{The Obligatory Garden Post}

We are about halfway through our 2011 garden season, so I thought I'd show a few photos of this year's 'haul' (if you can call it that) so far!

Tomatoes! This year we planted Cherries, Grapes, Big Boys, and Romas. Just in the last two weeks or so have they started to turn, so we're finally reaping our reward. Many of the larger ones are splitting along the shoulders, but they sure are delicious still!

In front and to the right of this you will find more tomatoes and one huge basil plant. To the near left is a row of carrots, and to the far left, two rows of kale.

This guy is just lovely...and unexpected! We have a long strip along our fence that was just weeds last year. We're not sure if the landlord planted something here or if our wildflower patch from last year blew seeds over (we suspect both), but amongst the weeds and greenery this year are tons of wildflowers and sunflowers!

Making dinner :)

A side view of our garden. The little hole in the bottom right corner is our front door/entry. The orange and white splotches at the bottom center are marigolds and petunias. Center right is our herb garden, including thyme, rosemary, and lemon verbena.

A straight-on shot of our front entry, flowers, mulch bed, and herb garden, as well as the awesome brick walkway that Jean just put in.

Threw this one in just for good measure ;)

{Finstads Do Fort Worth...YeeHaw!]

We've been away from the blogosphere for a little while, mostly due to our recent mini-vacay in the great old state of Texas! As an employee of the National Stuttering Association, our conferences are one of my biggest ongoing projects. Hundreds of hours of work go into each conference, and the 4.5 days in July are the culmination of all that work, not to mention, one huge stutter-party. Check out our latest adventures!


While in Texas we enjoyed a lot of...what else...BBQ! What they say about the Lone Star State is completely true... everything really is bigger in Texas, including the food and drink portions!


We were able to catch up with some of our closest friends, as well as meet new friends from all over the world. Some of these people we keep in close contact with through email, Facebook, twitter, and Skype, and this is the only time that we get to see them in person the whole year! One of these people is Tammy, the Executive Director for the NSA, whom I speak with through text, IM, email, Skype, US Mail, and over the phone on a daily basis, sometime using multiple modes of communication at one time, and at all hours of the day and night! It was wonderful to have a chance to spend some face-to-face time with her, and many of the others we've grown close to over the years.

Tammy & Mandy at the Closing Banquet


Another PWS whom we've grown close to over the past few years is our friends Danny Rossi, creator of the Stuttering Is Cool podcast and website. We often Skype or IM with him, and have even done a few interviews for his show. It was wonderful to see him again in person!


Jean and I were each active participants in the conference, doing much more than just observing. In addition to our volunteer efforts with the silent auction and sales, we each presented part of a workshop, and together we led a third kids workshop.

(Left to Right)
Mandy speaks to Chapter
Leaders about social media.

We both led the 'Kids in the Kitchen' workshop with the hotel chef, Stephen.

Jean gave a great
presentation on 'Voluntary Stuttering' as part of a panel discussion on
Reduction Therapy.


One of the highlights of the conference was the Keynote Speech, give by PWS and Oscar-winning Screenwriter of The King's Speech, David Seidler.

David Seidler, Mandy & Jean

Our conference name tags, signed by Mr. Seidler


Bye, Texas!
You'll be missed!