rochelle that keeps it running. Their sacrifice to make this program a success should not go unrecognized. I know personally I have had such a strong support network and I couldn’t have done it without them.